Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Too Many Ironies In The Foyer

Actually some of them have boldly traversed the living room and come to visit me in the den.

Today was my day to check and replace batteries in the devices we will need if a hurricane (or two, or three) comes here: flashlights, camp lanterns, and of course an old battery-powered AM/FM radio, picked up a decade or more ago for $5 at a pharmacy and apparently invulnerable to all the damage I've handed it over the years. It seems there's nothing that can go wrong with it that cannot be remedied by four new AA batteries and some double-sided Scotch tape. We had a fancier one during Rita, but it has since gone the way of all small consumer electronics. No, this tiny radio was our lifeline during Ike (after the batteries quit on Stella's battery-powered TV... i.e., after about half an hour), and it is an admirable if battered old device.

I remembered from our Hurricane Rita experience that one AM station simulcast the sound of the local CBS affiliate TV station, which often had the best hurricane coverage because one of their meteorologists (elderly and since retired) had actually been a bigwig in the National Hurricane Center. So I went looking today to see if there is still such an AM station. I didn't find it, at least not designated as such, but I did find the oldest AM station in Houston, News Radio 740, which happens to be the officially designated outlet for hurricane announcements in the area.

It also happens to be the home of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, etc. etc. ad nauseam. All that and hurricanes too... just call the station Disaster Central.

Aside: if you use AA- or AAA-powered devices, and we use a lot of 'em, look into the Ray-o-vac rechargeable NiMH with I-C3 technology, and use a charger also designated for I-C3 compatibility. Such batteries and chargers recognize each other (yes, there's a port of some sort in the battery); the charger cranks up a super-fast recharge mode that charges the battery in 15 minutes. No, really; 15 minutes. The charge lasts a long time under the load of (say) a camera, and the damned batteries don't go bad... pretty much ever. I bought my first with a digital camera 5 years ago; they're still going. The only problem is that they're hard to find... one store in Houston, a specialty battery store, carries them; often, though, they have to be ordered online at a hefty price. They're worth it... and that's an understatement.


  1. Radio Shack has the batteries, but they want more for them than Ray-o-vac although they are the same battery.

    I use them in my camera because I can charge a second set when the camera gives me a warning and in 15 minutes have a fully charged set.

  2. Bryan - thanks; that's good to know... although I have a certain resistance to trading with Radio Shack.

    I just ordered six of the batteries online at a high price because I let time get away from me this season... then mistakenly chose standard shipping, which means they may arrive here in time for Christmas. The brain does not grow more agile with age!



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