THE SEDUCTION OF OBJECTS: The mall might be your best source for tiny barrettes and high-tech basketball shoes, but for your more esoteric shopping desires, eBay, the on-line auction site, is the place to look. EBay is basically a giant, sprawling, madcap garage sale (at Anyone anywhere can put an item up for bid on eBay for a small fee, and there are well over a million things offered for sale there right now--cameras, clothing, electronic equipment and cars, as well as a lot of junk mined from people's garages.

Media Mix Bidding for items is free, and if you win an auction, you are generally expected to pay for shipping and handling. This may seem inconvenient, but it's worth it, because eBay has listed for sale, right now, some of the most unusual, seductive objects on the planet. If you have loved something and lost it, or broke it, or temporarily forgot about it, you can type its characteristics into eBay's search engine and find it again. Imagine! That teapot of your grandmother's? Your pixel vision camera? The 1973 Pictorial Encyclopedia of Aberrant Behavior? Whatever you need, eBay has it. Even if you didn't know you needed it, eBay will convince you.

Most of the items for auction are accompanied by their photographs, and even if you don't feel like buying, eBay is a wonderful, self-tailoring museum of the recent past. You can, for example, browse through pictures of toys you owned as a child. One reporter was able to quickly find images of Freakie Fruity cereal premiums, a slew of mod Dawn Dolls, a beloved Ideal board game, and paper dresses printed with Campbell soup cans. There are also gazillions of pictures of china, comic books, cars, Bakelite phones, old glassware from laboratories suitable for your nefarious home chemistry purposes--whatever you might want. You name it, eBay probably has it.

Would you like, for instance, a "Batmobile"? There's one for auction on eBay now, a small car with big fins and "a neon-lit bust of Micheal Keaton on the dash." How about a first edition of the Alcoholics Anonymous book? (The bidding on this was up to $5,300 at press time.) An old tube of Clinique lipstick? Vacation property in Vail? A pair of extra-large nylon underpants? Or, our favorite item from the auction block, a human soul? It's all there waiting. Dorothy may have learned that she didn't have to look any farther for her heart's desire than her own backyard--but really, how could this be possible? Unless she had eBay.

--Stacey Richter

INK SPOT: There's a knock at the door and it's not the Girl Scouts. Instead, it's a pair of local police detectives and they're threatening to haul you away on charges of sexual assault. Your accuser is a nut and you've done nothing wrong, but that doesn't matter: There's ample circumstantial evidence to support the charge, evidence that could destroy your family and put you on trial. And that's just the beginning of your troubles....

Such is the unnervingly plausible premise of False Accusations, a new psychological thriller by Alan Jacobson, who gives two signings in Tucson this week.

Jacobson appears with pen in hand from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, March 19, at Clues Unlimited, in the Broadway Village Center on Broadway just west of Country Club Road.

The author is a California state medical examiner and evaluator who has served as an expert witness at criminal trials, a background that informs the story's forensic and courtroom adventures.

False Accusations spins the tale of orthopedic surgeon Phillip Madison and serial crackpot Brittany Harding, who makes a habit of filing workplace harassment charges and earning a nifty living on related civil suits. But with Madison, she goes one step further, setting him up for a rape charge while orchestrating incriminating evidence. All of this, however, is just a precursor to the main event: Madison's car is subsequently involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident, after which it's found in his garage while he's at home without any alibi. To put it mildly, Madison is screwed.

His fate is now in the hands of a sympathetic lawyer and a dogged private investigator who embark on an uphill battle to convince reluctant prosecutors that they're enabling a frame job. While the novel's character development is marginal at best, Jacobson keeps the plot in perpetual motion and ultimately delivers a few good twists along the way. The book's biggest thrill, however, is the simplicity with which Madison is framed. A stray fingerprint here, a couple of confused witnesses there, no alibi...It's enough to make the average Joe (or Josephine) paranoid.

--Christopher Weir

IMUS REALLY IS BACK! Yes, the irrepressible Don Imus and his zoo crew are finally back on Tucson airwaves. We lost the
I-Man a year ago, when a UA experiment with the space-time continuum went terribly awry and left radio station KTUC trapped forever in the 1950s.

We prematurely announced Imus' return a few months back, because we were foolish enough to believe former KTUC owner Tom Hassey when he was babbling about his plans to seize control of a new radio station. Hassey, of course, was full of crap, but we were blinded by our eagerness to once more enjoy our morning coffee with the Imus.

Local radio KJLL-AM 1330 (formerly KMRR) snatched up the Imus in the Morning show about two weeks ago. So at long last, you can upstart your day from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Our thanks to them, even if they did drop Texas firebrand Jim Hightower. TW

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