Don't Be Cruel

Greetings, one and all, from sunny and (relatively) warm California! Oaktown, represent, yo! Well, Emeryville, represent, yo, anyway. The flight was early as hell but blessedly uneventful.

Do you want to know what is my very favorite thing about flying? Is it the half a Coke and seven pretzels they grudgingly give you? Nope. The seats built for hobbits? Nope. The best thing about any airplane journey is the opportunity to peruse the SkyMall Catalog. Usually, the various SkyMall merchants average a pretty solid 90 out of 100 on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. Hammacher Schlemer tells you about the results of rigorous testing of robotic vacuum cleaners at the "Hammacher Schlemer Institute," one of the most highly respected scientific institutions to be associated with sellers of absurd yuppie gadgetry. Frontgate offers you no fewer than seventeen different ways to store and conceal your garden hose. You can get your favorite NFL, MLB, NCAA or NASCAR logo on everything from wristwatches to bedroom slippers to billiard balls. Every retailer (save, perhaps the fine, highly motivational folks at Successories) offer you a high-tech bed for your dog and a fancy water-circulating drinking fountain for your cat.

But today, my friends, the current issue of SkyMall provided a solid-gold 100 out of 100 on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. The Sharper Image (who else?) is offering, as you can see in the above photo, the "Alive Elvis Animatronic Robot." The description in the catlog describes in exacting and creepy detail how you, the proud owner of this insane way for rich Baby Boomers to throw away their disposable income now that the kids are out of college, can "touch his soft hair and sideburns, stroke his skin, feel his 1968 leather jacket, look into his clear baby blues." So, yeah...the Sharper Image has produced some sort of fucked up Elvis fetish robot, apparently.

Yes, for the low, low price of $299.95 - No, it's now sale-priced at just $199.95, a bargain at twice the price! - you can have your own lifelike Elvis robot with a variety of control options. Press "Monologue" on your remote and RoboElvis will, "share moments from his life and times." Choose "Song" and he'll sing one of eight of his many hit songs. Choose "Sing Along," and you can sing along with "The King." And if there's any lingering doubt that this is a fucked up Elvis fetish robot, there's the fourth option, "Alive." If you choose "Alive" on your remote, "Elvis comes to life — checking you out and talking you up."

And because I know you've been wondering, the rumors are true, "you can plug in your iPod® or other audio source to enjoy your own music in sync with Elvis."

Whatever the fuck that means.