Valentine's Day

What do I know about gift-giving? Well, since you're busy, and actually have a life, I'm guessing I may have more time to rearch and dig up the nuggets. And, I'm taking in to account all the time I'll bet you waste online at your job.

Mostly, I enjoy being among the first to discover the new and unusual. Sometimes they're trendy, but that's not always bad, right?  Hey, even my old bell-bottom jeans came back in style recently.  Well, for a day or two.

Would you like to give gifts that are quickly forgotten? Or, would you prefer to surprise someone with something so terrific – you run the risk of them never forgetting!  Isn't that a good thing? While you think carefully – consider these options – from one extreme to the other, price-wise:

The Aero Garden

Yes, there's an infomercial running for this eye-catcher.  Don't let that discourage you! Sure, some of the cheesiest stuff that never oozed from a spray can is splashed all over tv on infomercials.  But, oonce in a while, we get lucky. This one's a winner.  Maybe even in the Mariano Rivera category. For a relatively low price, you'll be giving endless food fun, a living decoration, a conversation piece and an educational device.

"Good Morning America" rates the Aero Garden one of the top new consumer products. Not a shabby recommendation. Even if growing your own mini-tomatoes, herbs or salad greens doesn't twist the knickers of your giftee, I'll wager the terrific-looking small red or white roses
will generate some conversation. Frankly, the Aero Garden provides a ton of fun as you watch the goodies grow from day to day.

Lastly, the darn thing is even "disc jockey proof." The built-in computer ensures that even I can successfully grow any of the available seed. All you have to do is add some water and turn it on.
Who knows, you might snag some regular invites from your giftee to share in the latest crops! I liked it so much I snagged one for our place. See what you think. Check their website: www.aerogarden.com

Toyota Prius

Hey, you know hybrids are hot.  Think this might make an impression?  Nuff said.

"Duma Key" by Stephen King

OK, so maybe you and I are the last two people in America who actually buy and read books. Even if you're not a King fan, I think you'll appreciate the character, the spooky atmosphere and the story. He's the master at creating a reality that takes over and pushes you onward, turning pages frantically to see what happens – and why.

I interviewed Stephen King years ago on the radio in New York. He had some strange ideas – no surprise – yet, he was a treat to chat with.  Unlike you and I, he scribbles down the bizarre "what-if's" that pops in to his mind. Makes a good living doing that, too. Duma Key focuses
on the price we pay to hold on to love – and the dangers inherent in creativity. From Simon & Schuster.

"Comrade J" (as told to Pete Earley)

One more reading suggestion. This one tops all the "true-to-life" espionage films you've ever seen – and not just because it's all true. The facts Earley reveals are far more chilling than any King creations.

Picture this: A Russion spy who got fed up with life in the old Soviet Union and decided –without being contacted by the US – to begin spying AGAINST Russia. The information he began funneling to our side, says the FBI, was an "intelligence goldmine." A few revelations:

• former President Clinton's Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, was accused of being manipulated by the Russians into revealing classified information
• the Russians are still determined to undermine America's government and economy
• Russian listening posts in Manhattan and Long Island are even now eavesdropping on the
"private" communications of every law enforcement agency, as well as our personal
conversations at will
• with the current Russian economy, anyone with enough money can buy a
nuclear bomb

Just a small sampling of the revelations in this hair-raising, well- written book. Enough to make you start emailing Congress to demand some answers about what – if anything – those clowns are doing to help secure our country.

"Extras" – DVD Gift Set

Give the gift of laughter.  Always a top choice in my book.  Can't we all just get along? Well, with more yucks we sure can. You probably caught Ricky Gervais starring in The Office on BBC America before that series was "translated" to a U.S. version. Well, both critics and
fans raved – or at least foamed at the mouth – about his latest short-run series called "Extras." Now avail as a five-disc dvd collection, you get both seasons, and, the never-before-released
90-minute series finale.

Growing up in Washington, DC (our nation's capital, you'll remember), I loved going to a theatre near the White House that showed double-feature British comedies on Friday evening's. Got hooked on 'em, big-time. In those days, it was tough to understand some of the "Cockney"-type accents. But, you won't have trouble with this sensational collection. Date night with your honey will find you rolling on the floor (laughing, mostly) with each episode. The show won an Emmy, so you know it's gotta be decent.  That's what I'm sayin. Tell me what you think.

More later.  I appreciate you dropping by…

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