Tuesday, December 26, 2017

'Twas the Day After Christmas

'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
All the garbage was strewn on the floor and the couch;

The stockings, once hung by the chimney with care,
Were down on the ground, contents flung everywhere.

The children were still nestled snug in their beds,
Asleep, with their favorite new toy by their heads;

And Momma and I, still in need of a nap,
Were staring at wrappings no longer a-wrap.

Looking over the living room, so full of clutter,
That I thought it was hopeless and started to mutter;

There was paper, and boxes, packing peanuts, and more,
There were those stupid twisty ties-- all over the floor.

Then, all of the sudden, I moved like the Flash,
And gathered up garbage to throw in the trash;

The Wife and I picked up and swept with the broom,
And worked 'til we'd cleaned up most all of the room.



When what to my wondering ear did appear,
But the sound of the garbage truck rumbling near;

With a little old driver, all bearded and thick,
That he looked, for a moment, like a grungy St. Nick.

I gathered my bags and I ran to the street,
For I knew that the garbage truck I had to beat;

'Else I'd live in a house full of garbage all week,
And if it sat around that long, no doubt it would reek.

I stuffed bags in my dumpster, one, two, three, and four,
And when I thought it was full, I stuffed in several more!

I filled it so full I could not close the top,
It was bursting with garbage; it was ready to pop.

Then the truck it approached, and it was sort of smelly,
It picked up my trash and dumped it into its belly.

And dropping my empty bin back to the ground,
The truck pulled away with a loud revving sound.

And the driver yelled out as he left in a streak,
"Merry Christmas to all! I'll be back here next week."


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Family Christmas Form Letter

Does anyone ever look forward to writing the family Christmas letter? It's one of those things that starts nagging at the back of your mind as Thanksgiving approaches, and stays there until either you get it written or it's New Year's Eve and you can free your mind by declaring "not this year, but maybe next year." (Then the whole cycle starts over again next Thanksgiving.)

It shouldn't be that hard to write a family Christmas letter, should it? It's not like it's ever original. You could say the exact same thing every year, with the exception of the kids' ages, and no one would ever notice. (Except maybe for Aunt Beverly. She's a stickler.)

So, to fix this problem, I have created the easy solution: a form letter you can use every year! All you have to do is fill in the names, ages, and a few other simple details. It's simple and effective!

The family Christmas letter doesn't have to be difficult. (Or any good.)

To use my Family Christmas Form Letter, all you have to do is put your personal information in the blanks between the brackets (these things: [    ].) That's it!

So, without any further ado, here is the SlowJoe40 Family Christmas Form Letter:




Dear [friend, family member, casual acquaintance, random person],

Merry Christmas! [Happy Holidays/Happy Hanukkah/Festive Festivus, or other salutation] I hope all is going well for you and your [family/significant other/cats/imaginary friends]. We are doing [great/fantastic/better than you].

We had a wonderful year! We did [Exciting Thing #1]! We also did [Exciting Thing #2]. And, we also did [Optional Exciting Thing #3]. It sure kept us busy this year!

[Child #1] is [ ? ] years old now. Time sure does fly! [He/she] [is in ? grade/will start school soon/just got married/just got engaged/had another baby]! [He/she] really is becoming a mature young [man/woman].

[Child #2] is [ ? ] years old now. [He/she] is doing great [at school in ? grade/at work/with his/her wife/husband]. [He/she] really enjoys it. [He/she] likes to [favorite activity] and [other favorite activity].

[Optional: Child #3 through Child #?? (Just make sure you don't forget any.)]

[Wife/Mother] had another big year, taking care of all [specific number of] children, and working on [job/hobby/community service/church calling], and [job/hobby/community service/church calling], and [job/hobby/community service/church calling] [Note: Must have at least three items listed in order to be doing an acceptable job as Wife/Mother.] It sure keeps her busy, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

[Husband/Father] keeps busy with [job]. He also spends time doing [hobby/household project/church calling]. [Note: A second hobby/household project/church calling is optional, but not necessary.]

We send you our warmest greetings and best wishes this holiday season. May you have a [Merry/Happy specific holiday] and a Happy New Year!


