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SIDEWAYS GLANCE ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, 2001 SHAPES UP NICELY.

Byline: - Tom Hoffarth

They give us a place to scribble down things that we'll most likely forget anyway. So why bother with any of the wall calendars that take up space on the store shelves each year?

Because, when you get ahold of a nice one, it's kind of like having a functional piece of artwork on an otherwise useless wall. And they make for quick and inexpensive holiday gifts.

As more sports-themed calendars play Roller Derby for elbow room, it's surprisingly easy to separate those obviously cranked out for a quick buck (see the Anna Kournikova model, $12.99, where most fine calendars are sold) vs. those that have something more to offer.

More, such as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. Which this year are available on calendars in poster size ($14.99), regular size featuring the painted-on ``suits'' ($12.99), weekly desk books ($15.99) and the daily tear-off sheets on plastic easel stand ($11.99). Take a guess which calendar has more pictures?

After rummaging through several book and sporting-goods stores, we've assembled a short list of dandy date-reminders:

--Black Ball: The Negro Baseball Leagues: Beautiful rare black-and-white photos of mostly forgotten players like Louis Louden, Burnalle Hayes and Piper Davis, with biographical info provided by noted baseball historian James Riley. Even better, a portion of the royalties from the sale ($13.95) goes to Baseball Assistance Team, which helps ex-players in need.

--The World's Most Difficult Golf Holes: It takes a tremendous amount of imagination and skilled doctoring of photographs to create these none- of-a-kind creations, but authors Tom Hepburn and Selwyn Jacobson accomplish it with this one ($12.99). Consider the Liberty Golf Club in New York, where a drive on the 205-yard par 3 18th hole is supposed to land at the feet of the Statue of Liberty. If only these existed.

--Stadium Panoramics: Photographer Jim Dow's work for Chronicle Books Publishing ($9.95, made especially for sale in Borders) is a classy tribute to major-league baseball parks. The uniqueness of this one, because of the wide-angle view, is its shape (15 inches wide by 6 1/4 inches deep). Most of the photos were taken in the 1980s, yet it's surprising how many of them are now gone. Neither the homes of the Dodgers nor Angels are included.

--World Wrestling Federation: Don't laugh. Other sports have to notice someday how this organization successfully markets to youngsters. The poster-size ($14.95) and traditional-size versions ($11.95) are very cutting-edge with photos, typeface and info. But the real eye-catcher ($9.95) is long and narrow with a magnetic strip, encouraging kids to hang them inside their school lockers. It folds down longways and each day provides room to write down homework assignments as well as ``what's on TV'' (maybe a WWF show?).

If only the Anna Kournikova people had that kind of magnetic forethought.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo: no caption (2001 Anna Kournikova calendar)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Review; Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 27, 2000
Words:489
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