Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Wonderful World of Podcasts

I have a new guilty pleasure. I listen to podcasts. I listen at work. I listen at home. And I don't even own an iPod.

Podcasts are great. I like music, but I wouldn't say that I'm a music lover. And I can't listen to music all day. But I have to listen to something during work, so I discovered the great world of podcasts.

It works out great. I started an iTunes account and I download the podcasts to my hard drive. I plug my headphones right into my computer, and listen to my heart's content -- no iPod necessary. There are eleventy-billion titles available on iTunes, from sports, to education, to comedy, to ... whatever. Many popular radio programs re-air via podcast so you can listen whenever you want. And, of course, many are recorded only for downloading.

And the best part...they're free. (At least I haven't run across any that cost money.)

Since there are so many to choose from, I thought I'd share my podcast playlist.

General Sports: presents Game On
Hosted by Erica Boeke and Melissa Greenhawt

Their tagline is "the podcast by women who love sports, but not stats." Which is exactly why it's my favorite podcast. Erica and Melissa are knowledgeable, smart, enthusiastic, and fun. In addition to lots of great sports talk, they also discuss pop-culture. They have great guests (their most recent episode featured Masi Oka from "Heroes") and they conduct awesome interviews. It's a ton of fun.


ESPN: Baseball Today
Hosted by Eric Karabell and Peter Pascarelli

The good thing about stuff from ESPN is that you know it's great stuff. Updated daily during the season and weekly during the off-season, it provides top-notch updates and insight.

Twins Baseball:

Blog Talk Radio: Jack Steal
Hosted by Fanatic Jack Steal and Topper Anton

A nice podcast by blog writers of Fanatic Jack Talks Twins and Curve For a Strike. I enjoy this podcast because it's just a couple of great Twins fans talking baseball. Jack is quite outspoken and really wants this team to win (lately, he's been pretty frustrated by Bill Smith's lack of activity). His passion is awesome. Topper (who is a friend of this blog) lends a voice of calmness and reason. They complement each other nicely.

Blog Talk Radio: SethSpeaks
Hosted by Seth Stohs

Presented by the estimable author of, Seth gives great insight and analysis. He often focuses on minor leaguers and prospects, which is pretty interesting.

Other Stuff:
General Knowledge

CBC: Spark
Hosted by Nora Young

This is a podcast version of the Canadian Broadcast Company's Spark radio program. It's about technology and culture. I like it because it's very interesting but not overly nerdy or complicated.

Stuff You Should Know by
Hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

I love this podcast. It's pretty much two really smart, yet kind of goofy, guys who thoroughly research some random topic and then talk about it. They've covered everything from totem poles to pirates to nuclear proliferation. Very cool, and very interesting.

NPR: Fresh Air
Hosted by Terry Gross

I've been listening to Fresh Air for years. And I'm thrilled that I can download it and listen whenever it's convenient. It has great interviews that cover arts, issues, and culture.

NPR: Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me
Hosted by Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell

I've got to be careful when I listen to this podcast, because I always laugh out loud and I don't want to disturb my co-workers. This quiz show about news and current events is hilarious.

The MannersCast
Hoted by Trent, Colin, and Derek

This fun podcast is about everyday manners for everyday people. It's pretty much three guys chatting about manners issues sent in by listeners. Their advice is great, but never snooty or self-rightous.

Quick and Dirty Tips

The Quick and Dirty Tips network offers a bunch of short (about 6 minutes), informative podcasts from a variety of experts. I have a few favorites, but they're all great.
  • Grammar Girl - Quick and dirty tips for better writing
  • Modern Manners Guy - Quick and dirty tips for a more polite life (hosted by the same Trent as The MannersCast)
  • Nutrition Diva - Quick and dirty tips for eating well and feeling fabulous
  • House Call Doctor - Quick and dirty tips for taking charge of your health

So that's about it. Sometimes I'll listen to others, but don't subscribe. But, hey, if you have some recommendations, let me know. I've got room for more (there are a lot of hours in the work week).


I sincerely hope you have a fantastic New Year. I really appreciate all the readers who stop by this blog. Let's all hope that there will be some exciting Twins news very soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: Rollie's Follies

Rollie Fingers and Yellowstone Ritter. Rollie's Follies. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press, 2009, 325 pp., $14.95 (cover price).

This is my kind of book. I mean, with authors named Rollie and Yellowstone writing about baseball, how could I go wrong? But it's also my kind of reading. I don't have a lot of time for reading (I'm also easily distracted), so I prefer to read in small bits.

Rollie's Follies is a collection of baseball stories, history, tidbits, facts, lists, player profiles, timelines, and general good stuff. It's divided into small, easy-to-digest chapters, perfect for light reading while traveling (or, as I was, sitting at wrestling tournaments) or right before bed.

The content is fun and interesting, and the authors' enthusiasm for the game is clear throughout. Every story has a goofy, gee-I-never-knew-that spin, and it's just plain fun to read. But it's also clear they did their research -- there are plenty of stats and facts to make all the articles legit.

I did notice that much of the focus was about teams and players that Fingers was associated with. But that was no big deal -- it just made me want more about other teams and players.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. In fact, now that I'm done with it, my son has insisted that I give it to him to read. It's a great book for all baseball fans. I give it an A

And, a sequel is due out spring of 2010; I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't Be Alarmed. It's Only a Test.


