Spring into shopping 

Most years we get at least some snow to cover February’s ugliness, but we didn’t this year. Still, brown grass and dingy patches of gray ice, mixed with dirt and torn-up streets, can typically be viewed as signs that spring is near — if you’re an optimist.

Unfortunately, we still have a long march through March, so what follows are a few products to help you get through these drab days and prepare for that moment when spring really does bloom.


For those who invest too much of themselves in their lawns, the mere sight of grass in colors other than lush green is downright painful. For the rest of us, the brown-and-yellow grass is a brief respite from the tyranny of turf that rules the summer months. If you’re not into painting the lawn up like a putting green, another way to add some variety to the front yard is with lawn ornaments.

Yes, the mention of lawn ornaments as a form of creative expression should provoke laughter — if you’re only used to seeing those pathetic geese with weather-appropriate attire. (By the way, is life really that meaningless and empty that so many people have nothing better to do with their time than decorate geese every day? Damn it, I hope not.)

There are a few “residential sculptures” more creative than the geese to be found at www.idealornaments.com. This site features a heavy emphasis on animals (barnyard friends, feathered friends and beach friends) and religious icons (St. Francis with birdfeeder for only $139.15). The home page claims they have more than 600 “statuary products,” including imaginary friends — but I didn’t see any.


There is some strange yet powerful connection concerning males, sunglasses and automobiles. Sure, nearly everybody wears sunglasses, especially come springtime. But next time you’re on the road, check out all the young-to-middle-age males who wear sunglasses and drive like total assholes. It’s almost like the sunglasses are some kind of invincible shield capable of intimidating anything within sight. Think of the prison guard in Cool Hand Luke who never took off his shades except at the end of the film — at which point he lost all his power.

Now, consider the importance of sunglasses to NASCAR drivers; they have protective shields on their helmets, so they don’t need sunglasses to drive. The minute they hop out of the car, though, they’re always seen in some sort of goofy eyewear. It’s almost like they need to wear the glasses to retain the power they get from driving cars. Anyway, you can try to get some of this power, or at least memorialize a fallen legend, with Gargoyles Original Classic Sunglasses “worn by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt” (only $59 at www.ultimateshades.com). Maybe wearing them will help you will find out why “The Intimidator” was so intimidating.


The best way to beat the dreariness of the season is to just get the hell outta here. But some of us don’t have the time, money or freedom to just split. A lame alternative to travel might be found in the Travel Journal cotton percale sheets (available only at www.garnethill.com; $50 for a queen size sheet, $30 for two pillowcases!). These luxury sheets feature excerpts from a Garnet Hill copywriter’s trip to Polynesia. But, get this, the journal entries have been translated into French — is it humanly possible to get any more pretentious than a set of bedding that looks like a French newspaper?


For sportswriters, this is a magical time of year because suddenly the word “spring” transforms itself from a noun to an adjective, as in spring training. Nobody else really cares about baseball yet, but any excuse to head to warmer climates seems to make sportswriters pretty happy. If you’re in the minority, and are actually looking forward to baseball season (or maybe opening day at Commercial Park, ugh), visit www.hawaiianshirtsonline.com to purchase the Spring Training Hawaiian Shirt ($77.50 for a 100 percent rayon shirt featuring baseball-themed images). Don’t blame me if you get laughed at for wearing it.

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