Podcast Milestone Passed: Over 4000 Hours of Listening. Here’s My Playlist.

Stitcher4003hours StitcherTopShows

I listen to podcasts… a lot apparently.

The podcatcher I use most often is Stitcher and they track me – duh!  I passed 4,000 hours of Stitcher use recently. 644 days in a row, I’ve logged onto Stitcher to listen to at least one podcast.

Usually the first podcast I listen to is This Morning With Gordon Deal. Then I tend to wander all over the radio spectrum… I listen to No Agenda usually on Mondays and Fridays (the show airs live on Sundays and Thursdays.) I listen to The Tech Guy with Leo LaPorte randomly. After going to bed I’ll listen to Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper.

When it’s time to sleep, I’ll download The Dan Patrick Show from iTunes and let it run while we fall asleep. I’m lucky that Nancy loves the “white noise” and doesn’t complain while the three forty minute segments of Dan Patrick plays. As a matter of fact, if she wakes up before she’s ready to start the day and wants some extra snooze time, I’ll play The Dan Patrick Show again!

Here’s my playlist from Sticher.


  • My Brother, My Brother and Me
  • MSNBC Morning Joe
  • No Agenda
  • Here’s the Thing
  • The Dinner Party Download
  • This Morning With Gordon Deal
  • MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show
  • Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me
  • Freakonomics Radio
  • Ask Me Another
  • This American Life


  • ABC News Nightline
  • The Diane Rehm Show
  • NBC Meet the Press
  • ABC News: This Week With George
  • Face the Nation
  • CBS Evening News
  • ABC World News Tonight
  • DH Unplugged
  • PBS NewsHour
  • On The Media
  • NBC Nightly News
  • Anderson Cooper 360
  • 60 Minutes

Pop Culture

  • TBTL
  • Throwing Shade
  • WTF with Marc Maron
  • BuzzFeed’s Internet Explorer
  • Welcome to Night Vale
  • Stuff Mom Never Told You
  • Best of the Left
  • Sawbones
  • Judge John Hodgman

Story Telling

  • Story Worthy
  • Selected Shorts
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Third Coast International
  • TED Radio Hour

Tech (all part of the TWiT network – This Week In Tech)

  • The New Screen Savers
  • Triangulation
  • The Tech Guy
  • This Week in Tech
  • This Week in Google
  • Windows Weekly

Deja Vu! Old Post Revisited!
The Dick Van Dyke Show Stands The Test of Time: My Best and Worst

The Dick Van Dyke Show debuted October 3, 1961, fifty years ago.  (Yes you are THAT old if you remember this as must-watch TV and will watch every re-run again and again.)

Surprising to me was the history of The Dick Van Dyke show and the convoluted route it took to finally get aired. The show was shot with the title Head of the Family and an entirely different cast. Rob Reiner was a known writer for Sid Caesar, and hatched the idea for a sitcom, with him appearing in the leading role.

Agent Harry Kalcheim, shopped the Head of the Family pilot script around, and actor Peter Lawford wanted to front the money to shoot the pilot. Once Reiner sent a script to Lawford’s father-in-law and supplier of the cash, Joseph P. Kennedy, Reiner was given the green light. The pilot was shot in December of 1958 in New York, with Reiner starring as Rob, Barbara Britton as Laura, Gary Morgan as Ritchie, Sylvia Miles as Sally, and Morty Gunty as Buddy. And then … nothing. The pilot failed to sell for the Fall 1959 season, and for the next year, Reiner thought the project was dead. But Kalcheim refused to abandon the show. He presented the pilot episode to another client of his, producer Sheldon Leonard.

Leonard realized this diamond in the rough and spotted immediately the one flaw: Leonard was not a sitcom actor, he was a sketch comedian.

Recasting the Dick Van Dyke Show proceeded and went smoothly until it came to casting Laura Petrie, the female lead. Many actresses auditioned, but it was Danny Thomas who remembered a cute button nosed girl “with three names” who tried out for the role of his daughter on Make Room for Daddy. (She was rejected because Thomas thought no one would believe her button-nose compared to Thomas’s honker.)

Tuesday, October 3, 1961, the premiere of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Reiner suggested the new title, following Sheldon Leonard’s tradition of naming a show after its star. Though no longer the lead in front of the camera, Reiner’s leadership behind the camera resulted in the classic sitcom of the 1960s.

The critics loved The Dick Van Dyke Show, but low ratings almost caused the program to be canceled after one season! Sheldon Leonard used his powerful influence to squeeze out four more seasons.

The show ended its run on June 1, 1966 with episode “The Last Chapter,” in which Alan Brady is set to star in and produce a television show based on Rob Petrie’s autobiographical novel.

