Deadspin Gift Guide

Gifts For Very Good Dogs Gifts For Golden State Warriors Fans Gifts For Drew Magary Readers Gifts For A Life With Diminished Horizons

Gifts For Very Good Dogs

Dogs don’t really understand the concept of time, holidays, or seasonal gift giving, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make sure to let them know that they are very, very good pups.

I’m not sure what dogs call their various holidays, but I assume that like us, even the most distinct of their religious divisions come down to little more than different interpretations solidified through generations of cultural and social sifting.

You and your dog might share different ideologies, so it’s best to keep the gift wrap non-denominational, but as a society of dog and humans, it’s our differences that make us great.

Let your furry friend celebrate her or his holiday of choice, and let us help:

ADIDOG

ADIDOG

For the dog who can’t possibly be seen in last year’s threads. If you have a few different sized dogs or have a lot of friends with dogs you could get a whole dog squad in different colors of this possibly copyright-violating dog tracksuit. The listing warns you to measure your dog before you buy, though:

TIPS: Your baby usually wears size S doesn’t mean all size S will fit him/her!!! So please measure your dog and have a reference before your purchase according to the size map below Product Description (PS:According to our customers reviews,you can order the larger size)

Don’t let your dog be one of those types who believes that Oh, I’m sure I’ll fit into the size M dog tracksuit just as soon as these gluttonous holidays are over.

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Dog shoes

Dog shoes

These are actually pretty practical for your dog. Dogs don’t like having cold paws, and they especially don’t like having cold paws and stepping on sidewalk salt. Plus, just look at this very good buddy.

You want your dog to look like that dog, right? Note: Dogs who live in Los Angeles and various other places where warm weather is year-round probably don’t need to wear shoes.

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Deer antler stick

Deer antler stick

One of the greatest things about dogs is that you can give them pretty much anything and tell them in an emphatic voice to go get it. For that reason, dogs love sticks. Dogs also love to chew on literally anything, so a deer antler stick that they can go to town on for a week is really the best of both worlds here.

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KONG tennis ball squeaky toys

KONG tennis ball squeaky toys

I imagine that when a dog sees a tennis ball, Louis Armstrong starts playing in their head as everything around the ball goes to a soft blur.

But tennis balls were designed for people to play a game for children, not for doggos. Not even Air Bud (RIP) tried to play tennis.

Dogs are already pretty brand-loyal to KONG because that’s where the peanut butter lives. Plus, these balls squeak.

Amazon reviewers say these tennis balls are best for small doggies with small mouths, and one review notes that they even work with possibly the most extravagant doggy gift of all: the iFetch.

I admit that my first thought when I saw the iFetch was that it would be a great buy for dog parents who have intense seasonal depression—the dog can just play with itself while you struggle to find motivation to get out of bed.

But check it out.

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Dog house with stairs

Dog house with stairs

If you want your doggo to really give the middle paw to that dumbass Snoopy, buy them this two-story dog house for the backyard. Not to get all HGTV on this, but this house can be custom decorated for your pup, or has enough rustic charm on its own.

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Gifts For Golden State Warriors Fans

The Golden State Warriors went 73-9 during the 2015-16 NBA regular season, only to see their championship aspirations dashed in the Finals, where they blew a 3-1 lead to LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

You’ve surely been reminding the Warriors fan in your life of this fact every day since, but you might be thinking that the holiday season is the time to take it easy on your poor, sad, techno-doofus friend. This is not so. The holidays are in fact the perfect time to remind everyone that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the finals.

Here are five gifts to purchase for the Warriors fan in your life, whose tears will continue to nourish you in the new year.

A protective cup

A protective cup

“Hmmm,” your friend will say upon opening the Shock Doctor Compression Short with BioFlex Cup. “This looks expensive, but I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do with it!”

Look your friend dead in the face and simply say, “You know what it’s for.”

Do not break the awkward silence.

“No, I really don’t,” your friend will say.

“Yes, you really do,” you will reply, resolutely.

Maintain eye contact.

“Seriously what is—”

Now you pounce.

“IT’S JUST IN CASE YOU EVER MEET DRAYMOND GREEEEEEEEN!”

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Replica Larry O’Brien trophy

Replica Larry O’Brien trophy

Your friend might actually like this! They will marvel at the gold finish and the sheer size of the thing. “Whoa, how much did this cost??” they’ll wonder.

You tell them. You tell them it cost you 600 fucking dollars. You tell them that you saved up for months in order to buy it. When they ask why you would do something like that, you hold up this picture.

And say, “Because I want you to look at that trophy every day. And when you do, I want you to remember that the disgusting plutocrat who owns your team did all kinds of disgusting fuck stuff to it.”

