Which podcasts I’m listening to these days

Some of you know I recently started podcast. It's a medium I was vaguely aware of until a couple of years ago, and I am now a...let's call it avid consumer of the medium.

In addition to my own, here is a list of the podcasts I'm currently enjoying (in alphabetical order). I encourage your recommendations in the comments section.

The Art of Manliness — Brett McKay interviews experts and authors on things that make us better employees, entrepreneurs, parents and healthy adults. Usually around 40 minutes, sometimes longer, and always an interesting listen.
Astonishing Legends — In-depth storytelling about myths, legends and secret societies. Sometimes publishes irregularly as research requires; these guys really knock it out of the park, sometimes in multi-part series.
Bertcast — Comedian Bert Kreischer was once called the top partier in America. The movie "Van Wilder" is (loosely) based on his college "career." He's a good guy with a great laugh, and he invites other comics into his man cave for conversations. Running times are anywhere from one to three hours.
Brew/Drink/Run — Still one of my favorites. They talk about beer, running and homebrewing. And sometimes books. Sort of.
The Church of What's Happening Now — Before he was an actor and comedian, Joey Diaz was a felon. No, really. Drugs, kidnapping, burglary...he's also a big music fan and he enjoys taking advantage of California's medical marijuana laws. Not for everybody (language, sexuality), but I really enjoy it.
The Creative Coast — A short (10 minutes or so) conversation with a Savannah-area entrepreneur every week. The audio quality is often poor, but I've learned a lot.
The Drunken Metaphysical — Curt and Ginny drink and talk about stuff like ghosts and ghouls. Lots of fun.
The Drunken Taoist — Daniele Bolleli and Rich Evirs discuss...well, everything, sometimes with a guest. Two guys talking history, politics, pop culture and martial arts. Plus, Bolleli's accent is adorable.
Duncan Trussell Family Hour — Again, not for everybody, but Trussell is a comedian, believer in the singularity and spiritual believer in meditation, float tanks and psychedelics. Typically converses with like-minded people of all stripes, from comedians to sculptors to priests.
History on Fire — Daniele Bolleli (of The Drunken Taoist) gives us his take on history. This is not a competitor to Hardcore History, but is a reasonable replacement for those of us who can't stick with topics for the 16 hours Dan Carlin often gives them.
Intensely Positive — My friend Kelvin Ringold has a motivational podcast. Go check it out.
It's All Happening — Zach Leary (son of Timothy) is a filmmaker, spiritualist and kirtan musician. He has one of the most soothing voices in the medium and converses with like-minded people. Usually comes in around an hour.
The Joe Rogan Experience — Joe Rogan is a standup comic who was host of "Fear Factor" and before that was on "Newsradio." He is a hunter, evangelist for psychedelics, a UFC commentator and generally curious guy. He has conversations with all kinds of people, from fellow comedians to former crooked cops to geologists to Olympic marathoners. Episodes range up to three hours and are available on video as well.
Ku and the Gang — Esther Ku is a comedian who chats with other comedians. Definitely not for everybody; in fact, I only listen to the first half. She starts pretty much every show with a discussion about bowel movements, and after the conversation ends masturbates to orgasm.
The Masonic Roundtable — Five U.S. Freemasons discuss the Craft, sometimes with guests. The show is run live each Tuesday night via Google Hangout, and the guys take questions and comments via social media. Open to the public, but topics are typically only going to be of interest to Masons or the Masonically curious.
The Moment — Writer and director Brian Koppelman interviews his favorite musicians, actors and writers. Episodes are usually around an hour long.
Shotclog — Comedian Doug Stanhope and a barrage of colorful characters hang out, mostly drunk, on Stanhope's property in Bisbee, Arizona. They're a bunch of rabble-rousers and frequently the podcasts are just a bunch of people being ridiculous. It's highly entertaining.
Snap Judgment — An independently produced public radio show, Snap is stories set to music, sometimes live and improvised, sometimes recorded and produced. Always fun. About 56 minutes, it's also broadcast on many NPR affiliates across the country.
This Won't Hurt a Bit — A medical show featuring two actual doctors. They have fun with common questions about stuff like exercise, smoking and such.
The Tim Ferriss Show — Tim Ferriss is an author and self-experimenter. He shoots for efficiency and fast learning/assimilation. He interviews a wide variety of people from all walks of life.
#WeThePeople Live — A political roundtable done, most frequently, live in a bar. Host Josh Zepps used to do this for Huffington Post and took the show out on its own.
Whence Came You? — A Masonic podcast detailing history, esoterics, famous Freemasons and Masonic anecdotes. About a half hour most weeks, closer to an hour when the conversation moves to the esoteric. Open to the public and has a wider target audience, especially if you have a wish to explore the mystical. Host Robert Johnson is one of the hosts of The Masonic Roundtable
The Winding Stairs — A podcast by Juan Sepulveda, one of the hosts of The Masonic Roundtable. Sepulveda takes the lessons of Freemasonry and applies them to everyday life. Open to the public and probably good for anyone who wishes to be a better human.
WTF — Marc Maron's podcast is a twice-weekly interview show that for years was the standard-bearer of the medium. He only keeps the latest 50 free, so get in there early. He's interviewed hundreds of interesting people (he's recently passed Episode #700), almost all of them in his Los Angeles-area garage, including President Obama. He also re-releases interviews when someone dies, so even though I've only been listening for a couple of years, I was treated to his interviews with Robin Williams and Garry Shandling, among others.

