There was a photograph in Sunday's edition that helped me decide what I wanted for Christmas: George Clooney.
He was wearing a classic tuxedo with the tie casually askew. One hand was shoved comfortably in his pocket, and the other was held out, somewhat invitingly, for a lucky lady to clasp. Standing next to him was a woman wearing a wedding dress, holding a bouquet of flowers and grinning from ear to ear as if she had won a huge Mega Millions jackpot.
This Clooney, however, was made of wax. He resides in Madame Tussauds Las Vegas wax museum, where people can pose with him and pretend to marry him.
Clooney has been extremely public about his disinterest in matrimony. He did it once, but had no interest in trying it out again - last I heard him say, anyway.
I admire his commitment to a lack of commitment. Unless he's changed his mind. Then he's just another Hollywood actor with a boatload of dough and a fancy-schmancy villa in Lake Como, Italy.
That doesn't sound too shabby, either.
His commitment to his house and, most likely, all of his other stuff is even more admirable than his anti-marriage stance. He seems to put a lot of time and effort toward keeping up his fun and friend-filled lifestyle.
Turns out it's the idea of Clooney that I crave. I don't know the real George Clooney from the real Dermot Mulroney. But the wax Clooney - and the Clooney we read about in gossip columns - appears to be livin' the life of Riley, as one of my older relatives might say.
I don't know Riley, either, but many people seem to admire his life. It even sounds better than that of the Joneses, the family almost everyone strives to keep up with.
So my advice for holiday gifts is to give something fun to everyone. Or invite them over to your house and show them a good time. Perhaps you could show George a thing or two about gracious living.
And I'm sure he'd appreciate your attendance at one of his films now in theaters: "Syriana" or "Good Night, and Good Luck." Critics say both message-oriented films are unusual because they are actually entertaining.
n n n
Seeing George's wax doppelganger dressed in black and white also reminded me of my favorite flightless birds: Penguins. The National Geographic film "March of the Penguins" is now available on DVD.
It was a great flick to see during the heat of summer because the frigid Antarctica setting made it easy to forget how high the temperature had risen. Strangely, I learned something from it while having all of that fun - that it's hard to be a parent. Especially if you're a penguin parent.
National Geographic is also selling a calendar, film soundtrack and other related products on its Web site: nationalgeographic.com.
n n n
David Sedaris' book "Holidays on Ice" isn't about ice skating. It's a collection of short Christmas stories by the man who wrote a favorite book of mine, "Naked," and the equally funny "Dress Your Family in Denim and Corduroy."
This guy's relatives would be pictured next to the encyclopedia entry for "dysfunctional family." His fans are forever grateful that he was raised among some of the weirdest and funniest relatives one could imagine, and that he didn't escape the insanity unscathed.
-- Terri Harber is the city reporter for the Nevada Appeal. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.