John Sciacca Writes...
Random Thoughts (Blog)
Random Thoughts (Blog)
Random Thoughts (Blog)
|Posted on March 27, 2011 at 5:25 PM|
You’ll recall my recent travel exploits from DC to Myrtle and Myrtle to Portland within a span of about 12 hours back in late Feb. Well, you could have surmised that with 5 plane flights in such a hyper-concentrated time period – bolstered with an equal amount of The Glen Livet served with a smile in the front of the plane – that there was bound to be some serious Sciacca Sky Mall time. And, oh yes! You would be so very right! This Sky Mall had SO much to offer this go round. I’m not sure if they just decided to really kick it up a notch for the Winter/Spring issue or perhaps I had just been away too long; like Halley’s Comet coming back and saying, “Hey! Where’d all of those polar ice caps go?”
Sadly, all of my photos appear like they have been taken through a glass of filtered urine. I’d like to assure you that this is not the case. I rarely – if ever – travel with my urine bottle collection. I think it was because of the weird bulb in the lamp on the bedside table at my Hampton in DC. My camera didn’t seem to know how to account for the odd light color temp. Regardless, look past the yellow tint, and enjoy the magic, the mystery, and the majesty which is...SKY MALL!
You’re reading Sky Mall, for God’s sake, so clearly you are trapped in a metal tube, surrounded by mouth breathers and traveling at thousands of feet above the earth and at hundreds of miles per hour, so of course THIS is the moment to ponder what a failure your life has become. Not only won’t your career wait, classes are probably staring RIGHT NOW and you are MISSING IT! Now, I’m not saying that if I went into a doctor’s office and – in that awkward moment of eternity between when he tells you he’s gonna check for a hernia and when he is reaching towards you in that hand cupping motion – that I glanced around and noticed that his degree was from Astoria U that I would immediately recoil in fear or punch him on the crown of the head, but I WOULD watch his hands – BOTH of them – extra special close. And I’m not turning my head to cough, either, Mr. A-U! And why does the “Our professors are carefully selected...” bit make me think that NONE of them actually graduated from Astoria U? And I’m also not sure what to make of their spelling of “prestigeous” for ordering your prestigeous T-Shirt. On the one hand, I’m thinking that it was an attempt to look more smarter-er. On the other, I’m thinking they just didn’t know how to spell prestigious. And on the third hand, according to the Urban Dictionary, “prestigeous” is of the highest compliments in Middle Earth, you know, where Hobbits live. Seems like the kind of reference and Astoria man would appreciate. Also, I’d like to think that only grads could order something as prestigeous as the Astoria University T-Shirt, but clearly it is available to anyone with a credit card and access to Sky Mall.
Mech Walker to Queen Mother Tree 2, Jake Sulley!
Look, chess has enough of a super-nerd image already without actually making it a totally over-the-top nerdlinger geek fest. Accepted chess piece sets are the following: classic black and white chunks of marble or ivory, Civil War recreations, and possibly something Star Wars if done with dignity and respect. Avatar is NOT on the approved chess genre list no matter how much you wish you could just close your eyes and wake up in Pandora. Look if you want to buy this and tell people that you’re studying classic Bobby Fischer opening gambits or reliving classic Deep Blue showdowns or dressing up in an old cassock and pretending that you are back in the old Soviet reliving classic Kasparaov and Karpov matches, that’s fine. Just know that everyone that sees this is thinking that you probably couldn’t even identify the king or queen and that you really turn off all the lights, take off all of your clothes and paint yourself blue and then use this to create stop-motion Na’vi movies starring yourself. And that you will probably die a virgin. I see you. I see you well.
Sure a bed’s nice by itself, but...
