So, I still haven't done any Christmas shopping yet. It's not that I don't want to, its just that every time I think about how great it would be to finish all my shopping at once and not have to deal with it any longer, I simultaneously think about how much I hate malls and everything about the gift giving side of Christmas.
Sure, a lot of it is the lines. Those long lines that stretch down department store aisles and weave back and forth between stacked boxes of Christmas dishes and zig-zagging lines of that black seatbelt-looking people barriers. Then there is the music. One-hundred years of Christmas cheer beaten to death with all the worst elements of popular music. Year after year of a new cadre of pop artists butchering the same old songs that in the right hands can be downright incredible (there are six links there, so check them all out). Then there is the traffic. The added rush of people plus a healthy helping of snow and ice means that the roads turn into a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic wasteland of skids and cut-offs and shaken fists. Seriously, mall parking lots are the worst.
There is always online shopping, which I have taken to a lot more in recent years. But you still have to do it early since UPS isn't sitting around waiting for you to get off your lazy duff and place that Amazon order. And even more, you still have to think of something to buy.
In the spirit of holiday giving, let me pass on a couple tips for those shopping for friends and family that are just as wrapped up in Michigan sports as the rest of us degenerates.
This is a beautiful 2013 calendar that features reprints of different program covers from the last century. It is a stunning mix of photography and artwork that has adorned the different program covers over the year.
These are really cool calendars to have, and the 11x14 layout for the pictures really gives good detailed looks at these program covers.
Unfortunately, Asgard Press has sold out of these calendars on their website as of now, but you can still find them at your local Whole Foods, Fed Ex offices (in Michigan), or
Barnes and Noble (Ed: They aren't available at B&N, but you can get them on Amazon or calendars.com).
This came out earlier in the year at the start of football season, but if you missed it then you better not miss it now. The Michigan Daily took the time to put together this really cool book chronicling the history of Michigan football as told by Michigan's fine student run news publication.
The book starts all the way back in the 1890's with looks at the cheers students used to use at games (lots of "rah rahs" and totally in a serious, un-ironic way) and the school's first Daily covered game in its 12th season. Included along the way are reprints of the actual articles (like the one celebrating the 1902 Rose Bowl and Michigan capping its season with a scoring margin of 550-0).
There are sections dedicated to players (Harry Kipke, Tom Harmon, Charles Woodson) as well as the building of Michigan Stadium and the career of Bo Schembechler.
The photography is wonderful -- as you would expect -- and the articles are great looks into the important moments of Michigan football history.
The book includes a foreward by Michael Rosenberg
that you can burn in effigy skip right past if you're so include, as well as an introduction by ESPN's own Adam Schefter. The whole thing ends with the 2011 season, a win over Ohio State to end the streak, and the BCS bowl win over Virginia Tech.
For anyone that loves Michigan football, this is a great and enlightening gift.
If you're still not sure, may I suggest just going on Stubhub and picking up a ticket to a Michigan basketball game. Nothing like seeing the Wolverines play in Crisler.
I'll be there this Thursday for my first return to Crisler since 2007. More about that later. Until then, happy shopping everyone.
(Disclaimer: I got promotional copies of both items. I'm also not much of a photographer, but at least I made my bed for the picture.)