The Perfect Christmas Bang

Still searching for that perfect gift for your kindergartner that’s both fun to play with and ripped straight from the headlines? How about Hasbro’s G.I. Joe Long Range Army Sniper action figure, currently available at a toy store near you?

According to J.C. Penney, the G.I. Joe LRAS is a one-foot-long, 1.8-pound “fully articulated replica of an actual US Army long range sniper” -and though he’s not the guy who wreaked bloody havoc in suburban Maryland and elsewhere this year, he does come complete with “camouflage outfit and accessories.” Plus, you don’t need a permit or a license to carry him-you just have to be five or “up” (don’t worry, you gun-lusty 4-year-olds-that’s recommended, not enforced ).

Importantly, he’s long-range . How many times does your 5-year-old come in from the backyard after a long afternoon of playing Sarajevo Street Corner, or Disgruntled Office Manager, or Covert C.I.A. Assassination Plot, and complain that the range of his (or her!) action figure’s rifle is frustratingly short, and that the faux victims (other kids in the neighborhood) laugh? “Mommy,” he (she) says. “It’s not the sight, it’s the range . Waaaaaaaaaaa .”

Not surprisingly, then, the G.I. Joe Long Range Army Sniper is a hot item. As of Friday, Dec. 6, J.C. Penney’s Web site said the item was “low in stock”-and by late Monday, Dec. 9, the item was “currently unavailable.” J.C. Penney did not respond to a request for comment.

However, Toys “R” Us does carry the G.I. Joe Long Range Army Sniper-and they’re not afraid to talk about it!

“What one person finds to be a positive military figure, another person may not,” said Toys “R” Us spokeswoman Susan McLaughlin. “And that’s why we live in America.”

Yesiree-God bless America, indeed! Give us your tired, your poor, your G.I. Joe Long Range Army Sniper–toting Sesame Street –watchers. What war isn’t mostly about the right to buy plastic action snipers? My country ’tis of thee / Sweet land of Youth Army Rifles ….

Hasbro, the maker of the G.I. Long Range Army Sniper, also sounded very proud of the toy.

“The G.I. Joe brand is proud of its long history in depicting figures-military and non-military-who embody honor, heroism and courage,” Hasbro said in a statement. “Our Long Range Sniper figure, part of the Army Rangers collection, represents individuals and elite units who have served our country with distinction for decades. The figure is in no way linked to the events that occurred in the Washington, D.C., area.”

Well, then, that should reassure everyone! Remember: Nothing says “Christmas” to a little boy or girl more than a toy that allows for dizzyingly effective secret killing. Happy holidays!

-Blair Golson

Popping the Question

On Primetime Live, Dec. 4, 2002: Diane Sawyer: “Is it alcohol? Is it marijuana? Is it cocaine? Is it pills? … All?”

Whitney Houston: “Now, I’ll grant you, I partied … and it’s hard, because we’re rock ‘n’ rollers.”

It’s alcohol, Diane ….

W.C. Fields: “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of a snakebite, and furthermore always carry a small snake.”

Winston Churchill: “Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.”

Ben Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Frank Sinatra: “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re gonna feel all day.”

It’s marijuana, Ms. Sawyer ….

Louis Armstrong: “It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics, dope and all of that stuff. It is a thousand times better than whiskey. It is an assistant and a friend.”

Willie Nelson: “The biggest killer on the planet is stress, and I still think the best medicine is and always has been cannabis.”

George Washington: “Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere!”

Michael Bloomberg: “You bet I did, and I enjoyed it.”

It’s cocaine, Di ….

Sigmund Freud: “In my last severe depression, I took coca again and a small dose lifted me to the heights in a wonderful fashion. I am now collecting the literature for a song of praise to this magical substance.”

Tallulah Bankhead: “Cocaine isn’t habit-forming. I should know, I’ve been using it for years.”

William Burroughs: “Cocaine is the most exhilarating drug I have ever used.”

It’s pills ….

Handsome Dick Manitoba, former lead singer of the Dictators: “We started off with 10 cases of beer and a bag of 100 real 714 Quaaludes. Quaaludes were great, the Love Drug, they made you real horny. You just wanted to rip your clothes off and scream, ‘Suck my dick!’”

It’s all ….

Billie Holiday: “I never hurt nobody but myself, and that’s nobody’s business but my own.”

Dee Dee Ramone: “Besides smoking good pot, I started doing a lot of glue. I’d do glue and Tuinals and Seconals. What a party, you couldn’t get your head outta that bag. I used to do it with my friend Egg because Egg was real sleazy …. Egg would go to the supermarket, get some cans of whipped cream, and we’d do the gas in it. Anything to get high.”

Keith Richards: “I never had a problem with drugs, only with cops.”

-George Gurley

Holiday Advice

It’s the holiday shopping season in New York City, which can be at once an enthralling and harrowing experience. Here are a few tips that will make this year’s shop a little more pleasant:

1. Remember, Christmas this year begins Jan. 12 and lasts for three days.

2. If you are worried about spending too much money, lower your family’s gift expectations by denouncing them in a stinging letter to the editor in their local community newspaper.

3. If that doesn’t work, let everyone on your list know that this year, “The thought is really gonna count.”

4. Feeling romantic? Nothing says “Christmas romance” like a MetroCard 1-Day Fun Pass.

5. Give your Dad a swell pink pair of ladies’ socks. Tell him you were “going” to get him a car, but you noticed he “already had one.” But what Dad, you say, owns a swell pink pair of ladies’ socks?

6. At your Mom’s house, find one of her old photo albums, wrap it up and give her that as a present. She’ll probably figure out what you did after a while, but she’ll love it all the same.

7. Don’t give your pet the same old pet gift year in and year out. Try something different this year, like a handheld DVD player.

8. Present for the boss? No one ever went wrong giving the boss a loud, exotic bird.

9. Every year, it’s good to tell at least one member of your family that they’ve been “too naughty” and “passed over” for a gift; it may make for an uncomfortable minute or two, but it keeps everyone on their toes for next year.

10. You can never give anyone too many pairs of handcuffs.

-Jason Gay