Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

In episode 195 of Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, “Professor” was finally revealed as Ship and I finally got a shout out from the Angry Claremontian Narrator on my favourite podcast!

For those of you who don’t know, Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men is “a weekly podcast where we walk you through the convoluted continuity of our favorite superhero soap opera!” In essence, they explore X-Men and the wider Marvel mutant mess with a critical eye and an appropriate levity. I’m always eager for each week’s episode because they are uniformly so damn good.

“Daunted by complex chronologies? Terrified by time travel? Confounded by clones? We are here for you. We have trained intensively for this responsibility for decades. We have the backissues, the calluses, and a really detailed map of the Summers family tree.” – Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men Patreon

Offshore Postcard: The Tiki Bar & Why Tiki

During a break between seasons, the Offshore podcast, an excellent long form podcast that presents stories from Hawaii, put out some smaller episodes. In November they released “The Tiki Bar“, an eye-opening exploration of the complex weirdness of the Tiki fad. Paola Mardo presented the intersection of appropriation, immigrant opportunities, pop culture and race in an immersive and insightful way. For Paola it’s part of a larger project investigating Tiki bars and that engagement with the subject is clear.

Offshore Postcard: The Tiki Bar

Tiki bars became wildly popular in the United States after World War II, and were at the height of their popularity when Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959.

Even though Tiki bars bars draw inspiration from many Pacific cultures, when most people think of Tiki bars they think of Hawaii.

But the tiki bar is actually a product of Hollywood, and part of a fascinating chapter in pop culture and American history.

Offshore looks at the history of tiki bars, why they’re popping up all over the country and even the world today, and finds out more about the immigrants who served up the first tiki cocktails.

For more from Paola on Tiki bars, there’s another short podcast episode, “Why Tiki? A Deep Dive into America’s Fascination with Tiki Bars, Tropical Drinks & the South Pacific” to take in, the pilot of an upcoming podcast that has a newsletter for updates.

Over the last several months, I’ve spent a lot of time around tiki bars – reading, researching, interviewing and trying everything from a Mai Tai to a Bayanihan. This is the first episode of a podcast about our fascination with the South Pacific island dream and the pop culture phenomenon of tiki bars, where race, culture, cocktails, and Hollywood collide. Click here for more on this ongoing project.

This journey started when I came across a photo of Filipinos and other people of color lined up for a movie casting call in 1929, as well as photos of Ray Buhen, a Filipino immigrant who worked at various tiki bars in Los Angeles including Don the Beachcomber, the original tiki bar that opened in 1934, and the Christian’s Hut on Catalina Island, a tropical-themed bar financed by Clark Gable to satiate cast and crew members during the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935. Buhen is also founder of the Tiki-Ti, the longest-running family-owned tiki bar in Los Angeles, the birthplace of tiki culture.

Historical Figures cover Karl Marx

The podcast Historical Figures reviews the life of Karl Marx in its fifth episode. The ‘cast has rebranded from Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths and the broadening of focus has allowed it to explore fascinating lives. Marx has too often been vilified or dismissed, but the 45 minutes Carter Roy and Vanessa Richardson devote to him both humanize him and place him in his context well. There are disappointing biases throughout, but on balance it is a introduction to Marx as a person that delivers a lot in the short running time.

A radical writer and philosopher, Karl Marx found himself exiled from multiple countries thanks to his communist writings in the 1800’s. However, in the following century, this same writing stirred revolution across the world, as communist governments rose to power. What influenced the famous father of communism, and why did he believe it was the best system? Carter and Vanessa explore the life of the author of The Communist Manifesto and Das Capital, and how his revolutionary ideas resonated worldwide.


Down and Out in R’lyeh

Catherynne M. Valente‘s Down and Out in R’lyeh is a millennial take on Lovecraft. The story mashes up politics, weird slang, and perversity into a delightfully weird short story. Be sure to listen to Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 18B to hear this story.

