JANUARY 31, 2020

Greetings, friends of the Weekly Sound Off! If you’re feeling ready for a new season, send positive, non-shadowy vibes in the direction of Punxsutawney, PA on Sunday—it’s Groundhog Day! Let’s go.

Alexa, what time is the big game?

We admit we don't follow many team sports, but we heard that in addition to Groundhog Day, something called the Superb Owl is happening this Sunday? We kid! Editor Rachel, for one, is a stealth sports fan. During Sunday's match, our sights will be set on the cheerleaders for whom we have a newly deepened respect after watching the documentary series Cheer. (Is anyone else watching?? We're obsessed!) There's just something about the sports narrative we can't get enough of—the competition, the teamwork, the heartbreak, the draaaaaama. In honor of great sports stories, we give you 20 of the best sports listens of all time.

Politics are hot (dishes?)

When you hear the phrase the political world is heating up, your thoughts might not immediately go to tater-tot laden suppers, but such is the case as Minnesota-based Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar is hitting the Iowa circuit in advance of the caucuses—and incurring the ire of constituents there by referring to what they call casserole as hot dish. Ever the fans of regionalisms, we predicted that all things Minnesota would be trending, as we noted in our You Betcha! collection of listens centering on that Midwestern state.

A voice that still echoes today (and is particularly timely)

This year, for Black History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on those who’ve taken the lead in shaping change and movement. Few people exemplify that quality like the late legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory, who made waves when his autobiography was first published in 1964 with its deliberately incendiary title. Audible is bringing his memoir to audio for the first time, with an exclusive foreword from his son, Dr. Christian Gregory, who talked with editor Abby about why that word still carries so much weight and why his father’s message through activism endures.

Take heart

Some wholehearted optimism is warranted after researchers at Osaka University recently succeeded in a partial transplant of a heart with lab-grown muscle cells. They hope the procedure will make full transplants in some cases unnecessary since the procedure is harrowing for surgeons and patients alike. But don’t take our word for it—hear this listen from a renowned heart surgeon on matters of life and death on the operating table.

At least it was a fake skeleton?

Speaking of bodily wonders: in a recent tweet, the Arizona Department of Public Safety proclaimed: Think you can use the HOV lane with Skeletor riding shotgun? You’re dead wrong! ☠ That’s right, a Southwest driver decided to shorten his commute by dressing up a plastic skeleton (in camo, oddly enough) and seating it next to him so he could drive in the HOV lane. At any rate, it didn’t work and officials were sure to make an example of the rule breaker. With no disrespect to this He-Man wannabe (you can’t blame a guy for trying) we have to wonder, what would She-Ra have done? (And, side note: if morbid stories are your jam, might we recommend Stiff by Mary Roach?)

Don't forget...

This newsletter is now available as a perfect-for-multitaskers Audio Edition. Click here to subscribe, and get it in your Audible library every Friday.