You want a TC bare-bones system, Amptron MB, AMD Duron 1.2 gig-hz processor, ATX case, 250-watt power system, 256 Mb of ram, Sis Video and Sis Sound, Sis Network 10/100 mhz plus Sis Modem 56K V90, serial, parallel, USB and PS2 ports with a 15-inch monitor for $520? No, wait. Maybe you want a Toshiba notebook with Intel P-120 mhz processor, 48 megs of ram, a 1.4 gig hard drive, 6x CD rom, SVGA Video with Sis sound, 28.8 modem, serial and parallel ports with MS Windows 98 for $199. This stuff is used, but that's better than the only other way you'll ever see these prices, which is out of a bad person's car trunk. Tran Computer is good, and it makes good on its guarantees. You need it now and you need it cheap: See Tran.

This chic urban pampering asylum done up in shades of swimming-pool blue offers a full menu of delicious traditional treatments like stone therapy massage, anti-aging facials and skin-rejuvenation treatments, in a soothingly comfortable atmosphere. But it goes beyond the ordinary, with laser hair-removal procedures, and Botox treatments and collagen injections administered by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Aqua also offers massages, manicures and pedicures and therapeutic facial mud fights. (Just kidding about the last one.)

This place is much more esoteric than it is bookstore. All kinds of herbs and oils with healing and other powers abound. So do votive candles adorned with saints to pray to and things to wish for. Burning a dark green lucky candle adorned with dice, horseshoes and numbers could help a believer win the lottery, for example. Saying the corre diablo corre prayer on the back of a black, burning run devil run candle helps keep evil at bay. And burning a dark blue Saint Dymphna candle while praying to the "youthful martyr of purity" can help console and give strength to those suffering from "nervous disorders, mental anguish or addictions." If you need to break or cast a hex, the appropriate candles line the shelves here as well.

Mark Sonna and Larry Groseclose opened their Deep Ellum hipster gift store seven years ago and just this summer opened a second location downtown. The new store is a lot like the old store, except there are posh neighbors like Neiman-Marcus and the Adolphus Hotel, and a vintage atmosphere in the restored 1913 Woolworth Building. Both locations feature kitsch, artist-designed jewelry, retro toys such as pet rocks, sea monkeys and paint-by-number sets and funky home furnishings, but what we like best are the wall-to-wall greeting cards. Mark & Larry's carries more than 30 of the best lines--Nobleworks, which are funny; Fotofolio also--and hard-to-find handmade cards, many from England. British artists create one-of-a-kind, elaborate cards for the English Card Company and Vigo. Mark & Larry's carries frames to fit the card works of art--very cool idea, particularly if you pay more than $10 for a card.

America loves the hairless. Hair removal has taken the place of the manicure as a status symbol and has made its way onto many a Dallas woman's schedule. We think it might be a touch excessive and masochistic to use an Epilady, and Nad's has been road-tested by several staffers here, and we got no satisfaction. So we turn to the experts, Ms. Hunter in particular, for a considerably more pleasant hair-removal experience. She uses the latest technology (IPL Photo Rejuvenation), makes you feel comfortable (even when you're not so clothed) and has catlike swiftness. She also does more than hair removal, offering microdermabrasion, facials and anti-aging skin care. Hairless, wrinkle-free and spic-n-span pores sound fine to us; at least the nonsurgical methods won't make your ears meet in the long run.

Gas Pipe

We would never, ever pick a best head shop. Drugs are bad, m'kay? What we come here for are the plentiful gag T-shirts, the comic bumper stickers, the incense. Not that we ever have a call to burn incense. What? You say they have water pipes, too? Hmmm. We thought all those fancy, colored glass sculptures were lamps. Sure are purty. Might have to pick up one of those some day.

Unfortunately, there remains an assumption, in this world struggling toward equality for all, that the ladies aren't as schooled on the secret world beneath the hood of an automobile. Sometimes, a mechanic here and there will try to finagle an unnecessary repair or two based on such assumptions. We believe such practices are a crock. The Zuhdi folk are all about our desire for fair car repairs and estimates, too. They don't mess around with tidbits and add-ons, they do the work in an incredibly timely manner and they are more than reasonable in price. We salute you, Zuhdi, for your nonprejudiced customer service and your quality of work for men and women alike.

Gorgeous terra-cotta pots from Italy and Greece, beautiful fired earth pots from Vietnam: Lemmon Avenue Pottery has always been a kind of mecca for the most discriminating potheads, potophiles, pot fans, or whatever you call them, in the entire Southwest.

This purveyor of chic duds and accessories for ladies and gents doesn't just dress an AARP associate in a vest and cap to mumble a "howdy" when you walk to the door. They follow up their greetings by asking if you might like a refreshing beverage to go with your shopping experience: a choice of Coke, Sprite or sparkling water in swift little bottles. We're waiting for them to discover those red Piper-Heidsieck minis. Champagne just makes hellos slide off the lips so much easier. It makes the shopping more dangerous, too.

This place closed recently, but we wanted to keep it in, because, well, quite honestly, no other bookstore in town so enchanted children. In addition to having a wonderful selection of books for the youngsters, owner Jennifer Anglin had the most customer-friendly place of business you're likely to ever encounter. The imaginative layout included a stage for such activities as the Polka Dot Theater where high school actors from Booker T. Washington regularly put on short plays and visiting authors read and discussed their books. Its demise is a sad day for tots who read.

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