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click for largerShare Wealth and Wings
Throw a fest for 6 to 8 guests
Sunday, October 10, 2004; Page M08

Every year, I throw a party just to give away cool stuff—gobs of it. I'm no millionaire, but my Web site, after Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne, the ultimate MP), is a graft-generating fan boy Mecca of new action figure, comic book, DVD and video game reviews. Our annual shindig is a way to celebrate our successes, chow down and share the wealth with friends and readers by handing out some of the samples that companies send us for product reviews and giveaways. (What can I say? It's a tough life).

Free gadgets and geegaws are pretty much guaranteed to get the good times rolling, but to up the fun factor even further, I like to work a "Game Show" theme for my giveaway. Hey, just because you drooled over that Mattel Batmobile doesn't mean you're the antisocial comic shop guy from The Simpsons. Game show hosts are movers and shakers -- they have the money, know the answers and always get the girl (if just for a peck on the cheek). They also always make you feel better—even if you're a tremendous loser. Wearing my best polyester jacket (very Bob Barker), I get to live the fantasy without putting my marriage in jeopardy: I play host, calling up people from the audience to pick prizes and decide whether or not they should try to trade up for even better swag, Let's-Make-a-Deal style. Everyone gets into the spirit—though some end up becoming too greedy and losing out on that killer "The Man Show" DVD box set for a promotional can of VaPOOrizer. (oWN3D!)

But people don't show up just for the stuff (at least that's what they tell me)—they also come for the food. This year, we met at Buffalo Billiards and enjoyed their wings slathered in tangy barbeque sauce. You can make wings at home, modifying the amounts of chili powder and cayenne, or even adding Tabasco, so they're as spicy as you like. Like all finger food, they're made for socializing while you snarf.

The right accompaniment for such lip-smacking snacks? Refreshing and highly gulpable ice-cold whiskey lemonade. There's a reason we call it The Consolation Prize—when you're drinking a glass of this, everyone feels like a winner. Even the guy who got saddled with the VaPOOrizer.

Andy Jones

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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