Thursday, December 23, 2010

Give the gift of strangeness

Don't know what to buy for the person who has everything?
Fear not, there is no shortage of 'interesting' and 'unique' gifts out there.
In other words, there is some seriously bizarre stuff that would make the ideal Christmas gift ñ particularly for someone who is half a sandwich short of a picnic basket.
An Internet search for gifts will take you from the mundane and boring to the weird and the what the hell is that?
There are odd gifts that still have a practical tone to them.
Take the electronic smell sniffer for example.
Parents can hold this gizmo near their baby's bottom and it will detect any odor Junior is emitting and let the operator of the contraption know when Scooter needs to be changed.
When my children were in diapers I had a similar device, but this one was more environmentally friendly as it did not need batteries that would eventually end up in the land fill.
It was called my nose. Not only is it organic, but it is free and it worked great, just as it has since the beginning of time.
Mr. and Mrs. Neanderthal would simply pick up baby and the handy-dandy, built-in nose device would automatically detect when Neanderthal Junior needed a new fur diaper.
But that is not even close to the strangest stuff out there.
How about earrings? Most ladies appreciate a nice pair of earrings, right?
Tired of buying the Missus the same old diamond and gold ear danglers year after year? Well how about a nice pair of squirrel-feet earrings.
Yup, you read it right. Some sick puppy out there is marketing a set of earrings made with furry little squirrel feet. Thousands of years of humans walking this earth this is as far as some people have advanced.
There are cat and dog Buddha statues, but of course the atheists out there will still say there is no Dog.
Don't want to stir up a religious debate during a holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ? No problem, there are many other gifts out there that will stir up all sorts of other things - like divorce proceedings should hubby decide to get them for the Missus.
One such item is a lovely USP desk vacuum cleaner, designed to get to those hard-to-reach spaces around the computer. Put the mini-vac in her stocking and give her a real vacuum under the tree and you will generate Christmas memories that will last for years to come.
Your divorce lawyer will also get a kick out of it (not to mention a big paycheque.)
Just for fun, how about a two-metre tall upside down Christmas tree. It could be a pretty good gag gift actually, because after a few adult beverages, an upside down tree could present some very interesting reactions.
Still not what you were looking for? Don't worry, there are plenty of options left in Santa's sack of goodies.
How about a handlebar mustache corkscrew wine opener? All I can say about this one is why? I'll let you know if I ever come up with an answer.
Not into facial hair utensils? How about a Hilary Clinton nut cracker? The most powerful woman in the free world has been turned into a nut-crushing device and I think I will leave that one alone. Too many comments and way too many ways to get in trouble.
Moving on. For the animal lover in your home, how about a book on cat butts?
Once again, you read correctly. Someone has taken the time to photograph and catalogue cat butts and put them all in a book so you can tell what kind of feline is walking away from you.
Once again the question why comes to mind and once again, I have no answer, but I do hope I have provided at lease a few ideas for that hard-to-buy for person in your life.
At the very least, these gifts will give you something to talk about and they beat the heck out of another pair of socks.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pay me to play dead

Out of the blue one day, a buddy of mine said, “I have never seen a bird die of natural causes.”
I stopped dead in my tracks and thought about this for a moment and realized, neither had I.
Now every time I watch a bird fly past, I wait for it to clutch its chest, flip over and fall to the ground.
Other birds would rush to its side and try to do beak-to-beak resuscitation, but alas, it was natural causes that killed their fine feathered friend.
Perhaps low-fat worms could have made a difference, who knows.
I did see a bird get hit by a five-ton truck on the highway once. The bird flew in front of the truck box and went splat in an explosion of feathers. Not a natural death, but about as close as I have come.
Maybe the bird died of a heart attack when he saw the truck coming at him.
To this day I often think of my friend’s musing when ever I see a bird of any sort.
However, it was my mother-in-law who asked a question that haunts me the most.
We were watching a movie that had a brief scene of a guy who was killed in some manner or other.
The actor’s entire role was to lay on a gurney and look dead. Not too challenging a performance.
My mother-in-law said, “I wonder how much he got paid for that?”
Again I stopped and thought about this question, and now every single time I see some one playing a dead person I wonder how much they got paid.
I thought the bird thing was driving me crazy. Every time I watch CSI guess what I think?
That’s right, “How much did the dead guy get paid to be a dead guy?”
By now I am sure you have figured out I have waaaaay to much time on my hands and not nearly enough to think about, but still, I wonder what is the going rate to just lie there and not move?
Not a lot of range is required and just about anyone can do it.
“So what is my motivation?”
“Your motivation? You’re dead. Your motivation is to be dead.”
“Should I make a strange face when I’m dead? How about a look of anguish?”
“You’re dead. All we need is a look of being dead.”
“Hmmm, so you want me to look dead then?”
True, it is an acting job, but it would hardly jump off the pages of a resume.
“So tell me, what role did you play on CSI?”
“Well, do you remember the dead guy with the look of anguish on his face - that was me.”
“And how much did you get paid for that?”
I did a story on a company doing a commercial for a soft drink and they paid their extras $200 a day, even if they never set foot in front of the camera.
That’s pretty good money for doing nothing, almost like a management position with the government, only the manager slot involves more pay for less work.
So a dead guy would warrant at least that much, maybe more.
That’s pretty good money for just laying there doing nothing. With those qualifications, being appointed to the Senate is quite possible.
But the dead guy would probably make the politicians look bad because by comparison, he would be too motivated and active. The bar would be set too high.
“Mr. Speaker we have word that someone in the Senate is actually trying to accomplish something and we want it to stop immediately. Who is making us look bad you ask? That dead guy over there. Talk about an over achiever. He attends every single meeting. Pretty soon we will all be expected to attend meetings and that will seriously cut into our get-paid-while-doing-nothing time.”
I wonder how much a senator gets paid.