Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ho Ho Huh?

Annual goofy gift guide arrives just in time

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The Bible says ’tis better to give than receive — an adage that probably held true back when people used words like ’tis.

But thanks to a consumer website called "This is Why I'm Broke," being on the receiving end suddenly got a lot more attractive.

Thisiswhyimbroke.com is maintained by "a bunch of geeks who partake in way too much online window shopping." Which may explain why it is nigh impossible to peruse the site's gazillion gift suggestions without firing a letter off to the North Pole that starts, "Gimme, gimme, gimme..."

Take for example the brand new Twerking Miley Einstein doll ($19.99) -- a bendable action figure bearing the head -- and tongue -- of a famous physicist attached to the bikini-clad body of an ex-Disney Channel star. ("The complete package," reads the box. "Beauty and brains.")

Or the domain's bubble-wrap oven mitts ($18.99): the perfect way to protect your digits when it's time to, you know, pop something into the oven.

Thing is, if you've waited this long to fill in Santa with your wants and needs, chances are whatever he orders for you online won't make it into his sack before Dec. 24. Fret not: in the name of the Free Press's annual goofy gift guide, we recently hit the streets to see if what's available at thisiswhyimbroke.com can also be found on Winnipeg store shelves. Here is some of what we found.

YOU'RE SO VEIN

Perfect for Type A -- or A-negative -- personalities, the Butchered Butcher's Apron looks what you might end up sporting if you invite TV's serial killer Dexter over for din-din. Made of 100 per cent cotton, the faux blood-stained coverall is as functional as it is frightening. $21.95 at Pylon, Grant Park Shopping Centre and The Forks Market

OPERATION DESSERT STORM

Remember those iconic, plastic soldiers you played with when you were a kid? Well, now you can wage war again - only this time over the rum balls. Each package of Food Fighters contains 12 army-types -- six green, six grey -- with party toothpicks attached to their boots. Simply stick your washable, miniature marksmen into whatever finger foods you're serving, then sit back and watch guests battle over the last piece of pineapple. $11.98 at Toad Hall Toys, 54 Arthur St.

I POTTY THE FOOL

Mr. T gets the roll of a lifetime courtesy a toilet paper dispenser created in the muscle-bound action star's image. Designed by Sooda E, the stand-alone holder comes in red or blue and features an 11 -entimetre tall Mr. T hoisting a barbell over his head. Place one roll of TP at each end of the weight and voila, everybody's favourite A-Teamer is now working on his clean and jerk. $26.98 at The Paper Gallery, 1437 Corydon Ave.

NO. 2 ON THE BEST-SELLER'S LIST

What Shat That? is a 112-page tome that teaches readers how to identify animal species by their feces. The full-colour volume delivers the poop on 50 varieties of waste, from plankton to whales. Written and illustrated by Matt Paget, What Shat That? also includes dozens of turd-related facts that will stay with you long after you're dung, er, done flipping through. $15.95 at Moulé, 443 Academy Rd.

COFFEE AT 7, FILM AT 11

Do you have trouble focusing before that first coffee of the day? Shutterbugs and java junkies alike will fall in love with the Camera Lens Travel Thermos - a stainless steel vessel that, at first, second and third glance, appears to be a working telephoto lens. Desart at 117 Osborne Street carries two models -- $29.50 and $30.95 - but sorry, neither one takes mug shots.

WELL-HEELED

It's been said a woman can never have enough shoes. But what about wine caddies that look like shoes? Wild Eye Designs is the company behind a line of hand-painted stiletto heels that are actually chic bottle holders. If you already have a tough time choosing between a cabernet and a zinfandel, imagine the conflict you'll face when you're trying to decide whether tonight's affair calls for a zebra stripe or something in an open toe. One size fits all... 26 fl. oz. bottles. $25.99 at The Happy Cooker,

KEEP ON ROCKIN' IN THE WEE WORLD

Rockabye Baby is a CD series that takes tunes made famous by rock and roll legends and converts them into gentle lullabies. Does Pink Floyd already put you to sleep? Just wait 'til you get a load of vibraphone versions of Hey You and Brain Damage. There are currently over 50 Rockabye Baby titles available, including our fave -- the just-released Rockabye Baby Nickelback. Because nothing says "good night, sleep tight" like a ditty that starts, "I like your pants around your feet..." $14.95 to $16.95 at McNally Robinson

YOU AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT A HASHBROWN

Turn Noel into Noelvis this year with a trio of Mr. Potato Head toys commemorating the King of Rock and Roll. Each spud is sold separately and is fashioned after a particular phase in Presley's storied career. Take your pick from the ukulele-toting Blue Hawaii Mr. Potato Head, the all-in-black '68 Special Mr. Potato Head or the Live Elvis Potato Head - he of the white jump suit and gold-framed glasses. All parts are interchangeable but for now, there's no word when Bloated Drug Addled Mr. Potato Head will be released. $29.95 at Michael Rodents, 562 Academy Rd.

THE BAKING DEAD

Eat or be eaten; that's the notion behind a set of zombie cookie cutters manufactured by Fred. The plastic molds come in three distinct poses. But don't be afraid, the end result will be the same no matter which lurching figure you opt for: a perfectly-shaped biscuit - or brain - every time out. $18.95 at Toad Hall Toys, 54 Arthur St.

BAD COMPANY

OK, so maybe Walter and Jessie didn't exactly sail off into the sunset together in the series finale of Breaking Bad. But because of a pair of playthings, the always-odd couple can now cook happily ever after. True blue fans of the award-winning show will enjoy cuddling up on the couch with the Jessie Pinkman plush doll, which is made by Mezco and stands 20-cm tall. Even more fun, the Walter White/Heisenberg action figure, also by Mezco, comes with removable pork pie hat and sunglasses, as well as an eensy sack of meth. Available at City Haul, 823 Corydon Ave.

GOD SAVE THE CREAM

Good luck getting your kids to abdicate the freezer after they get their mitts on the Ice Queen Scoop. With its white gloves, pink dress, blue sash and royal insignia, this regal kitchen accessory bears more than a passing resemblance to Her Majesty. That is, if the reigning monarch's head ever gets replaced by an ice cream scoop. $14.95 at The Paper Gallery, 1437 Corydon Ave.

david.sanderson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2013 D11

History

Updated on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:29 PM CST: Fixes lede.

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