My 2010 Christmas Shopping Guide for Agoraphobes

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 27 of November , 2010 at 8:05 pm

I don’t go to malls unless it’s the only way to get to a Chick-fil-a.  Other than the grocery store and Target, I really don’t go to any brick-and-mortar stores.  As such, I’m a very experienced internet shopper.  About 90% of my gifts are purchased online.  Over the years I’ve found some pretty cool sites.  Here is my annual list of online stores for unique and fun gifts: — Ok, you probably knew about this one.  I like it because they literally have EVERYTHING.  It’s really great for dog lovers.  Just put in the breed and you’ll get hundreds of fun items with their breed of choice — socks, stationary, PJs, etc.  Ditto for anyone else that’s really in to something or someone or some team.  It’s also a great way to support smaller retailers since most of the stuff that will come up isn’t directly sold by Amazon. — This is my favorite site for stocking stuffers and fun gifts.  My friends and family will definitely recognize some of the stuff on here.  Best category: Robots and Cupcakes.  My favorite item: the Stress Wiener. — Lots of great things for family and friends who entertain.  Also, great for finding unique gifts.  A few years ago I bought a friend who is a die-hard Yankees fan a pair of cufflinks made from the seats at the old stadium.  They also have a helpful gift section that can help you narrow down items by price, recipient, sale items and what’s new.  On my Christmas list: Arm Warmers — Gourmet popcorn in really yummy flavors.  It ships a lot better than cookies.  I’ve spent lots of time and dough (hee hee) shipping cookies to people and then finding out they were a crumbly mess when they arrived.  Wouldn’t your loved ones rather have Maple Bacon popcorn than crumbly week-old cookies?  Or Egg Nog with Brandied Chocolate Popcorn?  Or Cashew Caramel Popcorn?  Or Rocky Road Popcorn?  Or Hawaiian Sea Salt Popcorn?  Um, yeah, I recommend the Sample Packs. — Don’t laugh!  They have really cute costume jewelry and hair accessories. — There are several sites that offer a similar service, but this is the one I use.  Take a photo someone has taken or photo of their dog (I obviously know a lot of dog lovers) and make it into cards or a jewelry box or calendar or whatever.  Just be sure to think ahead since this isn’t your best bet for a last-minute gift.

Coming soon… My list of books that make good Christmas gifts. Good news: most of them aren’t political!

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Category: Clicks of the Day,The Internets,Things I Want

SHOCK: States’ Anti-Internet Taxes Backfire

Written by Lotus on Wednesday, 1 of July , 2009 at 9:40 pm

One of the leading “e-tailers” announced that they are canceling advertising contracts in Hawaii, North Carolina and Rhode Island because of those states imminent new tax plans.‘s CEO and Chairman Peter Byrne said:

“It’s awful to have to terminate these relationships with affiliates, simply because they live in states where unconstitutional laws are being passed. However, politicians have to remember that a tax is a price that government charges for a service, and when they raise their prices, we’re going to buy less of their services.”

These new plans are an attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s decision that a company has a “physical presence” in order for states to enfore sales tax collection.  The new tax plans seek to designate local, independent internet advertisers as constituting sufficient physical presence in a state to justify the imposition of collection obligations.

In addition to, has also canceled advertising contracts in several states.  Both companies have pending sister suits in the state of New York regarding their anti-internet advertising laws. has said that it will also sever its ties in any state that imposes similar laws. 

Internet retailer giants like Amazon and Overstock sever advertising contracts is just the beginning of the adverse affects these new tax plans will have on businesses and bloggers.  How many of our favorite blogs will cease to exist once the advertising dollars dry up? 

Los Angeles Times reports:

Overstock executives say they plan to sever ties with their affiliate advertising websites in any state that passes or “appears to be close” to passing similar laws.

“Internet advertising is a tidy little business that can be done by just about anyone, anywhere on the globe, and when states unwisely and unconstitutionally pass these laws, their local Internet ad business will quickly go dark, and that ad business will simply migrate to states more friendly to Internet commerce,” said President Jonathan Johnson.

“In the end, the only thing to be accomplished by these laws will be to put more local citizens out of work — exactly the wrong choice in a down economy,” he said.

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Category: The Internets


LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.