January 13th – National Rubber Ducky Day with Charles Gustine

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Last week had National Fruitcake Toss Day. This week, we have something a little more fun. Or maybe not.

Today’s National Day is Rubber Ducky Day and perhaps you’re feeling a little song coming on.

Thanks(?) to my friend Charles Gustine, host of the Iconography podcast, for challenging me to find a podcast episode related to this day. 

From Charles about his recommendation: “My recommendation is the Lonely Palette episode “Meditations on Mark Rothko.” It’s one thing to have a podcast that knows exactly what it is, from open to close, and to love that entire package. It’s another to get comfortable enough with that format to start breaking it, and this is where I think Tamar Avishai, the host of The Lonely Palette, 24 episodes into her show, got comfortable enough to start breaking it, which lead to an absolutely killer string of episodes that exploded what a Lonely Palette episode could be in every way. But I don’t know if any one of those trumps this episode on what we look for when we look at a Rothko.

The Podcast Gumbo podcast playlist, made from love, will include almost all the episodes mentioned in this podcast going forward to make it easier for you to enjoy all these recommendations. 

Do you want more podcast recommendations? Sign up for my Podcast Gumbo newsletter which recommends 3 podcast episodes every Wednesday.

You can also find me on Twitter at @paulkondo.

Thanks for listening,



Hey. This is Paul Kondo. This is the Podcast Gumbo podcast and I’ve got a rhetorical question for ya.

Are you like me and find those things we call National Days, like Cheeseball Day or worse, Moldy Cheese Day, amusing? Yeah, me too. So each week, I’ll have one of my podcast friends challenge me to find an episode related to one of those days and I’ll be releasing it on the actual day it occurs. 

So, let’s get to it. What is today’s National Day?

This is Charles, and now because of you, I know that January 13th is Rubber Ducky Day, and now I really need to know if you can recommend me a podcast for that – a rubber ducky podcast. Please.

Charles, should it surprise me you picked this day? Well, today is January 13th which means it’s National Rubber Ducky Day.

So let me ask you this question. When you think of rubber duckies, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the USB rubber ducky, which is a USB device that acts as a keyboard? Probably not. Is it your yellow floating friend? That’s probably a better bet. 

But if you’re like me, you think of Sesame Street. If you’ve ever heard Ernie sing the rubber ducky song, it’s hard not to ever not think about that song. Am I wrong? Apparently the reason why January 13th is Rubber Ducky Day is because there is some very old Sesame Street calendar that lists today as rubber ducky’s birthday. So how does one observe National Rubber Ducky Day?

Well, there’s not really a way. However, might I suggest taking a bubble bath and singing the rubber ducky song? And if you’re feeling particularly unabashed, take a video and post it on social media using the national rubber ducky day hashtag. 

I will admit to being oddly stumped on finding a podcast about rubber duckies. As I searched for an episode to recommend, I found all different kinds of stuff. I found something that said that if you cut open a rubber ducky, it has a date stamp on it so you know when you bought it. Why that’s valuable, I have no idea. I also found out about the aforementioned USB rubber ducky. But even though those sound super exciting, I’m going to recommend an episode called Sunny Days, the History of Sesame Street in America and the World from the Backstory podcast. Backstory is a weekly podcast that uses current events in America to take a deep dive into the past.

Since 2019 was the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street, Backstory goes in-depth into the history of the iconic show featuring your favorite Muppets. 

Speaking of icons, today’s challenge comes from my friend Charles Gustine, host of the Iconography podcast. It’s quite possible that Charles was the first friend I ever made that had his own podcast.

Iconography is a tour of the icons, real and imagined, that define our sense of a place and that are defined by that place in turn. My first listen to his show was his episode on the Citgo sign that famously sits outside Fenway Park. But what I learned from that episode was how important it is to those wearing paper numbers partaking in the famous Boston marathon. If you’ve never witnessed the Boston marathon in person, do so sooner than later. 

For the third recommendation today, Charles recommends The Lonely Palette episode called Meditations on Mark Rothko. In my show notes, you can find out why Charles loves this episode so much. 

As always, take a look at the show notes for links to all the podcasts mentioned in this episode as well as other life-altering information. To make it easy for you, there’s also a link to a podcast playlist that will contain all the episodes ever mentioned in this show. 

See you next week sometime for another round of recommendations. 

Are you still listening? Do you still want more podcast goodness? If so, get on over to podcastgumbo.com and subscribe to my newsletter today. 

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