Tag Archives: podcasts

Bookshelf Battle Cast – Ep. 005 – Which Classic Book Should BQB Read Next?

Hey 3.5 listeners.

Sorry to disappoint.  I really left things to the last minute this month, barely getting a brief, bare bones episode of the Bookshelf Battle Cast out for May.  Nothing much to it other than a brief shout out and a request for suggestions for classic, public domain books I can read on the show.

I’ll be back in June to read Chapter 2 of the Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

 

 

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Bookshelf Battle Cast – Ep. 004 – “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Chapter 1 – “Mr. Sherlock Holmes”

BQB almost missed podcasting this month because he was enjoying a vacation in sunny Orlando, Florida, hobnobbing with Mickey Mouse and eating pineapples under palm trees and such.

But he came back just in time to entertain his 3.5 listeners.

Here, the world renowned poindexter reads the first chapter of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

Who would think that a simple stick left in a waiting room would lead to so many deductions?  We learn Holmes’ investigatory process, namely, how he can observe an item and find details and information everywhere, where others would not notice anything.  Simple little clues about the stick tell Holmes so much about its owner.

Watson believes he has received a compliment from Holmes, i.e. that the great investigator has applauded the good doctor’s observations about the stick but rather, as the chapter moves on, we learn that Holmes says that Watson is not a genius, he is not a source of light but rather, a “conductor of light.”

So…that’s a really nice way of telling Holmes that he was wrong but by being so wrong he helped Holmes figure out what was right.

Talk about backhanded compliments.

https://soundcloud.com/user-957435932/ep-004-the-hound-of-the-baskervilles-by-sir-arthur-conan-doyle-chapter-1

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Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 002 – The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe – Analysis and Discussion

A good glass of wine is supposed to be relaxing, unless you’re sharing a bottle with a Montressor.  Damn, that family of dicks won’t let anything good.

But there’s a lesson in this dickishness, 3.5 listeners, for if you act like a dick, you never know how badly your dickish ways have upset someone – so much, in fact that this person might lay in wait, plotting an intricate, fiendish plan of revenge against you…muah ha ha!

And you’d never know it because if you’re as obtuse as Fortunato, you’d probably think whatever dumbass thing you said to your pal Montressor is all water under the bridge by now.

We’re never told what the slight was that turned Montressor into a homicidal mad man.  Then again, it’s doubtful that Fortunato could have done anything that merited being walled off in a tomb and left to suffer and rot while still alive.

Is there a method to Poe’s madness?  Montressor avenges his family against Fortunato’s slight.  Worse, the evil narrator accomplishes his goals – a) he Fortunato, but makes Fortunato suffer and makes him aware that he, Montressor did him in b) Montressor is not caught c) fifty years later, Montressor, as an old man, has lived a full life and now he can make the world aware of his supposed genius, how he masterfully killed Fortunato without getting caught.  One assumes the narrator is so old now that jail would matter little to him.  He’s lived most of his life as a free man so now he can boast of the evil deed he is most proud of to the world.

We see a lot of foreshadowing and ways in which Montressor plays on Fortunato’s ignorance and pride.  Montressor gets Fortunato liquored up, lulls his victim into assuming safety by asking him to leave the dumb under feigned fears of the old man’s health and insults Fortunate’s pride by suggesting Luchesi, Fortunato’s rival in the world of wine tasting, be the one who give the thumbs up or down to the amontillado.

Was there even a cask of amontillado to begin with?  Oh Monty, you devious prick.

Is it better to seek revenge, or as Jesus would advise, to turn the other cheek?  Alas, Montressor doesn’t seem to suffer for his revenge, though he might suffer in reputation as you, the reader, end up fearing and hopefully looking down at him, right?  Honestly, if you walked away from this story think Montressor is a good role model to emulate, you might need some counseling my friend.

Keep in mind that Fortunato isn’t just dressed as a fool, he is one.  He’s prideful and into himself and easily manipulated by appeals to his narcissism.  The idea that his rival wine taster might be consulted him makes him lose his senses.

Sometimes people are dicks…and sometimes these dicks will insult you.  They act like fools when they do, they have already damaged their reputations by being rude to you.  Often, when a person insults you, it is less about you and more about them, about their need to prop themselves up by dragging you down, feeling better by giving you a verbal kick to the ribs.

Montressor would tell you to get revenge but I mean, yeah we aren’t in Montessor’s day so you’ll totally get caught and even if you don’t get caught, you’ll be torn apart inside over the horror you committed and if you are like Montressor and don’t feel bad about it then yeah, again, seeking counseling for your screws are loose.

What say you, 3.5 listeners?

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Bookshelf Battlecast Episode 001 – “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley – Analysis and Discussion

I’ve made a resolution to podcast once a month in 2018 and seeing as it’s very late on January 31, I’m really squeaking by.  In fact, I’m cutting it so close that WordPress will probably date this post as February 1 but oh well.  Like I can tame the WordPress gremlins who screw with my fine blog.

