By: Mark Fitzgerald
A measuring cup to promote ABC’s Desperate Housewives. A paperweight commemorating the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. A foam hat in the form of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown Bello’s towering orange hair. The swag piles up pretty quickly in the Chicago Tribune newsroom, so for the second year in a row, the paper’s Sunday “Q” section decided to off-load a bunch of it to readers in the form of the 2006 Features Department Giveaway contest. Last year, more than 600 readers e-mailed their pleas for the Tribune tchotchkes. The morning after the Jan. 22 announcement of the 2006 contest, more than 300 e-mail entries had already arrived, said “Q” Editor Denise Joyce.
But, then, what reader could resist the chance to win a three-inch bobble head statue of Chris Farley that arrived years ago to promote the film comedy Tommy Boy? It’s a cornucopia of “craptacular” items, reporter Bill Hageman says of the contest, which began in 2005 basically as a way to clean up his desk. “This year,” he says, “we opened it up to the entire features department, which is good because the junk on my desk this year is even worse than the junk last year.”