A Christmas Gift Wish List

Still haven’t completed your Christmas wish list yet? Well time’s a’wastin,’ readers, so The Curmudgeon is here to offer some suggestions, courtesy of two catalogues that landed in his mailbox recently: one from Brookstone and one from Hammacher Schlemmer.

These catalogues have one very important thing in common: they’re full of marginally interesting gizmos that nobody needs but enough people with enough disposable income apparently treat themselves to often enough to keep these companies in business. (A sad note: there’s generally a third catalogue in this category but in four honeymoon-associated flights – seriously, do airlines not fly directly anywhere anymore and do they really believe there’s logic to flying from Florida to Philadelphia via a 1200-mile detour for a stopover in Detroit? – there was nary a sign of the equally frivolous Sky Mall catalogue. Its loss was felt deeply, but we’ll have to carry on in its absence.)

So first to Brookstone, which is very gizmo-oriented, starting with pages of drones – no, that’s not a reference to your boss – including, for $129.99, the smartphone-controlled “Expedition Drone” with which you can

Use your IOS or Android phone or tablet to explore the skies!

Or perhaps your neighbors?

Expedition App makes the drone easy to fly, and the built-in 720p HD camera automatically records and streams flight videos to your device – no SD card required!

Well, if no SD card required!

But there’s more:

Fly up to 196 feet for up to 8 minutes between charges. Includes 8 spare rotors.

Apparently those rotors don’t last very long.

The Curmudgeon thought he was just cracking wise about using the drone to spy on your neighbors but that may be exactly what the Brookstone folks have in mind because another product is the “Rover Revolution Wireless Spy Vehicle.”

Forget the CIA's multi-billion-dollar budget. All it needs to do is order a few of these babies.

Forget the CIA’s multi-billion-dollar budget. All it needs to do is order a few of these babies.

Yes, a spy vehicle, which the Brookstone people tell us

Goes anywhere. Sees everything.

Everything! Hubba-hubba!

Rotating turret-style camera streams and records mission videos.

Mission videos!

But there’s more:

Also has night vision, 2-way audio and LED lights.

Yours for $199.99.

If you’ve got a little more disposable cash you may prefer the new “Citybug2 Electric Scooter”:

Faster than walking and better for the environment than driving, Citybug2 is a cleaner, greener way to get around!

These Brookstone people clearly have a thing for exclamation marks.

Intuitive Push/Pull operation with Step2Stop rear brake. Travels up to 11 mph. Battery lasts up to 12 miles per charge. Folds up easily to stash anywhere.

And it can be yours for only $799.


Promises everything short of a happy ending.

Promises everything short of a happy ending.

Is that all too…active for you? Do you prefer more sedentary gift wish fulfillment? If so, Brookstone is there to help you relax with its “ReAct Shiatsu Massage Chair,” which it describes as

Soothing, deep-kneading Shiatsu massage from your back to your thighs.

Implicit: and those fun parts between your back and your thighs as well.

All this pleasure can be yours for the low-low price of $599.

And if your heart’s set on even more passive entertainment, consider Brookstone’s “200-Lumen Wireless Mobile Projector,” which

Wirelessly connects to your device and projects images up to 100 inches! Perfect for presentations, movies, and more.

For those of you with 100 inches of virgin wall space in your home.

But if these items are too expensive for you, how about some of those great Brookstone gizmos, like the $49.99 “Aperto Auto-sensing Bottle Opener”:

Simply place opener over a bottle, and it automatically senses and removes the cork.

And apparently adds an unnecessary comma in the process.

Guaranteed to be fun for up to 60 minutes.

Guaranteed to be fun for up to 60 minutes.

Remember Tom Hanks dancing chopsticks in the movie Big? Now you can do that in the privacy of your own home with help from the folks at Hammacher Schlemmer and their “World’s Largest Toe Tap Piano.” It’s eight feet long, and The Curmudgeon absolutely dares you to still be interested in playing this “piano” after its first hour out of the box.

Try it – only $79.95, which is apparently Hammacher Schlemmer’s going rate for one hour of pleasure.

Well, it’s cheaper than a hooker.

Wanna get ready for the chip-on-its-shoulder Trump administration? What better way than with a remote-controlled Abrams tank for $259.95?

Not Christmasy enough for you? How about a 15-foot inflatable Rudolph for $399.95, a five foot illuminated snowman totem pole for $799.95, a light show snowman for $319.95, a five-foot animated juggling snowman for $129.95, a six-foot animated holiday locomotive for $249.95, or a four-foot lighted musical animated nutcracker for $499.95?

Of course, Hammacher Schlemmer is best known for gizmos that sound interesting and even a little cool but that absolutely no one needs, like…

The “Password Vault” – a device for storing all of your passwords: $49.95.

Because that’s exactly what we’re all looking for these days: another electronic device that does just one thing.

For your own version of beach blanket bingo. (Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon not included).

For your own version of beach blanket bingo. (Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon not included).

“The Only Six-Person Sandless Beach Mat”: $149.95.

Because we all spend $150 on a beach blanket now instead of using the 20-year-old blanket we stored away in the hall closet in 2009.