The text (and my notes.)

“Invictus”

By: William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
BQB NOTE: Shit happens and while Henley isn’t sure exactly what god or gods may be out there, he thanks them for the fact that he can control his reactions to the shit coming his way.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
 My head is bloody, but unbowed.
BQB NOTE:  We are caught in “the clutch of circumstance.”  Life throws shit our way and often we can’t control many things.  All it takes is one major shit storm to ruin all the work we put in towards a goal and suffer a major setback.  Henley feels like the constant stream of unexpected, unrequested shit is knocking him over the head and leaving his head bloody, but he’s not going to cave into the shit.  He’s not going to bow down and be all like, “OK shit, you got me!”
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
 Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
 Finds and shall find me unafraid.
BQB NOTE:  Life sucks and then you die.  Don’t like life and all the unfair shit that happens.  Sorry.  Guess what happens next?  You’re worm food, bitch, so start trying to find whatever little joy you can amidst the shit because soon you’ll be in the shit.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
BQB NOTE:  I can’t control life but I can control myself.  Am I going to fall apart when life doesn’t go my way?  No, I’m going to be a straight up baller, son, and I’m gonna keep doing me and all the shit in life can go suck a D.
Your thoughts?  Share in the comments.  Did you like my podcast?  Leave a review.  Didn’t like it?  Did you know there are many interesting cat videos on the Internet to watch?
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Matthew McConaughey Impersonation

Alright, alright, alright.

3.5 readers, all I can say is I love being alive in a time when you can get a dude to impersonate Matthew McConaughey for you for a reasonable price.  Would that this technology had existed when I was 20.  I would have taken over the world.

This is so funny, and the impressionist sounds just like him:

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Impression

Hey 3.5 readers.

Will you please drop what you are doing and listen to “Not Arnold Schwarzenegger” make fun of me, my fat flabbiness, my lack of muscles and love of pizza and so on?

Hey by the way, “The Bookshelf Battle Cast” is on iTunes so, yeah, go listen, subscribe, vote, leave a review.

This little soundbite is short, and is hilarious so, check it out:

 

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Bookshelf Battle Cast – Episode 1 – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens” – Stave 1 – Marley’s Ghost – Discussion and Study Questions

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Huzzah, 3.5 readers!

The Bookshelf Battle Cast lives!  Yes, on this fine blog, I’ll be reviewing pop cultural happenings, attempting to be funny, and telling you all about my adventures as a magic bookshelf caretaker, yeti fighter and so on.

The podcast will be very different.  I am very, very far from being the world’s greatest vocal talent, so I’ll be playing it straight.  Each episode, I’ll be reading a piece of public domain literature.  After you listen to me read it in my mush mouth voice, stop by this incredible blog for a discussion and study questions.

FYI – apologies.  I’m new to this.  There were some technical difficulties.  I said I’d let my spokeswoman tell you all about who I am, but for some reason, Garageband did not like that file.  It became a big production to try to re-record the podcast, so I’ll try to figure out that for the next one.  Forgive me people, I’m learning as I go.

Oh well.  Check out what my spokeswoman would have said here:

In Stave 1 – “Marley’s Ghost” we begin with a classic line in literature – “Marley was dead to begin with.  Scrooge pops the joyous bubble of his nephew and local charity collectors, only to be warned by the ghost of his fellow usurer Jacob Marley that if he doesn’t change his ways, he’ll be a ghost too, forced to trudge the world with chains attached to him, lamenting the life he wasted on counting coins instead of helping the less fortunate.

STUDY QUESTIONS:

#1 – Dickens really, really, really wants the reader to know up front that Jacob Marley is dead, engaging in humor to insist, almost to a ridiculous degree, that he’s dead.  What’s the point of that?

#2 – Scrooge’s nephew states to his uncle that there are things that exist that bring him no monetary profit, but they make his life better just the same.  Christmas, says the nephew, is one of those things.  Is the nephew a positive thinker, a man who knows how to build spiritual wealth, or do you side with Scrooge, i.e. the wealth in your piggy bank is all that matters?  Can you think of some things that don’t bring you a monetary profit but still enrich your life?  Would you give those things up in order to make more money?  Can money buy happiness?

#3 – The charity collectors attempt to separate Scrooge from some of his dough, arguing that men of means have a duty to provide aid and comfort to the poor.  Scrooge counters with the claim that he supports prisons, union workhouses and so on (through taxes) and thus doesn’t owe the poor anything else.  What say you?  Are taxes enough, or should people with bucks to spare share them with the poor as well?

#4 – Jacob Marley is a ghost.  Chains and cash boxes and other monetary related devices are attached to him.  He must drag them around wherever he goes.  Further, Jacob spent his life never venturing past the counting-house, collecting money and ignoring the plight of the poor.  His punishment, like the punishment of the many souls Scrooge sees outside, is that in death, he must wander the world, seeing all the things he could have experienced and enjoyed in life, but now is unable to do so because he’s dead.

