Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 881 The Joy of Listening

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

I've entitled this podcast "The Joy of Listening"

The audio Louise Penny's tale "How the Light Gets In" accompanied my wife and I on a recent road trip. Armond Gamesh worked against all odds to solve a murder and much more. We listened attentively day after day as the miles slid by and as the dark hours of each day  drew close. There was a magical mystery in the air as we created the size, the shape, and the  color of each scene in our own minds. There is something about having a story read to you.

Retirement is the perfect time to indulge life with the wonders of audio. We live in a time of screens but it is audio that has also advanced to enhance our lives. The world of audiobooks and podcasts are at our fingertips. We have developed a daily addiction to the format.

Obviously you also have developed an interest in this activity as this is primarily published as a podcast. I have included a text edition since many of my older friends have not yet converted to audio over the written word. It remains just too confusing.

We find ourselves constantly amazed at the quality of audio that is being produced. I know radio was supposed to be snuffed out by TV decades ago but I would argue that it is just now experiencing an incredible renaissance.  Podcasts are a major reason for its subdued explosion.

Many of us can recall the excitement of pre-television youth when we would sit around the living room, usually as a family, and listen to the excitement of The Lone Ranger, The Squeaky Door, The Amos and Andy Show, or the heavyweight championship boxing matches from Madison Square Garden. My mother would iron clothes to the sounds of Arthur Godfrey from Chicago. My Dad would tune in to Paul Harvey on a daily basis.  On Saturdays we would follow the drama on the football field at the University of Iowa as described by Jim Zabel over WHO in Des Moines. Late at night we could pick up country music at  KXEL out of Del Rio, Texas.

Today I can listen to radio from around the world. I can listen to whatever program I want when I want. I love that part of modern radio possibilities. We subscribe to all of these shows through Tune-In radio which is something that we get through our Sonos Audio System. But of course anyone with a computer, tablet, or smartphone can do the same.

I have no idea what you might listen to in the form of radio or podcasts but I have some suggestions. We have all of these podcasts marked and listen whenever we have time: The Daily, This American Life, RadioLab,  Freakonomics, Hidden Brain, No Stupid Questions, Fresh Air, and several others.

We also download audio books from libraries within the state. No need to stay local but we do.} These are free and you can use them for three weeks and then renew them if you wish. We use an app for this called "Overdrive". It is easy to use and great whenever we find a reader who broadcasts in that radio magical tone. Miss Joe,my old high school psychology teacher, encouraged us to continue learning throughout life. She claimed that it made life much more exciting and enjoyable. Modern audio makes learning easily available and so enjoyable. We don't learn to pass a test, We don't  learn to do our job. We don't have to learn to please anyone but our own self-interest. In the last week I heard fantastic stories about the human brain and another on American Football(Radiolab), Etc. Another way we use the audio via computer technology is by listening to the news. If and when we want to hear what is going on in the world we pull up either NPR or the Canadian CBC.

We select the program we want to hear and then the various sections we want to hear. If we don't want to hear about what the stock market did today(which we don't) we don't select that section. If we don't want to hear what political candidates are saying for the thousandth time we skip it also. We select the time and topics. It is such a relief to not hear the same "news" over and over again. We can also select certain topics to recommend and send as attachments to our kids or some of our friends.

This type of listening allows us to not spend a lot of time each day trying to stay informed. Listening to the same reports six times a day is one of my pet peeves. I just can't handle it. Along with the stock market or weather report. I would rather devote that time to naval gazing or anything else. And if I want to have some elevating audio experience I can always tune in to some music via one of the many music services that are out there.

I'm not sure this is the way you should live but it suits us. You might want to think about it.

Drop me a line if you have other thoughts or ideas concerning audio via the Internet. I will be glad to pass on your suggestions to our listeners in other podcasts.






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