Great Christmas Gifts

How to Good-bye Depression- If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey- or Effective Way-- Hiroyuki Nishigaki- 9780595094721- Books (Custom)

Did anyone get this book? Can anyone top this as the worst present ever? Open thread.

114 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    I got a grill brush.

  2. 2
    El Caganer says:

    I recommended it on my FB page as a good gift for people with SAD. The few comments I got were not encouraging.

  3. 3
    Cassidy says:

    I got a pair of pajama pants, shorts, and gym pants from both my parents that are about 10 sizes too big. They’re divorced, so they both, seperately, thought I was a 46 waist.

  4. 4
    Rosalita says:

    Seriously thought it was spoof…sadly it’s not

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Worst present, ever: steaming turd delivered by the US Supreme Court on 12 December 2000.

  6. 6
    PeakVT says:

    China opens the world’s longest HSR line today – roughly the same distance as Boston to Miami.

  7. 7
    patrick II says:

    My teenage nephew has a pickup truck that he loves to keep in tip-top shape. When I asked what he got for Christmas, he told me he got “lots of cleaning products” and seemed happy about it. That would not be a good gift for me however.

  8. 8
    Cassidy says:

    @Rosalita: The reviews are great.

  9. 9
    Professor says:

    What do Matt Kibbe (Freedom Works) and John Cole (our blog host) have in common? Their undying love for the Grateful Dead!

  10. 10
    General Stuck says:

    By “Hiroyuki Nishigaki”. Yawn. Glenn Beck pen name.

  11. 11
    quannlace says:

    Contracting the anus, eh? Is this how you get rid of the Depression? Expelling it like a mischeavous imp?

  12. 12

    […] View article: Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Great Christmas Gifts […]

  13. 13
    Robin G. says:

    I would have preferred that book. Instead I got a virus.

  14. 14
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Damn, FPers moving fast today. Snowing finally here. Maybe 3-4 inches by noon. Whee!

  15. 15
    PaulW says:

    One Christmas… was it 1996?… I got seven green shirts from various family members and friends. The sad thing wasn’t the realization that I was no longer young enough to get at least one toy… it was that my friends and family didn’t coordinate to make sure they didn’t overlap on gifts. I mean, not one book for a librarian here?

    Sigh. And my favorite color is blue.

  16. 16
    Starfish says:

    I remember that book when it was a twinkle in the eye of its author. He came to usenet asking for ideas. He took many of the comments that he received from various people and included them in his book verbatim.

    The things that were written in reply to him were somewhat like Doug J’s attempts to troll various bloggers, but the author did not have enough of a grasp on the English language to appreciate the humor.

  17. 17
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    One reviewer says, “several days after I started this practice, I experienced what was probably the largest bowel movement in my life.” I am laffing too hard right now, but somebody offered the classic ripost, “and I bet your pants fit a lot better after.” hahahahaha

    Think I’ll wait til Books a Million gets the leftovers.

  18. 18
    Tokyokie says:

    @Starfish: My experience from living in Japan is that the Japanese have no understanding of sarcasm. I’d routinely say something intentionally ridiculous, like many Indonesians only have one name because it’s a poor country and they can’t afford longer ones, and the response was generally, “Honto?”

  19. 19
    Ruckus says:

    I didn’t get anything but I bet it was better than that book.

  20. 20
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That one will never be topped (I hope).

  21. 21
    Cassidy says:

    I’m in moderation in the Tolkien thread. Would one of our FPer’s please help.

  22. 22
    Some guy in Austin says:

    When I searched amazon, the second book in the search was ‘How to Live with a Huge Penis’.

  23. 23
    Quicksand says:

    Are you kidding? That would be the BEST present ever. I would display that book proudly on a bookshelf near the entryway. Or possibly leave it around the house.

  24. 24
    General Stuck says:

    But Obama sold out the national anus, dint he?

  25. 25
    Some guy in Austin says:

    According to Amazon, other books you may like:
    “Images you should not masterbate to’

  26. 26
    Paul in KY says:

    @quannlace: Maybe the ‘depression’ is small potatos after constricting (and thinking about constricting, and getting ready to constrict) anus 100 times in a day.

    P.S. Don’t forget about post-constricting!

  27. 27
    El Caganer says:

    NOT that I am conspiracy-minded, BUT….aside from the title of this book, when was the last time you heard the word “malarkey?” Wasn’t it when Joe Biden used it in the VP debate? Coincidence….or something much more sinister? We report, you decide.

