It’s become something of a tradition to enumerate my Christmas loot, so here we go:
- More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman. I was fortunate enough to obtain the audio version of Hodgman’s previous book, The Areas of My Expertise, when it was offered as a free download from iTunes a while back. Now I’ve got the second volume of COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE and have already begun to educate myself on matters of United States Presidents who had hooks for hands, PROGNOSTICATION by means of pig spleen ((I believe the technical term is “splenology”.)) and the largely unsung PRECIPITATION WAR between Richmond, VA and Milwaukee, WI. This particular volume is not yet available in audio format (free or otherwise), and so I am forced to enjoy it in WRETCHED HARDCOVER, an inconvenience I suffer gladly, for Mr. Hodgman’s wit is dry and the knowledge he imparts nigh-indispensible. ((Imparting indispensible knowledge may seem at best highly improbable and at worst practically impossible, but I daresay John Hodgman manages it with nothing less than panache as smooth as goose liver paté.)) In the brief span of time since I tore away the festive holiday wrapping ((This is an exaggeration; it was actually festive white tissue paper.)) to reveal the earth-tones of the cover of More Information Than You Require, I have read approximately half of the book and already my brain threatens to burst.
- In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez. I have my sights set on reading The Automatic Detective, another novel by A. Lee Martinez, but I am determined to read all of the novels which preceded it first, and in the order in which they were published. This despite the fact that The Automatic Detective is not a sequel, but a standalone work. I have already completed Gil’s All Fright Diner, a tale that apparently received some accolade in the realm of Young Adult fiction, ((I am not at all certain that Gil’s All Fright Diner—fraught as it is with profanity, obscenity and no small amount of sexual content—ought to be marketed to the Young Adult audience, but it might go over well with the Young-at-Heart Adult audience.)) and am looking forward to both In the Company of Ogres and A Nameless Witch, followed inevitably by The Automatic Detective.
- The Hood of the Ninja. There may be another name for this 4-in-1 convertible hood (which can assume the form of a scarf, muzzle, hood or balaclava), but I don’t believe to call it anything else would be appropriate. I briefly considered posting a photo of myself wearing the hood, but that plan was set aside when I realized that donning the garment renders me invisible.
- Filthy lucre. There are those who find gifts of money impersonal and in poor taste, but I do not count myself among them, particularly when I am trying to accumulate the funds necessary to purchase an Xbox 360. ((Which I am.))
My young apprentice shall henceforth be known as “El Tigre”, for indeed he made out like a bandit. Here is but a sampling of the gifts he received:
- Frosty the Snowman. This DVD includes the inferior 1992 sequel, Frosty Returns, featuring John Goodman as the old-silk-hatted snowman and Jonathan Winters as the narrator. ((I have nothing but respect for Mr. Winters, but he is no Jimmy Durante.)) Worse yet, there is a trailer for another sequel, this one produced in 2005 and titled Legend of Frosty the Snowman. I admit to a certain amount of curiosity with regard to Legend, if only because Burt Reynolds assumes the role of narrator.
- Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Game. “Elusive” is the word that most describes this game. We searched multiple Toys R Usses, ((Yes, “Usses”.)) Wals*Mart and Targéts without success before finding a single copy at Joseph Beth Booksellers. The game is adapted from a popular children’s rhyme which tells the tale of five foolish simians, a coil-spring mattress and a pediatrician whose advice goes unheeded. It is not for the faint of heart.
- The Amazing Spider-Man Bop Bag. I admit that after I inflated the bop bag to its full 48″, ((Height, not girth.)) I gave it a couple of whacks to express my displeasure with the wall-crawler for Spider-Man 3. ((Where is your spider-sense now, web-slinger? Where is your spider-sense now?)) I did this only because Santa Claus lacked the foresight to bring me an inflatable Sam Raimi bop bag.
- Buzz Lightyear. A recent interest in the Toy Story movies revealed that, though we own a Sheriff Woody doll, the delusional Space Ranger with an “impressive wingspan” who becomes Woody’s boon companion was nowhere to be found in the International House of Johnson. This deficit has now been corrected.
- Fisher Price Easy Link. This device, which connects to a computer via USB port, allows a toddler to gain access to certain web-based activites, while ostensibly preventing said toddler from accessing the Intertubes as a whole or the computer’s local hard drive. Though I was impressed with how quickly my young apprentice took to the mouse, I am less than thrilled to report that he has yet to circumvent the Easy Link’s security. Perhaps it is time for he and I to sit down for a movie marathon; Hackers, Sneakers and Swordfish, for starters, followed by TRON and that one scene from Jurassic Park. ((“It’s a UNIX system! I know this!”)) The boy needs some skillz.
Prior to the arrival of Christmas, we received a gift basket of Wolferman‘s Very Tasty® Brand ((This is not the actual brand name, though the muffins are, in fact, Very Tasty.)) English Muffins and Red Tart Cherry fruit spread. As I write this, I am enjoying one of the Apple Orchard variety with cream cheese, and Kyle has stopped by to beg several bites. He is very lucky that I am infused with the Christmas spirit, as I would normally send him out into the streets to earn his supper by pickpocketing wealthy merchants.
Finally, I should mention that Laura received the HBO miniseries John Adams on DVD. ((She also received an iPod Nano, but for reasons I cannot begin to comprehend opted not to have me transfer the DVDs to the Nano rather than watch them on our television. I just don’t understand women.)) I should mention this because I believe she propped her eyes open a la Alex in A Clockwork Orange so that she could watch all 501 minutes before St. Nicholas parked his sizeable posterior in his La-Z-Boy to begin planning next year’s delivery route.
Merry Christmas to all.