Ever since I can remember I've been hooked on learning things. Most people want to learn new things but for me it's a compulsion. (I don't think this makes me any better/worse, smarter/dumber than anyone else. It's just part of my geekiness.) It's like someone who hasn't eaten for a week heading crazily for the buffet table.
Three of my favorites:
- The Bugle -- Audio Newspaper for a Visual World (from Times Online). It's hilarious. The hosts review, and skewer, some of the news events from the week. They're snarky, smart and sometimes rude. The link to sharing your views on the shows says: "Send your partially informed opinions to The Bugle where Oliver and Zaltzman will respond to, rebuke, lampoon, plagiarise or ignore your comments as they see fit."
- News from Lake Wobegon (from Prairie Home Companion). Garrison Keillor's monologues on small-town life and human foibles. Usually hilarious and often poignant. This program is about the only thing that's ever shut up my whole family during dinner. Another plus -- if it's bluegrass night you can catch the monologue while avoiding the annoyance and anger that bluegrass induces.
- Animal Planet Audio Podcast, particularly Animal Miracles. (Don't be scared away by the narrator -- Alan Thick. The great stories cancel out his annoying voice.) The stories tell about animals' extraordinary relationships, knowledge and intuition. E.g.:
- A diabetic woman whose dog kept bugging her until she woke up enough to eat some sugar. She was slipping into unconsciousness because her blood sugar level was out of whack. The dog was not trained to do this. He saved her life.
- Prisoners who train rescue dogs to make them more adoptable. The dogs likely give the prisoners some of the first unconditional love they've ever experienced.
- This American Life. This show is one of the best on public radio. There's a theme each week and several essays or stories around it. The show can be poignant, touching and/or funny. The host, Ira Glass, is so crazy smart as are the contributors. Because it's now available as a podcast, I avoid the panicky feeling I used to get when I missed the radio broadcast.