In the words of Mario Andretti, "Paul Newman was one of us." Everyone knows Newman the actor, director, philanthropist, and salad-dressing king. But car people know him as a passionate sports-car racer and racing team owner. Through the words and remembrances of those who raced with him, for him, and against him, "Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman," penned by our own Matt Stone with Preston Lerner, chronicles the star's legendary life behind the wheel. The book's great stories are highlighted by more than 200 photos and illustrations, many of which have never been published. Insights into Newman's two racing-related movies -- Winning, released in 1969, and Pixar's Cars, of 2006, are also included. Available at most bookstores.
New Blocks For The Kid
We're fans of the Automoblox lines of kids' toys -- they're solid, well-made (wood and high-quality polycarbonate), safe, and cool-looking. Plus, they radiate a good, old-fashioned honesty that's lacking in most toys today. New for this year's holidays is a T900 truck model and the HR2 hot rod, both available exclusively from the Automoblox Web site (and fully interchangeable with other models in the maker's lineup). Give the kid in your life a toy he can pass on to his kids one day.
A Step Up
Can't decide between wearing a pair of driving shoes or something a tad more formal? Now there's no need to decide at all. Piloti, maker of some of our favorite purpose-built driving and racing shoes, now offers new casual footwear with a racing edge. The Muroc is a midcut boot crafted with a full-grain leather upper and Piloti's renowned Evolution bottom -- perfect for slip-free contact with the throttle of your classic Ferrari Dino. A low-cut version, the Laguna, is also available. Each comes in your choice of three colors.
MSRP: $150 (Laguna), $160 (Muroc)
Right Hear, Right Now
Illinois-based Etymotic Research is famous for its in-ear headphones, and with iPhone mania spreading faster than the swine flu, the company decided to get in on the action with a specialized iPhone headset. The hf2 can control the music as well as the phone functions of the iPhone via the inline send/end button (though, unfortunately, there's no inline volume control). Just click once to pause/play, twice to skip forward, or three times to skip back. (The hf2 also works with other smartphones, provided they use the same 3.5-mm 4-contact connector.) What really makes the hf2 worth its considerable price tag, though, is its noise-isolating capability, which, according to Etymotic, blocks out from 35 to 42 decibels of sound, depending on the eartip used. The hf2 earbuds are also more compact than noise-cancelling headphones and don't require a battery (thus you can leave them in during take-off and landing).