I happened upon the Myths and Legends podcast recently. I was installing a new podcast app on my phone and looking for some new things to listen to. This was listed in the top ten, so I thought I’d give it a try.
Each week, host Jason takes on a tale from myth, legend, or folklore and delves into the details of the story. His passion seems to be for King Arthur. And he’ll approach the Arthurian legend in bits and pieces, and for each piece, he dedicates about three episodes. Between Arthurian tales, he takes on folk tales from around the world as well as classic fairy tales. But, obviously, he’s looking at the true, original versions, not the Disnefied tales we know from childhood (the Rapunzel episode has been one of my favorites).
And if it’s not enough to hear these great stories, he ends each episode with “The Creature of the Week.” These are very short stories about creatures that have their place in mythology and lore, but don’t have enough for necessarily an entire episode, such as the abatwa from South Africa, who don’t like it when you don’t notice them.
And the website has extra information if you’d like to know more about a story from a particular episode.
Okay, I really should be giving you more book suggestions for spring break, but I’ve found a new podcast that I am just so in love with I have to share it with you today.
I just started using an app on my phone called Podcast Republic to download my podcasts. Once I got my regular subscriptions on there (like Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed in History Class and Freakonomics), I took at look at their list of top podcasts. And that’s where I found The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe (the link is to the website for the show, but you can also find it on iTunes or any other podcast app).
You may know Mike Rowe from the awesome TV show Dirty Jobs. I loved that show and always appreciated his humor. So I decided to add this to my subscriptions, with no idea what it was about.
He dubs it “the only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span.” Each podcast is 5 minutes long. He presents the story as a mystery…not telling who the person is or what the discovery was until the end. And the episodes have great titles like “Little Bits of Corpse” and “Sorry About Your Face.” Did you know that an actress from the 30s and 40s, who was considered the most beautiful woman in the world, is responsible for the technology that makes wi-fi and Bluetooth work?
The other neat part about this podcasts comes from one of Mike Rowe’s passion projects. He is a big believer in training young people to work in the trades…as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics, etc. So he starts each podcast with a reminder of all of the corporations that help support his scholarships for people who want to enter a trade. If you’re thinking about a technical college for when you graduate from here, start checking out his mikeroweWORKS Foundation for all sorts of scholarships.
Two really fun books about looking at things in a slightly different way.
Let’s start with Steal Like and Artist. This is a fun book about how to use art and the world around you to inspire your creative side. The premise is that all art comes from other art. We’re not talking plagiarism here, but rather inspiration. Learn about your favorite people, write fan letters (maybe during Lunch Letters?), surround yourself with art, create what you like, share with people. In essence, just do it! It’s a quick book with a lot of interesting and practical ideas.
Think Like a Freak is an interesting look at economics and what economics actually encompasses. The authors previously wrote a book called Freakonomics, and host a podcast by the same name (one of my favorites, you should totally listen sometime) . This is a book that encourages you to embrace the phrase, “I don’t know” and to quit, because sometimes to succeed, you need to quit. It’s an engaging look at how to think differently and why that can be a good thing for the world around us.
Both of these books are on the Outstanding Books for the College Bound list. Just sayin’.
I think I’ve mentioned before, but I like to listen to podcasts when I run. Over the last few years I’ve created a list of fun things to listen to that keep my brain engaged while I might otherwise be bored (stuck on the treadmill, running in the dark, etc.)
One of my favorites is one called Stuff You Missed in History Class. It’s hosted by Holly and Tracy, who take a less well known piece of history and spend a full podcast talking about its story and the reason we might want to know about it. For example, the most recent one I listened to was called “The Honey War.” While there is a part of the story that does involve honey trees, it’s really about a battle between Iowa and Missouri over where the boundary between their two states would be. It’s not something I ever thought about and Sister Nancy certainly didn’t cover it in American History class, but it was really interesting.
There is one episode in particular I want to draw your attention to. It’s the episode from September 16, 2015 called “Six More Impossible Episodes.” In the world of Missed in History, “impossible episodes” are ones on topics that listeners have requested but that just don’t have enough information available to do an entire episode. About 25 minutes into that episode, as they wrap up talk about Elizabeth Bathory, they explain what they are looking for when they research a topic. Since research projects are starting (see what I did there?) I thought this episode in particular might be useful. They talk about getting facts from multiple sources. They make sure their sources are authoritative and have been through some sort of review/editing process. Around the 28 minute mark, Holly and Tracy became my favorite podcast hosts when they recommend going to the library and using the databases! It’s not just me. Other people think it’s a good idea.
So, listen, learn some obscure history, and research like Tracy and Holly.