thanks again everyone for you replies.
as i've mentioned, i recieved the oxo good grips mandoline. i've used it a several times, and it works quite well. i would have liked a fauncier stainless european model, but it would have been overkill for my usage.
the oxo is super simple to use and clean. just fold it out, adjust the blade for thickness or julienne, and away you go. then just rinse and wipe, fold, and it's out of the way.
i've used it to make extremely thin lettuce, onion and tomato slices for sandwiches/burgers, medium slices of onion to go with the kraut for kielbasi, or slicing fennel and onion for stuffing whole trout, and thick slices of veggies for the grill.
and the julienne settings are great for veggies for a stir fry. it would take me too long to use a knife to get that kind size and uniformity, but the oxo zips right thru it.
A true lover of nature does not despair now that his mistress has turned a colder cheek.