Holiday Gift Ideas – Cactus Joe’s Faves

Hi Friends,

As I promised a few days ago, what follows is a list of holiday gift ideas I endorse.

BOOK: “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy – I still haven’t seen the movie but the book kicked my ass. If the movie is even 1/2 as awesome, it will be better than anything else in theaters this Holiday Season. I read it in 2 days, a record, and it is by far the best book I read in 2009. Page turner. You’ll be amazed how terrified it makes you.

CLOTHING: “More Cowbell” T-shirt – Speaks for itself. Great for that hard to buy for rock-n-roller in your midst.

BOOK: “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star” by Jenna Jameson/Neil Strauss – I love Neil Strauss’s writing (he contributes to Rolling Stone magazine a lot). This is a heartfelt autobiography of porn superstar Jenna Jameson. It’s actually surprisingly good. More of a tale of personal empowerment and growth.

MAGAZINE: Rolling Stone – Music news and current events, covered the way any normal person would want them to be. The new glossy format is much less cumbersome than the old newsprint style, and it feels like a more legit journal, which it is. The political coverage is refreshingly progressive and they aren’t afraid to call out THE MAN for being the asshole HE is.

DVD: DEXTER (Seasons 1-3) – Our house mate Matt lent me his DEXTER videos a few weeks ago, and I have to say they are really good. You might think a tale of a crime fighting serial killer is quirky at best, but the characters are well-developed and the plot lines are thrilling. Perhaps a bit graphic for some members of the family though.

CD: Black Sabbath Box Set (Ozzy years) – I never tire of it. Remastered and full of singles and B-sides, in addition to the full repertoire of familiar hits. Black Sabbath/Black Sabbath is a masterpiece. Never want for esoteric original Black Sabbath hits again.

CALENDAR: “2010 Personalized Photo Calendar” (FREE!) – This is a heartfelt gift that will keep on giving throughout the year. Upload your own personal photos at VISTAPRINT to make a 2010 calendar for friends and/or family. This is especially good if your family lives far away and you don’t get to see them as often as you’d like. I use VISTAPRINT for everything stationary, and will gladly disclaim that they are my #1 SPONSOR.

STOCKING STUFFER: Nose Flute (bag of 12) – Nothing entertains the family on Christmas day like a chorus of nose flutes. Hours of fun and annoyment.

MUSIC: “Jasmine by Takamine” Acoustic Guitar – I still swear by this guitar as the best value entry level “beater” guitar around. Great action. Road worthy. Full sound. I use it for all my open mic hosting and travel music needs. I have two, so I can keep one at my sister’s in Colorado for when I visit. Best for camp fire singalongs.

VITAMIN: Rhodiola Energy – Before I “fired” my boss last Spring, I worked in nutritional supplements. The only herbal energy booster I ever came across that worked was Rhodiola.

BOOK: “INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini – Every time I pick up this book, I have a hard time putting it down. I know it sounds boring and academic. But it’s really superbly well written. Ever wonder why no one speaks up at “bored” room meetings or in classrooms? It’s not shyness or moronism. It is a form of mimicry. Humans look around and behave the way they see their fellow humans behaving. It’s a social behavior. Since no one else is talking, you stay quiet too, even if you know the answer, and it’s a negative feedback loop. And I finally realize why my former a-hole, moronic boss was able to get so many of my co-workers to do his bidding. We are hard wired to obey authority figures without question. A guy named Milgram did experiments in the 60s where unwitting volunteers were asked to administer shocks to people under the direction of a “PhD Research Scientist” (like my ex-boss). People were willing to administer up to 450 volts (not real, the subject was an actor…but the participants didn’t know that!) at the behest of the “Research Scientist.” Of course, PTSD wasn’t known back then, but I am sure a lot of the unwitting participants were scarred by what they did. Thank God I “fired” my boss rather than do his bidding. But I saw co-workers do shameful things under his direction. Like when he asked the animal-loving, PETA-supporting employee to do experiments on rat brains and guts. Yeah, no joke. This book also explains how to say NO to malevolent persuaders such as this. So it’s a tool in your arsenal against total tools.

BOOK: “4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss – I get asked often what inspired me to “fire” my boss last April and pursue my dream to be a self-employed songwriter, music producer, and live rocker. It was in part this book (the other part being a life-force sucking boss). I still swear by it and if you know someone who really ought to be pursuing their dreams rather than killing them at a job they hate, this is the ticket.


About Cactus Joe

Cactus Joe is a songwriter, producer, performing musician, and free agent in Madison, WI.

Posted on December 17, 2009, in Journal of Cactus Joe. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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