[With Love/Sincerely/Seasons Greetings],

The [    ???    ] Family





(Wasn't that easy? You're welcome!)


Friday, December 15, 2017

Wrapping Up Christmas

Another Christmas is about wrapped up. Wrapped up pretty and tied with a bow. Which is more than I can say for the presents I wrap. (Not so pretty, and I don't use a bows.)

I am not good at wrapping presents. It is not in my skill sets. First of all, I have a hard time guessing how much wrap I should cut off of the roll. I either end up with wrap about one inch too short to cover the present, or enough wrap to wrap around the present twice (or three times).

My biggest problem comes when the present is covered and it's time to fold up the corners of the wrap. Can't do it. Well, that's not true. I can do it, I just can't do it and make it look good. It ends up in a big wad, or the underside of the wrap is showing, or the foldy point of the wrap is so big it wraps more than halfway around the present again. I've been shown how to fold these corners, but I just can't seem to grasp it. (Just like I've been shown how to raise and lower window blinds, but do you think I could raise or lower them in such a way that the bottom of the blinds are level?)(Umm...no.)

And then, there are the bows. The Wife has tried to show me how to wrap bows around presents. And, she's also shown me how to make the end of the ribbon all curly and pretty by running a pair of scissors along it so that it curls on the end. I'm just not very good at it. She wraps the ribbon around the corners of the boxes, but I always get confused as to how to do this. And, as far as curling the ribbon with scissors is concerned, it just seems to me to be another way to hurt myself with scissors. (I guess if I really wanted to live on the edge I would learn how to curl ribbon while running with the scissors.)

I blame my mother. My Mom was visiting this fall near The Wife's birthday, so I thought, "Great, she can help me wrap presents so they will actually look good!" Wrong. My Mom was as bad at wrapping as I was. Once again heredity rears its ugly head.

It didn't always used to be this way. Once upon a time, I used to get positive-ish comments about how I wrapped things. (Looking back, they were probably condescending positive-ish comments, but positive-ish nonetheless.) Remember, I was single until I was 40. As a single man, the only real objective of wrapping presents is to cover the presents so that the receiver of the gift can't see what the present is. (I'm not sure why this has changed since I got married, but it has.)

So, back then I was widely known for wrapping presents in newspaper. It made perfect sense to me. I already had the newspaper. It was cheap. I didn't see the need to spend money on wrapping paper. (Americans spend more than $117 billion* dollars on wrapping paper every year.) [*86.2% of all statistics on this blog are numbers I made up.] I didn't see the need to hand over my money to the wrapping paper consortium.

Plus, I used to be creative with my newspaper wrapping, often incorporating the pictures from the paper into the wrapping. I remember the sports page having a large close-up front-page picture of football coach Bill Parcells in mid-yell. I wrapped the present in such a way that the present was a festive, angry Parcells. And nothing quite says "this present is pretty lame" than a present wrapped in a full-page picture of former Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag.

My brother, holding up the gift I wrapped in newspaper with a festive photo of football coach Bill Parcells.
(Parcells is probably yelling at my brother because of that ugly Packers hat.)

And, I didn't stop at newspapers. One year, I wrapped a bunch of my presents in plastic yellow Nestle Quik containers. (At least the presents that would fit into a Nestle Quik container.)(And you'd be surprised at what you can stuff into one of those things.) In fact, I often would (and still do) use things like old cereal and Pop Tart boxes to put presents in. (Obviously, knowing what I think about wrapping paper, you can guess my feelings about the 13.2 billion* dollar "gift box" industry.) The Wife's comment this year was, "I can't believe how many presents you wrapped in cereal boxes." I like to use cereal boxes because they are already on hand, and they can add a little mystery to easily-guessed common-shaped presents like books, DVDs or CDs.

But, my attitude toward wrapping with newspaper changed a few years ago. My brother and his wife asked my nephew what they should get me for Christmas that year. He said, "Let's get Uncle Joe some wrapping paper, so he doesn't have to wrap all his presents in newspaper." And thus I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the hands of the wrapping paper conglomerates.