  28. 28
    red dog says:

    My pooch left a few presents in the back yard for me to scoop. I think the he may have tried that stress relieving technique.

  29. 29
    rb says:

    Can’t top it, but got a funny one this year: mom sent me a giftwrapped power cord/adapter for a dustbuster. She’d somehow stolen it from our place. The enclosed note read: “Don’t ask. Love you.”

  30. 30
    meander says:

    If you’re not yet done with your charitable giving for 2012, I’d like to recommend two charities that fit right in with some of the main themes of Balloon Juice:

    1) Freedom Dogs. Their webpage summarizes their mission: “Freedom Dogs offers custom-trained specialty service dogs to wounded members of the military returning from armed conflict. It is reported that 40% of all returning troops suffer from PTSD. Many of these returning men and women are so mentally, physically or spiritually broken that they have little hope of returning to mainstream life.”

    2) Pets for Vets. Their webpage summarizes their mission: “Our goal is to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with a shelter dog that is specially selected to match his or her personality. Professional animal trainers rehabilitate the dogs and teach them good manners to fit into the veteran’s lifestyle. Training can also include desensitization to wheel chairs or crutches as well as recognizing panic or anxiety disorder behaviors.”

    I made donations to both groups earlier in the year, after seeing one of them on a PBS special about rescue dogs finding new lives, and after hearing the other on a NPR show (Fresh Air, I think). It’s amazing how much the animal and human get out of the partnership.

  31. 31
    RSA says:

    @Ronzoni Rigatoni:

    “several days after I started this practice, I experienced what was probably the largest bowel movement in my life.”

    That was my favorite review, too. As for a worse Christmas present, it’s a hard book to beat. But I’ll suggest one of these books from Amazon: their most expensive offerings in English. For example, at #9, there’s Justus Von Lengerke (1854-1929): A chronicle of his life by Justus Von Lengerke (1996), for $1,699,000.00. Not just anyone can publish an autobiography 67 years after his death.

  32. 32
    Peregrinus says:

    Unbelievably, I knew this book existed – it was on my 2012 (ETA: actually more like 2009/10) Stupidest Things Ever Said calendar.

    I still think my favorite book present would be this one:

  33. 33
    jayboat says:

    @Ronzoni Rigatoni:
    When I first glanced at your nym, it read as Ronzoni Reagatoni. 8-]

    Probably, Ronaldus Maximus’ evil Italian twin.

    This thread is in the crapper, just tryin’ to do my part.

  34. 34
    jayboat says:

    Holy crap- I’ve been using that one for years on the boating forums. ha!

  35. 35
    El Caganer says:

    I’m doing my part for austerity. I’ve cut back to 50 constrictions a day.

  36. 36
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I bought our son a new internet-enabled DVD player for Christmas. It’s wireless and damned if I didn’t manage to get him on our home network on the first try. No mean feat that because I use old-school UNIX style passphrases and typing in the wireless network one with the remote was a definite journey.

    Other than my previously mentioned Christmas eve visit from the cops, and being threatened with arrest, I didn’t get anything.

  37. 37
    Peregrinus says:


    First learned of it via a (now ex-)girlfriend, and at the campus paper at my undergrad institution, it was one of our two “Best Book Covers Ever” honorees.

    The other one (which turned out to be owned by one of the editors’ fathers) was this:

  38. 38
    gogol's wife says:

    @El Caganer:

    I knew I had to read the whole thread because somebody else would have picked that up.

  39. 39
    Peregrinus says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Joe Biden constricting his ass 100 times a day is not a mental image I wanted or needed.

    That said, it WOULD explain why he just doesn’t give a fuck.

  40. 40

    In 1979 I got a set of jumper cables that were thick enough to be remnants of the Atlantic cable. I lived in northern Michigan and had a ’74 Jeep Wagoneer, so it made sense. But from my grandmother? That may not be the worst, but it was the most unexpected.

    This year at the office I got an “all natural nail care set.” Okay, yeah, I’m gay, but I’m not nellie, and besides, everyone knows that the best nail polish is Superglue. It has a nice shiny gloss and your nails do not chip at all. (Found that out purely by accident.)

    Re: anal constrictions 100 times a day… sounds like something John Boehner needs to do more often.

  41. 41
    joeyess says:

    I just constricted my anus 100 times. I’m still depressed.

    Now I have to poop.