Sky Mall recognizes that for a small but very elite and privileged group of its readers, merely lounging about in a bed is just too pedestrian. I mean, even your serfs and servants have beds. What they DON’T have is a bed IN a bed. These highly pampered few clearly feel at their most comfortable, relaxed, and dreamy-smiley selves when they are actually aboard an airplane. These titans of industry are able to fully unwind in their awesomeness by luxuriating in the rarefied confines of the cushy First Class seat. With the hypnotic, gentle thrum and whine of the turbines they can do their best thinking, reading, sleeping, and rejuvenerating all the while secure in the comforting knowledge that everyone behind them is being simultaneously forced to live like some sort of caged-prisoner zoo animal AND look through the gauzy curtain into Air Eden as bejeweled concubines and eunuchs wash their feet with fine oils and rare spikenard and bath their hair in rare champagnes. Sadly, the confines of real life keep these ones from living aloft for all of eternity. Fortunately, for those sad times when you must return to terra-firma, Sky Mall offers these delicate few two solutions to the original slab of discomfort you call a bed. Live like a king! Or at least like a well-upgraded frequent flier.
My meat! It’s what’s for dinner!
First, the phrase “every man needs this stainless steel BBQ Branding Iron” is quite possibly one of the most horrible things ever committed to print. Even by the loosey-goosey rules of Sky Mall-iquette. In fact, there is only one circumstance where this is acceptable: You have traveled back in time to the 80s and your name is JR Ewing and you like to wear giant hats and evil mastermind power plays and you are buying yourself a JR steak brand in some elaborate charade where you are going to steal ALL of a rival’s head of cattle and then serve the meat – branded with your initials! – to him and his board of directors, right before you announce that you’ve slept with ALL of their wives and you are initiating a hostile takeover by Ewing Oil! Then and ONLY then is this OK to purchase. If you are such a self-important megalomaniac that would even actually *consider* having people over to your house and THEN branding your initials INTO THEIR FOOD! then I’m gonna guess that you probably don’t have that many friends or throw too many meat parties. And, I’m gonna start asking your neighbors if there have been any reports of missing pets, cause I think once you’ve gotten a taste for branding flesh, you’re gonna have a hard time stopping at steaks and chickens... My initials are JMS, you fall-ah? And you’re gonna remembah that, see? In fact, you’re gonna EAT IT!
The Ultimate Mix Tape LIVES!
You know that your life has been missing that little something that ONLY the perfect mix tape can provide. A well crafted mix tape was the soundtrack to your life, saying what you couldn’t say, feeling what you couldn’t feel, synthesizing what you couldn’t synthesize. But then one day, tapes were no longer cool. And your life has been sad ever since. Well break out all those Big Hair 80s, ultra-depressing Smiths and no-longer-considered-modern modern rock and not-so-new new wave tapes and enjoy them all over again! Though, something tells me that anyone that is STILL harboring a giant tape collection is either A) A giant Dead Head who is probably looking for something a little nicer and more A-to-D’ey than the ION Tape-2-PC or B) someone – like my mom – who would have NO idea or use for an MP3 file. And, thank the tech gods above that there is a portable version! Now I can convert those old Saturday Night Fever, Men at Work and Devo cassettes while I’m jogging with my orange-foam headphones and wearing my Adidas track suit and Pumas!
That “Meow!” meant PRIVACY!
There is so much going wrong with this image, that I’m not sure that I can totally articulate and identify exactly what is the MOST disturbing thing about this. First is the name, the Litter Kwitter. Is Kwitter like “here, kwitty, kwitty” or something else? I mean, the regular accepted spelling of Quitter still rhymes with Litter, right? Do we really need to try and cutesy it up? Next is the offer to go and watch a video. I’m guessing that the video shows a cat jumping up and going crap or something. And I really just can’t see how this is an invitation that anyone is going to want to accept. I mean, is there just absolutely nothing else on the Internet where watching a cat poop seems like a viable alternative? Third, I don’t like that they are trying to pit this cat and a child into a contest of who can figure out a “human toilet” first. Next is the use of the term “human toilet.” It is JUST toilet. We don’t say “human car” or “human iPad” or “human ninja-jedi-assasin” because it is just understand that these things can ONLY be human. Like a toilet. It’s for humans. OK, I think I CAN identify the most disturbing thing about this; it is that cat’s expression. It’s kind of an awkward, caught in the moment, soul-piercing glare that is just saying, “You’re watching me take a poop. And I don’t like it one bit! You know this is an abomination of nature!” You just know that at some point this cat is going to come sneaking into the bathroom and repay the favor to you while you’re, uh, busy.
