Good morning! Ready to spend 20 minutes (or more) on a sweaty, crowded, possibly cricket-and-worm-infested subway car? Looking forward to getting stuck in traffic as you inch your way to the office? We didn’t think so. Why not spend those precious moments somewhere else? This week’s podcast roundup is here to take you to many exotic locations, from Yellowstone to Miami to the imaginary Land of Foon—which is, obviously, only accessible through a Burger King in Chicago.

Reply All, “Making Friends”

Shea hears voices. Specifically, the voices of four imaginary friends: Jas, Doc, Varena, and Aeraya. Except to Shea, they aren’t imaginary, just imagined: She has tulpas, or “intelligent companions imagined into existence.” To psychologists, this seems like dissociative personality disorder; to her fellow sci-fi and fantasy loving tulpamancers, they’re healthy, lifelong companions. If someone is happy with the voices in their head, can it be a disorder? What’s the difference between an active imagination and mental illness? Reply All investigates.

Shea hears voices. Specifically, the voices of four imaginary friends: Jas, Doc, Varena, and Aeraya. Except to Shea, they aren’t imaginary, just imagined: She has tulpas, or “intelligent companions imagined into existence.” To psychologists, this seems like dissociative personality disorder; to her fellow sci-fi and fantasy loving tulpamancers, they’re healthy, lifelong companions. If someone is happy with the voices in their head, can it be a disorder? What’s the difference between an active imagination and mental illness? Reply All investigates.

Hello from the Magic Tavern, “Make-Up Artist”

On March 5, 2015, Arnie Niekamp fell through a dimensional portal behind a Burger King into the Land of Foon. Luckily, he still gets a weak Wi-Fi signal from the earthly Burger King, which he uses to bring listeners a weekly update from the Vermilion Minotaur Tavern. This week, Niekamp and his two co-hosts—shape-shifting badger Chunt and wizard Usidore—interview Germ Crust, a textural makeup artist specializing in feather beards, hailing from a wasteland populated by crumbs. If you’re a fan of Chicago comedy (which supplies the producers and actors behind the show) or Cards Against Humanity (which sponsors it), the deadpan, absurdist, raunchy tone of Hello from the Magic Tavern makes it a welcome addition to the improv-podcast ecosystem.

On March 5, 2015, Arnie Niekamp fell through a dimensional portal behind a Burger King into the Land of Foon. Luckily, he still gets a weak Wi-Fi signal from the earthly Burger King, which he uses to bring listeners a weekly update from the Vermilion Minotaur Tavern. This week, Niekamp and his two co-hosts—shape-shifting badger Chunt and wizard Usidore—interview Germ Crust, a textural makeup artist specializing in feather beards, hailing from a wasteland populated by crumbs. If you’re a fan of Chicago comedy (which supplies the producers and actors behind the show) or Cards Against Humanity (which sponsors it), the deadpan, absurdist, raunchy tone of Hello from the Magic Tavern makes it a welcome addition to the improv-podcast ecosystem.

Here & Now, “How One Audio Archivist Works to Preserve Yellowstone’s Iconic Sounds”

Didn’t make it out to the national parks for the centennial? No worries, Here & Now can bring Yellowstone to you. Just meet Jennifer Jerrett out by Old Faithful, where the Yellowstone archivist will invite you to listen to the sounds of the park: the singing of meadowlarks, the clacking of elk antlers, the burbling of mudpots, and the groaning of bison. (That last one is sure to startle you right out of your morning grogginess, by the way.) Listen here.

Getty Images

Didn’t make it out to the national parks for the centennial? No worries, Here & Now can bring Yellowstone to you. Just meet Jennifer Jerrett out by Old Faithful, where the Yellowstone archivist will invite you to listen to the sounds of the park: the singing of meadowlarks, the clacking of elk antlers, the burbling of mudpots, and the groaning of bison. (That last one is sure to startle you right out of your morning grogginess, by the way.) Listen here.

Snap Judgment, “Fortress of Solitude”

Jay J. Armes is a detective who saved Marlon Brando’s son and inspired Charles Bronson’s character in Breakout. He also once owned a menagerie of leopards and a bullet-proof limousine. He’s known to wield a gun instead of his right hand and a hook instead of his left. Or maybe not. Snap Judgment examines the man behind the myth (and action figure)—and whether, for the people in the community he loved, all his fabrications really matter.

Jay J. Armes is a detective who saved Marlon Brando’s son and inspired Charles Bronson’s character in Breakout. He also once owned a menagerie of leopards and a bullet-proof limousine. He’s known to wield a gun instead of his right hand and a hook instead of his left. Or maybe not. Snap Judgment examines the man behind the myth (and action figure)—and whether, for the people in the community he loved, all his fabrications really matter.

Pin/Kings, “Episode One: Off the Mat, Off the Grid”

This series from ESPN Audio follows the lives of the former 1976 co-captains of the Palmetto High School wrestling team: Alex DeCubas, who went on to become the kingpin of a Miami cocaine smuggling operation, and Kevin Pedersen, who became the DEA agent pursuing him. Each episode of this 16-episode series covers a different aspect of the story, from the world of high school wrestling to south Florida’s historical role in drug smuggling to the logistics of a DEA-sponsored money-laundering operation. Settle into your seat and get ready to binge on the whole season. Listen here.

ESPN

This series from ESPN Audio follows the lives of the former 1976 co-captains of the Palmetto High School wrestling team: Alex DeCubas, who went on to become the kingpin of a Miami cocaine smuggling operation, and Kevin Pedersen, who became the DEA agent pursuing him. Each episode of this 16-episode series covers a different aspect of the story, from the world of high school wrestling to south Florida’s historical role in drug smuggling to the logistics of a DEA-sponsored money-laundering operation. Settle into your seat and get ready to binge on the whole season. Listen here.

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Magic Portals, the Sounds of Yellowstone, and 3 More Must-Hear Podcast Tales