Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pocket pool

The object of today's one-joke review is this miniature Executive pool table, or, as the ad copy calls it, "pocket billiards".

Yes, with the Sharper Image, you may now spend seventy bucks to play pocket pool.

Formerly, one could do it for free, but hey.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You turn the page, you wash your hands.

Today, we have a mysophobia threesome!

Touch-Free EZ Faucet Adapter: turns every faucet into a sensor-activated faucet like at airports and nicer bus stations and stuff, so that instead of actually doing something so vulgar as touching a knob that some other human being has touched (the rationale kind of makes sense in a public place frequented by lots of people with questionable hygiene but this is for your own goddamn faucet people) thereby acquiring their contagion, now you just have to stand there and awkwardly wave your hands around until you finally find and activate the little sensor----right in the comfort of your own home!

Germicidal Air Purifier: cleanses the air, and its only side effects are the ozone it generates and the emissions generated during the production of the energy used to run the device as well as the production of the device itself. Take that, future generations! We can only hope the Sharper Image comes up with something that generates oxygen and absorbs carbon as well as adding a pleasant aroma to the air and going well with the decor. Like, say, a plant. Which has existed for billions of years.

Antibacterial body pillow: prevents you from picking up germs. Um, your own germs. Or that of your spouse. Who sleeps right beside you and shares your bodily fluids occasionally.


But I guess your own germs could fester in this pillow, which would be bad. Unless you wash it. And it is washable.

Okay, Sharper Image? Just cut to the chase and come out with a fucking plastic bubble for your customers to wear lest they develop immune systems.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Today's victim of unaskedfor mockery is this, the iJoy Board Motorized Balance Trainer. It's supposed to help you balance and be like snowboarding or skateboarding, except without the exhiliration of speed and the wind in your hair and the threat of physical danger and the sense of personal accomplishment. BUT you can do it while watching TV.

Kudos to Mr. Board Rider here in making a noble effort to appear as though he's enjoying himself. He looks a bit as though he's trying to graciously accept the bet he lost that had him fingered to be the model for this ludicrous overpriced piece of crap.

And now, I leave you with a Shel Silverstein poem:

I can't afford a skate board.
I can't afford a surf board.
The only board I can afford
Is a board.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Why the Diet Industry is Thriving: Part II

Today's victim of unprovoked hate is the Seascooter XL Personal Water Scooter. It's like the Segway of the sea.

Now, for a reasonable $149.95 (on sale from a reasonable $199.95) you can move around underwater without the inconvenience of swimming. This dignified little device can take you as deep as fifteen feet and go as fast as two miles an hour.

This is the kind of thing that's entertaining for about five minutes. Which would make your fun thirty bucks per minute.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I can't get no satisfaction

Today's Sharper Image item, the AcuVibe Rechargeable Personal Massager, may look vaguely familiar to some both of my female readers. That's right, the Sharper Image has finally come out with their own version of the classic, much beloved, that Dom Perignon of vibrators, the Hitachi Magic Wand.

I am a little bit surprised, though, that even in this day and age vibrators still have to be marketed as "personal massagers".

Perhaps the only other thing about this that really surprises me is how simple it is. Most Sharper Image items have some kind of bizarre, pointless extra function. It's a clock... that makes poached eggs! It's a three-pronged marshmellow roaster... that rotates! It's a pair of socks... with antibacterial capabilities! But this vibrator just... vibrates. And is the color of a personal computer. And this is in a market with leopard-print and glow-in-the-dark items, or devices shaped like hummingbirds or disguised as rubber duckies, water-proof devices, hands-free vibrators that buzz to the beat of pulsing music in order to make clubbing a lot more fun.

So let's see how the Sharper Image's AcuVibe vibrator compares to the classic Hitachi.

Both have two speeds: high and low.

Both claim to be powerful. Vibration is centralized at the head and not wasted at the base.

AcuVibe: 49.95
Hitachi: 40.95 (on sale from 44.95)

Power Source
AcuVibe: rechargeble; charge lasts 30 minutes
Hitachi: power cord
The option of cord vs. batteries is a major distinction in the make of a vibrator. A cord offers more power but less mobility. Batteries offer more mobility but less power and have an unfortunate habit of dying at inopportune moments. Plus, battery-powered devices tend to be novelty devices and have a shorter life span. The AcuVibe attempts to have its cake and eat it too, offering power and portability, but a thirty-minute charge simply might not be enough to satisfy some customers. Plus, when it runs out of juice, it has to recharge for eight hours, whereas regular batteries can be replaced in a few minutes.

Winner: Hitachi Magic Wand. Potential customers of the AcuVibe may want to consider turning Japanese instead.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

One of these things just doesn't belong

Today's object of uncalled-for derision is this set of Antibacterial Silver Lounging Socks.

Antibacterial lounging socks.

There is so much about this I don't understand.

I can understand having certain types of socks. Certain types of socks are needed for particular occasions. Dress socks make sense. Athletic socks make sense. I do not understand lounging socks.

Why lounging socks?

Why antibacterial lounging socks?

Why silver?