I'm doing some blog maintenance - blogtenance, if you will - and I need to post something as a test.

Unfortunately, I don't really have anything to say. Yeah, yeah, I know, that's never stopped me before. Har har.

But since you were so kind to stop by, I may as well give you a trivia question. This is from the book I'm reading, Rollies Follies. I'll have a book review as soon as I'm done reading it.

Ok, I'm going to try something but I'm not sure it's going to work. For the answer, highlight the area between the stars. Here goes.

Q: Albert Pujols was the 402nd pick in the 1999 June draft. Who are some players drafted before him? (There are 10 listed below.)

A: (highlight to see the answer)*Josh Hamilton, Josh Beckett, Barry Zito, Ben Sheets, Brian Roberts, Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Justin Morneau, Hank Blalock, J.J. Putz*

Sunday, December 13, 2009



I just thought I'd check in with a recap of the developments of the last week.


First a Twin, then a free-agent, then a Twin again, Carl Pavano accepted the Twins' offer of arbitration. So he'll be around in 2010.

That's fine. He did well while he was with the Twins at the end of this season. And there's no reason to believe that he can't do more of the same. And I am quite impressed with his attitude -- he really seems to like Minnesota and he thinks he can help the team win. Cool.

However, I've got this feeling I just can't shake. It's not quite panic; it's not even really apprehension. I guess it's good old fashioned doubt. But I'm not really sure why. Maybe I'm worried about his history of injury. Maybe it struck me just how much Yankees fans really hate him (even he admits how much he hurt the team during his four years there). I don't know. But, whatever it is, for the sake of the team, I hope I'm wrong.

Good Bye

In order to make room for Pavano, the Twins had to remove someone from the 40-man roster tout de suite. And the unfortunate victim of all this hurried paperwork was Boof Bonser. He was designated for assignment to put Pavano on the roster, but then the Twins were able to complete a trade with the Red Sox for him. That's a bit surprising, because had Boston just waited until Saturday, they could've signed him as a free agent without giving up anybody.

I'll miss Boof. He always seemed like a fun guy. Plus, he's a charter member of my Cool Name Roster, and Minnesota's only representative. I hope he has a great stint with Boston.


So, in return for our beloved Boof, we get a Chris Provence. Ok. Don't expect to see him in the majors anytime soon. Apparently he has only one pitch -- a sinker. You can't really succeed in the majors with only a sinker. In fact, only one guy, Mariano Rivera, succeeds with basically one pitch. But that pitch is a cut-fastball that he can locate anywhere he wants. Plus, he does have other pitches in his file if he needs them. I'm pretty sure Rivera is greater than Provence. Which could explain why Boston wasn't too heartbroken to give him up for Boof.

Stay Awhile

The Twins tendered contracts to all their arbitration-eligible players (Crain, Guerrier, Liriano, Neshek, Young, Hardy, Harris, and then Pavano). This means they'll all be coming back next year. And, they'll all get raises. There were rumors that one or two would be non-tendered, which would've made them free agents, but that didn't happen.

So, that's that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good Bye Old Friend

As expected, the Minnesota Twins will cut ties with Mike Redmond. And I'm none too happy about it. I get it -- the kid catchers are ready to come up and take his spot. The old gives way to the young; it's the way of baseball (actually, it's more of a "circle of life" thing). But that doesn't mean I have to like it. If it were up to me, Red would be a Twin the rest of his life. I mean, he doesn't have to actually play, he just has to wear the uniform.

Just look at the way he goes about his business. When he's on the bench, he's always the first one on the top of the dugout stairs cheering on his mates. When he's behind the plate, he's the toughest guy on the field. In fact, it's not quite right if he doesn't get dinged up, hit, battered, beat, mangled, and/or mauled. How could you not love a guy who broke out Rally Floss, coined "Smell 'em," and claimed that an MRI on his shoulder revealed a Bud Light in there. Plus, his naked-walk is legendary. And, not too long ago, he was regarded as the best back-up catcher in baseball.

I've never met him, other than a brief photo-op at Twins Fest. But I just know he's a great guy. Everything I've seen him do and everything I've read about him convinces me that he's probably the best team-mate on the team. But as much as I love the stories about him, I really admire his story. He was oh so close to never making it to AAA, let alone the bigs. But he's not the type to give up, and the Twins, and many Twins fans, are grateful for his tenacity. This is a great story about him.

So, so long my friend. I sincerely hope that you get to do what ever it is you want to do. Actually, I know that I don't have to hope; I know that you will.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What I Really Want For Christmas

When my family members ask me what I want for Christmas, I'm always at a loss for what to say. I mean, I don't really need anything, and most things I want, I can just buy for myself anyway. (Yes, Mom, I know, that really drives you nuts.)

But this year, there is something I want. But it's not really for me, but it would make me very happy. In fact, it would make all Twins fans happy. I hope we all get it.

It's a shiny new contract for Joe Mauer. (Click to enlarge.)


Hey, today is this blog's second anniversary. Wow.

I'd like to thank everyone who keeps stopping by and reads this silliness. I'm having fun with it; I hope you are too.