Acorns and Merlot - A Podcast

One morning I checked my e-mail to find that I had 23 messages. Suspecting that I had won a cruise or was about to learn the perfect weight loss secret, I quickly opened my inbox and discovered that the emails were all on the same topic: tan and white seersucker shorts. The e-mails were in response to an episode of Acorns and Merlot, a weekly podcast that I co-host, on which I had mentioned the stylishness of these shorts.\n\nAs background, podcasts are internet radio shows that can be downloaded to iPods or other audio devices. They are similar to talk radio but unlike traditional talk radio are not constrained by the need to please sponsors or stay within a particular time frame. My co-host on Acorns and Merlot is eccentric, creative, and openly aspires to a blue blood lineage. My father says he’s a "small-time thug"; my mother worries that he won’t live up to his potential; and I just enjoy podcasting with him. We make a good online pair because we are both outgoing and have a similar sense of style. Our show consists of an eclectic and often humorous mix of new and vintage soundbites and commentary on topics ranging from politics to fashion to our personal lives. Occasionally we invite guests, such as the radical conservative activist Shirley Phelps Roper or a local band. Under our ground rules, to ensure spontaneity we do not reveal our topics to each other before the show. For authenticity we never pause our recording or edit our shows. In the personal segments, we act as if the listeners are therapists that we can confide in freely, and when we are off the air we do not acknowledge anything that is said on the show. There are Acorns and Merlot fans all over America and a following has even been established on Britain’s Isle of Wight. Listeners like Acorns and Merlot not only because it is humorous but also because it offers a completely candid look into our minds. Many of them find the show addictive, and since we began the show last year our listener numbers have snowballed. Our latest episode was downloaded by over 3500 people, placing us in the top 1% of podcasts ranked by iTunes.\n\nI find podcasting fulfilling for a number of reasons. It is a cathartic experience and it provides me with the satisfaction of entertaining and influencing others. Most important, it provides a forum to validate my beliefs. It forces me to articulate my positions and thus to be able to justify them logically.

Flops, brought to you by A.I.

"To err" is to be robotic — apparently.


KAZUHIRO NOGI
/ Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • About 3.1 million individuals could lose their job to self-driving cars.
  • A.I. is not a monolith. It makes a lot of mistakes.
  • To better understand how to navigate our economic future, we should pay attention to these mistakes.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less