September 10, 2008
The Shocking Contents of My iPod
Posted by Gordon Smith

On Labor Day our family staged a 50-mile bicycle ride to support my 12-year-old sons in their quest to earn the cycling merit badge. The ride was particularly rough on one of the boys, who had a mountain bike. (The other had the foresight to borrow his friend's road bike, and he was fine.) In an effort to distract my suffering son, I offered my iPod. Unfortunately, I have no music on my iPod, except whatever theme songs accompany my podcasts.

No music!? [That was my oldest daughter, who was incredulous.] Why have an iPod at all if you don't listen to music on it?

I listen to podcasts, I told her. Notice that this product is made expressly for iPods.

Anyway, I turned on a funny story from The Moth, and that seemed to work for a little while. What worked even better was when I realized that we were pedaling into the wind, I suggested that we turn around. Who cares where we end up, as long as we have the Suburban to pick us up? So we did turn around, and everyone made it safely to the end.

By the way, if you were interested, in addition to The Moth, the podcasts on my iPod include:

  • Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, and Marketplace Money. I should get some sort of prize from Marketplace for being their biggest groupie.
  • Grammar Girl -- part of "Quick and Dirty Tips." I am relatively new to Grammar Girl, but I am a former writing tutor, so I enjoy this immensely, even if I violate many of her suggestions on this blog. I am starting to explore some of the other Q&D Tips, but I am not too impressed with the others, yet.
  • This American Life is a great radio show, if you were in the market for a bit longer podcast.
  • Hearsay Culture sounds less professional in terms of production values than TAL, but David Levine is substantively sound, and the topics and guests are excellent.
  • Schlaflos in München is low on substance, but I love Annik Rubens' voice.
  • A few news shows, like The Economist, the BBC, and Fokus Europa.
  • Stanford's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders is awesome, but they have been on a break.
  • A few other shows I never seem to get around to, like Fresh Air, New Yorker Fiction, and Stuff You Should Know.

So what must-hear podcasts am I missing?

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