Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Each and every day of the year

Had to go shopping for a new calendar today, and got lost in all the options. It’s not a decision to make light-heartedly; you’re going to live with this thing for a year, and look at its twelve pictures repeatedly. I’ve spent enough time with boring landscapes and cute animal photos and now demand something more compelling.

I came really close to purchasing this calendar when I first saw it. The idea of a year of bad habits held a lot of appeal. Then I realized all the bad habits belonged to nuns—some wacky, good-time nuns; the type who like to ride around posing for calendars, because a few minutes later I found

the nuns having fun calendar. I'd been unaware of this as an annual theme. And yet it’s clearly a natural; who doesn’t enjoy watching nuns frolic? You can never get enough of that. But since I couldn’t decide between the two, I went for something with a little more visual pop and vivacity.

The hunks of Greenspring, a retirement community, were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules to pose for a truly titillating calendar. Proceeds benefit the senior benevolent care fund, an entity I sincerely hope is going to be contributing to my well-being in the not-too-distant future—because I’m already quite certain I’ll be in dire need of both benevolence and cash. Besides, after seeing pictures like this

I was incapable of walking away. Mr. November here is just the tip of the shirtless geezer iceberg. One look in his eyes and I could tell 2009 is going to be a year like no other.

Cheers to that!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

All the best to you

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For the rest of us

That’s right, it’s officially Festivus, and a friend sent this lovely card to commemorate today’s celebratory events. We got out the Festivus pole and displayed our feats of strength, after which we were sweaty and agitated, but self-impressed, as usual.

Then we sat down to a Festivus feast (no, it wasn’t roast beast; more like tripe). The annual airing of grievances took much longer than expected. Without subtlety or composure, the penguin parade centerpiece added its inimitable, inevitable presence to the long, drawn-out occasion. No one’s ever too sorry to see this meal end. That’s when we put the centerpiece back into storage until the next year, at which point we greet it with the same blank stare of disbelief. And yet it has somehow weasled its way into our Festivus festivities; you know how family traditions are. Aunt Wanda really likes this thing, but we can never persuade her to let it live at her house.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We all shine on

Please don’t think we’ve forgotten about those of you who celebrate other holidays during this special time of year, especially not those of you who are smart enough to celebrate for an entire week! Hanukkah started yesterday, and that means it’s time to get out the dancing and singing menorah. He’ll dance and sing a Hanukkah song as each candle lights up. He’s got a winning smile and some killer moves for a guy with no legs.

Kwanzaa man with his kinara, ready to join in the fun and the pouring of libations on the 26th. He’s rather serious, but tells excellent stories. Kids and animals find him nearly irresistible.

And for those who simply observe the passing of the seasons and the beauty of nature, there’s
winter solstice fresh cut evergreen fragrance (with actual evergreen parts included). It does not matter what you’re celebrating, as long as you’re spending money you can’t afford to part with and being a good consumer like everyone else, so please, join in the spending frenzy and do so with gusto and élan.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not to be confused with Christmas crap

Someone sent me a
Christmas carp. Patron saint of the piscine posse, reeking of ancient symbolism and lore, he’s the very embodiment of the reason for the season on a subterranean psychological level. And he kind of grows on you; all those happy-faced holiday decorations can wear thin, but his penetrating, unwavering stare radiates solidity and stolidity. Merry fishmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't do me like that

No! Not the party collar with the jingle bells! Can’t you sense the unhappiness?

And although the plaid bell Xmas collar is moderately more comfortable, the pomposity factor alone causes hours of social anxiety, not to mention cruel peer jokes that are difficult to overlook, even by the most forgiving.

Then there’s just downright unforgivable. You know what your poor pooch doesn’t want for Christmas? Clothes! Not even the festive Christmas piddle pants. Be good, for goodness’ sake. This is good's evil twin.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It must have been the mistletoe

“Mmm…check out those ornaments!” If you don’t recognize the voice, you’re probably standing under the nasty mistletoe. As crude as your least-favorite co-worker, it spouts eight phrases, including, “Whoo…I’d need a lot of eggnog to go home with you,” and “C’mon, it’s Christmas…is that all you’ve got to give?” Inappropriately present at office parties, nursing homes and hospitals throughout the country, nasty mistletoe adds awkward moments and insulted by a plant to the list of things you’re getting this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Throw another log on the fire