Date Night Savannah: Fire & Wine at Foxy Loxy


I was lucky enough to get a Saturday evening off recently and saw a post from one of my favorite cafes in the neighborhood, Foxy Loxy.

It turns out that every Saturday night from 7-11, they put together some s'mores kits, knock half off their bottles of wine, and light two fire pits in their courtyard.

It really is a beautiful, relaxing night with great people-watching. We shared a bottle of rosé and skipped the s'mores, but if we'd gone with the dessert in addition to the wine, we would have come in under $30 for a lovely evening together.

You can bet anytime I take a day shift instead of my usual evening shift on a Saturday, you can find us in the courtyard at Foxy Loxy for a couple of hours. Hope to catch you there!

Guess what? I’m launching a podcast!

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I've finally decided to launch a podcast. It's been in the works for a while. I had to learn some stuff. I had to make some decisions on platforms, equipment, what it's going to be, if and how it's going to make money and all that stuff.

Anyway, I'm excited to get it started.

The introductory episode is Episode 0; you can find it here. Episode 1: Impossible, is also up, here.

Go to podcasts page for subscription information.

I'm also launching a Patreon campaign with it. Go check it out.

Scam alert: Craigslist sale items

I wanted to tell you about this Craigslist scam someone tried on us. We ended up losing a little bit of money on the sale item, but didn't end up losing any actual cash or getting involved in much legal stuff (we wound up sending everything to the local police, but didn't need to get involved beyond sending them our records).

I'm providing this as something to watch out for, especially as some people start to clear out old stuff after holiday presents and clean out old stuff as they make their resolutions.

So, here goes.

We listed a washer/dryer on Craigslist for $200. We had little luck and finally agreed to let a purchaser send a check; he said he'd send a bank check with a little extra money for his movers, who would be in touch to arrange pickup.

When the check arrived, we found that it wasn't a bank check – it was a printed check drawn on a business account in New York. The check had been mailed from Florida, and was for $1,450 – fully $1,250 more than the asking price for the appliances. I looked up the business, and it was listed as a property restoration firm with $120,000 in annual sales.

It was immediately evident to me that it was a counterfeit check. While the business name and address on the check matched the listing and the routing number matched the bank the check was drawn on, no one is entrusting strangers with over 1% of their annual intake.

After receiving the check, I sent a message to the "purchaser" to say that the check was received and that I wasn't comfortable with the amount, and that I would return it. He said not to worry about it, that was fine.

That's when I knew for sure it was a scam, and I tucked the check in a drawer and cut off communication with the "purchaser."

He tried to get us over the next couple of days, saying that he got confirmation from the bank that the funds had cleared from the deposit, then that the mover would like funds through Western Union as an advance (he named an individual in Chicago) and then finally a couple of messages to say that the check had cleared and he was suspicious that I hadn't returned his messages.