Soon enough I'll have to wrap this year's presents. Maybe I'll have my oldest daughter help me. That way we can determine if she got her present-wrapping skills from her Mom or from my Mom.


Edited from a post originally published on 12/27/2010.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What Do You Want For Christmas This Year?

"What do you want for Christmas this year?"

That's the big question, isn't it? We'll get asked that question many times over the course of December, and we'll probably ask it ourselves to several people. It can be a tough question, or it can be an easy question. Some people know exactly how to answer it. "I want an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!" And some people have no idea whatsoever what they want. In her letter to Santa (as dictated to my wife) my three year-old daughter said, "Please bring me a present, not a froggy. I want a froggy and a toy dinosaur and a toy lion in the present." (I'm honestly not sure if she wants a froggy or not.)

Merry Christmas to all!!!

So, what do I want for Christmas this year? Not much. Just a few things like:

*I would like an end to partisan bickering, so that members of both parties could spend more time working to continue to make this nation a wonderful place to live instead of calling each other names and worrying about getting re-elected.

*I would like the Minnesota Vikings to win the Super Bowl this year. (Just one championship. That's all I'm asking for! C'mon, if Tampa Bay can have a championship why can't the Vikings?)

*I would like automatic computer updates that update at convenient times for me, and don't mess up my computer.

*I would like all television commercials to be rated "G." I shouldn't have to have the "birds and the bees" talk with my seven year-old because of an advertisement during a timeout in the basketball game.

*I would like some egg nog.

*I would like good health for me and my family. And my friends. And other people, too.

*I would like world peace.

*I would like lettuce to taste like bacon.

*I would like to be able to tell my children something once, and have them hear me and do the thing I wanted them to do after only telling them one time.

*I would like happiness for me and my family. And my friends. And other people, too.

(I don't want to be too greedy. I'll settle for any one of these things.)


Friday, December 8, 2017

Santa Is a Jerk: Re-Watching Rudolph

Christmas is approaching, and that means our old favorite Christmas shows are on the television again. Shows like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We've all seen it, and we all love it, right?

But should we?

Recently, I gave this classic another look. Things have changed a bit since this show was made back in 1964. The North Pole of Rudolph's world is full of grumpy, sexist, and discriminatory jerks. It really is quite jarring, especially after viewing all the nice, friendly, happy folks who inhabit the North Pole in the movie Elf.

So, I thought I'd take an in-depth look at Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer using the old running diary method. I recorded the show on my DVR, then I sat down for a minute-by-minute review. Here's how it went:

00:00--I start the DVR and the show is already going. It was supposed to start at 6:00 PM, and that's when I set it to record. But apparently the fine folks at CBS decided to start it at 5:58 instead. You'd think the networks and the DVR people could get their times straight.

00:01--I start with the Narrator Snowman rolling along in the snow telling us all what's what. (I'm a bit jealous of his fancy facial hair.)

01:00--We are first introduced to Santa. He is grumbling about not wanting to eat. And Mrs. Claus is nagging at him to "eat, eat, eat!" because no one wants a Santa who isn't fat. (I don't like to use the word "nag," but there is no question that it is the word that best describes what Mrs. Claus is doing.)

2:12--The Narrator Snowman starts singing the song and the opening credits begin to roll.

3:30--Our first commercial break. (Rudolph is sponsored by Target.) (There's a deer hunting joke in there somewhere, but I'm not going to make it.)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Don't be a jerk, own it today!

6:06--We get our first glimpse of Rudolph's famous red nose.

6:20--Rudolph's dad, Donner, is immediately repulsed. "How can you overlook that!" he exclaims. What a jerk.

6:44--Santa comes to congratulate Donner on the birth of his son. He sees Rudolph and quickly shows himself to be a jerk, too. "He'll never make the sleigh team with a nose like that!" Santa snarls.

7:55--Donner decides the best approach is to hide Rudolph's nose, afraid of the shame it will bring to himself.

9:38--We are introduced to Hermey the Elf. He is not good at making toys and doesn't like to do it. He is yelled at by the Elf Boss. "WHAT!?! You don't like making toys?" The Elf Boss yells at and mocks Hermey.

