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Jim's Jottings


Late gift ideas to be ignored (reprint from the first week in 2006)



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January 02, 2013 - It's been over three weeks since Jottings has been live, and in a way that's good. Had we been live recently, chances are we would have offered two gift ideas that would lighten your change drawer, while being totally unnecessary.

Some days before Christmas, Hallmark's Holiday Gifts folder came in my mail. Not having been in a Hallmark store in a year, I looked to see what's new in cards.

Well, cards were not even shown. Instead there were some clever things like a battery operated grill brush, wet/dry nose hair cutter and a hook/slice talking swing meter for golf clubs, among other valuable things.

What I found most intriguing a was a battery operated marshmallow toaster.

Every marshmallow toasterer in the world knows that finding a properly shaped twig, one with a pronged end that's not too big or too small is a required ritual for toasting this confection.

Fie be unto anyone who would bring a three-pronged, battery operated toaster to a marshmallow roast, even when "perfectly toasted marshmallows are only a push-button away with this automatic, hand-held rotisserie," as the ad promises.

This $20 item (4 AA batteries not included) is made of stainless steel with a sure-grip ergonomic handle. I think it was the 'ergonomic' handle part of the description that got me into Werner's Lake Orion store.

I was there at least three weeks before the holiday. I wandered the store for a while looking for this three-pronger, but finding none, I asked their whereabouts.

"Oh," said the nice lady, "we sold out of them right away, but maybe I could get one from another store."

"No, no," I said. "I didn't want to buy one, I just wanted to see if this was a joke or misprint."

Thinking about it later I realized merchandising was another field I wasn't qualified for.

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The other not recommended gift item is in The Grateful Palate's Gift Handbook 2006.

This is the outfit that hooked daughter Susan into getting me into the Bacon of the Month Club.

The owner of this company signs his greeting, "Peace, Happiness and Pork Butt -- Dan Phillips."

He's into making the Pig Party a political force. If elected he would have pigs worshiped like sacred cows in India and sausage would replace bullets.

He says, "I'd turn the White House into a restaurant and the Washington Monument into an awesome smoke house."

Besides pork, Mr. Phillips is also into stirrers and muddlers. Webster defines muddler as something confusing. Mr. Phillips describes it as a stir-stick for cocktails. His are made from ash and jarrah and cost $24.95.

Since I stir with my index finger, $24.95 sounds a little heavy.

Phillips' Muddler is a steal compared to The Stirrer. This kitchen tool is also made of jarrah, a wood with "a gorgeous grain." A guy in Port Douglas, Australia, on the edge of the Daintree Rain Forest and the Great Barrier Reef, creates them.

The Grateful Palate owner says, "It doesn't matter if you're scrambling eggs, making risotto or watching television, you'll want to hold it in your hands. It is sensual and practical."

Which shouldn't be confused with the price of $39.95.

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Bill Cosby says, "As parents, my wife and I have one thing in common. We're both afraid of children."

Erma Bombeck: "When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they're finished I climb out of it."

Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.
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