Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Amazing Free Travel Game: A Summer Road-trip Gift Just for You!

Image courtesy of Hammacher-Schlemmer's unawareness that I'm borrowing it.
Is this a photo of the amazing free travel game? No, Silly. It is not. It is the Hammacher-Schlemmer Big Top Calliope! But if we were *playing* the amazing free travel game, I would read you the description of it, and you would have to guess the price. Here's a choice excerpt: "A bass synthesizer provides a tuba sound. In concert, the bandwagon replicates the whimsical tooting, clashing, and sparkle of the past by playing 25 classic march tunes, such as Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Ain’t We Got Fun, and A Tribute To Uncle Sam from a built-in microprocessor. Typically part of a circus’ arrival parade and drawn by miniature pony, goat, or a stout dog . . ." Miniature stout dog not included. Okay, so guess the price. Don't forget: Synthesized tuba sound! Ain't We Got Fun from the built-in microprocessor! Whimsical tooting! I mean, how much *wouldn't* you pay, right? 

If I wanted to, I might give you a clue about the numbers, a la The Price Is Right. "There is only a single digit, which is a multiple of 3," I might say. "The rest are zeros." Got your guess? 

$600?

Nope.

$9,000?

nope.

Give up?


30,000 dollars!

(I have this idea that when you click "Buy," the device you're holding should automatically electrocute you and redistribute your assets among the needy. But that's a side issue.)

Part of what makes it such a great game is that then someone reads you about the Selfie Toaster, which brands bread with a picture of your OWN FACE! And you're like, "I could bite into my own face for breakfast every morning? I don't know. $300,000?" 

We play that everyone who's not giving the clue yells out their guess at the same time. But you could doubtless take turns or play in some other way.

But it's only $69.95!

Make no mistake: I am not (merely) trash-talking Hammacher-Schlemmer! I am earnestly recommending this game, with which we have passed many hours of happy car travel, and I'm specifically recommending that you play in the part of the H-S website, called, "The Unexpected" (aka "Let's try to rid ourselves of some of this pesky cash!") True, you need some sort of device with cellular data to play it. But even as I write that, I'm realizing that you can request a paper catalogue here. I'm thinking you could also play it with other catalogues and websites. And it's totally not Socialist Propaganda. #unlessitis 

Ben (with the rest of us for scale, yukking it up at a funeral, because that's the kind of people we are).
This game is, of course, a Ben invention. And it came only out of his unironic love of all things Hammacher-Schlemmer. But even Alex P. Keaton Ben will admit that a $35,500 Time Machine, with no especial guarantee that you will be able to snatch the camera from your mother's hands and smash it on the ground after she snaps a picture of your two-year-old self sitting on the potty, is a little steep.

Anyways, you're welcome. Happy summer road tripping!

xo

29 comments:

  1. Ha! That is an awesome game. It reminds me just a little of a less-fun one we played as college students where we'd find obscure words in the dictionary and make up 2 fake definitions to go along with the real one. Players had to guess the real definition.

    And how cute is that photo of all of you!?!

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  2. Erin Murphy4:36 PM

    The Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog is a huge read-aloud hit in my house. I have to bleep some of the language, and I'm usually cry-laughing halfway through but it feeds our snarky souls.

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    Replies
    1. Made my day. Thank you!!

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  3. Jennifer LB5:15 PM

    No. Bad idea. Very bad idea. My 11 yr son got a hold of the H-S catalog last November. I ran screaming out of the house as he read me EVERYTHING he NEEDED (80% of the catalog).

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  4. Wait. Hammacher Schlemmer are just messing with us with some of this stuff, right? RIGHT??? Please, please tell me people are not actually buying these things. A Submarine Sports Car??? I like the electrocution idea of redistributing the assets of someone who would buy these things.

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  5. Allyson6:14 PM

    Does Ben want the $2 million submarine sports car? I have to admit to being intrigued by the idea of a tranquility pod. It seems like the perfect place to retreat during a panic attack. Still, the $30K price tag seems a bit steep. Hey, I know! Why don't you try to get a deal with H-S like the one you have with Amazon? When your readers spend $10 million on useless, but incredibly expensive, crap, you could have a tranquility pod giveaway! It can't fail!

