Insanely Great Stuff

Driving home last night, I was, for about the hundredth time (at least; no exaggeration) struck by how great my (Bridgestone) Blizzak snow tires perform. I know; how great can snow tires possibly be? Well, in this case, great enough to bring a smile to my face when I notice how well they’re doing their job. And, as I said, that’s often.

I got to thinking about what other “great stuff” I have (or had) that really delivers on its intended mission. No, this isn’t an ode to consumerism, kind of the opposite; how much of the stuff you have is actually better than advertisers and promoters say it is?

My list ended up being pretty short; a total of eight items. Some of the items qualifying for the title of “insanely” great I no longer have. But, I remember them fondly.

I won’t bother to set out my entire list, just three. Realistically, I couldn’t pick between them to actually rank them. I mean, when something’s already INSANELY great, what does it matter  if it’s #1 or #8? It’s already breathing rarified air.

Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires. My specific model allegiance is the WS-60. Since 1999, 3 sets, 3 vehicles, probably 150,000 km. of driving. Nothing comes close on ice and hard-pack. This model still beats everything in head-to-head objective testing. I won’t leave home (in winter) without them.

1984 Toyota Tercel SR4 wagon. Looking like an endearing cross between a bank machine and a military appliance of some sort, it was roomy, reliable, functional and bulletproof. It routinely gave me nearly 50 mpg. Its plucky 1500 cc motor didn’t complain when I occasionally dragged my boat to Haliburton behind it. Nice bonus: Hands down, the best seats of anything I’ve ever owned to drive. If I could find one in good shape, I’d grab it in a heartbeat.

1983 Ibanez AM-50 semi-hollowbody electric guitar. I bought it in 1985 for $400. Hand made in Japan; impeccable craftsmanship; beautiful (restrained) finish; perfect frets; heavenly sound. This beauty plays and sounds better than anything I’ve played, regardless of price, to this day. I’ve gotten to the point that I’m reluctant to take it out of the house for fear of theft or other disaster.

What’s in your Hall of Insanity?

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