2002.12.11 All I want for Christmas is none of this stuff

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

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 
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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