10:19--Hermey declares that he wants to be a dentist. He is once again mocked by the Elf Boss and all the other elves. Apparently jerks abound at the North Pole.

10:40--While all the elves but Hermey get a break, the Elf Boss yells, "Finish the job or you're fired!"

11:22--Donner covers Rudolph's nose with what looks like an oversized olive. When Rudolph complains, Donner tells him, "There are more important things than comfort!" And, "Santa can't reject you now!"

15:38--The Elf Boss leads the elves as they serenade Santa with the song, "We Are Santa's Elves."

15:45--While singing the song, one elf hits the other over the head with a hammer, because nothing is funnier than a little hammer-on-elf violence.

16:20--The song ends and Santa is unimpressed. "It needs work," he says gruffly. I thought he was supposed to be jolly!

16:35--"WHAT!?!" is the reaction by the Elf Boss when he finds out Hermey didn't sing with the other elves.

17:05--"You'll never fit it!" the Elf Boss bellows to Hermey.

17:30--Hermey climbs out the window to run away. Unfortunately, there are no good dental schools at the North Pole.

18:00--Coach Cotton is here to teach the reindeer how to fly. He seems nice enough, and even says he wants to be the friend of all his students.

18:10--Rudolph, with his nose in the oversized olive, begins to make friends with the other reindeer.

18:58--Rudolph meets Clarice, a beautiful doe who immediately seems taken with him.

19:55--Clarice tells Rudolph she thinks he's cute, which sends Rudolph in an excitable tizzy.

20:22--Unfortunately, in his excitement the olive falls off Rudolph's nose, exposing him to everyone as a freak.

20:45--Santa vehemently disapproves of Rudolph and his nose. "Donner, you ought to be ashamed of yourself!" he chides.

21:05--Coach Cotton proves to be yet another North Pole jerk as he bans Rudolph from joining in any reindeer games.

22:30--Hey, what do you know? Someone at the North Pole isn't a jerk! Clarice tells Rudolph that she likes him, glowing nose and all.

23:30--It doesn't take long to find another jerk. Clarice's dad forbids her from having anything to do with that red-nosed freak.

23:45--Rudolph decides it is best to just run away. He quickly runs into Hermey, and they bond in their mutual misfitiveness.

29:38--Rudolph and Hermey run into Yukon Cornelius. He is, apparently, the only male in the North Pole who is not a jerk, so he must be a little crazy.

30:05--To prove he is crazy, Yukon Cornelius licks both ends of his pick.

33:55--After escaping from the Abominable Snowman, Yukon Cornelius once again licks both ends of his pick. (I don't know why, but I think this is my favorite moment of the entire show. Maybe this proves that I'm crazy.)

34:29--Rudolph's Mom and Clarice say they want to go search for Rudolph. Donner puts the kibosh on that, saying "No, this is man's work!" Donner isn't just a jerk, he's a sexist jerk.

35:21--Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon Cornelius land on the Island of Misfit Toys and meet the sentry, the Charley In a Box.

Here's Rudolph, Yukon Cornelius, Hermey, Narrator Snowman, Abominable Snowman, Charley-In-a-Box, Santa and Clarice, all available for sale at Amazon.com!

37:42--We are introduced to some of the misfit toys, including a spotted elephant and a train with square wheels. Among them is a water gun that shoots jelly. Why in the world is that toy on the Island of Misfit Toys? I would pay good money for a squirt gun that shoots jelly!!!

40:05--Fearing that his nose is getting his friends in trouble with the Abominable Snowman, Rudolph heads out on his own.

41:00--During the commercial break there is an ad for Halos, those cute little oranges, which features a psychotic little girl leaving a stuffed horses head in her dad's bed to send a message to him that she needs more Halos. Here's a link: (I find this a bit disturbing.)

44:45--Rudolph arrives back at Santa's village to find that his Mom, Clarice, and Donner are all missing because they went out to search for him. Is Santa concerned? Not about Clarice or Rudolph's Mom. Selfish Santa only worries that "without Donner I'll never get my sleigh off the ground." (Yes, he's still a jerk.)

