Jean Shepherd, Podcasts, and the Cold War

jeanshepherdAfter mucking about with various podcast channels, I’ve caved in and declared podcasts absolutely essential after I discovered that the Jean Shepherd Podcast Archives podcasts.

Shepherd was a radio raconteur, broadcasting overnight out of WOR in New York City through the late-50s and 60s. Spinning yarns about growing up in Indiana, New York City life, and culture with an aggressively wandering narrative, he was popular with beatniks and anti-establishment types who joined him with him in various hoaxes. His commentary on the 1964 New York World’s Fair should give you an idea.

I attribute my fascination with “EAT” signs directly to an old Shepherd piece on a troop train that stops at night on a siding uphill from a neon “Eat” sign. A thirsty GI on the train obsesses over the sign, figuring there’s beer there and debates about jumping the train and bringing the beer back. Hilarity, as they say, ensues.

Most folks now probably know him as the narrator of A Christmas Story.

Anyway, one of the recent shows on the podcast is a 1964 piece on winter, New Yorker’s penchant for “dynamic self-pity” in winter, and how no east coast storm compares to a midwest blizzard that howls out of the arctic. If it’s not at least 20 below zero outside, don’t complain.

As for podcasts, my top choices are:

I’m using the podcast support in the NetNewsWire 2.0 beta which already I use for my regular RSS reading. Works great!

Author: Chris Barrus

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