South Florida is not known for the richness of its radio, but driving around on Sunday afternoon I have a hard time deciding what to listen to: Michael Stock's "Folk and Acoustic Music" on WLRN, Dick Robinson's "Standards by the Sea" on WPBI, or WDNA's "Indian Vibes."
Yesterday the Miami Herald ran three essays taking Pamela Druckerman to task for her essay in last Sunday's New York Times that found Miami intellectually lacking. One of the three was missing an apostrophe in the first sentence and had a dangling participle in the second.
My sister-in-law in New Jersey told me that, for her high school reunion, her class is holding an auction to help raise money for the school. She asked if I would agree to offer my tour of Miami as one of the items. I said I'd be delighted. Now I just hope that somebody bids on it.
Watching one of those far-flung TV personalities bite into yet another country's delicacy the other night I pondered the popularity of travel food shows. Even taking into account our national obsession with eating, it seems a little odd. Food cannot be shared and enjoyed through the medium of television. To get an idea of its taste, its texture, its smell, we have to rely on the commentary of the host, which is often nothing more than an awed, "That's incredible," or an appreciative, "Ah, that's good stuff." Our enjoyment consists of observing the host's; we, the viewers, are left feeling hungry.
I started wondering why there are no shows, built on the same principle, in which a person knowledgeable in the field travels the world listening to music. People watching at home could hear everything the host hears, and then have their experience enhanced by background information and conversations with the musicians. The world's music is as diverse and rich as the world's food, and much more susceptible to outside influences, which would make for lively discussions. Such a show would take NPR's old "Afropop" and make it visual and global. It would be more enlightening and enjoyable than watching yet another man stuff his face.