If I Had a Hammer…I’d Play a Christmas Carol

Last week, a client in central Massachusetts was giving away a bunch of CDs. This one caught my eye as I was loading it into a box of donations.


Well, Jesus WAS a carpenter….

This CD is by Woody Phillips, who looks kind of like a young John Denver in a toolbelt:


Sawdust in my eyes can make me cry.

Now, I had expected it to be Christmas music played exclusively on hand and power tools, which would have been an interesting challenge. Turns out the tools just accompany more mainstream instrumentation. It’s still a holiday gathering conversation piece, or a gag gift for that relative who spends the entire party in the toolshop “working.” I see that the disc sells for $13 on Amazon or $7-8 used. So if you want this copy, it’s yours.

For more information, see the webpage for the album. It turns out it’s one of a pair. Its companion, Toolbox Classics, features Bach, Mozart, Strauss, and Wagner.

Desperate for samples? Fortunately, there are selections on YouTube.

Here’s the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

And here’s a video of Woody and friends in the shop, playing Bizet’s “Habanera” (aria) from the opera Carmen.


Posted in CDs, Music | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aruba Is for…. Uh, What Is This, Actually?

Sometimes I will find an item at a client’s house and I will need a moment to consider whether it is truly weird enough to warrant an entry on this blog. Other times, it’s as crystal-clear as the waters of Aruba.

For some time after I brought this item home from my client’s house in Somerville, it looked like this:

This is the modest side.

That’s because the prudish eleven-year-old of a previous entry still lives with me, and she could not bear to see the other side, which looks like this:

*cue anguished screaming*

Yes, this appears to be some kind of monkey carved from a coconut. The hat says “ARUBA” on it, which I guess makes it a souvenir. This monkey has a ginormous set of hooters, wire eyeglasses, and, unexpectedly, hooves. She is displaying her boobs – why? Her poker face yields no clues.

What else is there to say? Well, I’ll tell you. In between bouts of screaming, my beloved daughter informed me that she thinks the monkey looks like ME.

The client does not want it back (and wants to make sure s/he remains anonymous). I’ve gotten kind of attached to it, but you could talk me into giving it to you. Be creative.

Posted in Animals, Art, Chatchkes, Naughty Bits, Utterly Useless Things, What Is It? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Problem of the Good Luck Doll

I’ve had this doll for a while.


Looks so innocuous, doesn’t it?

A client (I don’t remember who) told me that she (I think it was a she) had been given the doll for good luck a while back. She thought it was Egyptian. She didn’t want it anymore, but had been reluctant to get rid of it, thinking that doing so might bring her bad luck. I declared that “a bunch of malarkey” and encouraged her to donate it if she didn’t enjoy owning it.

So then I had it in my possession. I was curious to see what the story might be behind the doll, because I like magic, folklore, and stuff like that. So I hung onto it while I did some online research, but I couldn’t turn up anything. Then I thought I’d post it here and see if anyone knew anything about it. But of course that didn’t happen right away.

The next time I looked through my weird stuff photos for what to post next, I decided that the doll wasn’t that weird or interesting after all, and that I should just send it off to donation. But then I thought about the good fortune I’d had recently. Business was booming, my health was good, everything was great. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the doll…? Of course not. But what if it did? And so my decision-making process just stalled out like an old car. And the doll sat there for months.

Well, business has slowed down and I’m not feeling so well, so I guess it’s time for the doll to move on. I’m still feeling a little unsure about ditching it, but I have to walk the walk, for my clients’ sake!

Anyone want it?

Posted in Charms, Dolls, Toys | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

In Honor of Yom Kippur, here are the Dead Sea Scrolls.


What, you thought maybe they’d be on parchment, or in a book? How conventional of you.

Now, I am far from being an observant Jew (look at me updating my blog on the holiest of holy days), but to this I just have to say, “…..really?”

My client, in Medford, is keeping this unusual accessory. But I will bet you a sheckel he’s never going to wear it.

Posted in Accessories, Clothing | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Horrify an Eleven-Year-Old

This adorable little fellow turned up in a client’s attic in Somerville.


He’s so happy to see you!

As you can see from the scale of the Kleenex box, he is really teeny. Nevertheless, he is powerfully offensive, at least according to my daughter, who is in a prudish phase. It took me a while to get around to photographing him, so he hung out (ha) on my desk, and every time Ilana saw him, she would turn him over, or put something on top of him.

I think he looks kind of Japanese. The client had owned him for a long time, and didn’t remember where he came from. He’s here with me now (put away), and I think he’s cute, but I’d better pass him along. I think Ilana can sense that he’s still in the house. Anyone want him?

Posted in Humanoids, Naughty Bits | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gimme Some Sugar

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a woodland creature bleeding from the eyes. This video features my lovely assistant Ilana.

This sugar dispenser was given to my client by her mother-in-law. It features a holly motif painted over some bulges which could be arms, or holly branches, or tumors.


Posted in Animals, Kitchenware | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yet More Labels!

I’ve collected some more labels from client homes to share with you.


Because it’s hard to label things you throw away.


Oh, actually, I guess you do label things you throw away… before you keep them for another year and a half.



So hellish, in fact, that the box couldn’t contain it.

The box full of hell was mostly a collection of letters documenting old relationships in all their colorful angst. My client was, understandably, not keen on sorting through it all. So we transferred it into an intact box, relabeled it the same way, and stuffed it into a closet. Organizing does not have to mean torture! It can sit there as long as it needs to.


What you imagined to be in the box, I bet, says something interesting about your psyche.

A client used this label for the box with her Nuva Ring and Diva Cup to keep her parents out when they helped her move. Problem is, it will encourage everyone else (maybe her parents, too) to open it. Come on, you know you want to.


You know, not that thing, but the other.


There’s a fine line between “rarely” and “never.”

For the more culturally mainstream among us, cruft is a geek term that, according to Wikipedia, originally meant “discarded technical clutter,” but has morphed over time to mean random (probably useless) stuff or generic clutter. I think of cruft as being a larger version of the Yiddish schmutz.

So, there you go. As always, I welcome comments and accolades. Please share your amusing and/or useless labels!

Posted in Organizing Attempts, Papers, Uncategorized, What Is It? | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment