December-Staff-Picks

CHRIS’ PICK

MILES DAVIS: THE ORIGINAL MONO RECORDINGS (COLUMBIA/SONY LEGACY RECORDINGS)

Released just as the cold, blustery arctic winds of winter solidify any recollections of the summer into memories frozen in time, this historic box set likewise blows away all previous early collections of The Prince of Darkness, further transforming the unfolding season’s icy lonely tundra into somber-yet-triumphant notes of glorious colors, heat and beauty. It consists of nine albums recorded between 1956 and 1961—in mini-LP replica jackets—and includes rare editions previously unreleased in any Miles Davis collection in the United States. Let the jazz blizzard begin.

 

SPENCER’S PICK

WINNING ALBANY: UNTOLD STORIES ABOUT THE FAMOUS AND NOT SO FAMOUS BY JERRY KREMER (NEW IDEA PRESS)

This charming little book recounts the odyssey of Arthur “Jerry” Kremer, once dubbed by The New York Times as Long Island’s “Most Effective Legislator,” who went from selling custard on the boardwalk in Long Beach to sponsoring more than 250 state laws in Albany as a Democratic Assemblyman and a powerful committee chairman. He’s hobnobbed with Nelson Rockefeller, Robert Kennedy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pope John Paul II, and a colorful assortment of characters in between. It’s not literature but it is invaluable as a heartfelt, honest history lesson on New York politics because Jerry sheds light on what really went on in those smoke-filled rooms behind closed doors. And along the way, we learn what good government is all about—and how hard it is to achieve.

 

TIMOTHY’S PICK

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TREES

Just because winter starts this month, doesn’t mean gardeners’ green thumbs must hibernate until spring. The cold months are the best times to plant trees, horticulturists say, because they can use the time to establish roots and will be ready to bloom when the weather gets warm again. Aside from the joy of watching something grow, planting a tree can be timed to mark a special occasion—or dedicated to someone’s memory—and, when it’s fully grown, save homeowners’ money on their energy bill by providing shade. Of course, it’s best to stick with trees native to Long Island, such as this pitch pine, rather than invasive species such as Norway Maple, Japanese Barberry or Rusty Willow.

 

RASHED’S PICK

SAVOR THERMOS TUMBLER

Secret’s out, LI: I’m getting married—which, of course, is pretty awesome. Her name is Jennifer, and she’s pretty awesome, too. But here’s the thing: I need to seriously start saving some cash. So during one of my trips to Target I stumbled upon a Savor thermos tumbler, which is advertised for tea drinkers and claims to keep liquids hot for up to six hours. I bought it, tested it, and poof—it works! Instead of tea, I fill it up with coffee (My name is Rashed, and I’m an addict) and pour it into a mug religiously at about 2 p.m. every day. Sadly, I have removed myself from the Press’ legendary coffee runs—for now. It’s time for penny pinching, and I’m willing to do my part. I’m pretty sure this thermos is just the start.

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