Gifts That Rock, Bork Bork Bork

Going insane trying to figure out what to get for your friend, your nephews, your babysitter, your administrator or the recently not-so-estranged cousin who has been a pretty cool mentor to you? Welcome to the gift list that doesn't require leaving your keyboard.

Other People's Kids: Upromise. This only works if you don't have kids of your own, otherwise it's hard to explain why your spending benefits little Johanna and Skylar when your own kids don't get an allowance. Upromise is the affiliation game of the future. It's frequent flyer points, cashback, and a college savings 529 plan package all rolled into one. Fearful that sending your grocery store purchases to Upromise will invade your privacy? Take one look at me, and you'll know I consume a lot of Marie's Salad Dressing. Why shouldn't the good folks at Upromise drop a dime for me each time I do? More on Upromise later, because their model is going to reshape everything from the way you buy sports arena concessions to the type of gas you buy.

Your Own Kids: iTunes Allowance. I really, really stink at doling out allowances, mostly because we're rarely all home on Sunday night at the same time. I also did the cash flow analysis on allowance money: my wallet to kids' wallets to local music store, resulting in CDs left in random places. Much easier to set up the iTunes allowance account, direct billed to my credit card (for which I get Upromise points, you bet). And the kids only buy the songs they want, not entire CDs later described with derision.

Adults Who Crave Hipness. Here you need to exude hipness through your worldy experiences, and if you're over 40, you can give a retro gift with the added pleasure that you experienced it first-run, in prime time, or in first edition. The original Kung Fu series is out on DVD and the super-marionettes Thunderbirds shows are available as a boxed set, sure to bring smiles to anyone who saw them on TV or wishes that they did.

Drum roll, please, as I introduce the number one thing I got this holiday season: A Swedish Chef bookmark, bork bork bork. The Swedish Chef predates the popularity of Volvo and Ikea as the Americanized view of pseudo-Swedish culture. The Chef is a creation of late Jim Henson's later-career prime-time late 70s TV series, "The Muppet Show." I adore the Swedish Chef, one of my all-time favorite muppets, and I'm not the only one. There's a newsgroup dedicated to discussions about the man with the frying pan, alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork, but you'll find even more good humor at the newsgroup archive and website. There are various ports (including one in Java!) of the encheferizer, a utility greater in cultural consequence than lex (1): it preserves grammer while emitting Swedish chef tokens.

And if you want to be truly hip and retro at the same time, use Google in Swedish Chef language mode. You may find that last-minute something you need, bork bork bork.

Comments:

Looking for another great retro gift from the past ... check out Mattel's Classic Football 2 - available at Target for about $10.

Posted by Dave Silcox on December 30, 2004 at 07:44 AM EST #

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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