Today in the mail I received the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. What a brilliant collection of crap you just don't need. The Wireless Multiplayer Poker Game ($60, a much better value than, say, a deck of cards), The Best Nose Hair Trimmer ($25, and available for immediate shipment, thank goodness), Or the Animatronic Roommate ($120...I think I had several of those at CMU, but back then we called them design majors).
But this year, two items in the catalog caught my eye. First was the USB Remote Controlled Race Car ($50 in the catalog, but on sale for $19.95 on the web!). You plug it into your computer, and use an on-screen steering wheel to drive the car around your desk. It has a range of three feet. Anyone seen my desk lately? I think an off-road version would be a little more useful.
This one, however, takes the cake. It's the Fish Agility kit. Now, at $40, this is an absolute necessity. I mean, how long it's been since that goldfish of mine has done anything useful? Most of the time he just swims around, eating my food, pooping, and looking pretty. Big deal, I have kids that do that. I want my fish to actually serve a purpose. At last, I can teach that Blood Parrot Cichlid of mine to fetch! to score a goal! to go outside and retrieve the newspaper! I hear version 2.0 will include tools to teach my algae sucker how to do my taxes. I'm going to hold out for that version, a bargain at any price!
Okay, the moment I finished writing this post, my 8-year-old daughter just informed me that her class is buying one of these and the whole class will spend the next semester training their classroom goldfish to shoot baskets. I'm speechless.