Come, warm yourself in the toasty glow cast by this cardboard replica of a fireplace. Then grab a push pin or two, and your stockings are hung by the chimney without care. Our favorite seasonal shortcut to authenticity, the nostalgic fireplace decoration is one you’ll treasure for years to come, which just increases the nostalgia. You’ll find yourself spending happy holiday evenings beside what’s basically a tricked out box, and actually enjoying it. Who could blame you, though? The corrugating adds depth and detail to the bricks, and you know you look your best by firelight. But be careful about how you store it after the holidays; I can’t tell you how many times we’ve almost thrown ours out before turning it face-up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How lovely are your branches

As we continue our race through December (seriously, how can it already be the 16th?) we’re coming to terms with the fact that certain holiday dreams and goals will remain unfulfilled yet again this year, such as that ever-elusive plan to grow our own Christmas tree. I always have the best intentions, but years of hard-won procrastination skills paired with an impenetrable lack of ambition tend to prevent me from accomplishing anything involving that much forethought.

The makers of magic tree are aware of this personality flaw, and make it possible for even the slackers to pull off a home grown tree. You’re still not too late. Simply add some magic liquid and presto chango, six hours later you’ve got yourself an exquisite little evergreen. Decorations are also included; you get glitter, garland and a star! I think putting the gifts beneath this tree will make it seem like such a Christmas of bounty that we’ll forget all about the recession. The magic liquid is non-toxic (the best kind of magic) so you don’t have to worry about accidentally ingesting some. And who could blame you for wanting to try it?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A holly, jolly Christmas

Part of what makes the holidaze so meaningful is the annual tradition of getting out the decorations and ornaments. They become almost like old friends over the years, each one harkening back to its time of purchase, providing a precious link with the past and reminding us of the cycles of life in all its vastness and intricacy.

Or maybe you’re simply un-boxing some cheap stuff that was on sale at the Dollar Store last winter or that you won in a gift exchange at the office; either way, holiday decorating is a not-unpleasant activity providing one is in the right frame of mind. Getting there is half the battle.

We’ve just finished our decorating. My better half handles the Christmas tree and the outdoor lighting, and I get to arrange the holiday tchotchkes. I’m always happy to see wine Santa:

He puts me right in the holiday spirit. You’re truly never too old for wine Santa. This guy can stuff my stockings any time.

To keep him company, I have the Christmas Queen, Joyous Julie. Santa simply adores her. Julie came fully equipped with several of her own bottles and two glasses, as well as some other feminine accessories and a spare crown, which Santa likes to wear. The two of them hang out during the wee hours of Christmas Eve, clanging crowns, clinking glasses and trading sob stories. Julie thinks it’s rough being the Queen of Christmas when no one’s ever even heard of her, while Santa tells her she doesn’t know how good she has it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tidings of comfort and almond joy

The edible Christmas ornament holiday favor napkin ring has astounded us with its multi-tasking skills. This clever bloom is capable of being fully functional throughout a Christmas party, unlike most of your guests. First it’s hanging on the tree, coordinating beautifully with the other ornaments. Then it’s on the table, keeping the elaborately folded napkins in place with an elegant floral accent. And when everyone’s done with the meal they can break open its petals to find five succulent yet unexpected jordan almonds waiting to be savored. (The flowers are assembled upon order, so you’ll never end up with stale candy swept from movie house floors or left over from badly catered events.) At evening’s end be sure to remind your guests to take their depleted decorations home with them as favors. It’s fabulous to see a product giving of itself so fully during this special time of year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Running for the shelter

Meds or madness reads the inscription in the mother’s little helper pill box, and you can see how sane this woman is as a result of better living through chemistry. Her meds are keeping her in a very wholesome and vintage condition, and that’s what yours want to do, too. Even if you’re packing something as wimpy as a Flintstones chewable and a Midol or two, you can always be close to your medication of choice or need while still displaying some personality. Deep enough to handle all but the most heinous of horse pills, this box is a great idea for the hypochondriac on your holiday gift list, or to assist you in getting through your annual and fast-approaching exposure to all those loved ones. Take the edge off; you’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The yolk's on your stress

Over and over the headlines tell us the same story: stress is a health hazard in addition to being one of life’s major annoyances. We know we’re not supposed to let things get to us, but we can’t help it—a lot of things are trying really hard to get to us and doing a great job of it. We’re all aware of methods of relieving stress, so that once things have gotten to us, we can attempt to purge ourselves of the resulting stress, but that cathartic moment of feeling truly stress free never seems to arrive. In fact, most people trying to negotiate modern life find themselves served up huge and unending portions of stress at nearly every turn, and it starts to accumulate in unsightly areas. Many eventually find their old standby techniques—deep breathing, overeating, exercise, vast quantities of alcohol, etc.—incapable of making even a small dent in the stress onslaught.

