16 February 2008


I admit it freely: I am addicted to iTunes and my iPod.  I used to buy an album and rush to play it on a discman or a shelf player; whatever was the quickest way of getting to listen to the music.  Now, the first thing I do is import the album into iTunes so I can play it on my iPod.  Sure, I could play it on my CD player and get to hear it quicker.  There's something about actually seeing the songs catalogued that help cement the idea of new ownership, though.  Plus, the iPod frees me up entirely; I can listen to a new album while doing the dishes.  No one else has to hear the music, and I don't have to hear anyone else.  Everyone wins!

One of the appeals of the iTunes store is the free Single of the Week.  Oftentimes, the Single of the Week is accompanied by a Discovery Download and a free Hispanic/Latin track, too.  Granted, they are pre-selected by iTunes and not all of them have been interesting.  The Hispanic/Latin tracks, though, generally tend to be fun (even if I have no idea what the lyrics are).  It's nice to diversify, if nothing else.

Beyond music, there are the podcasts.  Podcasts are great, because they're free.  Sure, many are too amateur-ish and can be grating.  Sifting through them can yield some gems, though.  Each month, I highly anticipate the new episode of HealthTalk: Crohn's Disease, from which I have learned much about my condition and the work being done to help those of us with it.  On a weekly basis, I find myself enjoying Sex Is Fun, which is partly a sex ed. series and partly talk radio with fairly entertaining speakers.  Between learning about the dangers of phalates and laughing frequently, it doesn't matter that most of what they're discussing hasn't and probably won't ever really be part of my life.  Lately, I have also discovered Wine for Newbies, each episode of which is designed to educate the listener on a different subject of wine.  The host may lack charisma, but the information seems good and I do feel I've learned things about a topic I find interesting.

I am not a big fan of watching movies or TV shows on the iPod; I figure I own an HDTV for a reason.  Still, I readily confess to enjoying a video podcast I found a couple of months ago, Vintage Tooncast, which presents public domain cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s.  Predominantly, the 'toons are WWII-era propaganda, though I was thrilled to discover that they not only included all seventeen of the Fleischer studio Superman cartoons, but at Christmastime, they included Christmas Comes But Once a Year, my brother's favorite Yuletide 'toon.  It was nice being able to play that for him at Christmas this past year.

Another video podcast I greatly enjoy is The Midwest Teen Sex Show.  No, it's not going to get anyone arrested.  It's a very comical sex ed. series targeted at a younger demographic that has questions, and few trustworthy sources of answers.  I already know everything they're teaching, but it's too funny to not watch.  Besides, as I already stated, it's free.  It's hard to pass up free entertainment.

As someone who was thrilled the first time I owned a walkman that would automatically switch sides on the cassette for me, I greatly appreciate every work of music in my library being on a player roughly the size of a cassette.  No more carrying a case with tapes or a wallet with CD's; no more skipping if I walk too roughly.  Before my time, I am told that radio stations used to be more varied in their playlists; George Jones would be played between Led Zeppelin and Frank Sinatra, for instance.  Now, when I select "Shuffle Songs," he is again.  It's not a feature unique to the iPod, but it does make going to the laundro-mat far more enjoyable.

Incidentally, the thing that lets you tell what you're reading, viewing or listening to is acting up right now.  For the record, I am listening to Men in Black: The Album.  "Here come the Men in Black..."  You know you like it, too.  Go on, admit it.

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