‘Tis The Season

December 6, 2002

Even with Internet commerce blossoming at this time I continue to get so many printed catalogs at this time of year my mailbox is leaning like an ice-coated sapling. Going through these catalogs I like to pick out gifts that range from the goofy to the extravagantly goofy. Surprisingly all of the things I pick don’t make it into next year’s catalogs, but it’s the nature of a mass- market society that every year strange things that no one buys will be produced. In fifty years, of course, all of these will be collectible. Here are my choices for this year:

Rikki Tikki Roadkill–$30.00

According to the catalog that offers is, a hotel in Hawaii will give a free night’s stay to anyone who brings in a dead mongoose. But why go to all the trouble of killing a real mongoose when you can take in this lovely stuffed animal, complete with tire-marks across its middle?

Doggie Shalom Costume–$11.98

Hanukkah is nearly over, but be prepared for next year with this pet costume comes complete with a purple elastic yarmulke and button-on tallits. Okay, in all seriousness…Hanukkah is a wonderful, joyous holiday of hope, symbolism, and history. Please don’t dress your pets up for it. If you want to put cute costumes on your pets, do it on Halloween.

Botticelli Puzzle–$19.00

Everyone should have a glass of wine or two during the holidays, but the Botticelli Puzzle is the ideal gift for your Aunt Doris who drinks more than everyone else combined. It’s a wooden puzzle that holds a bottle of wine so you can’t drink until you solve the puzzle…or until, in complete frustration, you read the instructions, or take a hammer to the damn thing. Either way you’ll need a drink when you’re done playing with the Botticelli Puzzle–and wine may not be strong enough.

Wireless Rain Gauge-$149.00

Coming in at the low end of the extravagantly goofy is the wireless rain gauge complete with LCD display. You set it outside and it, er, collects rain and tells you, um, how much rain has fallen. You could get a $3 plastic rain gauge from your local hardware store, and if you’re really that interested in the weather you probably already have. But hey, this handy little device is self-emptying! The wireless rain gauge is something you get for your rich uncle who not only already has everything but is obsessed with the weather. Of course if you can afford it you should really get him…

Vantage Pro–$595.00
Optional tripod (which you’ve gotta have)–$50.00

The LCD screen of the Vantage Pro is attached by a wire to the tripod which you mount on your roof. The tripod holds the anenometer, rain collector (also self-emptying), temperature and humidity sensors, and barometer. Why turn on the Weather Channel when you can have your own private weather station right in your home? Admittedly this raises the question, Why have your own private weather station? Maybe you know some small child who dreams of nothing else but being a weatherman. Of course the child doesn’t dream of being the guy who always dresses in a parka and rubber overalls and goes out to ask an incoming hurricane if it’s signed a movie deal yet. This child dreams about being that guy who sits behind the fancy desk and plays with the doppler radar, hoping for a tornado full of snow just to see what color that would be on the radar. This child dreams of wearing a suit and tie and not being beaten up all the time and having his lunch money stolen and being able to go to the bathroom without fear of having his head shoved in one of the toilets…but I digress. Hopefully you don’t really know such a child, but if you do your weather station won’t be complete without…

Vantage Pro Computer Interface–$165

This program creates graphs, calculates averages, and analyzes trends. In other words it does everything that the people on the Weather Channel are paid to do, but it does it for just your backyard!

Total Vantage Pro package price: $810.00. This is the high end of extravagantly goofy. The only trouble is that, thanks to technological obsolescence, this system will be the only thing on the list that won’t someday be collectible.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


December 1st
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

I’m happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd at Luigi’s Open Pit Barbecue. There will be lots of spiked eggnog and a small band playing traditional carols … feel free to sing along. And don’t be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus to light the Christmas tree! Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Patty Lewis
Human Resources Director

December 2nd
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

In no way was yesterday’s memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday that often coincides with Christmas (though unfortunately not this year). However, from now on we’re calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time. There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols sung.

Happy Holidays to you and your family.
Patty Lewis
Human Resources Director

December 3rd
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

Regarding the anonymous note I received from member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, I’m happy to accommodate this request, but, don’t forget, if I put a sign on the table that reads, "AA Only," you won’t be anonymous anymore. In addition, forget about the gifts exchange– no gifts will be allowed since the union members feel that $10 is too much money.

Patty Lewis
Human Researchers Director

December 7th

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

I’ve arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with the gay men; each will have their own table. Yes, there will be a flower arrangement for the gay men’s table.

Happy now?

Patty Lewis
Human Racehorses Director

December 9th

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

People, people — nothing sinister was intended by wanting our CEO to play Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen to be "Satan," there is no evil connotation to our own "little man in a red suit."

Patty Lewis
Human Ratraces

December 10th

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

Vegetarians — I’ve had it with you people!! We’re going to hold this party at Luigi’s Open Pit whether you like it or not, you can just sit at the table farthest from the "grill of death," as you put it, and you’ll get salad bar only, including hydroponic tomatoes. But, you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I’ve heard them scream. I’m hearing them right now… Ha! I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die, you hear me?

The Witch

December 14th

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

I’m sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness. I’ll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Terri Bishop
Acting Human Resources Director

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