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Published: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:36:19 -0800

Last Build Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:36:19 -0800


A Mortician's Tale: "What would a mortician's private emails look like?"

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:36:19 -0800

Video games have never really gotten death.... Death in games is a punishment, a roadblock, a temporary setback, an opportunity. It's not a real end; it's mechanical, never philosophical.... A Mortician's Tale ... takes death—the real thing, that universal human experience of being divorced from all sensation, from existence itself—and handles it in direct, even quotidian ways. It makes the end of life visible, and in doing so crafts one of the only meditations on death in videogames that feels authentic.
A Mortician's Tale (game trailer) is more than a mortuary simulation, it's a narrative-driven death positive video game where you play as a mortician tasked with running a funeral home, doing everything from preparing bodies for burial or cremation to dealing with a large, corporate funeral service and their push to up-sell grieving families. And you see your work to completion, as described by Julie Muncy in her review for Wired (also linked above the break):
After every body prepared, the game brings you to the funeral, where you have a moment to confront the human cost of all of this, to see it and identify with it. A Mortician's Tale insists the player mourn, if only in an abstract, impersonal way. The great intelligence of A Mortician's Tale is to bind all of this action to the simple structure of a click-based simulation game, in which you do most everything by clicking on the mouse. Games in this style are often browser-based, and compel the player to perform simple, repetitive tasks, either on a schedule or to gain concrete rewards. Here, the clicking emphasizes the mundanity of the mortician's tasks. Here is one of the scariest things in the world, happening in the most casual way. Click the scalpel, make an incision. Drain the blood. Don't forget to wash your hands when you're done.
One Of 2017's Best Games Is About Being A Mortician -- Cecilia D'Anastasio reviews the game for Kotaku, with GIF'd screencaps and more plot summary, if you want to know what you might be getting into here.
"What would a mortician's private emails look like?" is a question I now regret never asking.
But it's not a training to become a mortician, as some elements crossed the line in terms of general squeamishness and game ratings, as discussed in an interview with Gabby DaRienzo, the game creator, by Kelsey "Kelso" Eriksson on an episode of her Deathcast program. DaRienzo talks about being influenced by Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, the book by Caitlin Doughty and her Order of the Good Death, as well as friends and colleagues. She's also very interested in death in video games, and made a podcast series to discuss the topic, called Play Dead (Cast). Gabby also referenced Death & The Maiden aka Dead Maidens, which "[strives] to portray death in its entirety, and encourage our contributors and audience to confront this often challenging topic through science, literature, art, first person narratives, culture, history and current events."

For decades, that open-endedness has brought players back to the table

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 19:24:56 -0800

At FiveThirtyEight, Gus Wezerek asks, "Is Your D&D Character Rare?": "We got a peek at what kind of characters everyone is building, and a lot of players are sticking close to reality." Going beyond basic descriptors, Neal Litherland at Improved Initiative explores uncommon ways to think about Pathfinder characters in a regular feature: "Unusual Character Concepts," e.g. "The Farmer Ranger," "The Heretic," and "The Pill-Popping Paladin." And in an interview about the podcast Tell Me About Your Character, Steve Keller praises "that off-the-cuff, excited meander" exemplified in his first interview about someone's favorite character.

Dissect is a serialized music podcast

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 21:14:52 -0800

Now in its 2nd season, Dissect uses "long-form musical analysis, broken into short, digestible episodes" to explore Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in depth. Enjoy the 1st season's 23 episodes dedicated to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly. Dissect is created by Cole Cuchna.

"Please Listen with an Open Heart"

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 15:15:34 -0800

Queery is a hour-long weekly (or biweekly or...) podcast where standup comedian Cameron Esposito talks about queer life with a guest, usually someone from the entertainment industry. It's a very LA-centric show, but Esposito seems to be aiming for a range of guests and is definitely taking a broad approach to LBGTQ+ and race. She and her wife, Rhea Butcher, also do the standup podcast Put Your Hands Together with Cam & Rhea and the web tv series Take My Wife. Cameron Esposito and Take my Wife previously

"It's definitely a tokenization."

