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Sound Focus

Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer, Classical Music Reviews, and Trucker Church

Megan Sukys

Collectors can spend lots of money on seemingly irrational things. Today, we hear how recession can be the best and worst of times for collectors. We also visit local bladesmith Bob Kramer to ask why his knives cost up to $2,000. Plus, classical music reviews from Gavin Borchert.

At 2:05 p.m. – Collecting in a Bad Economy

Most experts tell you to be fiscally rational in these tough economic times, but some people spend a lot of money on stuff that's irrational. We call them collectors. From American Public Media, Rico Gagliano shares how for collectors, this recession can be the best of times and the worst of times.

At 2:10 p.m. – Bob Kramer, Master Bladesmith

If you ever dine at New York's elite Aureole restaurant, the food on your plate was likely sliced by a Bob Kramer knife. Top chefs swear by them, and they're willing to pay up to $2,000 per knife. But this rarified, artisanal quality all starts in a humble warehouse in Olympia, Washington. In an interview from 12/18/08, Jeremy Richards visits Bob as he creates one of his custom knives.

At 2:20 p.m. – Nena Baker

Almost everything we encounter — from soap and soup cans, to computers and clothing — contains low levels of toxins. Journalist Nena Baker says these chemicals are harmful to our brains and bodies, and can also influence our behavior. Nena Baker's latest book is "The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens our Health and Well–being." She spoke at Town Hall Seattle in September, 2008. The talk was sponsored by Town Hall Seattle and University Book Store.

At 2:40 p.m. – Gavin Borchert Reviews Classical Recordings

Carl Maria von Weber stands as one of the great orchestral innovators of the 19th century. His operas are complex, difficult to stage, and sometimes based on nonsensical fairytales. But, they come to life through bold and colorful overtures. Music critic Gavin Borchert shares samples from Weber's great operas and some of his long forgotten gems.

At 2:50 p.m. – Blue Collar, Green Jobs

The stimulus package is designed to shock the economy back to life with billions of dollars in the plan for windmills, solar panels, electric cars, smart meters and a revamped power grid. All good news for Michael Callanan and the tens of thousands of students he hopes to train to meet the expected shortage of electrical workers. Michael Callanan is the executive director of the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.

At 2:55 p.m. – Trucker Church

Truckers are nomads. Every day on the job, they face exhaustion, bad food and long hours. It's a life spent far from loved ones, and made even more difficult by a bad economy. To stand up to these stresses, some truckers turn to their faith. In North Bend, Washington, drivers attend church in the back of a semi trailer. Correspondent Anna King spent a Sunday with God's highway-hitting followers.

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