I am a big fan of podcasts and internet-based radio. I can download audio to my smartphone or listen live online, and then via bluetooth use my car speakers or a headset. I listen while I drive and jog, but also while I practice shooting and at the reloading press. Unfortunately, the tools I use to access the podcasts and audio are a bit hodgepodge. I use Google Listen, which integrates with Google Reader (a great web and phone-based RSS reader), also tunein.com and now stitcher.com. Here are a few of the things I listen to:
There are a few sample .mp3 files on the site, but you have to pay. The great thing is though, you can pay once and they make it easy to download all of the past .mp3 lessons. So I paid for 90 days or something like that, and downloaded all the past lessons, which should keep me busy for a year or so. I think this podcast is the right way to learn a foreign language, which is to listen to conversations, repeat them, repeat them, repeat them, repeat them, repeat them… This is how children learn. Learning a language is not an intellectual exercise…like shooting skill it is a habit mastered by rote. Last year’s new year’s resolution to become fluent in Hebrew failed…hopefully this year these podcasts will help me get there!
2. Dennis Miller via Tunein.com
I really like the former Saturday Night Live and NFL commentator’s daily radio show. His style is not for everyone, but give him a try, he might be an acquired taste. I use the tunein.com app on my phone, but also on a TV where I practice shooting dry fire via the tunein channel on a roku.com box.
This podcast is by Rev. Ken Blanchard, a Baptist pastor. Rev. Blanchard is a scholar, a gentleman, a tzadik and a mensch. Trust me when I say that if you tune in for a few episodes of his podcast, it will not be what you expect. Here is how he describes it:
It is here that I passionately, positively and persistently produce this podcast to encourage, educate and enlighten people around the world that want it.
I sing, I joke, I interview interesting people I have met or hear of that are not afraid of coming on a show where they might find a new friend.
The podcast is not just about guns its about the people behind the guns. It’s the unsung heroes of our communities. It’s the women, mothers and sexy grandmothers that choose to arm themselves. It’s those that hunt and compete too, (the women) that folks like to ignore or pimp only on special occasions.
This show is about all nationalities, ethnicities, white, black, brown, yellow and every combination in between that shoot, own guns and fight to do so because of misinformation and racism. It’s for the urbanite and rural shooter. It’s for America.
I would tune in even if he never talked about guns, it’s that good. There are several ways to hear the podcast, lately I have been using stitcher.com on my phone, I have mixed feelings about that app as I used to use Google Listen which was easier to deal with. I think there is a way to use tunein to get it as well.
I am part of the “conservative” sect of American Jews, so I do not belong to a Chabad schul, but every time I have been to one I have felt welcome, despite the fact I am far less observant or versed in the siddur (prayers) or kashrut (kosher laws) than more observant, orthodox Jews. I don’t take the label of me as “not yet frum” as an insult at all. To be blunt, anybody who tells you Chabad is a cult has no clue what they are talking about, and are probably just insecure in their own beliefs. So don’t be afraid, give their web site a try.
Well in any case, Chabad has excellent Torah study podcasts for every level of Torah knowledge and every learning style. Want to take a textual approach? They have a podcast for that. More into the emotional and spiritual? They have a podcast for that. Only have 2 minutes a week? They have a podcast for that.
The web site is a little difficult to navigate sometimes, but you can find the weekly Torah portion podcasts here:
I like the weekly lectures by Elimelech Silberberg, because he gives a run down of the text (helpful for those many, many weeks I fail to read it) and then transitions to the practical and spiritual applications. I also like Moishe New, who gives a spiritual, kabbalistic lecture on the week’s portion.
5. BBC World News
Although I do watch the CBS nightly news (in my opinion it is one of the more fair and balanced mass media outlets out there), I also like the BBC world news podcasts and streaming through tunein.com. The BBC is not always fair to Israel, but overall I don’t think there is a better news outlet out there for what is happening around the world.
So with that, have a Happy New Year and keep ‘em in the 10 ring!