For those who take their laptops to the pool, I’ve just turned on Chapter 13 of Fire & Ice. (You already have Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.) It’s about the Quiz Show scandals of the late 1950’s. (What would they think when they found out wrestling was rigged, too?) But it’s also about the relationship between Charles Revson and his younger brother Martin.


For those who would rather go in the water, you may recall my quest for the Sony Swim-man — a Walkman you could wear swimming laps. Never found one. But now (no thanks to the Internet; with just a good old-fashioned quarter-page ad in the New York Times Sunday Magazine) I am the proud owner of three Swimmers Choice underwater radios. They won’t play tapes, but I can listen to FM radio lap after boring lap. I have three because you got a third one free if you bought two. I only needed one, but . . . well, you know.

They run $34.95 apiece. I knew the sound wouldn’t be as good as from that famous Bose “Wave Radio” you see advertised everyplace for $350. But I’d like to see how well the Bose Wave Radio would do in a real wave.

(Three hundred fifty dollars for a radio? I got mine cheap, from a writer who had gotten it directly from Bose to “review.” He had decided not to spring for the wholesale price to keep it, so — expecting Mahler himself to jumping out of the thing for that price, even wholesale — I bought it instead. And I must sheepishly report that, to my tin ear, my $12 Sony Dream Machine clock radio sounds very nearly as good.)

Anyway, this little yellow Swimmers Choice with its little black earplugs works really well, under the circumstances . . . when you’re on dry land. Under water, or even just stroking your way through it, you do hear occasional patches of sound, sometimes faint, sometimes blaring, but they are more or less drowned out by the sound of your swimming.

In case your pool is located in the shadow of a 50,000-watt radio antenna (or the FM equivalent thereof), and in case you swim very, very quietly, you may want to call 800-839-5002 to order your own. But I wouldn’t rush to buy three.


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