  42. 42
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I did a tour in that other-other war and though there were plenty of times when you couldn’t have got a straight pin into my anus I was still depressed.

  43. 43
    Ben Cisco says:

    This thread is full of win(d).

  44. 44
    Peregrinus says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    If that’s true, everyone here needs to be working harder on their anal constrictions.

  45. 45
    martian says:

    Go ahead and laugh, but I just now bought that book for my cousin. Combined with the Angry Mob Playset I already have for him (torch and pitchfork wielding figurines – it’s pretty awesome), I think it will be a very cheering gift.

    Thanks, mistermix!

  46. 46
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Well, I had somebody give me an item that would have been useful, except it was made out of this nasty, Chinese outgassing plastic that nearly made me pass out. I couldn’t in good conscience give it away, so I wrapped it tight and put it in trash to be turned into methane at the ‘fill.

    All I want for Xmas is EIC, child credit extension, and VAWA.

    Can we declare the first week of January “Rape A Native Woman For Free” Week in honor of Eric Cantor and promote it widely until Cantor refudiates his sincerely held positions?

  47. 47
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This is really turning out to be a terrific thread!

  48. 48
    elmo says:

    Many years ago, my then-boss (to whom I remain very close) cautioned me that he didn’t do “girly” presents, that he preferred practical gifts, and he hoped I wouldn’t mind. I assured him that I also preferred practical gifts.

    No really, he said, this is totally not anyone’s idea of “nice,” or fun, or anything. But it’s really practical!

    I assured him again.

    He then presented me with one of my favorite gifts of all time: a portable emergency car battery charger. He was seriously almost apologetic about it, and I was seriously over-the-moon delighted. I finally managed to convince him that I wasn’t just being polite, that I really was pleased, and we’ve continued exchanging “serious” and “practical” gifts ever since.

    This year? He got me a treadmill. Dude is the best. Santa. EVAR.

  49. 49
    gelfling545 says:

    I don’t know if it’s worse but one year I got a statue of Moses dashing the tablets against a rock. I have no idea why it was thought I might like that but it wasn’t a gag. Then there was the year my mother, who was losing her vision, was into macrame.

  50. 50
    MikeJ says:

    I got a new stand mixer (my old one like to walk around the counter and the bowl would pop out at random times, which was rather messy) and Thomas Keller’s new Bouchon Bakery cookbook.

  51. 51

    According to the book description at the link, constricting anus also helps the complexion.

    The things I learn from reading the internet.

  52. 52
    MattF says:

    I’d go for good old All-American tastelessness, like this ‘hand soap’ from Archie McPhee:

    which is really remarkably creepy.

  53. 53

    Perhaps this is a book about economics. Perhaps “Depression” is meant in the economic sense. And we need to constrict anus. What is our political anus? The GOP.

    I think this is a FABULOUS book.

  54. 54
    Peregrinus says:


    Wouldn’t that make it a walk mixer?

  55. 55
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    You can find all the awful gifts you could possibly desire at

  56. 56
    quannlace says:

    P.S. Don’t forget about post-constricting!

    Isn’t that what happened in the Southern states after the Civil War?

  57. 57

    Here’s a truly awful Christmas gift:

    Temple of the Blood Menstrual Meditation CD.

    Honestly, the meditation may be great but I couldn’t get past the album art.

  58. 58


    Did you see the pooping Nativity figurine? That one just defied explanation. War on Christmas, indeed.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @PeakVT: Love this article. First, then get a juicy dig in at Amtrak’s Silver service, which takes 9 hours longer than a shorter Chinese line. (This is because there has always been a recession in the third world country we call the South, and Florida is a fleabag shithole kleptocracy with crappy infrastructure.) Then the talk of China’s “faulty signally system” which surely made everyone at USDOT feel good today, as much of the very high cost of HSR in the US are advanced signalling requirements. (The other cost is train weight, much higher than most of the world, and with increasingly little evidence that this is significant for safety.)

    Then there’s the fact that China is engaging in stimulus spending, successfully (hmmm) but tempered with “concerns” about debt.

    Another takeaway to me is that corruption looks to be a barrier to TODs. Wow. Corruption by local officials is nothing new in China, but it is interesting to read that regardless.

  61. 61
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Cassidy: cleared.

  62. 62
    Peregrinus says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Isn’t that a Catalan caganer, as in El Caganer:?

