Courtesy of Continental Airlines
We flew to Phoenix from Mexico City and back again with Continental Airlines. They obviously thought we needed to see a bit more of the United States along the way since they scheduled us to go first to Houston (Texas) before Phoenix (Arizona) and on the way back, via Denver (Colorado). Flying is not one of my favourite activities but on these flights, there was some rather interesting in-flight entertainment and it was tucked away in the pocket under the fold-away table, along with the sick bag. What's more, it was free of charge.
Let me admit it now. On the flight from Houston to Phoenix, I couldn't stop laughing. I'm so grateful to Continental Airlines for kindly supplying all passengers with the Sky Mall magazine. I don't usually even open these magazines but out of curiosity or boredom, (or both), I took a peep. Before long, my eyes had gone from the size of ping pong balls to tennis balls. I couldn't believe what I was looking at. In fact, Sky Mall was full of the most hilarious, ludicrous, inventive, useless, crazy, mind-boggling items I'd ever heard of. Turning over page after page, I began to smile, then got the giggles and it wasn't long before I was laughing out loud, much to the dismay of the rest of my family. Soon we were pointing out the most preposterous inventions to each other and there was no way we could smother our hilarity. The names and the descriptions were almost as funny as the pictures.
Sky Mall magazine
To start off with, there were binoculars to "see the color of an eagle's eye from a mile away" (if you can hold them still enough), special bouncing shoes to help you "live pain free and filled with energy" with "more juice than your energy drink" and video pens providing the "easiest and stealthiest way to capture" all sorts of secrets. Moisturizing Gloves and Booties, only $50, were "lined with a gel that moisturizes dry, rough skin", Golf Ball Locating Glasses (I'm not kidding!) contained a pigment that helped you find your lost golf balls, and the "All Day Gel-Seat" kept you from getting sore sitting down all day. ClearKeys reduced "the clickity-clack of fingernails on keyboards" and the Marshmallow Shooter, a "clever pump-action device, which shoots sweet, edible miniature marshmallows over 30 feet!" (10m to those who work best in metric!) was going for a mere $24.95 and was suitable for ages 6 and up. Whoever has thought up these products and their captions? And whatever is going to happen to those marshmallows? Are they going direct down someone's throat?
Golf Ball Locating Glasses
Then they were advertising Slankets - blankets with sleeves and foot pockets so you could snuggle up with your coffee, book or laptop on the sofa and keep warm - "hands-free while keeping those tootsies toasty!". It even had a Siamese version with 4 sleeves to cuddle up with someone else. Next came the "Rejuvenating Oxygen Bar with Turbo Air Flow which you can plug your own music into while you breathe clean, fresh, oxygen-enriched air anytime". A bit further down, you were invited to soak up the benefits of natural sunlight indoors with the Sunlight 356 device which replicates the sunshine you obviously don't get in the office. On the next page was something that looked like some sophisticated ski goggles but which turned out to be Migraine Magic glasses with massaging magnets to increase the blood circulation, leaving you "refreshed and revived, ready to take on the world". Boy, I think I need a pair of those.
Slanket - blanket with sleeves
Oxygen bar with music
But there was still lots to come. As if reading my mind, which at that moment was thinking about ideas for useful Christmas presents for next year, the magazine temptingly offered the following:
- A Handheld ECG Monitor to "spot check for cardiac arrhythmias on the golf course, while shopping or in front of the TV".
- An ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer to "stop smelly shoes".
- Reversible Leggings to "reduce inches and tone skin without diet or exercise".
- A shampoo supplement to "undo the causes of gray hair at the cellular level". In other words, "it restores your natural hair color from the inside out!"
- A ball-like device to "keep your costly padded bras from getting damaged by the agitator or dryer. They come out clean and looking round, full and perfect - every time!"
- A Leaf Lugger, basically a tarpaulin sheet which you sweep the leaves onto, with a rope to close it, "preventing the leaves or lawn debris from escaping during transport".
- A solar-powered nightlight to light up your house number so "the pizza guy will never miss your house again".
- A grocery list organizer" so efficient, it even spells spaghetti for you!"
I'm trying to decide who on earth I could give these fabulous gifts to. I've already allocated some of these in my mind.
Ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer
In the health and fitness products, you could purchase the strange-looking Epiphany Massager to massage those hard-to-reach places, like your own back. To "fulfill your destiny to have Royal Skin!", there was a special facial mask or you could choose to use "My-Happy-Feet" soft fluffy fabric socks to align toes and rejuvenate tired feet. A full page was given over to the Portable Oxygen Concentrator in its stylish bag, just the thing for the older couple who want to spend the night out dancing, complete with oxygen tubes inserted into their nose. Or the Air Massage boots which help you feel better in minutes. Think I could do with a pair of those on the plane. The Stamina Inversion Stretch Station, a mere snippet at $219.99, would probably be useful after the flight. You turn yourself upside down, to relieve back pain and stress. Wouldn't like to get stuck in one of those! And the Sit Fit is for those who don't have time to exercise (because they're busy watching TV). You can just sit and watch a movie or use your computer while moving your feet on this piece of apparatus. Wouldn't it just be easier and cheaper to go for a walk down the road for a few minutes?
