Tag Archives: podcast

Survivor: Abyss Island – The Dead Reonion Show Part Duh

The Tom B. Taker Show podcastAt long last, here it is. Finally, the wait is over. The Survivor: Abyss Island reunion show has arrived. The production team was been hard at work crunching the audio. We apologize it took a few extra days. It’s a dirty thankless job and many hours of blather were left on the cutting room floor. (This is the part where you thank me. This shit could have been longer.)

This is part two of the world famous audio interview.

Make the shark jump for the link.


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Survivor: Abyss Island – The Dead Reonion Show (Audio!)

The Tom B. Taker Show podcastAt long last, here it is. Finally, the wait is over. The Survivor: Abyss Island reunion show has arrived. The production team was been hard at work crunching the audio. We apologize it took a few extra days. It’s a dirty thankless job and many hours of blather were left on the cutting room floor. (This is the part where you thank me. This shit could have been longer.)

Following 39 grueling days on the island, my host/wife thought it would be a good idea to interview me proving, once again, her host powers went completely to her head. Like a freshly broken down cabazon filet I was grilled for 40 whopping minutes until I was crisp and completely blackened. I was too afraid to say no.

My wife even solicited questions from “fans” of the show. Poor lost souls.

Wearing only my tribe buff and a Survivor shot glass repeatedly full of tequila, my wife wisely got me mostly hammered before going all 60 Minutes on my ass. The interview lasted an interminable 40 minutes and has been broken into two parts. At the bottom of this post is a link to part one of the audio interview.

Make the shark jump for the link.


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Getting to know Harry Shearer


Harry Shearer circa Feb. 2011. Photograph credit: Flickr member Potatojunkie.

A few short months ago, if someone had asked me about Harry Shearer, I’d have replied, “He’s one of the people that does voices on The Simpsons.” That would have been the sum total of my knowledge about the man.

It turns out he is much more than that.

Shearer, 67, provides the voice for many characters on The Simpsons including Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny Leonard, Principal Skinner, Otto Mann and Rainier Wolfcastle. (Source: Wikipedia.)

He also played Derek Smalls in the Grammy-nominated “parody fictional heavy metal band” Spinal Tap, and played the same role in the movie This Is Spinal Tap.

Shearer is an actor, comedian, writer, voice artist, musician, author, radio host and director.

He was also a writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live.

Since 1983, Shearer has been the host of the public radio comedy/music program Le Show on Santa Monica’s NPR-affiliated radio station, KCRW. The program is a hodgepodge of satirical news commentary, music, and sketch comedy that takes aim at the “mega morons of the mighty media.” (Source: Wikepedia.)

Le Show is how I recently got to know Harry Shearer. (As a fan. I’ve never met the guy.)

One Sunday afternoon while driving home from a weekend trip, my wife fell asleep and I turned on the radio to my favorite NPR station. A radio program I’d never heard before was in progress. The longer I listened, the more I was intrigued. “Is that the guy from The Simpsons“, I wondered.

Back home, I researched on the net and discovered Le Show. It’s an hour-long weekly broadcast. I immediately subscribed to it as a podcast on iTunes and I’ve been listening to it religiously ever since.

After a few weekly listens, I really started to get into it. Le Show is a combination of news and comedy.

In the news bits, Shearer reads actual news stories. The good part, though, is his incredulous disdain for the crap that he’s reading. He’ll inject a snide comment, a snarky aside, or skewer some official’s laughable statement. In one case, and I’m paraphrasing from memory here, while reading a story about a nuclear energy plant leak, he said something like, “Radiation found in water near a nuclear plant. Imagine that!”

Shearer seems to have an uncanny ability to smell out news of the ridiculous. Shearer breaks down the news into segments (that he calls “copyrighted features of this broadcast”) including:

  • Our Friend the Atom: Shearer performs a watchdog function by highlighting news stories that focus on the ineptitude of the nuclear power industry. This segment includes a catchy little jingle with the words, “Clean, Safe, Too Cheap to Meter.”
  • Apologies of the Week: A very entertaining look at the art of taking responsibility (or not) of those who do really dumbass things. This is truly an art form.
  • News of the Olympic Movement: Recent coverage looked at badminton dress codes – for women only – at the 2012 games. The skirts-only policy was intended to boost flagging audiences for the women’s game. Another story covered looked at “Nazi imagery” used to promote the upcoming Winter Olympic Games to be hosted by Russia. Bonus: He even jokes about the Olympics being a “movement” if you know what I’m saying.
  • Tales of Airport Security: Self-explanatory.
  • News of the Warm: Shearer reads news about climate change. (In deference to Bill Maher I’m no longer referring to it as “global warming.”)

Le Show also includes comedy and skits with voices primarily performed by Shearer.