Pazuzu thumped his pustulant tail. “The whole system’s rigged,” he chanted, “by the time we’re Elder, there’ll be nothing left for us but the ash-end of the universe. We slobber and serve and ain’t nobody ever gonna serve us. It’s not right. They got it all stitched up nice the way they like it, Yog-Sogoth and Yig and Azazoth and Hypnos and that fat sack of shit down the chimney. Even Mom. Shub-Niggurath herself, I know we love her and all but she spends all day shitting out kids on the dole and fuck me if you and me will ever be able to afford a slavering brood of our own. And then they turn around and call us krugs and layabout shubs when they’re the ones who snooze all aeon instead of rending the mortal world like they always promise. It’s bullshit, Moloch. Bullshit.”

Shax’s three eyes shone hideous, thinking of all those mortal streets she shuffled in her precious bloodpuppets. “You don’t even know how right you are, Zuzu. The mundworld is totally shoggo, believe me. The best they could do against us is cry while they piss their pants. But the Old Ones? Oh no, they just gorge and giggle and yig themselves and dick around while centuries go by and those mundo fucks up there invent nuclear fission. They got everything dank there was to devour and we get squidshit because they were born at the dawn of existence and we weren’t. Because they’re entitled to the whole damn multiverse while we’re entitled to sit on our asses and clap for their crumbs. Why don’t they just fhtagn retire and let the Young Ones come up the ranks a little? I’d be a bloody yellow queen of everything. Come on, you know it’s true! Shax, the All-Devourer, Accursed Meretrix of the Nether Nebulae, Mother of Madness, Flayer of All Things Dun and Shoggo! I’d capture hearts and minds, you better believe. But no, I have to wait, because they love waiting, and maybe when I’m a shriveled old crone I’ll get to devour one measly asteroid if I ask real nice. Fuck that.”



The Most Wonderful Wonder: The Preacher and the Slave

The Most Wonderful Wonder quickly became one of my favourite podcasts because of it’s wonderful blend of history and folk music. Every episode has been a delight. In the aftermath of the American election, the podcast featured a snapshot of the life of Joe Hill in “The Preacher and The Slave“. His fight against callous business owners, the Salvation Army and capitalism more widely is beautifully captured by Welcome Little Stranger. It’s a piece of history we need more than ever today.

Haunted Halifax

The Halloween episode of The Night Time Podcast features ghost stories from around my city. Haunted Halifax has stories from Citadel Hill, the old Spring Garden library and a local golf course. It’s a short exploration of the ghosts and history that abide here and the narration brings to life some often forgotten things that make up the strangeness of this city.

Big Data

The Big Data podcast has released two episodes so far, but as a Kickstarter backer I’ve been able to listen ahead. I can tell you it’s a tremendously fun audio drama that informs and entertains throughout its 9 episode run. It features voice acting from a large cast that includes Felicia Day (Geek & Sundry), Cecil Baldwin (Welcome to Night Vale), and Felix Trench (Zombies, Run!’s Phil Cheeseman) and the writing, directing and editing of multimedia hero Ryan Estrada.

As soon as I heard the true story of the seven keys to the internet, I knew that it would make an amazing series of heists. Did you know that IN REAL LIFE, in order to make sure no one country has too much control over the internet, there are seven people from seven parts of the world with keys to control it? They have to meet with those keys every three months in a steel cage covered in retinal scanners and earthquake sensors to do an elaborate ceremony that keeps the internet working. That is a real thing. And that’s just the BEGINNING of how it all works. This show is about what would happen if someone were to steal those keys. it’s a series of heists, taking place all over the world… ranging from hijacking top secret military satellites, to stealing a dude’s pants. It’s a story about how hacking affects our world… but without a single actual hacker anywhere to be found.

This is the good stuff, so don’t miss out on the most fun you can have learning about the weird way the internet is safeguarded.

Neil Kirby on This Week in Marvel

The latest segment shared by the This Week in Marvel podcast features Neil Kirby, son of Jack Kirby. The interview touches on Jack’s legacy and Neil makes a point of highlighting his father’s passionate defence of workers’ rights and his insistence on standing up to bullies of all stripes. As Neil says in the interview, “That’s the kind of guy he was. You know, the whole being socially conscious and so on, that ran through him as part of what he was. I think it’s important that people remember him for that as much as for his art work and his contributions to comics.” This is a great way to become acquainted with one of the creators who shaped the very best of the comics medium.

“The son of Jack Kirby joins the official Marvel podcast to help celebrate his dad’s 99th birthday! Discussion includes lessons learned from Captain America, what makes Thor special, and much more!”


