Blumenthal: Passing time on the small screen | AspenTimes.com

Blumenthal: Passing time on the small screen

Mel Blumenthal
Second View

Mel Blumenthal

It's pretty quiet in the Village this week — no new local controversies or bad dudes to call out — so I have nothing better to write about than a long aborning confessional to which many who know me will shout out, "See, I told you so."

I'm addicted to my iPhone, and I enjoy it. So back off, I'm not going into any intervention/recovery program to cure my dependency issues. As a show of macho willpower some of you are still holding onto your old analog flip tops for fear you may also become addicted, and a few clandestine users even claim they don't have a cellphone. I know you're just too embarrassed to admit you could also find joyous pleasure in staying connected and in touch 24/7.

My world recently exploded wide open when my iPhone took me to a higher level of dependency. As many of you closet addicts already know there are thousands of hours of free podcast programming floating out there in the ether covering every conceivable subject, fad and fetish, and I'm now plugged in.

My personal journey began earlier this year with "Serial," a 12-episode exploration of the guilt or innocence of a teenager who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend and imprisoned for life over 15 years ago. This captivating and well-produced piece of investigative journalism and storytelling took the podcast world by storm last year when it began airing a new episode each week. Luckily I came to "Serial" after the completion of all 12 episodes so I got to binge on all of them from the archives on my own schedule without having to wait seven days between episodes. I was hooked immediately and suffered severe anxiety every time I had to do something interruptive like eating, sleeping and interacting with other human beings.

It's likely this case will soon be retried in the halls of justice and in the national media due in no small part to the good work of all those responsible for "Serial." Without spoiling the joy of this journey, I'd recommend you hit the play button and see what conclusion you come to regarding guilt or innocence.

"Serial" was just the beginning; "This American Life" is the next step in my growing addiction.

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It was an inevitable progression from "Serial" to the diverse programing menu of "This American Life," which as it turns out is the mothership for "Serial" since those responsible are also key players in the wonders to be sampled under the umbrella of "This American Life."

"This American Life" has been a critically acclaimed and popular program series on NPR for many years, and its library of over 570 episodes is archived under the purple Podcast icon on the home page of your smartphone. It's hard to describe this series other than to say it's a potpourri of little-known, well-told stories that uniquely touch our lives in diverse and oftentimes surprising ways. There's a theme to each episode usually related to issues we or our friends and families confront on a regular basis or on special occasions and a variety of stories on that theme that are mostly journalism based with occasional humor rolled in just to keep things moving along with a laugh or two — that's what "This American Life" is all about.

In addition to all that I now get most of my news both locally and nationally on my iPhone with subscriptions to several big city and local news sites and blogs as well as various liberal/conservative political pundits and of course the stock market and weather sites in order to make sure I can still afford to live part-time in the Village and Santa Monica and when's the ideal time to be in each place.

If truth be told, the iPhone is not my only addiction, and although I'm basically a small town kind of guy, I also have a recurring need to visit New York City once or twice a year to get my fix of all the glitz and glamour we don't have at the beach or in the mountains.

As to my Big Apple addiction, I'm confronting it this week along with my wife, who is currently perusing the latest shoe fashions at Bergdorf's while I sit on a very plush purple couch alongside a huge display of women's short and tall boots writing this week's column. It never ceases to amaze me why all these fancy uptown ladies get such joyous pleasure ogling piles of the latest footwear — just a couple of pairs of well-worn sneakers, comfortable hiking boots and a pair of well-fitted ski boots are all anyone needs to get through most of life's chores and pleasures. None of the above are on display this morning at Bergdorf's.

We are soon to enjoy several new Broadway musicals and a few highly recommended eateries recently touted as the latest and greatest in a city overflowing with the latest and greatest of just about everything except surfing, hiking and skiing.

Now that I've laid bare my confessional I'll soon be back confronting our aborning local controversies and striking out against all the bad dudes lurking in the shadows of our fair Village and the Roaring Fork Valley.

Your comments are welcome at secondview@earthlink.net.