Category Archives: Podcasts

Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s The Thing”

Last night, I received a text message from a buddy telling me to check out Alec Baldwin’s latest podcast, which featured a conversation with Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink). He’d recommended the podcast before, but I hadn’t thought to subscribe until today.

Oh my! Baldwin’s podcast, called Here’s the Thing, is very, very good.

This morning, as I was getting ready to go for a run, I subscribed to the podcast, and the first thing I noticed was an interview with Mickey Rourke (The Pope of Greenwich Village, Diner, Rumble Fish, Angel Heart, The Wrestler), a hero of mine back when I was in high school and dreaming of being an actor. I listened to the interview while I ran, when I got home and ate a sandwich, and while I took a shower. Baldwin treated Rourke with great respect, and the conversation was easy-going and free-flowing, even as it moved into the more troublesome aspect’s of Rourke’s career and private life.

I was sad to get to the end of the interview. The storytelling was so raw and unguarded, I could’ve listened to it for hours. From there, I moved on to an interview with Dick Cavett, the bookish host of TV interview shows from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. It turns out that Baldwin and Cavett are neighbors out on Long Island, and the conversation, though a bit formal, seemed natural, like I was eavesdropping on a private conversation that ranged from Orson Welles to Marlon Brando to Cavett’s struggles with depression to the media landscape of today vs. that of 50 years ago. Again, Baldwin was spot-on in the questioning of his subject, knowing when to press in and when to sit back and let a moment breathe.

At this point, I was hooked…and on my way to see Hadley, my oldest daughter, play her first home lacrosse game. I was in the car with my wife Angell and our youngest daughter Avery and one of her friends. The hour long ride to and from Asbury gave me the opportunity to listen to the Ringwald episode, as well as conversations with Carol Burnett (The Carol Burnett Show) and Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate, Rain Man, Kramer vs. Kramer). Alec Baldwin, who, like Mickey Rourke, has a reputation for being difficult and little nutty, was nothing short of sweet to his guests, and in the case of Burnett and Hoffman, he was gushing in the way a true fan, completely devoid of ego and posturing.

My only regret is that my daughter doesn’t go to some west coast school, which would’ve afforded me the time to listen to the entire backlog of episodes while driving. Baldwin loves to dish the dirt, and gives as good as he gets, without getting too nasty or self-serving, and because of his status in Hollywood, the celebrities he interviews treat him as the equal he is. On top of that, he seems to seduce them, through his great charm and enthusiasm, causing them to open up in ways that we don’t see in the typical, sound-byte driven talk shows.

If you listen to podcasts, look up Here’s the Thing and check out the lineup of guests. If the names are familiar, hit the subscribe button. It’ll be the best treat you give yourself this week.

Down and Nerdy: A Very Special Episode Episode

On this week’s Down and Nerdy, Rachel gives us her disappointed take on the finale of How I Met Your Mother.  James, who’d never seen an episode, until the finale, goes all contrarian on her.

We also get into the idea of “very special episodes” on TV, and share our favorites:

Finally, Rachel, Kevin & Scott get into Wes Anderson’s  The Grand Budapest Hotel, and by “get into” I mean we fawned all over it.

Down and Nerdy: the 2048 Edition

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2048Last week, I received an email from James Bickers that included a link to a game called 2048.  He told me to start playing and be prepared to defend my high-score when we taped this week’s episode of Down and Nerdy.  I marked the message as unread and went about my business.

Later, after lunch, I went back to the message and clicked the link, which was akin to opening Pandora’s Box.  2048 is like highly concentrated crack cocaine in its addictiveness, and once I began playing I didn’t stop until I realized I was late picking my kids up from school.

The game, actually a clone of a similar game called Threes, is at the center of our fun and games this week.  It might help your listening experience if you play 2048 for 8 or 10 hours before listening to the podcast.  Don’t worry.  The time will fly by in a snap.

In addition to 2048, we covered a broad spectrum of obsessions that included Mark Zuckerberg and his just announced Facebook Connectivity Lab, harkening back to the 50’s, when we thought science would cure all our problems.  I’ve included Facebook’s recruitment video, which is probably more PR/propaganda than help wanted ad, but who cares?  I’m sold.

We also bounced around TV recommendations that included:

Finally, we got into Wattpad, a storytelling app that exemplifies the way the internet is democratizing creativity by eliminating gatekeepers and creating a direct conduit from the artist to the masses.  Anybody can post a story, leaving it to users to choose whether or not to read.

Wattpad boasts 20 million readers and 2 million authors posting 100,000 pieces daily.  This means a lot of sifting for users, but if you believe, as I do, that the cream rises to the top, then sites like this are a good thing.

If you have any recommendations for off-the-beaten path TV shows, movies or books, drop me a line in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear from you.


Listen to the Down & Nerdy Podcast

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Down & NerdyDo you wish you could find some friends who shared your love for Neil Gaiman or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Cormac McCarthy or comic books?

Look no further because Down & Nerdy is here to keep you company.  Each week, James Bickers and fellow nerds Rachel Raphael, Kevin Kinsella and Scott Slucher crack wise on the geeky side-streets of pop-culture, commenting on the latest news, gossip and releases from the artists nobody but us love.

This week, we talked about Ban BossyAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and consent, President Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns, the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, MirandaSings and a whole lot more.

Click here to download the podcast or stream it live over the interweb.