My father used to have a small transistor radio by his bed. When he woke up in the middle of the night he would put the mono earbud in, and listen to AM radio in Pittsburgh. I don’t know if he listened to news or music or sports - what was on in the middle of the night?
I don’t like waking up in the middle of sleep, but after a while of trying to slow down my brain, I sometimes reach for my own radio..which is my phone that can play way too much to ever find sleep again. I like to listen to people talking at a really low volume. I like to be at a dinner party I was not invited to, but can listen in on. David Remnick on the New Yorker Podcast is amazing. Quiet in depth interviews by David Axelrod on the, “Axe Files”. I listen to “On Being” sometimes (love the recent John Lewis episode). I sometimes listen to “WTF with Marc Moran” - but have to skip the first 20 minutes where he is talking about himself. I have listened to some of the drama podcasts like “Homecoming”, smart takes on history from Malcolm Gladwell’s “REvisionist History” and of course “This American Life” and it’s spin off, “Serial”.
Then there is all the politics - which I should NOT be listening to in the middle of the night.
Lately I have been obsessed with a podcast 3 Obama speechwriters have created called, “Pod Save America.” They describe their podcast as, “ a political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.” I started with their Obama interview, which was his last as president. This week they talk about what it was like working with President Obama as his speechwriters. The whole podcast is really brilliant, but towards the end they gave me a gift. It was this, “There is an America that is dying and it is going out with a super nova. Some stars just die and fade away, but others explode brightly before they disappear. Trump is is a supernova of a kind of politics we are saying goodbye to. The future is on our side. Let’s make it so.” I needed to hear this to put this whole political nightmare in some kind of perspective. Listen to this episode. You will learn a lot - and afterwards you will sleep much better.