John Scalzi in By the Way invites us to be unashamedly commercial and plug those products we favor in our personal lives.
I usually buy the store brand of whatever product I'm needing. Corn flakes are corn flakes whether they are Post Toasties or Kellog's. Wheaties are wheat chips by any other name. Blue Mint mouthwash is as suitable as Scope. Ralph's market used to issue a line of products in plain wrappers with simple labels such as BREAD or CORN FLAKES or CAKE MIX. Made shopping easy.
So what brands do I use? Well, Diet Pepsi for one. Hewlett-Packard computer for another. MCI telephone service, but I find it a bit noisy, but it's cheap.
I have driven many kinds of cars, but I sort of favor Chevrolet. It was the first I owned, and I've had a lot of 'em since, but my Fords, my Buick, my Olds, my Morris Minor were all satisfactory.
As for charity, I contribute to the United Way in my commity, and I let them choose the suitable recipient.
So what can I plug? Why AOL of course. It keeps me in touch with the rest of the world at reasonable cost and with increasingly sophisticated programs. I love to IM and Email with pictures and write in my journal and read the journals of others, all without extra cost. I can get on the internet with a click of a mouse and research anything from the name of Hopalong Cassidy's horse to the words from Satchmo's "Darn old dummy" with ease. I can buy books from Amazon or harmonicas from ebay and they appear at my door as if by magic. So, America On Line, here's my free endorsement.