During takeoff and landing, we’re required to shut off all electronic devices. Since Metallica and David Cross are no longer able to entertain me via iPod, what am I going to do? Look for and use anything around me.

I could read the safety procedures pamphlet, but I’ve already read it every single other time I’ve flown.

Fortunately, there’s SkyMall!

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of having your paranoia and fear of death put to the test by being in an airplane (“airplane” is actually Latin for “fucking death trap”), imagine the boring magazines in a waiting room at the doctor or dentist. But imagine there being only one magazine instead, and it being filled absolutely to the brim solely with products to buy, ranging from kinda dumb to absolutely worthless.

When you’re bored, in the air, can’t do anything, and have nowhere to go… why not buy shit! I present to you the first annual (which really doesn’t mean anything, because the catalogue will be the same next year) SkyMall Awards! Eight whole categories to waste your time reading!

The “This Looks Awesome At First Glance But It’s Actually Sort Of Ridiculous” Award:
While about 20% of the entire magazine could be placed in this category, the panel (me) toiled in a long voting session and chose:

The Bacteria-Murdering Lightsaber

Put those badass Jedi warrior motherfucker skills to use and rid the galaxy of Darth H1N1 and legendary bounty hunter E. coli. Bacteria and viruses (virusii? virii?) ain’t got shit on your mad wand-waving skillz. Also useful for when you realize that your husband didn’t wash his hands before chopping up the lettuce.

[Note: I’m not really sure if killing bacteria counts as murder, but it sounds more BA in a title.]

The “Congrats, You Look Like An Idiot” Award:
Dog Snuggies may be technically a good idea in concept. In practice, your neighbors dream of murdering you and/or blowing up your house. Instead, they just plot of ways to get you evicted, like normal people, but I digress.

The Relax ‘N Nap Pillow

“Our Relax ‘N Nap Pillows allow you to rest face down in blissful comfort! The memory foam provides proper spinal support plus patented air portal ventilation.”

I’ve read that over and over, but I still don’t know what the fuck this thing is supposed to do. I don’t care, though; even if it cured diseases, I’m not going to subject myself to that level of humiliation. Look at that woman. Look at her.

“Added Feature: Using this product will ensure without doubt a complete inability on your part to get laid, man or woman, ever again. Just give up now. It’s too late.”

The Bullshit Award:
This award is presented to the item in the catalogue that I find to be the SkyMall equivalent of those late night infomercials about making a million dollars every minute from the comfort of your own home by simply designing eBay listings or some shit.

Unfortunately (or fortunately; I don’t fucking know) there were too many to pick just one.

Bullshit Award #3 – Magic Brainwave Game

If you’ve ever watched X-Men or Star Wars or whatever and thought to yourself, “Hey! I want to do that!” then we’ve got the perfect gift for you. As long as you’re comfortable wearing your nerdy fantasy on your head in the form of a stupid-looking, futuristic asshole headband thing, you too can turn electronic fans on and off with primitive brain commands in order to move a ball around an obstacle course.

Happy telekinesis. You just spent $100 on this.

Bullshit Award #2 – Electronic Feng Shui Compass

From Wikipedia: “Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but has since seen an increase in popularity, particularly in the United States, where people believe anything that sounds like absolute horseshit.”

I wanted to come up with a stupid nickname for this one, but it just isn’t possible. I’d call it the “bullshit detector,” but that implies that it detects falsehood, rather than the other definition of bullshit, being something like “nothing at all, but thanks for making us $80 richer.”

From the actual product description: “Working with electromagnetic energy, this handheld feng shui compass helps you support favorable conditions at home or in a hotel room. [SkyMall is not responsible for hotel managers getting pissed and racking up your credit card bill should this device malfunction and tell you to put the mattress in the bathroom and the TV out the window.]”

Bullshit Award #1 – Wine and Liquor Insta-Ticker!

My title is better because it rhymes.

Don’t know what to get that pompous, white, liberal asshole friend of yours who thinks he’s an expert wine taster? Did you major in philosophy and/or 17th century Italian literature and are bored on your way to the next bullshit hippy rally to protest the reduced funding of some obscure museum that the general public doesn’t give a shit about?

Now introducing SkyMall’s Wine and Liquor Accelerator! “Enjoy the delicious flavor of 10 years of aging in just a few seconds! Aging accelerators help recapture the exquisite taste of nature and duplicate the smooth, mellow flavor generated by years of you forgetting that bottle of overpriced wine you bought on the night of your prom, didn’t get lucky with anyway, threw in your garage, and re-discovered 30 years later.”

The Intriguing Award:
For the 3rd graders, “intriguing” is a $6 word that pretty much just means “sweet.” Also, why are you on my website? Can kids even read that early? There’s so much I don’t know.

Portable Solar Battery

To take a turn for the positive, this thing actually looks pretty cool. It opens up like a little itty-bitty laptop and turns solar energy (thanks, God!) into power for your phone, computer, iPod, vibrator, or portable toaster.

But just like anything else in the world that you can consider to be a part of the green energy movement, the technology is still expensive enough to where you may just be better off buying a second iPod instead of this fucking thing, which is really only useful if you’re outside a lot. And who are we kidding, here; if you’re the type to buy a solar battery, you probably – ironically – don’t see the sun all that much in your life.