I look forward to Le Show every week. The program is entertaining and informative, which is pretty much the goal of my blog, too. If I ever did a weekly podcast I would be thrilled if it was similar to Le Show and contained at least one percent of the talent. I want to be more like Harry Shearer. Thank God he’s out there doing what I can’t.

For more information:
Harry Shearer Official Website
Le Show Website
Le Show podcast on iTunes

Let me be your TEDdy bear

I’ve fallen in love with TED.

The first TED conference was in 1984. TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design. Since then, TED has grown in scope. The mission? Spreading ideas.

The official TED website says, “Today, TED is best thought of as a global community. It’s a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.”

I’d seen a few TED videos here and there and always enjoyed them. Then I got an iPod as a bonus at work.

After learning how to work the thing, I discovered that I could use iTunes to automatically get podcasts and have them transferred to my iPod. Once there, I could listen to them any time I wanted, even without wifi.

I quickly loaded up that sucker with all sorts of podcasts like a kid in a candy store. Here’s a list of audio-only content that I’ve signed up for so far:

  • American Public Media: The Story
  • Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips
  • NPR: All Songs Considered
  • NPR: Fresh Air Podcast
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Rob Cesternino has a Podcast
  • TEDTalks (audio version)
  • This American Life

I also signed up for video podcasts like College Humor, Lifehacker, Science Friday and TEDTalks.

Maybe you can already see the problem? I don’t have enough time! Every time I plug in my iPod to charge it, iTunes opens an automatically “syncs” more stuff. There’s no way I can ever watch it all. I’ve heard that every minute something like 18 hours worth of video gets uploaded to YouTube. It would be hard to watch it all.

I guess at some point you have to start making choices.

So now I’m listening to TED on my “ear buds” every chance I get. Mostly when driving to and from work, which is only about 20 minutes a day. But also in other places like the grocery store or waiting in the restaurant to get my food to go. Suddenly I’m not so irritated by having to wait.

The shortage of time to listen is frustrating. The other night I wanted to listen more, so I skipped dinner, slipped on the ear buds and went for a walk. I listened to NPR and heard a story about Seattle Slew, a famous racehorse that won the Triple Crown. (Which I formerly thought was three shots of whiskey.)

By the way, walking is a fantastic negativity activity. Every 20 feet or so is an intersection or driveway. And at every single one of these you’ll encounter something known as a car. These are highly impatient things that try to run over you at these locations. It adds a lot of fun, excitement and challenge to walking.

My goal is to listen to all of the TEDTalks on audio. Not all of them are topics I’d normally find interesting, but I listen just the same. (Like the trials and tribulations of some new parents and their baby. Bah!) But the talks are compelling even when the material is not normally something I’d ever click on. I hit play and get them in no apparent order. I never know what will come next.

During this experience, I’ve also been learning what it is to really listen. I’m constantly amazing myself with my mind’s ability to drift. I’ll catch myself again and again and realize I haven’t really heard the content. I wasn’t paying attention. This is disturbing to say the least. I wonder how often this happens to all of us in all sorts of situations. Life should not be lived on autopilot.

So I decided to work on my active listening skills. If I’m going to play audio, I don’t just want it to be background noise. I want to absorb what’s being said. I have to actively focus and pay proactive attention. This means I can’t listen during certain activities, like work. I can do it when I’m driving but it requires concentration. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to do nothing but sit and listen. That’s why walking is such a great idea. Perhaps working on my fitness while listening to TED is enough “multitasking” for me.

I did try sitting down and listen a few times. Amazingly I’d still find my mind wandering and not paying attention. This takes a bit of effort and discipline. But I do think it is something I’m improving on.

Lastly, to close out this post, I’ve decided that I am going to give a talk at a TED conference someday. Yes, me. I’ve noticed that most of the speakers at TED conferences appear to be “experts” on their subjects, so I’m approaching the goal from that angle. In other words, “What am I expert at?” The obvious answer is “nothing” and I am a “nobody.” Thus, that’s how the topic for my TED talk was born. I’m going to speak about how to be a nobody and do nothing in our modern civilization. I’m a real nowhere man.

If TED permits this, then we’ll truly know if they welcome people from every discipline. 🙂

Literally shouting from the abyss

Podcast BearI know this won’t work, but I’m a glutton for punishment, so what the hell. I’m going to try it anyway just so I can watch it fail. Is it fun watching me bang my head against a wall?

Hey peeps! Check out my pods!

Yes, I am quite bummed to announce the premier episode of The Tom B. Taker Show has been published. This is an audio-only blog and will only take a few moments out of your monumentally-important day.

I guess you could say this is quite literally the first time I’ve ever actually “shouted” from the Abyss.

So clicky the little button below to listen, damn you, or you can sit on it.

The Tom B. Taker Show – Episode 1 (Live Babies)

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Tip: Hurry up and listen fast if you want a chance to get on the show before the phone lines close.

Music Credit: Thanks to Electric LarryLand for the bumper music provided under a Creative Commons license.