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 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.]

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