What better way to celebrate the end of the year's biggest shopping weekend than with 10 things you mercifully did not buy? The following gadgets and gimmicks, featured in the Holiday 2007 SkyMall catalog, prove without a doubt that the human race is going straight to Hell:
10. Chilled Shot Machine - $150 When it comes Jäger, I consider myself something of an aficionado, a snob really. I don't mind spending a little money to ensure that when I sit down to do shots, each and every one will be chilled to the ideal temperature. That way I know whether I'm on my first or my 12th, the experience will be rich and memorable.
9. Hot Dog Grill and Bun Warmer - $50 I understand some specialty kitchen appliances, like ice-cream makers, deep fryers and thin-slicing mandolines. But do we really need a $50 product that simultaneously mimics the microwave and the toaster to prepare a meal that has utterly zero gastronomical value? I mean, I want one, but do we really NEED this?
8. E-Z Chord Kit - $42 As a guitarist I'm offended by this one: instead of sitting down and learning G, C and D, you attach a $42 apparatus to your guitar that plays the chords for you. Even if it is ridiculously easy, how many chicks do you think you'll score with a handicapable guitar that tells the world you're not smart enough to do what Toby Keith somehow figured out?
7. Basho the Sumo Wrestler Table - $225 Basho isn't a gadget per se, but a coffee table in the shape of a large, mostly naked Japanese man spread-eagled on the floor kinda screamed Gizmodo to me. You will be happy to hear that he was crafted of "quality designer resin for display in home or garden." That'll scare away the chipmunks.
6. Freddie Mercury Action Figure - $45 I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry when I saw this. Poor dead Fred, here with ball-jointed neck and articulated shoulders for your bending pleasure. A motion sensor (hidden God knows where) triggers a medley of classic Queen songs. And I hate to have to tell you, but there's also a Kurt Cobain figure. COURTNEY, YOU WHORE!!!
5. Trailer Hitch Stand and Chairs - $200 This has to be the funniest photo SkyMall has ever printed. There's no way to fake the glee on those tailgaters' faces. Mind you, this is not for all sportsfans: each seat has a weight limit of 250 pounds, and seats only come in green or blue. I feel like red should be mandatory, at least when shipped to Boston or St. Louis.
4. Animated Hitch Critters - $25 The only reason not to buy those hitch-stand chairs is that they would keep you from installing a motorized, light-up Hitch Critter. Isn't it cute how the deer waves "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" as he sports an ironic target on his chest? Don't miss the dying fish or the "Duck!" duck, also with cheery red target. Man, I just love when my comedy and my killing go hand in hand.
3. 5.0 Digital Binocular Camera - $250 There's nothing terribly wrong with these silly digital-camera binoculars. In fact, I kinda like the idea of them. No, what I thought was frightening about this product was SkyMall's #1 sales bullet point: "BANNED IN SOME SPORTS ARENAS!" Super sweet! It'll make you the envy of all your friends, until it's wrested away from you at the entry gate.
2. Pre-Decorated Christmas Tree - $200 So it's come to this, has it? Our lazy society wants to revel in the Christmas spirit, as long as it doesn't involve such formerly festive activities as tree trimming? I never really thought of "getting into the spirit" as a hassle. I stand corrected. And one more thing: if it's going to come pre-decorated, shouldn't it at least be pre-decorated by someone with taste?
1. Alive Elvis Animatronic Robot - $300 Devoted Gizmodo readers know that we both worship and fear the animatronic Elvis, though it is without a doubt evidence of a society gone bad. We only have one final, haunting question: why does the robot King look so much like Rob Schneider?
Of course, the best way to view this one-way ticket to damnation is all at once, in a big scary SkyMall shopping cart: