Christmas shopping?

One of the small disadvantages of academia is that we get hopelessly busy just before Christmas, which makes squeezing in the gift shopping difficult. I’m probably not even going to step into a store until sometime around the end of next week. That’s why you have to appreciate these online gift suggestions. I’m leaning towards the Televangelists’ Rapture Early-Warning System as a universally useful gift for my family members of all faiths. Even the atheists should like the half-hour warning before the Rapture so they can rapidly convert!


  1. Hank Fox says

    PZ, some years back I came upon the perfect gift for everybody on your list: the Mag-Lite flashlight.

    Seriously. I discovered that nobody I knew had a good flashlight, and that everybody, from grandmothers to kids, appreciated them. They come in sizes small enough to keep in your pocket, middle sizes that are great for purses or automobile glove boxes, or large sizes hefty enough to fight off charging panzerbjorn. You can run over them with a car and they still work. And they last practically forever.

    And no, they’re not paying me to say this. I’m just entranced with something that works well, and is durable, in an item-category filled with so much useless plastic shit.

  2. katie says

    And there’s nothing like the romance of a mag-lite in “candle” mode…or so my boyfriend tells me.

  3. says

    I hear you about academic end of semester crazy busy. I’m disappointed that it is now too late to find a real (pagan) xmas tree. All the lots around us are sold out and I just don’t have time to make the trek to a tree farm. I worried about that when I saw the trees arriving in town around halloween.

  4. says

    It’s the thought that counts, so therefore I’ve been trying to develop mutant psychic powers (so I can give people some thoughts, thereby saving lots of money) by hanging around nuclear power plants a lot all year with a view to being bitten by radioactive animals. So far I’ve been bitten by a moose, but that doesn’t seem to have given me any powers. Unless you count the antlers.

  5. Shaggy Maniac says

    My favorite is the Dalai Lama calendar; it’s good to be reminded of the plurality of religious wackiness.

  6. says

    And there’s nothing like the romance of a mag-lite in “candle” mode…or so my boyfriend tells me.

    Many a long night on a bivy ledge have I used the candle mode… Unfortunately…. or rather considering my climbing partner, fortunately, there was no romance involved.

  7. Charles Soto says

    I will get the Rapture Warning System. It will give me time to grab the wife and kid and plan an impromptu vacation. The roads should be much clearer!

  8. Lana says

    Listen to Hank. Flashlights are great gifts for people of all ages. We once gave a three year old grandson five flashlights of different sizes. Of course, his parents spent a small fortune on batteries.

  9. says

    The proper use of the Rapture Warning System is to let you know when it’s time to go scoop up all the cool shit they leave behind before the looters can get to it. Maybe some sort of Rapture Will and Testaments are in order for those acquaintances of ours likely to beam up?

  10. Tulse says

    Why would Raptured folks leave wills so that the unsaved can divvy up their stuff?

    Besides, any god worthy of worshipping would also Rapture all my cool gear, so I could have it in Heaven. Lounging about on clouds with only harp music and no Sleater-Kinney on my iPod doesn’t sound like paradise to me.

  11. Peter Ashby says

    I was momentarily disoriented when I clicked on the link. Ah the wonders of cyberspace, everywhere is only one click from everywhere else. Two places I hang out that have nothing to do with each other. In one I keep an eye on the struggles of brethren against the encroaching endarkenment and in the other I try and keep a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist back home in New Zealand. I have been reading the ponderings and digestions of the head burbler at Public Address since he was a subscription email list from a student radio station. My email alerts still come from there. I think I’m showing my age…

  12. Rav Winston says

    “Hmm…so what do the ultra-Orthodox Jews do about pacemakers?” Tulse

    Actually, the rabbis have always been ingenious about getting around the rules. One of the standing orders is that the commandments were given that we might “live in them.” “Live,” and not “die,” they say. So when a potentially lifesaving procedure conflicts with a point of Law, you can ignore the Law. So, working to save a life on the Sabbath is perfeclty acceptable.

    Oy. Such mental gymnastics. It’s just so much easier to jettison the entire corpus of nonsense.

  13. says

    @ #20:

    My hubby asked me at the weekend what I wanted to put on top of the tree – a star or an angel? Without thinking I said “how about a squid”?

    He doesn’t read this blog and is a wee bit confused now.

  14. CortxVortx says

    Re: #1

    I agree: Maglites are the Cadillacs of flashlights. I’ve had one for nearly a decade. My only problem was, who the HELL paints a flashlight black?

    Still, I may give a few for Hogwatch.

    — CV

  15. says

    I like MagLites(tm), too, but they are black and tend to get lost. Bright yellow or phosphorescent would work better. Lately, I’ve been buying the hand-sized disposable flashlights that are more boxy. They stand where you put them and have some translucent bits so they work a bit as warning lights. And they’re so cheap I felt only virtuous giving mine away to some fellow wearing black whose dark-coloured car had stalled on a dark highway. He was trying to wave cars around but that black-on-black-on-black colour scheme made me nervous. He wanted to know about returning it but I just said to pass the favour on to someone else.