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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Are your arms long enough to read this Christmas list?

I shop downtown. Sometimes I pay more than I would somewhere else, sometimes not. Can’t brag about how great it is to live in Saratoga Springs without supporting the downtown that makes it so.
I also make pit stops at the big boxes for holiday shopping and household basics like linens and toaster ovens.
And while I search, research and sometimes make purchases online, I enjoy flipping through catalogues, a tactile treat that may not be long for this world. When it comes to perusing the sleek and utterly ridiculous, the Sharper Image is my favorite at-home catalogue, my on-the-ground version of the Sky Mall.
Consider these recent items:
For $349.99, you could own a “stylish leather ottoman (that) transforms into a bed in an instant.” This is the perfect extra mattress for when you want to send the message, “Get a hotel.”
For $99.99, you could own “the ultimate hidden camera” built into a pen. Slip this baby in your breast pocket, gentlemen, and you can shoot sound and video. And it writes, so you can hand out your phone number after you’ve impressed the ladies … or use it to sign for your phone while you’re being booked for harassment.
Too much time on your hands? Yet too busy to wind your own watch? Rather than wonder why you own a self-winding watch — or two — Sharper Image offers a “Dual Automatic Watch Winder” with an automatic motor in a “handsome leather case” for a mere $199.99. Reasonably priced, really, when you consider that includes an A/C adapter with battery backup.
My favorite is the “Full Page Magnifier Lamp” for all those whose arms are suddenly too short when trying to read mysteriously shrinking print. The illustration shows a page-size lighted magnifier attached to a goose-neck base. Only $79.99 for the floor model; $69.99 for the desk model. “If you’re holding the page farther and farther away each day…” begins the description. If you are, I can say from experience, it’s time for bifocals.


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