Christmas on Mars! LRC Christmas Gift Guide 2006 (and...beyond!)

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Okay kids, strap in and getting ready to blast off, because this year we're having Christmas in orbit, LRC-style. If you can't afford to shell out a cool $20 million to hitch a ride with the Russians like Mark Shuttleworth (great name!), you can at least simulate the experience for a lot less.

Remember, 5% of any sales from Kilian-Nakamura.com and a decent percentage of sales from Amazon.com (only if linked through this page!) will go to Lewrockwell.com to support expensive operating costs and all that good stuff. Just make sure that you buy through the links provided here!

Homestar Planetarium from Sega

Only $249 — Including worldwide express shipping from Japan!

Seriously, those home "planetariums" that consist of a light bulb and a dome of plastic with holes in it are hardly space-worthy. The Homestar goes far beyond that, with a true representation of the Heavens with "space-age" (haha) Japanese technology that's upgradeable just by popping in a different star disk. This is a MAJOR hit in Japan, with several different models out. I gave my parents the original Homestar Planetarium for Christmas last year and they love it! They can sit and marvel at the 10,000 highly detailed stars projected on their ceiling or wall, or lie in bed and drift to sleep as the sky rotates and shooting stars go flying by. It's stylish, creates beautiful atmosphere, and (being only available from Japan) is a rare treat.

Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece still puts modern CGI "effects" to shame. Need I say more? It's in my top-20 list of best films ever, and I'm from the MTV generation!

The Blue Danube, Jupiter and Beyond, and every other song from 2001: A Space Odyssey are the perfect soundtrack for any space adventure, whether admiring the stars from your living room with the Homestar planetarium or out in the countryside lying on top of your car.

2001: A Space Odyssey (The Soundtrack) Only $11.98 with free Super Saver shipping! 2001: A Space Odyssey Only $14.99 (save $4.99) with free Super Saver shipping! Astrodea Celestial Watch by Citizen Astrodea Lunar Watch by Citizen Only $599 each — Including worldwide express shipping from Japan!

Packed with all kinds of nerdy space-related features that I'll never understand in a million light years, the Astrodea series comes in Celestial and Lunar "Moon Age" models, both with faces that rotate the heavens just as they are above your head in real time. These are beautiful limited-edition timepieces for amateurs and enthusiasts alike. Available only from Japan, but, being limited edition, are subject to availability.

A flight in outer space on Virgin Galactic (postdated to around 2009)

Only $200,000 (with a $20,000 refundable deposit)

Richard Branson is aiming to do what NASA will never be able to do: Turn a profit taking people into space. Heck, even breaking even or having minimal losses would be mindblowing for NASA. If you act now you can get in on one of the first flights of what will be a tremendous space tourism industry. Dig around in the couch cushions for some loose change or mow some lawns, because it's not gonna be cheap!

Anything from the Flaming Lips! The Original Space-rockers

Only $8.99 — $17.99 (you save…a lot?) with free Super Saver shipping!

"I don't know where the sunbeams end and the starlight begins….it's all a mystery…"

~ Wayne Coyne, the Flaming Lips

Oklahoma's best and brightest have been at it for over twenty years, and I've been enamored with them since high school. In fact the idea for "Christmas on Mars" comes from their upcoming film of the same name. My mom (as I'm hesitant to admit) loves them as well, so I'm sure LRC readers with an open mind would be thrilled with their highly original, and often philosophical, psychedelic rock. My favorite is The Soft Bulletin (and "their early stuff" because I'm a music snob), but you'll love Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and their new At War with the Mystics. Go to a show too…I've been to at least ten and they're wild!

Celestron Firstscope 114EQ 114mm Reflector Telescope

Only $203.95 (you save $154.05) with free Super Saver shipping!

This is a great telescope for the budding amateur. It's easy to use, has a decent price, and (according to Amazon reviewers) is "More than three times brighter than 60mm beginner scopes." Don't take my word for it though. Read this review:

"What can I see with the Firstscope 114 EQ telescope? On clear, calm nights I’ve been able to see the Cassini division in Saturn’s rings and multiple cloud bands on the surface of Jupiter. The Firstscope 114 EQ even brings out pleasing detail in deep space objects."

Healing Moon: Relaxation Light from E-Revolution

Only $99.00 — Including Worldwide express shipping from Japan!

In the spirit of the Homestar Planetarium, E-Revolution made the Healing Moon to be its perfect companion. It's highly detailed (with a rough surface, craters, and all) and is backlit with a soft LED light. The best part is that it simulates the phases of the moon and can be controlled with an easy infrared remote. Great for creating ambiance or for when you want to make your mother-in-law turn into a werewolf for fun.

Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe (Spiral Bound)

Only $23.10 (you save $11.90) with free Super-saver shipping

If you're going to do some star-watching at home or outside you need to be prepared. Terence Dickinson's easy field guide covers all the ground (and sky for that matter) with a tour of the Universe fit for all ages. It also includes tips on the best equipment to get, how to deal with light pollution, and anything else you need to know.

Seiko "Think the Earth WN-1" Watch

Only $399 — Including Worldwide express shipping from Japan!

Think the Earth lets you view the Earth from above spinning in real time! Imagine that you're Mark Shuttleworth (seriously, that's his name?) as you count down the minutes to your Virgin Galactic flight. Available in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere models, Think the Earth is cool, space-worthy, and available only from Japan.

Firefly: The Complete Series

Only $25.97 (you save $24.01) with free Super Saver shipping!

Serenity (the awesome movie based on Firefly)

Only $13.74 (you save $6.24) with free Super Saver shipping!

Already mentioned on LRC here and included in the 2003 Anarchist's Christmas Guide, Firefly is the anarchist's dream of galactic life. Read the above links from J.E. Crosby and Wally Conger to see for yourself. They do it much more justice than I ever could. Seriously, both the show and movie are great.

Well, that about sums it up! I'm all spaced-out and ready to do some shopping of my own. However, this year I'm planning on making my Christmas presents instead of buying them…but don't think I'm cheap! The materials I'm using can be quite expensive, and I'm destined to ruin most of it out of frustration. Fun!

Make sure you buy your presents through the links above. You can give to your loved ones as well as LRC at the same time, and it doesn't cost you a penny more!

Michael Keferl [send him mail] is a trendscout, researcher, and blogger based in Japan. When he isn't in Shibuya pretending to be young, he's taking long baths in scalding hot springs baths or working in his girlfriend's family's garden. He enjoys studying Japanese as well as NOT studying Japanese. He also gives lots of credit to Mike "in Tokyo" Rogers for inspiration and helpful advice. Buy his book here for Christmas! You can find Mike "not in Tokyo" Keferl at Kilian-Nakamura.com and CScout.com.

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