Before you buy that Christmas gift, ask Mr. Knowitall

image Since last month’s introduction of Mr. Knowitall, who is our resident historian, economist, food critic, movie reviewer, foreign affairs consultant, science correspondent, consumer products expert and vending machine repairman (not necessarily in that order), many of you have written in seeking advice about holiday gift-giving.

Due to the enormous volume of email we received, they will be answered through a lottery-style process — which means that, until he wins the lottery, Mr. Knowitall will continue to answer your questions.

So let us begin.

Dear Mr. Knowitall: Do those electronic muscle stimulators really help trim fat and tone muscles?
— Really hope so in Reedsport

Dear Really: As you know, the principle behind the device is the utilization of a continuous sequence of small shocks that stimulates muscle activity, similar to your body’s own natural electrical impulses. An easy way to think of it is to visualize a car and its battery. Now visualize the car, the battery — and a pair of jumper cables clamped to your buttocks as someone starts the engine. While there’s no scientific proof this will trim fat and build muscle, studies show that most people find themselves stimulated enough to go to the gym after one session.

Dear Mr. Knowitall: I’m looking at getting my husband something to help with his snoring. Any suggestions?
— Yawning in Yachats

Dear Yawning: I’ll tell you there are a lot of products out there that claim to end snoring problems, and most of these products are 100 percent effective. And though they may look and cost differently, these devices all rely on the same two principles, which are:

• Fit into someone’s nostrils
• Be really uncomfortable

This combination is proven effective because it:

• Keeps snorers from sleeping

My advice is to try rolling him on his side. If that doesn’t work try rolling him the other way. If that doesn’t work, keep rolling until you hear a big thud. Repeat this until he’s too frightened to sleep.

Dear Mr. Knowitall: I’m thinking of getting my wife some of that spray that helps remove body hair. Is it safe?
— Harry in Florence

Dear Harry: Not for you, it isn’t.

Dear Mr. Knowitall: I’d like to get my wife a personal protection device for Christmas. I heard about something on the Internet that’s a combination pepper-spray gun, flash light and whistle. Any idea where to find it?
— Wondering in Waldport

Dear Wondering: It’s called the Pepper Escort defense kit and was invented by Dan McClarin out of concern for his daughters, who are apparently very attractive and excellent at multi-tasking. The gun shoots a steady stream of pepper spray, which causes burning of the eyes and throat, constriction of the nasal passages, and inhibited breathing. Aimed in the opposite direction, the gun can be equally effective against an attacker. In addition, you can also blow your whistle and shine the flashlight in his eyes.

Yawning in Yachats, if you’re still reading, this is one option I hadn’t thought about…

Unfortunately, that’s all we have time for today because, as I’m sure you understand, Mr. Knowitall is a busy man. Especially when the Cheetos runs out in the vending machine. If you have any questions, write to Mr. Knowitall here or at the email link below this post, and I’ll make sure he gets it.

Your questions, I mean.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, will be released this December from Port Hole Publications. You can write to him at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

25 thoughts on “Before you buy that Christmas gift, ask Mr. Knowitall”

  1. There’s nothing like waking up, having a cup of coffee with a cigarette and have Mr. Knowitall’s wisdom for breakfast. Please thank him for me. Especially his take on anti-snoring devices was very insightful!

  2. oh i do love it when you make me giggle:
    “Snoring suggestion”. This combination is proven effective because it: Keeps snorers from sleeping. My advice is to try rolling him on his side.. keep rolling until you hear a big thud. Repeat this until he’s too frightened to sleep.”

    1. I’m so glad you included the passage with your comment about me making you giggle. Otherwise I would be wondering if nude photos of me had been leaked to the Internet… 😉

      1. in case of leakage of said photos occurs i would like to point out that there are indeed nude photos available for said purpose…you can inbox me the url

  3. Dear Mr. Knowitall,

    My computer’s web browser has something called a browser history…which I recently learned I have to clear more often if I ever hope to find peace at home, but I digress.

    Do you know if there is a similar device that I can attach to my partner so that I know what she’s looking at when she spends 20 hours a week wandering the local mall?

    Please understand, I am not trying to catch her at anything…I already have my suspicions about the guy in the kitchenware store (like she knows where our kitchen is). I’m just trying to figure out what the hell she wants for the holidays.

    Signed, Pinching JC Penneys

  4. Dear Mr. Knowitall:

    I’m thinking about getting my 9 year old nephew a really sharp knife. Something with a real, but dead, scorpion in the handle. Do ;you have any idea where I can get …. never mind, thanks for your time– found one on Amazon.

  5. I was laughing at “pull my finger” before I even got into the body of the post. (no raspberries were harmed). Another bit of brilliance has escaped your brain. Is there anything left in there? Does it echo, Ned-ed-ed-ed-ed?

  6. Do you remember/have you ever seen those exercise machines they used to have with the strap that went around your rear and make it jiggle when it was turned on? I think the movement was supposed to help you lose weight. I bet it was as effective as the muscle stimulator and a lot less painful. And I bet it was fun to watch too.

No one is watching, I swear...

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