20 March, 2011

Love Me Some SkyMall

One of my favorite parts of a plane ride, aside from the body scanning by TSA, is SkyMall magazine.

THE TELEKINETIC OBSTACLE COURSE                        I know no one who has ever purchased something from SkyMall, and yet, everyone, at one time or another, has definitely wanted to buy something from SkyMall. How, you may ask, are they still in business as a company? Its because they have cornered the market on the unusual and the exotic. And, if you do end up buying those things, they charge you a pretty penny for the privilege. Case in point: the Telekinetic Obstacle Course. A hundred dollars to test out my psychic prowess? Thanks, I think I'll stick to the spoon-bending thing. But with a name like Hammacher Schlemmer, the people who single-handedly introduced the world to the transparent kayak and the dogbrella, you know you can trust them. Even if their company name sounds like another way to say shiksa. ("That little hammacher schlemmer has got a lot of chutzpah going after our David!")

SkyMall also sells the Wasp Trap. Wasps are scary, that much is true. They don't die when they sting you, which means that if you are unfortunate enough to disrupt their nest, their scariness is both painful and infinite. So this product makes sense to me in its real-world applicability. (At least it does, compared to the Telekinetic Obstacle Course.") 

What causes me pause is the Trap's tag line. "Wasps Traps double as yard art." Perhaps I don't understand art yet.. Yes, they seem to be pretty to look at, but so are many other things that don't double as death tombs for the local nature. I find the trap's dual- functionality of art/death tombs to be a bit unnerving for my vision of backyard suburbia.


In the bedroom comfort category, SkyMall offers customers the "Relax 'N Nap" pillow.

It must be very hard to be a pillow model. Not only do you have to look both alluring and asleep, you have to look natural. Judging from this photo, it is especially hard if you have to be lying in the prone position like one of the victims in CSI. Do you add a photo like this to your portfolio? What sort of constructive criticism can you expect from your modeling agency if they can't even see your face? "You really worked a good shoulder angle, Betsy. Keep up the good work and you could be a great pillow model one day!"

Naming a product must be difficult, too. For me, a lowly consumer, the "'N" in the Relax 'N Nap Pillow seems more than a little forced. Why is the "n" capitalized? Why couldn't they just have written the whole "and?" Would that have taken away from the name in a substantial way? Or they could be trying to target the young 'N hip crowd who is too cool for anything but abbreviations 'N acronyms. And also is secure enough in themselves to be able to fall asleep knowing that you were hit in the back of the head with a lead pipe.

There is the Comfort-U Pillow, which allows you to "rest face down in blissful comfort." There are a few problems with this photo.

1) The model is not face down, which is the very first line of the product description. Did you think we would not notice, Comfort-U? Well, we did! Egg on your face.
2)  How many times have you fallen asleep in your rose-colored nightie clutching a single rose in your hand? Too many to remember? Then this pillow is probably for you.
3) Barring the fact that this woman supposedly fell asleep by herself while clutching a rose, just how are we supposed to believe that those rose petals fell off so very far away from the actual rose? Did she bang it before slipping into this supposedly graceful sleep? Did she gingerly space them evenly on the pillow next to her to make her feel a little less alone? So many thoughts, and so many questions left unanswered.


There is nothing wrong with sarongs. In fact, I think they can be kind of pretty. But to claim that traditional sarongs are both "difficult" and "awkward" is slightly melodramatic. You don't often hear about the difficulties of sarongs as a trending topic on Twitter, and since that's where everyone goes to complain, I think we can safely say that no one feels this way.

Sarongs are a niche market. They are worn by a select few of women who fall into two categories: women who grew up in tropical places that warrant the carefree nature of the sarong, or rich women who travel to those same areas on vacation and come back with a tan and a lot of island-style clothing. In spite of its blatant exaggeration, the Saress is the product I would be most inclined to buy. If only I had a SkyMall gift card!


Statues are unique way to add a certain je ne sais quais to your yard. They can really class up a joint, like if you wanted to incorporate a little greek mythology into your outdoor experience and place a statue of Artemis in your backyard. Then people would be able to see just how cultured, intellectual, and accepting of archaic, polytheistic beliefs you are!

But erecting a statue in your yard can send an unintended message, too. For example, let's say you wanted to purchase the "Meerkat Gang" statue. What kind of a message would that send your neighbors and the assorted passing motorists? It would say that you have a love for the unusual, are whimsical and fun, and probably have seen every episode from seasons 1 through 4 of "Meerkat Manor" on the Discovery Channel. Which is maybe something you don't, or shouldn't, want to share with the world.

To the meerkat's right is the "Bigfoot- the Garden Yeti" statue, which retails for for $98.95 plus $15.95 for shipping and handling. But how can you put a price on pricelessness?

The Bigfoot- the Garden Yeti says one of two things,"I have no problem shelling out big bucks for a statue of a mythical creature that for all intents and purposes probably does not exist" as well as saying "I enjoy terrifying the small neighborhood children." If you believe the hype, Big Foot and Sasquatch are different names for the same thing. The abominable snow man and the Yeti are different names for the same thing. But Bigfoot and the Yeti are not the same. I, too, cannot believe I made an argument about that.

This statue is heralded in its product description as having, "startling realism," because can be more realistic than an artists sculpted depiction of a mythical man-beast? Nothing.

Lastly, there is the "Zombie of Montclair Moors" Statue. This is either a) the most expensive Halloween decoration (90 bucks!? Oh hell no.) or a really effective way to scare an ex-girlfriend by installing it in her front yard in the middle of the night. The kicker is that the statue arrives in multiple pieces. Just like a real zombie! Boy, was that company committed to the whole idea. Sadly, Montclaire Moors does not appear to be a real place.

Because texting while driving has just lost that dangerous edge.

Look, I know we live in America. Where, if you were to believe our movies and television show plot lines, our career ambitions have the tendency to push away friends and family in the pursuit of the big year-end bonuses and sandy beach houses, but the idea of a passenger seat office still seems dumb. If you have a passenger seat office in your car, this also means that you have a car with which to drive back to your office or even hit up one of the 9 Starbucks in the half-mile radius. There is no need for the passenger seat office. No need.


Aside from looking like you've escaped from the psych ward, the face trainer can double as a bandit mask next time you decide to hold up a convenience store. So that's cool. But this needs to be said: you should not buy products from a company with a name that can be an answer to the question "should I really buy this product?" That is why Chevrolet's Nova was not popular in spanish-speaking countries. Would you buy a car who's name literally meant "no go?" No, no you would not. There you go- now you can't say this blog never taught you nothing.

Though those were the products that peaked my interest, there are countless more whimsical oddities that Skymall offers the general public, many of which can be found here can be found here. No need to thank me now, you can just feel free to send this along as an early Easter present. You can't tell me you wouldn't want one, too.