Thursday, December 09, 2004

Stupid Christmas presents

I apologize for not keeping up with my blogging more these days. I have been doing a lot of my gift-buying online, and having the time of my life.

Last Christmas, money was (in the words of the old 80's song) too tight to mention, so we tried to be brave little soldiers with bright, shiny eyes and say "God bless us, every one," around our tiny Christmas turkey. And while I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, there's nothing like following it up with a Christmas where we've got money (in the words of the Confucius) out the wazzoo to make a person giddy with the incredible happiness of giving. You get Scrooge-the-morning-after happy. I've gotten things for everyone. I bought money-holder cards for the trashmen. I'm contemplating a combination-species gift basket for my pet sitter and her dogs and cats. I've been going nuts.

But not so nuts that I haven't noticed that some of the offerings in the 584 catalogs that I have left in my house are really just utter crap. And I'd love to say that it's the chintzier catalogs that are the culprits here. But it's not even a close contest. Apparently, we are a country that is so rich that we're going to buy things that are just stupid.

Consider this item, for example: The Bow-Lingual Dog Translator. Now, for a measly $93 YOU can have the oratorio of your spaniel not only communicated to you no matter where you are, but interpreted for you. For example, as the helpful picture shows, your idle golden retriever looking off into the distance might have the words "Woof!" leap out of his head in a comical typeface. And where would YOU be? Would you be one of those hopeless dunces that wouldn't know what that meant in people-speak? Would you be one of those reprobates that missed the whole event because you were "away" at "work"? But this is the 21st century! We need no longer be missing critical information from our pets. Japanese technology has come to the rescue. I just want to know who did the translating, because anyone who thinks a dog means more than about four things when it barks has problems that will cost a lot more than $93 to fix.

Or, if you're going to be flying long distances, you'll want to get a couple of these Knee Defenders. If you've flown, you know exactly what they're talking about. You're already stuck in a tiny coccoon-like space where there isn't room to exhale -- and then the selfish pleasure-seeking lout in the seat in front of you reclines their @%#!!! seat. Since the seats only recline by about two inches, probably the only thing stupider than him doing it is you going quietly insane about it. But there you are. Such is the lot of an air-traveler. But no! If you only had your Knee Defenders with you, you could brace the suckers in at the tray table and grin like a troll when that crum tried to recline. Of course, you'd have to go through the flight with the tray table open, but really, is that such a price to pay for pure spite? Think of the look on their mawkish, bovine face when the damn seat won't go down. Omigosh! That'd be rich. (The instructions in the catalog say, "As a courtesy, let the person in that seat know they can ask you to remove or adjust Knee Defender when they're ready to recline." Um, yeah ... right.)

And really, there are too many things in the Sharper Image catalog to even know where to begin. Sharper Image has defined the goody bag for the well-heeled hypochondriac. More and more of the space that used to go to exercise machines for your car and other necessary items has had to go to magnetic healing devices, massagers for every possible place (including some I don't want to know about) and things to control negative ions. (And in case you're new to all this High Science, the negatively-charged ions are the ones you want. So negative, good. Postive, bad. ) Sharper Image has those bad old ions on the run, by golly. I typed "ion" into the search window, and it gave me five pages to choose from. Praise be! What a merry Yuletide I'll have if I can just cancel the effects of that nasty old fireplace with an ion-spewing fan with a thermostat, timer and remote control. (Page one -- $89.)

So my advice -- skip them all. Go to ebay. Type in any combination of words you want. You'll get 300 screens-full of possibilities, most at bargain prices, all with amusing typos and bad pictures. But cruise the catalogs anyway, just for the fun of it.

Merry, merry Christmas.


Blogger Peakah said...

Is there any wonder why I wait till Christmas Eve?

December 9, 2004 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Karl Thienes said...


Let me know your spending limit and I’ll send you my wish list.
(Just trying to help you satisfy your spending urges!)


December 10, 2004 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Grace said...

What, and miss these bargains??? That dog-translator will cost another $20 by then!

December 10, 2004 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Grace said...

You're in luck! My Williams-Sonoma catalog just came in the mail. Thank goodness. I hadn't gotten one in a couple hours -- what is it with this guys around Christmas?

So what useless kitchen thingy or tricked-out food item would you like? I can admit to my shame that I have gotten both the $27 potato ricer and the $18 marshmallows from these guys. And, quoting from "Casey at the Bat", the former was a pudd'n and the latter was a fake.

December 10, 2004 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Peakah said...

Come the desperate race of shopping on Christmas Eve, money is no object. I'd pay thousands to have someone buy the perfect gifts for those I know and love just to keep me from the local mall. I'm seriously scared of going one on one with the dopey mall employee who has no clue what I'm talking about or asking for unless it has something to do with spongebob squarepants...
Man, i'm in trouble. Any suggestions for gifts for the wife?

December 10, 2004 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

Oh dear, I'm in sarcasm heaven. Funny stuff Grace. :)

December 11, 2004 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

Cool! Unsolicited testimonial from a St. B blogger. Exxxxcellent.

December 11, 2004 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

Um, let's see. A necklace of Michael Moore's fat fingers? No wait, that was your idea.

Well, Gracie's Secret Rule of Gift-giving is to look at what kind of presents the person gives, figuring that that is the type that they want to receive. So think about the price range she's comfortable with, and whether she gives practical or fun, simple or fabulous, sparing or abundant. And think about stores she shops already -- you could get her a gift certificate. If she has arcane interests, I'm not kidding about the ebay thing. They're wonderful for selection, and given the price break, I've never had a bad experience.

Probably more than you wanted to know. :-)

Cool blog by the way!

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