One of the good things about driving eighty miles a day: Getting “stuck” listening to Fresh Air or a particularly interesting Forum. I’m rather surprised that I went so long listening to crap talk radio in the mornings of Top 40 commercial radio stations. So. Awful. It’s a sad, sad moment when the best thing on the radio is Justin Timberlake, Trey Songz, or the sad shell of Enrique Iglesias’ once-interesting career.
We just acquired an FM transmitter for my car today (I have an iPod Video, iPod Touch, and iPhone 3G S.), meaning I’ll soon switch to audio books, but for when the audio literature well runs dry, I’ll end up on NPR.
The ranking of each of my favorite NPR moments isn’t important. These are simply my Top Three:
- Garrison Keillor says “GUI.” The man looks like a frog but somehow his voice is like honey, sap, or molasses. Sticky, thick, and slow. It conjures up visions of the “hunny” Disney’s Winnie the Pooh used to dip his paws into. While I know “hunny” does not at all resemble “honey” but rather American processed nacho cheese food, there’s something comforting about the sound of Keillor’s voice and the children’s book imagery I have somehow come to associate with it. Hearing him say “GUI” one morning completely made my day. You won’t be able to find that podcast unless you do quite a bit of digging, but there’s a transcript of his piece on Steve Jobs and Apple here. GUI. GUI GUI gooey.
- Shirley O. Corriher on All Things Considered. The food chemist was on the air to drop some kitchen knowledge bombs like why your bread doesn’t rise. To be honest, I didn’t learn a ton from her interview. I was completely distracted simply by her voice. She came off like an eccentric librarian with whom hours upon hours could be spoken about baking soda. If you don’t have time to click over to the story, read this in your head starting in a tone like you’d use for reading to children, “Now, when you get toooo much leavening [wags finger], the bubbles get [lowers voice] big. They bump into each other. They get huuuuuge! They float to the top and [pause, possibly for gesticulation] POP! And there goes your leavening. [And there goes your leavening.]”
- Terry Gross saying “Izzo.” I’m not a seasoned Fresh Air fan, but I do like the stories. Sometimes. To this day I don’t know what Terry Gross looks like, except for the one modified memory of one time at a dinner party where we Googled her face and decided she looks like a skeksi. Fairweather yuppie that I am, I am most amused when Terry Gross interviews someone of “my generation,” someone who is an icon for Millennials and not who you’d expect to hear pumping through the airwaves for a largely White audience. Tonight Terry interviewed Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, promoting his new autobiography Decoded. (Yes, I totally want to read that book.) Gross seems to be cool, calm, collected, and humane every time she sits down with some big wig, but with Jay-Z I detected just the slightest anxious, excited hesitation every time she said “Izzo.” It was pretty awesome. I can just see this middle-aged Liz Lemon in a sweater stepping out of her Volvo gawking at the line outside of 40/40. I totally just drew up that caricature in my head, but can you blame me? It makes me smile when people step out of their comfort zone. (And so much more palatable than Barbara Walters with tons of soft lighting.)