Marking time, day by day Calendars: Publishers' editions for 1997 provide a touch of humor, words of wisdom and just the right gift for those hard-to-please folks on your shopping list. You could even say they're real page turners.

November 30, 1996|By Chris Kridler | Chris Kridler,SUN STAFF

Days! Months! If there's anything you can count on, it's time going by, at least until the universe collapses upon itself and crushes us all like ants. Until that time, calendars will make great gifts.

Every year, it gets easier to find a calendar that fits that impossible-to-buy-for person perfectly, and as the malls open stores to sell just calendars, there's simply no excuse for not finding the one you want. Here are a few you might want to look for (or avoid) out of the countless time-trackers for 1997:

Christmas countdowns

Who would think that a calendar for only one month out of the year would have so much appeal? And yet these calendars are in some ways the most clever. A wonderful example is "A Victorian Christmas," which, with the pull of a tab, folds out into a three-dimensional pop-up village with little windows that open to count down each day until Christmas. Very cool.

"Mary Engelbreit's Countdown to Christmas Calendar" is also three-dimensional, but not nearly so elaborate, and its doors reveal cute pictures. Then there's "The Christmas Box Holiday Countdown Calendar" (from the best-selling book), a stand-up house that tells a story as you open each window or door. "A Host of Angels," meanwhile, lets you pull out cardboard angels made of heavy stock and hang them on your tree; a golden angel hides behind the last "door." (All four are from Andrews and McMeel, $14.95 each.)

Funny stuff

Every cartoon character known to humanity must have a calendar, or ambitions for one. Thank goodness Scott Adams' Dilbert is back in the perfect companion for the office, "I Admire Your

Ability to Get Paid for This," a day-by-day calendar (Andrews and McMeel, $9.95).

Other daily offerings include the new "Snaps 1997 Calendar," a year's worth of such insults as, "Your girlfriend is so ugly, her doctor is a vet," and "That's Funny!" which prints the best from stand-up comics (both Andrews and McMeel, $9.95 each). A calendar kids may appreciate is "365 Jokes! Puns and Riddles 1997 Calendar" (Workman, $8.95), which is full of mild funnies and groaners.

For your wall, here are a couple of monthly calendars (from Andrews and McMeel): "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" ($9.95), the perfect thing to make people look twice, combines lovely photographs with such tongue-in-cheek philosophies as: "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." Also check out the mischievous "Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Calendar," from the similarly named book, in which a fictional Victorian lady smashes fairies in a scrapbook. It's beautiful, humorous and sick at the same time.

Women first

As usual, some calendars are marketed to the "ladies," and a couple of popular wall items are back: "Cynthia Hart's 1997 Victoriana Calendar," a wonder of monthly decoupage masterpieces (Workman, $9.95); and Mary Engelbreit's "My Checkered Past 1997 Calendar" (Workman, $8.95), which is too cute. For those of us who aren't necessarily ladies, there's the very funny "Men Are Like " calendar (Landmark, $10.99), which combines beefcake photos with such witticisms as: "Men are like plastic wrap. Cheap, clingy, and very easy to see through." You can be bitter and titillated all year-round.

In the day-by-day department, less effective is the "Men We Love To Hate" calendar by Marnie Winston-Macauley, which picks on annoying male characteristics. More fun is an engaging novel-cum-calendar called "Heart of the City" by Jim Corrigan, a romantic comedy that lasts all year long. A curiosity is 365 days of the wisdom of "Mary Kay: You Can Have It All." The cosmetics queen talks about the golden rule a lot. (All three are from Andrews and McMeel, $9.95 each.)

The sporting life

For boating enthusiasts, and we have a few around the Chesapeake, try the monthly "The 365 Sailboats (and ports of call) Calendar" (Workman, $10.95), with lots of colorful little captioned photos, or the calmly scenic "1997 Calendar of Wooden Boats" (Addison-Wesley, $14.50).

Interesting sports-related anecdotes for every day of the year await in "The Sports Hall of Shame 1997 Calendar" (Andrews and McMeel, $9.95). And breathtaking even for a nonskier is "Warren Miller's Escape To Ski 1997 Calendar," full of crisp, snowy action photos. Brrr!

Enlightenment

Educate yourself every day of the year with "Merriam Webster's 365 New Words Calendar," which defines and uses each word while explaining its origin. For tips on what to read, there's "The Book Lover's 1997 Calendar." For a headache, there's "The MENSA 365 Brain Puzzlers 1997 Calendar" (who has time for this?). And for clever thoughts from philosophers to poets to Albert Einstein, there's "The Little Zen Calendar" (all four from Workman, $8.95 each).

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