December 16th, 2013

storyteller doll

Gifts I Don't Want

I asked my mother what she wants for her upcoming 80th birthday (in January). Her reply was "to be left alone." (Hint: that is not what she is going to get.)

What I want right now is to be sitting in my rocking chair, listening to Mussorgsky, and petting a cat. Not that I have a cat, but I do have a rocking chair and lots of recordings. Why Mussorgsky? Because I got obsessed the other night with the question of whether or not Kiev actually has a great gate. It turns out that the answer is, alas, no. The picture at the exhibition had to do with a proposed monument that was never built. It is still a great piece of music and, in my opinion, better in the original rougher piano version than it was before Ravel orchestrated it.

What I don’t want are any of the following items, all of which may be found in the current Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue:

Flameless marshmallow roaster: This entirely defeats the purpose of roasting marshmallows, which is the danger of setting something on fire while creating a layer of charcoal to eat. We run the risk of raising a generation that will be helpless when all the power fails and they need to cook over open fires.

1959 Corvette billiards game: It’s not that there is necessarily anything wrong with a billiards table that resembles a classic car. But for $25K, you could buy an actual low-end car and an actual normal billiards table. In fact, for $25K, I might be willing to turn Neptune (my beloved Saturn, which is old enough to vote) into a billiards table. Hmm, no, actually I wouldn’t.

Gὃmbὃc: This is advertised as being "the world’s only self-righting object." That is, one has the opportunity to pay 500 bucks for something that can’t be knocked over. To be fair, that price does include a dust-free case.

Talking Plush Darth Vader: I can almost understand the talking plush Yoda. But why would one invite evil into one’s home?

Talk-back Mimicking Tomcat: Speaking of inviting evil into one’s home, this is a plushie with a tape recorder and a high pitched voice. In short, it is the gift you buy children if you hate their parents.