December 1, 2008 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Guides | December 1, 2008 |


Hey! Looking for the perfect gift for a loved one or an office acquaintance that you’re not that fond of, but company rules require that you participate in the Secret Santa gift swap, anyway? Well, our Holiday Guide is pretty useless to you, then. The gifts below are way too good to give away to a family member or co-worker. In fact, our Holiday Guide is tailored to the most important gift recipient of this holiday season: You, you selfish bastard. You worked hard all year, and you deserve a little something special for yourself. Either that, or you’re unemployed, and you need to buy yourself something to lift those spirits and your rotten self-esteem. Something like a Dismember-Me Plush Zombie!

bob_400x300_image.jpgBand of Brothers

“Band of Brothers”: The December 2 release of “Band of Brothers” on Blu-ray provides an excuse to tout the best mini-series of all time, HBO’s 10-parter about Easy Company, one of the most remarkable infantry units in history. Easy, a unit of paratroopers from the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, parachuted into France during the Normandy invasion in World War II, then proceeded to fight in most of the major military actions leading to the Allies’ victory in Europe, including the capture of Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. “Band of Brothers” follows Easy from boot camp through their triumphs and defeats, presenting a compelling portrait of ordinary men taking part in the greatest military campaign in history. Because of its soldiers’ over-achieving as the “tip of the spear” in Europe, Easy Company suffered a horrendous casualty rate, but the most remarkable aspect of the series is its focus on the everyday life of soldiers at war — the tedium, bureaucracy, and bullshit endured by average guys during the times they weren’t being shot at. Their humble camaraderie, restrained sense of purpose, and quiet courage contrast sharply with the pompous “hoo-rah” nonsense often presented as military bravery today. The DVD set includes a moving documentary with numerous interviews with the surviving soldiers of Easy Company; if you can get through that with dry eyes, you’re made of stone. Whether you’re purchasing for a Blu-ray enthusiast or a regular DVD collection, anyone who appreciates outstanding dramatic storytelling and fine acting should see “Band of Brothers.” — Ted Boynton


Smart_Ass_Trivia_Board_Game_2.jpgBoard Games

Nothing gets the holidays rolling like a good ol’ fashioned knife fight started over a round of Scattergories. Most family functions devolve into scowls and disappointed headshakes over the fact that Merle Jr. doesn’t know what “Singin’ In The Rain” is. That’s supposed to be a toaster? Nice work, Picasshole.

While setting fires at my local Barnes and Nobles, to scare away the haints from getting to the childrens through Harry Potter and Twilight, I came across a few titles that will spark the interest of the usual Pajiban. Meaning, mostly they’re crass, profane, and ridiculous.

Smart Ass

The basic premise of the game is to figure out the object being described by the clues listed on the card. The fun part is that anyone can shout out the answer, demonstrating not just an overabundant desire to express superiority over the Oprahessed among your family, but the vindictive ability to steal points when it’s not even your turn.

Sexy Slang

Pretty much what it sounds like: dirty charades. Imagine the joy on Aunt Gertrude’s face when you mime a moustache and sombrero and get her to guess Dirty Sanchez. And the unmitigated disgust when Uncle Paul explains to her what that is.

The Big Taboo

This game has four rounds of charade type guessplay: basic taboo (can’t use any of four words — also the reason for many ER visits to remove stuck buzzers from rectums), charades (my uncle is YouTube worthy when firing up this skill), general password (one word clues), and the piece de resistance: Bob. Bob is a giant purple fraggle looking motherfucker that you use to act out clues. That’s right. You play charades by molesting a muppet. If that isn’t representative of Pajiba, lord knows what would be. — Brian Prisco


450_box_348x490.jpgBottle Rocket

It’s been a long time coming, but Wes Anderson’s feature debut is finally getting the deluxe-edition treatment it deserves with this Criterion Collection release. In addition to a making-of documentary interviewing the cast and crew, there’s an audio commentary by Anderson and co-writer/star Owen Wilson and the original 1994 short film of the same name that formed the basis for the feature’s story. If you’re an Anderson fan, this has probably been on your radar for a while, but if you’re not familiar with his work or if you’ve just never gotten around to seeing where he started, this set is a solid pickup. — Daniel Carlson


