Sunday, December 18, 2011

10 Most Bizarre Calendars for 2012

[Update: Click here for the weirdest calendars of 2014]
[Update: Click here for the weirdest calendars of 2013]

It used to be easy to pick a calendar. Women had tea towels with a giant rooster and the current year printed on them in the kitchen. Men had pin-up girl calendars in their garage.

Today there’s a calendar for not only every sport and hobby, but every fetish and idiosyncracy as well. Publishers have nixed the simple kittens and landscapes --that is, unless the kittens are Persians wearing kilts and the landscapes are made of chocolate Legos.

And the pin-up girls? Well, to quote a song from the musical Gypsy, these days, you gotta have a gimmick.

Here are some of the weirdest, most head-scratchingest and --most of all-- oddly specific calendars on offer for 2012.

1. Zlata the Russian Contortionist 

If you're having trouble deciding between an origami calendar or a sexy model calendar, Zlata is the answer to your problems. (Ordering info, though it might be tricky if you're outside Europe.) 

2. Goats in Trees

All those plain old goats on the ground calendars should hang their heads in shame. Buy a few extra calendars for unexpected guests that are fans of tree-dwelling goats. (Amazon) 

3. Fresh Eggs

It might be hard to contain your excitement as you turn over each new month and wonder: "Will it be one egg or three? Chicken egg or ...Gasp! egg?" (Etsy

4. Naked Archaeologists

A refreshing change from the overly-posed, flatteringly-lit calendars of well-oiled firemen and pneumatic Hooters waitresses, this 2012 for-charity calendar's naked archaeologists are actually getting some work done. I wonder if the cute one is carbon dating anyone? (Ebay

5. Moog Pioneers in the Studio

If you know any music or electronics geek --or even better, an electronic music geek-- then buy them this calendar and give them plenty of alone time with it. For those who don't know, the Moog is an analog synthesizer whose devotees are almost as cultish as Mac people. (Bob Moog Foundation)

6.  High Times Ultimate Grow Calendar

Ready to take your obsession with playing Hemp Tycoon to the next level? High Times' 2012 calendar has twelve months of tips on cannabis cultivation. It's the best thing you could possibly buy your stoner nephew, besides a case of Cool Ranch Doritos.  (

7.  Hungover Owls

Man, these owls are gonna regret it in the morning. Be sure and pre-order the 2013 calendar Owls With Cirrhosis. (Amazon)

8.  Mutter Museum

If you only buy one calendar with photos of human anatomical specimens this year, this really should be the one. Founded in the 19th-century by a Philadelphia surgeon with an odd taste in collectibles, the Mutter Museum features displays that might make your flesh crawl. An apt gift for fans of American Horror Story. (Amazon)

9. Ferret Frenzy: Cirque du Ferret

Let's get this straight: this is not just a ferret calendar. No, this is a ferret frenzy. And not just any ferret frenzy, but a circus-themed ferret frenzy. Costumed ferrets juggling! A ferret ringmaster! Ferret clowns and high-wire artistes. Frenzy may be an understatement here, folks. (Amazon)

10. Total White Calendar

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to tire of hue. Expected monthly features: polar bears in a snowstorm, rice with sea salt, and Edgar Winter posing with The White Album. (

Ordered your 2012 calendar yet? What's the weirdest calendar you've ever seen? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Literary Dolls: Play House with Your Favorite Authors

There’s an obscure 1990 song I used to like that ends with this spoken line: “Wow, they have Nick Cave dolls now? I waaaant one.”

Well, there may not be a pint-sized version of musician Nick Cave yet, but you can now buy replicas of a bevy of famous authors, thanks to Debbie Ritter of Uneek Doll Designs. Now that I’ve seen her handiwork, all I can say is: “They have Joyce Carol Oates dolls now? I waaant one!”

Make your Joyce Carol Oates doll spend hours writing in longhand. (All photos via Uneek Doll Designs.)

The Joyce Carol Oates doll has sold, but Ritter has plenty of literary dolls to choose from. Considering how tiny these dolls are, the attention to details is wonderful, especially the clothing choices, from Maya Angelou’s golden earrings to Anne Sexton’s “fashionable striped pants with brown sash.”

Some of my favorite literary dolls:

A mutton-chopped Asimov doll in a cozy sweater...

I, Isaac Asimov

Maya Angelou doll with perfect silver streak and bonus fashion jewelry...

She knows why the housed doll sings.
 G.K. Chesterton...

I like to call him G.K. Chesterdrawers.

Lest you think that only classic literature is represented, take a gander at these ladies:

Teen icon Judy Blume...

Ready to discuss the symbolism in Superfudge.

A suitably classy Erma Bombeck...

The grass is always greener over the miniature septic tank.

Regency romance queen Barbara Cartland. The doll looks uncannily like her back-of-the-jacket photos, but with less airbrushing...

With a copy of The Rakish Rogue or The Roguish Rake or somesuch.

Not only can you buy dolls of the authors, but also their characters. Dolls from Les Miserables are ready to start a tiny revolution, or you can re-enact your favorite scenes from The Hunchback of Notre Dame with your very own Quasimodo. Particularly hard to resist is this aptly insane Mrs. Rochester.

Set it on fire, then order more!

Ritter takes custom orders, so I’m debating whether or not to commision a redo of the Joyce Carol Oates doll, or perhaps a frail Joan Didion or a dour Patricia Highsmith. Some Wodehouse characters would make me swoon, too. Maybe a newt-fancying Gussie Fink-Nottle?

See all of Uneek Doll Designs author dolls here, and characters here.

What author or character would you like to see in doll form? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nic Cage Inadvertently Teaches Biology to Serbs

Bizarre book covers are part of the book biz, as anyone who’s done time working in a used book store can tell you. That’s why I was amused, but certainly not surprised, to see this oddity that popped up on Twitter recently.

Nic Cage on the cover of a Serbian Biology textbook. To quote his character in Raising Arizona: " ain't Ozzie and Harriet." (Photo via Belgraded)

That’s no Photoshop gag --It’s the cover of a 1998 Biology textbook from Serbia, inexplicably emblazoned with Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter and their stolen baby from Raising Arizona.

How a pair of movie kidnappers ended up on the cover of a Serbian Biology book is up for debate, but Viktor Markovic from Belgraded (a website about Belgrade, Serbia and the Balkans) says the book’s designer told him it was “an honest mistake.”

This isn’t the first time Nicolas Cage has unexpectedly turned up on a book cover, though, as anyone who putters around on the Net reading both goofy celeb news and bookish things can tell you.

Cage as a military pyromaniac in 1814. (Photo via Buzzfeed.)

The actor --or his doppelganger, anyway,  also appears on the cover of this history book for young folks, The Story of the Burning of Washington.

This is one happy Redcoat. The Burning of Washington looks like a blast.

Maybe Cage can surpass Isaac Asimov, who (sort of) published in every category of the Dewey Decimal System, by being the first person to have his face emblazoned on a book for every category. He can certainly cross the 500s and the 900s off the list. 

Seen any weird book covers lately? Better yet, seen Nic Cage anywhere strange lately?