Tunes & Tumblers: Pour Yourself a Refreshing Glass of NPR

Alison Hurt © 2010 via Creative Commons
Listening to music is more than just an auditory experience. Atwood Magazine’s Tunes & Tumblers column explores the way our senses mingle by pairing new and classic albums with cocktail recipes. We invite you to bring out your inner mixologist as we approach the music we love from a unique, immersive, and thoroughly delicious perspective. Put up your feet and enjoy a cold one on us.

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Have a bad case of ear fatigue? Mute Spotify and boot up the most rejuvenating voice in podcasting, that of Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. Interviews this intimate deserve a drink just as refreshing.

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Here at Atwood Magazine, we probably feel the same way about music that you do.

It’s too loud.

How can kids today think with all that racket blasting their eardrums?

You know what sounds better than that nonsense? A quiet night at home in a cardigan and a comfy pair of slippers listening to the sweet elocution of public radio. Just mentioning it now makes me want to increase my monthly donation.

We live in a glorious time. There are not one, not two, but fifty different podcasts on NPR. Luckily I live in LA, which means I’m able to get through all of them on my morning commute. I understand that not everyone is that blessed though, so it’s probably best to dip our toes in the shallow end first. You might immediately want to follow the neon signs pointing to Malcolm Gladwell, but slow down, tiger. You’re not ready to take off your floaties yet. We need something sophisticated and stimulating our first time out of the gate, but not too stimulating. Let’s keep our heartrate under eighty for now.

For the best purveyor of culture in forty minutes or less we turn to the living legend herself, Terry Gross. Since 1985, she has beamed into living rooms all over the country via her iconic talk show Fresh Air. If you grew up in the 90’s getting shuttled to school in your dad’s Saturn hatchback, it should need no introduction. For those of you who took the bus without a Walkman though, you’re in for quite the treat.

Fresh Air's Terry Gross © 2018 by Jessica Kourkounis
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross © 2018 by Jessica Kourkounis

On Fresh Air, Gross sits down with prominent figures in various fields, wrangling a real who’s who of notables to fill you hungry ear holes. The Peabody Award-winning program is broadcast daily, so the roster is as vast as it is impressive.

There’s honestly no bad place to start. Kick back in your favorite recliner with reading glasses perched at the edge of your nose. Get ready to unwind to the calming timbre of Gross’ voice, the greatest gift to all of us who wish the ravers upstairs would keep it down as it’s past 10PM.

But you can’t listen to Fresh Air without something equally fresh in hand. Hope you’ve stocked your bar cart because this one’s a classic. Please enrich your day responsibly.


A Glass of Ice Water

(Ice Optional)

© Pixabay
© Pixabay
  • 8oz cold, filtered water
  • Ice (for garnish)


  1. Pour water into a chilled glass.
  2. Add 3 cubes of ice if you’re feeling adventurous.
  3. Stir and enjoy!

Can you think of anything more satisfying than basking in the intellectual glow of public radio with a cold glass of water to slake your thirst? Of course you can’t. It is one of the few transcendent experiences in this world alongside plugging in a USB on the first try.

If you decided to kick up your beverage with a hint of ice, you’ll find yourself more alert when Gross goes for the jugular. Maybe loosen that cardigan a bit. You’ll need a breather after she grills a primatologist on the behavior and emotions of apes. You may even need another water.

As tempting as it may be, don’t get too wild with it though. You don’t want the neighbors calling the cops, you crazy animal.


Fresh Air with Terry Gross

National Public Radio

It’s hard to believe that a little weekday program from Philadelphia’s WHYY became the journalistm juggernaut it is today. With guests as titillating as the ones Terry Gross rounds up though, it’s the perfect vehicle to recharge after all that godawful music. What else was the #selfcare movement created for than this right here? Snap a photo of your night for Instagram and watch the likes roll in like ticker tape.

Nailed it.
Nailed it.

Maybe you’ll hear John Mulaney recap his time at SNL. Or you might get into a therapist’s story of her own experience in therapy. You may even get a crash course in why emergency room visits cost so darn much. Wherever the adventure takes you, it is sure to be an enlightening ride. You’ll come out the other side wiser, energized, and maybe a tad more pretentious than you went in.

It’s the thrill of knowing you learned something that dulls the existential pain of your endlessly repetitive life clocking in and clocking out on your way to the grave. Nope, there’s no time to reflect on the meaninglessness of our being and the futility of all things when we can learn why older women are the happiest demographic in America.

And if that doesn’t help, splash that ice water in your face to banish all your demons. Or just put on some death metal.

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Have your own idea for a Tunes & Tumblers pairing? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter.

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