I learned through a mutual LinkedIn contact that the person listed as owner/partner of the business listed on the check had had both his email and LinkedIn accounts hacked over the past couple of years, and his contacts regularly received spam messages.

Officers with the fraud department at Savannah-Chatham Metro PD assure me this is a common scam, and I've turned over all the info I have to them. Good luck with your Craigslisting this season.

Bringing conversation back into our lives

Aristotle was...pretty good at conversing.

Aristotle was...pretty good at conversing.

One of my favorite things about Freemasonry is what many organizations (including churches and the like) call "fellowship." In modern-day English, we call it "hanging out." When we're not in a formal meeting (or sitting formally at prayer, for instance), we're still gathered with like-minded folk, eating, drinking and, most of all, talking.

As someone who works from home and communicates with my coworkers via an online chat if we need to (sometimes we just sit around independently and work for 45 minutes or so without saying anything), I don't have an opportunity to grab lunch with a coworker or chat with someone at the water cooler or coffee pot.

And, in fact, in turns out, even people who do work in offices together aren't talking to each other as much as they used to. Same with people who sit around the dinner table, staring at their phones instead of talking to each other.

Author Sherry Turkle has been writing about it for a while now. She has a new book called Reclaiming Conversation, which is about bringing conversation back into our lives.

It's an extension, really, of work she did for another book on being alone, even if we're connected. Here's her TED talk on it from 2012.

She talks more about the new book on the Art of Manliness podcast.

In the lessons of the second degree of Freemasonry, we learn about the seven liberal arts and sciences we should really study to become well-rounded humans. Of the seven, three really relate to conversation: logic, grammar and rhetoric.

I won't go into detail here, not because there's anything secret in the ritual, but because practicing the art of conversation is so much more important than sitting by yourself reading this. But if you want want to learn more, The Masonic Roundtable has great discussions on each:

Grammar
Rhetoric
Logic

Stop looking for the next thing

I've been getting hit over the head with this lately, mostly thanks to Duncan Trussell.

"Do what you're doing, shut the fuck up and enjoy it," Michael Donovan tells himself on Trussell's podcast, the Duncan Trussell Family Hour.

Trussell also recently had Onnit's Aubrey Marcus on the show. Marcus is someone who has built a business that was initially basically a supplement store, then added fitness equipment, then a training program and now a gym. He hasn't grown the business because he wanted to build a bigger business. He's grown it because he enjoyed doing these things, and he built a business around what he enjoyed doing.

Kyle Eschenroeder wants us to slow down, skip the life hacking and do things to completion. Listen to him on the Art of Manliness podcast discussing philosophy, entrepreneurship and enjoying the process.

Don't worry about what's coming up, or what you do next, or how to take care of the thing you're working on in the quickest manner possible. Just focus on what you have going on, and keep it steady.

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The years is almost 3/4 over; how are you coming on your goals?


[by Steve Hillebrand]

We're heading into October. I don't know if you noticed, but the Earth keeps spinning, the sun keeps rising and setting, and time keeps on ticking.

Another week, and the year will be three-quarters over. Take that week, look back at your goals, and charge into Q4 with a renewed zeal for what you wanted to accomplish this year.

I've done pretty well. My goals were largely esoteric; here's a look at what they were. But I've started some new things, seen some stuff through to conclusion, and the final three months of 2015 will include a move from the suburbs into the city, my first half marathon, some visitors from different parts of our lives and settling into some new routines.

How about you?

Open letter to my niece

My sister's baby was due July 31, but has decided to make everybody wait. She and her husband have started a private Facebook group for family and close friends to come together around the impending birth. I posted this letter the other day, and a lot of people have said they're moved by it, so I thought I'd share with everybody.

Note that they are using the nickname "Kishkah." It makes sense for us Jews. The rest of you can Google it. Enjoy.

Dearest Kishkah,

I know where you are is warm, and food comes whenever you want it, without effort. I also know that change is scary, that New England is getting ready to enter its cold season, and that trying to get attention for food is not a happy prospect.

But there are some things you should understand.

