Listening to Differences – The Mountain Times

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Over the past few years, I’ve become more and more attached to podcasts as my main source of information. I have found that in-depth discussions lead to a better and more accurate understanding of people and ideas.

A three-minute sound bite of a talking head on an evening newscast or a 30-second YouTube or Tik-Tok video can be interpreted a thousand different ways, but put that individual in an interview situation for a hour with a trained interviewer and you are unlikely to get a clear picture of that person and their ideas. Like many people, my level of distrust of mainstream media has grown exponentially in recent years. I find that when I read news online, I always question the sources and/or influences related to the story. Occasionally, I like to read a traditionally liberal take on a topic, then immediately dig up a conservative counterpoint just to see the differences – and there are always dramatic differences.

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I saw a recent statistic that said the more time you spend reading news online, the more likely you are to believe inaccurate information to be the truth. Given how much time people are currently spending online, this becomes a very worrying data point. This is the main reason why I stopped sourcing information from these outlets and instead tapped into the podcast community.

I typically listen to a variety of podcasts that cover a wide range of topics from political and cultural ideations to psychological and metaphysical musings. I will often beat a subject into submission for several weeks, 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 pay more attention when running. During a one or two hour run, I can focus particularly on one topic, which leads to a much better understanding. If I’m passionate about the subject, I’ll find comparable podcasts to deepen my knowledge. And if I’m really captivated, I’ll seek another perspective to challenge the information, just to make sure I’m not inadvertently influenced.

For nearly 15 years, I’ve used an Apple iPod Shuffle to listen to music and podcasts while I run. The Shuffle was a (now discontinued) matchbook-sized media player 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 kind of “baggage” while running, so the Shuffle was a godsend when it came out.

Unfortunately, the Shuffle has become increasingly difficult to use since Apple shut down the iTunes Store and stopped supporting the device. I’ve found a workaround over the past two years, but recently it became clear that I needed to find a new way to listen to my podcasts and music. I’ve searched endlessly, but the market clearly no longer sees the need for small media players. There are a few but they don’t support Apple Podcasts so that doesn’t solve my problem.

Someone finally suggested I buy an Apple Watch. It seemed like a viable option, however, there was one problem: I’ve never worn a watch. I have never been a fan of watches, nor of jewelry for that matter; it was never my thing. But I’m always open to change, so I started thinking about it.

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

A few days later, I pulled the trigger and ordered a mid-tier Apple Watch, and I wasn’t disappointed. While I initially only wanted it for music and podcasts, I found the health tracking capabilities extremely interesting. And even though I bought it strictly for running, I now wear it throughout the day.

Admittedly, I feel a little put down with this expensive watch on my wrist, but the benefits seem to outweigh the blow to my fragile ego.

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

“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 legit comic force, this cinematic vehicle doesn’t turn out to be a tank worthy. Other than a few well-timed bits, there was more kickback than laughter with this boring action-comedy.

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

You can email him at [email protected]

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