Buses, books, and my stomach do not mix. Any combination of two is fine, but three together makes for one barfy Blattman. So (usually) bus and car trips are a bore. I’m forced to stare out the window while my lovely wife reads away.
Well, no longer. My belated discovery of podcasts has changed road travel for good. As I whistled via bus and taxi through the mountains of Morocco, two stood out.
First, each week the New Yorker fiction podcast features a notable author reading and discussing his or her favorite short story from the magazine archivees. One I particularly liked: Aleksandar Hemon discusses Bernard Malamud’s “A Summer’s Reading” (listen or download).
Second, this episode of This American Life features four stories about the pitfalls of knowing just a little bit too little.
Host Ira Glass describes the thing that we all do at some point: talk expertly about something we don’t actually know anything about. It’s so common, explains This American Life contributing editor Nancy Updike, that some friends of hers invented an imaginary magazine devoted to such blathering. It’s called “Modern Jackass.”
All those time’s you’ve sat around with friends making long-winded arguments on topics you know little about? Consider it a submission to Modern Jackass.
Hmmm… have I just discovered a more appropriate name for this blog?