Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Food Holiday Gift Guide

They say the quickest way to someone's heart is through their stomach (though as my doctor friends point out, it's quicker to make an incision in the breastplate.) In NYC, you can step it up a notch above a box of Godivas fairly easily and cheaply.

Just visit these places below:

The Store: Fat Witch Bakery, 75 9th Ave. (Chelsea Market)

What You'll Find:
Fat Witch Brownies
Holiday Cauldron Special, $18.99. One luscious, gooey, mmm Fat Witch brownie is $2.75... this collection has 7 Fat Witch Baby Brownies, 3 Blonde Babies and 3 Walnut Babies.

Also look for: For do-it-yourselfers, Fat Witch's Original Brownie Mix.

The Store: La Maison Du Chocolat, 30 Rockefeller Center.

What You'll Find:
Chocolate Macaroon, $2.50 ea. This isn't one of those dry, coconutty lumps for Passover... this is the best cookie they'll ever have in their life. Gift boxes with a variety of flavors are available.

Also look for: Chocolate Covered Fruit, Tasse De Chocolat-- dark chocolate beads, and, if you're in the store, a overdose-inducing cup of Hot Chocolate.

The Store: Butter Lane, 123 E. 7th St.
What You'll Find:
Chocolate Cupcake with French Vanilla Buttercream Icing,$2.50. There's no way you'll want to wait in line at Magnolia, so try these cupcakes on for size.

Also look for: A much-raved-about Banana Cream Cheese cupcake (which I was unfortunately not able to sample), a variety of French buttercream and American buttercream (the staff will explain the difference) cupcakes.

The Store: Build A Green Bakery, 223 First Ave.

What You'll Find:
Big Box of Little Cookies, $15.00. Size doesn't matter... with these cookies. Always fresh, they pack some big taste.

Also look for:New York Chocolate Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake, out this month, and their tasty Blueberry Corn Muffins.

The Store: Dylan's Candy Bar, 1011 Third Ave.

What You'll Find:
Dylan's Scarf
Dylan's Candy Bar Striped Scarf, $42.00. I was gonna feature some candy here, then I saw this scarf with pockets. A scarf with pockets! I thought of that first.

Also look for: Candy. All kinds. Everything from a Pez Elvis Gift Set to Chocolate Covered Peanuts in a Paint Can. Yes, a Paint Can. Paint not included.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New MSN Article: Grandparent Gadgets

Gadgets For Grandparents

You won't find walkers or an old bowl of Werther's Originals on this list. Only hip and helpful tech gifts for the hip-replacement set.
New York City Holiday Gift Guide: Sports and Dorks

Just a handful of places today, where you can find gifts for your sports fan or, er... anti-sports fan. Let's go NYU Bobcats!! Yes... its Bobcats. Not Violets. I swear.

The Store: Steve & Barry's, 100 W. 33rd St. (Manhattan Mall)

What You'll Find:
NYU Shirt
Long-Sleeve College T-Shirt, $4.00. Help your friend or relative feel like a college kid again.

Also look for: Steve and Barry's is going out of business, and the phrase "picked over" doesn't begin to describe the remaining items from their closing sale. But if you get there this week, there's still plenty of Steve & Barry's fleeces, Laird Hamilton's "Wonderwall" surf-clothing collection, University of Michigan Varsity-Style Jackets, and ridiculously cheap earrings and other accessories.

The Store: Yankees Clubhouse Store, 393 Fifth Ave.

What You'll Find:
Yankees Connect Four
New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox Connect Four MLB Game, $19.99. The only bad part about this gift? Someone ends up having to play as the Red Sox.

Also look for: Yankees Jerseys and Caps, a Yankees Mr. Potato Head doll.

The Store: Paragon Sports, 867 Broadway

What You'll Find:
Swim MP3 Player
Finis SwiMP3 V2 Player, $111.96. For the swimmer who found out the hard way that iPods don't work underwater.

Also look for: Every sporting good under the sun, Custom Pocket Knives, and some great lawn games, like the Franklin Sports Spongebob All Sport Set, which includes a pop up goal and soccer ball.

The Store: Jewish Book Center of The Workman's Circle, 45 E. 33rd St.

What You'll Find:
Mensch T-Shirt, $13.00. For the mensch who has everything, except a T-Shirt printed with the definition of what a Mensch is.

Also look for: Musical Dreidels, books on Kabbalah, or Jewish Mysticism, and for aspiring Jewish Jocks, the Shvitz! My Yiddishe Workout DVD.

The Store: Bauman Rare Books, 535 Madison Ave.

What You'll Find:
Book of Facts
Issac Asimov's Book Of Facts, Signed By The Author, $150. The king of sci-fi for your sci-fi fan. As long as he doesn't mind that Asimov wrote in it.

