WRT my article title, I'm kidding about the snail mail catalog I received last month from Hammacher Schlemmer. The cover claims "Offering the Best, the Only and the Unexpected for 167 years". Hmm, I don't believe I've ever heard of this consonant-rich (gimme an "m") company before. I paused at the slogan's weirdly capitalized nouns. I wondered if the capitalizations are a psychological gimmick for slowing the readers down and have them pay closer attention. Their slogan (or variant) pops up a LOT in their product webpages and video clips.
Gotta say, I consider HS's e-commerce website to be pretty impressive! Each page that I visited displayed reviews, suggested related items, and image enlargement capability. In many cases, the product pages included video links.
Note: No one is paying me for my good or bad words about Hammacher Schlemmer ("HS" in much of the rest of this article).
Some of the catalog offerings became entertainment for me as fodder for a blog article rather a trigger to acquire such items. BTW, I'd written a related article about gadgets in December 2009. The HS catalog reflects more modern times and items, the most prominent type (to me) being drones of varying sizes and purposes.
□ Bug-sized drones
Imagine—a drone that can float mistletoe, a quadcopter that is small enough to bug nearby people, and a similarly small "palmcopter".
□ Bug sucker and destroyer
Alrighty then! Bug out! Get a bug vacuum to suck it into place to meet its Maker! Check out the accompanying video. It's way more expensive than a flyswatter, but looks well-designed. Comes with AC battery recharger.
Getting pumped for Star Wars?
□ R2D2 humidifier
R2D2 blows his top! The same page also offers a link to the Darth Vader humidifier. R2D2 is short and squat, and the Darth Vader model is only the helmet. These humidifiers don't measure even a foot in any dimension—pretty small, imho, for the price pushing $100 each.
□ Star Wars-theme slippers, a la bunny slippers
Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Yoda head these slippers. Maybe youngsters are out of luck for fit. Available sizes: "S (Men’s 7-9; Women’s 8-10) or L (Men’s 10-13; Women’s 11-14)"
Want convenience in holiday tree setups?
□ Popup and pullup artificial trees
Spare yourself from expending decorating time for hanging ornaments, lights, and other doodads. How about a spring-sprung popup tree, or a fancier Kincaide popup tree. How about a some-assembly-required pullup tree that's available with bulbs only, or a fully decorated one? Links for convenient storage bags ($29.95) are also offered in the product pages.
Are you a tee partier (golfer)?
□ Spectacles for spotting golf balls
Wear these glasses to spot golf balls easily. The page has three positive reviews, the oddest one recommending others purchase these glasses even though she hadn't yet tried them out.
Ready for retro for telling time?
□ Faceless, bracelet-like watch
LED watches are back! Not the 70s LED watches with black background that you need to press a button to view the digital time. No! These watches are continuous, textured bands, and you need to press a button to view the digital time! At least the older digital watches displayed the entire time on one row. For the HS watches, "The top row displays the hour and the lower row the minute ...". Zoom in images to see the innovative numerical displays!
Do the Locomotion?
□ Hoopy loopy skates
These portable people movers transport the riders like a hybrid between skateboards and skates. Video shows locomotion. Reviews are mostly positive. "Supports up to 200 lbs. Ages 8 and up." I noticed riders wearing helmets, but not pads. Oh, to be young again and fearless of falling while moving fast!
□ Digital tire gauge
This gauge is lots fancier than the metal ones, with a price to match. Go-o-o-leeee! I've gotten sticker shock! The pencil-shape metal ones are a lot more expensive than in the old days of costing only a buck or so, with shops sometimes giving them away! Check out the Amazon page for tire gauges and weep over the metal ones!
□ Air pump
This pump looks like it's part battery-operated drill. For that matter, part of the description says "operating similarly to a cordless drill". Has digital readout, light, and psi-settable stop-pump capability.
Some of these items make me think of faddish gadgets from the past, such as hot dog cookers and butter melters.
□ Battery-operated, self-stirring cup
Press the handle's button on the cup to activate the stirring mechanism.
□ Battery-operated spinning fork
Rotate the set of tines on the fork by pressing the handle. (The image does not clearly show how, and the page does not include a video.) Spins at 22rpm—slower than any vinyl records, for speed perspective.
□ Stanley Cup-shaped air popcorn popper
This popcorn air popper looks like the ice hockey trophy. I've always thought the trophy shape itself to be somewhat odd, compared to loving cup trophies. A little history of the Stanley cup explains its shape resemblance to a dairy milk can with a long neck. Hmmm, I know lots of air poppers can be had for lots less. Just Google "air popcorn popper".
□ Flameless marshmallow roaster
Hooboy! Use this electrical hybrid of toaster and fondue-ish community appliance to make s'mores the first-world way! Yet, with the mild statement "All pieces hand wash easily", somebody will need to hand wash, rather than toss the appliance parts into a first-world electric dishwasher. Love the video of the indoor campers and hearing the narrator say "Hammacher Schlemmer", which sounds like "hammacker schlammer", with the two names seeming to rhyme as they roll off the tongue.
□ Tabletop fireplace
Even though this wee fireplace is not a kitchen gadget, it's similar to the marshmallow toaster because it's small and emits heat. Good to put these two items close together in this article. Dimensions are a compact 11 x 14 x 5 1/2, yet weighs 8 1/2 lbs. The peewee appliance and replacement fuel are pretty pricey, imho. Curiously, the 24-second video is silent and "lifeless", in contrast to the marshmallow roaster one.