Still looking for that last minute Christmas gift for your kids?

Last year I gave readers of my column a run down on the skyrocketing prices for baseball equipment, but this time I thought I'd suggest something slightly more outrageous.

An item that will not only bring a smile to the little ones' faces but is guaranteed to create a mess in the living room or the basement. Why not consider purchasing a paintball gun?

According to statistics, paintball is the fastest growing shooting sport in America and the Tippman Company has been one of the leading names in the industry since the beginning.

As reported in the Outdoor Wire, Tippman is shaking things up this season by introducing their new C-3 paintball gun featuring PEP Technology. PEP means Propane Enhanced Performance.

Yes, propane!

A 16-ounce propane tank fuels the C-3 for up to 50,000 shots while CO2 or nitrogen tanks generally last for 1,000 shots.

Propane is considerably easier to find than either CO2 or nitrogen as it's regularly used in a variety of hand-held tools like nail guns, power tools, household appliances, outdoor lighting and camping equipment, and is also less expensive.

Just think about it for a moment.

The propane tank can become a recreational "family item" used by the man of the house to prepare Johnsonville Brats any time of the year on the barbecue grill and also by his offspring to splatter the neighbor's garage with psychedelic colors in honor of Timothy Leary's birthday or in celebration of the musicians from the Strawberry Alarm Clock and Moby Grape getting back together for a concert on VH-1.

Tests were run on a C-3 gun with fuel taken off the tank of a propane lantern and several hundred paintballs later, no power fluctuations were noticed on shots of up to 100 yards.

What would concern me more than power fluctuations would be bright-eyed Little Eddie unwrapping his gift on Christmas morning and taking a shot at his sister just to see if the gun worked.

Of course Eddie hasn't got the gun sight figured out yet and the first two balls, red and green for the holiday season, miss Sissy but nail mom's china hutch.

Oh, well, it's Christmas. Just another laugh or the family to remember!

The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the C-3 is $249, but you can get one for less online.

If you dare, you can learn more about the Tippman C-3 at (www.tippman.com).

A situation has arisen that I think Grant County Emergency Services and Bioterrorism Coordinator John Boynton should be notified of.

The problem is the Grant Union girls basketball team can't seem to get healthy and as sick as they've been since practice started over a month ago, someone surely has to be poisoning the environment around them with some form of air-borne toxin.

Coach Larry Mathews told me when I did a preview article on the girls at a preseason practice there was never one session when all the players were present at the same time and things are no different eight games into the season.

One of the players stayed home from the Dec. 13 game at Baker due to illness and he said a full crew was in doubt for the La Grande game on Dec. 16 and at this week's Stanfield tournament.

Shoot, they couldn't even get a whole team together for last Thursday's photo session for the winter sports program!

It's probably another plot by Al Qaeda, they are behind just about everything that goes wrong these days, and Boynton needs to be contacted.

He's a former high school coach and maybe he could come up with a solution.

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