- BETTER FRIDAYS, BETTER EVERYTHING -

The Podcast and Space Edition

2016-05-07

A Happy May -

For whatever reason, this last month has produced three of the best individual podcasts I've ever heard. I want to start off with a little riff about these podcasts and why the podcast format in general is excellent.

Superior Podcasts

I've recommended the Tim Ferriss show several times in this newsletter, and judging by the 60M+ downloads, more than a few of you are familiar with it. Tim in my humble opinion notched his best two ever last month. His several hour chat with Cal Fussman is every bit worth the few flights / road trips it might take you to finish it. Fussman is a prolific journalist / writer best known for writing an Esquire column where he interviews famous people, but the podcast is really about the value of traveling, experimenting and asking good questions. In the duration of the podcast Fussman goes through his 20s, 30s and 40s, telling stories of all the crazy things that happened. 

Tim's interview with Mike Rowe, best known for being the host of Discovery's Dirty Jobs, is equally fantastic. Rowe goes deep on being on QVC in the 3AM slot for a few years and getting a fly-anywhere-any-time pass from American Airlines when he did commercials for them. American forgot to take away the pass for an entire year after Rowe wasn't working there; listen to the podcast just to hear what he did with it.

Finally, for those of you who are fans of Bill Simmons, his interview with ex-Googler / big time VC / Shark Tanker Chris Sacca is in typical Simmons fashion one part comedy and one part sports / entertainment bliss. If you're flying or driving anywhere, take a shot on one of these three.

A little note on podcasts in general - I recently stopped listening to talk radio on my morning commute and went exclusively good podcasts. I got tired of 98.5 / 93.7/850's BS where a lot of the Boston sports hot takes felt recycled and purposely obnoxious. Podcasts I tend to feel are higher quality because episodes are more spaced out and the market oversees quality (whereas in sports radio the hosts own monopolies). Most podcasts (at least the TF Show and BS Report) also have broader subject matter and offer a higher probability of learning something new than radio, so I think this switch is an easy win.

Short Space Reads

I finished Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's book last month and loved it. There are some insane stories here - Hadfield fixing part of the ISS while blinded by cleaning spray gone wrong, nomads messing with astronauts who landed in a desert and the long odds astronauts face throughout their entire careers. 

TIME also had a nice cover story (print only) on American astronaut Scott Kelly, who just pulled off a year in the ISS so NASA could study the feasibility of humans going to Mars (with Scott's twin brother, Mark, serving as a control group). TIME also has a multipart documentary on the entire year in space, which I'm in the midst of watching. Coincidentally, SpaceX also announced this week its intention to send its own Dragon spacecraft to Mars by 2018 (tip of the hat to Dom for passing along this story).

Some Movie Recs

I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane last month, which ranks easily as the best horror / psychological thriller film I've ever seen. John Goodman should land a Best Actor nomination for his work in this one. The trailer actually convinced me to see this movie, so I'll link to it here.

For the less horror-inclined, I also saw Pixar's Inside Out last weekend, which in typical Pixar style is an extremely complex discussion of the human discussion dressed up as a kid's movie. Good to see at least one studio making kid's films isn't selling their soul to Comcast. 

T-Shirt Update

To everyone who ordered a T-Shirt in April - deep apologies for not shipping yet. I have the shirts in my possession and will follow up this week about sending them to their rightful recipients.

That's it for this month. Please send recommendations my way and we'll be back in June.

Cheers,

Ben