But don’t succumb to the subsequent health decline just yet. Now there’s a stress reliever that’s fun, fascinating, and can also be used as a teaching aid to inspire young children. (Except we’re not going to explain how that part works. Just show it to them and talk about eggs.) The
smash-it egg yolk stress relief splatter water toy sticks to almost any surface and bounces back to its original eggy shape time after time. It’s that simple, but the best solutions always are. There’s just something really soothing about a fake raw egg, or maybe the soothing part comes after lobbing this at your current source of stress. Either way, it's an express trip to Stress Relief City.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Now you can quit smoking in 21st century style with the QuitKey Smoking Cessation Computer, which also acts as a classic timepiece/keychain for no additional charge. The device tells you when to smoke and when not to smoke, and keeps track of how many times you’ve lit up during the day. You know what to do when the no smoking sign goes off!

Like many modern devices, the QuitKey computer is programmed with kindness; there’s no need for you to suffer. Simply press the red “emergency cigarette” button any time you’d like to override the no smoking sign. Then hit the purple button, which emits a loud bleating sound, alerting the world that you’ve enjoyed a computer-approved cigarette. The Roman numerals display your current level of lung disease; when and if you ever see the dreaded V, you might as well push both buttons with nicotine-filled abandon, because quitting won’t make any difference.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A boxful of possibilities

Is there an unenthusiastic recipient on your holiday gift list? The one who, when asked what he wants for Christmas, says, “Eh, surprise me,” with that blasé whatever it is, it won’t be good enough look? We do, and this year we decided not to even bother selecting a gift for this person. Instead, he’ll be opening the Christmas surprise package, and it won’t be what he’s expecting. Vaguely reminiscent of the box o’fun, but with gift wrap, it’s $50 worth of toys, books, novelties, gadgets, videos, funmakers, bargains and even more. There might be a few old newspapers; possibly a lost sock or two, some loose change, and half a stick of Juicy Fruit. No telling what might be in there! Best of all, with an asking price of much less than $50, Mr. Surprise Me will think we spent so much more than we did. Take the burden out of gift selection and leave the surprising to the professionals. You may even consider surprising yourself; you know you’re worth it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cosmic unconsciousness

No point in looking for an explanation.

Suppose you’re thinking about a plate of shrimp. Or better yet, a poster of a plate of shrimp.

Suddenly, somebody says plate or shrimp or plate of shrimp, or gives you a plate with a picture of a shrimp on it. You know the way everybody’s into weirdness right now.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Get me to the church on time

He’s not here! In fact, I think he’s out playing golf with some of his buddies, and screwing up the best and most important day in my life. 99% of my energy for the past six months has gone into organizing this wedding and daydreaming about what it’s going to be like, and let me tell you what: standing here next to these giant balls isn’t the way it was supposed to go at all. I am one exasperated bride.

But if I have to take things into my own hands, I will, buster. This is my special day, and no one’s going to take that away from me. If you value your health, you’ll stand up like a man right now, and get in that church so I can walk down the aisle properly. Don’t make me drag you, because I’ll do it.

And after the reception, I plan on giving you the ass-kicking of a lifetime. Do not exasperate a bride!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Partner, let me upgrade you

There are upgrades and then there are upgrades. The 3-day 2-person food & water upgrade allows you to boost a three-day survival kit, yielding a total of six days of survival. This is a much better concept than purchasing two of the original three-day kits; enhancement invariably trumps more of the same. And who wouldn’t want to survive those extra days? You know you’d be extremely pleased and grateful if, in a disaster situation, your companion whipped this out. So pretend you’re the thoughtful one for a change and order now. One of these days you’ll be elated that you upgraded.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The old one-two punch

With the squeeze punch - tag, you’re it, you can see exactly what you’re punching before doing any squeezing. Always good to do these things in the proper order. It’s easier than cutting, and is turning the punching world upside down!

For more on the tag, you’re it theme, please see comments and blame Nooter the dog

I don't really like talking about my flair

Infants are extra-large these days, like just about everyone else, and you can inflict some major damage to yourself trying to get one of them fed or bathed. Occasions like these call for some assistance, which is readily provided by the
Boon Flair Pedestal High Chair. Equipped with a pneumatic lift, it will allow you to continue over-feeding that child even if he or she is already too heavy for your spindly arms. And don’t worry that there’s a 50 pound weight limit, because at that point your child can choose from a wide variety of other pneumatic lift chairs and devices, which are predicted to grow in popularity along with the population. The possibilities are limitless, but will probably include car seats, toilets, beds, and shoe horns. Pneumatics: because you’re never too young for childhood obesity.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mist my bedtime

Consider yourself lucky if you’re a good little sleeper, because many of your fellow human beings find sleep to be increasingly elusive and mysterious, which, of course, makes it much more attractive and desirable. Taking various sleep-inducing drugs can backfire in oh, so many ways, and yet simply lying quietly in a dark room just doesn’t do it for you any more. Maybe it’s time for Elixir of Dreams Pillow Mist. Simply spray its soothing, mind-quieting blend of lavender and valerian on your pillow (in a light and natural mist), then lie back and see how that treats you.