Podcast Recommendations: Fitness, Creation, Technology and Mashups

I love podcasts and enjoy sharing my excitement about them. There is a wealth of wonderful audio content being created and freely shared on the internet, so it can be easy to not be in the know about excellent talk on a wide range of . Here are four of my favourite ‘casts.

Technically Fit and Healthy

Tony C. Smith has been one of my favourite podcasters for years through his StarShipSofa science fiction ‘cast. When he started a podcast about the use of technology to improve health and fitness, an interest I share with him, I was on board from the start. Technically Fit and Healthy looks at new health-related gadgets, the lifestyle changes that can come along with using technology well and emerging technologies that can improve health. Tony and his guests bring a very grounded perspective to a growing and exciting field.

Welcome to Technically Fit and Healthy, a weekly podcast/blog dedicated to exploring the topics of health and fitness and the latest cutting-edge technology related to both. If you want to get fit and stay healthy, check out Technically Fit and Healthy to discover the ideal technology to help you achieve your goals. Join host Tony C. Smith as he provides news updates, product and app reviews, and interviews, and welcomes expert guests. If technology can assist your health and enhance your fitness, then Technically Fit and Healthy will cover it, from Wi-Fi scales and wearable activity trackers to health and fitness apps and the latest tech trends and fads in the wellness industry. You don’t have to go it alone! Let technology be your partner and Technically Fit and Healthy be your guide.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know began about a year ago and features interviews with a diverse group of creators. The interviews usually take listeners behind the scenes of the creative process and the business aspects of delivering creative works. The guests have included Faith Erin Hicks, Eric Skillman, Jasdeep Khaira and Mike Mignola, among other notable artists. The insight provided by the hosts —who are all respected creators in their own rights— fosters interesting discussions each time. If you are at all interested in creative work, I can’t recommend this podcast highly enough.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is an interview podcast by Jim Rugg and Jasen Lex. We like to hear how and why people make the stuff they do, and we thought you might like to hear that too.

TMSIDK is produced and hosted by three talented cartoonists and illustrators:

Jim Rugg, a Pittsburgh-based comic book artist, graphic designer, zinemaker, and writer best known for Afrodisiac, The Plain Janes, and Street Angel.

Jasen Lex is a designer and illustrator from Pittsburgh. He is currently working on a graphic novel called Washington Unbound. All of his art and comics can be found at jasenlex.com.

Ed Piskor is the cartoonist who drew the comic, Wizzywig, and draws the Brain Rot/ Hip Hop Family Tree comic strip at this very site, soon to be collected by Fantagraphics Books.


One of Canada’s great threatened treasures is our national broadcaster, the CBC. Spark is one of CBC Radio’s best shows, and its focus on how technology works in our lives is important. Spark brings the big ideas and advancements in technology into a personal scope by putting an emphasis on how people live with emerging and existing technologies in daily life. In a recent episode, “Get it, Keep it, Fix it“, the discussion was around keeping and reusing gadgets over time, a view many of us enthusiasts don’t take often enough. It’s that kind of attention to overlooked aspects of our world that makes Spark so valuable.

We used to think of technology as something outside of our daily lives. Now, it is part of everything we do – our work, our schools, how we spend our downtime, and the way we connect with others.

Spark reflects life in 21st Century Canada. With one eye on the future, host Nora Young guides you through this dynamic era of technology-led change, and connects your life to the big ideas changing our world right now.

The Night Air

Public broadcasting is dear to my socialist heart, and my last recommendation comes from Australia’s public broadcaster, ABC. The Night Air ended broadcast in January, but still is a testament to how good audio programming can be. The show consisted of incredible mashups of content from other broadcasts into a surprisingly coherent but undeniably eclectic whole that was more beautiful, moving and informative than its constituent parts. The show highlighted topics as diverse as “Mermaids“, “Noir“, “Space Doubt“, “Library Music” and “Egypt“. The Night Air is an experience that makes years of archives worth exploring.

Animated by dub versions of ABC Radio National’s distinctive programming, obliquely connected material is re-assembled with sonic glue allowing the listener’s imagination to build a new story. The Night Air is a space to find the music in speech and the poetry in ideas, a show that invites you to take time to unravel the usual media tangle.