Thursday, May 2, 2013

Flying again!

We have just started our book touring for DEADLY HARVEST.  Last night we had a terrific event at the Ivy Bookstore in Baltimore and tomorrow we have a weekend of Malice in Bethesda.

What a tour usually means, of course, is getting onto a plane and flying.  My flight from Minneapolis to Baltimore took me via Atlanta (to save money, of course - and to get more frequent flyer miles).  With all that time in the air, I pulled out the SkyMall magazine to see what is currently hot for consumers.  It was on a similar flight a year ago that I discovered SkyMall magazine and blogged about what it had to offer your pet dogs (Airplane Reading).

This time I paid more attention to what it could do for me.

As an aside, what always strikes me when I return to the States is how fear-driven television advertising is.  Most adverts seem to focus on fear of aging, fear of impotence, fear of being dirty, fear of being sick, and so on.  In an obscure way, I find quite appealing adverts for medication that spend about 90% of the allotted time listing the potential side-effects, many of which are far worse than the ailment the medication is intended to treat.

So it came as a big surprise that the cover of SkyMall offered a Jorg Gray diver's watch with Swiss RONDA movement.  The surprise was that it trumpeted that it was "water-resistant" to 200 metres (about 650 feet) and had no disclaimer that diving to that depth almost certainly would result in death unless you were in a bathysphere, in which case your watch wouldn't get wet.  I sat back for a few
minutes, while nibbling the few peanuts that trickled out of the minute packet I was offered for lunch, wondering why Jorg Gray would ever want to know if the watch was resistant to such great pressures given that you can't dive to that depth.  And how would he check anyway?  Hire a boat and a long fishing line and dangle the watch into the depths?  And how would he know when it was 200 metres deep?  He'd have to also dangle a depth meter.  Then how would he read that meter?

As you can see, this idle speculation can take you into interesting places and certainly helps pass the time.

But not enough time, unfortunately, so I had to continue reading SkyMall.

The first advert directed at improving one's life was for a pill called Lipidryl.  To quote: "This super compound may have produced more impressive weight loss results than any other substance ever tested."

That is a strong claim, so the scientist in me read further.  The scientific reference was to an article "Ngondi JL, Matsinkou R, Oben JE. The use of Irvingia gabonensus extract (IGOB131) in the management of metabolic syndrome in Cameroon."  In parentheses at the end of the citation was a note that this was submitted to the journal Nutrition in 2008.  Submitted, not publish.  Hmmmm.  Then there was the caveat at the bottom "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."

Is Lipidryl for me?  I don't think so.

Next was the hand-held ECG Monitor to spot check for cardiac arrhythmias on the golf course - "for those uncertain times when you're not quite sure what's going on."  Spend $229.99 for a device for my unlikely hole-in-one (I've never had one!) or, as my friends would snidely say, that would run out of batteries through constant use?  I decided to pass on this one too.

Then I read about Sani Squares Multi-Pack to safeguard against germs on the road.  "Whether you need to change clothes in an airport restroom or are ready to take a comfortable nap on a flight, Sani Squares quickly and efficiently create a personal barrier from germs, bacteria or fluids left behind."  I may consider buying this.  I am not so worried about the germs and bacteria, but if it will let me take a comfortable nap on a plane, it would be worth five times the $12.99 price.

I am running out of space here, but I was struck by the number of items you can strap to your body.  If you put them all on at the same time, you would be ideally suited to being the protagonist in a horror movie.

For maximum benefit, you would have to start with the Magic-Benefit Panty (if you are female) or the Bottoms Up Boxer Brief (for males).  The former enhances a woman's bottom naturally and has ultra-flat seams for the invisible look, and the latter is designed to lift a man's rear without padding.  Both have removable padding for you to adjust to your preferred contour.

Then to prevent slouching and stress you can buy the Straighten Up Posture Corrector - it "retrains, realigns and relaxes the wearer to avoid slouching, hunching and stress.  In my circle of friends, wearing one of these would cause you to be the butt of many jokes.

If you are still in the dating scene, taking off all of these accoutrements in front of a new date could give rise to a situation in which the above-mentioned portable ECG monitor would actually be useful.

And if you are indeed stressed, you can put on the SomaWave Helmet, a space-age looking device that will send you into a state of euphoria.  "It's like having thousands of tiny fingers stimulate your scalp!"  But please don't use it while operating heavy machinery because the helmet may produce trance-like states of consciousness.

I'm getting sleepy just thinking of the SomaWave Helmet, so I will read about the anti-aging formulas, the natural relief from sinus congestions and allergies, and the compression products from Instaslim some other time.

However, I'm almost tempted to read about Toppik before I go to bed.  To apply it you "simply shake the fibers over any thinning area (on your head)."  When you do this, thousands of color matched hair fibers instantly blend with your existing hair. "'Magnetized' with static electricity, they bond so securely that they will stay in place day and night even in wind, rain, or perspiration."  It's only $21.95, but it is not clear whether it comes with a salt shaker.

Anyway, I'm now off to bed - a little fearful of all the things I mite find there.  But my fear won't be long-lived because I have just ordered Protect-a-Bed's Ultimate Bedding Protection Kit for $239.99.

Stan - Thursday (safely in bed)


  1. Stan, Hilarious! I have been reading this in a waiting room. My giggles are evoking suspicious glances from some of those around me. I am sorely tempted to suggest they log onto MIE and enjoy this too, But this is New York. Such behavior might result in my being thrust into a head massager and wiped down with Sani-squares. We, your readers, need no mechanical means to achieve a state of euphoria as long as we have you!

  2. 'Butt of many jokes." I can't wait for Crimefest to prove your point:)

  3. I too noted the skymall add and the 2008 submitted reference. Its going to a make a great slide for one of my talks
    Shlomo Cohney