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The #039;Holy Grail#039; of holiday catalogues

I've never been a big fan of hunting and fishing but I have to admit one of the benefits of those sports is the cool gear you get to wear while doing them and the gizmos people have invented to try and outfox our four-legged, finned and feathered friends.

With the myriad of hunting and fishing catalogs that clog one's mailbox this time of year, the Holy Grail of catalogs has to be the annual Cabela's Christmas catalog. It hit my mailbox last week and the 424-page slick and glossy is filled with everything the hunter and fisherman (or fisherwoman) will need to outsmart the average doe, buck or bass and look good while doing it.

Cabela's has been outfitting hunters and fisherman since 1961 and to put it plainly, if they don't have it, nobody does. The book is a good read, even if you aren't a hunter or fisherman because of the exceptionally neat items they have to offer. One friend, a local attorney who will remain nameless, would hold court in his Cabela's camo if he could, but has to settle for a tie for his 9 to 5.

Although the front of this year's catalog touts Cabela's as being the "World's Foremost Outfitter" for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, the catalog contains some rather interesting items that you wouldn't typically associate with either sport.

Here are just a few:

n Page 416- Tailgator Gas-Powered Blender: The person who invented this was a genius. The 24cc, two-stroke, 2 _ horsepower motor allows you to make your favorite frozen drinks no matter where you are. The primer, choke and kill switch are conveniently mounted on the front for "easy access." Just don't get the unleaded confused with the leaded mixers. $299.99

n Page 310- Field Tested Dog Boots: For the hunter who wants to outfit his "best friend" as sharp as he is. These neoprene booties come in Camo or hunter's orange and will have Fido steppin and fetchin in style. $18.99

n Page 384- Acrylic Toilet Seat: The photo shows a brightly colored blue toilet seat with fishing lures on it. Yes, fishing lures that have hooks on them. While they may not be real, I would hesitate to sit down on something that has hooks on it, even if they're not real, but it would make it easy for someone to play a practical joke. Ouch. $49.99

n Page 359- The Hunter Dan Collection: Imagine GI Joes, but wearing hunter's orange and carrying a Weatherby instead of an M16. There's also a "Hunter Ann" action figure complete with rattling antlers and LaCrosse boots. There's even a pop-up tent for Hunter Dan and Ann. We won't go thereŠ $17.99

n Page 416- The Beer Machine: With this item you can make 28, 12-ounce beers. Perfect for the hunter on the go. There is a disclaimer with this though; you have to be 21 years of age to purchase it. I guess they check your ID over the phone. $119.99

n Page 347- Woodland Whisper: This gizmo fits in your ear and lets you hear the slightest movement in the woods. It has five volume settings for up to 98 decibels of amplification. Pretty good if you want to hear that trophy buck sneaking up on you. You might want to turn it down before you shoot your rifle or you'll need to wear it all the time. $12.99

n Page 419- Elk, Venison and Buffalo Jerky: For the unlucky hunter who can't seem to shoot straight enough to bag one on his own, this assortment will have your friends thinking you're Buffalo Bill Cody. $54.99

n Page 360- Camouflage Crib Set: Get junior started off on the right foot by making him feel like he's in a tree stand from day one. I especially like the camo diaper stacker. $59.99

Well, there you have it. Some of the more interesting items from this year's Cabela's Christmas catalog. If for some reason you didn't make the mailing list this year you can see all the above items and much, much more by visiting Cabela's web site at www.cabelas.com.

Dennis Palmer is publisher of The Greenville Advocate. He can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 125 or by email: dennis.palmer@greenvilleadvocate.com.