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A washcloth

A washcloth

At this point, you have almost certainly been asked to leave the familial gathering at which presents are being exchanged. Someone has said something about your “tendency to lash out” and your “increasingly anti-social behavior.”

As you are being ushered out the door, whip this washcloth at the Warriors fan’s face and yell, “DRY UP ALL YOUR TEARS WITH THAT, YOU SCUM!”

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Novelty oversized 3 and 1 decals

Novelty oversized 3 and 1 decals

Your friend won’t have any idea what the hell this is for. In fact, when he or she opens this gift, they will likely look at you and say, “Hey, man, what the hell is this?”

Play it cool. Just tell them that there was a mixup, and you accidentally put the wrong thing in the box. “Sorry, man,” you’ll say. “Let me take that back. I’ll track down your real gift when I get home. This is so embarrassing!” We’ll come back to this.

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Autographed Rick Barry jersey

Autographed Rick Barry jersey

Okay so this one is more of a gift for yourself. Remember those big 3 and 1 decals from before? Get those babies out and stick them to the windshield of your dipshit Warriors fan’s car. Now gently place the Rick Barry jersey on the lawn, douse it in lighter fluid, and set it on fire. Go home and enjoy the holiday!

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Gifts For Drew Magary Readers

So you know a Drew Magary enthusiast, or someone who should be a Drew Magary enthusiast, and you’re wondering what sort of holiday present to get them? As someone who argues with Magary daily about everything, listen to me on this—I know what I’m talking about. Get them some Magary books!

<i>The Hike</i>

The Hike

The Hike is Drew’s latest novel, and the chalk description is that it’s something like the spirit of The Twilight Zone meeting some of the narrative functions of an NES game. I don’t know that that’s right (although it’s not wrong); I do know that it’s good, and that you should read the thing, or buy it for someone who hasn’t done so.

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<i>The Hike</i> Kindle Edition

The Hike Kindle Edition

The Hike is Drew’s latest novel, and the chalk description is that it’s something like the spirit of The Twilight Zone meeting some of the narrative functions of an NES game. I don’t know that that’s right (although it’s not wrong); I do know that it’s good, and that you should read the thing in Kindle format, or buy it in Kindle format for someone who hasn’t done so.

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<i>The Hike</i> audio edition

The Hike audio edition

The Hike is Drew’s latest novel, and the chalk description is that it’s something like the spirit of The Twilight Zone meeting some of the narrative functions of an NES game. I don’t know that that’s right (although it’s not wrong); I do know that it’s good, and that you should listen to the thing in audio format, or buy it in audio format for someone who hasn’t done so.

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<i>The Postmortal</i>

The Postmortal

The Postmortal is Drew’s previous novel, a fable about the promise of conquering aging and the perils of getting what you wish for that certain Silicon Valley billionaires apparently didn’t read, but should have. It’s good, and you should read the thing, or buy it for someone who hasn’t done so.

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<i>Someone Could Get Hurt</i>

Someone Could Get Hurt

Someone Could Get Hurt isn’t a novel at all; it’s a book about trying to be a decent person, trying to make sure you do a better job with your children than your parents did with you, and coming to terms with the fact that all you can do as a parent is try. For all that it’s very funny, and it’s good, and you should read the thing, or buy it for someone who hasn’t done so.

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Gifts For A Life With Diminished Horizons

The line between holiday gifts and New Year’s resolutions is less clear than it might seem. Unless you and your gift recipients have fallen into the terrible trap of typecasting—Here’s one more item for you with a golf joke on it, Jolly Person Who Plays Golf!—presents are aspirational: Here’s something you’re not using or doing, which you might now use or do.

But the years pass and the range of plausible possibilities narrows, aspiration becomes an occasion for defeat. Quite long ago now, when he and I were both in the process of leaving our 20s, a deeply perceptive former colleague of mine wrote a fine little essay about the problem of gear, the way that his closets filled up with unused or barely used equipment, monuments to the things he’d thought he would do.

“Every January,” he wrote, “the objects I sift through look less and less like nifty new stuff, and more like wishful thinking, like expensive souvenirs of the life I once had time to lead.”

What was an intimation around age 30 is, in the mid 40s, full knowledge. The greatest gift you can offer a fellow traveler through middle age, then, is something plausibly achievable, something that fits within the bounds of life, but offers some measured extra increment of freedom or pleasure or use. These things may help.

An Oyster Knife and Glove

An Oyster Knife and Glove

One day this past year, as I scrolled through the top-rated produce and seafood on the grocery-delivery website, my eye hesitated a fraction of moment on its way past the oysters. It was the same fraction of a moment it always hesitated on its way past the oysters, but for once I noticed my own fleeting, accompanying half-thought: Someday, it would be nice to be able to eat my own oysters.

