Opinion: Takes a licking, and keeps on spinning

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

Each year I poke fun at the world-famous Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog and highlight its most ridiculous holiday offerings. This latest December issue had a few doozies, like:

The SPINNING SPAGHETTI FORK, which first appeared in the catalog three years ago. It was a boon for people too tired to drive to Olive Garden, only to then have to actually twirl the spaghetti themselves. Apparently, the device was such a hit that in this month’s catalog we now have the LAZY LICKER’S SPINNING ICE CREAM CONE. Yes, as we celebrate the 115th anniversary of the ice cream cone, the folks at Hammacher Schlemmer have finally found a way to take all the fun and guesswork out of eating America’s favorite treat. The battery-operated plastic cone spins at 25 rpm, “providing lethargic lickers” with the joy of their favorite frozen treat without having the tedious task of moving their jaw. This is the perfect gift for…for…I have no idea.

The PERSONALIZED TRAVEL MAP is a great gift idea for people who want to document their past and future vacation excursions. I got this for my wife last year from a different gift catalog so she could insert colored pins in all the places she wants to visit. Because I am cheap and don’t like to travel, when I nix one of her ideas, Mary Ellen is now pretty much just sticking the pins directly into me.

How about some TAP A TUNE MUSICAL GLOVES? Put on these hand warmers and you can turn any flat surface into a keyboard, each finger of the glove playing a different note. This is the perfect present for the person in your life who is looking for a new way to annoy people if telling bad jokes, humming holiday tunes, or wheezing incessantly just hasn’t done the trick.

Finally, there’s the APP CONTROLLED ROOMBA 980. This is a device you can command from anywhere in the world. Using an app on your smartphone, you can tell the Roomba to clean your carpet in any part of the house. I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I have awakened during a vacation, looked into each other’s eyes and said, “Let’s do it…let’s remotely vacuum our carpets.”

Happy Holidays!