Thursday, July 24, 2014

Toys will be toys, especially if you’ve got $$$

If you, like me, are already sitting around wondering where summer went, and how you can salvage some of the dwindling hours we have left in it…

If you, unlike me, have some serious walking around money that is not already earmarked for boring stuff like new shades in the living room, repairing the hole in the ceiling that the HVAC installers gouged in ours last fall, and – jumping seasons a bit here – the pricey but beautiful sweater I just saw in the Peruvian Connection catalog…

You might want to check out this article on Huff Po on some nifty summer toys for the rich folk that are on sale at (mostly) Hammacher Schlemmer, which I believe translates into English as “silly, overpriced stuff that no one in their right mind would buy.”

Huff Po does some serious sneering, I’m afraid, but, seriously, what’s not to dislike about a set of campfire roasting rods from for $119.95. Yes, as HS tells us, these are “patented [and] counter-balanced” and come with a “stainless steel ‘line’ that terminates in a pair of roasting spits.” All the while keeping the kiddies “a safe distance” from the campfire.

But this is right up there with the perfect snowball maker in terms of sucking some of the joy out of childhood. (The kind that comes from taking a teenie-weenie risk, and from using an implement  - your mitten’d hands: snowball; a stick: toasting marshmallows -  that you have on your person or can easily create on your own.)  EVERYTHING DOESN”T HAVE TO COME IN A PACKAGE!

Come on, parents and grandparents of America, don’t you want your little ones to experience the satisfaction that comes from mastering the difference between a stick and a snake? From figuring out the risk/reward of pulling a stray hot dog out of the fire?


If you’re in a bit more of a spending mood,Hammacher also offers $699.99 electric roller skates. That should help with the fight against obesity, no? I’d say that these babies would be unsafe at any speed (they go 8 mph), at least for the pedestrians in their way. Bad enough having to dodge runners, bicyclists (get off of my sidewalk), folks in Hoverounds tearing up the pavement (slow down, gramps), and tourist gawkers on Segways (you’re supposed to be in the street, pal). Now we have the prospect of electronic roller skates?  Oh, for the days of the simple skate key…

Then there’s an inflatable version of Twister for $2K, which they call the “Color Dot Game” because the Inflatable Twistername Twister was already taken. The good news is that there’s more room to twist around in. The bad news is, it’s still, well, Twister. (Maybe I’ll sign up for the inflatable Trivial Pursuit when it comes out.)

Although I would be the first one to break my neck in it – that is, after I’d lost my lunch – I will say that the Human Bowling Ball ($5.5 K) looks like fun. That is, if you’re the type that likes to break neck/lose lunch, or watch others doing the same.

Since there are so few left who are willing to take mallet in hand and participate in the annual family croquet outing – come on, who wouldn’t rather sit there and drink wine and gossip? – maybe we can get someone to spring for this before next summer. I can picture this fitting in perfectly in my cousin MB’s back yard. Perhaps we could vary things up a bit and roll after Canadian geese. (I have a nominee in mind.)Human Bowling Ball

We’ll just have to figure out who gets to wipe the goose poop off.

Hammacher Schlemmer has all sorts of other summer goodies: a Barbecue Dining Boat that will set you back $50,000; something that lets the entire family walk (or stand) on water simultaneously for $999.95 (didn’t my brother Tom have something called “Jesus Feet” back in the 1970’s?); and a frankly quite fun-looking Inflatable Water Park slide for $8K. (I think this item may be from Sharper Image, not HS.)

You can also get an Inflatable Military Obstacle Course for $12,500.

Personally, life is enough of an obstacle course these days without adding in some inflatable military impediments.

No tree in sight? And, if you’re on an ocean beach, there probably isn’t much in sight other than a couple of scrub pines, there’s a Floating Rope Swing ($3,800).

Flying Hovercraft ($190K). Killer Whale Submarine ($100K). Motorized Monocycle ($13K – see the above on electric roller skates). Water Skier Controlled Tow Boat (for those with no friends, a high risk tolerance, and a spare $17,000). A Personal Submarine, which I guess must be a bit more water proof and depth capable than the cheapo Killer Whale Sub ($2 million: Paul Allen, step aside).

And just in case you build up a powerful, hungry kind of thirst playing with (and paying for) all these toys, you can get a Classic Snow Cone Cart for $4K.

Oh, whatever happened to the Classic DIY Lemonade Stand?

I guess if you need to churn out “up to 500 lbs. of finely granulated ice per hour,” this one’s for you.

But Snow Cones? Snow Cones! Really….

One good slurp and you’ve exhausted the colored sweet gunk and are stuck with a sopping paper cup filed with ice.

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