The Post picks exciting gift items Essay

In shopping the Post’s gallery of Christmas gift suggestions
this year, you may have one big problem. Whatever you select, giving it
away may require more will power than you possess. The answer, as you
browse among these items, is to keep repeating, “It’s more
blessed to give. . .it’s more blessed to give. . . .”

Of course, there’s no reason you can’t add a gift or two
for yourself. Or drop a subtle hint to your beloved that you’d be
happy to find one of these items under your own Christmas tree.

Some of these innovative gift items may not yet have reached the
stores in your area. In that case, you can order them (except for This
Great Land and the Electronic Learning Aids) direct from Hammacher
Schlemmer, New York, New York.

Le Petit Electric Mincer: There will be no mincing around when you
see this one. Not unless your gift recipient cooks for threshers.
Designed to prepare small amounts of seasonings, vegetables, condiments
and garnishes quickly and easily, this French import minces garlic,
onions, parsley, hardboiled eggs, cheese, nuts and even coffee beans in
seconds. Plugs into household outlet. Pressing the container top starts
the stainless-steel blade rotating. Container and blade easily rinsed.
Height is 6-1/2 inches; diameter is 3-1/4 inches. It holds one cup.

Stock Market Monitor: Let’s say hubby drags home all out of
sorts because he got his socks beat off in a golf match. And the reason
was, his mind had been on the fluctuations of his Widget Mouse Trap
stock, and he couldn’t concentrate on his game. What a relief if
he could only have pulled out his pocket-sized,
microprocessor-controlled receiver and received complete,
up-to-the-minute financial information wherever he was, without delay.
The monitor is capable of storing and displaying data on up to 40
securities selected by him: trading symbol, last sale, net change, high,
low, open or close and total volume. Coverage includes the New York and
American stock exchanges, NASDAO, Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago
Mercantile Exchange and the CEC.

The unit can be used within a 50-mile radius of broadcasting
centers in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco,
with other cities to be added shortly.

A tax-deductible subscription fee gives access to service. (The
fees are $25.00 to $192.50 per month for one year depending on range of
services desired.) The hand held monitor is 5-7/8 inches long, 2-7/8
inches wide, 1 inch thick and weighs 11 ounces. $349.50.

Electric Wok: Compare it with any other device on the market today
for precise, controlled stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, braising and
stewing, and you’ll find that this one wins in a walk.

It is the best electric wok with a round bottom, so vital to wok
cooking because it allows even heat dispersion, requires less oil and
prevents hot spots that can burn food. Its quick recovery of peak heat
after adding cold ingredients assures light, crisp, stir-fried food.
The hard, steel surface cannot be damaged by cooking tools and the
temperature control will not overheat. Comes with stainless-steel lid,
chromed-steel steam and tempura racks, 12-inch wooden cooking chopsticks
and a manual with 31 recipes by the Chinese chef Martin Yen. $99.50.

Ergometric Exercise Bicycle: If it’s exercise and fitness you
have in mind, you’ll want to take a flyer on this. Its 44-pound,
solid-steel flywheel develops more momentum than lighter flywheels, and
pedaling is smoother, more comfortable and efficient. Used in exercise
centers around the world to develop and evaluate cardiovascular fitness,
the bicycle also strengthens tendons, ligaments and the muscles that
support the legs and trunk. Its precision resistance settings,
30-minute timer and dial readouts allow the peddler to measure his
degree of improvement in cardiovascular fitness. Completely and easily
adjustable without tools to fit riders up to 6’4″.
Instructions for workouts included. $449.50.

Ichi Cooking Table: You name it, this Oriental cooking table can
cook it–indoors with electricity or outdoors with charcoal. The
hexagonal table, 8-1/2 inches on each side, lets six people cook
individual portions or lets you prepare up to six different foods
simultaneously. The removable electric element heats to 450[deg.]F.
near the center and 225[deg.]F. at the outer edges to cook and warm
foods. For broiling, the platter may be replaced by a steel grill, or
you may choose to fit up to six 18-inch wooden-handled, chrome-plated
steel skewers (included) into side slots for kabobs. Easily portable;
sets up in just one minute. Six 12-inch wooden tongs included.

This Great Land: For saving time, money and competition from the
madding tourist crowd, nothing can beat armchair travel. And in This
Great Land, via the breath-taking photos by David Muench, you can travel
5,000 spectacular miles–from the fogbound coast of New England through
the endless prairie of the heartland, across the towering Rockies to the
pounding surf of the Pacific Coast and on to the lush tropical strand of
Hawaii. Accompanying the 130 unique full-color photographs are six
essays by writers who evoke the sights and sounds of the regions they

If This Great Land isn’t in your favorite bookstore, you can
order it direct from the publisher, Rand McNally and Company, P.O. Box
7600, Chicago, IL 60680. $40. Electric Learning Aids: Oh what fun it
is to learn with an electronic aid that actually talks. Yes, your child
has only to touch the keyboard of one of these sturdy, kid-sized
electronic learning aids to enter an answer–and get a voice reply. If
that answer is right, the instrument will say, “You are
correct.” If wrong, it offers encouragement. In short, it is as
close to having a real tutor in the room as technology can come.