    There’s one been made of Obama:

  63. 63
    Peregrinus says:


    Now that’s just amazing. Any of these could compete for it, really:

  64. 64
    Elizabelle says:


    Reader review on your suggested book:

    I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer’s other excellent titles: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational. After reading them I haven’t been hit by anything bigger than a diesel bus. Thanks captain!

    Do you think this book even exists?

    Had you all seen the NYTimes article on how Amazon is purging some reader reviews?

    They’re trying to do away with manipulated reviews. Amazon won’t allow reviews by the author’s relatives, which would seem to be better solved by requiring relatives to disclose the relationship clearly at the outset.

    Meanwhile, someone who reads ten pages is permitted to put up a glowing or blistering review.

  65. 65
    Todd says:

    “Microwave Cooking for One” just may be the saddest book ever conceived.

    From the reviews:

    It used to be that I got home from work and the only thing I’d want to put in my mouth was the cold barrel of my grandfather’s shotgun. Then I discovered Sonia Allison’s Chicken Tetrazzini, and now there are two things.

  66. 66
    Steeplejack says:

    Why has Big Pharma been allowed to suppress this miracle cure?! Wake up, sheeple!

  67. 67
    askew says:

    One year my father got a book called “A Coffin with no handles” for Christmas. How depressing is that?

    Why is no one talking about the farm bill expiring Dec 31st? It’s a much more immediate problem than the farm bill. Is it because the media can’t figure out a way to blame this on Dems?

  68. 68
    MikeJ says:

    @Peregrinus: Ow. That was lame enough that I could have said it.

  69. 69
    Peregrinus says:


    Well, it does seem to be a book – one person on Goodreads said he had a hell of a time acquiring it but finally tracked down a copy (through a regional library system) and found it entertaining.

    Also found a forum thread with people asking if anyone had actually read the book and whether it provided good advice. One guy said “it boils down to three things” but I’m not sure if he meant the book or, y’know, how to actually avoid huge ships.


    The English teacher in me demanded it.

  70. 70
    rda909 says:

    Top that? How about a Daily Kos “membership.” We could use fewer places that freak-out and immediately turn on the President at the first sign of things getting tough. And do I, a life-long liberal, really need another former Republican telling me what it means to be a good liberal? Oh, wait…

  71. 71
    Todd says:


    They’re trying to do away with manipulated reviews. Amazon won’t allow reviews by the author’s relatives, which would seem to be better solved by requiring relatives to disclose the relationship clearly at the outset.

    You could set up a drinking game to the first five reviews of any new kindle offering, there’s so much publisher uniformity.

  72. 72
    taylormattd says:

    I think I can.

    My mother, who is a staunch democrat and who knows I’m a rabid liberal, bought me Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, by Bill O’Reilly.

    Me: “Mom, this book is written by Bill O’Reilly.”

    Mom: “Oh, I know he’s terrible, but an actual historian helped him write the book, and I did some research on the internet, and it seems accurate.”

    Me: “I don’t think I can have this book in my house.”

  73. 73
    Peregrinus says:


    Did you touch it? Your hands might be infected.

  74. 74
    gbear says:

    Best and worst gifts were both records.

    Worst was “It’s A Magilla Gorilla Christmas” when I was expecting something rock and roll (I was about 10 years old in 1964). I almost cried.

    Best was when my really un-hip mom gave me a huge box set of Little Richard’s best recordings because she saw it on sale in the Publisher’s Clearing House catalog. I was floored. It’s an amazing collection.

  75. 75
    arguingwithsignposts says:


    I did some research on the internet

    Ok, you can come clean. Your mom did not say that!?

  76. 76
    Amir Khalid says:

    As long as they leave the mocking reviews alone. Those are great entertainment.

    I once reported to Amazon a review of a Bruce Springsteen CD that was written by someone going by the name “Patti Scialfa”. It seemed very suspicious to me.

  77. 77
    Elizabelle says:


    Yeah, Barnes & Noble gave Cornell Maritime Press, Inc. 1993 as publisher information.

    Now, the reviews.

  78. 78
    Jamey says:

    The book works. Putting the squeeze on assholes is a way of life!

  79. 79
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @Tokyokie: Thats bc as anime has taught me, sarcasm is not delivered straight , but with a vinegary voice trailed by ka naaa.

  80. 80
    Peregrinus says:


    That book is a perennial favorite on lists of “Greatest Book Reviews Ever” or stuff like that.

    Wherever he is, I hope John Trimmer’s happily avoiding huge ships.

  81. 81
    Schlemizel says:

    I know my depression would be greatly reduced if every member of the DC Kool Kids Klub would constrict their anus.