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    Replies
    1. Ben specifically wants both of those things! Seriously.

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  6. We are laughing at funeral people too. Your family is gorgeous! Gorgeous I say!!

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  7. I received that toaster for my birthday (I didn't ask for it!), but it's supposed to toast a picture of our cat's face, rather than my own. It absolutely does not work. I also wanted to share with you this article from Slate, which claims to have found the best police blotter in America at the Point Reyes Light. I think you could counter with your own town's remarkable blotter, particularly if you supplemented your argument with your family's depictions of local events: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2015/05/point_reyes_light_police_blotter_why_the_west_marin_paper_s_sheriff_s_calls.html

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  8. Do I see sunglasses on your head and regular glasses on your face? I do that too and get laughed at by my family but I don't care.
    We also take pictures at funerals because when else is everyone together and dressed nicely? oh dear.

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    1. Anonymous5:06 PM

      My family was just at a funeral and, in the midst of all the condolances, someone said "Well. Your family certainly cleans up well." It was so sincere and lovingly said, I just burst out laughing. It is one of those times were we do make an effort. --Cathy K

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  9. I am a funeral laugher as well. A Death Laugher? Are you my Voldemort? Seriously though, dark and inappropriate humor is the only way to survive. That game sounds so fun and love love luuuuuuuurve the photo. :)

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  10. Ha! This is similar to a game my best friend and I play with a J. Peterman catalogue called "What the Hell Is It?" One of us opens to a random page, reads the full description of the item, and the other has to guess what on earth they're selling there. Game enhancer: dramatic accents. You're welcome.

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  11. Yukking it up at a funeral is very appropriate. Reminds me of that quote from Steel Magnolias "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

    I challenge you not to laugh at this clip of Mary Tyler Moore at the funeral of Chuckles the Clown.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92I04DkMEps

    Seems you are in good company (and everyone knows how much you loved your friend).

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  13. Anonymous5:34 PM

    I'm sure you will erase this. But I have followed you for a long time. I still don't understand you. And now I am certain I never will. YOU look lovely. What do you mean you "yukked (ing) up a funeral"? Who does that? Just going, even in pijamas is enough. I don't understand why your daughter gravitates towards being masculine while your son sort of moves towards being feminine. Her tie wasn't lost on me. Is this something you promote? As much as I try to understand this "movement" or "culture", I can't. I don't get "it"? No VW camper, not hut, no welfare stamps. Just harvesting greens from the yard for salads and playing board games that you promote. What is your message? Do you have one? I'm waiting for something you might say at Speakers' Corner, Hide Park, London. But, it never comes.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, "anonymous" it is abundantly clear that Catherine's message is lost on you.

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    2. This is the strangest, most nonsensically hurtful comment EVER. And of COURSE it's anonymous! Sigh. Of course. Move on, Anonymous! Obviously Catherine has plenty of devoted fans of her beautiful writing, delicious recipes, talented and gorgeous family, and hilarious/kind/winning personality, without you. Gah. The Internet! Eye roll.

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    3. p.s. of course I was NOT talking about Sarah Gibson's comment, but about the comment to which Sarah Gibson was also replying.

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    4. Allyson2:56 AM

      Wow, really? Birdy wearing a suit is gravitating towards being masculine? And Ben moves towards the feminine? Seriously? What does that eve mean? Being more comfortable in a suit than a dress isn't "masculine". Long hair isn't "feminine". The kids have their own aesthetic styles; they always have. How exactly could Catherine be "promoting" this? Ben is 14. Do you really think Catherine could force him to keep his hair long, even if she wanted to?
      I don't even understand the rest of your comment. Food stamps? Camper? What the what?
      Catherine does not have a message for you. She has beautiful writing, delicious food, and a lovely family. Since you don't "get" that, please don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

      Delete
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  15. Thank you for your friendship and the time you spent. Those moments changed my day — heck, the rest of the year and then some. I appreciate your faith and perspective.
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  16. Wait, Ben's taller than you? What the hell? Who let that happen?

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  17. OMG just ordered the paper catalog! Hope I don't get 20 of them. Kids would like the 85 ft military obstacle course for $12k but it's bigger than our yard...

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