The world you are entering is amazing. There are trees and flowers and big metal boxes that move people around at remarkable speeds. There are love and heartache.

There are smells and tastes — refueling your body in this world is so much more wondrous than getting nutrients through a cord.

The planet you will inherit is in need of some help, to be sure, but we are currently adding one day to the human life span every two months; by the time you can vote, we'll be closer to adding a day to the life span every day or two. You'll be a member of the first generation that could potentially live indefinitely, and I have no doubt you and your cohort will use your lives for good, to help each other and the world as necessary.

It sounds like a big responsibility, but understand that you'll have help. Your parents will be your first line of help, but there are hundreds of hands right behind them. In no time, you'll be able to communicate with them and with others you will introduce into the group. And soon after that, it will be your turn to run the show — a much bigger show than the one you're running now, which is composed of merely a single choice: to stay in the comfort you feel now, or to take a bold step into the world.

I hope you'll choose the second. We'll see you soon.

Love,
Uncle Josh

Date night Savannah: Bar Food, CO, river, Bohemian and Leopold’s

We set out for a networking event last week, and found it was canceled. Woo! A reason to go out and try new places!

2015-06-18 18.00.06We'd been meaning to get to Bar Food for a while, but it's in a part of town we don't go to a lot, but it was right around the corner from our canceled event, so we went, had a beer and a snack. They have a solid selection of craft brews and the other usuals. I had a Two Boots, while Jenny had a cider. We shared a cheese board, which came with some toast, four cheeses, local honey, some pickles and strawberries. Great way to start the evening. The menu looked really good; the crowd was interesting — it's a contemporary, kind of hipster place, but the crowd leaned not exactly biker, but not exactly not biker.

We then headed downtown to another place that was on my list, CO, which recently opened in Savannah after having restaurants in Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Our server, Grace, soft-sold us some cucumber mojitos, which were light and refreshing on a 103-degree day. We had summer rolls and gyoza (pork dumplings) as appetizers — both delicious — and Jenny ordered some pad thai while I had a tiger roll, which their menu describes as "shrimp, surimi salad, cucumber, yamagobo, avocado, unagi sauce, spicy aioli." We were both very pleased with the meals, and with the overall atmosphere. We sat at the sushi bar, but there's also a bar in the front, some booths in the back, a couple of high tops and some long tables should you decide you might want to meet a couple of people. The electronic dance music was quiet and suited the space well. We'll be back, though we're worried this will become a hot spot and we won't be able to get a seat next time.

A photo posted by Josh Shear (@joshuanshear) on

Left, from top: Pork gyoza, cucumber mojito, summer roll. Right, from top: Pad thai with chicken and shrimp, tiger roll

With quite full bellies, we wandered on down to the river to sit for a bit. If you're ever wondering why we might have moved here, it's because we can park, walk and have this view about 330 nights a year.

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We finally decided after almost an hour to get up and visit a bar we'd gone to once and found it too crowded (at 10:00 on a Friday night). Rocks on the Roof at the Bohemian Hotel. The rooftop is open on two sides, one overlooking the Savannah River, and one overlooking the crowds on Bay Street and Founders Walk. We sat on the river side on a sofa and sipped a gin and tonic, and met a recently engaged couple. The electronic dance music seemed a little loud out of place for a space that's reminiscent of more of a jazz cocktail lounge, but it's still a cool spot.

Cute, happy and on a rooftop. #visitsavannah #savannah #datenight

A photo posted by Josh Shear (@joshuanshear) on

2015-06-18 21.47.03-1Our last stop for the night was, of course, at Leopold's. If you're new to the area or just visiting and the line out the door has turned you off, don't sweat it. The bend in the line at the curb is about a seven-minute wait, the ice cream is homemade and the soda fountain is basically the same as it was in 1930-whatever. I love the butter pecan ice cream, but pictured here is a dish of chocolate chewies and cream and a hot fudge sundae, which are both also delicious. They even have seasonal flavors; the Japanese cherry blossom is light and creamy and wonderful.

And apparently they also make good soups and such, but for now, we're happy working our way through the ice cream menu.

Where should we go next, Savannah?