8 Of The Best Podcasts Out There (Other Than 'Serial')

8 Of The Best Podcasts Out There (Other Than 'Serial')

Podcasts are still a niche interest.
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As if over night, Sarah Koening's multi-part podcast "Serial" became a cultural phenomena. And with good reason -- it's fantastic. Adnan Syed's innocence, or lack thereof, became a global discussion, and Koening was even parodied on "SNL." Yet despite "Serial's" mainstream popularity, podcasts are still a niche interest.

Before "Serial", I didn't even know what a podcast was. I owe a lot to Koening. She introduced me to the wonderful world of podcasting, despite having the handy app on my phone for, well, as long as I've had an iPhone.

Woe is pre-podcast me. I was missing out on a goldmine of entertainment. But you don't have to.

I've compiled a list of eight podcasts that I've enjoyed immensely, and am hoping you will too.

1. "Lore"

Author Aaron Mahnke offers bi-weekly scares with "Lore", a podcast about "true life scary stories." Mahnke's narrative is smart, spooky and stunning; he will likely leave you on the edge of your seat.

Suscribe to "Lore" on Itunes.

2. "The Cracked Podcast"

Funny and surprisingly pensive, Jack O'Brien's podcast is an auditory extension of his website. O'Brien and a myriad of fellow "Cracked" writers dissect pop culture, debate ideas and debunk myths -- and they have a whale of a time doing it.

Subscribe to "The Cracked Podcast" on iTunes

3. "Sword and Scale"

If you're a true crime nut (like me), then this podcast will be right up your alley -- your dark, scary alley. "Sword and Scale" bills itself as an "immersive audio experience covering the underworld of criminal activity and demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions..." This podcast will make you lose faith in humanity, but in the most entertaining way.

Subscribe to "Sword and Scale" on iTunes.

4. "The Black Tapes Podcast"

This performance art podcast from "Pacific Northwest Stories" is in the same vein as "Serial." That is, if "Serial" was about demons and apparitions. Hosted by fictional journalist Alex Reagan, "The Black Tapes" follows her investigation of "literal and figurative ghosts." Do you believe?

Subscribe to "The Black Tapes Podcas"t on iTunes.

5. "Welcome to Night Vale"

If there had been a local radio station for David Lynch's "Twin Peaks," then it would've sounded a lot like this. "Welcome to Night Vale" is a faux radio drama about a peculiar town where there are weird lights in the sky and hooded figures in the town square. It is beautiful and bizarre.

Subscribe to "Welcome to Night Vale" on iTunes.

6. "Criminal"

The concept is simple: true crime reporting. However, it's not "the 'if it bleeds, it leads' kind of crime," or so states that show's description. It's a bit more complicated than that. This show is stylistically similar to "Sword and Scale", just writ small. Host Phoebe Judge (could she have a more fitting name?) offers weekly morsels of crime, each one less than 30 minutes long.

Subscribe to "Criminal" on iTunes.

7. "Limetown"

This performance art podcast follows investigative reporter Lia Haddock as she explores the disappearance of the entire population of "Limetown", a small town with a dark secret. Gripping and eerie, this podcast will leave you craving more. But it may keep you up at night.

Subscribe to "Limetown" on iTunes.

8. "Mystery Show

Irresistible and quirky, this podcast features host Starlee Kine as she attempts to make sense of a senseless world. Follow Kine as she delves deep into Britney's Spears' reading habits or as she locates the owner of an unusual vanity plate. If "This American Life" and Nancy Drew made a baby, "Mystery" Show would be it.

Subscribe to Mystery Show on iTunes.

Cover Image Credit: theeverygirl

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Romeo, Juliet, And The Time They Were Reckless

It needs to be said.

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Oh Romeo, Romeo. Where art thou Romeo?

Well, he is off committing suicide because he thinks you're dead.

Can we discuss the fact he was in love with Rosaline (you know Juliet's cousin) a little before meeting Juliet? I mean if my 16-year-old brother comes around and tells me he's 'in love' with a 13-year-old, I'd probably have to check him. That's an eighth grader with a high school junior. Personally, I am not a fan of it. They meet and *BAM*, they're in love. They court each other, marry, then die. In FOUR days. All of this happens in FOUR days.

Then the whole "If you die I die" thing, is anyone else not mad that he didn't stop to check if she was breathing? My dude grabs a mirror and puts it under her nose. It doesn't make me mad, that young people fall in love. But if I think about it now, the dude I thought I was in love with when I was 13 was a jerk and boy, am I glad my parents said: "You're too young, wait until you're 15." And then, "No, you're still too young," when I was actually 15.

Dude I get it, but can we all collectively agree you have to wait for more than one to two days shipping before you go off and have a clandestine wedding. I get it, young and reckless and in love and ready to give it all. I have seen it, read about it, and can't say been through it I think about most of my actions, but I still get pissed off with this play.

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