Royal Skin facial mask
Portable Oxygen Concentrator and nasal oxygen tubes
Air Massage Boots
Inversion Stretch Station
The items began to get even weirder. For pet lovers there was a Mixed-Breed Test Kit to "find out the breed of your dog in 2 to 3 weeks" so you can "create a more targeted and effective behavior training plan". Or a Toilet Training System so you can "potty train your cat faster than most people can potty train their kids". Pampered pets could enjoy special bed warmers, or programmable 5-meal feeders. There was even a special Hidden Litter Box for cats which pretended to be a "real clay pot with an attractive, artificial decorator plant". Apparently, no-one can imagine what it really conceals. But what about the "Toilet Dog and Cat Water Bowl" which costs about $40 and looks like a miniature toilet, keeping "your pet well hydrated and your home cleverly decorated". Who on earth has dreamt up these products?
Hidden Cat Litter
Toilet Dog and Cat Water Bowl
For those who have absolutely everything, there were still a few unusual ideas for the kitchen and dining events. For example, with the Original Crispy Bowl's Swoop n Scoop feature, you never have to eat soggy cereal again. You can "keep the crunch in your breakfast munch" and it's easy to eat anywhere - "in bed or watching a movie". You never have to peel a hard-boiled egg again if you have Eggies. Just crack your raw eggs into the Eggies, boil and twist off the tops! Then there was the Vintage Express Aging Accelerator which converts ordinary wine into vintage wine. This is done by extremely powerful magnets which "realign particles in beverages" so you can "enjoy the delicious flavor of 10 years of aging in just seconds". Could you imagine what would happen if you put your face in there for a few seconds? Or if you left the wine in overnight? I can't believe anyone will buy this?!!
As for outdoor activities, there was a wonderful picture of a whole family on their Street striders, keeping fit together and taking up the entire width of the pavement, or the man skating along with his Orbitwheels, looking rather wobbly. For night-time skating activities, you could purchase a glow-in-the-dark skateboard. Apparently, "parents will appreciate the safety of the lights when watching their kids at night." Another man could be seen sailing along in a park using a Sail Skate which looks like it would be a real handful on a windy day and even greater fun to watch.
Family using street striders
Other items had names which left my imagination running wild as to their use and who to buy them for:
- The Lady's Plantar Fascitis Slippers
- The Peaceful Progression Wake Up Clock
- Ceramic Pet Fountain
- Oscillating Table Tennis Trainer
- Barking Dog Deterrent
- Headache Relieving Wrap
- Brobdingnagian Sports Chair
- Roll-up Electric Piano for $99.95
- Cast-Iron Giraffe Toilet Paper Holder
- Skeleton Gnomes for the garden
- Squirrel Thinker
- Stainless Steel Wallet
- Personal BBQ Branding Iron
- The Keep Your Distance Bug Vaccuum
Headache Relieving Wrap
Roll-up Electric Piano
Giraffe Toilet Paper Holder
BBQ Branding Iron
But I was particularly fascinated by the series of products which might interest those with a hair-thinning problem. With "I-GROW", a helmet-like device you put on at home, you were guaranteed thicker, fuller hair in weeks and if not, you would get your money back. Or maybe you could try the I-Restorer, with its moveable laser dome, a "hands-free laser hair therapy treatment to combat hair loss. All done from the privacy of your home, while watching TV". Or there was the X5 Hair Laser which you massage your head with and gives you "thicker, fuller hair in as little as 8 weeks." If that didn't work, you could try Viviscal, a dietary supplement "to strengthen and nourish thinning hair whilst promoting existing hair growth".
I-Restorer helmet in use
But perhaps the most eccentric solution was Toppik, to give you "a full head of hair IN 30 SECONDS - adds hair to your hair". You shake this wonder product "over any thinning areas and thousands of colour-matched hair fibers instantly blend with your existing hair". Hilarious! I'm picturing this happening! The description went on: "Magnetized with static electricity, they bond so securely that they will stay in place all day and night, even in wind or rain" and "it is totally undetectable"!
Before and after pics - Toppik users
By now, we had unwittingly started imagining people wearing those stylish air massage boots and My-Happy-Feet toe aligners, moisturizing gloves and a hair-restorer helmet, breathing in fresh oxygen to the sound of music, wrapped up in the blanket with sleeves and sipping their wine, aged 10 years in seconds. Meanwhile, their dog would be lapping water from the miniature toilet and the cat would be using the "hidden" cat litter box in the corner. Oh my! We were cracking up!
I could go on and on but I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone who might be flying with Continental Airlines soon. My recommended reading for your flight is definitely the Sky Mall magazine. The best in-flight entertainment I've seen for a long time. In fact, I'm looking forward to my next flight with them!