Catalogs carry holiday surprises
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 15, 2012 | 849 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Well! Fall weather has belatedly arrived, and right behind it comes the holiday season.

Actually, if we are honest, the holidays have been here for weeks. The area’s major stores have been pushing Christmas merchandise for some time; the Christmas card offers from nonprofit organizations have been arriving longer than that; and if your household is like ours, the slick advertising booklets are beginning to stack up.

Just the other day, I was browsing through one such colorful booklet, hoping to come up with a gift idea for HM (Housemate, to the uninitiated). And right there on Page 21 were four items that stopped me cold.

The first was a cellphone display stand for $11.95. Not at my house.

Then came a mammoth bark money clip “formed from 420 series surgical steel, heat treated and tempered for optimal tension and durability.” I guess that extra strength is necessary if you plan to wrestle purse snatchers who are after your money clip. But the price cooled me: $195.

Then came a push dagger letter opener (in sheath), its price $175 for the larger, better-value size and only $10 less for the 4.5-inch blade. I found it interesting that the money clip and dagger opener were pictured on the same page.

But the item that really caught my attention was the genuine leather watch winder. It comes in a lockable glass case trimmed in black leather.

But the uniqueness of this gift is that it will wind up to four watches at a time with mechanical shaking while storing five others. Truly amazing, and priced at only $365.

Do these things actually sell? Do people other than watch collectors actually have nine such timepieces? And have we come to the point where we can’t physically wind our own watches?

I prefer to be technologically disadvantaged rather than using a $365 glass case to wind my 53-year-old Bulova.

Obviously, I passed on Page 21.

Can it be?

Readers have long followed the escapades of the local Knights of the Square Table, that group of morning coffee slurpers who meet weekdays at Mil’s and roll the dice to determine who pays for the brew.

The KOSTers started meeting in 1984 at Thee Bakery; switched when it closed to the Del Puerto Hotel, until 1996, when it burned; and have been served by longtime Mil’s waitress Patti Dunn the past 16 years. They keep track of their coffee expenses, which during the 28 years have totaled more than $46,000.

But the regulars, who once totaled as many as a dozen, are now down to only three — charter member Allister Allen, George Klopping and this scribe, who at present serves as secretary.

Time is taking its toll. When one of the trio can’t make it, the remaining two can’t carry on a decent conversation that solves the many problems of the day — City Hall, state government, the national scene, and of course the war-torn areas around the world. So we don’t meet, and lately, we’ve been more absent from Mil’s than in attendance.

Is KOST about to go the way of the Women’s Improvement Club, the 20-30 Club, Kiwanis, Order of DeMolay, Job’s Daughters and the Patterson Business Association?

Stay tuned. Or, better yet, stop by Mil’s at 10 a.m. (and bring money).

Home study

Fast Talk has been asked what became of the education program being presented to readers awhile back as a public service.

That’s easy. The few seriously participating in the learning program were put on a home study curriculum and thus have been sending me their completed assignments.

However, since the rest of you are insisting, this week we’ll learn a new definition.

CALORIES: “Tiny creatures that live in our closets and sew our clothes a little tighter every night.”

Bet on it

When we head into the next presidential election in four years (do we have to?), consider placing your bet based on the outcome of the World Series.

If the National League takes the series, place your dollar on the Democratic Party nominee. Should the Giants stumble and the American League somehow sweep to victory in the 2016 series, then gamble on the Republicans winning at the polls.

For the fourth consecutive national election, the above has held true. And since 1940, the World Series winner has foretold the election outcome correctly 14 out of 19 times.

That’s pretty good odds.

For the sports fan

My apologies to Cal fans.

I intimated last week that the Oregon Ducks might score 100 points on Cal’s defense, but that defense looked great throughout most of the first half. Unfortunately for the Bears, the Ducks had plenty in their tank after the intermission and ended up with 59 points.

Still, that’s less than they scored on Southern Cal.

And there’s a saying about football games that end in a tie, as did the 49ers-Rams clash on Sunday: “It’s like kissing your sister.”

And finally...

As of Tuesday morning, a week after the election, several signs for City Council candidates were still noticed around town. That’s a no-no. Get ’em down.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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