This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Last Minute Christmas Gifts for the Last Eight Hours of Christmas Shopping !

You need a gift.. You need it now, It must be " in and out quick" and it has to be good. A couple of  last minute suggestions in the $3 to $199 price range.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
I pads  are all the rage this year. The mini starts at $329 and the mob at the  Apple Store will put a dent in your shoe shine.  So why not give instead an Amazon Fire High Definition tablet  for only $199 .Available  at all  big box office retailers, Best Buy ,and most everywhere. If you have time to shop, some stores offer a $20 in store rebate that you can pocket. If  money  is a factor you can get the smaller screen, non HD Amazon Fire. for $159.

At first glance everyone  will think your being cheap. An Amazon Fire is not an I pad and that's just your point. An Amazon  Fire  is an entertainment  emporium with a claimed 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines and books. We haven't counted but we have seen  Season one and  two of  Downton  Abbey, and are concurrently sifting through the first four years of Fringe and 30 Something  all with  a touch on the screen. To get all most of the 22 million offers  you need to be a Amazon Prime member which costs  $79 annually . Your first month is free and after that you won't mind paying such a reasonable sum for everything ! The Amazon Prime membership compares favorably to Netflix and is already built in to travel with you. You will need  Wi Fi to connect to the net  for movies,TV,  and You Tube  You can download available titles from the Baldwin Library  to your Amazon Fire without any additional software or cost. To read those  books 24/7 all you need is battery power. With some titles you will  have the choice of reading your book, having it read to you, or switching back and forth.. A great feature when you are driving the car. Magazines, Newspapers, and Songs are also available for downloads at a price. Last but not least the USB cord you need to power your Amazon Fire (by slow boat to China ) is included. The Plug in high speed  adapter is an extra cost option for under $20.00. You should buy it. Amazon has a zillion things it thinks you should buy, That is why with an I pad like High Definition  Screen, Amazon HD is is available for  almost half the price.

But the  Amazon HD  Fire is not an I-pad. and they don't really compete,The I pad is a tool one could use in Business or Education. The Amazon Fire is HD is  entertainment with a touch of social enlightenment.  For Business or School the I pad competes with portable computers now coming in the mid three hundred dollar range.

The Amazon Fire HD  does  a surprising  number of useful things however. Getting your E-Mail at any particular time is as easy as opening up a book. Replying is not difficult with a fairly decent on screen  key board and spell check.

Amazon Fire shines at learning a  languages. You can load your primer, a grammar,and a dictionary plus a a half dozen  movies in the language you are learning and carry it literary in the palm of your  hand, If you are actually going  to the country  whose language you are learning, you can also toss in a dozen  travel books or find Rck Steves or other Travelogues on You Tube. Then you have it all  in the size  and weight paperback book .

I pad, or portable computer, notwithstanding, The  Amazon Fire is a star of it's own in the category of "slightly more than I wanted  to spend " gifts that  will be greatly  appreciated.
Bay Bridge Wine 
If you are over the World Series enough to consider a  California Wine, This one will surprise you. The price $3 (with your Kroger Card or you may get one on  demand from the store's Customer Service desk) surprised me as did the name. The Detroit Michigan equivalent would be Davidson Freeway Wine. a name of a heavily traveled thruway with no particular glamour or glitz  stated or implied.. Since San Francisco has more glamour and glitz than Detroit the practicality of the Davidson Freeway may even put it ahead of the totally  declasse San Francisco Bay Bridge, which goes by it's description rather than a name. The Golden Gate Bridge has all the charm

Intrigued enough to buy a bottle,  I found it to be  a decent wine which compare favorably to $7 imports from Chile or Australia. I looked it up on line and discovered that people out West where the wine comes from like it and say  so on line.They say it is a  good table wine and compares  to wines twice  it's cost,  Most preferred  Bay Bridge  Merlot to the Cabernet,  We served  Bay Bridge  at a number of gatherings. When the Bay Bridge story was told the reaction was a good wine probably on par with wines twice it's cost. Many expressed dismay at buying wines in the $20 to $40 range which turned out to be disappointing.
When I made my initial  purchase Bay Bridge Wines  were sold via  a prominent display with  bottles stacked as high as an elephant's eye. When I went back The display was gone. I had to ask for Bay Bridge  by name.. I was surprised to learn the Bay Bridge had earned a place on the shelf and I decided the name is rather apt. A  No fuss wine,from  a city with a no fuss bridge that gets you there.
"You know that wine compares a favorably to wines costing twice as much, " I told the wine steward at Krogers. He did not disagree.

 100 years ago it was said that all America needed a decent  five cent cigar. Well now America has a decent $3 bottle of wine.

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