'Tis the season for catalogues. Tons of them. And although our politicians have not been kind and considerate to us this past year, here are some gift suggestions for some of them.
For Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the Senate's most passionate denier of climate change who will take over the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in January, a gift from the World Animal Foundation. For only a budget-saving $35, someone can give the senator an Adopt A Cow adoption certificate which he can proudly present when explaining that the real cause of damage to the ozone layer is cow gas. And when frustrated environmentalists tell him, "Oh, go have a cow," he will be able to reply that he already has one.
Outgoing Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., should be given the $39.95 Talk Back Mimicking Tomcat, "that repeats anything said to it in a cartoonish voice." Pressing its paw records anything it hears, including the monotone drones from incoming Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Then it plays back what it heard in a high-pitched voice. This will infuriate McConnell and give Reid hours of soulless fun. From the country's longest running catalog, Hammacher Schlemmer.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who led a filibuster during which he quoted from Dr. Seuss, should get the cordless iPad charging stand. Hammacher Schlemmer sells this gizmo for only $79.95. It will enable the senator to speak for hours quoting (accurately) from various children's books without being connected to a wall outlet.
Since Michelle Obama is in charge of choosing the annual theme for the White House Christmas decorations and is a serious health food nut, we suggest a food-themed display. And what better than SkyMall's $9.95 glass pirogi, a "finely crafted and tastefully decorated ornament . sure to become a family heirloom." (Pirogi are highly caloric, unleavened dough dumplings the president is permitted to eat only in campaign stops in Polish neighborhoods.) President Barack Obama seems crankier this holiday, especially with Republicans beating up on his teenage daughters just because they seemed disdainful at the turkey pardoning ceremony. But if he got a remote-controlled tarantula for those endless meetings with equally cranky Hill people, he could get some pay back. The $29.95 tarantula from Amazon.com features a 10-inch-by-10-inch arachnid-thing that has a hairy exterior, crawls and creeps with moving legs and "might scare your friends." Or even a visiting Russian president.
Nobody knows why House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wants to keep his job. The internecine warfare among Republicans has given him frown lines that have nothing to do with tanning beds or golf. But since he's determined to hang on, one of his rich friends should give him a $10,000 serenity pod. Boehner will "float away on a cloud-like bed into a bliss(ful) state with calming color changing light, relaxing music and soothing vibration." This SkyMall exclusive is created by the pod designer of "Men in Black III."
Hillary Clinton, who is making a big deal out of deciding to run again for president, says she needs to know what she could bring to the table other than scrunchies and a one-of-a-kind resume. She needs the only robot admitted to the Screen Actors Guild. It is an adult-sized robotic avatar that seems to be "acting autonomously and engages in impromptu banter" with others. She could find out what people really think of her when she's not in the room. Hammacher Schlemmer is selling its celebrity robotic avatar for $345,000, but that would be a steal for somebody who wants to be the next Treasury or Commerce secretary or even Fed chair.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who also is running to be president, has to raise a lot of money, which means he is competing with Hillary for the Big Take - Hollywood bucks. But the West Coast thinks he's goofy. So he needs the Neiman Marcus catalogue's ultimate fantasy gift this year - the $425,000 Vanity Fair Academy Awards experience, with endless parties, styling and a new wardrobe so he can prove he's not any quirkier than Hollywood.
Happy shopping, folks. The economy needs you. Don't forget the pols even though they've forgotten you until the next election.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.