46:05--Rudolph goes to the cave of the Abominable Snowman, where he finds the lost Donner party. (They have not yet resorted to cannibalism.) (Yes, I know that's a lame Donner Party joke, but I just couldn't help myself.)

47:50--After the Abominable has captured Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius come to the rescue.

48:55--Hermey practices dentistry (literally) by pulling all of the Abominable Snowman's teeth.

49:30--Yukon Cornelius wrestles the Abominable Snowman over a cliff to their seeming death.

49:58--Back at Santa's workshop, Santa, the Elf Boss, and Donner all give half-hearted apologies.

50:45--What's the best way to make friends with an Abominable Snowman? Apparently, pull out all of his teeth and throw him over a cliff. The Abominable is now so friendly that he helps put the star on the top of the Christmas tree. "Lookie what he can do!" declares Yukon Cornelius.

51:20--We finally see Mrs. Claus again and, once more, she is trying to force Santa to eat and get fat.

52:20--A winter storm is so fierce that Santa declares that he is going to have to cancel Christmas.

52:20--Santa finally decides to fully accept Rudolph for his differences. Why? Because he has grown and realizes he was being a jerk? No! He finally accepts Rudolph because he figures a way he can use him for his own best interests!

53:00--Donner continues to prove himself to be a jerk. He says, "I knew that nose would be useful someday! I knew it all along!" No one believes him. (The jerk.)

54:30--Mrs. Claus force-feeds Santa one last time.

57:51--With Rudolph leading the way, Santa picks up the toys from the Island of Misfit Toys.

58:30--Isn't Santa supposed to deliver toys by going down the chimney and placing them under the tree? So why exactly is he having elves throw the misfit toys out of the sleigh in mid-air as they are flying through the sky? Seems a little harsh, doesn't it? (Personally, I think this Santa is still a jerk.)


So, there you have it. I really don't think this version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would fly (figuratively speaking) if someone tried to make it today. But that's okay, because it's been deemed a "classic." We'll still be showing it to our kids and grandkids for years to come. And they'll all wonder why everyone was such a jerk back in 1964.


Edited from the original post on 12/15/15.




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Tale of Two Billy Joel Concerts

Then:
On April 23, 1984, I loaded up in a car with three of my high school buddies and made the long drive from our home town of Arimo, Idaho to the big metropolis of Salt Lake City, Utah. Why? Because Billy Joel doesn't perform concerts in Arimo, Idaho.

Now:
On November 29, 2017, I loaded up in the mini-van with my wife and made the long drive from our family home in Santaquin, Utah to the big city of Salt Lake. Why? Because Billy Joel doesn't perform concerts in Santaquin, Utah. (And because my wife loves me very much.)
My golden ticket!

Then:
For some reason I was in Salt Lake City with my family on April 6, a little more than two weeks before the concert. Tickets originally went on sale much earlier, and I had heard they were sold out. But, a few more seats opened up behind and off to the side of the stage, so I went to the ZCMI Center mall and purchased four tickets for $15 each. (I had to borrow money from my Mom until the other guys could pay me back.)

Yes, I didn't just keep the ticket, I kept the darn receipt!!!
(I definitely have some hoarder tendencies.)
Now:
Tickets went on sale in mid-February and, unbeknownst to me, my wife purchased a couple of seats. She then spent Valentine's Day peppering me with cryptic emails featuring quotes from Billy Joel songs until finally revealing that she got us tickets to the concert as a Valentine's gift for me. I don't know how much she spent on the tickets. (And I probably don't want to know.) But, I do know that we spent $15 (the cost of a ticket in 1984) just to park the mini-van.


Then:
It was a Monday, and we got in the car and left for Salt Lake as soon as school was out. We were three seniors and a sophomore, and the Billy Joel concert was one of the biggest events of our lives. We clenched onto those tickets as if they were made of gold.