Put a cork in it!
The next time you feel like someone is talking out of their butt, just invite them to sit – firmly – on this! Say something witty like, “You know, you’re a real ass. Why don’t you just cram a cork in it!” Your guests are sure to laugh uncomfortably and then slowly disperse to other rooms. The smooth, rounded edges make a nice tight seal around the offending area, ensuring that you will no longer have to be the butt of their jokes! And the copyrighter’s were clearly getting a little lazy here…”What once was small (and popped out of a bottle) is now made large.” Really? That’s all you got here, Sky Mall? Sounds like you were just phoning this one in. Sadly, with cork shortages around the world, I’m occasionally faced with opening a bottle of drinking wine with some kind of synthetic plastic stopper while somewhere, some giant-assed person is sitting on about 1000 bottles worth. Pity.
Your flower, Mr. Bond. In goooooold.
Much like the JR Ewing approved meat brander, there are only three types of people that can have gold roses: 1) King Midas. 2) Auric Goldfinger. 3) Grandmothers. These things are just SO tacky that you can totally picture it being your 80 year old grandma’s centerpiece, which she breaks out for that big, once-a-year family reunion dinner. The one where by the time you finally graduate from the kid’s to the grown-ups table, you realize that all the fun really was at the kid’s table, and that you have to stare blankly down at your mashed potatoes in semi-horror as your weird uncle gets all drunk and starts saying totally inappropriate things and groping the other female relatives. Ah, family. And if spending $800 on 12 fake roses and a vase isn’t the most egregious form of self-indulgence – right up there with a Saddam Imperial Palace solid gold toilet – then I’m not sure what is.
This is Maverick and I’ve got missile lock!
I know that the ad *claims* this is some kind of head and eye massaging bit of mumbo-jumbo, but that’s all just subterfuge. I happen to have it on good authority that a 50 minute dedicated head massage appointment can be had at the drop of a hat and a mere $25 in Salt Lake City, so all this talk of acupressure and heat compression and soothing squeezes and vibrations to melt away headaches is clearly just smoke and mirrors. This is obviously some sort of awesome virtual reality fighter-pilot/Apache IHADSS (Integrated Helmet and Display Sight System) simulator system! Look at her thumb resting ever so gently on the firing trigger and her calm assured smile. You think that comes from just getting “sensational tension relief” anytime she wants it? Pa-shaw! She’s got good tone on a bogey, and she’s about to go all Fox-Two on him! She’s following her radar image in the HUD and she’s steering her firing reticule right into his six. You want to know what else “encourage(s) vigor and mental clarity”? Dodging Triple-A and SAM batteries while you’re flying below the hard deck and doing some nape-of-earth maneuvers all while trying not to pancake at 1200 knots! Oh, yeah! You’re mind will be REAL clear when you see he’s about to launch on you! And the “precisely positioned airbags” that “soothingly squeeze and vibrate” are there to keep your eyes from bulging out of your skull when you’re going supersonic and pulling 5 face-melting Gs! Ghost Rider, permission for flyby...granted!
Yes, we get it. YOUR dog is special!
There are basically two kinds of dogs…1) the kind where you’re all anal and Westminsterey and uppity about making sure that you got some dog of high-pedigree storied breading and near royal lineage and 2) every other dog in the world. If you are in group 1 then you clearly already have all of the paperwork and reassurance that you need to know that your Miss Fluffy comes from a distinguished line of Miss Fluffies dating back to the first Miss Fluffy that sat at Marie Antoinette’s feet while she ate cake. For everyone else, congratulations! You have a dog! Leave “professional laboratory tests” and cotton swab rubbing to the professionals on CSI.
