No art or barbarians today. Instead, this the closest thing this blog has ever had to a holiday special. I’m very grateful that you guys abide my hanging out here. I would get you all fighter jets if I could, because that’s what everyone really wants, right?. Would it were that I ran a small nation and could lend out my jets. Alas, you’ll have to make do with these humbler suggestions.
1. Manual of Seamanship for Boys and Seamen of the Royal Navy, 1904
There’s a good chance you are none of those things, but there’s also a good chance you like naval history. This classic by Lieutenant Cecil Fox is packed full of practical knowledge regarding how to make hammocks, the workings of anchors and the mechanics of sails. It’s a perfect addition to a personal archive of military history. The illustrations are beautiful even if you don’t need to know to run a ship. Anyone would be better off with know tying skills, though. Tie knots like it’s going out of style.
2. Brickmania Custom Lego Kits
The custom kits range from about $100 to $350 and assembly varies in difficulty. There are World War II battleships, Sherman tanks and Axis vehicles as well and modern additions like the M-1 Abrams tank. My favorite, the Highlands Keep, is also the most expensive and one of the most difficult. If your tastes run really old school and you have the money to spare, it’s sure to keep you entertained, especially since you could probably re-enact Macbeth when you’re finished.
3. Tank Cat Playhouse
It’s no secret cats love small, dark hiding places. But many cat houses are rather frilly. A cat tank is the obvious solution. Your cats all told me this is what they want for Christmas! Get one for all of your feline friends! If you have a lot of them, you can build a cat army. There’s also a plane version if you want the air force. If you have to ask why there’s no cat navy …
4. Dagu Adventure Robot Kit
You don’t have a real pet? Build one! This little guy can walk around and detect other moving objects. He doesn’t look overly machine or humanoid, so he falls squarely in the adorable category. It’s simple and safe enough for all ages. The site stocks advanced kits as well, if you have the skills and patience to build a more complex robot.
5. Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered
Oops, I’m talking about barbarians. But this is a personal agenda of mine. If you’re interested in learning more about the complicates, scattered tribes influenced our world after the fall of Rome, this book by Peter Wells is a good place to start. Wells, an archeologist, goes into detail about these war savvy culture’s little known advancements in technology, art and architecture. Read it to your cats while they’re sitting in their tanks.
6. U.S. Army Field Manuals
These vintage army manuals come in sets of three and would make a great stocking stuffer. The pack includes Survival, Rigging and First Aid. Unlike the how-to’s of the early-2oth-century Royal Navy, these guides have tips you could probably use. Learn to dress your own wounds, for example. If you want to ensure those future kitchen accidents are cooler, the Best Made Co. site has a selection of handmade knives. And axes, for your future woodcutting gashes.