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Looking for a copy of Robert Payne's Life and Death of Lenin? Probably not, but they have it. Interested in an original edition of O. Henry's Roads of Destiny from 1922? It can be yours for eight bucks. And while most libraries may be complete without the first edition of Charles Knight's William Shakspere [sic]: A Biography -- circa 1880 -- it must be said that the Book Island not only has it, but it has it for a mere $25. Also keep your eyes open for its small stash of Little Leather Library books from the 1920s; tiny leather-bound classics, like Man Without a Country and Courtship of Miles Standish, each about the size of a cigarette pack, go for $10 apiece. Just the right size for you to devour during your next sack lunch.
When you're ready to work on a more human scale, Homies Hobbies can also help you build a lowrider bike. Custom seats, frames, springs, whitewall tires embossed with the word "lowrider" and a ton of chrome can be found here to help you make or customize your own low-to-the-ground bike.
And if playing with Barbie and Ken is becoming too boring for the kids, then Homies is still the way to go. It has a huge selection of the addictive and collectible "Homies" dolls. From Smiley to El Flaco, the complete collection of little homies is available, as well as the stickers, key chains and doll houses -- but we'd rather call them mini-cribs. And forget Barbie's Corvette -- you can lowride your Homie in your own customized minicoach!
Though it's unquestionably classy, this Four Seasons isn't your typical Scottsdale resort. Rather than rooted in glitz, its grandeur rises from nature. The patio adjacent to the Lobby Lounge and the elegant Acacia restaurant presents a postcard-perfect view of the High Sonoran Desert, which -- wonder of wonders -- still looks like a desert. The resort's construction emphasized efforts to preserve the land's natural beauty. (Natural beauty? In Scottsdale?) Even the few surrounding developments are earth-toned and modest, designed to complement the terrain.
Beyond the resort's lawn, the entire Valley stretches in the distance, framed by mountain ranges rising like fortress walls. On the right, the sun sinks behind Pinnacle Peak, painting the sky over the facing mountains. Order a fuchsia prickly pear margarita and watch the sky take on its color. Sit a bit longer and see that, in Scottsdale, even the stars show off.
No Jags available today; turns out they're more precious than gold. But floor to ceiling is every other option, and priced at much, much less than a dealer. Crime doesn't pay, but when it happens, it's nice to know we can solve it for a few dollars less.
But while most of us talk the talk, Jess Wells actually clocked a prospective thief with his Nikon FTN during a walk years ago back in New York City. A guy wanted his camera; Wells gave it to him upside the head. Major cred. Great story.
Try to find anything like it while buying a memory card at Best Buy.
Wells works at Lewis Camera Exchange, a store full of a little bit of digital but mostly soulful old F1 lenses and F4 bodies and Ilford paper and dangerous developing chemicals and oodles of institutional knowledge.
Vince Ruggiero started the store back in 1972. Most of his business still comes from ASU and other college students learning the fundamental arts and crafts of photography.
The digital age is hurting them. Five other real camera stores have folded in Arizona in the last five years because of lost revenue to megastores selling digital cameras and their memory cards.
But Ruggiero continues to survive, thanks to a loyal clientele. And clients are loyal because Ruggiero offers reasonable prices and, more important, staffers who know what they're talking about and love to talk about what they know.
Pop goes the culture weasel at this ever-so-funky haven of '50s decor and soda fountain memorabilia. Nowhere else will you find a funky Mork & Mindy card game, a funky Clash of the Titans metal lunchbox, and funky old posters touting entertainment ranging from Vic Damone on the Pet Milk Show to Whitesnake's "Return of the Snakes" tour. A funky Hamm's sign features the beer's motto, "Born in the Land of Sky Blue Waters," next to a groovy moving picture of said land. Bo's funky animal selection includes a life-size stuffed camel with a moving head, and a ceramic dog with a Hennessy keg protruding from its neck.
Funky '50s fun includes an enormous Bob's Big Boy sign, a huge soda fountain and jukeboxes, one actually containing a song called "Cruisin' With the Fonz." Sure, Fonz was cool, but was he funky?
If you don't mind the swap-meet frazzle, and you are mindful of watching for flaws, you can make a killing here. It's not uncommon to pay $29 for shoes here that are selling for $130 within a mile of the store. Ten-dollar shirts are $50 anywhere else.
Again, though, being smart is the key. Most every Last Chance aficionado has reveled in a purchase only to find a hidden tear or stain at home.
After all, Last Chance isn't just a name, it's a dire warning. But it's also a challenge.