Today, President Barack Obama was be sworn into office for the fourth time. But as the chefs of D.C. know, four more years of the Obama family’s presence in the White House means four more really, really good years for the restaurant industry in the nation’s capitol. Which is why we asked some of them at the Chef’s Ball if they had any memories, wishes, or other such observations about Barack and Michelle — and they responded:
There's no cross domain hackery or tracking voodoo, it's just some sweet jQuery animations.
Please, think of the animations.
In the meantime, enjoy the html version below. I guess. If that's your thing.
CNN Playing Cards
This is a
really fun idea that other cable news entities (and publications, online and print) should really look into-- a customized playing card set. While these, unfortunately, only have the CNN logo on the back and don't actually feature different on-air talent on every card, the potential for fun collectables here is astounding. As a child, I always wondered what the point of baseball cards were until I discovered Pokémon cards, after which I wondered why there wasn't some sort of equivalent for the cast of Crossfire (confession: I'm that friend that won't shut up about Crossfire). This is a step towards that, and, unlike most of the gifts on this list, one that is actually useful. And incredibly affordable, coming straight from the network.
Joe Biden Koozie
has written about the Biden Beer Soda Koozie before, because it perfectly captures the spirit of Vice President Biden-- just a fun lovin' guy who works hard and plays hard (and sometimes plays when he really should be working). He has taken the mantle of "guy everyone wants to have a beer with" from President George W. Bush with aplomb, and if the person on your gift list who would most enjoy Vice Presidential kitsch is rooting for an Obama 2012 victory, you could always add the bonus that the proceeds go to the campaign.
President Obama Pocket Watch
There is A LOT of President Obama kitsch out there. Most of it is best found rummaging through the streets of Chinatown or weeding through eBay, but this pocket watch on Amazon really grabs the eye. For one, it is a
pocket watch-- a jewelry item mostly associated with upper class Europeans in centuries past (or, perhaps, Colonel Mustard). And while it appears to be a perfectly respectable watch from the outside with no particular political persuasions and an excess of elaborate reliefs carved on the silver cover, the inside is just about the tackiest political thing it could be. The stoic, all-caps font in which they spell out "OBAMA" (without the rest of his name or any real explanation of why this man is in a pocket watch). Your friend will be just as surprised to find the President in his pocket watch as he or she will be dismayed that someone thought this was a good idea.
President Obama Countdown Calendar
Yes, there is
a lot of Obama kitsch. But unlike most of it, which seeks to capitalize on the adoration around the world of the President that reached its peak somewhere in early 2009, this calendar does the exact opposite. It is designed as a countdown to January 20, 2013, for the conservative that just can't wait until we get rid of the "Socialist in Chief." This calendar was probably designed and manufactured long before Newt Gingrich was anywhere close to the top of the polls.
Ron Paul Family Cookbook
Need a gift that will “warm your kitchen and your heart" for the Federal Reserve-hating libertarian in your family? Look no further than the
Ron Paul Family Cookbook, a very real thing you can purchase from the Ron Paul campaign website. While it has spawned many a parody of the Randian (Ayn, not the younger Sen. Paul) variety, the book does have real recipes (mint chocolate chip cookies! pepper steak!) and features and essay from Carol Paul about her husband's family life and history as hard worker.
Donald Trump Bobblehead (From Trump Taj Mahal!)
What would a 2011 gift guide be without
? Donald Trump would probably argue that, if Donald Trump Time magazine had any self-respect, they would have named Trump Person of the Year. Trump would say that, but, unlike most of what he says, there is some sort of (relatively flimsy, but stronger than his birther claims) argument to be made here that, from the moment he teased about his investigators in China to the moment he dropped out of moderating a debate with candidates who refused to be a part of his show, Trump ruled 2011. Why not commemorate his reign (?) with this collectable, which the seller claims was purchased at the ultra-classy Trump Taj Mahal?
Mitt Romney/Herman Cain 'Ghosts' Painting
Etsy is a great place to buy presents because most of the things being sold there are unique and handmade, and thus many are also very, very bad. I could not stop laughing for a good five minutes when
happening upon this. I then found myself inexplicably drawn to it. The oversized suits, the fact that neither man looks anything like the man they're supposed to be, and, most comically, the "ghosts" that follow them both around, including Romney's "Occultist" poltergeist, who wears a cowboy hat for no reason. It looks and feels as if it should be supremely offensive, but it is so bad that it can be forgiven for parodying itself. It is an extremely confusing present.
Newt Gingrich... Thing
Etsy really has been a campaign 2012 goldmine for the past few months, and this may be the
single most enigmatic and horrific entry in the pile. Is your child having trouble sleeping at night, and demanding some sort of stuffed animal or buddy to accompany his or her safety blanket that will make him feel safe and warm? Don't get that kid a stuffed , please.* But for the Newt-minded adult in your life, this is about as ideal a gift as you could find. It is unclear what it even is! Take a look at the description.
Newt Gingrich Meet one of the Republican contenders for the Presidential race of 2012! You've met him before, as the 58th Speaker of the House. A college professor, historian, political analyst, consultant. and author - this guy has a lot of political pluck!
Enjoy Newt and get inspired by his Newtness! Details include thick hair, laser beam eyes, and standard issue Republican suit.
*It should be clarified that I, as a child, would've killed for a stuffed Richard Nixon, so this isn't a golden rule for all politicians. I got a stuffed Barney instead for my kindergarten graduation, which was nowhere near as fun.
Rod Blagojevich Campaign Sponge
This is the sort of campaign propaganda item that, when happened upon by any self-respecting campaign operative, they will have wished they thought it up itself. Do you remember, when you were a child, those dinosaurs that one would dump into water for several days to watch them grow? They would grow from about several inches to a foot or more in length. This is the same concept, except the sponge is the State of Illinois, and the water is a metaphor for Governor Rod Blagojevich. Watch Illinois Grow. Given that he didn't ever raise taxes or expand the federal government, it's a bit of a wayward metaphor, but given the state in which Blagojevich finds himself today, this will probably be quite the collectable when he gets out of jail in 2026.
Keith Olbermann Bobblehead (At NBC Store?)
While looking through
the MSNBC store, we must admit that the last thing we expected to find in there was leftover Keith Olbermann paraphernalia. And yet here is this magnificent bobblehead, by now-- as an NBC product-- a collectible, and evidently on clearance sale. It's unclear how long this sale will last or how many of these are still around (more than there should be probably, depending on how many people are aware these exist), but for $9.99, this is a piece of history worth giving to progressives and conservatives alike.