Now:
It was Wednesday, the day of the concert, and I couldn't find the tickets. I frantically searched the house, looking everywhere I thought the tickets might be, and many places I didn't think they'd be. Eventually I gave up and sheepishly texted my wife at school (she teaches junior high math) to see if she knew where they were. She quickly texted back that the tickets were digital. When she explained to her students why she got a text from me in the middle of class, they laughed, and one of them said, "That sounds like something my grandpa would do." (It's not the first time I've been compared to a grandpa.)


Then:
After the concert the four of us spent the night "sleeping" on the living room floor of the brother of one of my friends. (Thanks, Raymond!) And then we ditched school the next day. We were rebels living on the edge!

Now:
My wife's parents came to our house to babysit our kids, because we couldn't just ditch them. (Thanks, Grammy and PopPop!) After the concert we raced home as quickly as we could. We felt bad for keeping Grammy and PopPop up past midnight, and we needed to get some sleep ourselves because my wife had to teach school the next day. We have responsibilities, you know.

No, they weren't the best seats. But, any seat at a Billy Joel concert is a great seat!!!
(I don't have any pictures from the 1984 concert. Back then there were no such things as smart phones, just dumb phones with long cords and no cameras.)
Then:
The concert was fantastic!!! Billy Joel sure knows how to put on a show! We were just four rows up, sitting right behind his piano, so we had an incredible view as he came onstage and pounded out "Prelude/Angry Young Man." Sure, when he was away from the piano at the front of the stage our view wasn't as good, but when he left the stage at the end of the concert he walked down some stairs right in front of us as my friend Chuck screamed like a madman. It was a great concert!

Now:
The concert was fantastic!!! Billy Joel still knows how to put on a show! He didn't get up and run around as much as he used to, opting to spend most of the night at the piano. (He is 68 years old now, after all.) But, it was still a great performance. Sure, we were in the nosebleed section, but enjoying the show next to the love of my life was incredible! As Billy was singing "She's Got a Way" and I sat there with my arm around my wife, I actually started to tear up a little bit. It was a great concert!

So, if I had to do it all over again, which concert would I choose? The answer is obvious: both! (You may be right. I may be crazy.) (But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for.)



Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas for the Rich and/or Idiotic

When I was a kid I loved going to my Grandma's house and looking at her Christmas catalogs. She'd always have the Sears catalog, plus catalogs for JC Penney, Montgomery Ward, and something called Spiegel. 

My favorite sections of the catalogs were, of course, the toys, and also the NFL section, which included clothes, bedding, garbage cans, and other knick knacks with the logo of your favorite team printed on them. (Some items would only have a few teams available. If they didn't have the Vikings, I would get upset.)

I miss the Christmas catalogs of my youth. But that's not to say I can't be entertained by the catalogs of today. The other day we got a catalog in the mail for something called "Hammacher Schlemmer." According to the blurb on the cover, it is "America's Longest Running Catalog," and it has been "Offering the Best, the Only and the Unexpected for 167 years."

The Catalog of Useless Expensive Junk!

almost threw it straight into the garbage. I'm glad I didn't. It actually was pretty fun to peruse. (It had been quite a while since I'd enjoyed a good perusal.) Here's some of the fun stuff I found amid the 88 pages of useless crap:


1. The Hand Carved English Rocking Zebra-- The cover featured a picture of a zebra riding horse. Eventually I found it inside the catalog.
Everyone needs a rocking zebra!
The rocking zebra is, of course, hand-crafted and has "a real horse hair mane and tail." And, it "will not tip over even during the most enthusiastic rides." What a great gift! And it only costs $9,000!!!

Wait….Did you say $9,000? Yes, I did.
$9,000? Seems reasonable.
So yes, you could spend your $9,000 on a nice used car, or you could buy a rocking zebra.


2. The Electric Kazoo-- Not everything in the catalog is as useless and expensive as the zebra. I mean, who doesn't need an electric kazoo?
That wonderful kazoo sound can be amplified at long last!
If only they'd had this technology in the 1970s. Instead of forming the Electric Light Orchestra, Jeff Lynne could have formed the Electric Kazoo Orchestra! (I have a feeling music will never be the same again.)


