External Combustion Kraftwagen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Not Christmas. That, as Dr. Lecter would say, is incidental. No, I’m talking about the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogues that arrive and have completely batshit insane items that are far too expensive for anyone normal to own. Not to say you wouldn’t necessarily want to own them–and not to say the entire catalogue is like that–but all I’m saying is that there’s probably a lot of higher priority items on your list. Like buying a private island. Or funding research to grow new livers.

Anyway, each year I look forward to the catalogues arriving so I can peruse the madness. And now I’d like to share some of my findings with you. Nothing that ranks up there with the sheer excess of the life-size X-Wing Fighter from one year…and that may have been the same year they had a gypsy wagon. Yes.

First…the catalog itself is designated “Last Minute Gift 2011.” Last Minute? It’s mid-November! No idea. Anyway, here we go…


Hands Free Hair Rejuvenator

1. The Hands Free Hair Rejuvenator. You know, for when you need your hair rejuvenated and you’d like to still be able to practice juggling penguins. As the catalog states, “This is the head-worn device that rejuvenates hair hands-free using the same proven photo-biostimulation therapy employed by medical professionals.” I would quote more of it, but I have no idea what in the hell they’re talking about. LEDs and light stimulation and at $699.95 why wouldn’t you just get a Lite Brite and stick it on your head instead? Although it would make an awesome Cerebro, wouldn’t it?

2. The External Combustion Kraftwagen (pictured up top). Or as we like to call it, “If Rox Was CEO of Mattel.” Per the catalogue, “This is the fully operational car powered by an external combustion Stirling engine.” A car that is 6.5 inches long, 3.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches high. It runs for twenty minutes on a burner of ethyl alcohol. If you click on the link, you’ll find they have a video. Once you start it up, it sort of goes…and that’s very cool, don’t get me wrong. But for $999.95, I’d like it to turn into a robot. Or Simonize my car. Or something. Along those same lines…

Flame Eating Engine

3. The Flame Eating Engine. Because, again, sometimes you’ve had a party and there’s a bunch of flame still out on the buffet. You don’t want it to go to waste–what would Hephaestus say? Enter The Flame Eating Engine. Per the catalogue, “This is the working flame eating engine that uses the same thermodynamic principles as the original engine invented by Henry Wood in 1758.” So excess flame at parties has been a problem for two and a half centuries. Who knew? Again, there’s a video at the link which will explain what it does much better than the description, which again, makes my eyes go cross. Your price? Again, $999.95.

Classic Storefront Champion Ride

4. The Classic Storefront Champion Ride. Okay, all kidding aside? This is pretty awesome. You look at that and you’re probably thinking what I thought initially: well done replica. Nope. “An authentic unit meticulously refurbished to its original state, including Champion’s leg markings and his wide-eyed, open-mouthed expression that implies excited urgency, it uses a 110-volt electric motor to replicate the same one-minute “riding” motion it provided more than a half a century ago, while an audio system plays an excerpt from The William Tell Overture.” Seriously, I wasn’t even that crazy about these rides as a kid and even I recognize that’s awesome. That certainly explains the $6500 price tag. Sadly, no video on the site.

Personalized Backyard Ice Rink

5. The Personalized Backyard Ice Rink. Otherwise known as what Leigh wants for Christmas. Bear in mind: this is a kit for making this. They don’t actually send rink engineers to your house to set it up for you. Let’s not get nuts. Sizes go from 18 feet wide and 25 feet long to 25 feet wide and 50 feet long. “The plastic tubes, ground stakes, and tarp are easy to assemble and you can paint logos or face-off circles, a goal crease, and other hockey rink lines using the included paint, brushes, and templates.” Three days of temperatures below freezing and the water in the tarp becomes your rink. The largest model? $699.95. Body checking your little brother in the comfort and convenience of your backyard? Priceless.

And last but not least, the most mental of the mental…

6. The Bionic Bopper Cars.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Yes. Yes, what you’re seeing is exactly what it is. “Similar to bumper cars, a driver up to 300 lbs. sits inside the robot’s protective steel cage cockpit and uses a thumb-triggered button on two independent joysticks to activate two pneumatic-powered, tire-tread-fisted arms, which throw upward punches at an opposing robot’s head.” I don’t know about you, but I want to see the prices drop on these so you can we see bouts involving pyrotechnics and spring-loaded robot fists and mini-catapults that hurl clusters of ferrets. And you want to see that too. The price for a pair? It’s a bargain. $17,000.

So there you go: a brief trip into some awesome and yet insane gifts from those people at Hammacher Schlemmer. They don’t have an affiliate program so if you do wind up buying one of these, 1) tell them we said hi and B) adopt me.