The Most Insane (but Awesome?) Gifts For The Holidays

by Marshal M. Rosenthal

There are gifts you get and gifts you get yourself. But when was the last time that shirt, tie or picture frame excited the imagination — or sent a tingle down your leg? But if you get — or get yourself — one of these 5 gifts, the whole neighborhood will  know something’s up because of all the screaming. That’s because these gifts may be insane but they are absolutely AWESOME!

KRONOS Counter-Rotating Dual Platter Suspended Turntable

Price: $28,000

You know how they say that vinyl records sound “warmer” and more inviting than digital CDs? But they also say that vibrations from the platter that the record is on ruins the sound. So remove that sonic distress by using dual counter-rotating platters; the record rests on the top-most platter spinning clockwise while a bottom platter spins in the opposite direction. Of course you’ll need Swiss-made DC motors, optical sensors and a super-smart CPU to make sure the speed stays stable and consistent. This one does.

Why it’s nuts: Like HDTV, ultra-fidelity is wasted on all but the purest of purists. We’re not saying it isn’t amazing, and definitely useful to the select few, but at some point for most people, good enough is great, no? This is like buying an SR-71 Blackbird for your friend who just got a driver’s license.

Barbecue Dining Boat

Price: $50,000

Barbecue Dining Boat

Manservant costs extra.
via Hammacher Schlammacher

Kicking back on the lake with a cold one while waiting for the barbecue grill to heat up is one thing, but what if the BBQ is taking the trip with you? That can happen since this boat has a 23” charcoal grill at its center, surrounded by seating for 10 with recessed plate and beverage holders. Meanwhile the rechargeable electric motor chugs away at a sedate 2-1/2 mph for up to 8 hours. And if it’s sunny, just mount the overhanging umbrella, forget about cooking and load the grill up with drinks instead.

Why it’s nuts: You have a lake, you have a raft, you have fine dining — who wouldn’t want to combine all those things? But at some point you have to realize you’ve purchased an outboard motor to, at most, drift a quarter-mile from the shore with five other people and sacrifice any convenience of a handy kitchen to increase the level of waterfront in your waterfront dining. You’re better off making some kind of hoity-toity prix fixe dining experience that takes select couples out to a romantic corner of the lake and feeds them at a 1200% profit.


Price: $99


“Boss, Barb’s doing that thing again. Yeah, in the break room. I’ll get a newspaper and shoo her outside.”

The Ostrich  sticks his head in the ground to avoid being seen, but you’ll do one better by sticking your head in this pillow cocoon filled with hypoallergenic stuffing. Now you can tune out the world, take a nap or just zone out no matter where you’re stuck, with the pockets over the ears giving your hands something to do while muffling ambient sounds. And yes there’s breathing space provided for your nose and mouth.

Why it’s nuts: Not saying it doesn’t work, just saying you’re trading utility for dignity. No matter how ubiquitous they become, there will never be one product-placed in a 007 movie, and isn’t becoming James Bond something every broken human being should aspire to every day?

Ocean Pearl 2 Submarine

Price: $2,000,000

Ocean Pearl 2 front view

“Target spotted! Tonight the crew of the Barbecue Dining Boat brunches in Davey Jones’s locker!”

Captain Nemo liked to ram his submarine into boats, but you’ll do better just tooling around looking for the Little Mermaid as you and a passenger go on a 6-8 hour tour beneath the waves. Electric motors push you along at 3 knots, with a depth rating of greater than 153 meters. All the amenities, like built-in Carbon Dioxide Scrubbers and stand alone emergency breathing units are included, but it’s the panoramic view afforded by the transparent spherical cabin that’s the biggest draw of all. It beats watching TV all hollow.

Why it’s nuts: It’s a freaking submersible! Unless you’re a protagonist in Bioshock, or work in marine biology research, these are exclusively the accessory of the rich & evil. You can probably add pincer claws to it for an additional couple of blood diamonds.

Porsche 917 Le Mans Raceway Slot Car

Price: $125,000

Porsche 917 Le Mans Raceway interior

And inside all those little tiny cars are entire AUTO FACTORIES!
via Hammacher Schlammacher

Steve McQueen knew the panache of a Porsche 917 and now you can too — even if the full-sized replica conceals a 1:32 scale wooden slot car track based on the iconic Le Mans raceway and designed with realistic landscaping, period signage of the 70’s and working streetlights. It comes with 12 limited-edition slot cars, controlled by dual analog racing controllers. When the racing is over, close the cowling and bask in the glow of the same color scheme and race number from the classic 1971 movie, complimented by working headlights and taillights and genuine race-worn GT prototype tires on aluminum three-piece rims.

Why it’s nuts: We’re not saying it’s not cool, we’re just saying most people’s toys don’t cost as much as most other people’s houses. And it’s a model. You know what a model is? A toy with no moving parts or fun.

We bet the theme song's playing in your head right now.

We bet the theme song’s playing in your head right now.

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture. Visit his website.

Mark Setrakian in exo-suit with training robot used in the time challenge featured in the premiere episode.

Mark Setrakian in exo-suit with training robot used in the time challenge featured in the premiere episode.

Marshal found the sound of the future in Christopher Tyng’s 31st Century Beat and learned how to build his own battle bot when he interviewed Sy-Fy’s Mark Setrakian in Slaughterbots: Roll Out!

More from Marshal Rosenthal

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