Speak and Spell gives the child a head start in tackling
troublesome areas in spelling, such as homonyms, irregular verb endings
and words with silent endings.

Speak and Read lets children hear words as well as see them used in

Speak and Math has 100,000 math problems built in and makes this
subject exciting as children practice important mathematical operations
and concepts. From Texas Instruments. Retail prices vary from $39 to
$55 each in most stores.

Chesalturf Putting Green: For those days when a golfer only has
time to putter around, he will appreciate finding this putting green
awaiting him at the end of the livingroom fairway on Christmas morning.
The realistic, deep-textured artificial turf provides the best practice
surface for developing a par-putting technique. Carpets, floors or
rubber mats simply don’t give one the same authentic feeling of
speed, line and slope. The 4-inch diameter cups, 1/4-inch smaller than
regulation, sharpen the aim and are set off from one another for
different putting angles. Length allows practice of 9 feet, and a
slight incline at the end develops firmness of stroke. It rolls up
easily for storage. $43.50.

Electronic Digital Fever Thermometer: The days of having your
temperature rise–because you had to wait 3 or 4 minutes for that
breakable glass tube beneath your tongue to register–are over. This
electronic job of high-impact plastic does it in about 60 seconds and is
accurate to plus or minus 130[deg.]F. Not only that, it chirps when the
temperature is reached, warns audibly when that temperature is
dangerously high (above 107[deg.]F.) and has an easy-to-read LCD
display. It registers oral, rectal or underarm temperatures, comes with
disposable probe covers and has a safety lock to prevent children from
removing the batteries, which are included. The length is 6-1/2 inches,
and it weighs 20 ounces. $26.50.

Travel Steam Iron: If you are considering making a purchase this
Christmas for an “old smoothie,” or a young one, for that
matter, this is it. The owner can say good-bye to professional laundry
service by steam-pressing his own clothes. Its nonstick metal sole
plate with steam vents has one-third more surface area than other
miniature travel irons. Water container snaps out for convenient
filling and emptying. Temperature control adjusts for dry- or
steam-pressing of the most delicate fabrics. A carrying case is
included. $39.50.

Cordless Food Warmer: There’s nothing quite like coming in
from the cold to a hot meal. And nothing can keep a meal hot quite like
this convenient, cordless food warmer. The nickel-plated steel exterior
houses a block of hardened quartz heated by an electric coil. Plugged
into a household outlet, the unit reaches a surface temperature of
248[deg.]F. in 20 minutes. When the cord is removed, the tray remains
hot to the touch for about 1/2 hour. The area holds one large or two
medium-sized serving dishes. Imported from Germany. $49.50.

Electric Pasta Maker: If you think that pasta as a present has no
future, you may be right. But there’s no quicker way to a pasta
lover’s heart than through a pasta maker. And here is one that
makes up to 1-1/3 pounds from scratch in just ten minutes, in a single
chamber, and is the only unit with a blower that helps dry fresh pasta
as it’s extruded so that the pieces won’t stick together. The
11 different dies make everything from spaghetti, vermicelli and
fettucini to linguini, lasagne, zite and gnocchi. There are even dies
for cookies, bagels, pretzels and breadsticks. There are also a
measuring cup, instruction book and 14 recipes. $159.50.

Invisible Dog Fence: For the person whose dog is going to the dogs,
or the neighbor’s garbage pail, or out in the street to chase cars,
the invisible dog fence will change its mind in a hurry.

Harmless and humane, it consists of a nylon-covered copper wire,
laid four inches below ground, which carries radio signals from a
transmitter inside the house to a receiver-collar around the dog’s
neck. When the dog approaches the wire boundary, the receiver-collar
“beeps” a warning that if ignored results in a mild electric

Because the collar puts out only 4-1/2 to 7-1/2 watts, the shock is
mild but still effective in training the dog. The width of the
transmission field around the wire can be adjusted up to eight feet on
both sides. A temporary string fence (included) serves as a visual cue.
With 15 minutes of training each day for a week, the dog learns to stay
inside the boundaries, and the string fence can be removed. It is
usable by any number of dogs more than five months old (extra receivers
available). The receiver is water- and shock-resistant and runs on a
seven-volt battery. It costs $695.00 and includes 1,000 feet of wire
and materials for installation up to one acre and is not recommended for
property less than one-quarter acre. Extra fence and receiver collars
are available.


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