Public Radio – there is life at the bottom of the radio dial! In-depth news, thought-provoking programming and music you won’t hear on commercial radio: classical, jazz and avant-garde. And for the most part, it’s commercial-free. Some of my favorites: WBGO (88.3 Newark NJ) for jazz and Saturday morning R & B, WRTI (90.1 Philadelphia) for classical music in the morning and jazz at night. The organic gardening program You Bet Your Garden from WHYY (90.9 Philadelphia) and the Saturday night Blues Show from WXPN (88.5 Philadelphia). (As far avant-garde exposure, my daughter Abi has been featured a number of times on WXPN – both live performances and from her recordings.)
NPR (National Public Radio) is also a great resource for business news and topics surrounding personal finance. The weekday evening Market Place program is carried on many public stations as well as the twice-weekly Planet Money. Both programs offer podcast archives. There’s an NPR app to locate and stream public radio stations from anywhere in the country as well as to listen to podcasts.
- Cons: Commercial-free but quarterly fund raising drives can be tiresome and obnoxious. NPR news reporting does come with a liberal bent that some may object to.
Pilot Gel Pens – I once found a Montblanc pen in a parking lot. Then I lost it just a few months later. Easy come. Easy go. No more fancy pens for me! I just love how Pilot gel pens write. To be honest, they write better than the Montblanc ball point pen I once ‘owned’. Sometimes I completely use up the ink and simply discard them but, I am just as likely to lose or misplace them. Regular price for a pack of gel pens is a tad over a dollar per pen. But watch for them to be discounted as part of Staples Back-to-School specials by as much as 50% off. Hopefully, a dozen pens will last you a year or two.
Road ID – If you run, hike, bike, ski or swim, please get one of these ID bracelets for under 20 bucks. What if something should happen to you during an athletic undertaking? What if no one knows who you are or whom to contact? Get one for the sake of your loved ones. Your bracelet can also list life-threatening medical conditions that an EMT should know about.
BIC America DV62si Bookshelf Speakers – Incredible speakers at $120 for the pair. Initially, I had bought a pair of used Bose 201 Series IV speakers from a friend for the living room stereo. Hooked them up and …. meh! They just seemed dull. Then I discovered the BIC DV62si’s at Amazon. The DV62si’s have a bright sound with AMAZING detail; the 201s sounded muddy by comparison. A far superior speaker to the Bose 201’s at half the cost. Plus, they comes with a 7 year warranty. Keep in mind that they are bookshelf speakers; you may want to augment the bass with a sub-woofer. (I’ll suggest one for you in the Part V installment of My Favorite Things.) Lesson learned: products from a prestigious brand are not necessarily a good value may not come close to being the best performer in their category.
- Cons: The vinyl cabinet finish seems a bit chintzy. But these speakers are intended to be heard, not seen.
That’s all for this installment of My Favorite Things. In the meantime, click this YouTube link and take a listen to Tony Bennett singing the Rogers and Hammerstein song (from his 1969 Christmas album Snowfall).
© 2016 Paul J Reimold