Sat, 02 Sep 2017 10:10:57 -0800

"Even after World War II, a conflict we typically characterize as an unambiguous moral necessity, veterans disrupted an emerging nationalist, anti-communist consensus. Robert Saxe, the author of Settling Down: World War II Veterans' Challenge to the Post-War Consensus, told the New Republic, "A lot of World War II veterans came back and had some pretty significant critiques of America." Those critiques ranged from dissatisfaction with the military itself, where the divide between officers and enlisted men reflected broader class tensions, and with civilians, who benefited from a wartime economic boom without risking their lives in battle." The Invisible Veterans Of The Left Related : What A Hell Of A Way To Die a podcast by leftist veterans. Example episode : So What Does A Socialist Utopia Do With A Standing Army?

Big Oil Has Never Been Cheaper, Lets Buy It

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:26:22 -0800

So, you want to nationalize the US oil industry? Bill Humphrey and Nate at Arsenal For Democracy provide a beginner's guide to a pragmatic government purchase of the US oil and gas industry to wind-down fossil fuel production rapidly in the global public interest (Audio, 51:00) Notes, outline, and sources. (PFD)

But you don't get to take their words for it

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 09:36:33 -0800

'Reading Rainbow taught a generation of kids that they could (a) go twice as high as a butterfly, (b) go anywhere, and (c) be anything. Unfortunately, if you chose to be "LeVar Burton using his classic Reading Rainbow catchphrase," the place you will go might be court. According to The Hollywood Reporter, WNED-TV Buffalo, New York, is suing the children's show host in part over his continued use of the tagline "But you don't have to take my word for it" on his podcast LeVar Burton Reads.' The podcast, where "in each episode, host LeVar Burton hand-picks a different piece of short fiction, and reads it to you," is really quite lovely, so if WNED's true mission was to promote reading by driving the entire outraged internet to the soothing embrace of LeVar Burton's voice, then they seem to be succeeding.

Nick, this changes everything.

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 07:42:31 -0800 games journalist Nick Robinson, best known for his work with the irrepressible Griffin McElroy on such acclaimed projects as Car Boys, Touch the Skyrim, and gamestorming podcast CoolGames Inc, has by proxy developed a "soft boy" image of friendly inclusivity and innocent, goofy charm. So it came as a shock this weekend when a Twitter spat over a glitch snowballed into the outing of Robinson as one of the industry's more notorious missing stairs, with multiple colleagues and even young fans accusing him of sexual harassment. Reaction was swift: longtime friends broke ties, Griffin expressed shocked anger and pushed back on calls for proof, and Polygon suspended Robinson pending inquiry. Vice Media's Waypoint podcast sums up the situation with a frank discussion (starting @32:54) of sexism in the gaming industry, power dynamics in a world of personality-driven social media fandom, the difference between legal and social transgression, and how to deal when a favorite artist betrays your trust. Twitter summation: "The whole internet loves Nick Robinson, a lovely Car Boy! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you Nick Robinson is a sexual predator." (See also the Milkshake Duck phenomenon.) One of Robinson's targets posts her story to the /r/CoolGamesInc community and gets a broadly supportive reaction. She had previously shared some of his uncomfortable overtures on Twitter, though these exchanges were apparently only the tip of the iceberg compared to other behavior that had been confirmed privately. Somewhat ironically, Griffin and his sister Rachel's Bachelor(ette)-themed podcast Rose Buddies had an episode in June all about that show's recent sexual misconduct scandal where they discuss their feelings of shame and complicity just for hosting a podcast about it. It's tough to listen to but offers a telling glimpse of Griffin's unfiltered reaction to such news outside his own circle, perhaps shedding some light on why he didn't jump to Nick's defense, question the provenance of the accusations, or even go radio silent as friends/colleagues tend to do in similar situations. A 2015 blog post contrasting the dark side of the "soft boy" image with the more popularly known "fuckboy" epithet The Daily Dot's 2014 story on a similar scandal involving YouTuber Alex Day is quite relevant: Just one day after Day posted publicly about the dangers of the power imbalance between YouTube creators and their fans, several women came forward to say that he'd treated them in a way that fit a pattern of manipulative behaviour towards his female friends and fans. For those who felt that they knew Day through his social media presence, this type of accusation was difficult to believe. But as YouTuber Anthony D'Angelo pointed out in a video, watching someone's videos and interacting with them as a fan is not the same as knowing them on a personal level. Their online persona is their professional brand, and 10 minutes of edited YouTube footage per week is not a window into the soul. [...]