    Given that their heads are so far up their asses the constriction would strangle them all & the world would be a happier, better, place

  82. 82
    Elizabelle says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Way cool.

    Now I’m worrying what Amazon is going to suggest for me next, after cruising a few of the related products.

    It’s been bad enough seeing “Concealed Carry” magazine and knives when we talk about Newtown.

  83. 83
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    I wound up on the some of the nutter’s gun sites yesterday thanks to this site and now get to see a shoot the zombie ad. These ads that cater to where you visit is completely creepy. I want the ads of the nerdy girls with nice boobs back. FWIW I got a great pair of shoes and comfy slippers from the wifey. My feets are all set for the foreseeable future. And my stupid brother in law and his girlfriend got us the most unique present of the day. The stool I put the hound’s food on was pretty ratty and they gave us a new one with our dog, Yeller, painted on it. It looks just like him.

  84. 84
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @El Caganer: I heard “malarkey” last night during Django Unchained.

    Which was brainless fun!

  85. 85
    PeakVT says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I’ve only heard about excessive signalling costs in the US on “The Peninsula” because Caltrain is basically insisting on developing its own world-class mixed-traffic signalling system from scratch. It is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a system that can be bought off-the-shelf (ERTMS), and that will likely be replaced once CHSRA starts building its own signalling system (once again, ERTMS) on the San Jose-San Francisco corridor.

    The FRA’s ridiculous buff requirements, OTOH, are a limiting factor on just about every passenger rail project. The FRA is so boneheaded I think that that FAA should take over regulating all HSR projects. If that were the case, then at least the first response to an accident wouldn’t be to make the vehicle heavier.

  86. 86
    Schlemizel says:


    My MIL ‘gifted’ me with a copy of “A Purpose Driven Life” a few years ago. I put that in the same category as what my cats ‘gift’ me with occasionally. Smelly, slimy and you really don’t want to pick it up with your bare hand

  87. 87
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @meander: But are these animals service animals according to VA rules? You may not be doing that vet a favor if the dog is barred from VA property, housing, etc. While rules for service animals are very lenient on public transit, for example, the VA rules are pretty strict.

  88. 88
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Anyone else recall this spurious story about a huge ship;

    This is the transcript of a radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.
    Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a Collision.
    Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
    Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
    Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
    Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States’ Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that YOU change your course 15 degrees north, that’s one five degrees north, or countermeasures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.
    Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

    It isn’t true, but it is funny.

  89. 89
    Ash Can says:

    If by “constricting anus” you mean “wrapping hands around asshole’s neck and choking him/her,” hell, if I did that a hundred times a day I’d feel terrific.

  90. 90
    Peregrinus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I think this joke was actually filmed at some point. I recall one of those chain emails including a YouTube video with a similar premise.

  91. 91
    martian says:

    It wasn’t this Christmas, but I once received a 99 cent packet of potpourri from my brother and sister-in-law that they picked up from a truckstop gift shop on the way home to visit. The price was on it. My friend who was visiting with me received, if I recall precisely, a video of classic Spiderman cartoons. I was the comics collector – particularly Spiderman. They said they didn’t know what to get me. Most passive-aggressive gift tandem EVAR.

    They’re divorced now. Heh.

  92. 92
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @PeakVT: the car end of DOT is infected with the same virus.

    The way I heard it, there was a nasty rail accident in the 70s with a mixed consist of aluminum and steel Budd passenger cars. During the crash, the steel cars crushed the aluminum ones like aluminum cans … with people inside. The rational response would not be to run mixed consists, but they went one further and made all the cars heavier. Because the only part of physics class they got through was the Newtonian force equations.

    Do you know it was only in the last decade that they’ve put out locomotives with crumple zones so locomotive engineers don’t get decapitated in crashes? I mean, what’s heavier than a coal train–by NHTSB logic that should be the safest vehicle on earth, right?

    The US has really suffered badly through disinvestment (which means loss of skills) and not having the best and brightest in the field, as compared to Western Europe and Japan.

    We can’t have tiny cars like in Europe b/c of DOT regs/fear/dogmatism. SUV drivers don’t seem to have a good survival rate in SUV vs. tractor trailer crashes, yet this idiotic common wisdom persists.

    In fact, a great deal of what goes on in the transportation engineering field is just plain stupid (and uninformed), long before the politicians get involved to muck things up further. (Actually, due to community activists, the politicians these days have a salutory effect on the process.)

