Homer's Travels: All Good Things ...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All Good Things ...

A few years back I got hooked on This American Life. The radio show is funny, thought provoking, and educational. This is especially true with the recent shows covering the economic collapse and the healthcare cost issues. I started listening to them back in 2006. I managed to download most of the episodes from a website that had scraped the radio show's archives without permission. Literally the day after I downloaded some 288 episodes, the site was pulled down at the request of Ira Glass. Fortunately for all, an RSS feed was set up to allow listeners to get the new episodes each week. Even with the RSS feed, I've ended up with only 367 of the current 392 episodes. Some of the very early shows are lost. Others, I just missed the the RSS feed. (NPR only keeps a current episode available for a week. - There are ways to listen but not a way to download for my collection.)

My listening was sporadic. For awhile I listened to them while walking on the beaches in Oxnard and Ventura. Other times I listened to them while doing chores. For awhile there I thought It would take many years to finish listening to them all. As I listened I moved through time, something
I noted in Homer's Travels.

Finally last year, once I retired, I started to get a routine going. I listened to four episodes per week while I cleaned the house (Kitchens and Bathrooms - two episodes. Dusting and Vacuuming - two episodes). Today just over three years after I started, after mopping the kitchen, entryway, and bathroom floors, I finished - I caught up to the present. I now have a sense of loss. An empty void.

I saw this coming of course. I reached this point earlier than expected but I am somewhat prepared. I have started to download other podcasts. Most of them are NPR. Some current events. Some music. Some culture. Of course, This American Life will continue, a few new episodes a month, but I suspect I will miss having Ira drone in my ear while I clean the kitchen counter or empty the vacuum cleaner. Other voices will be there but it just won't be the same.

P.S. I was introduced to This American Life by the Best Man. It is only fitting that the day I finish my last saved episode, the Best Man was hired to a new job. Great News BM.


  1. Thanks!

    I started listening to This American Life in MP3 format on my lone drive from NYC to Mpls. after buying the Godson's classic Ford Escort.

    By the way, I recommend cheap Maxell noise-suppression headphones (about $25 online) for vacuuming. (I believe we have the same vacuum model - great minds think alike.)

  2. I'd encourage you to listen to "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me." If you keep up on the news, it's great to download it each week and hear the guests joke about current events.

    We also listen to "Hometown Tales" quite a bit.

  3. You could always start on 20+ years of Prairie Home Companion...

  4. BM: I use wireless headphones. That way I'm not encumbered by a cord while doing chores. Unfortunately, as far as I know, they don't make cordless noise-suppression headphones.

    AB: I've heard Wait Wait Don't tell me. It is intriguing. My only fear is it may take me awhile to listen to it and 'news' shows get stale after awhile.

    I'll have to check out Hometown Tales. Never heard it before.

    GH: Prairie Home Companion ... kill me now. Sorry but I just don't get the whole Garrison Keillor thing.