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My dog Peri wants to announce the winner of her friend Ani’s book! Check the bottom of this post to see if it’s you. [Note from Barb–this blog post was a holiday column from back in the day that was going to be a ThrowbackThursday only I just noticed that it’s actually Friday. This happens with disturbing regularity around here, now that I’ve retired and all my days are Saturdays.]


The codfish lays ten thousand eggs. 
The homely hen lays one.
The codfish never cackles
To tell you what she’s done.
And so we scorn the codfish, while the humble hen we prize,
Which only goes to show you, that it pays to advertise. —Anonymous

I’ve been studying the great humorists of our times—Tina Fey, Dave Barry, The Republican Party, Big Bird—and asking myself, “What do they have that I don’t?”

“Other than millions of fans, agents, tons of money, occasionally odd hair, and the random feather,” certain members of my family have been known to answer, “they probably don’t talk to themselves.”

Well, they are just WRONG! I have plenty of odd-hair days, and THEY have licensed products with their logos on them. (I’ve even heard when alone in his/her/its dressing room, Big Bird tells him/her/itself, “Sunny day, Licensing sure can pay, On my way to where the money is sweet. Can you tell me how to get, Get more fees from Sesame Street?”)

So there it is: the difference between me and all those famous people is that they have better advertising. And licensing deals. (And okay, agents, tons-o-moola, yada yada.) But I have to start somewhere, so I’ve decided to make my own licensing deals.

So, dear readers, with the holidays coming up, are you looking for that perfect gift for the hard-to-please person on your list? With your wallet interests close to our hearts, the staff here at BARB’s has come up with the answers. Coming soon to an email inbox near you, it’s the New, Improved BARB’s Catalog, containing the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

  • For Mom, how about the BARB’s Mothering-logo tee-shirt with its heartwarming message:
  • For the handyperson on your list, we offer BARB’s cordless hammer in the deluxe silver-plated edition with the faux woodgrain handle.
  • For Dad, how about BARB’s old-school-tie? In 100% virgin polyester, the stripes read:
  • For the figure-conscious, there’s the new “Buns-o-Jello” video with barb’s exclusive exercise regime:
    1. Stair-stepping. Stand on the bottom step and yell, “OK, everybody get back down here and pick up all your stuff in the next five minutes or it’s history.”
    2. Aerobic exercise. Catch the naked toddler before he makes it to the low end of the street.
    3. Low-impact aerobics. Sway back and forth with baby on your hip while singing rock’n’roll oldies. With a little practice, you’l find yourself doing this in public even without the baby, wihile everybody around you edges away carefully. You’ll be amazed a thow quickly this can get through grocery checkout lanes…
  • Hate to entertain? How about BARB’s Dining Room Table, which comes pre-piled with kids’ schoolwork, craft projects, and old junk mail dating back two presidential administrations? It’s the precision-curated look which says, “We couldn’t possibly have anyone over until the last child leaves for college. And that’s only if the first child hasn’t moved back in.

    Dining table? What dining table? [image credit: eMaidsInc.com]

  • For that special carpooler on your list, there’s the BARB designer minivan. It comes complete with mystery dents, key scratches, and the place in the back where the dog ate the upholstery. Choose your model:
    1. Carseat Model: graham cracker crumbs mixed with baby saliva have formed one of the strongest materials known to man—NASA is considering using it for spacewalk repair jobs—and bonded with the back seat.
    2. Preschool Model: complete with collectors assortment of plastic kids-meal prizes dating back to the early eighties.
    3. Deluxe Model: includes all of the above PLUS we’ll custom fill all crevasses with fossilized french fries. You’re welcome.
    4. Act now and we’ll throw in a large, barking and completely untrained dog!

      [image credit: carsguide.com.au]

  • For the Animal Companion wannabe: want to make that politically correct animal statement without all the effort of actually having to get involved with your pet’s pottying efforts? BARB’s offers her Deluxe Pet Package containing pre-shredded upholstery, a hairball for under the dining room table, and a used litter box. (We also offer the Republican Package: a handful of purebred Golden Retriever fur for the sofa and a spritzer of Eau d’Dog drool.)

Order now! The first 200 BARB’s customers will receive ABSOLUTELY FREE BARB’s Apron!

(BARB’s is happy to accept the BARB’s Gold Card with the hologram of the handmade pasta maker in the red circle with the line through it. Bribes, as well as large piles of unmarked bills in small denominations also work well here.)


Ani wants to congratulate Jennie, the winner!

On this post last week, I offered my accidentally-purchased second copy of Doggerel by Sue (and Ani) Vincent, their charming book of poetry from a dog’s viewpoint. I’m delighted to announce the winner of the copy of is  one of the most gifted preschool teachers ever. Here is the incredible Jennie reading that holiday favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. As only Jennie could do it! Please do yourself a huge favor and check out her blog post, and then share it with some lucky child.

(Oh, and Jennie: Please get in touch and let me know where to ship Ani’s lovely Doggerel.) Congrats!