Will you be a ghost one day?  That’s a bigger discussion.  You will be old one day though…and your body will eventually give out on you.  When you’re old and gray and your knees fail, your body gives up and it exhausts you to walk more than five feet, what will you wish you had done in your youth?

CHALLENGE: Make a list of things you want to do before it’s too late to enjoy them…then DO THEM!  Picture your afterlife as a Jacob Marley-esque ghost, forced to drag chains and wander the world.  What would you like to see and do so that, if you ever become such a ghost, you can be happy knowing you got to do those things when you were alive?

Thanks for listening, 3.5 listeners.  The second stave will be out as soon as possible.

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In Case You Missed It – A Movie Trailer Guy Talks About BQB

Hey 3.5 readers.

A little bummed that my podcast never got off the ground, but I can only do so much I suppose.  Maybe one day, when I’ve got the time…and develop some speaking talent.

In the meantime, this Movie Trailer Guy talking about my awesomeness is the funniest thing ever.  You gotta listen to it.

(FYI I think there’s an actually guy called “The Movie Trailer Guy.”  This isn’t the official Movie Trailer Guy but it is a dude from Fiverr who is very talented and can do a movie trailer guy voice.)

 

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S-Town Podcast – Spoilery Review

Hey 3.5 readers.

So, I’ve had the chance to listen to the entire S-Town podcast.  This post will have spoilers, so if you don’t want to have it spoiled for you, don’t read on.

My observations:

  • It’s hard not to feel a little bit jerked around.  After all, it starts out as the wacky and eccentric John B, a prolific hater of his hometown (he calls it “Shit Town,” calls upon a reporter, Brian Reed, to investigate a murder.
  • There’s no murder and as a listener, this is disappointing.  I mean, obviously I’m glad that there was no murder, but once you learn that early on, you end up wondering what the point of the podcast was.
  • Reed, like many good reporters, takes a big nugget of nothing and turns into a pile of something.  Often, a reporter will put a lot of time and effort into a lead (i.e. a rumor of a murder) only to have that lead go nowhere.  Many reporters, at that point, will throw their hands up in the air and write the time they spent as lost.  Reed, on the other hand, kept in touch with John B and the residents of Shit Town for years and after awhile, found a story.
  • The podcast tragically shifts gears when we learn that John B has killed himself.  John B is a clock restorer, and so time becomes a big theme – how quickly it passes, how John B, while clearly having a screw loose, could still be relatable to the average forty something year old.  John B is smart, has an aptitude for science, has skills with chemistry and clock repair – he laments that he didn’t run from Shit Town in his 20s.  He can’t vocalize an explanation as to why he didn’t other than no one would have taken care of his elderly mother or his family property.  In short, at some point, and maybe we never really know when, but we always think we’re going to break out of our ruts and “become somebody” and depression comes when we get old enough to realize that it’s unlikely we’ll catch some great big break.  We then end up beating ourselves up, being able to see our lives in hindsight and knowing what we should have done, though we didn’t know or realize it at the time.
  • People on both sides of a dispute can be understandable.  John B’s longtime friend Tyler gets in a legal battle with Rita and Charlie, John B’s cousins from Florida that he rarely saw in life.  For part of the podcast, you cheer Tyler on, that he’s a quasi-adopted member of John B’s family and that John would have wanted the young man to inherit something from him.  But then you also get to know Rita, and you realize that John B hadn’t done the best job of taking care of his mother.  Though he did his best, his mother now flourishes with the cousins as they take her places and tend to all her needs.  And as distant cousins, they could have easily put the old gal in a home and washed their hands of the whole thing, but they’re taking care of her, and the old lady needs money for her expenses and that would come from her estate and that money won’t be there if Tyler keeps taking things from the property.
  • In short, you’re able to see both sides.  No one wants to go through the exercise of writing a will.  It’s too much of an admission that we will all croak one day, a fact that is part of the human experience and yet we try our best to push it out of our minds because if we didn’t we’d never do anything in life.  Still, if you have stuff, and people who would fight over the stuff, best to suck it up and leave behind a legal document that explains what you want to happen.
  • It’s a good podcast and Reed is to be commended for sticking with this for so long when most other reporters would have given up and decided there was no story here.  He ultimately turned nothing into something.
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Podcast Review – S-Town (2017)

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

The first season of Serial was great.  The second, not as much but still pretty decent.

The peeps at This American Life are back with a new podcast, S-Town.

Short for “Shit Town,” its a tale of John, an Alabama man in his late forties.  He’s full of regret, fancies himself as an intelligent person but feels bad he never left his backwater burg.  When he overhears talk that a local young man committed a murder and got away with it, he contacts a reporter.  The reporter heads to the town to investigate and, well, that’s the point I have listened up to.

Thus far, it’s great and binge-able.  I highly recommend it.

Available on iTunes, or check out their website and listen.

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