ddmillerommnibus.jpgThe Daredevil Comic by Frank Miller

The easiest way to scrub away the torturous memory of Mark Steven Johnson’s cinematic cockpunch, Daredevil? Read the real thing. The truth is, Daredevil is one of Marvel’s most underrated comics, particularly the Frank Miller years. Harsh, gritty, dark and often brutal, The Man Without Fear was like Batman without a trust fund, a flawed yet principled blind avenger with no agenda other than to beat the holy fuck out of Hell’s Kitchen’s bad guys. If you people truly loved me, you’d plop down the 200 bucks for Frank Miller’s Omnibus Companion, a gorgeous hardcover collection of the Daredevil: Love & War graphic novel, Daredevil issues #227-233, and Daredevil: Man Without Fear #1-5. Get a taste for what could have been if Affleck hadn’t mouth-breathed his way through a epically disappointing adaptation of a truly great comic. Hell, couple it with Miller’s Elektra Omnibus Companion to get the full story. — TK


51qlv1iwPZL._SL500_AA240_.jpgDavid Lynch: The Lime Green Set

This one’s strictly for the hardcore Lynch fans out there. The box set includes four of the director’s films — Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart — as well as several discs of extras. For instance, there’s a copy of the Elephant Man soundtrack, as well as a disc with a staggering 32 deleted scenes from Wild at Heart. There are short films, animated projects, and even episodes of the online serial “Rabbits,” which will freak you out for no definable reason. Like I said, this one’s not for newcomers, but for the Lynch-loving collectors out there, this one’s a given. — DC


ac4a_dismember_me_plush_zombie_apart.jpgDismember-Me Plush Zombie

The Dismember-Me Plush Zombie begs to be torn limb from limb. After all, he is a decaying, reanimated corpse turned into irresistible cuddly plush. Rip off an arm, he doesn’t mind. Tear him in half, he’ll barely notice. Pull off his legs — OK, now he’s getting a bit annoyed. Steal his brain … now you’ve really done it. Keep your teddy bears under close guard tonight, because undead plush have come back from hell to walk the earth. — Recommended by Cindy, an Eloquent


felicity_l.jpgFelicity — Seasons 1-4

Oh, I know what you’re saying: “Felicity”? What the hell are you smoking, dude? Wasn’t that a stupid show about a whiny, angsty, naval-gazing college chick with extreme commitment issues? Yes. Yes, it was. But before you dismiss “Felicity” as “My So-Called Life — The College Years” (which is actually not a bad way to describe it), let me remind you, geeks, that “Felicity” is where J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Alias,” “Fringe,” and Star Trek) and Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) got their start, creating, producing and writing the show. I am frequently scoffed at for my fondness of this show, but after subjecting Season One of “Felicity” onto a skeptical and irritated Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate and the Pajiba in-laws one Christmas Day, we ended up watching Season two over the 4th of July Weekend, Season Three over Thanksgiving, and finishing up the entire series the following Christmas. You’ll laugh at the preposterous pilot episode, but you won’t be able to stop yourself from watching the second episode. Twelve hours later, you’ll wonder where your Christmas Day went. — Dustin Rowles


godfatherrestorationsm.jpgThe Godfather — The Coppola Restoration Set

Surely, this recommendation doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the rabid fangirl adoration that I’ve previously expressed for this trilogy. Now, the Corleone sagas are even better, for all three installments of The Godfather have been thoroughly restored, and this is the closest most of us will ever get to actually seeing the films in a theater. The restoration process has greatly reduced the number of scratches and other flotsam on the pictures themselves, and the whole look of the trilogy is much sharper in term of brightness, contrast, and color enhancement. In addition, the films’ audio tracks are dramatically greatly improved with sudden clarity of sounds that were either muffled or practically nonexistent in the older DVDs. These improvements alone make this giftset well worth springing for, but then Coppola just had to throw in two extra discs full of special features. Admittedly, the fourth disc contains the same special features (featurettes, family tree, photos), as the 2001 Godfather DVD Collection boxset. The fifth disc, however, is full of fresh cannoli, which give the collector even more behind-the-scenes glimpses about many of the films’ production phases as well as the restoration process. There are also several new featurettes that focus primarily on The Godfather films’ enduring impact on film, television, and popular culture. Henceforth, I shall shout “vaffunculo” at those other two DVD copies of each film that are, uh, sleeping with the fishes. — Agent Bedhead


