Holiday Gift Guide

All Over Albany is running a series of posts with local folks offering their gift-giving ideas; they’re a fun read. They asked me to write one, which is very flattering, and I agreed — but then I never sent it in. Sorry AOA.

So, what’s up with that?

It’s sort of hard to explain, but I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable with having my name out there. Some of you may find this surprising, but I hate any sort of attention when it comes to things I write. Oddly, I’ll get up in front of a crowd and do just about anything, but mention the blog and you’ll see me visibly squirm.


Anyway, I’m really grateful to you, my small and loyal audience, who have stuck with me through another year. For you, here’s my aborted AOA post with gift ideas:

1. Clue
Do yo know somebody who doesn’t have a clue? Well, maybe you can’t give them a clue, but you can give them Clue. Clue is not only a classic board game, but a gift with a message. A not so subtle message. Imagine how much fun your clueless friends will have solving mysteries — and the satisfaction you’ll feel as you quietly snicker over your little joke.

2. For the Drinking Man (or Woman)
Everybody loves booze! Scotch is an excellent choice, and I’d recommend a nice bottle of Oban, a small distillery that makes a very good single malt product. Go with the 14-year-old; no need to spend more. As for beer, my favorite gift is a 22 oz bottle of Ommegang’s Hennepin Farmhouse Saison — or wait, get a Hennepin, a Rare Vos, and a Three Philosophers and put them in a basket with a fancy napkin or some freakin’ hay or such shit… you’ll look like a beer genius.

3. Historic Albany
If you take a right off Delaware Avenue onto Normanskill Drive you will see the old road’s yellow bricks peeking through the asphalt here and there — and the keen-eyed explorer can actually find loose bricks laying about along the road side. These are amazing artifacts of the city’s past — and imagine how cool it would be to have one on your shelf or in the garden. I’m not suggesting you take them, just saying that they are there.

4. Knives and Flashlights
Not exclusively for men, everyone enjoys these two useful items.
You can spend a lot of money on a flashlight, but I recommend those by Utilitech that you find at Lowe’s. These are small, extremely solid, and powerful. And cheap. There are two models to look for, one that throws 200 lumens for under $10 and the other 300 lumens for about $20. That’s a lot of lumens!

Knives. A Swiss Army Knife is an excellent gift for both men and women, but it does blur the lines between knife and tool. Anything by SOG is good, but consider the SOG Twitch II. It’s a stylish little knife that can be carried unobtrusively during work or play. Oh, one more thing: don’t try to bring it into Canada. Long story.

5. For Your Single Friends
A t-shirt that announces one’s cultural orientation is a great conversation starter. If they only had an NPR shirt, they could go to a bookstore or the farmer’s market and start meeting like-minded people right away. Just to cover both ends of the spectrum, the NRA has an excellent online store, also.

6.  I Know What Boys Like
Yes, kids spend way too much time sitting around playing video games where they pretend to shoot at each other. You can help put a stop to that by giving them a gift they can use to really shoot at one another, Nerf guns. I know some of you don’t think children should have play guns of any sort, but come on — Nerf guns are awesome! If you don’t agree, please see my first gift idea.

Oh, yes, my post on AOA would have had this bio:

Rob Madeo serves the people of New York at a government agency based in Albany. When he is not at work, he enjoys driving ambulances, kissing his dogs on the mouth, and spending time with his family.

4 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Guide

  1. In re #4 . . . . you can also call in to pay your semi-annual ransom to WAMC during fund drive time, and then give your single liberal friends the Einstein Coffee Mug or NPR Tote Bag you get as swag, and they will TOTALLY be hit on at Starbucks while ordering a grande lattecino frappe frothed with soy milk and flavored just a suggestion of free-trade cinnamon . . . guaranteed!!!!

    (And, yeah, I am kinda with you in terms of keeping my stuff on my own site at this point . . . fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me . . . )

  2. A Nerf gun is an irresponsible suggestion. I would go with a marshmallow shooter; catching projectiles in teeth can be nutritious (?). I long for a toasted ‘mallow shooter, though.

  3. two number 3’s? that’s OK – I can’t count either. But thanks for keepin on posting. I do truly enjoy reading your stuff, and have even almost talked the wife into an Eastern European vacation! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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