Snarky newcomer opines, basely


Posted 12/27/23

At this time of year, whether you call it Solstice, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, New Year’s, Christmas, Yule or Kwanzaa—among other possibilities—we must ask ourselves again: is Hammacher …

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Snarky newcomer opines, basely



At this time of year, whether you call it Solstice, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, New Year’s, Christmas, Yule or Kwanzaa—among other possibilities—we must ask ourselves again: is Hammacher Schlemmer trolling us? 

How else are we to interpret that on its “craft and construction” toys webpage, the first 12 items—trucks and engines and tractors and cherry pickers and tunnels for crawling through—are illustrated with little happily engaged boys, but it is not until the 14th item (on my computer—your mileage may vary) that any little girl appears: holding up a highly crafty, complexly constructed “Pop Star Hair Blinger”?

Welcome to the catalog cornucopia of crass commercialism. 

This year’s goodies include the boardless skateboard, which unfortunately brings to mind the Emperor’s new clothes. Nothing is less festive than thinking of anyone currently in a leadership position wearing anything less than a full body covering. Or possibly two. Please, no. 

The catalogs give us plenty of other great gift ideas! 

For women like me and the late Nora Ephron, who feel bad about their necks, Teflon from Florida thinks the Fat Freezer Chin and Neck Sculpting System is a Great Product. Who has not noticed that after you put well marbled steaks in the freezer their fat just disappears? 

If you can’t believe Teflon, who can you trust? If the cold doesn’t freeze and remove quite enough of your brain, uh, fat cells, this Teflon-endorsed item also includes soothing heat AND massage. All for only $79.99. 

Though the Vibrating Smart Posture Trainer sounds like something you’d force an irritating child to wear ”for your own good, dear!“ my heart would be warmed knowing someone was thinking of me and my terrible, terrible posture.

For those who enjoy Spanish Inquisition cosplay—yes, I mean you, several former bosses I have had—the Cervical Pain Reliever with its included Manual Air Pump for pneumatic inflation promises at least the appearance of a device used by Torquemada. 

Once you have worn out your manipulators inflating the above, the catalog offers several waterproof handheld personal massagers, in pert and perky pink and purple, that will hold a charge up to four hours, at only $149 or $199, depending on which color turns you on.

Having driven you into perhaps too much of a holiday frenzy, Hammacher Schemmer is here for you again with its Stress Relieving Full Head Massager, fashioned, it appears, after giant mutant ten-legged spiders wearing ping pong balls on their feet. Flattering as well as soothing for all head types: pointy-, block- or poopy-. 

Males of course, while not quite as constantly harangued about their failures in appearance, are not neglected by the purveyors of pulchritude enhancement. Any guy would surely be delighted to receive very large Nose Hair Clippers, despite that Mother Nature has specifically designed excessive nose hair both as an immediate deterrent to younger possible mates and as an indicator to middle-aged men they should not dump their age-appropriate lover, who sees her partner through nature’s filter of aging, fading eyesight, just as his nostrils and ear are growing particularly hirsute. 

Now that you are upright, frozen and sculpted, relaxed and trimmed and ready to be seen in public again, you don’t need to leave home, go to a beach and rent a Jet Ski to buzz swimmers. With the personal motor pool float, you can teasingly terrorize neighbor kids right in your own backyard pool which they won’t stay out of! 

If you prefer quiet contemplation and serenity, you could buy the $495 nativity scene of the homeless savior, the designers of which drew inspiration from the pastoral setting of their studios, located on a 65-acre former dairy farm in Aurora, NY, in the Finger Lakes region. 

Surely nothing speaks to the spirit of the season more.

Hammacher Schlemmer, commercialism, holiday, christmas, gifts,


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