Fun and tiring day. We dug out early in the morning, then took the beasts for a romp in the snow. The puppy — now almost 1 — never saw a foot of snow before. (loved it!)

We left the house about 11:30 for Dim Sum brunch. The roads were all plowed, but mostly empty.

For years, I’ve given retailers grief about their annual complaints that it “gets cold and snows in the North during winter” — as if it was a surprise. But it is the Sunday before Christmas, and I have to admit that nearly every store we went into was empty. Amongst others, Loews, Century 21, Pet Supplies were rather free of shoppers. The parking lot at Nordstrom’s was pretty sparse. Guess the weather actually did scare many gift hunters away.

No worries, we can still help you get your shopping done. So far, I have tried to steer you away from Gift Cards and towards some price war items. I also suggested some sale items and other gift ideas.

Well, with just 5 Days til Xmas, here are some more gift ideas, from the comfort of your closest internet connection:

crumb genesisWhen I first saw this, the title alone made me laugh: The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

But don’t laugh — this is a serious work: “Far removed from the satirical reimagining some might expect from the father of underground comix, Crumb’s long-awaited take on the first book of the Bible presents the artist’s own sensitive, visually intense reflections. Where most visual adaptations edit down their prose sources, Crumb has, strikingly, included every word of the Book of Genesis within his first major book-length work.”

Sounds fascinating.

the-money-game_pub• Scott Moore, a Laguna Beach artist, wanted to depict the stock market debacle and Bailouts via his painting. He documents the economic crisis here in the United States by using vintage toys — banks, cars, houses, piggy banks — to represent various areas of the bankrupted/bailed out economy.  Scott now has prints available of the work.

BMW Performance Driving School: I’ve done course at Limerock and Sebring, but always wanted to try this particular one. These aren’t race classes, but rather, aim to “extract the highest level of performance from an automobile by its driver under any circumstances.”  My high performance driving school was one of the most memorable gifts I ever received. The BMW prices range from “Not Bad” to “Holy shit” )

pure GPure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings of Ray Charles (1952-1959) [BOX SET] All of Ray’s work at Atlantic collected in one place. Rhino/Atlantic does a nice jonb assembling the Ray’s music. The accolades this set received when it was first issued look to be worth it. (I added this to my wish list)

Note that you can only get this used, as it appears to no longer be issued.

• I love the collection of whimsical, charming sculptures by Frogman. The prices range from modest into the $1,000s.

vis miscThe Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia: Know someone who is as fascinated as I am by the many ways we can convey data visually (as opposed to verbally)?

Than this gorgeous book might be for them. The visuals are compelling, beautifully presenting complex data in a single page.

For those who enjoy seeing the many way to present countless statistics and random facts.

• If you have a cigar smoker on your gift list, I suggest this: The Padron Anniversary Series 1926 Exclusivo has been one of my favorite smokes for years. Before the factory burned down, they were $3-4 per stick. Since then the prices have gone up 5 fold. Rated 97 by Cigar Aficionado & Named The No.1 Cigar of the Year for 2007. And I have the Lotus 21 Twin Flame Torch Lighter — it totally kicks ass!

fetish• Jeweller Marc Woods has created a series of fetishistic objects for an exhibition at the Wapping Project in London. I don’t know why, but I want to hold this in my hands and touch this object.

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail, Web/Tech

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

17 Responses to “Snowbound Shopping”

  1. Pat G. says:

    “and I have to admit that nearly every store we went into was empty.”

    Well, it wasn’t because the road crews hadn’t been out or that you couldn’t navigate it as you did, so that only leaves one reason. But, it will be blamed on the weather….

  2. bman says:

    Trickle down has failed, even in trickle down city?

  3. TakBak04 says:

    For those who don’t know Robert Crumb….they might like to see his “History of America,” because it’s incredible and aside from his other works…this one is something that so many can relate to…if they grew up in post WWII America.

    BTW: Don’t know if this link will go through…so if it doesn’t…I’ll post the one that expresses what I see as best of Crumb.

    Thanks BR…for even mentioning him.