Bob's Docs Episode One: Manipulation

Sun, 06 Aug 2017 12:56:03 -0800

For the month of August [On The Media will] be running a series of interviews Bob [Garfield] has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as "Bob's Docs." Over the next few weeks we'll go through some tropes of documentary film-making, from prurience to access to the personal journey. Episode one is about the deadly sin of manipulation. [audio, downloadable, 23m] I didn't find a link to a transcript, sorry.

Aww Josh! What is that?

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:21:27 -0800

We've talked about Justin Trudeau. We've talked about The West Wing Weekly. But have we talked about Justin Trudeau on The West Wing Weekly? [JT segment starts at 45:04] PS. Justin Trudeau is also in Rolling Stone this week.

Not your usual Getting Things Done.

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 06:55:27 -0800

Interested in productivity but can't relate to the dry managerialness of GTD or the saccharineness of the planner decoration world? Want advice and insight from nerdy, salty, artist types? Check out Productivity Alchemy, a podcast by sysadmin and media producer Kevin Sonney featuring his wife, author, illustrator, and Wombat Test Subject Ursula Vernon, as well as interviews with people from all walks of life who are all convinced that they are not as organised as people think they are.

A show where an interviewer interviews interviewers about interviewing

Sat, 08 Jul 2017 12:06:08 -0800

The Turnaround with Jesse Thorn is a limited-run podcast that interviews world class interviewers about how they do what they do. Running throughout this summer, it has already featured Ira Glass, Susan Orlean, Audie Cornish, Marc Maron, and Larry King, with more to come including Werner Herzog, Anna Sale, Katie Couric, and Terry Gross. The podcast is a co-production with the Columbia Journalism Review, where you can find edited transcripts of each episode. (And yes, Jesse is mefi's own YoungAmerican.)

Podcast to the head!

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:39:20 -0800

Venerable Canadian comedy troupe The Frantics have pored over their entire CBC radio archive for a (planned) 50-part Best Of Frantic Times podcast. Perhaps better known outside Canada for their relatively short-lived TV sketch show Four On The Floor, The Frantics were a four-man comedy troupe most famous for Mister Canoehead, the ubiquitous-for-Doctor-Demento sketch and song Ti Kwan Leep and Boot to the Head, and a fairly well-received Star Trek sketch in the early days of the Just For Laughs comedy festival. Some of the material is... anachronistic is the charitable description; "sexist as hell" is the more accurate label. But for Canadians of a Certain Age, this was the cornerstone of our pre-KiTH comedic development.

The Boy from the Black Sea

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:09:39 -0800

'Shadows: The Val Lewton Story' - part one of a series in which the The Secret History of Hollywood podcasts tells the story of film producer and screenplay writer Val Lewton, with prologues by Mark Gatiss.

Friday night's alright for wrestling (or lots of great podcasts)

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 04:30:30 -0800

HCW Championship Wrestling, 'which has often been called , quite correctly, the worst wrestling ever seen on anyone's TV screen'. To balance that out, lots of great podcasts, starting with Jim Smallman's Tuesday Night Jaw, popular and well liked wrestling podcast on the Distraction Pieces network. HCW Wrestling is shown on Ben TV (Wikipedia) at 12:30am Friday night/Saturday morning. Jim Smallman's website iTunes podcast list for Tuesday Night Jaw Other great podcasts from Distraction Pieces: Dr Suzie Gage - Say Why to Drugs (iTunes only, sorry) Scroobius Pip - Distraction Pieces interviews Youtube channel for HCW Championship wrestling

The return of Dr. Katz, now in SquiggleSound!

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 04:38:26 -0800

After over 15 years, the beloved series Dr. Katz has gotten revived thanks to Audible. Jonathan Katz and Laura Silverman reprise their roles and are joined by a cavalcade of your favorite comedy folks including Sarah Silverman, Dana Gould, Eddie Pepitone, Weird Al Yankovic, Maria Bamford, Emo Philips, Ron Funches, and much more in a possibly more addicting format as an audio series, Dr. Katz: The Audio Files. [h/t] (Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist previously 1, 2.) "For a limited time," the first three episodes of Dr. Katz: The Audio Files, featuring Andy Kindler, Ray Romano, and Sarah Silverman are free on Prime members can also listen via a free 30-day Audible trial via Amazon. Bonus: SquiggleVision: An Animation Technique That Rocked the World [NSFW]

A half-hour dose of science, technology and inexhaustible energy.

