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WNYC Morning Brief  

Welcome back to Hodgepod, perhaps the only newsletter devoted to both podcast recommendations and the weather in Central Park:

☀☂ Rain can't take away our independence. But it could affect our fireworks celebrations. Today should be mostly sunny with highs in the lower 80s, but tonight will get cloudy with lows in the upper 60s and a slight chance of rain after midnight that will carry into tomorrow. Here's what says about fireworks in rainy conditions. Alternate Side Parking rules and parking meter regulations are suspended today and tomorrow.

Last week, I addressed the entirely valid question of how to download a podcast. But to be clear, the podcasting world isn't tiny or niche or elite, and there are podcasts about pretty much anything. Vacuum cleaner bags. Garage sales. Making a podcast itself.

Few podcast trends have exploded over the past year like the TV recap show. Type "Orange Is the New Black" or "Game of Thrones" into iTunes, and be amazed at how many hours you can spend listening to regular people discuss and discuss and discuss your favorite TV show.

We’ve made several of these here at WNYC, and our friends at KPCC in Pasadena just started a promising new show about True Detective’s Season 2, called Welcome to Vinci. If you’re thinking to yourself, “What the F is Vinci?” good news! The podcast starts by answering that very question. It’s extremely informative, and it’s hosted by a True D. superfan named Kevin Ferguson, who also happens to produce KPCC’s Off-Ramp, the show that turned me into a public radio fan as a 19-year-old.

Is there a TV recap podcast you love? Or a TV show you wish had a podcast to go with it? Do you know of any other good podcasts about consumer products? Let me know what you’re listening to. I’m

truffle dog
The Sporkful has the answer in this episode, along with a grand tour of Hot Doug’s, the beloved Chicago hot dog emporium that’ll change everything you know about what belongs in a bun. No Independence Day weekend would be complete without a podcast about hot dogs, and if you’ve never listened to The Sporkful, you should—it’s the un-foodie food show that’s all about the optimum strategies for enjoying each bite of everything you eat.
Magna Carta
The BBC’s four-part Magna Carta special is not a fan podcast about a Magna Carta-themed period drama. It's actually a documentary-style show about the 800-year-old document itself. I swear it's very entertaining. It’s hosted by Melvyn Bragg, a brainy Englishman with a great accent who also hosts In Our Time, an edifying roundtable show about philosophy, history and classics. And I should note: this recommendation came from a listener named Lea. Thanks for the tip, Lea!
Denzel Washington


As in, someone who firmly believes that Denzel Washington Is the Greatest Actor of All Time, Period? Here’s a podcast where two comedians and a roster of friends dissect each Denzel movie in order to prove that point. My first experience of DWITGAOATP was actually a live taping centered around the movie Inside Man, but that episode now lives mainly as a magical two hours in my memory because the high-def recording was lost. My friend Juan, though, loves the Book of Eli episode, which is equally funny and exponentially better-sounding.
Jon McEnroe


While the Wimbledon crowd is busy trying not to get strawberry stains on their white sweaters, it’s worth remembering that tennis is everyone’s game to enjoy. In this episode of Here’s The Thing, John McEnroe and Alec Baldwin—two people with a real talent for holding long, unscripted conversations—talk about getting tennis out of its perceived elitist cubby hole, especially if we want to see more American stars.
emoji poo
Who knew that in 15th century France, well before smartphones let people send emojis or pictures of genitalia, writers were essentially putting emojis of genitalia in the margins of their manuscripts? I learned this and many other things about the written, spoken, drawn and texted language from this episode of The Allusionist. It’s the perfect show for word lovers who value their time—no other program packs so much information into 15-odd-minute episodes.


There are a lot of podcasts for short story readings, some of which are excellent. But listening to a good play performed by professional actors is, at least for me, far more engrossing. And as someone who can’t get enough of political shows like VEEP and House of Cards, I highly recommend this episode of Playing on Air, featuring two short political plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Auburn, recorded live in Brooklyn with a cast that happens to include a VEEP star.
And remember, your recommendations, questions and musings are all welcome in my inbox! Until next week, I’m Happy 4th!

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