  4. TakBak04 says:

    After days of Gloom and Rain and threats of Snow Blowout starting last Mid-week here in my Piedmont NC Location….the roads on Sunday were less congested than usual.

    Our local malls had high traffic…but few seemed to be buying. I was finishing up shopping (and I’m light this year, telling family I’m giving to charity and am cutting back. I saw lots of folks out in the FIRST SUN we’ve had in many days in what has started off unusual for NC as a “Cold Bleak Winter”…sort of out of a Dickens novel first paragraph…..and it was hard to even get myself to go out. But there were a few things I needed.

    Frankly, though…most of my buying this year was through AMAZON. I like the reviews of products and I figured if I got into the malls I’d overspend with “temptation/discount buys” and I would be part of what the retailers are counting on for “Impulse Purchase” armed with my COUPONS. (I did bring my Discount coupons from Local Newspaper…even though I hate the whole thing)

    Anyway…aside from the “Sun Coming Out and Parking lot Filled in my Local Mega Mall…there were lots of “Lookers” but no lines and those in line were doing “Returns” and not purchases.

    Don’t know what this means. I do think there are buyers, like I was for a few items with my Coupons…but I also was “Returing” some purchases that due to Chinese Sizing and my rush to buy rather than do the “fitting room thingy” I found when I got home…the quality and sizing wasn’t up to what I was used to.

    I think many returns to stores are from the declining product quality from “Offshoring” where one can buy a sweater or blouse or slacks, etc. from top line stores and find that purchasing two of an item of the same size but in different colors tends to have one find that identical items were made in different factories with different standards. Two cable sweaters in Green with the same size going to two different relatives ended up with longer sleeves and length on one compared to the other. HOW CAN THIS BE? Unless the two were identical but made in different factories to different standards? I wonder how the stores can keep track of all this. It happens all the time with clothing purchases by me. Want some slacks in my same size but want one in Khaki and the other in Navy, and try on one in store…it fits…so purchase one in one color that fit and the other color same size, brandname and bring home. When I get home…the one I tried on FITS …the one that’s the same doesn’t when I go to wear it. Therefore I take the one that didn’t fit back to the store.

    Many “returns” fewer purchases was what I saw.

    Also…My Huge Barnes & Nobel had FULL STORE. But, folks buying coffe and snacks…and others milling around store and sitting in chairs. The wrapping counter (manned by my local cat charity) had no one wrapping. A relative requested a book we were purchasing for gift. There was no problem with a store FULL OF PEOPLE to purchase and check out.

    Folks are out there for “social mall get togethers.” …But…few buyers compared to the last years I’ve been there…is what I’ve observed. And, I’ve cut back to bare bones this year…so it’s weird if I’m one of the few buyers.

    Who knows what it means. Just my local observation.


    BR: I’ve had similarly very good shopping experience with Amazon– fast easy, reasonably priced. Its why if I can’t find any better link, they are my default.

    The blog does receive affiliate revenue when some one buys anything, but for most of the year, its a minor amount of money. December is the exception.

  5. kblasi says:

    BR – I knew from your bio that you were a bit of a car guy and wondered whether you had ever had the pleasure of the Lime Rock experience. You’ve thrown out a FANTASTIC gift idea. My wife gave me a birthday gift which consisted of several laps around Thompson Speedway in a modified a few years back and I echo your statement – it was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. The Lime Rock 5 day program would be a dream come true.

    Earlier this evening I was freeing up DVR space per the wife’s request and was deleting Motorweeks after quick reviews. I came across one that featured the Ariel Atom and thought, “Lime Rock and the Atom would be a dream combo”. Perhaps we’ll see you on the hill next summer during the ALMS weekend.

    I’m glad I gave up my Fuente Fuente Opus X several years ago. The money saved will pay for driving school.


    BR: Yes — The missus gave me a few days with Skip Barber in 06 — totally loved it.

    See: Light Posts Due to Fast Laps

  6. Pocket QQ says:

    The malls and stores are packed here in the Seattle area. I don’t know if people are spending, or what they are buying, but they have been out there forcefully all weekend.

