Its become an annual TBP tradition — each year, I pick some of the more odd & interesting things I stumble across in my travels as well as items off of my own wish list.

We always get lots of good feedback about this — so following my last post mocking Black Friday numbers, just to show I’m no Scrooge, let’s kick off the Shopmas season with some ideas for those of you who may have been very, very good this year.

Go forth and stimulate:

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Gerber 01471 Suspension Butterfly Opening Multi-Plier with Sheath $23

For the Camper/Outdsoorsman on your list: I own a Leatherman that costs 3X what the Gerber runs, but I honestly cannot explain why. This is a solid tool at a very reasonable price.

Bonus: Gerber makes several solid collapse shovels that are also reasonably priced (see this and this)

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Preston Sturges – The Filmmaker Collection $33.50

Contains some of the funniest comedies ever filmed: Sullivan’s Travels/The Lady Eve/The Palm Beach Story/Hail the Conquering Hero/The Great McGinty/Christmas in July/The Great Moment

Preston Sturgess wrote, produced and directed all 7 films.

Sturgess fans will note that this is not the complete works — what is not included: are Stugess gems such as The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek; The Beautiful Blond from Bashful Bend; and two of my all time favorites, Unfaithfully Yours; The Sin of Harold Diddlebook).

Regardless, it is a mighty fine starter set for any film buff, school student or budding fan of cinema.

Bonus: The Lady Eve may be the single best romantic comedy ever made.

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C-3PO MIMOBOT 4-32 MG USB Flash Drive ($15-35)

C3PO protocol droid as a ridiculously cute flash drive.

Check out the R2D2 drives as well.

See other themed flash drives at Mimoco.

 

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•  Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day $31 (Deluxe Edition 2CD, 1 Blu-Ray, 1 DVD)

On December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin took the stage at London’s O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert — and what followed has been described as possibly the greatest rock and roll concert ever — a two-hour+ tour de force of the band’s signature rock ’n’ roll. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham, (son of late drummer John Bonham), performed 17 songs, recorded in high definition with stunning audio quality.

My head exploded as I listened to this.

Buy it for any 50 something rockhead in your family — they guy who KNOWS that Kanye ain’t shit, Aerosmith is 2nd rate, Bon Jovi is a pussy, and this is real Rock and Roll.

Ramble on . . .

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The 2000 Year Old Man:The Complete History $39

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner met 60 years while working on Sid Caesar’s television series “Your Show of Shows” as writers. They created this routine (which the show turned down) in which Reiner asks earnest questions of Brooks who is a 2,000 Year Old Man.

It was ground breaking in its time, and today, its simply hilarious.

The two of them are Masters of Comedy. This is a work of stunning originality, and remains studied and revered by comedians even today.

Brilliant comedic wit, timing and improvisation by two of the greatest comedians ever — this is simply the perfect gift for anyone on your list who fancies himself a quick wit or funny guy.

Bonus: Brooks & Reiner have been making the rounds lately, doing a Seinfeld interview as well as a Dick Cavett HBO special.

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Exploring Wine: Completely Revised 3rd Edition $39

For the oenophile on your list:

Essential wine reference for food and wine aficionados.

This is an invaluable guide that will demystify wine, teach the basics of wine production to the nuances of wine lists.

Written by pros for pros, but accessible to anyone.

Bonus: Drink as you read!

 

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Breville BDC600XL YouBrew Drip Coffee Maker ($249-$275)

The missus has been after me to get a single cup coffee maker, but I have ducked them — they all are  mostly terrible.

I was about to spring $200 for the Starbuck Verisimo, when a reader pointed me to this: A lovely stainless steel beastie that not only brews a nice pot of coffee, but also has a single cup setting.

There is an insanely detailed description at Amazon of all the features. (The price does seem to be fluctuating a bit)

Note the Breville BDC550XL The YouBrew Glass version — which is minus the thermal pot and some minor features — also does the single cup brew is on sale for $179. (UPDATE: Prices are swinging pretty wildly on this one, from $179-$249 — be selective in when you make this purchase)

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Go Pro Here 3 $226-359

Go to YouTube and do a GoPro search — you will pull up half a million videos of the most mind blowing filmed activities — everything from skydiving to free skiing to kite surfing to amateur track day racing.

Lots more good stuff at the Go Pro site. There are waterproof surf versions, motorsports editions, and of course, the ubiquitous helmet cams.

Check out some of the incredible videos at YouTube.

Or better yet, go make your own!

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Octopus Vase by Shayne Greco: ($700)

This is one of those items that a photo simply cannot do justice to:

A double octopus vase, standing 15x17x16, cephalopods’ tentacles engulfing the entire vase in 8 arms of sucker cupped glory.

More photos here.

Artist: Shayne Greco;

Retailer: OBX Trading

 

Skip Barber Performance Driving School: $1500 – 3200

I previously mentioned my experiences at Lime Rock, but the experience was really more than driving — it was all about the Skip Barber classes — if you never took a high performance driving course, well, you should. (Then go back for a refresher every 5 years).

The nice thing about giving this as a gift, is 1) It is very memorable; 2) You can save someone’s life by teaching them to drive well; 3) It is ridiculously fun.

I highly recommend it!

Category: Consumer Spending, Current Affairs, Markets

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