Thursday, April 15, 2004

Hello again! I had a wonderful Passover, first in Merced, then in Oakland, in Santa Cruz, and then back here in Los Angeles. I've had some computer difficulties, though, so posts will be erratic for a while.

I've listened to a lot of radio as I drove up and down the state. I listen to a little bit of everyone: NPR, Christian radio, Rush Limbaugh, you name it. I like to know what everyone is saying and thinking -- I think that we don't pay enough attention to one another in this country, and too many of our public figures preach only to the choir. Does Rush realize how unpersuasive he is when he talks insultingly about anyone who doesn't agree with him? Sure, the "dittoheads" like it, but even when I'm trying to understand where he's coming from, he makes it difficult to do so.

Christian radio is varied and rather interesting. I've listened to various takes on "The Passion of the Christ" (Catholic, Fundamentalist Christian, and others) and learned a lot about what it means to the people who have flocked to see it. I've heard information and misinformation, things I agreed with and things that tempted me to pull over and phone in to argue. (I didn't.) I'm not a Christian and I figure they are not my shows to call in to -- but it's a good way to separate my fantasies about what Christians are saying from what's really going out over the airwaves.

I like NPR, when I can get it. Those are the voices most familiar to me, and the programming has a smooth, soothing quality. They have lots of pieces about people and ideas that I didn't know about, which I like, but a certain sameness to much of their programming, which makes me sleepy after a while. Not a good thing on the freeways -- but as I said, I can't always get it, so my snooze-factor isn't an issue.

When I'm not in the car, and I have a high speed connection for the computer, I listen to lots of other stuff. I started listening to the radio via the computer in Jerusalem; I'd get homesick and tune in to NPR (those friendly, familiar voices) or the traffic reports from KCBS in San Francisco. (THAT's how homesick I was.) NPR's take on the Middle East annoyed me, but even on the worst days I could feel pleased that I wasn't stuck in traffic on an on-ramp to the Bay Bridge.

Lately I've been listening to It's the new left-wing talk radio station, available in some cities, and while the humor gets pretty snarky at times, it is lively and closer to my own political leanings than Rush. It has a muscular feel that NPR lacks -- some days I'd rather get mad about the news than soak in more sorrow about it -- certainly I'm never in danger of falling asleep. Al Franken gets most of the publicity about Air America, but there are some other folks on there I like better: Randi Rhodes and Lizz Winstead, for instance. They are not so famous, but they have great radio voices with interesting things to say.

For music, if you are running Windows, the coolest thing out there is a group of stations at with classical, rock, country, and folk music. The radio software is nice, although you have to look closely at the site to figure out what's going on (it's all in Czech.) Nothing to download if you have Windows -- just click and listen. It's also amusing to see articles in Czech about Bob Dylan, Shania Twain, and so on -- I can only recognize a few words, but for some reason it tickles me.

I love radio. Do you know of stations I should check out, online or in L.A., Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, or Stockton? Email me at val355(at), if you do!

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