Magazine

The iPod's Wet Suit


Many people can identify members of the Sikh religion by their distinctive headdress. But they may know little about Sikh culture and beliefs. The Rubin Museum of Art (RMS) in New York is shedding light on the world's fifth-largest religion with a new exhibit, I See No Stranger: Early Sikh Art and Devotion, that runs from Sept. 18 to Jan. 29. The show of 100 works from the 16th to 19th centuries includes paintings, drawings, textiles, and metalwork exploring the religion, which preaches that people of different races, religions, and gender are equal. Many of the works will be on view for the first time in the U.S. at the Rubin, which opened in 2004 and is dedicated to the arts of the Himalayas (rmanyc.org). In addition to its building at 17th Street and Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, RMA maintains an interactive Web site, exploreart.org.

You've heard of Boston's Freedom Trail. But did you know Tucson has a similar self-guided walking tour of historic sites? The Presidio Trail wends its way for 2 1/2 miles through downtown. Just follow the turquoise stripe.

The trail starts at the site of Presidio San Agust?n de Tucson, where the city was founded in 1775. The Spanish garrison is long gone, but a portion of it is being reconstructed for a cultural heritage park set to open next year.

The tour takes in some striking architecture. Two high spots: the Pima County Courthouse (1929), a majestic Spanish Colonial Revival building with a blue-tile dome and an impressive interior courtyard, and the newly restored Fox Theatre (1929), a rare Southwestern Art Deco structure. Other notable sites include the Teatro Carmen, built in 1915 as a home for Spanish-language theater, and the well-preserved, and still thriving, Hotel Congress (1919), where local authorities nabbed bank robber John Dillinger and his gang in 1934.

Get a map at the Convention & Visitors Bureau, 100 S. Church Ave., or at tucsonpresidiotrust.org. Leave your spurs at home.

If you're struggling to find the perfect gift but think that a gift card is too impersonal, here's a clever way to dress it up. Retailers are beginning to offer gift cards that are customized with your own greetings or pictures. At cardways.com, you can write text or upload photos that are then printed on a plastic gift card from the likes of Barnes & Noble (BKS), Circuit City (CC), or Linens 'n Things. It costs $4.50 more than the value of the gift card. Cardways tucks it inside a greeting card -- you can personalize that, too -- and mails it to the recipient. Shipping costs you only the price of a first-class stamp.

Whether you're swimming laps or just want to protect your iPod from the elements, here's the best way. Otter (otterbox.com) makes a waterproof, shockproof housing for every iPod model at prices from $20 to $50. What sets the OtterBox apart from other makers' rugged cases is a flexible membrane over the iPod's click wheel: It allows you to control your music through the case.


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