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 06:46:04 -0800

On May 15th, NPR launched their first podcast for kids: Wow in the World. Hosted by Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas, the show is aimed at kids ages 5-12 and explores the "wonders of science, technology, discovery and inventions." Reviews/Interviews * Review from The Guardian * Zooglobble: All About Wow in the World, NPR's First Podcast for Kids and Families Where to Find It * NPR * RSS * iTunes But Wait, There's More! * Stefan Shepherd of Zooglobble also keeps an updated list of podcasts for kids, categorized by subject.

Dig This

Wed, 31 May 2017 18:43:14 -0800

Daniel Denvir, a socialist journalist once described by Philadelphia Magazine as "a self-righteous pain-in-the-ass, an unabashed class warrior," hosts The Dig, a podcast from Jacobin magazine "discussing the politics of American class warfare." Denvir's work has been published in Salon, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Nation, Vox, The New Republic, The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, Vice, and others.

Guests have included Liza Featherstone, Dean Baker, Corey Robin, Matt Bruenig, Diane Ravitch, Glenn Greenwald, and Charlene Carruthers. Here are a few choice episodes: Mark Blyth: How Austerity brought us Donald Trump Sarah Jones: What's the matter with Appalachia? Capitalism Dave Weigel: What the media doesn't get about the left The Democratic Socialists of America and the fight against Trump Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on Black Liberation and Socialism Americans in Revolt: Sarah Jaffe on social movements

"Today we are talking with Sid Meier, who needs no introduction ♪♫♩♬♪♫"

Mon, 08 May 2017 00:30:23 -0800

The Designer Notes podcast just completed a four part interview with game designer Sid Meier. Part one is about how he got into computer games and his early career. Part two is about the games that made him famous, focusing on Civilization. Part three continues into the founding and success of his company Firaxis. Part four brings us to the present day, as well as going into some other matters at the end. If you're interested enough in game design to listen to a seven hour interview with Sid Meier, dipping into the Designer Notes archive might be worth your time. It's hosted by Adam Saltsman, best known for making Canabalt, and Soren Johnson, designer of Civilization IV and other strategy games, who interviews Meier.

The dummy is a trifle. It is nothing.

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 17:25:11 -0800

Twenty Simple Steps To Ventriloquism A surprisingly creepy story (slPseudopod) by author, voice actor, Thomas Ligotti scholar, and lapsed ventriloquist Jon Padgett.

My dad wrote a porno--and I turned it into a podcast

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 13:12:12 -0800

On retirement, [Jamie Morton's] dad decided he was going to write a novel, along the lines of "50 Colours of Grey," as he called it. When his son Jamie realized the draft chapter of Belinda Blinked that his dad had sent him was actually erotica, he decided to read bits of it out loud to friends at a Christmas lunch. This eventually evolved into the popular UK comedy podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno, where Jamie and his friends Alice Levine and James Cooper read a chapter a week and provide commentary. So far the trio have had over 18 million downloads on iTunes, hosted fellow fans and guest stars Elijah Wood and Star Wars' Daisy Ridley, and been featured in a live show at the Edinburgh Fringe. Later this year they will tour Australia and New Zealand. Some listeners have expressed concern for Morton's dad, or "Rocky Flintstone" (his nom de plume). However, according to Morton, his father and his three sisters are enjoying the show. His mother, while less enthusiastic, supports her husband's right to be creative as long as he writes in the garden shed rather than the house.

The Shipping News: Containers (Podcast)

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:18:03 -0800

Oakland, California. The war in Vietnam. Global trade. Logistics, then and now. The thread that links them over time and space? Containers, the subject of an 8-part audio documentary hosted by Alexis Madrigal. "Throughout the documentary, Alexis uses a collection of anecdotes to explore how global trade has transformed the economy and ourselves. In doing so, he provides an insightful, in-depth perspective regarding the role that global trade has had in shaping capitalism, ushering in the world of commerce as we know it today."