Sky Mall: Nothing You Need at Prices You Can’t Afford!

Sky Mall is a wonderous airborne catalogue filled with more useless items than I have ever seen in a single concentrated location. I helped myself to the copy in the seat-pocket in front of me on my last flight (fret not, they want you to take it), and I have compiled a list of some of my most favorite Sky Mall items (please note that this is not nearly as entertaining as looking through an actual Sky Mall catalogue):

1. TRUCK ANTLERS: For just $24.99 you can stick foot-long antlers to the side of your car,truck-antlers or preferably pick-up truck, for a nice down home look. Nothing screams “class” like weatherproof molded plastic horns.

2. THE MARSHMALLOW SHOOTER: Again, just $24.99 for this gem. It shoots marshmallows, but “unlike other marshmallow blasters-it comes with an LED sight that projects a safe beam of red light to help locate a target for accuracy.” Other marshmallow shooters? Is this a thing now?

3. PORTABLE MICROWAVE OVEN: This puppy will cost you a cool $299.95, but, oh, if it isn’t worth it! If you can afford to spend $300 on a portable microwave, you should probably just go to a restaurant, or bring food with you that doesn’t need to be microwaved.

4. THE SHIRTPOCKET UNDERWATER CAMCORDER: This $200 underwater camera fits right inside your shirtpocket. It seems that this device is something that might be found in the duffle bag or pants pocket of predator. I pray that Sky Mall notifies the authorities whenever someone orders this one.

5. THE VOICE ACTIVATED R2D2: you are officially a loser if you spend $170 on this thing. Granted, it responds to voice commands, making it kind of cool, but if something like this greets me when I walk into your home, I’m turning around and walking right back out.

6. FIRE ESCAPE LADDER: I guess this thing makes sense. It’s $90, and you’re supposed to drop it from your window to escape in case of a fire. Yet the picture, that of a mother standing on the ground, while her daughter climbs down the escape, gives a different feel. It seems that the mother is forcing the daughter to do drills in order to increase her upper body strength, and stop flabby-arm syndrome before it starts.

7. HEAD SPA MASSAGER:  It’s only $50, but it looks soooooo cool! This device was clearly made in outer space, and the model wearing it loves it. If you wear it in public, people will think you are a robot, and if I can be a robot for just $50, sign me up!

8. DESIGN TOSCANO: The most sophisticated section of Sky Mall is Design Toscano, which features stone figures for your home and garden. Some of my favorites are “The Zombie of Montclaire Moors,” a dead man clawing his way out ot the mulch in your front yard (or backyard, for those of you with a bit more modesty), “The Dragon of Falkenberg Castle Moat,” a frightening stone statue of a dragon breathing fire, and “Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti,” which is exactly what it sounds like. The items in this section range from $20-$895 (that’s right), and they are sure to add a sleazy, dreamlike feel to any home.

9. THE NECKPRO TRACTION DEVICE: For $55, you can hang your head in this thing, and I guess it helps your neck. If I actually saw someone using this, I would immediately rescue them and explain to them their self-worth. Things will get better.

10. GIANT CUPCAKE: I might actually respect someone for buying this. It’s an 8 inch cake pan shaped like a cupcake. A GIANT CUPCAKE. For $30, someone might as well buy it and have a little fun. The picture shows enormous sprinkles, but I don’t know where you get those.

There are, of course, hundreds of useless items in each issue of Sky Mall, but you’ll have to see for yourself. The pictures are particularly confusing and entertaining, and I hope to one day meet a Sky Mall model and find out how they ended up in that position. I would like to know what went wrong.

If you ever, EVER consider buying anything from Sky Mall, please remember that there are charities that could use the $300 you are about to spend on a water filter for your dog, that you could lose your job at any point, and the $150 you might spend on a machine that measures perfect shots could come in handy, and that there is a Target around the corner, at which you could find thousands of more useful items for a fraction of the cost.


Hoboken Homecoming

Most of you have heard by now, but on Tuesday, August 25th, I’ll be moving to the greatest city in the world. That’s right: Hoboken, NJ.

It will be a rainy day, but the clouds will miraculously part to reveal a perfect blue sky. The citizens of Hoboken (and some from Jersey City and, I don’t know, Tribeca) will look up to see a glorious creature floating down from the heavens. Sweet music will begin to play, and they will soon be distracted by a submarine emerging from the Hudson, out of which Maxwell will climb, singing “Pretty Wings.” The people will take a second look at the sky to realize that it is me flying down with wings, real ones that I borrowed from an angel, heading earthwards.

