RE Gift

Friday, December 18, 2009

Doggie Baskets

Posted By on 12.18.09 at 11:00 AM

Among the problems die-hard cyclists face: how to transport your four-legged friend on your two-wheeled steed? Cynthia's Twigs offers four sizes in handwoven wicker; the extra large is reputedly good for a 20-pound dog. You can pimp it out with a dog bed and a thing to hold your pup in place, or you can keep it regular, for the non-dog items you need to cart around. $36.95-66.95

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Power Puff

Posted By on 12.18.09 at 08:00 AM

Headphones are a plague—they're isolating, they can damage your hearing, they can get you in a nasty bike accident. The Music Balloon ($68) has its own internal amplifier and a battery life that approximately matches your iPod's; it's just .7 watts but the literature says it's "surprisingly loud and full for its size."

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blackstone Bicycle Works Sale

Posted By on 12.17.09 at 06:48 PM

Blackstone Bicycle Works, a program from the nonprofit Experimental Station to encourage kids to learn about and use bikes, is having a holiday sale this week. Refurbished bikes for kids and adults will range in price from $25 to $250; also for sale will be accessories like helmets and locks. Shop hours for the rest of the week are Friday from noon to 6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM at 6100 S. Blackstone (773-241-5458). All proceeds go to the program.

Another place to buy used bikes in Chicago is the Working Bikes Cooperative, a nonprofit that uses funds from local sales of refurbished bikes to provides bikes to people in need, both in Chicagoland and in other countries. Prices start at around $200 for the bikes currently available. Working Bikes has regular store hours at 2434 S. Western on Wednesdays and Sundays Saturdays from noon to 5 PM, though they'll be closed from 12/26 through 1/2.

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Gifts for Geeks

Posted By on 12.17.09 at 01:08 PM


The Ambient Umbrella ($125). See? It's an umbrella that tells you whether you need it! I know what you're thinking: I have a computer that tells me if I need an umbrella, and also plays videos of dogs who are college students - does your umbrella do that? To which I would respond yeah, but is it an umbrella? That's the spirit of these gifts.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12/17 — Free Shipping Day

Posted By on 12.16.09 at 04:31 PM


More than 700 online merchants will offer free shipping on orders placed Thu 12/17, with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. Participating stores include FAO Schwarz, the Apple Store, Borders, CB2, Guitar Center, Lush, Levi's, Macy's, Toys "R" Us, and Zappos. The complete list is on the Free Shipping Day Web site. (Minimum order restrictions may apply.)

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Classy Man Jammies

Posted By on 12.16.09 at 04:31 PM

These trad Brooks Brothers pajamas are a little more "sleeping in a twin bed across the nightstand from Doris Day" than "do me," but I for one think it's real cute to see your dude padding around the house all pillow-faced yet dapper. They're $79.50, plus $12 if you wanna get the pocket monogrammed. Sizing runs big, and they carry ladies' in stores only.

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The Season of Box Sets: Pop

Posted By on 12.16.09 at 04:10 PM

Big Star: Keep an Eye on the Sky
  • Big Star: Keep an Eye on the Sky
It’s appropriate that one of the two essays in the hundred-page, photo-crammed book that comes with Keep an Eye on the Sky (Rhino), a four-CD set of music by Big Star, is devoted to the Memphis band’s cult following. Written by former Reader columnist Bob Mehr, it tells how the criminally overlooked combo, fronted by Alex Chilton, grew into a legend in the decades after its dissolution in 1975 (a reconstituted version of the band has been active sporadically since 1993). Indeed, these days Big Star is the classic guitar-pop avatar—a crucial inspiration for hordes of postpunk bands, from the dB's to R.E.M. to the Replacements, as well as an indirect influence on the countless groups that followed in the footsteps of those 80s outfits.

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Subscribe to the Numero Group

Posted By on 12.16.09 at 03:47 PM

The local Numero Group label, whose bread and butter is reissuing all sorts of cool soul and rock dusties from forgotten minor local scenes, is offering a yearly subscription service. For 2010 it's $150 for CD and $160 for LP; highlights include the hotly anticipated Al Jarnow DVD and book, Syl Johnson's Complete Recordings 1959-72 (a 6 LP/4 CD set), and a three-disc collection from Cleveland's Boddie Records.

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Tell the World What You're Buying—In French

Posted By on 12.16.09 at 03:27 PM

A cute, heavy duty grocery tote en francais, for the Francophile in your life. $15 via Etsy.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Historical Sound and Vision

Posted By on 12.15.09 at 01:18 PM

Best Historical Album is a Grammy category that never attracts much attention, but the nominees are usually excellent. This year is no exception: Among them are the Little Walter Chess recordings and a Sophie Tucker collection from the folks at Champaign-Urbana’s great Archeophone label. The excellent Dust-to-Digital label is a regular presence among the nominees, and this year it’s up for a fascinating package called Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950.

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