Boo! It's Christmas

Other than the campaign commercials, the scariest things I have seen this year were Christmas decorations lurking behind the Halloween trinkets on the shelves of local merchants. No sooner had the last "trick or treat" been uttered than the retailers started hoisting the Jolly Roger (or was that Jolly Old Saint Nick?) signaling consumer warfare.Normally this would cause me to go off on a cynical rant, but ever since I was abducted by aliens and forced to undergo hideous brain transference experiments infomercial sales people, I feel much more upbeat. I also feel like I need a sit-up machine and pasta maker. I feel like I want to get an 800 number, phone bank and studio audience. I feel myself getting perky. I feel like pumping up the economy. I feel like trying to sell you something. So, sit back and let me be you guide to the coolest stuff available this Christmas. But wait, there's more! All these real items are available through mail order form the privacy of your own home.1) A Dog Tuxedo; $17.99; Pedigrees Pet Catalog 1-800-548- 4786: Yes your pooch will no longer be traumatized by showing up to weddings, fund raisers and presidential inaugurations naked. This comes compete with a bow tie, top hat and of course comes with its own "tails." Comes in small, medium and large.2) Safe-T-Man; $99.95; The Safety Zone Catalog 1-800-999- 3030: Want a man around the house without the hassle of feeding, snoring and remote control fixations? It's just the thing to fool the environmentalists that harass you for driving to work alone or for scaring away door-to-door solicitors. Safe-T-Man, comes in light skin/blonde hair, light skin/gray hair and dark skin/dark hair models Legs sold separately for $19.95.3) The Condom Cannon; $4.99; The Sportman's Guide catalog 1-800-888-3006: If you ever felt silly buying condoms before, this will give you a great little ice breaker with the cashier. "No really, they're not for me, they're for my Condom Cannon." Just in case it ever becomes necessary, the maker claims it "can break a chicken egg from 15 feet away." Extra condoms and ammunition are sold separately.4) Gelatin Brain Mold; $10.98; Johnson Smith Company (813) 747-2356: Yes, you can be the envy of all your pot luck party pals with this life-size heavy duty dishwater safe plastic mold. "We're handing out brains. Don't miss out this time too." (I wish I had written that).5) X-ray Glasses; $2.39; Johnson Smith Company: Come on, you know you've always wanted a pair. Just think of the doctor's bills you'll save.6) Electric Remote Control Whoopee Cushion; $19.98; Johnson Smith Company: Anybody who says technology is ruining our lives have not seen one of these. Works up to 100 feet away and never needs inflating. Of course if you prefer the "classic" version, it is available from the same supplier for $1.98.7) Victoria's Secret Gift Wrap Kit; $1.50; Victoria's Secret 1- 800-888-8200: This is the cheapest thing you can buy that will insure that you stay on their mailing list. The catalogs themselves make great stocking stuffers.8) Toiletry Organizer; $9; Undergear (for men) 1-800 853- 8555: This is the cheapest thing you can buy that will insure that you stay on their mailing list. Slightly Off Center is an equal opportunity gender neutral column.9) The Potato Gun; $2.95; Archie McPhee & Co. (206) 782- 2344: Shoots little bits of raw potato. Combine non-violence, vegetarianism and gunplay in one versatile toy!10) Parabolic Ear; $599.95; US Cavalry 1-800-333-5102: This 18" alloy dish was originally designed for the Los Angeles Police Department but you can use it listen to make sure your neighbors aren't plotting to overthrow the government, to find out what your kids are saying behind your back and to get front row sound while sitting in the cheap seats at concerts.And remember, the 4th of July is just around the corner. Order your fireworks today!

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