“She’s beautiful,” someone will say, as my eyes twinkle, my long hair flowing behind me (extensions, but still). I will maxwellsmile gently.

As I land gracefully, Maxwell will approach me, on the last verse by now, and gently stroke my cheek with his hand. We will engage in eye contact for a little too long, and people will become nervous and uncomfortable. I will finally blink and take a step away. Everyone will exhale.

I will dramatically walk through the city, greeting my new neighbors with meaninful expressions, but no words (because that would ruin the effect). There will be a girl in a wheelchair outside of a coffee shop, and I will gently kiss her forhead, at which point she will stand from her chair. People will gasp, in awe of my healing touch. I will not tell them that the girl is a paid actress with full use of her legs, because if I want to make a name for myself  in a new place, I’m going to need to come off a little Jesusy.

Finally, Maxwell will return to the river, but the music will remain, as I approach my apartment building. Becca will be standing outside holding a giant golden key. She will place it in the lock and turn it, to reveal a glorious misunderstanding: We didn’t rent an aparment in the building, WE OWN THE ENTIRE BUILDING.

An array of attractive young men will be spread throughout, some minor celebirities, and all of them will be holding platters of various delicious foods.

“For me?” I’ll mouth.

“For you,” they’ll all say. “It’s all for you.”

“I don’t know where to begin,” I’ll say, in my coy manner. The most handsome and well-built of the platter holders will approach me. His jeans fit nicely.

“Why can’t you have it all?” he’ll say, offering me the chicken enchilada before him. “It’s all fat and calorie-free.” I’ll gasp. “Not that it matters. I mean, look at you.” He’ll smile, and I will name him Boyfriend #1. All of the other fellows will approach, as I conquer the buffet around me.

Hopefully you can make it.

“You Don’t Trust Me?”

Town hall meetings are so hot right now.

St. Louis wanted to get in on that sweet political action, so while New Hampshire treated President Obama to a lowkey meeting, complete with butterflies and and gumdrops, Missouri showed the nation who’s boss, by practically throwing bad tomatoes at Senator Claire McCaskill.83062301RG024_Biden_And_Pal

If there is one thing I learned from watching Claire bomb that fateful Tuesday (and it’s true, I only learn one thing per town hall meeting), it is that you should never repeat the abrasive comment made by an angry townie amidst a roomful of hundreds of angry townies.

It was clear that everyone was PO’d, so Mickey C should have known what was coming when she heard someone in front say he didn’t trust her. “You don’t trust me?” she repeated. Mistake. Rain clouds gathered above the city. The ground began to shake as the dead arose from their graves. Squirrels and various other woodland creatures lifted their heads in concern, and all at once, the dead, and the squirrels and the townies let out a resounding “NOOOOOOOO!”

Awkward. First of all, if anyone criticizes you in front of a bunch of people, just ignore it and keep on moving. Don’t ask everyone else in the crowd (a crowd which is obviously not on your side, anyway) if they agree with the guy, who they probably know, or have at least seen at Schnuck’s. Move on to another topic, like parks and recreation. Something no one really cares about. Keep it cool.

I don’t plan on going to a Pentacostal church in a sassy mini-skirt, going up to the pulpit and asking, “Do you like my outfit?”  “NOOOOOO!” they’d shout, their braids waving from side to side in rage.

Really, it’s just better not to ask anything to a crowd of people, unless you know that the answer will please you. As soon as those few people who have a strong opinion shout it out, everyone will hop on, because they are probably just waiting to see what the right answer is. It’s like in class when the teacher asks, “How many of you have read Moby Dick?” and 2/3 of the people raise their hands, so you do too, because you don’t want to be the idiot in class who never read Moby Dick. You don’t want to be the idiot who trusts Claire McCaskill. Just shout ‘no,’ and get it over with.

So Claire, if you’re reading this, and I know you are, it’s ok. Everyone doesn’t not trust you. But please be careful from now on. Maybe you should wear earplugs during these meetings. Sure, it defeats the purpose of the town hall style meeting, but it will save your ego, and isn’t that what really matters?

Slug Bug

One autumn evening my mother decided to make white chili. White chili is a delicious dish, made of white beans, chicke013_white_chilin, provolone and mozzarella cheese and a cornucopia of spices. Top it with oyster crackers (because the square variety just won’t do), and you’re in for the night, basking in the chili’s glory (and waiting for things to settle).

