All The Bits And Pieces

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time of year where we’re barely into November but the Christmas decorations are already up in the stores, carols are playing on the radio, the fireplace is merrily and virtually burning on the flatscreen, and the Bits and Pieces gift catalogue has arrived. And nothing says the holiday season quite like a cheap plastic puzzle box or a pantless garden gnome.

But just like every year, tucked in among the pornographic elves, the interminable pages of jigsaw puzzles and the novelty socks, there are always a few treasures. So without further ado, here are my favourite top 5:

1) Night Vision Binoculars:

For 39.99, you can “see a little bit more in darkness” with these night vision goggles that allow you to “hone in on any desired object”. Exactly WHO are we marketing to here? Someone sitting in their room at night, honing in on desired objects like, perhaps, the young pretty neighbour next door? The description also says these binoculars are “perfect for spying or just keeping track of what goes on in the night”:

Wife: Honey, it’s 3 o’clock in the morning. What are you doing?
Husband: Nothing.
Wife: But you’re sitting here in the dark with a pair of binocul—hey, are you spying?
Husband (affronted): No! I’m just keeping track of what goes on in the night, thank you very much!
Wife: Oh, well that’s normal.

Apparently, they come with a Velcro headband that “fits most”. It doesn’t specify most WHAT, but I think we can all guess.

2) Screaming Flying Monkey:

This is the official mascot of 2020. 

3) Personalized “Hide Your Stash” Cylinder:

This ingenious invention is a small metal cylinder made out of “waterproof aluminum” (as opposed to the kind that gets really soggy when wet) and can be used to hide your “treasured possessions or emergency medicine”. The best thing about the cylinder is that you can personalize it with your own name. The stupidest thing about the cylinder is that it comes with the word STASH already engraved on it:

Robber: Stick ‘em up. Give me your stash.
Victim: But I don’t have a stash!
Robber: Nice try. It says Michael’s Stash right there on that cylinder you have attached to your belt. Hand it over.
Victim (despondent): Oh, my treasures!
Robber: Ooh, is this weed? Nice stash, man! Thanks!
Victim: How did it all go so wrong?

4) Beard Baubles:

As if things aren’t bad enough, now men can decorate their beards with tiny Christmas tree ornaments, thanks to Bits and Pieces. If the Screaming Flying Monkey is the official mascot of 2020, then Beard Baubles is the Seventh Sign of the Apocalypse, right after the release of the Four Horsemen. According to Saint John, “I saw the beast with 7 heads, 10 horns, and 12 beard baubles coming out of the sea.” It was prophetic. Of course, Saint John also said, “If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed”, so some of his prophecies were a tad self-evident.

5) Weener Kleener Soap:

This is on the same page in the catalogue as the fibre optic Christmas tree and kitty cat slippers, and it really blows the whole family-friendly vibe out of the water. This soap is shaped like a donut and is designed to have a manpart inserted through it for the purpose of personal hygiene which, according to the package, has “never been so stimulating”. It also boasts that one size fits MOST men.

Husband: Hey, this dang Weener Kleener doesn’t fit my weener! It’s all loosey-goosey and whatnot!
Wife: As I’ve long suspected, you’re just not like most men. Sigh.

All of the information on the package is also extremely sexual and doesn’t bear repeating here, but I’m sure you can imagine. My favourite part is the warning at the bottom that if the Weener Kleener becomes stuck, “soak the area with cold water”, I assume to provide the necessary shrinkage. To quote George Costanza, “I was in the pool!”  

I perused the entire catalogue and the only thing I’d even consider is the tin of “bacon bandages”, mainly because it says there’s a prize inside the container. But if the prize isn’t ACTUAL bacon, I want my damn money back.

 

 

Sonic Boom or Bust?