One could sort of justify antibacterial athletic socks (and they do!), but why antibacterial lounging socks? Is your home infested with vermin? Is your floor so filthy that you must either wear plastic bags on your feet or specially-designed socks in order to avoid acquiring some sort of contagion? Because if it does, socks are not the answer. The answer is another Sharper Image item, the Scooba floor-washing robot.

This sounds like the result of a game of Mad Libs.

This sounds like a bunch of dictionary entries picked at random.

This sounds like some sort of zen question, something with no real answer, something that's supposed to clear your mind of all rational thought, that's supposed to make your brain fizzle out in the hopes that it will rewire itself and during that time a pinch of enlightenment might sneak in. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Antibacterial Silver Lounging Socks (two pairs).

Monday, July 10, 2006


I tend to pay for things in cash, so I have loose change around. Lots of it. Some of it gets eaten up by pay phones and pennies are dumped into every take-a-penny-leave-a-penny bin I come across, but still. I have lots of change.

I keep resolving to buy a bunch of coin rolls, fill them and take them to the bank, because I'm sure I have a decent sum of money in all that, but I never do. Either I'm not around a store that sells them, or I am but I forget to buy them, or probably once I buy them I won't get around to sorting the change because I don't have a machine and I'd have to do it by hand and I'm lazy.

Though if you're like me, this Fast Sort Digital Coin Sorter would come in handy. You could finally put all that loose change just taking up space and get some money you can use from it. And if you have enough money, you can buy... this coin sorter.

Because it's a hundred bucks.

I think I'll stick with my hands.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I still think the word "pedometer" sounds pervy

Do you like walking or jogging, but feel the experience would be enhanced by a tinny electronic voice and canned music? Do you feel a need to somehow validate your exercize routine by monitoring it with a gadget, but don't feel like looking at it? Then this Talking Pedometer with Music Clock is just the thing for you.

Just press the button, and it talks to you about your workout!

"You have walked 5,339 steps. The distance is 1.18 miles. Good job. At your pace, you have just about burned off the calories in a slice of bread. I'm guessing you'll negate it twice over with whatever you're going to gorge yourself on as a reward for this weakly little amble. What, you don't really think you're getting an aerobic workout from this half-hearted waddle around the block, do you? I know it's a little beyond what you're used to, that little promenade you make between the TV and the fridge during every commercial break, but still.

"You're taking a break? Already? For fuck's sake. You jog thirty feet and you're already sweating Crisco. You're pathetic. No wonder you can only attract men with pictures of dragons on their walls.

"What's that? You say this is about health? I bet it is. You show me a woman who exercizes and diets for her health and I'll show you a heterosexual man who reads Playboy for the articles.

"But walking and jogging are great, aren't they? So wholesome and easy, so friendly and uncompetitive. Really, you're just competing with yourself. Just think of it as a race against evolution and nature and God and this horrible body and weak moral fibre they dropped on you. You've signed up for a lifetime of warfare against your own urges and metabolism, and judging by just how much bounce their is in your step I'd say you're losing, fatty. Fatty fatty fat fat.

"Not that I expect you to keep this up for a lifetime. You and I both know that in about two weeks you're going to throw me into the basement to rust and gather dust beside your Ab-roller, your Thighmaster and your Bowflex.

"Oh yeah. I play music too, don't I? Here we go: dee dee doo dee deeee."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

One day I read they found a body in the river/ Tiki god wow you make me shake you make me shiver

The Sharper Image occasionally slips away from its traditional aesthetic and makes a nervous little sallying into the wonderful world of white trash decor, like an upper-middle class hipster kid playing at being poor. Today's object of inappropriately frothing vitriol is one of these little forays: the Misting Tiki Lounger. This little floating pool toy seat thing and its four D batteries (sold separately) is designed to keep you cool when you're floating in a pool.

Some of us might question the wisdom of combining an electrical object with water, but that's part of what makes the Sharper Image the Sharper Image.

This lounger sprays its loungee with a fine spray of water, allowing the loungee to remain cool whilst reclining comfortably on rubber floating pool furniture. This is definitely a useful item, for I doubt I or anyone else could come up with some alternate way to find relief from the sweltering summer sun. While lounging in a swimming pool. It's lovely that this item is on sale ($29.95, reduced from $69.95), but still, if only there were some other way to obtain relief from the seasonal heat while hanging out at the swimming pool, like if there were some form of cool water available there. At the pool.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Battle Royale!

Is this really just an innocent but dorky "Personal Cooling System" like the ad copy claims? Is it really designed solely for the sounds-kind-of-neat-until- you-think-about-it purpose of keeping a small section of your neck cool? Or is it a deadly prison collar, designed to explode, tearing open your jugular vein if you attempt to escape or fail to kill the rest of your classmates down to the last man???

Whatever it is, it comes in two colors: PC and IMac.

(If the Sharper Image does indeed run an obligatory death match chosen by lot with weapons assigned at random, one could only hope to end up with something like the Leatherman Tool and not one of those goddamn ozone-seeping Ionic Breezes.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why the Diet Industry is Thriving: Part I

It was only a matter of time before the Sharper Image produced their own version of Homer's Reachin' Broom, but I must say I'm surprised it's not shinier, blue or transparent.