The Godfather - Intermission @ Yahoo! Video


hitchcock_alfred2.jpgHitchcock by Truffaut

In August 1962, legendary New Wave filmmaker Fran├žois Truffaut recorded a 50-hour interview with Alfred Hitchcock. Truffaut was a great fan of Hitchcock’s, and was mystified by the way both the American and European press didn’t understand the master’s work — indeed, reacted to it by “belittling each new film.” By engaging Hitchcock seriously about the films, Truffaut hoped to improve their reputation. The idea of needing this corrective is ludicrous today, since Hitchcock is rightly revered, but the book remains a jewel. Generously illustrated with stills from his very earliest work and his later classics, and running to 350 pages, Hitchcock finds the rotund legend and his charming interlocutor discussing their art at a length and in a detail that seems miraculous. — John Williams


skatercopy.jpgIda Pearle’s Alphabet Collage

This is a fairly odd choice for this audience, but if you have little ones, or need to offer up a gift to toddler-aged niece or nephew, this alphabet collage is perfect. It’s exquisite. The images are absolutely gorgeous and simple, and it beats the hell out of those Wal-Mart alphabet collages or the ones you find in preschools with the usual array of cartoon animals. This collage includes 26 giant postcards, one for each letter, which are hung by little clothespins, which makes for great deco-art for your kid’s room. You can teach your kids the alphabet and a nice appreciation for decent art at the same time. — DR


0811860108_large.jpgLotta Jansdotter

Lotta Anderson’s designs are disarmingly simple — part of you thinks, “Hey, I could have come up with that” — but so beautiful that it’s clear they are the result of a deeply creative and thoughtful process. Originally from Sweden, Anderson moved to California, started screenprinting in the ’90s, and from her studio in San Francisco, built a cult following in Japan. Since then, she’s relocated to Brooklyn and has come out with stationary, journals, and a couple of sewing and printing books for the American market; in the meantime, she’s continued to design sweet and striking textiles. Her bags are wonderful, and she’s recently expanded her line to include a range of textiles for the home, baby items, and a few dresses. The finished pieces are lovely; they can be pricey too, so check out the sale section, where you can find some nice deals if you’re comfortable buying out of season. Occasionally you can score a bag of fabric remnants, which are great for your own little projects, or to give along with Lotta’s “Simple Sewing” (available at Powells.com & your local independent bookstore). — Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate


135698555_tp.jpgThe Pixar Ultimate Collection

This would make a lousy gift for most of you, because you probably already own most of the Pixar flicks. But if you have an uncle you really like who just bought a DVD player for the first time in his life, or you know a scroogy asshole who doesn’t believe in animation, then this box set is the perfect way to turn his opinion. It includes all of the Pixar films (8 in all), up through Ratatouille (Wall-E is not included). All but two are two-disc sets, but there’s nothing new or previously unreleased in the box set, so it’s a more appropriate gift for Pixar virgins. It’s retailing over on Amazon for only $109, which makes each movie a steal at only $13 a movie, while most of the films are $20, stand-alone. Plus, it comes in a pretty box. — DR


cthulhularge.jpgPlush Cthulhu

Who needs some lame-ass stuffed bear? To show you truly care, give your loved ones a plush representation of the head of an ancient race of evil beings, bent on corrupting the world and ruling the universe. ToyVault’s plush Cthulhuis the perfect gift for every fan of H.P. Lovecraft, early Metallica, and all things evil. If you’re looking for even more fun, try Dreamland ToyWorks’s My Little Cthulhu (complete with victims!). — TK


pink_grapefruit_marmalade.jpgRidiculously Amazing Pink Grapefruit Marmalade (under $20)

Buy 3 pink grapefruits, 2 lemons, 500 grams each of brown and granulated sugars, and 6 small jam jars with lids. Boil whole grapefruits in large pot for 2 hours (replacing water when needed). Cool, slice peel and pulp very small, making sure to remove pits (but keep everything else, including all juices). Put pulp, peel, juice, sugars, plus the juice and zest of two lemons in a large pot. Dissolve sugars on low heat, then bring to a boil and bubble to jell point (approx. 15 minutes). Follow home canning instructions for sterilization and processing (or email me). You should have 6 jars of ridiculously amazing marmalade to give to family and friends (not to be wasted on casual acquaintances or irksome “supertasters”). Credit: Recipezaar.com, slightly modified. — Ranylt Richildis


