2003.12.17 Christmas shop now or face the consequences

Written by David Green.


If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, better get with it. The best gifts are going fast, and you don’t want to get stuck choosing from the leftover junk, do you? As usual, there’s no lack of stupid items on which to spend your last-minute holiday dollars. For starters, if you’ve always wanted to look like a long-dead painter, there’s the new Norman Rockwell line of clothing.

Choose from the Norman Rockwell flannel shirt (“It’s just the kind of shirt my dad would have loved!” says Tom Rockwell, son of the late artist), the Norman Rockwell jersey-lined shirt (“It’s just the kind of shirt...etc., etc.” says son Tom again), the suede jacket, the suede comfort boots, the denim jeans, the cardigan sweater or perhaps the three-piece pajama set (which includes a coordinating t-shirt, apparently the way old, dead Norm wore his pajamas).

Just imagine the compliments your gift recipient will receive when he goes out on the town dressed like he just stepped out of a 1947 Saturday Evening Post cover. And think of Tom Rockwell and how happy he’ll be that you fell for this scam.

Or if dead movie stars are more to your taste, how about a diecast replica of Joan Crawford’s 1933 Cadillac V-16 Town Car? The ad claims the actual car “stole the show” at the 1933 Academy awards and was specially built by Cadillac for Crawford.

Features of the replica include deluxe interior and engine, balloon tires, trumpet horns, hood ornament and baked enamel finish. Sorry, “Mommie Dearest” fans, hangers (wooden or wire) are not included.

Or for an even more authentic car gift, how about a clock made from old car parts? A company called inPARTicular offers a line of clocks made from parts such as timing gears or distributor caps.  Or, if a clock wouldn’t do, perhaps a lamp made from an old Volkswagen crankshaft, just $350? Yes, old junk car parts aren’t just for the garage anymore.

If you’d prefer not to have car parts in your home, another company is offering authentic-looking rusty tools made from imported Italian chocolate. When you’re tired of having them around the house, get rid of the clutter by eating them.

The action-figure lineup is getting even more crowded with the introduction of the talking George W. Bush action figure. For only $29.95, you get a 12 1/2 inch tall presidential replica that speaks “25 unique and authentic phrases”. Heck, that’s barely a dollar a phrase.

If you like your action figures cheaper and quieter, there’s the controversial Librarian Action Figure. Just five inches tall and selling for a mere $8.95, the figure has gotten complaints from real librarians around the world because she raises a finger to her lips with “amazing push-button shushing action!”

Many actual librarians complain the figure perpetuates a decades-old perception of librarians. The figure has become a subject of many Internet discussion groups and the real Seattle librarian who posed for the doll has quit reading about it because she’s tired of reading “how dowdy” she is. She seems like a nice lady, maybe the complainers should just shush.

And finally, if you really have lots of money to waste, why not get a “Bow-Lingual Dog Translator?” It’s an “Oprah Recommended ‘O-List’ Product” if that really means anything to you. According to the ad, “your dog wears a collar that contains a wireless microphone that transmits sounds to a hand-held computer. The Animal Emotion Analysis System in the computer analyzes the bark and determines the most accurate translation. Your handheld displays the translation and you see what your dog just said-it’s just that simple!”

Can’t you just picture the first “words” out of your dogs mouth? “You feed me generic dog food because you wasted all your money on this stupid dog translator? I’m going to tear a hole in those crappy-looking Norman Rockwell jeans!”

    – Dec. 17, 2003 
  • 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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