If you don’t like the idea of spraying your pillow, consider purchasing a separate pillow simply for the purpose of being sprayed. The Celestial Dreams Sleep Eye Pillow loves nothing more than semi-saturation with pillow mist. Its silk casing cools your eyes—and you know how difficult it can be to fall asleep with hot eyes. Flaxseed filling provides a gentle weight—completely unlike those pushy, distended pillows you’re probably used to. And it also smells of lavender and valerian—of its own accord, not because you’ve been spraying it. A great, yet damp, aid in your quest for rest, ad copy assures, recommending use for catnaps, power-naps, or right before bedtime. During bedtime is also an idea you might consider. After a few weeks with the eye pillow you’ll probably be ready for an entire head pillow, but work your way up to it and take things at your own pace.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Making a list

Get out your long checklist of holiday preparations, because now that it’s December you’re already running slightly behind schedule, and there’s so much to do before the 25th. We’re about to enter that wonderful time of year when our focus becomes even more consumer-oriented than usual…we become slightly short of breath just thinking about it. In order to keep oneself relatively sane and solvent during this intense period, list-keeping is a must. And that’s just the first step. Just think of all the things you need to get done in the next few weeks and try not to cry.

We usually find that even a brief span of time spent on holiday planning and list-making coincidentally coincides with the annual emergence of our

edible candy cane shot glasses. A sip here, a sip there, and the list almost appears to fill itself out. Hours later, bottle emptied and chore completed, the glasses deliver a satisfying minty crunch, and we’re as ready as we can be to usher in another holiday season. If you can’t read the last few entries on the list the following day, just cross them out, because making a to-do list shorter lightens the load, which will give you more time to acquire that holiday spirit everyone's always talking about.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Be a stacker, not a slacker

Sick of all those tiny hairs you keep finding everywhere (and we mean the ones not attached to your body)? We’re talking about loose hairs, the ones that float through the air, settle on the bathroom floor, cling to contrasting colored clothing, fall into food during cooking, and generally disgust and annoy. Do you have a pet? We’re also talking about its hair, which is probably embedded in every soft surface of your home, and using static electricity as a means of clinging to even the slippery spots. This can all be just a dim memory via purchase of the
Dr. Slick Small Hair Stacker. Within days you’ll have mastered the art of hair stacking. Product comes with a cork lined bottom to dampen the sound of the process, which involves tamping the hair down and sometimes bending it. When you’re done playing with your hair, you can tie it into fishing flies and sell them to old men at flea markets. Stop sweeping and start stacking your way to a lucrative hobby and a cleaner way of life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Goof proof

Once upon a time there was a bagua, or ba gua, whose yin yang design was so flawless that it was criticized for being too perfect and complete. That unfortunate bagua was eventually deserted for its younger and more attractive sibling (seen here), the bagua of perfection. Trace amounts of perfection have been removed from this bagua to intensify its perfect qualities. Most agree with the ad copy: this is your run-of-the-mill ba gua. If you look closely you’ll see why; the tiny lapses from perfection become increasingly obvious over time.

One is warned to refrain from hanging the bagua inside the home. This is not a decorative object, it’s a feng shui tool used to deflect feng shui errors, which unfortunately can and do occur. When your feng shui backfires the bagua of perfection will take over, sorting everything out in its run-of-the-mill fashion. Some semblance of normalcy will eventually prevail.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Movin' ahead so life won't pass me by

Nine-tenths of yesterday’s overeaters got up today feeling flabby and sluggish, vowing to change their habits. Some of them even think they’ll manage to look good by Christmas. You, too, can dream loftily and set unattainable goals when you become a computer athlete. This is a universal adapter kit for your computer, which comes in the form of a CD-ROM. Basically, you can choose which path to go down then place your exercise equipment (sold separately and by another manufacturer) in front of your computer and watch the path unfold. This is actually not the ultimate in fitness; it’s the penultimate, but in advertisements we’re allowed to exaggerate; that’s the American way.

