Answer Man: Why no HD radios for home use?

News-DemocratDecember 13, 2013 

While we have some truly fine HD radio stations in St. Louis (like the reborn KFUO-RAF-STL at KHTS 96.3-2), why does no outlet seem to sell HD radios for home use. Can you help? -- S.P., of Belleville

Not much. In fact, I'm beginning to feel more and more like an electronic dinosaur myself.

See, I'm just not an iPod kind of guy so this week I went looking for a new portable CD player to replace my old Sony that had died. Two clerks looked at me as if I had been asking for an 8-track tape deck. I finally wound up with a cheesy plastic model with an FM radio that didn't even display the frequency of stations, which I found to my surprise when I opened it. It's going back posthaste.

Of course, you would think that with the growing number of high-def FM stations, reasonably inexpensive tabletop radios would be as easily found as the new-fangled AM/FM radio my mom finally broke down and bought in the '60s.

Not so. Even www.hdradio.com lists only two models suitable to your needs, both available at Best Buy (or bestbuy.com). The one that gets the best reviews is the Insignia NS-HDRAD, currently on sale for $39.99 with free shipping. There's also an Insignia boombox for $79.99. Of course, if you have money to burn, you can buy the Denon AVP-A1HDCI for only $7,500.

A Radio Shack clerk referred me to Best Buy, and h.h. gregg knew what I was talking about but doesn't handle them. Why? Best guess is that with everyone streaming everything through computers, tablets and other media, such radios seem to be getting as popular as a Sony Betamax.

No problem: My recent defense of the use of "no problem" as a suitable alternative to "you're welcome" struck a nerve -- and the mail and calls turned out about 2-1 in my favor. A sample:

"I agree with your assessment," wrote William P. Shannon IV, curator of the St. Clair County Historical Society. "I want to assure people that they didn't unduly trouble me with their requests. I don't like imposing on others and, with a certain generosity of spirit, I hope that others feel the same. Now if we can just get rid of 'it was the least I could do' and 'it was in the last place I looked' we'd be in fine shape."

"Your column hit home," John Hilgeman, of Belleville, wrote. "I don't know why or when I stopped saying 'you're welcome.' Maybe I just picked up ('no problem') from other people. I never thought some people might be troubled by my response. I was pleased by your defense. At any rate, you have given me something to think about."

However, as soon as I walked into Copper Bend Pharmacy the other day, owner Stephen Clement immediately told me that "no problem" is as annoying to him as cat claws sliding down a blackboard -- although he says he now better understands the reasoning behind its use.

Good sport: In case they're still watching KTVI-FOX2, I want to alert Maurice Drummond fans that he has officially resurfaced at KMOV-TV. When Steve Savard moved from sports to news at Channel 4 last February, Drummond left KTVI after 10 years to become KMOV's sports director. Now after fulfilling the typical non-compete clause of his old contract, his face is once again is filling high-def TV screens around the region.

The 51st state?: John Fehrmann, of Highland, may have sent me the perfect reason why we at the News-Democrat still use the old-fashioned state abbreviations I recently wrote about. It came from a mix-up on a "Live with Regis and Kelly" episode:

"Regis Philbin was reading the address of a letter from a viewer who, he said, lived in Lincoln, New England," Fehrmann wrote. "Kelly (Ripa) sensed something wasn't quite right, looked at the letter herself, and said, 'That's Lincoln, Nebraska, Regis. NE stands for Nebraska, not New England.'"

Nighttime is right time: The early bird may get the worm, but taking your aspirin at night may be best at warding off heart attacks.

In a new study at Leiden University in the Netherlands, doctors found heart-attack survivors who took their daily 100-milligram dose of aspirin at bedtime enjoyed more protection from another attack or stroke than those taking it during the day.

The reason: Aspirin at night seems to reduce the body's natural tendency to ramp up blood-clotting activity in the morning. As is often the case, however, more study is needed before doctors make an official recommendation.

Today's trivia

How did the custom of flying flags at half-mast/staff to honor people who have died originate?

Answer to Thursday's trivia: Although its tail can stretch 60,000 miles, the nucleus of Halley's comet is a puny little rock, barely nine miles long, five miles wide and five miles thick, according to photos from the Giotto spacecraft during a rendezvous in 1986. Giotto, you may remember from my recent column, was the Italian artist who in 1306 painted a comet as the Christmas star in his church fresco "Adoration of the Magi." It was likely based on his seeing Halley's in 1301.

Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or rschlueter@bnd.com or call 618-239-2465.

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