    It is the typical mad-house for us procrastinators.

  7. Space_Cowboy_NW says:

    Re: …The BMW prices range from “Not Bad” to “Holy shit”

    Have done more than a few performance/race schools.

    IMHO Spring (Formerly Battle) Mountain (outside city of ‘Lost Wages’) driving school has Z06 track cars which are quite the handfull. Fairly priced for 300 track miles and two way communication with instructors for real time learning.

    For those who have an even greater ‘need for speed’…they have several ZR1′s available.

    Try that w/out traction assist, probably a perfect drifting platform (other than $1500 worth of tires vaporizing)

    Note: there is no such thing as ‘too much horsepower’ (relative to driver’s ability to process)

    Was downtown PDX (Portland, OR) today, no traffic issues and Nordstrom (flagship) store was uneventfull. The (shoe) sales person asked me what they should bring in (inventory) for the upcoming after xmas sale that I would be interested in. Hummmmm, was that a statement within the question?

    Happy Holidays to all…..

  8. philipat says:

    R. Crumb!!! I still have some of the original “Mr Natural” Head comix acquires in SFO in the summer of ’69. The details are blurry!!

    The US really should lift the embargo with Cuba, if only so that we can smoke Cuban cigars with the bands still on!! Before I learned the band removal trick, I was once briefly detained at Atlanta airport having flown in from Zurich. I had been informed at ZRH, incorrectly as it turned out, that it is OK to bring into the US a small supply of Cuban cigars for personal consumption. Therefore, the Montecristo box was on open display, which probably tuned out to be a good thing ultimately. They were NOT amused at all.

  9. Advocatus Diaboli says:


    Is the heavy snowfall due to manmade global warming?


    BR: You are confusing weather with climate.

    No one has suggested that it won’t snow in the NE during winter. Its like a short term pull back in a longer term bull market.

  10. bman says:

    I just can’t wait until the climate wisecracks are underwater…

  11. valerie says:

    you know, Barry, I can’t help to think that american people will never change their way of being high consuming profile , most of the time for non mandatory stuff that would never help anyone to get fed or to get more clever.

    It is time to change, and not even to advertise shopping ideas, don’t you think?

    Valerie from France, a country that even does not suffer from starvation, with even less homeless than yours, but close enough to reality to think that the american kind of consuming (chinese toys, credit card…) has been stupid and useless for so long a time.

  12. Greg0658 says:

    TakBak04 you took so much time to post .. I had to do likewise .. 1st liked the telegraph road series
    2nd – I have a set of illustrated Pocket Classics – 60novels 12Shakespeare stories 24biographies – they look similar to the work in the featured Genesis. Funny tho – the artwork is not credited (in any of them) and a 15 minutes (more) Google search provided only this cover in color – the inside pages are b&w like the feature – picked them up years ago – sorta like Cliff Notes (not) – not looking to sell – just peaked curiosity:

  13. call me ahab says:

    whenever I hear R Crumb’s name I think of the poster “keep on trucking” and of course the infamous cult film “Fritz the Cat”

  14. catman says:

    ppat et al – You are in luck. Mr. Natural Omnibus is on the way. 13 usd mid 2010. Thought about Crumb for one of my born again kids but bigots tend to be short on sense of humor even when its weird and wonderful. Bought a more open minded off spring Gilbert Shelton’s Fat Freddies Cat Omnibus. Saved the Freak Bros for myself! There is one image of the boys playing golf/croquet in the middle of it that is totally priceless. In addition I had a lot of catching up to do, having missed pretty much all the adventures post 68 or 9.

  15. beaufou says:

    I did a few laps with an F3 years ago,
    if you’re ever in the south of France, treat yourself BR, fun.

  16. [...] response to Sundays snowbound shopping list was very encouraging; Many of of you commented (or emailed) positively on the gift ideas; Quite a [...]

  17. Wes Schott says:

    R Crumb interview on FORA…just viewed it today, and thought it may be worthwhile to reference it here even though this is a dead post…