by Michael Bowen

Flying Pig Paper Animation Kit ($9, Museum of Arts & amp; Culture Shop)

You don't need scissors. You barely need any glue. Just pop out the die-cut pieces, fold according to the instructions, then turn the handle and watch Porky's legs stretch out as his wings flap in unison.

Technically, Porky is an automaton, a toy that uses a mechanism to "come alive." Elaborate enough that he'll "require an evening or two of your time to complete," he's still "great for first-time model builders and lazybones."

And you thought that Type A personality on your gift list would never have the patience to sit down and assemble an intricate model of a porcine perambulator.

Well, sometimes miracles happen: Sometimes pigs fly.

Boring Postcards USA ($10, Boo Radley's)

The Sunset Travel Trailer Park, Route 1, Fort Stockton, Texas. The A-1 Tune-Up Center, Hazel Park, Michigan. The new administration building and Tower of the Chemung County Airport at Big Flats, New York. Howdy from Junction, Texas. The Famous Mariners' Restaurant Fishboil, Hwy. 44 near Fort Bay, Ohio. ("Look Good ..? It IS!!") Site of Proposed Larger Taconite Plant, Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Richfield, Utah -- Main Street looking north. (We're sure the view looking south is entirely different.) The Southern Terminus of the New Jersey Turnpike. A sofa.

Betcha wish you could take pictures like these. Betcha wish you were here.

Humphrey the Humping Puppy ($15, Spencer's)

Hey, kids, imagine the embarrassment you can create when you attach the flexible forepaws of this adorable stuffed Chihuahua to the legs of Aunt Martha or the school fax machine. With Humphrey, you can bring out the potential for vulgarity in any social situation and help reverse the decline in American civility. (It means being nice to other people. No, it has nothing to do with the Civil War. No, it won't be on the test.)

Requires four AA batteries (not included). No word yet on Gemmy Industries' release date for Delmore the Dumping Dachshund.

Marilyn Monroe Purse ($35, Pink Cadillac)

You might think that Milton H. Greene (the celebrity photographer who was famous for candid shots of the Blonde Bombshell during the 10 years she lived with Greene and his family) might have wanted to honor Norma Jean's memory with a dignified tribute.

Don't tell that to the overseers of the Greene Archives, which licenses thousands of his images. No, they're pretty much gonna slap MM's photo on whatever sells.

Come to think of it, those Get Smart shoe phones sold well. Why not Marilyn's Shoe Purse? It's a great place to keep the toe jam of the stars.

Angel Snot ($2, Boo Radley's)

The packaging of this fine product claims that there's a "sacred relationship between mucous fluids and heavenly salvation." Skeptical, are we?

Well, Mr. Smartypants, Gesundheit translates from the German as "your health." And why did peasants in medieval Dusseldorf fret that sneezes might be unhealthful? Because they represented a bit of your immortal soul whistling away, that's why.

But now, with this "beautiful pearlescent substance," you will always have at your side "a solid manifestation of the miraculous power of angels."

And remember: Every time an angel sneezes, an oyster makes a pearl.

Publication date: 12/09/04

American Original: The Life and Work of John James Audubon @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 19
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About The Author

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is a former senior writer for The Inlander and a respected local theater critic. He also covers literature, jazz and classical music, and art, among other things.