Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wish upon a star - but save your money

With Valentine's Day coming up, lots of people are looking for romantic gift ideas. Here's one I really don't understand: paying good money to name a star for your loved one.

I have heard ads on the radio for a company offering a "star registry". For something like $50 (plus "shipping and handling"), you will get to name a star after your special someone. (Query how many "Snookums" and "Schmoopys" are out there even as we speak.) To make it official, the company says something like this: "Your name will be recorded in book form in the U.S. Copyright Office."

Although it might sound cool to name a star after someone, let me suggest an alternative: Print out a map of the sky and use some crayons. Then maybe use the money you saved to buy some chocolate or a dinner out. These scarce goods are worth the money, but the star name is -- well -- kind of like paying someone for the Brooklyn Bridge. A copyright might protect the book, but alas, it gives no protection over naming the stars. Nor does it prevent a competing book from naming the same star after your honey's ex. Those who tend to change mates regularly,might like this, as they could rename the stars after their latest love interest by copyrighting a subsequent work. But otherwise, to quote Dana Carvey, "Not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent."

I've already instructed my daughters that if anyone interested in them ever spends $50 to name a star after them, then they are by definition too stupid to date them. Or perhaps they just need to take one of Ernie's classes. In any event, I hope your Valentine preparations are swell.

P.S. If you still feel the need to name something after your loved one, I will let you name one of my cows. But be warned, it might not go over as well as the star thing.

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