I am recommending free stuff not only because of the Recession, but also because too much of human interaction (esp. on the internet) is about 'oh hey, I bought this'. 'You bought that? Cool'. 'I'm gonna buy this other thing.' As I type this on my MacBook Pro, I realize I'm as guilty of this as anyone.
The flip side (the Jedi side, the punk rock before 1991 side, the Jesus before Fallwell got into him side) of the Internet is that largely it is about free shit. Not just free music, but free (as in beer and in speech) software, like Linux and all the Gnu stuff and Firefox and this NodeBox thing I've been playing w/ lately, which is Mac-only (ha!). It embeds Python in a self-contained app you can use to experiment w/ generating 2D graphics and perhaps even simple games. Fun for the would be hyperformalists out there. Start with 2d, then make the leap to 3.
Freebie #2 comes to us from Brazil, and it's the Loronix blog. It took a beating at the hands of pranksters/hackers/the RIAA recently, but zecalouro's rebuilding it. It's a good place to hear music outside of the well-known Caetano Veloso/Gilberto Gil/Joao Gilberto/etc circle, as he makes available music that you could otherwise only hear if you know a Brazilian person with a record player and a good record collection.
Item #3 is the Podcast The Sound Of Young America at maximumfun.org. The name is a bit misleading as it's not a Youth Radio type deal where the oldest person involved in the production is still in high school (not that there's anything wrong with that - Youth Radio on WFHB is great), rather it's America's Radio Sweetheart Jesse Thorn interviewing a good mix of people I've heard of (Patton Oswalt, Upright Citizen's Brigade, Steven Wright, Colin Hay aka the singer from Men at Work, 2 guys from The Wire, etc) and people I had never heard of (The hosts of '7 second delay', Dan Deacon, etc) previously, but am glad that I now have. It is consistently good and hopefully Jesse achieves radio domination much like Ira Glass before him.
Items #4 and #5 are Frederator and its retro counterpart, re-Frederator.
Frederator hosts the series 'Meth Minute39' by animator Dan Meth, which has provided the world with such gems as 'Mike Tyson's Brunch-Out!', 'The Wang Warriors', and the classic mixture of real watermelon footage and unbelievably catchy music that is 'Watermelon Nights'. The weekly podcast compiles collections of cartoons by various artists, and is a mixed bag, but worth subscribing to for animation fans. If you are an eggplant, you wouldn't dig it, man.
Re-Frederator also puts out a podcast, this one focusing on very old cartoons, as in cartoons from the 30's and 40's. My daughter and I have bonded over the antics of Ub Iwerks' 'Flip The Frog' and have found that Little Lulu's 'Bargain Counter Attack' still works for 4-year-old girls in 2008, who have been brought up watching the likes of Dora, Bob The Builder, and the Backyardigans (who IMHO are far superior to Dora and Bob).
Re-Frederator doesn't whitewash (ha.) the past, and has featured old cartoons with stereotypes and attitudes from the 30s and 40s, including 'Plane Dumb' and 'Little Black Sambo'. These are interesting to watch now, although with people like Imus and Michael 'He's a N*****! He's a N******!' Richards running around, we probably can't look down on how it was in grandpa or great grandpa's day as much as we'd like. On the other hand, it is true they didn't have the Internet back then, and that really had to suck.
Be back hopefully in less than several weeks!