Who doesn't like chocolate? Or gadgets? Or free software or even a movie for the whole family? We've got all that in this week's installment of recommendations.
Divine chocolate -- My newest food addiction is Divine chocolate bars, specifically the 70 percent dark chocolate. It's rich, smooth and creamy, as you might expect from any run-of-the-mill confection, but it's a choice you can feel good about, as well. The fair trade certified chocolate is imported from Germany and is free from all artificial flavorings, colorings and preservatives. In fact, every ingredient, down to the vanilla, is fair trade. Plus, it's free from nuts, wheat and any and all dairy products, making it a special sweet treat for those adhering to gluten-free diets, vegan diets or those with nut allergies. I've been getting my fix at Beans & Barley and Whole Foods Market. -- Julie Lawrence
"Give the Girl a Kiss" -- It has been a few weeks since I made a Springsteen recommendation, so here you go ... The iPod shuffled onto this track from disc one of "Tracks" and it's just a riot. I can see why Bruce left it off "Darkness on the Edge of Town," because it was a little too sunny, but it's a crime that neither that nor "Don't Look Back" made it onto "The River." I mean, either one would have been better than "Crush on You." -- Drew Olson
Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey (Universal Home Entertainment) -- I've got to admit that as a big fan of the original Curious George (and even the flurry, nay, avalanche of books that have followed mimicking the original drawings), I was skeptical of the movie that made George look cutsier -- surely he was cute enough? -- and decided the Man With the Yellow Hat needed a more traditional name. Both of those things are a dumbing down, there's no other way to see it. But, still, this 81-minute animated film isn't meant to impress me. And when I popped it in for the first time it was an instant hit with the youngest Curious George fan at home. That fan -- who is extremely observant -- doesn't seem to make any distinctions between the "real" George and the Hanna-Barbera-style one here. The film was a big hit the second time, too. I expect this story of George rescuing (or stealing, depending on your viewpoint) a homesick circus elephant and their long trek to reunite the pachyderm with its family on the other side of the continent will be in heavy rotation for a while at Cinema Tanzilo. -- Bobby Tanzilo
solCHAT solar powered Bluetooth speaker -- Even though I remain confident in my abilities to talk on my phone and drive at the same time, I know the time is coming when it'll be illegal to have a conversation that isn't on a hands-free device. I've already equipped one of my cars with a BlueAnt Bluetooth speaker that works pretty well, but last week the PR people for Scoche sent me a solCHAT solar powered speakerphone to try out. I love this little device because it never needs to be plugged in, and it imported my entire address book right from my iPhone. Oddly, it speaks with a British accent, and people on the other end of my conversations have said I sound a little tinny. Still, it's a small and innocuous device, and the solar angle is very convenient. You can find it for about $80 online. -- Andy Tarnoff
AbiWord Word Processor -- In my never-ending question to find streamlined but functional software for my Netbook, I stumbled upon this little doozy last week. I'm a fan and long-time user of OpenOffice.org's suite but I don't normally have any need for the additional features. I have also tried Microsoft Works and Google Documents -- both good programs, yes -- but I find that the coding sometimes is goofy when I try to copy it into our production software. AbiWord, though, is as fully-functional as it gets and has an easy-to-navigate interface. Plus, with just the word processor, it takes up much less space on my hard drive and runs very efficiently. I'm leaving OpenOffice on my machine, just in case somebody sends me a Power Point or Excel document, but for the simplicity of typing up stories, AbiWord is my new go-to. -- Andrew Wagner