Because CD-ROMs fit all exercise equipment, you’ll find it easy to become a computer athlete. In fact, you can actually opt to forego all exercise equipment and simply stand in front of the computer marching in place—this equipment is so refined, it even adapts to your body! And wait until you see how complete the kit is. We’ve included all the extras, such as a plastic screw, a Velcro strip, a reflector, and two base stands. Sit in your living room and work out as though you were out on the slopes or the track or the lake, beckons the ad copy. Don’t just contemplate being a computer athlete—live the dream.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks

We’re having Thanksgiving dinner at Mom’s, a family tradition upon which she insists. It’s her favorite holiday and she pulls out all the stops.

The kitchen table invariably features the corn pilgrim figure set, with their happy faces and foody offerings. My cousin Norman always pretends to pick them up and eat them, and we laugh even though no one thinks it’s funny. We’re polite to each other most of the time, and we’re thankful for that.

This year, because Aunt Mabel’s daughter, Connie, got pregnant, the corn pilgrims will be sharing the table with

the fall Thanksgiving diaper turkey…it’s a fake cake made of diapers because she’s due in a couple weeks and her friends didn’t give her a baby shower. We’re a “kill two birds with one stone” kind of family, and everyone’s grateful and filled with thanks as a result.

When we sit down to dinner, Uncle Chas always has to make a crack about Mom’s

turkey chair covers. He’s jealous because he didn’t marry the crafty sister, Mom says. And when Chas leaves the room she tells a story about the time he lost his job for being a drunk. We’re the sort of family that talks behind each other’s backs when we think no one’s listening, which fills us all with a warm thankful sensation.

We eat our meal from Mom’s We are blessed beyond measure plates. Personally, I’ve never been a fan, but because these belonged to Grandma, all Mom’s siblings get cranky and argue that they should each have gotten one. Happens every year. We’re one of those “don’t hold anything back” families; we’re very thankful about that.

Mom even has a Thanksgiving themed toilet seat cover. What can I say? I told you it’s her favorite holiday. But she only has one bathroom, so we take turns yelling “hurry up!” Actually, this is the best feature of Thanksgiving at Mom’s, because usually after the meal ends and the bathroom line-up begins, people start realizing it’s time to go home, and we’re all very, very thankful at that point.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A touch of elegance

Ta-da! It’s…a pair of carefully staged elegant drinking glass(es). The stark contrast between the inelegant wooden crate, the dated photograph and the harsh lighting only heightens the classy culture of the glass(es), whose many facets twinkle with chic and stylish grace. All beverages are improved by contact with the glass(es); ice cubes and carbonated beverages optimize the fizzy refinement. Because it’s a holiday week and we truly care about each and every one of you, the wooden crate is actually included, at least for a limited time. If you think these glasses looked good on November 1st at 16:04, wait until you see them at your place in the upcoming months.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh, what a relief it is

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the rest of the long-winded holiday season already chomping at the bit, your social schedule’s probably about to pick up whether or not you want it to. All those cocktail and office parties, family get-togethers, that dinner you probably owe your friends and have been postponing for months…so many occasions seem to arise in the feverish countdown to year’s end. You may find yourself excited at this prospect, but the truth is that most of us are at least mildly stressed out by the idea of spending even short periods of time with those we instinctively and purposefully avoid.

Unfortunately, our social mores get very insistent in these next few weeks; besides, you probably want to get all these parties and gatherings out of the way, allowing you to start the year with a tabula rasa, devoid of social responsibilities, plans and obligations. If this is the case, try one or two
SocialFear Relief pills. They’ll enable you to make appropriate small talk, enter a crowded room with ease, even walk up to complete strangers and strike up scintillating conversations. You might be the life of the party, who knows? The relief is only temporary, but luckily so’s the season. Gift wrapping not available because we know you’re buying this for yourself.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Inspector detector

The patented instrument metal detector detects instruments as well as metal (simultaneously!), and is applicable in almost any setting, so let your imagination run wild. Before discarding, packaging, mailing, or utilizing your instrument, allow it to fall through the instrument detector, and you’ll be instantly alerted that something metal has passed through the opening. Takes all the guesswork out of this bothersome process—at last. Don’t throw away perfectly useful instruments, or allow yourself any metallic uncertainties. A digital counter records each and every detection occurrence, so you won’t even have to do the math. Hamper stand and optional legs not included. Operates in AC or DC mode…we know, what a boon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The très femme tampon or cigar case…because if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. There are tampon days, and then there are cigar days, but for most of us, the twain shall never meet, or the overlap is very infrequent. Besides, as the ad copy indisputably verifies: tampon and cigar holders have never been so beautiful, so elegant. Having never before encountered a device designed for both tampons and cigars, we’ll simply agree without making any Monica Lewinsky jokes.