2005.12.14 Dumb Christmas ideas for the shopping impaired

Written by David Green.


OK, people, only ten shopping days remain before Christmas and if you knew what you were going to buy, you’d have it already. Obviously, you’re running low on ideas for the perfect gift, so here’s a few possible presents I’m sure you haven’t even considered.

How about, say, a bar of vibrating soap? If it wasn’t already a bit of a task holding onto a wet, slippery lump of soap, Milwaukee’s Bead Shop has added a small motor to make it vibrate as well. Just $10 a bar, and the possibility of electrocution comes at no extra charge.

Or, for those families that fight the never-ending battle of whether the toilet seat should be left up or down, Texan Bill Bradford offers the Johnny-Light Toilet Lamp. For only $14, Bradford’s little brainstorm attaches on the underside of the seat and bathes the bowl in a fluorescent green light when the seat is up at night. Just the thing to help avoid late night surprises for one sex, while providing a clear target for the other.

While we’re on the subject of water, how about an Aqua Tie? For only $95, inventor Gary Fisher offers up custom-made neckwear containing gravel, plants, a miniature scuba diver, air pump and five live goldfish. Sounds like fun, eh? Well, probably not for the goldfish.

If you are the type of person who wouldn’t want to imprison goldfish inside a tie, the folks at PETA have an alternate idea, the Katcha Bug scoop and release tool. Available for only $7 from the PETA catalog, the contraption is said to allow you to safely catch pesky bugs and release them outside unharmed.

Or for the same $7, you could buy a pair of In-Souls, shoe inserts imprinted with Bible verses. Their slogan is “Stand on the Word of God.”  Wouldn’t it be easier just to read the book?

For the music fan on your list, how about a watch with a band made from the guitar strap or leather jacket of a famous rock star? Musicians such as Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have donated items to the project, with all proceeds going to charity. Each watch costs $120 to $160 and is numbered and embossed on the back with the celebrity’s name and item the band was made from.

Have a thrill seeker on your list and $14,500 to spend? Then Australia’s ScubaDoo company has the personal submarine for you. Able to dive up to 40 feet and travel at 3 mph, they haven’t had an “incident” in 60,000 dives, the company’s CEO claims. Care to test the odds?

Or perhaps you’d like to spend $20,000 on a suitcase? The Henk company has just such an item available. The suitcase is said to be made of carbon fiber and the same wood used in the dashboard of the Bentley automobile. I’d think the 20 grand would be better spent on a used Bentley, but I’m not the type of person who would spend $108,000 on a pocket knife, either.

That’s right, $108,000 for a Swiss Army knife. As if the original weren’t pricey enough, the makers of the Swiss Army knife are celebrating its 120th anniversary with a limited run of 120 special knives. Adorned with 800 diamonds set in yellow gold or platinum, prices range from $76,000 to $108,000. And they’re going fast.

Maybe your gift recipient would  rather display their precious stones where everyone can see them. In that case, a set of Asanti Jewel Wheels for their car is just the thing. Featuring 63,000 carats of cubic zirconium stones in any of four colors, only $250,000 will brighten up the ride of that hard-to-buy-for person. And get this, Asanti will throw in one year of bodyguard service at no extra cost, helping to ensure no one runs off with your friend’s Yugo just to get the wheels.

Finally, how about a gift for that person who always stresses out over last minute shopping? Chicago’s SkinnyCorp has the answer for the person victimized by the lousy drivers who seem to come out of the woodwork this time of year. Just $10 gets you a package of 20 “I Park Like An Idiot” bumpers stickers. Slap them on the cars of offending drivers and feel those holiday blues melt away. Bodyguard not included.

  - Dec. 14, 2005


  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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