Come on, admit it. You're tired of the same old programming on most of corporate AM and FM radio these days - dreary classic rock and pop, country songs plucked from old charts, and numbskull talk shows. It's time to swan-dive into the ever-expanding pool of Internet radio.
There are dozens of Web radio portals out there with the kind of music that you simply can't find on the home or car radio anymore. One portal in particular caught my fancy - Live365, which heralds itself as the revolutionary future of radio. An hour or two perusing the site makes me think the people who run Live365 know exactly what they're talking about.
Boasting more than 40,000 stations broadcasting 24 hours a day, Live365 guarantees volume and diversity, if not always top-notch quality, by letting its listeners establish their own station in order to broadcast music from their personal collections using streaming MP3. For around $4.95 a month plus a modest setup fee, individuals get 100 megabytes of disk space to broadcast the music they like on the Internet, while the premium service for businesses and organizations carries a monthly fee ranging from $150 to $750, with a proportionately higher setup charge. The extra money buys the businesses lots more space and options.
For ordinary listeners like ourselves, the site serves up a feast of genres to choose from - alternative, comedy, Christian, folk, funk, hip-hop, soul, R&B, reggae, Irish, Latin, New Age, old-time radio, '50s to '90s oldies by the decade, blues, Texas swing, classical music, opera, barbershop harmonies, Arabic chants, Klezmer music, Broadway and movie musicals, Persian radio, and Chinese pop, to name a few.
The talk alternatives alone represent a cross-section of Internet radio's good, bad, and ugly: political rants, off-color comedy such as that found on a station that calls itself “Phone-Prank radio”; old half-hour episodes of Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Boston Blackie; live police scanner broadcasts from places as distant as Honduras, Northern Ireland, and the Netherlands (brush up on your Dutch); Native American talk radio; Radio Islam, railroad communications scanners, prison songs, Greek and Miami tango music; an “Experimental Audio Art” broadcast out of Cleveland, and a station devoted to the World's Greatest Speeches.
At any time of the day or night, you can also hear the King James version of the Bible recited in English or Spanish, or religious programming for Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, and “the First Church of Satan.” One station broadcasts the entire air-to-ground communication from the Apollo 11 space program that made Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the moon. And most dramatic of all, another plays the heart-rending tapes of the New York police and fire department communications at ground zero after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
What's required: registration and a download of the MP3 streaming audio player. Both are free. Tips: Each time you click on to a station, you're likely to hear a pesky commercial. Hit the green “forward” arrow and you'll jump right to the broadcast.
From medicine to golf, fine art to sailing, every field of endeavor has its own list of words and definitions called glossaries. Hundreds of glossaries have been compiled into a searchable directory, many of them with pronunciations, examples, and links, located at Glossarist.com. Pick a category - business, arts and culture, careers, economy and finance, family, government, politics, the military, computers, education, entertainment, and health, medicine, and fitness - and peruse away.
Under arts and culture, for example, you'll find glossaries on everything from literary terms to words unique to J.K. Rowling's preposterously successful Harry Potter books. Words and phrases are often obscure, but the definitions are written in plain English. In the golf category, for instance, most people would know what a birdie, bogey, and eagle are, but how many golfers can describe a chili dip, or a fried egg?
Under Art, you'll come across familiar words such as collage, Impressionism, and ceramics, but what do alkyd, maul stick, and frottage mean? Under Poetry, there are definitions of poetic rhythm, assonance, and iambic pentameter, but how about hamartia, sigmatism, and pantoum?
Finally, if you encounter words like chiftitelli, dumbek, hafla, maqsoum, and zills, you'll know that you're in a glossary related to belly dancing.
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