For some reason, my mother was lacking Great Northern Beans (a cocky name for a bean, if you ask me) and called our cousin, Tammy, to bring them over. I am still unclear as to why Tammy was harboring the GNBs, as I have never seen her cook anything, save for tossing pizza rolls in the toaster oven. God bless her heart, but she just does better ordering from a menu or opening a bag. She has other talents. Her hair always looks good.

My mother had to drive me to dance class, so she called Tammy to leave the beans at our house, inside the front glass door.

I went to class that night and completed my first triple pirouette, for I was filled with such joy and confidence thanks to the prospect of white chili (This is not true. I was probably less successful than ever, as I stood there daydreaming, thought bubble and all, of my post-class dinner. Yes, this is much more likely.) We drove home, rain drops ricocheting off of the windshield, each one looking more and more like a chili bean. I began to fear that Tammy would have forgotten to drop of the beans. My mother would open the glass door to find nothing. She would look back at me, and I at her. She would pull me close, and the two of us would stand crying under the drizzly evening sky, thinking of what could have been. “Maybe tomorrow,” she would whisper. “Maybe tomorrow.”

Luckily, the beans were there, and so my mother picked it up and walked inside. My mother placed the jar onto the kitchen countertop and turned on the lights. What I saw shocked me.

“Mom, there are slugs on the jar,” I said with surprising calmness. My mother, however, was not as cool.

WHHHHHYYYYY????!!!!!! WWWWHHHHHHHYYYYYY?????!!!!!!” She ran out of the room.

I had seen movies where people had walked into a bedroom to see there husband lying dead on the floor, and they would drop to the ground, shouting something similar to this. Murder seems to warrant a phrase like this, but slugs? I didn’t want them on my beans either, but she was being a bit dramatic. We were all still alive, and they were only on the outside of the jar. We could still use the beans (which was my primary concern). I took the jar outside, and flicked the slug bugs off, while my mother recovered from her meltdown. I brought the slug-free jar back inside, and eventually my mother was able to compose herself enough to make the chili.

That night, the white chili turned out better than ever. The spices were spicier, the beans beanier. I think there was a little more passion put into it, a little more ferocity. We had to go through a lot for that batch.

Name Game

I’ve encountered some stupid names in my day, but this morning when I walked into camp, I looked down at my roster and was stunned by what the stupidity that lay before me. This is what I saw listed in the column of first names:scissors

 Taylor, Scissors, Ethan-

I’m sorry. Was that Scissors? I almost quit, right then and there. I could have just picked up my bag at that moment. “That’s enough. I just can’t handle this.”

There are a lot of names that aren’t really names, but sound cute enough to pass. There is no way Scissors can be anything but cutting utensils. First of all, the word is plural. No one is named Marys. That would be dumb and confusing. I almost prefer the name Scissor Kick, and I don’t even know why. It just seems more reasonable. Second, Scissors, even if you try really hard, can never sound cute. It will always and only ever be associated with cutting. If I had a student named Scissors, things would just get awkward all around. I’d say, “Don’t play with scissors,” and the kid would start crying and wonder why no one wanted to be his friend. I’d be the cause of his social anxiety, and I just can’t have that type of thing on my mind right now.

Last week there was a girl in my camp named Hennessy. She had a twin sister named Kennedy, but that doesn’t matter, because she wasn’t named after liquor. Let’s be honest, I breathed a sigh of relief when I found that Hennessy was white. If she had been black, I would have kindly taken her mother aside for a lecture/chat. Because that is unacceptable. (This week, I have a boy named Sam Adams in camp, but I let that slide, because Sam is an actual name, and Samuel Adams was an American colonial leader before he was beer.)

This week, I have a student named J-Rob, who claims that this is his real name, and I believe him. I hope J-Rob is good at sports or rapping, because otherwise things will get awkward for him after a certain age.

There is also a boy in my camp whose name is Jonathan, but he goes by Jack and doesn’t actually know that his name real name is Jonathan. I don’t know when his parents plan on telling him this, but I imagine he will take it pretty hard. He might start writing emo poetry and doing whippets. The truth hurts sometimes.

My friend told me she works with someone named Rebecca Rebecca, a name she married into. Rebecca is a lovely first name, biblical even, but twice in a row is a bit much. First of all, since when is a last name? If I happen to meet a guy whose last name is Lauren, I’m just going to keep my distance, because I can’t risk that kind of embarrassment.

After checking in the computer, we found that Scissors was the child’s last name. As far as I’m concerned, Scissors isn’t a last name either, but I’ll let it slide and finish out the last two weeks of work.