Dirty John – A Terrifying True Crime Podcast from the L.A. Times

The six-part podcast, ‘Dirty John‘, is a true story about seduction, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. It’s reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.

Debra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family are not fond of John and as it turns out, they have good reason to feel this way.

John Meehan is what nightmares are made of so settle in and prepare yourself.

Listen to the Dirty John podcast.

36 Questions – A Podcast Musical

36 Questions is a three-part podcast musical by Two-Up Productions in which a couple, played by Jonathan Groff (aka Kristoff from Frozen) and Jessie Shelton, attempt to bring their marriage back from the brink of divorce using 36 revealing questions designed to make strangers fall in love.

Not being a fan of musicals, I was dubious. However, I adored La La Land, needed a new podcast to get stuck into and it had great reviews.

Whilst it took me the first episode to get into it because the format is so different to anything I’ve heard before, by episode two I was unashamedly hooked.

Maybe I really do like musicals after all.

Read reviews by The New York Times, The Guardian and Vulture.

Listen to the podcast.

The Antipodean Restaurant & Bar in Potts Point

The Antipodean Restaurant & Bar in Sydney’s Potts Point has taken the place of hatted fine diner, Gastro Park. Grant King still heads up the kitchen but the approach is more casual.

The restaurant serves 99% antipodean products and works closely with local producers to bring a diverse menu, which is designed to share and constantly changing. We didn’t get to order anything from the larger dishes because the smaller ones looked too irresistible to go past.

Highlights: Crab sauce (to dip your bread in); Salt fish paste with witlof & chives; Burratta with fried cabbage leaves, vincotto & mint and; BBQ King prawn with coconut & kaffir.

I couldn’t fault anything and will definitely return to try the brunch menu.

The Antipodean Restaurant & Bar is located at 5-9 Rosyln St, Potts Point and is open 7 nights, Friday lunch, and brunch/lunch Saturday and Sunday.

Read a review.

Book a table.

Chilli Sin Carne – A Healthy and Fast One-Pot Vegetarian Recipe

This vegetarian one pot Chilli Sin Carne recipe from the Feel Good Food cookbook is fast, easy and healthy, making it the perfect midweek dinner. The majority of ingredients you can keep in the pantry so little planning ahead is needed.

It’s a cheap, low-fat, high-fibre and delicious dish. And it freezes well. The following serves four generously if you adhere to the suggested changes regarding the tomatoes and capsicum. It also works well without the guacamole if you’re wanting to keep it low fuss.

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 small red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 red capsicum, seeds removed, finely chopped (we throw an extra green capsicum in to up the veg intake)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes (the original recipe calls for one can but we prefer two)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 400g can lentils, rinsed, drained
  • Steamed brown rice, low fat thick Greek style yoghurt, guacamole and coriander leaves, to serve

View the full recipe.

Thanks to Paige for sharing this with me.

Podcast – Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty

Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty is a six-episode podcast from Gimlet Media that tells the story of Chris Lighty, a music industry and hip-hop heavyweight who was found dead at his home in the Bronx in 2012.

Chris Lighty was a giant in hip-hop. He managed LL Cool J, 50 CentMissy Elliott, Busta RhymesFoxy Brown and Fat Joe – anyone who was anyone worked with Lighty. His death left the music world reeling and left many questions unanswered.

Reggie Ossé, who came up through the hip-hop scene as an entertainment lawyer at the same time as Lighty, tells the vibrant story from the first breakbeat to the last heartbeat.

Whilst Chris’ story is interesting in itself, I love how the documentation of hip-hop history is woven through. Even if you’re not a hip-hop fan, it’s well worth a listen.

Read a review of the podcast.

Listen to the podcast.

Book: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air is a moving and sad yet inspiring memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question, ‘What makes a life worth living?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.

It’s an emotional investment and although it is about dying, for the most part, the indelible impression it leaves is that it is more about living.

Read a review of When Breath Becomes Air.

Buy the book.

The Secret To Living Longer May Be Your Social Life – A TED Talk

Well, this is uplifting news for people that beat themselves up about not eating the right foods, not exercising enough and drinking too much.* It turns out that the strongest predictors of longevity are two features of your social life.

It turns out that the strongest predictors of longevity are two features of your social life.

The Italian island of Sardinia has more than six times as many centenarians as the mainland and ten times as many as North America. Why? According to psychologist Susan Pinker, it’s not a sunny disposition or a low-fat, gluten-free diet that keeps the islanders healthy — it’s their emphasis on close personal relationships and face-to-face interactions.

Learn more about super longevity as Pinker explains what it takes to live to 100 and beyond, and why social isolation is the public health risk of our time.

Watch or listen to the talk.

* I don’t condone reckless living but it is refreshing to hear about studies that have found there may be other factors at play with regards to a living a long life. 

Jon Ronson Uncovers Who Really Pays the Price for Free Porn in The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson is a seven-part series on Audible and is the most compelling audio I’ve listened to since S-Town.

Jon Ronson describes it beautifully:

“It’s sort of about porn, but it’s about a lot of other things. It’s sad, funny, moving and totally unlike some other nonfiction stories about porn – because it isn’t judgmental or salacious. It’s human and sweet and strange and lovely. It’s a mystery story, an adventure. It’s also, I think, a new way of telling a story. The flap of the butterfly’s wings is a boy in Brussels having an idea. His idea is how to get rich from giving the world free online porn. Over seven episodes I trace the consequences of this idea, from consequence through to consequence. If you keep going in this way, where might you end up? It turns out you end up in the most surprising and unexpected places.”

Here’s an excerpt, from This American Life.

Get it now on Audible for free or wait until November for iTunes and everywhere else.

See my previous post about Audible.

Ozark – TV Crime Drama on Netflix

Jason Bateman is best known for his comedy roles but there is nothing funny about his character, Marty Byrde, in the Netflix drama, Ozark.

It’s tense from episode one where it is revealed that Marty, a Chicago-based financial advisor, has connections to a drug cartel that go awry so he is forced to relocate his family to the Missouri Ozarks in an attempt to fix the problem (and escape death).

The series is well cast, with Laura Linney playing Marty’s wife, Wendy, who leaves her own mess behind in Chicago, and Julia Garner as the smart and fiery local, Ruth Langmore.

Ozark has been compared to the highly-awarded Breaking Bad (family man gets caught up in drug world and needs to keep his family safe) and whilst it’s not as groundbreaking, it is gripping and has just been renewed for a second season.

Watch the Ozark trailer.

 

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