  93. 93
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @taylormattd: I once shook hands with O’Reilly at, of all places, and Earth, Wind, and Fire concert at Radio City. It was a bit surreal to see that asshat demonstrating quality taste in music.

    I wish I had something witty to say, but unfortunately I did not. Maybe next time…

  94. 94
  95. 95
    LanceThruster says:

    And remember, when judging these horrible gifts…it’s the thought that counts. Even when no actual thought went into it.

  96. 96
    Maude says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    Your internets are in the mail.

  97. 97
    Maude says:

    I saw that at the library and I burst out laughing. What a stupid, but best selling book.

  98. 98
    Paul in KY says:

    @PsiFighter37: Ask him about his loofa experiences :-)

  99. 99
    gogol's wife says:


    One of the few books I have ever taken in my hands, walked outside with, and put into the trash can. I was in a church group and somebody had the bright idea that we should all buy it and read it.

  100. 100
  101. 101
    LanceThruster says:


    I put that in the same category as what my cats ‘gift’ me with occasionally.

    Learned a great new euphamism from “The Fairly Oddparents” the other day —

    “Santa’s got to drop a few presents down the chimney…if you know what I mean.”

  102. 102


    OMG. Never heard of such a thing.

    People are WEIRD.

  103. 103
    Suzanne says:

    One of the best and worst gifts came the same year from tthe same people. My mom got me my first CD player, so my grandparents wanted to get me some CDs for it. I was twelve. They got me R.E.M.’s “Automatic for the People” and Amy Grant’s Christmas album. Apparently they asked my mom what CDs to get and she suggested the Amy Grant thing as “appropriate for grandparents to give a granddaughter” and the R.E.M. as “something she’ll actually like”.

    That was twenty years ago yesterday. “Automatic for the People” is still in my top ten albums of all time. The Amy Grant thing got traded at Bookman’s ASAP.

  104. 104
    Peregrinus says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I didn’t know they existed until the Obama one came out.

    Honestly, had they made one of McCain it would’ve been extremely appropriate to bust it out regularly over the last few years.

  105. 105
    Paul in KY says:

    @Peregrinus: I thought a loofa was involved too.

  106. 106
    eyelessgame says:

    My wife’s family are awesome, loving, generous people. And they’re incredibly hard to shop for – “oh, I don’t need anything”, and in general (they don’t realize it) not being very appreciative or demonstrative for presents they do get.

    My sister-in-law’s husband issued what might be a credible threat yesterday. “Next year, anyone who doesn’t give me an idea of what they want for Christmas? I’m buying them an NRA membership.”

  107. 107
    Elizabelle says:

    @Southern Beale:

    OMG, huh?

    That’s an acronym for Oversized Male Genitalia.

    I know, because Amazon has a book up entitled “My Pen i s is too big”, allegedly by an Asian studies specialist and a Catholic priest.

    John Trimmer’s readers have been looking at that one too.

    (I was surprised to find out JT was real. I was afraid it was some term you could find in the Urban Dictionary.)

  108. 108
    Peregrinus says:

    @Paul in KY:

    It was, but then he, in the words of Dickipedia, “inexplicably confused ‘loofah’ with ‘falafel.'”

    From Newsweek:

    “I sensed a subconscious desire on O’Reilly’s part for cleanliness and maybe some neurosis about the female body since the first thing he would want to do was clean it with a loofah, which he then, steeped as he is in reporting on the Middle East, mistakenly called a falafel, according to Mackris’s suit.”

  109. 109
    Lee Hartmann says:

    @El Caganer: good nym, dude.

  110. 110

    @Southern Beale: That is some seriously freakish shit.

  111. 111
    eclare says:

    Didn’t happen to me but a friend of mine was an “orphan” staying with distant relatives, so they gave her what any single 35 year old female would want: a canned ham. Bonus, it was from her Uncle Dick.

  112. 112
    Quicksand says:

    I’m a little late to comment on this thread, but a year ago my rural New England relatives-in-law gave this gift to my then 3-year-old son:

    That’s right, a children’s book by Dick Morris.

  113. 113
    Catsy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Anyone else recall this spurious story about a huge ship

    Pretty sure I remember that going around way back in BBS days, well before the cited date.

    Hell, it probably hearkens back to Readers Digest or something.

  114. 114
    SFAW says:

    This book may be second only to “Jimmy James: Macho Business Donkey Wrestler” for colorful phrasing.

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