3. The Darth Vader Pancake Maker-- Many people like pancakes. Many people like Star Wars. Why not combine the two?
I find your lack of syrup disturbing.
It even comes with a "built-in five-setting thermostat" so you can choose between light and dark pancakes. (And whatever you do, don't underestimate the power of the dark side.)


4. The Darth Vader Toaster-- Of course, if you think the pancake maker isn't Darth Vadery enough, you could always get the toaster.
"Toast, I am your father."
It's great that the toaster looks like Darth Vader, but it's too bad the toast doesn't. If you could somehow combine the pancake maker and the toaster, I just might buy it.


5. The Selfie Toaster-- But, what if you're one of those weirdos who doesn't like Star Wars, but you do like to have things imprinted on your toast? It's okay. Hammacher's got you covered.
Who wouldn't want an image of themselves burned into their toast?
This looks like fun, but as The Wife points out, it wouldn't do me any good. In order to burn an image of my handsome face onto my toast, the Selfie Toaster would make my toast darker than I like. (The Wife and I are always changing the toaster settings. She complains that what I eat isn't toast, it's just warm bread.)


6. The 8' Inflatable Elsa-- Perhaps you'd like a giant inflatable Disney princess in your front yard?
Do you want to build a snowman?
Because, if you're like me, what you need is another reason for your kids to ask to listen to the Frozen soundtrack one more time.


7. The Bearded Beanie-- If Elsa has turned your town into a harsh, frozen winterscape, maybe you'd be interested in a stocking cap with a built-in beard?
For those times you want to look like Zach Galifianakis.
The ad says, "Though comfortable and soft, the beard imparts a machismo only the most confident can exude." (Dang, I wish I had written that sentence!) (Or was confident enough to exude machismo.)


8. The Pinchless Electrolysis Hair Remover-- However, if you are opposed to facial hair, Hammacher has something for you, too.
Just don't get it confused with your light-saber.
She looks so happy, doesn't she? You would be too if you had your own magic wand with a "harmless electrical current" that "destroys the germative hair cells and dermal papilla, preventing hair from ever growing back." (I didn't even know I had dermal papilla, let alone ones that were germative.)


9. The Single Handed Barber-- But that's not the only hair removal item Hammacher offers.
Too bad there's not a 'before' and 'after' picture.
The Single Handed Barber. Call me crazy, but I think there are some things that it's okay to use two hands to do. Cutting your hair is one of those things. I really, really, really would like to see a picture of someone who has used this item on themselves. It can't be pretty.


10. The Walk By Scrabble Board-- What's better than the family fun of playing a board game together?
Look! I got a Double Word Score for "LAME!"
Have you ever been playing Scrabble and thought, "This is great, but it would be so much better if I could play while standing up." I didn't think so.


11. The Handcrafted Hippopotamine Sofa-- Have you ever wanted to sit on a hippopotamus? Who hasn't?
It's a hippo! It's a couch! It's a hippo and a couch!!!
Wow. Like most people, I have always dreamed of having a life-sized statue of a hippopotamus in my house. And, like most people, I enjoy sitting on a couch. Unfortunately, taking a look at the picture, it doesn't look like a very comfortable couch, does it? It doesn't look like you could slouch on it very well, and I think we all like to able to slouch on a couch. Still, it would be a pretty impressive piece of furniture, and for only $95,000 it would be well....

Wait...what!?! $95,000??? You've got to be kidding, right?

Yes, that's right: $95,000!!!
For $95,000 you could buy a new car. Or two. Or three. Or four. For $95,000 you could buy an entire fleet of five Toyota Carollas (starting at $17,230) and still have almost enough left over to buy a Hand Carved English Rocking Zebra!!! Is anyone buying hippopotamus couches for $95,000? How insane is that? Why not give the money to charity? Or give it to me? I am officially flummoxed.

And, those are just a few of the many items that can be found in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog this year. (For more fun, go to hammacher.com) I found it very entertaining, and I hope you did, too. And now, I'm off to have some breakfast. Should I have a Darth Vader pancake, or some selfie toast?



[I originally posted this on 12/1/2015.]