Well, whatever it is, they call it the Deluxe Gopher Pick Up & Reaching Tool (as seen on TV!). It helps you reach things without the trouble of stretching or getting a chair to stand on.

Now, there are a lot of inventions that sound kind of dumb and pointless, but actually do have some reasonable application. You or I might have no justifiable use for an Electric Can-Opener or an Automatic Watch Winder, but products like these can be quite a boon to, say, an old person with arthritis. I recently came across a blog somewhere written by a guy with disabled hands singing the praises of the Bug Vacuum; for him, the product was practically a godsend, for without it he really couldn't move bugs around on his own very well. So now I feel kind of guilty. (As though anybody, handy or not, actually reads this blog.)

In my defense, though, I doubt a pensioner or someone on disability can afford to burn seventy bucks on a watch-winder.

So when I saw this Sharper Image version of Homer's Reachin' Broom, I thought, "Maybe there is some legitimate reason for this product's existence. Sure, 99% of the people who buy this thing are probably just kind of lazy, but maybe it will genuinely make a positive difference in the lives of that remaining one percent."


And the reason is: have any of you tried operating a rifle one-handed? That's what it's going to be like trying to grab that five-pound bag of flour off the top shelf (their example, not mine) with this thing. A weight that would be easy to handle normally would be quite cumbersome at the end of a long stick; it's an awkward way to distribute the weight that will probably put a lot of strain on the wrists. Pretty rough on your arthritic grandma and her osteoporosistastical joints.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Turbo Nail Clipper

We now turn our attention to a sale item, the Turbo Nail Clipper. Formerly $49.99, it's on sale for a reasonable $19.95 (while an old fashioned manual nail clipper costs about a buck). This product touts itself as "the power tool for a man's nails", trying very hard to make your extraordinary laziness and gullibility sound masculine.

Bah. Real men don't use pansy grooming devices. They tear off their fingernails with their bare hands.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

the Man of Fiberglass

Today's object of irrational derision is this Life Size Superman Statue.

Sure, it's a bit dorky to own a seven-foot fiberglass replica of the Man of Steel, but who doesn't have a nerdy side? Plenty of perfectly productive citizens still hold a soft spot for the stuff they liked as a kid. There's nothing wrong with a little dweebiness in moderation, like holding on to a few old dog-eared comic books you grew up loving or the beat-up old Boba Fett figure you played with until the paint started coming off. I can understand a kid, or even a college-aged kid, having a life-size cardboard cut-out of some beloved character (a friend of mine had Captain Janeway).

There is, however, something a bit off if your larger-than-life tchotchka nerd badge costs five thousand dollars.

To keep things in perspective, here is a short list of things other than a bigass Superman statue that can be purchased for $5000 (ignoring sales tax and/or shipping):

  • A used 1999 Volkswagen Jetta in decent condition
  • 100,000 pieces of Bazooka Joe chewing gum
  • 5,000 Whoppers Jr. on Burger King's new Value Menu (for a total of 110,000 grams of fat and 1,950,000 calories)
  • A difference in the life of an adorably tragic-eyed third-world moppet for 277 months (or a month's difference for 277 children) through Children International
  • 14 bottles of Kristal champagne
  • 333 copies of the Dresden Dolls' new album Yes, Virginia
  • 4166 bottles of Boylans Natural Cane Cola (the only cola I've ever tasted that actually contains cola)
  • 250 3x5 cotton American flags
  • 33 50-minute therapy sessions
  • 417 Superman action figures, with joints that actually move
Still, a seven-foot fiberglass Superman would make an interesting conversation piece, even if it does clash with your X-Men sheets (DC and Marvel are a worse fashion faux pas than sandals with socks).

the Bug Vacuum

Today's item in question: the Bug Vacuum.

According to the ad copy, this "ecological" device "sucks up unwanted spiders and other stray bugs in the house to return them outside, without harm." It's great for when you love nature, but not enough to touch it. Because it's icky. Ew.

Alternate device: a glass and a stiff piece of paper.

Other alternate device: a rolled-up magazine. Whack!

Because this device helps you move bugs around without harming them (though I imagine that being unexpectedly sucked up by a powerful engine, moved, then dropped somewhere else would cause some physical damage or at least deep emotional trauma) AND has a clear tube for viewing the trapped insects, it is said to be "great for budding naturalists!"

However, I would imagine that the amount of energy, materials and waste involved in the manufacture of this product, plus the fact that it and the 4 AA batteries required for its operation will eventually end up sitting in a landfill for centuries far outweigh the ecological benefit of safely escorting one single solitary bug out of your home. In fact, I would wager that this device was made in some third-world country that imposes very low environmental standards on its manufacturing sector, not to mention disregarding child labor laws and basic human rights.

But never mind that. You moved the bug outside without having to get close to it, and have therefore bought yourself something much more important than the working environment of people in impovershed foreign lands or the conditions outline in the United Nation's Declaration of the Rights of the Child: your very own peace of mind.

Good job, yippies.