Mad Tidings

Surprise the hard-to-shop-for with these eBay finds.

click to enlarge ASS LOAD: Some eBay items are impossible to pass - up, like this plastic donkey cigarette holder that - dispenses your favorite smokes out its rear. - Scott Harrell
Scott Harrell
ASS LOAD: Some eBay items are impossible to pass up, like this plastic donkey cigarette holder that dispenses your favorite smokes out its rear.

Everybody has a friend who's tough to shop for.Some friends don't like anything. Some of them already have everything. And some of them ... well, you don't know shit about some of them.

Choosing a Christmas present is a bit like negotiating an unfamiliar living room in pitch darkness — there's a chance you're gonna suffer the minor indignity of a stumble.

In most such cases, the natural inclination is to go with something nice, safe and bland. A bottle of mid-brand booze. A Best Buy gift card. A coupon promising one full hour of post-coital cuddleage/conversation. (At one time, yet!)

Decent stuff, nothing anybody was really gunning for, particularly, but definitely the kinds of things anybody could use, regardless. When faced with unlimited options, we see none, and generally rely on something we know we would appreciate or could use, had we not been so painstakingly manipulative in our own hint dropping.

We've given these people every opportunity to tell us what they want, yet they've consciously chosen to let their desires remain a mystery. This year, let's show Captain Enigma and Mistress Oblique what can happen when we're left to our own devices.

Here are 10 prime examples of left-field gift-giving esoterica, courtesy of the Internet's most high-profile purveyor of miscellaneous debris, eBay.

Two Kansas Deer Hunting PermitsNot far outside Kansas City, there's apparently some "good creek and tall grass ground" where the bucks are plentiful, and the does will do when the wildlife officer isn't around. This year, give the gift of game to your favorite food-chain enthusiast. Or better yet, pass them along to an ardent animal-rights activist, either as the world's most tasteless (and expensive — when we checked, bids were up to $300) gag gift, or with the solemn declaration that you made a difference, because "this year, there are two fewer killers out there, man." Then hug appropriately over mung curd.

Designer Shoes Worn

During the Filming of Law & OrderWe all know how hard to please those rerun-obsessed, label-whore foot fetishists can be. They're a triple threat! Well, these bad boys handle one of the toughest hat tricks in friendship with pedigreed style. We found pairs by Prada, Fendi and Chanel, with bids for each coming in at under $90 thus far. The seller doesn't specify that Angie Harmon wore 'em; hell, they could've been a part of some crewmember's unobtrusive gender bending, for all we know. But fantasy is the cornerstone of all healthy deviant behavior, and it's soooooo easy to imagine Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael climbing the courthouse stairs in these babies ...

Advertising Space on the Back of

a 33-foot Motor HomeA gentleman from Memphis, Tenn., covers an estimated 8,000 miles' worth of the Southeast annually, and he'd just love to do it with your message plastered across the back of his RV. Of course, he'd like to make $10,000 at the same time, but seeing how his auction has drawn all of zero bids, he'll probably be willing to drop the price to, say, 75 bucks and a case of Castrol High Mileage Vehicle Motor Oil. Got a friend starting a business aimed at hitchhikers and/or slow drivers? Got a pal with a really bad driver's license photo of an ex and an extremely vengeful nature? Here you go.

Oil Painting by the Father of Modern Plastic Surgery"Bossington on the Test," a 10-by-14-foot oil-on-Masonite landscape painted by Sir Harold Gilles, the man who performed Britain's first recorded transsexual surgery, is absolutely perfect for "any collector of medical historical items." They can hang it between their Incan trepanned-skull collection and that bronzed speculum from the Industrial Revolution. It has been noted, widely and snidely, that as a painter, Gilles made one hell of a medical pioneer. The same comment has also been applied to his golf game.

Two Tickets to LegoLand, Calif.$1.75. Sad, really.

An 'Awesome Space Suit'Seriously, this one rules. Did you ever stop to think that if all the kids who wanted to be firefighters and astronauts had held onto their dreams, we'd be putting out California brush-blazes from space by now? These "U.S. Army surplus toxicological climate controlled suits formerly from the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot in Oregon" come with everything a chum needs to shoot that no-budget sci-fi flick, or maybe just dress up that life-size Gumby doll you gave him or her last year. It includes the big round helmet and the backpack breathing assembly (along with two battery packs!) and, at the risk of sounding childish, looks absolutely BOSS. eBay's "Buy It Now" option lets you buy it now for $399. Buy it now.

A Necklace 'For the Girl Who Has Everything!'Two diamonds embedded in a pendant-size turd on a chain. The accompanying description admits the diamonds are fake. Oddly enough, with regard to the turd, they're not talking. Ninety-nine cents takes it, but to really pull this one off, we suggest investing in an extremely elegant jewelry box. You can always return it on your way home from the Emergency Room.

Semen Tank Storage UnitHey, we know what you're thinking, but this is no ordinary semen tank storage unit. Made by MVE, leaders in semen tank storage unit technology, this semen tank storage unit combines the "classic-style lid assembly" with an "advanced chemical vacuum retention system" and a "lightweight aluminum construction high strength neck tube to reduce liquid nitrogen loss." It's the semen tank storage unit of the future, you see. And while it was ostensibly designed to transport the swimmers of prize-winning horses and bulls, such a contemporary semen tank storage unit should have no problem looking after a loved one's seed.

Freeze-Dried Albino Freak PythonWe heard that every D&D-playing, Ripley's Believe It Or Not!-watching, Geek Love-reading stud in the Western World was clamoring for something like this last year. The 10-foot-plus albino python "is real, and was born with these malformations" before being "professionally freeze-dried" by noted taxidermist Ron Rogers "for an exhibit at the Freak Farm USA." The malformations in question are more lumpy than loathsome, but hey, a freak's a freak, and this wonderfully subversive anti-conversation piece comes nicely mounted in Lucite.

A TWA Menu from Pope John Paul II's October 1979 Visit to AmericaBet you didn't know there was merch available from that tour. The beautiful airline menu features the Papal crest, along with a list of all six flight segments and the menus for each flight, among other inane TWA-intensive Pope-tour trivia. We'd love to tell you to make sure the recipient opens this one in front of a crowd — you just know some idiot's gonna make a joke about the kosher meal — but the timeless little bit of airline-pimping Americana is already off the market; somebody Bought It Now, for $29.95, the second it hit the Net.

Contact Staff Writer Scott Harrell at 813-248-8888, ext. 109, or [email protected].

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