Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How I While Away The Hours

This week, I posted this over at Life On The Road and when I got done writing it, thought it would be a good post for over here. So, enjoy...

For some reason, I always wind up driving at night; in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to look at, and not much on the radio. So I listen to podcasts. I make sure before we head out on a long run, especially a team run where we have to keep the wheels rolling, that I have plenty to listen to in case the radio just starts to get to me. I can listen to the re-hashing of the news only so many times.

hese are some of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. If you have an iPod, you can get most of them through iTunes. Some of them can be heard on the radio (if you happen to be driving at that time) and some can be streamed directly over the computer. Whichever way you do it, it's a great use of time as you'll definitely be entertained and you'll most certainly learn something!

The Splendid Table
Hosted by Lynne Rosetto Kasper, a food writer and cooking teacher whose cookbook The Splendid Table has won both the James Beard and the Julia Child Cookbook of the Year awards, and billed as “the show for people who love to eat” this podcast is chock full of information for people who appreciate food. It’s comprised of segments that blend culinary, culture and lifestyle, celebrating food and the role it plays in our lives. I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned from these podcasts! She also features contributors Jane and Michael Stern, who specialize in books about travel, food and popular culture. They maintain a website called
Roadfood, which highlight places all over the country where one can get "the most memorable local eateries along the highways and back roads of America”. Who better to visit those places than a truck driver??

Real Time With Bill Maher
This is one of my favorite podcasts of all time. Every week I can’t wait to listen to the new episode. If you have HBO, you can watch it on TV every Friday night, but if you don’t, you can download it for free on iTunes. If you’re not familiar with the show, Real Time always starts with an interview of one featured guest, either in studio or via satelllite, then moves on to a panel of people who discuss current events in politics and the media. The panel is made up of three guests (most well known) with an occassional actor or celebrity thrown in for good measure. Bill himself is extremely well-read and intelligent, but the people he has on his panel are very well-versed in the subject they're discussing and he includes many experts such as journalists, professors and politicians; from ALL political parties.

Car Talk
You can catch this show weekly on NPR, but you can also download the podcast from iTunes. I don’t know anything about cars, nor do I really care, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE these two guys. And I’m obviously not the only one since they have more than 4.1 million listeners weekly! To learn more about Tom and Ray Magliozzi, click
HERE to read their funny and fascinating biographies. Both graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the genius of these brothers is brilliantly entwined with their humor, to provide a hilarious show with actual useful information (if you own a car, that is). I only wish they had a program like this for people who have trouble with big rigs!

This American Life
This is a weekly public radio show, produced by Chicago Public Media, broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 1.7 million listeners. It is often the most popular podcast in the country, with more than a half million people downloading it each week. Hosted by Ira Glass, the stories presented are first-person and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising. There are many ways to get the show; stream it online, listen to it on the radio, subscribe to the weekly podcast, download old episodes on iTunes, stream it through iPhone or Android apps and more. Check the website for more information.

Freakonomics Radio
Freakonomics Radio explores “the hidden side of everything”. It will tell you things you always thought you knew but didn’t, and thing you never thought you wanted to know, but do. The podcasts cover things like why we can’t predict earthquakes, if college still matters and the power of poop. That’s right, poop; human feces, as it turns out, may represent a new frontier for science. How can that not pique your interest?

The Ricky Gervais Show
I've saved the best for last - The Ricky Gervais Show. This is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE podcast. This comedy show, which originated in the United Kingdom, stars Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. All these three really do is just talk, and the real star of the show seems to be the round-headed little buffoon Karl, but you'd have to decide for yourself. The podcsast was so popular, that in 2007 it appeard in the Guinness World Record for the world's most downloaded podcast. According to the BBC, by September 2006, the podcasts had been downloaded nearly 8 million times. And that was in 2006!

An animated show, based on the original podcasts, now airs on HBO so you can catch it on TV too. I've downloaded all the podcasts I could find on iTunes and I purchased other podcasts and audio shows on Audible.com. I can’t really say what my favorite part of the show is because all of it provides me with such extreme pleasure, but Karl’s Diary is certainly one of the highlights.

So there you have it, some my favorite ways to pass time while driving. There are thousands of other podcasts out there to cater to a variety of listening tastes. If you're tired of what you're hearing on satellite radio (which I often am), this is a great way to increase your knowledge on all sorts of subjects. And it makes the time spent on long drives whiz by, in what feels like minutes instead of hours!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Incredibly Average, Yet Heroic If Necessary
May I Take A Message?
Doing The Speed Limit In Your Sleep
Now I Can Go Back To Watching The Show
Ten Of Life’s Simplest Pleasures


SF50 said...

I'm so glad you found my blog through our shared obsession with TST. I love your list here--we listen to so many of the same things! Do you ever listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me? It's how I manage to have some semblance of knowledge of current events. Love your writing.

Scott said...

Do you use a rss reader on ur iPhone to keep up with other peoples blogs? I put one on so I could get notifications when u had a new post.. But couldn't get it to work right

Podcast I listen to....
Desert Island Discs.... BBC radio show that interviews people and they talk about their life and music that means something to them

Who Charted.... Comedians talking about the top music and movies ... Pretty funny

Adam carolla show ... He can be pretty funny

The Daily Rant said...

Scott: I don't really know how to do the RSS thing. If you want, I can add you to my list of people who get my posts via email when I post a new one - just send your email to me at salenalettera@gmail.com and I'll add you.

I haven't listened to Desert Island Discs, but I do listen to Who Charted - I didn't add it because I thought it might be too specific to appeal to a lot of people.

I haven't listened to Adam Corolla either...I'll have to check him out.