Time for a little loud quiet-time
Never mind the fact that he has a totally goofy expression on his face, or that he mildly resembles Steve Garvey (and that only myself and maybe one other 1970s Dodger’s fan out there got that) or that these headphones are infrared meaning they only work on line-of-sight so if he moves his head out of geosynchronous orbit, his audio will likely cut in and out and that “grapefruit half” headphone technology pretty much went out with cassettes. No, never mind any of that. Let’s instead focus on the fact that it is in the MIDDLE of the afternoon (you'll just have to trust me on this; the pic is a bit washed out, but it is bright and sunny outside that window) and this woman is fast “asleep.” What’s going on there, I wonder? She managed to get herself fully dressed so that she could come out and sit next to him while he silently watches TV? Or perhaps he’s smiling at some particularly funny segment while following along on his “How to Ruffie your date!” instructional DVD after he has just finished the part where she finishes her drink. I'm sure the next part is a real hoot! Or maybe it is a Weekend at Bernie’s kind of thing and the in-laws are about to come over for some wacky mayhem and “Of course she’s not dead!” hijinks will ensue!
It’s cold! The food is damn-hell-bloody COLD!
Is your family meal time really so demanding that you have to worry about delivering every dish to the table with the laser focused precision and Blue Angels level timing of a Danny Ocean escapade? Now don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of “focused infrared heat for sealing in moisture and flavor” but in our house that's usually just called "pop it back in the microwave" or a shout of "Dinner's on the table!" I just don’t know that I need to have an entire Hell’s Kitchen worth of heat lamps stacked up like little boiling hot Luxo’s on my counter to do it. I come home and see this, my first words are, “Just how many people did you invite over for dinner?!”
I fly a decent bit, and I can promise you one thing: If you are sitting next to me on the plane – or airport or bus or train or restaurant or anywhere else where you feel like whipping out a private mini movie theater – and you pull this out, I don’t care what you look like – full-on Hasidic or Orthodox beard and robes, sweet little old lady with a walker, oxygen tanks and portable kitty cage, Tibetan monk with beads and spiritual bells, 8 year old school girl with pig tails – I see you pulling this thing out and I’m going to just immediately assume that you are watching porn. Period. You can be totally blind and say you’re Ray Charles and that you just got Georgia on your mind. Doesn’t matter; porn. You could be Steve Jobs saying you are looking at top-secret plans of iPad4 while Bill Gates is sitting right next to you trying to look at what you’re doing and I’m still thinking you’re immediately opening your special porn-app. You could be George Lucas and Steven Spielberg huddled together while I actually hear the swelling strains of a John Williams Indiana Jones score and I’ll just assume that you are collaborating on some new adult cut of Indiana Jones and the Giant Bosomed Women of the Amazon. You could tell me that you’re that hot Russian spy, Anna Chapman, and that you need the privacy screen to examine all of the secrets you honey-trapped out of Americans, and then I’ll *know* it’s porn in there. And not even like regular Internet porn. I’m talking about the kinds of stuff you have to smuggle in from Amsterdam, hoping that the border patrol discusses your giant hash stash INSTEAD of your porn stash. And, dude, that it has a tripod…for hands-free viewing…you just go ahead and keep those hands RIGHT where I can see ‘em.
Bow to your sensei!
“You think I got where I am today because I dressed like Peter Pan over here? Take a look at what I'm wearing, people. You think anybody wants a roundhouse kick to the face while I'm wearing these bad boys? Forget about it. Last off, my students will learn about self respect. You think anybody thinks I'm a failure because I go home to Starla at night? Forget about it!” (Rex, founder of the Rex Kwon Do self-defense system from Napoleon Dynamite.)
If there is anything the typical Sky Mall buyer knows about, it’s that “regardless of your fighting style, the freedom to move about is the most important element in combat.” And appealing to the Zen, Buddha, yoga and pilates sensei master in us all, this custom tailored, double weave cotton suit moves “with you like water around a bolder.” In fact, it looks so powerfully, kick-ass awesome you'll probably start making up excuses to get into fights to use your unfair tactical advantage and unleash a furious hail of unrestrained kicks and swift movements!
"Did you cut in front of me in line?"
"I said, 'You...cut...in front...of me...in line.'"
"Oh. No. I didn't. I asked if you were IN line and then I got in behind you."
