Value Village, 324 W. North Ave., 729 S. Layton Ave., 3100 E. Layton Ave. -- Sure, Goodwill's got the still-tagged Target overstock, but you cannot beat Value Village's prices -- especially when clothing is half-off on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I scored a pair of American Eagle jeans, practically new, for $2.25 and two perfectly-fitting T-shirts from Old Navy for $1 each. Thrifting at VV is definitely a salt-of-the-earth experience; you can't beat the people watching. I observed a transvestite decide between two wigs (she went for the ash blond bob); an 80-year-old man asked me if a fat plaid tie went with a light blue dress shirt (it did, sorta); and two kids sat on the floor playing a game of Mousetrap while their mother haggled with the manager over the price of a coffee pot. -- Molly Snyder Edler
"Only the Names Have Been Changed" by Kelly Jones -- I've long been a fan of Welsh trio Stereophonics, in large part thanks to the great story songs and classic Faces-style vocals of singer and guitarist Kelly Jones. So, when I heard he had an "acoustic" solo record, I couldn't wait. And dark, mysterious numbers like "Suzy" are well worth the price of admission. All the songs are stripped bare (guitar -- usually electric -- and vocals with some minor piano or other highlights) and named for women. These are stories like the ones that fueled Stereophonics' classic debut "Word Gets Around" and I like this record better than any of the last couple band efforts. -- Bobby Tanzilo
"Barbecue University" on PBS -- This isn't destination viewing for me and it's not programmed into the DVR, but every time I stumble across it I stop whatever I'm doing and watch host Steven Raichlen use his kick-ass cooking setup to concoct some unbelievable barbecue recipes. Raichlen, who strikes me as a younger version of the guy who used to teach painting techniques on PBS, is a grilling master with a slew of popular cookbooks. Tune in and you'll learn the virtues of indirect grilling, the importance of soaking the bamboo skewers for kabobs and a lot more. -- Drew Olson
"The Nine" -- ABC has canceled "The Nine," so you'll have to wait for its pending DVD release or, better yet, watch the 13 episodes online. This is a good show. It may be a bit cheesy, but as network dramas go it was one of last year's better ones. Sadly, the premise and plot required a bit of thinking and probably a bit too much of an investment for the average viewer. Here's the plot, crystallized thanks to Wikipedia: Nine people, mostly strangers to each other, are linked together when they are held hostage in a bank robbery gone wrong. In each episode, viewers learn new details of the 52-hour standoff, of which only brief snippets are seen. Tim Daly, Chicago's Chi McBride (who will be on this fall's already hyped "Pushing Daisies"), John Billingsley, Kim Raver and Scott Wolf are all very good in their respective roles. Need a cancelled show to watch and wonder with? If so, check out "The Nine" here. -- Jeff Sherman
Nalgene water bottles -- Bottled water is the new SUV. So, it's time to battle the evil doers who create those earth-altering plastic Aquafina bottles with very cool Nalgene bottle. Printed graduations on the side of these colorful (mine is slate blue if you really care) bottles make measuring simple and the easy open leak-proof loop top cap provides a convenient attachment point. Seriously, these are bad-ass, good looking and rugged bottles and regardless of your position on the current "bottled water is evil" campaign, I say go buy yourself a Nalgene. -- J.S.
"The Larry Sanders Show" on DVD -- If you missed this Garry Shandling creation during its six-year run on HBO, do yourself a favor and catch up now. Shandling's portrayal of the title character -- a vain, neurotic late-night TV host -- is worth the rental cost itself. Mix in talented co-stars like Rip Torn (the hard-charging producer) and Jeffrey Tambor (as the sidekick), hilarious cameos by Hollywood notables (playing themselves in the "show within a show" format) and you've got comic gold. Look for early performances by Jeremy Piven and director Judd Apatow ("The 40-year-old Virgin"). -- J.S.
Chicken tostadas at Cempazuchi -- Cempazhuchi, 1205 E. Brady St., is one of my favorite restaurants. I love the salsas, the guacamole and especially their chicken tostadas. Always fresh and pilled with toppings, they are great for lunch or dinner. Great on the pocket book too, as they are only $6.95 and served with a side of beans. -- J.S.
The BBQ pork burrito at Qdoba -- At some point during my yearly visits to spring training, I got hooked on carnitas -- a tasty pork dish done to perfection at a restaurant called Los Dos Molinos in Phoenix. While nothing can compare to that gastronomic delight, I do enjoy the shredded pork burrito now being offered at area Qdoba stores. The pork is tender and tasty and the Ancho chile BBQ sauce is a nice touch. -- D.O.