Here are my recollections and recommendations for the Best and Worst of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

  • Best Opening Credits
  • Best Costume Design for Lead Female
  • Worst Kid Actor
  • Best Guest Appearance
  • Best Flashback Story
  • Best Musical Number
  • Best Theme Song
  • Best Re-occuring Line
Best Opening Credits:
Dick Van Dyke’s Rob Petrie’s perfectly executed pratfall over the ottoman, and then later, his light-footed skip to the left to avoid tripping.
Best Costume Design for Lead Female:
Laura Petri’s Capri pants are what most people remember. I remember with the fondness of most 15 year old boys the top she often wore with the Capri pants. It was the plain white top with no seams or buttons in front which highlighted her pointy cone-bra. (OK, looking back her breasts were not THAT pointy, but I like my memory better.)
Worst Kid Actor:
Hands down, the worst kid actor – perhaps EVER – was Larry Mathews as Richard “Ritchie” Rosebud Petrie. The kid could not deliver a line without that smug little smirk, knowing that he was about to deliver a laugh line. Compared to the other kid actors: Tommy Rettig as Timmy in Lassie, Jerry Mathers as The Beaver, and the best kid actor of all time, Ron Howard as Opie Taylor, Larry Mathews deserved to be hit by a school bus and replaced by a pooch.
Best Guest Apperance:
Jerry Van Dyke as Rob Petrie’s bashful brother, Stacy Petrie, who becomes an extrovert entertainer only when he is sleepwalking.  He appeared on March 21, 1962 in I Am My Brother’s Keeper and the following week in The Sleeping Brother. Carl Reiner makes his first on-camera appearance as Alan Brady in this episode.
Best Flashback Back-story: 
How Rob and Laura met. Cute story called Honeymoons are for the Lucky. Rob is in the army, Laura shows up on base as part of the entertainment. It aired March 4, 1964.
Best Musical Number:
The Christmas Special that aired on December 18, 1963. I Am a Fine Musician…
Best Theme Song:
You can hum the tune, but did you know it has lyrics???

So you think that you’ve got troubles?
Well, trouble’s a bubble
So tell old Mr. Trouble to get lost!
Why not hold your head up high and
Stop cryin’, start tryin’
And don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed.When you find the joy of livin’
Is lovin’ and givin’
You’ll be there when the winning dice are tossed.
A smile is just a frown that’s turned upside down
So smile, and that frown will defrost.And don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed
Bud-ump bump!

Best re-occuring line:
Ohhhhhhh Rooo-obbb.

Dealing with moles

European Mole (Talpa europaea), Schwaz, Tyrol, Austria, Europe

Not these kind of moles…

You missed Mole Day. It was October 23.

And it’s not a day to celebrate the in-ground moles or the on skin moles… it’s a nerd term for Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023)

Nancy was sure I was covered in skin cancer moles. Being a fair haired boy, I have had more than my share of sunburns. As a matter of fact, Nancy was the cause of a few of the second degree sunburns I got as a young man.

One was senior skip day – the day when seniors were allowed to miss a day of classes and teachers and administrators overlooked the policy violation. (Those were the days: 1. Some students actually cared about attendance and 2. some administrators had common sense to let kids be kids. )

Nancy and I and a few others headed to a Lake Michigan beach near Holland. We spread out the blanket and one thing led to another and… do I have to draw you a picture? We didn’t spend the day building sand castles.

And then there was the time Nancy’s family invited me to go camping with them near Cedar Point, Ohio. Same result except we were lying on a blanket in the grass.

Just to be perfectly clear… we were kissing. Just kissing.

Needless to say, I had plenty of opportunities to develop cancer moles. I had a basil cell carcinoma taken off my arm a few years ago.

But after a lot of encouragement, Nancy convinced me that I needed to get all the moles on my body checked out. I had a wide variety – including many that looked like the cancer moles I found on the internet.

Our local Dr. Salazar has a dermatologist come from San Jose to his office so Nancy made the appointment. Turns out he also scheduled three other people for the exact same time, but we worked it out.

I peeled off my shirt gave a big sigh and headed for the exam table. I asked him for Xanax. We all had a good chuckle after I explained that the day before I had Xanax for a dentist appointment. Dr. Salazar said “Si, si!” as if to say “me too.”

I am happy to report that my moles are all benign. I had a couple frozen off because they were where my shirt collar rubs – and a few more tiny spots on my arm.

Holy moley, things are good for another six months on the skin front.


After Four Tries; Found My Favorite Costa Rica Dentist

My reward for being a good boy at the dentist

My reward for being a good boy at the dentist

After four years, and four tries, I have found my favorite dentist. That’s kinda like finding your favorite proctologist, but nevertheless… Dra. Karina is my favorite, and she was right here in our little town.

I started by going to the “tourism” dentist in Escazu because I am a nervous patient and my spanish was crappier at that time and they spoke english.  Then I went to a local male dentist recommended by a friend, third time was to the CAJA (free clinic) dentist (female) and today to Dra. Karina.   All of the above were for routine cleanings. All of the above were under the influence of Xanax.

The first try, I thought I was being waterboarded. Way too much water was used and it was splashing all over my face and the spit-sucker wouldn’t get it all and I kept focusing on trying to keep my lungs from filling up.

The second try was OK. But he was an older guy and he did an OK job.

Third time and the clinic, I basically got a good tooth-brushing. But it was free.

Today with Dra. Karina I feel like I got a very thorough cleaning – gently. And the fee was C18,000 about $36.

The cake tasted much better with clean teeth.

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