Who Knew? Podcasts

Three podcasts I enjoy listening to and learning from these days are Back Story, 99% Invisible, and Surprisingly Awesome.

Back Story takes on random, diverse American historical subjects such as money, Judaism, and the history of testing. Episodes are about 50 minutes. They change up the narrators, have music in-between, and generally make it very upbeat and energetic. They often feature a short conversation with a listener too! You can listen to some segments or the whole thing. Very entertaining! http://backstoryradio.org/shows/


99% Invisible is similar to BackStory in that they delve into topics such as Super Tall 101, Soul City, and The White Elephant of Tel Aviv, to name a few, that you probably don’t know anything about- and you always learn something. Episodes are about 22 minutes.

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. (http://99percentinvisible.org/about/the-show/)


The last “Who Knew?” podcast is Surprisingly Awesome from Gimlet media. https://gimletmedia.com/show/surprisingly-awesome/episodes/ Topics that you thought were boring because you really didn’t know anything about them turn out to be “Surprisingly Awesome!” Tune in and learn about Frequent Flyer Miles, Circle of Fifths, Adhesives, Broccoli, and Concrete, to name a few. Episodes are around 30 minutes. (Their intro music is the best!)





A Big Yawn but interesting to me


Ok, this has to rank as the most mundane (AKA boring) topic anyone has ever written or read about with the exclusion of our dentist friends, but here goes: last week my dentist told me I had a little bit of a cross bite. Then I told her, it’s funny that years of braces didn’t take care of that. And she said, “Sigh.” Then she said a person can have several “bites.” And I said, “OMG. I am closer to 60 than I am to 16 and I am JUST now hearing about this?” She said, “Oh yes, sometimes you bite down and that’s one bite, then  your teeth move a little bit as they settle in and that’s another, then, you start worry about having the right bite, and lo and behold they move into yet another position. So you don’t really have one “bite” like some people do, but it’s not uncommon.”

Just like being at the eye doctor and when he said, “Which lens is better- #1 or #2?” and you think there’s a right answer! I had thought that everyone else in the world just chomped their teeth together and voila! That was it. What was wrong with my mobile mouth? Nothing it turns out.

Further validation. Again at the dentist. The assistant said, “Well how does that tooth feel (the temporary crown)? Can you bite ok?” Uh. Fine. “Ok, let’s get you sitting up straight and have you bite again because your bite sitting up is different than your bite when you’re leaning back.” So there! One less thing to worry about- a plethora of bites is AOK!



Bikes, Beauty, and Babies


Hooray for all of us who just finished biking a lot for Bike Month- May. We feel so proud of ourselves, whether we were riding 300 miles like Becky Quiring or 290 miles like Kerry Roberts or 124 miles like me- we all had fun doing it. And I won one of the daily drawings- got 4 Grizzlies tickets, a bottle of wine, and a $25 gift certificate from Sunnyside Bicycles, among other things. Next year we’re going to challenge the BHS Men’s team. Gentlemen, you’ve been warned. By the way, why are there not more bike commuters in Fresno (we bike commuters are 0.6% nationally)? We have a mild climate, flat terrain. Some may not want to bike home in the summer months in 100 degrees plus but there’s a shower waiting for you at home. Summer morning bike rides are idyllic.


On another matter, I have been wondering recently if people are better, smarter, more patient and kind, etc. in the presence of beauty, say, being able to see the SF Bay or the new Bay Bridge on a regular basis. How does that natural or man-made beauty affect us? I know there are people who see those things daily and are still gang members. Do you have to be tuned in somehow? Or does it only work sometimes?

As a subject near and dear to my heart, how does holding a newborn affect you? Make you more happy? More calm? Less tired of life? Do you have to be related to the baby to have these feelings or will any newborn baby do?


The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

This is a fun and funny book about a (possibly former) Mormon with Tourette Syndrome who is a public library librarian in Salt Lake City. But he also has his more serious moments of describing how wonderful libraries are:

“…a good library’s existence is a potential step forward for a community. If hate and fear have ignorance at their core, maybe the library can curb their effects, if only by offering ideas and neutrality. It’s a safe pace to explore, to meet with other minds, to touch other centuries, religions, races, and learn what you truly think about the world.” (p. 213)