The Necessity Award:
This award goes to the only product I even considered buying at all.

Bug Vacuum

From the product description: “Are you, like Adam, the author of the blog you’re reading, a complete chickenshit when it comes to insects, especially when you’re in a confined space (like a room or building of any kind) or when they’re coming straight at you like the buzzy little pieces of shit they are? Sure, you might even be able to toughen up and kill them with a flyswatter, but then what do you do with the corpse?”

“With the Bug Vacuum, flies, bees, spiders, and other insects get fucked up all to shit by a 22,400-rpm motor, sending them to Honey Hell or wherever bees go after death when they commit the mortal sin of entering your place of residence. Worth every penny of the $50, and we’re not just saying that because we’re selling it.”

Apparently other products have “vacuum bags that can serve as breeding grounds.” Imagine getting some OTHER bug vacuum product that just sucks them in but doesn’t kill them. You accidentally rip that bag open a week later while you’re taking out the trash and a swarm of 400 pissed-off hornets fly out of it to completely fuck your day up.

The “Oh, Come On, We All Know Who Is Going To Really Buy This Product” Award:
You see it, you read their product description, but you know they’re full of shit. You know what that thing is really being sold for, and to who.

Fire Escape Ladder

Alternately known as the “I’m 13 now, mom! You can’t tell me what to do! I know everything! I’ll show you, bitch!” ladder. Also comes in black, to match your unintelligent, teenage, angsty soul. Your mom used to sneak out of her room when she was a kid, and now, so can you. Because the nighttime crime rate has not increased at all in 30 years.

The “You’re Actually A Bad Person” Award:
All it takes is about a minute of thought and situation extrapolation, and suddenly, you’re kind of a dick.

Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent

Seen those little beeper things that mailmen sometimes carry that sends out a high-pitched signal to scare that stupid asshole’s rabid, unfed dog away so he doesn’t get his pants/leg/penis all tore up by the little shit’s razor sharp teeth?

This is sort of like that, only slightly different and a bit darker. It’s a birdhouse without the house. Or the bird. Actually it just looks like a birdhouse, and doesn’t function in any way like a real birdhouse. Don’t complain or write in to us when the birds in your yard get all pissed and revolt by shitting all over your Cadillac.

It automatically detects the sound of “a dog’s nuisance barking. When a dog barks within range of the birdhouse, it emits a harmless ultrasonic tone, inaudible to humans, that startles the animal into silence.” Your neighbors got one of those huge, angry mutts that do nothing but yap all night, and you want some fucking justice, right? What a bunch of assholes.

Until the dog gets conditioned after a couple of nights into never barking again, for fear of hearing that horrible, awful sound boring into his skull. The product even admits it: “The dog quickly associates its bark with the unpleasant sound which conditions him to curb this undesirable behavior.” You are cruelly punishing an animal for simply adhering to its natural instincts, most likely without permission of the dog’s owner.

Then, unbeknownst to you, while you’re sleeping “peacefully” after a hard evening of watching reality shows, the abusive husband – who the lady moved into witness protection to get away from – slips into the home, undetected, because you shut her burglar alarm (the giant, 150-pound German Shepherd) off.

Yes, you should feel bad.

The Awkward Award:
Anything that makes you tilt your head a little, cringe, laugh, go back to cringing, and then kinda look around the plane for dancing monkeys to see if you’re actually just dreaming, and then feel a little embarrassed because you realize that what you’re reading in this magazine is actually true… that’s what we’re looking for, here.

Two related items took the cake for this one:

Crusades Chess Set

I promise not to make shit up for this product’s description: “This Crusades set depicts the nearly 200-year religious battle between the Christians and Muslims.” Pretty straightforward! Want to reinact one of the most horrible conflicts in history? Whether you’re some religion-hating atheist, or a from-the-South “terrorist-hatin” racist, this chess set is perfect for you! What better way to convert someone to your religion than by inviting them over and kicking their ass with that “I beat you in four moves because I’m a fucking cheater and looked this strategy up online” move.

But if you think the Crusades is too historically minor of a war to deserve your chess set being modeled after it, and would rather take the awkwardness to unprecedented levels when inviting guests to your home, look no further . . .

WWII Chess Set

I wish I was making this one up.

“This WWII set features Franklin D. Roosevelt leading the American military against the German troops.” Yes, that’s right. You’ve played Call of Duty 7 enough to where you can practically speak German, so why not put ethnocentrism aside and see what it’s like to play from the other perspective! Now you can do just that – by playing as real, fucking Nazi soldiers.

This product can also be used to detect latent white supremacist leanings in your friends by simply asking them which side they’d like to play as. Now you can figure out which one of your co-workers wrote that shit all over the bathroom wall at the office!

Not pictured: The WWII Chess Set also includes about 200,000 Japanese-style civilian chess pieces that you can senselessly murder as the United States with the all-new “Atomic Bomb” chess move designed especially for this board. Performed similar to castling, only with a Queen and Knight instead of King and Rook. Not Included: Any sincere guilt at all over this literally “Nazi-like” genocide.

Well, at least they didn’t set one of the teams as the Jews. Even the crazy, bald, racist, skull-tattooed white guy who angrily pumps iron next to you in the gym would feel a little awkward with that one.

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