"No. That's not how I see it. Now we're gonna fight."
"What?! Is something wrong with you? Like an actual mental condition that has been diagnosed and is being treated with prescription medicine?"
"Oh, yeah. I'm able to get mental. All upside your head. With some kicks that are totally unrestrained!"
"OK, first, we're in a grocery store. I'm not fighting you. Second, I'm actually standing behind you in line. I'm totally not even sure what you're even talking about."
"There's nothing you can do, there's nothing you can say that's gonna change that fact that you and me, we're gonna fight! And I can only hope for your sake that you brought your gi!"
When you can grasp this pebble from my hand, you shall be ready to wear the black and pink karate costume. Hai!
Do you expect my hair to talk?
No, Mr. Bond! I expect your hair to DIE! Err, I mean, to LIVE!
(I realize that this is the second time I’m going to the Goldfinger well in this post, but, well, sometimes you just need that perfect quote that only a Bond villain can provide!)
If there is anything that Sky Mall readers despise more than stress and some form of neck and/or back pain – as a group, they are a stiff-necked, sore-backed, greatly stressed people – then it is ANYTHING to do with hair loss. Hair loss, is seems, afflicts such a large percentage of Sky Mall readers that a full 10% of magazine and editorial space is reserved for any product, tincture, ointment, balm, salve, cream, spray or pill that might in some way help to reverse the cruel tide of a retreating mane. And if there is anything that Sky Mall loves doing it is combing ridiculous, over-the-top technology to combat any number of life’s random problems. Here we have not one but TWO laser hair therapy treatments. OK, first off, lasers are useful for lots of things. Reading the tiny pits on shiny, shiny discs and turning that 0 and 1 data into beautiful music? Yes, perfect use of laser. Blinding an unsuspecting person with a $1.49 laser pointer? Perfectly acceptable. Placing a frickin’ laser on top of a frickin’ shark? Difficult to master, but absolutely. Destroying the planet Alderaan in a display of Imperial firepower? You may fire when ready! So, it seems to totally disrespect the pure, raw and unadulterated awesomeness which is the laser by turning into a hair treatment gewgaw! Also, I’d like to remind readers that LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Did you notice the R? It stands for RADIATION!!! That you are firing directly into your head brain!
The first product is the i-Restore Hair Laser that uses 27 low-level lasers AND 24 red luminous optical lights to stimulate your follicles and help users “get your confidence back!” Because, if there is anything that modern times have taught us, it’s that bald men are TOTALLY unconfident. Michael “Air win every championship I ever play in” Jordan... Bruce “Yippi-ki-yay” Willis... Jason “If it has wheels, I’ll drive it! It is needs transporting, I'll transport it!” Stratham... Vin “Not so fast but definitely FURIOUS!” Diesel... Patrick “I am Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the USS Enterprise! Make it so!” Stewart... Samuel L “I don’t need no mother f’in hair on my mother f’in head! Jackson... yeah that’s a pretty lacking in self-confidence group. I can only imagine how successful they might have been if only for a laser hair restorative! In fact, I imagine that if anyone was apt to see you wearing your “adjustable laser dome” that is the very instance in time where your confidence takes a total jump into the poop shoot.
This second device, the X5 Hair Laser, is apparently “the most advanced laser hair therapy device ever developed for personal home use,” delivering “laser light directly to the scalp, bypassing intervening hair.” So, the super red-laser power of the X5 blasts its way through any remaining hair you might have; challenging those last, die-hard follicles in a put-up or shut-up caged death match where only the strongest survive. Two hairs enter, one hair leaves! Hairs that remain are tougher, more virile, fight-hardened and ready to freely roam about your head kicking ass and taking names. They create a series of rival gangs and beat-in any new hairs, turning weaker hairs out onto the neck to turn tricks for money. I can only imagine that the timer on time is something akin to a “safe levels of exposure,” you know, from the RADIATION that you are voluntarily firing into your skull! Plus, the way the guy is holding the X5 and running it through his hair, I can’t help but think of someone brushing a horse’s coat. It makes me want to give him a sugar cube and call him O’le Paint.