In 2009, ThinkGeek created a brilliant gift: the Star Wars Tauntuan Sleeping Bag. Imagine your Star Wars fan seeking warmth from the inside of a mounted tauntaun — without the stench — as seen in The Empire Strikes Back. The problem: it was an April Fool’s Joke. You couldn’t really order it from ThinkGeek.
But the masses spoke, blogged, tweeted and emailed, and the prank became a present, thanks to licensing from LucasFilms. You’ll find this plush Tauntaun sleeping bag, with lightsaber zipper pull and printed internal intestines, for $100 at ThinkGeek.
So I knew exactly what to get my Star-Wars-fanatical, five-year-old nephew this year for his birthday. And he loved it. The gift was so well received, his seven-year-old sister cried because she wanted something so great. I didn’t see that coming. But I did believe their father, a devout Star Wars fan, would be driven to tears of joy.
When I was kid, James Bond made me clean the basement.
My dad — a Bond movie fan and avid Ian Fleming reader — made 007 movies like Goldfinger our reward for the tough chores. After hours of housework, I’d see Sean Connery on The ABC Sunday Night Movie, edited for TV broadcast.
This Father’s Day, I gave Dad a trio of James Bond gifts.
How do I know the world will not end today?
Simple — it’s not Thursday and I’m not clutching my “DON’T PANIC” towel.
You see, the world is supposed to end on a Thursday, demolished by the Vogons to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace bypass. Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy know what I’m talking about. Douglas Adams wrote the hilarious Hitchhiker’s science fiction book series that I loved as a teen.
And if today truly were the End of Days, we’d all miss Towel Day on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. The 10th annual Towel Day honors the late author Douglas Adams and his books. Why a towel?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels. A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.” — From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Show your nerd cred with Towel Day gifts for Hitchhiker’s fans.
My dad loves London’s consulting detective. For his birthday, I tracked down two Sherlock Holmes DVD gifts. The TV show Sherlock: Season One ($24) re-imagines Holmes as a 21st century sleuth (with GPS, Internet and texting).
Next, I paired 2010’s Sherlock with the classic 1940s Holmes. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection ($75) features all 14 Sherlock Holmes films, starring the inimitable Basil Rathbone. If you think the complete DVD box set is too much, consider giving these two double feature DVDs:
Depending on what DVD he plays, either “The game is afoot” with classic Holmes or “The game is on” with the new Sherlock.
Every year on December 31, my wife greets me with a “Hap-py birthday!” — said just like Frosty the Snowman when he magically comes to life. And I am happy. I received two cool techie birthday gifts today. First, she gave me a cast-metal at‑sign (@) paperweight. It’s the ubiquitous at-sign that makes e-mail addresses and Twitter replies possible. Finished in weathered zinc, this hefty, four-inch-high at-sign is from Restoration Hardware’s cast-metal letters collection.
Next, I became the proud owner of the new, second-generation Apple TV. I connected this black box to the new 32-inch Toshiba HDTV/DVD combo in the master bedroom. In no time, my TV tapped movies, television shows, songs and photos from my iMac in the second-floor study. YouTube and Flickr came in flawlessly. I haven’t tried Netflix or video rentals yet. Overall, I love the clean simplicity of Apple TV’s on-screen menus, the gorgeous album covers that float in while my music plays, and the sleek, small design of both the box and the remote. All for an amazing price of $99.