An outdoor heated cat shelter. Isn’t your cat worth $129.95?

Okay, your cat isn’t worth $129.95? Then how about the warming cat bed, only $69.95 (but don’t be surprised if your cat thinks you’re cheap).

Wine glasses with bent stems (“mirthful,” they call it): two for $24.95.

“The Superior Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner,” because a rag and a little water just won’t do, $99.95.

A tinnitus relief wand, just $89.95.

Because who needs an otolaryngologist?

A heated shaving lather dispenser, $39.95. They had these gizmos in the 1970s and The Curmudgeon’s father had one, although it was of no use to his son because The Curmudgeon didn’t need to shave in the 1970s. Dad eventually passed it down to his son, who learned that finding the special canisters of shaving cream you needed to use it was very difficult, and the shaving cream always came out smelling like lighter fluid. A better solution: toss your can of shaving cream into a sink full of hot water for three minutes (no charge).

“The Personal Towel Warmer” – $89.95.

“The Only Bluetooth Shower Mirror Radio” – because as Sheldon once told Penny, everything is better with bluetooth – only $99.95.

“Tap-a-Tune Musical Gloves” – seriously. $39.95.

A hand reflexology massager for only $129.95? The Curmudgeon already owns a hand massager: it’s his other hand.

Anyone who needs this may be too lazy to breathe.

Anyone who needs this may be too lazy to breathe.

“Spinning Spaghetti Forks” for $29.95: because nobody twirls their own spaghetti these days.

A special $79.95 hair brush for men with thinning hair? Whoops, too late for The Curmudgeon.

An indoor flameless marshmallow roaster ($69.95)?

Oh, what’s that you say? You had a really, really, REALLY good year at work and are prepared to spend more serious money than usual on Christmas trinkets? You’ve come to the right place because Hammacher Schlemmer is there to be of service with a few more…costly goodies.


An all-terrain hoverboard for $699.95 (spontaneous combustion fires not included).

If you're ever tempted to buy this, just...make a contribution to a worthy cause instead.

If you’re ever tempted to buy this, just…make a contribution to a worthy cause instead.

The world’s largest kit cat clock:

This is the world’s largest version of the classic animated Kit-Cat Clock. With its swiveling eyes and swishing, curled tail, the iconic clock…

Okay, you know they’ve got The Curmudgeon’s attention if the clock is iconic

…has added kitsch to American kitchens and diners since 1932.

Yours for $4000 and guaranteed to satisfy your appetite for kitsch.

Also for only $4000, the “Virtual 60-Game Pinball Arcade.”

This is the arcade cabinet that features over 60 different variations of virtual pinball. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the machine provides a library of pre-installed virtual pinball games, each with its own immersive 3D environments that include animated characters, flippers, bumpers, and ramps. A lightsaber launches the ball in Star Wars: A New Hope, flippers and a digital pinball fight a queen Xenomorph in Aliens, and a patriotic superhero seeks out the cosmic cube and spars with the Red Skull in Marvel’s Captain America. Its 32″ LED playfield faithfully reproduces the hallmarks of a classic pinball cabinet with the atavistic details of their mechanical predecessors using razor-sharp 1080p high-definition. The machine also downloads over 60 classic arcade games, corresponding with its outward physical characteristics of a retro arcade game, including an OEM-style coin door (but without the need to be constantly fed with quarters). Its two coaxial speakers reproduce authentic sounds, including the clack of solenoids, the thunks of flippers, bells for scoring, and the occasional vocalizations by a game’s characters. White glove delivery.

Well, for $4000 it should be white glove delivery, shouldn’t it?

The “23-Acre Wild West Town Amusement Park.”

Say what?

This is the fully operational town that pays homage to the Old West with 23 acres of sarsaparilla and sage-brushed themed amusements. Built in northwestern Illinois in 1979, Donley’s Wild West Town includes 14 buildings with two residences, offices, a warehouse museum, restaurant, convention hall, and a commercial kitchen.   Ideal for children between 3 and 11 years old, the park includes a working junior-sized steam locomotive that takes children for rides on its own railway, a 12-person silver mine-themed roller coaster, and handcrank-powered cart track, and a carousel centered in the town square. Covered wagons, rail fences, hay bales, and water barrels set the mood for pony rides, panning for gold, or plinking at targets at the slingshot range. The park’s buildings – saloon, jail, smithery, livery and more – have facades that evoke the romance of the period, from which issue a host of rascals that perform a daily cowboy show (live actors not included)…

Just remember what happened to Kim Basinger when she bought her own town.

Just remember what happened to Kim Basinger when she bought her own town.

Really, it says that right in the catalogue: live actors not included.


Its museum houses genuine memorabilia, including revolvers, spurs, boots, chaps, and more while an indoor living history display recreates a barbershop, doctor’s office, and pawn shop.

Yours for only $7000. 23 acres not included (The Curmudgeon’s warning this time, not Hammacher Schlemmer’s).

And there’s more, too, for those of us for whom peace on Earth and goodwill toward man just won’t cut it this Christmas.

And if you like any of these suggestions, tell ‘em The Curmudgeon sent you!






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