Last week, Kate and I went out shopping for “cute fall sweaters”, because the weather here has suddenly gone from heat wave hot to bone chilling cold, as it does here in Canada, and if there was a prize for the country with the most ridiculous weather, we would win every year. Don’t complain to me about YOUR heat—we have that. And your rainy season? We have that too. Arctic vortex? Absolutely. Can we have all three things in the same 48-hour timeframe? You bet your ass we can. And we’ll throw in some fog just to make driving even more exciting and dangerous.

Anyway, Kate and I went shopping, which was tremendous fun, because we did that thing where we each put on something, count to 3, and come out of the change room at the same time like Ta-da! and then compliment each other on our fine fashion choices. We hit the checkout with several cute sweaters then went out to the car. I may have mentioned my car on a couple of occasions—it’s a black 2013 custom Chevy Sonic Turbo with a red trim kit and racing stripes. I adore it, and it only has a little over 80085 kilometres on it (not quite 50, 000 miles, but that doesn’t look as fun on a digital readout), which isn’t bad for a 7-year-old car.

 

As we approached the car though, I noticed something on the windshield, something which was, more precisely, tucked under the windshield wiper. It was a piece of notepaper torn out of a notebook.

My heart immediately sank, thinking that someone had hit my car in the parking lot and left a note either of apology—“I’m so sorry I hit your adorable car. Please forgive me”—or of defiance—“Your stupid, albeit adorable, car was in my way and I had no choice but to hit it. Next time, park somewhere else”—but in neither of these scenarios was there anyone standing around looking sheepish or angry, holding insurance papers. I pulled the paper out from under the windshield wiper with trepidation and turned it over. Written on the paper were four words: Ontario Sonics On Facebook.

My sunken heart rose again, like a ship that had hit an iceberg, floated down to the bottom of the seabed, and was then winched back up by one of those other ships that they use for documentaries on shipwrecks and treasure and whatnot, and to make a long analogy short, I went from worried to excited. A Facebook group JUST for Chevy Sonic owners? I mean, I’ve never been a club-type person—I don’t suffer from FOMO, the fear of missing out, as much as I have a FOBI-a, which is the fear of being included. But still, I’d always secretly envied those people on motorcycles who always give a knowing wave when they pass someone else on a motorcycle. And now, I could be just as cool, nodding my head approvingly or flashing my lights as I passed another Sonic on the road (although it’s often hard to tell if a Sonic is approaching you until it’s close enough to read the tiny chrome nameplate).

The second we got in the door, I raced over to the computer to look up the Ontario Sonic group on Facebook. And after a few minutes, I came to the undeniable conclusion that it doesn’t exist. Cue heart sinking again, like it was a shipwreck full of treasure and whatnot, and the winch that was bringing it up to the surface of the ocean had suddenly snapped because Carl, the guy responsible for keeping the winch all lubed up, had a hangover and had forgotten to oil it, or whatever you do with winches anyway. There were several things that came up in my search: Ontario Antiques and Collectibles, Master Gardeners of Ontario, and Ontario Tornado/Blizzard Watch (it has hundreds of thousands of members, proving my previous point about the weather here, where you have to simultaneously watch out for tornadoes AND blizzards). And all I can do now is wonder: Why would someone write the name of a non-existent Facebook group on a piece of notepaper in turquoise ink and then put it under the windshield wiper of my car? Or…was it a suggestion? Perhaps the anonymous admirer was hoping that, with some encouragement, I would CREATE a Facebook group for Sonic owners. Alas, I would be the worst person to start a Facebook group, mostly because I would never go to the meetings I’d scheduled and would bring gluten-free cupcakes to the bake sale. But I would JOIN such a group if it existed. And now I’m off to join the Ontario Tornado/Blizzard Watch group. I hope they like gluten-free cupcakes.

(Update: Apparently there IS a group–thanks to Babbitman for his intrepid sleuthing. I’ve sent a Join request so we’ll see what happens next. To be continued…)

(Update to the Update: I am now a member. It’s a very strange group and I don’t think I want to be part of it. Someone posted asking about a “catless downpipe” and another person is asking for help to perform a “second cat delete”, and all I can think is these people hate cats…)