On June 29, 2022

Listening to the differences

For the last several years, I have grown increasingly attached to podcasts as my main source of information. I’ve found that long-form discussions lead to a better and more accurate understanding of both people and ideas.

A three-minute soundbite from a talking head during a nightly newscast or a 30-second YouTube or Tik-Tok video can be construed a thousand different ways, but place that individual in an interview situation for an hour with a skilled questioner and there’s little chance you won’t get a clear picture of that person and their ideas. Like many people, my level of distrust for traditional media has grown exponentially in recent years. I find that when I do read online news, I am always questioning the sources and/or influences related to the story. On occasion, I like to read a traditionally liberal viewpoint on a topic and then immediately dig out a conservative counterpoint just to see the differences — and there are always dramatic differences.

Submitted

I saw a recent stat that indicated the more time you spend reading online news, the more apt you are to hold inaccurate information as truth. Given how much time people spend online currently, that becomes a very disturbing datapoint. This is the main reason why I’ve stopped sourcing my information from those outlets and have instead resorted to the podcast community.

I generally listen to a variety of podcasts that cover a broad range of topics from political and cultural ideations to psychological and metaphysical musings. I’ll often beat a topic into submission over several weeks and then move on to something new once I feel exhausted in my understanding or established in my opinion.

I often listen to podcasts in the car or while doing mundane chores like laundry, but I am most attentive while running. During a one- or two-hour run I can get particularly focused on a subject, leading to a much better understanding. If the subject excites me, I’ll find comparable podcasts to further my knowledge. And if I am really captivated, I’ll look for an alternative viewpoint to challenge the information, just to make sure I’m not being inadvertently swayed.

For nearly 15 years, I’ve used an Apple iPod Shuffle to listen to music and podcasts while I run. The Shuffle was a matchbook-sized media player (now discontinued) that was perfect to use while running given its small size and ability to clip onto your shirt or shorts. I’m one of those runners who hates any type of “baggage” while they run, so the Shuffle was a godsend when it was released.

Unfortunately, the Shuffle has become increasingly more difficult to use since Apple shut down the iTunes store and ceased support for the device. I found a workaround for the last two years but recently it became clear that I had to find a new way to listen to my podcasts and music. I’ve searched endlessly but the market obviously doesn’t see the need for tiny media players anymore. There are a few but they don’t support Apple Podcasts, so it doesn’t solve my problem.

Someone finally suggested that I get an Apple Watch. It sounded like a viable option, however, there was one problem: I’ve never worn a watch. I’ve never been a fan of watches, or any jewelry for that matter; it’s just never been my thing. But I’m always open to change so I started looking into it.

After a few hours of research, I determined that the Apple Watch might be an even better solution since it not only gave me the ability to listen to podcasts and music, but it also had Bluetooth capabilities, which meant I could listen with wireless headphones (something the Shuffle didn’t allow me to do).

A few days later, I pulled the trigger and ordered a mid-level Apple Watch, and I have not been disappointed. While I initially only wanted it for music and podcasts, I have found the health tracking capabilities immensely interesting. And even though I bought it strictly for running, I’m now wearing it throughout the day.

Admittedly, I feel like a bit of a poser with this expensive watch on my wrist, but the benefits seem to be outweighing the blow to my fragile ego.

In this week’s feature, “The Man from Toronto” starring Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson, we meet a middle-aged man who also turns out to be a poser, except in his case, he has no idea that he’s being mistaken for a notorious hitman.

“The Man from Toronto” is exactly what you think it is: a vehicle for Kevin Hart’s unique sense of humor. And while Hart is a legitimate comedic force, this cinematic vehicle does not prove to be a worthy chariot. Other than a few well-timed bits, there was more cringing than laughing with this dull action comedy.

An inaudible “D+” for “The Man from Toronto,” available for streaming on Netflix. Got a question or comment for Dom?

You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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