404247142_c3039879dd.jpgThe Sookie Stackhouse Novels, 1-8

Leave “Twilight” to the 12-year-olds: The real campy vampire series to get addicted to is the “Southern Vampire Mysteries,” or the “Sookie Stackhouse novels,” by Charlaine Harris, which are the basis for the underappreciated HBO series “True Blood.” No teen angst here — just brutal violence, sex, murders, prejudices, campaigns for vampire rights, more sex, more violence, and awesomeness. The first seven books, already in paperback, have been released in boxed set with the “True Blood” art, but you’ll have to buy the eighth book, “From Dead to Worse,” separately. You can catch up on the series before “Blood’s” season two premieres and the ninth book is released next summer. Plus, you can realize that the character of Sookie isn’t really annoying — Anna Paquin is. (Sorry, Alan Ball.) They’re not great literature, but they’re not fan fiction, either. They’re just playful looks at what would happen in a backwoods Louisiana town in the near future when vampires are discovered to be real and living among humans. What’s not to love? — Sarah Carlson


41yWsopi%2B%2BL._SS500_.jpgSouth Park: The Cult of Cartman — Revelations

Do you have that special loved one who hates ginger kids, who knows how to enact revenge in truly homicidal (and publicly pubic) fashion, who easily feigns being retarded or having Tourettes, and who enjoys cross-dressing as a rough inner-city teacher? Well that special someone already follows Eric Cartman’s life lessons and doesn’t need this gift. But if you have a young relative whose spirit is still pure, South Park: The Cult of Cartman - Revelations is just the thing to corrupt them to their core. This two-DVD set features a dozen standout Cartman “South Park” episodes from Seasons 5 through 12. There are of course many more wonderful Cartman episodes than just these 12 (I’m particularly saddened by the lack of inclusion of The Passion of the Jew), but for four-and-a-half unfiltered hours of Cartman, this ain’t bad. Plus, the lucky giftee will also become an official member of the Eric Theodore Cartman Society, and be privy to special Cartman life lessons. Of course, if you yourself are already a member of the Cult of Cartman, you know that you really should be buying this gift for the one you love the most. Yourself. And if your family bitches about why they’re not getting any gifts? Just bust out your best nasally impression with a “screw you guys, I’m treating myself!” — Seth Freilich


41ZeUHZBIsL._SL500_AA280_.jpgWii Fit

The gift that started fires, the hot item to have this Black Friday, as old ladies trampled poor retail schmoes to a bloody pulp to purchase discount electronics, the accoutrement for the so-called lesser video gaming system. For the housebound nerd who’d like to see his dick when admiring the latest scheissenfreulein porn, a balance board allows you to do yoga, jumping jacks, cardio, pushups, and various other digital fitness exercises. Sure, you can easily do these without a nearly $100 dollar piece of machinery, but then you would lose the sheer joy of seeing a vaguely rounded Oriental doppelganger of yourself go through the motions. But since this little accessory has been around for nearly a year, why so necessary now? Because unlike all your plastic band-o gear, Nintendo has released a slew of games that use the balance board, including Shaun White’s snowboarding, two or three skateboarding games, and a cheerleading game. Most enjoyable is the Rayman Rabbids Party Game. While we cannot necessarily shoot up hookers or engage in futuristic military espionage on our castrated little infant system, we can finally play a game with our asses. Our ever-expanding asses. — BP


WBNSpsmgifWhiskey Baby Ninja Star Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

Nothing says Christmas like a drunken ninja baby with a throwing star. It’s cute. But dangerous. Geeky, but kind of cool. Wear it to your Holiday Parties and skeeve out your co-workers, or better yet, wear it to your AA meetings and taunt your fellow addicts with an adorable picture of a whiskey bottle. Also, it says “Pajiba” right there on the shirt, so when people ask you what it means, you can reply, “I dunno. But stop saying Paheeba. It rhymes with Vagina, you asshole.” Best of all, if a fellow Pajiber sees you wearing one, you’re guaranteed to get laid. And that’s the Best Christmas present of all. — DR

(H/T to Cindy for inspiring this Guide)

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Guides | December 1, 2008 | Comments ()



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