2002.12.11 All I want for Christmas is none of this stuff

Written by David Green.


Is anyone else as amazed as me at some of the junk being passed off as possible Christmas gifts these days? I don’t know why a lot of this stuff was ever made in the first place. I’m certainly not going to buy it and give it to someone as a Christmas present.

I recently received a mail order catalog titled “Gifts You Never Knew Existed.” Some of them, such as the Anna Kournikova Wall Calendar or Simpsons Monopoly game would make fine gifts, but I’m still puzzled over who would want many of the featured items.

For example, the Mullet Wig. For only $14.98, trick your friends into thinking you’re really Billy Ray Cyrus. For another $17.98, you could also get a “Mullets Rock” T-shirt. And that’s one of the more tasteful items.

Then there’s the 140 page “Guide to Bodily Fluids,” which claims to “deal with bodily functions and all excreta in a humorous (and serious) way.” I don’t even want to describe the cover of the book. I can only guess how sickening the contents are.

Or how about a “Die Cast JFK Presidential Limo?” This one comes with the catalog’s disclaimer that “Our die cast replica is not intended to sensationalize the tragedy...” but there is the 1961 Lincoln limo, complete with die cast figures of the President and Mrs. Kennedy, Governor and Mrs. Connally and two Secret Service agents. The $69.98 limo lacks only a grassy knoll and Book Depository Building with die cast Oswald to be complete.

A more tasteful die cast item might be the 1957 Studebaker “Restoration Project Car.” Instead of your usually shiny replica, this car comes in junkyard condition. One wheel rests on a miniature cement block, the hood is held open by a replica 2x4 and the trunk lid is missing. The car is covered in several types of primer and tiny beverage cans are scattered everywhere. For the $44.98 they’re asking for this, you could almost buy a real wrecked car.

Leaving the catalog behind, there are also some strange items available for the golfer on your list. How about a weekend of golf and Deepak Chopra? Yes, the spiritual guru, who recently finished a book of spiritual guidance and golf advice, is offering a “Golf for Enlightenment” workshop next May. Participants will “learn cutting edge leadership techniques with Deepak Chopra while improving their golf game.” Insert your own joke here.

Or how about spending some time with Donald Trump? Memberships are now available in the Trump National Golf Club in New York state’s Westchester County. For only $300,000, your gift recipient gets to join a membership list that includes Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson and Michael Douglas. I wonder if Donald’s purple friend Grimace has joined? But better hurry, as The Donald recently told Golf Magazine, the membership list is nearly filled. If this sounds a little pricey, consider the fact that members get free tees. This one little perk alone will pay for the membership fee if you live to be, say, four million years old.

Unfortunately, golfers can’t escape from tasteless gifts, either. Someone actually came up with the idea of a “Let’s Roll” golf putter, meant to commemorate the victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Some of the proceeds are going to charity, but this whole idea just seems obscene, especially the part explaining that this is a limited, numbered edition, limited to the number of victims of the attacks.

And of course, we should never forget the real reason for the season. To make sure we don’t, Catholic Supply in St. Louis has a line of Jesus sports figurines available. Jesus playing basketball, Jesus playing soccer, hockey, etc., etc. Just $20 each, plus shipping. But be advised, golfing Jesus does not come with free tees.

    – Dec. 11, 2002 
  • 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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