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Column: Looking for that perfect Christmas in July gift?

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I was only half-done making fun of the summer edition of the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog last week when my column ended. Here’s a look at some of my other favorite gift choices.

World’s smallest umbrella: I’m not sure, but I think a lot of folks got the wrong idea about exactly what they were buying. I went to the website where people commented on various products and consumers were saying things like: “This umbrella did not keep me dry”; or “It’s too small”; or “It barely covered my head.” Hey, the description said: The world’s smallest umbrella. What did these people expect?

10-foot-high jumping stilts: For $495 you can purchase a pair of these spring-loaded shoes that propel you 10 feet in the air, allowing you to perform death-defying feats that will land you in the hospital. On the very same page is an ad for “Gentlemen’s Plantar Fasciitis Business Casual Shoes.” Why they didn’t combine the items in one big buy-one-get-one-free deal is beyond me. Don’t these people do any market research?


VW bus tent: This is a tent in the shape of a full-size vintage Volkswagen bus. Now, let’s all try to figure out why a family that’s going camping — folks who love the outdoors — would want other campers to think that their entire clan is sleeping holed up in a 40-year-old bus. Here’s a better idea. Let’s build a Volkswagen bus that looks like a pup tent. That would be a bigger seller.

Solar lounge chair: This lounge chair uses mini solar panels to support a USB port, which can then power your cellphone or iPad. There is a sun-powered misting device and a hydraulic recliner switch. The chair syncs with your Bluetooth, allowing you to listen   to audiobooks.

I am not a believer in capital punishment, but I must admit this looks like the most environmentally friendly way to fry someone in an electric chair. By the way, the manufacturer alerts the buyer that it takes four hours to charge the chair. If you have PayPal, it takes about four seconds.

The best inflatable bed: The description begins with a consumer report that says: “Many models are deflated after 24 hours.” This also sounds like a description of Miss Indiana the day after she lost the Miss America contest. HS says this is the most comfortable inflatable bed you can buy, making it about as comfortable as the least comfortable inflatable bed you can buy.

Talk-back mimicking tomcat:

This furry animatronic kitty repeats what you say, but in a cartoonish voice, then it whines, grunts and snarls. If you get tired of the harangue, Hammachler Schlemmer notes (and this is an exact quote from the brochure): “Tap the cat on the top of the head until he is coldcocked into submission with the sound of chirping birds and a cuckoo clock.” The item requires three AAA batteries and a demented personality.

Shark bait sleeping bag: And finally, here’s one of the few items left over from the Christmas catalog that I reported on last fall. It’s a life-size shark sleeping bag.

The brochure photo shows a toddler snuggled inside the bag with only his head sticking out of the shark’s mouth.

According to HS, this neat gift “devours children with shark-induced slumber facilitating restful sleep even while the child is being digested.”

Imagine that — they still have some left.

Want to hear more? Don’t worry, Christmas is coming soon.

Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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