Also look for:A framed collection of Beatles' Autographs, rare first editions of books and manuscripts.

More gift guide to come. See the whole gift guide, here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Heist Movie

This January, coming to a theater near you...

Jeremy Irons...

"Fort Knox? Compared to this, Fort Knox is a piggy bank."

Jean Claude Van Damme...

"We need to stoup dem, beefer its too laight!"

Based on the true story of the greatest robbery ever pulled...

They told Congress they would save the country. But in the end, they only saved themselves.

"700 billion, ours for the taking."

"Surely they'll catch us."

"Catch us? Ha. They'll help us!"

Directed by Tony Scott.

Congress gave 700 billion to financial firms without much debate. Yet 14 billion for the auto industry, is being scrutinized endlessly. Hmm... when Republicans in suits have finincial difficulties, there's no debate. But when Democrats wearing hardhats are in trouble... there's got to be some "serious changes."

"But wait, Adam," you say. "That 700 billion came with restrictions too." Really? You mean that limit on executive pay?

"Yes," you say.


WASHINGTON POST- Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives, so lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules.

But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money.

Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts. In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.

"The flimsy executive-compensation restrictions in the original bill are now all but gone," said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), ranking Republican on of the Senate Finance Committee.
The truth is, Congress is hemmoraging money left and right, and all this talk about restrictions and oversight is grandstanding and outright lies. The Dems may have a slim majority in congress, but they're as gutless as ever, and as long as Bush is still in the White House, he will continue to undermine any attempts to put regulations on his big business cronies.

Executives at companies like AIG are laughing all the way to the bank.

American International Group Inc., the insurer whose bonuses and perks are under fire from U.S. lawmakers, offered cash awards to another 38 executives in a retention program with payments of as much as $4 million.

The incentives range from $92,500 to $4 million for employees earning salaries between $160,000 and $1 million, Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy said in a letter dated Dec. 5 to Representative Elijah Cummings. The New York-based insurer had previously disclosed that 130 managers would get the awards and that one executive would get $3 million.

“I remain concerned, as do many American taxpayers, that these retention payments are simply bonuses by another name,” Cummings said in letter responding to Liddy.

AIG, which received a U.S. rescue package of more than $152 billion, has been criticized for saying it will eliminate bonuses for senior executives while still planning to hand out “cash awards” that double or triple the salaries of some managers.
They claim the bonuses... er... "cash awards" are necessary to retain top excutives-- to prevent them from joining other companies.

Um... why would anyone hire a failed executive? In this crappy economy? There's no demand for them!!!

Basically, it looks like much of the 700 billion will go towards making sure the financial futures of wealthy individuals are secure. The rest will probably be donated to various senators' re-election campaigns.

I wouldn't be surprised if Congress doesn't approve 14 billion for the auto industry. The mass unemployment and general destruction of the American economy will make sure that the public is too distracted to notice AIG executives cruising by on their brand-new yachts.

Obama can't come soon enough. But even he may be powerless to stop the greatest robbery ever committed in the United States.
New York City Wacky Japanese Gift Guide

The gift guide continues...

Those Japanese are really ahead of the curve. I mean, first, Nintendo. Then sushi. Then Tamagachi. Then Alyssa Milano and Jennifer Love Hewitt as major pop stars. Well, okay, maybe they don't know music. But they good know what looks good and is fun to play with. Us Americans struggle to keep up. Unless you shop at these stores below, beacons of Japanese brilliance shining through the concrete caverns of New York City:

The Store: AC Gears, 69 E. 8th St.

What You'll Find:
Air Guitar
Takaratomy Air Guitar Pro Acoustic, $55.99. Air guitarists everywhere now have an alternative to Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Also look for: Cool gadgets like the Dreams DJ Speaker, a keychain-sized device that allows you to DJ-scratch along with your iPod, cool accessories like Angel and Devil Earphones, and the most fun alarm clock you'll ever see, the Bandai Gun Oclock Alarm Clock:

Gun Clock

The Store: Kid Robot, 118 Prince St.

What You'll Find:
Yummy Breakfast
Yummy Breakfast Keychain, $4.95 ea. Who doesn't want a smiling short-stack of pancakes holding their keys together?

Also look for: Vinyl and metal figurines ranging from the dark and subversive (Cannibal FunFair Figurines) to the adorable and deplorable (cigarette-addicted Smorkin` Labbits).

The Store: Giant Robot, 437 E. 9th St.

What You'll Find:
Lie Detector
Lie Detector Toy, $21.00. Now you can tell if they really like their gift.

Also look for: Unique stocking stuffers like the furry monster-shaped Domokun Small Coin Purse, Super Mario Brothers keychains. Also, er, the I'm-not-convinced-it's-innocent Elite Banana Massager, shaped like the fruit.

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