The Gifts That Keep Giving

Fine. The rest of the paper can go ahead and have its stupid little holiday gift guide without us. Clockwork will just keep filling the space next to the futon ads and the "Nancy" comic strip (that Sluggo slays us!). Naw, don't mind us—we'll just breeze right past the biggest shopping day of the . . . the . . . GODDAMN IT! We will NOT be denied! If we cannot be part of the big holiday gift guide, then we'll just have to break out our own A Clockwork Orange Holiday Gift Guide (which, again, is not part of the gift guide coming up a few pages from here).


Illustration by Bob Aul
Fidel Castro Doll. Be the first kid on your block to own a surviving—albeit superannuated—commie despot! New York City-based Blitzkrieg Toys has already shipped 3,000 of its "El Comandante Fidel Castro" dolls to retailers, according to a recent item in the South Florida Business Journal that fails to identify those retailers. We found the 12-inch action figures online at Good Stuff to Go (www.goodstufftogo.net), where the younger Revolutionary Fidel with jet-black hair and beard goes for $75 and the salt-and-pepper Modern Fidel is $65. What's that? You wouldn't pay one ruble for a doll glorifying a stinkin' red dictator? Well, you could always put your G.I. Joe in a little wig and one of Barbie's hot miniskirt outfits, sneak Joe into Castro's pretend bedroom, and once Cuba's main man has dropped his defenses, have Joe pin Castro down while your other G.I. Joe (the one with the kung-fu grip, also in drag because he looks stunning in Barbie's rhinestone evening gown) barges in and rams Castro's lit cigar where the Havana sun don't shine. Then both Joes could free the Elian Gonzalez doll, which would actually be Barbie's little sister Skipper with her hair cropped and painted black. For such a scenario, some assembly may be required.
Sheep Treadmill. We were introduced to this product by Guy Bennett, whose new syndicated column "American Inventors" gives blow-by-blow descriptions of some of the more unusual gadgets being registered through the U.S. Patent Office. Among the gems Bennett has found are the Nasal Air Freshener (odor-emitting pads that clip into your nostrils to mask foul smells), the Simulated Finger Device (a toy finger that appears to be your real finger, only severed), and the Dual Sideburn Trimmer (disposable razors affixed to both ends of a U-shaped bar that's the width of a man's head. No sneezing!). But for gift-giving purposes, nothing beats Sterling, Colorado, corn farmer Skip Tribelhorn's treadmill for exercising a buncha sheep. He raises club lambs for competition at country fairs, and one thing he says judges "are all looking for is balance. Long necks. Muscular. A thin covering of fat—so the carcass will transport well after the sheep is slaughtered." Yum! No cost is given for the treadmills, but Bennett reports that Tribelhorn sold the first 80 he made in his back yard. E-mail Tribelhorn at estrib@kci.net. CheckMate. You're sure your significant other is running around behind your back, but you have no proof. If only you could sprinkle a chemical on your partner's undergarments to determine if semen is present. Now you can, thanks to the CheckMate infidelity kit. If a purple spot appears: busted! And it works on more than undies: shirts, blouses, sheets, car upholstery, even ceiling fans. The kit may seem pricy ($86, available online at www.getcheckmate.co.uk), but that's a bargain when you read an actual testimonial like this one from an otherwise unidentified California woman: "I ordered your kit and found semen. I feel justified with this to take our four kids and divorce [my husband]. This is great. . . . Now I can make his life hell." 'Tisthe season to be jolly! SLIPPERY WHEN WET Assemblyman Tom Calderon (D-Montebello) is chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee and one of the legislators who investigated former state insurance commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, the Republican who received $8 million in campaign donations from the industry before being run out of office last year for allowing six insurance companies facing $3.7 billion in fines to instead pay about $19 million to foundations he had set up. So now Calderon's running for Quackenbush's old office, and the San Jose Mercury News reported on Nov. 19 that the insurance industry has so far lavished him with $800,000 in campaign contributions. Consumer advocate Harvey Rosenfield, who years ago wrote the legislation that created the state insurance commissioner post, says, "It's become pretty clear that Calderon is the insurance industry's candidate." But Calderon counters, "I'm not afraid to tell the industry when they are all wet." Spoken like a true towel boy. FREE SPEECH 101 Doug Scribner, vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of Orange County, had been registering voters at "publicly funded" Santa Ana College for about an hour on Nov. 20 when a golf cart approached. Inside was a security guard who told Scribner he could not continue unless he filled out four permission slips (in quadruplicate) and provided proof that the party's insurance covered the students on campus ("In case," Scribner wondered, "they got a paper cut or ink on their fingers?"). The Libber says he has practiced the same Bill of Rights-protected activity at USC and UCLA and never encountered a problem. But what's really ironic is where the clash with campus fuzz occurred: a few feet from a memorial stressing the importance of a constitutional government and the value of free speech. EMINENTLY QUOTABLE "I saw you on the freeway today, and you're looking a little tightly wrapped. Strangling that steering wheel, that's not gonna help you hold on. The aware mind knows that the best way to get a grip is to let go—here in California." —Smooth voice from an advertisement that's part of the $5 million "California: Find Yourself Here" campaign aimed at revitalizing tourism in the Golden State SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER The city of Santa Ana will pay $95,000 to an accountant who was awaiting trial on counterfeiting charges in the city-run jail when he was beaten and raped by a 270-pound cellmate with tattoos of swastikas and the word "Hitler," the Times Orange County reported on Nov. 20. The morning of the Feb. 12 incident, a judge ordered the 32-year-old victim to be moved to another cell for his own safety. But his jailers were slow to respond, and when the big ol' hunk of Nazi caught wind of the judge's order, he made the accountant pay—in the worst way. Jail officials reacted by moving the inmate with a sudden limp the next morning and issuing a memo to guards that essentially said, "Oopsie!" The Nazi was not punished, unless you count losing your prom date as punishment. GETTING THE SHAFT Big, sustained crowds have yet to materialize at Disney's California Adventure, and the events of Sept. 11 certainly haven't helped: tourism is down at all things Disney. Now park officials have to hope the memory of that fateful day fades by the undisclosed date they open their newest attraction: "Tower of Terror." Hell, at least it ain't "Twin Towers of Terror." According to a Nov. 21 San Bernardino Sun story, riders will free-fall 13 stories down the elevator shaft of an abandoned hotel. We assume that won't be the Disneyland Hotel.
 
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