Startled, I focused in on that thought. When, exactly, would that someday be? What future version of myself was I waiting for before I would be prepared to shuck and eat oysters? There was no deeper, more capable adulthood ahead, only this one.

The next day, I was standing over the kitchen sink with an oyster in one hand and a straight oyster knife, delivered by the grocery-delivery company, in the other. To protect the oyster hand from the knife, I was wearing a fancy leather kitchen glove that I’d been given who-knows-how-many holidays ago and had stashed on a high shelf while I kept using cruddy hot pads. I jammed the knife into the hinge of the oyster. It worked. My wife and I shared a dozen oysters standing up in the kitchen, before dinner.

A little research led me to upgrade to a “New Haven style” knife, with a sort of scoop-shaped blade tip, which seems to dig more securely into the hinges. I’ve stuck with the leather glove; now it’s crusty and stiff from doing something it wasn’t really meant for, but I’m using it, regularly, as I shuck and eat oysters, which is a thing that turns out to be entirely possible to do. Any cut-resistant work glove should work as well. Give someone the protection and encouragement they need to be an oyster-eater.

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A Miniature Guitar Amplifier

A Miniature Guitar Amplifier

When was the last time the guitar got played? It’s still there, in the case, tucked out of the way. But the amp—no way, there’s no dragging the amp out, and for what, to wake up the kids? To bother the neighbors? Easier to stare at Twitter.

What if the amp was right there though? What if it would put out snarling distortion even when turned down to just above a whisper? It would be much, much louder than bored silence.

You can find cute little miniature facsimile amps from Marshall and Fender and whoever else, but the Danelectro HoneyTone doesn’t feel like a baby version of something else. It’s a fully realized version of what it is.

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Small Blank Canvas Panels

Small Blank Canvas Panels

Nobody’s asking for a masterpiece. Nobody’s even making anybody responsible for what happens on a big swath of wall, or for coordinating with the armchair. There’s no studio, there’s no floor space to keep up an easel, there’s no time for long-term projects.

There is, however, enough room to spread out a section of last week’s Sunday paper and to see what some paint looks like on a little canvas panel. Eight by eight inches is good. If the children get too curious and grabby, they can slop some paint on ones of their own, while the adult can think about making something in a small clear space.

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A Nice Stiff Drink

I was going to speak up here on behalf of a small glass of 80-proof Pikesville Rye, a cheap and unaffected spirit, tasty enough to sip for a nightcap or between songs on a battery-powered guitar amp or while putting paint on a canvas you may or may not care to look at later. But in October, Heaven Hill Brands, the multi-brand Kentucky distiller that had been producing the low-priced, well-regarded Maryland-style rye since before I turned 21, killed it off.

Late capitalism churns on. The Pikesville name, which long predated Heaven Hill’s acquisition of the brand, is now attached to a newly invented, more expensive, 110-proof rye whiskey, aged six years instead of the previous three. “Est. in commerce 1895,” the label says.

So as long as we live in the age of fancy versions of humble things, try pouring a nip of premium moonshine. A few years ago, my then-boss gave me a little glass flask of 80-proof Kings County Distillery’s unaged corn whiskey, with a plain typewritten-looking label. It looked handsome on the shelf beside the tall white-label Pikesville. Occasionally I drank some, and I found it agreeable—a finding whose proper location on a matrix of authenticity and inauthenticity, and high and low consumer culture, was too much work to assess. No matter what some writers may tell you, whiskey is not identity. But unlike the Pikesville, when the moonshine runs out, there’s more to be had.

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A Good, Short Book

A Good, Short Book

A book—printed words, on a page, outside the idiotic churn and stimulus of the digital infofeed—is a refuge, a space to be a thinking, feeling human being once more. But a monument is not a refuge. A fat book, whether a classic or someone’s newly written attempt to bludgeon their way into the canon, is too much to face when the hours in the day are scant and countable, and the years in the life are getting to be that way too. Get something small enough that a person stands a chance of reading it.

In 1972, his own 45th year, John Ashbery published Three Poems. The last of those prose poems—long as poems, but short as prose—is “The Recital,” which opens with a discussion of “The problem”:

It is like the beginning of a beautiful day, with all the birds singing in the trees, reading their joy and excitement into its record as it progresses, and yet the progress of any day, good or bad, brings with it all kinds of difficulties that should have been foreseen but never are, so that it finally seems as though they are what stifles it, in the majesty of a sunset or merely in gradual dullness that gets dimmer and dimmer until it finally sinks into flat, sour darkness. Why is this? Because not one-tenth or even one-hundredth of the ravishing possibilities the birds sing about at dawn could ever be realized in the course of a single day, no matter how crammed with fortunate events it might turn out to be.

A used copy can be had for about $20.

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