2014 has been a tumultuous year full of Ebola scares, random shootings, and rampant racism, sexism, and classism. And seeing as how, Santa be damned, all that might keep on happening right through this holiday season, The A.V. Club has decided to embrace our fear instead of cower behind it. Thus, our two-part 2014 holiday gift guide is packed full of terrifying and highly contagious items available to the masses right this very second. Each item below can absolutely kill you and/or your loved ones given the chance, but isn’t knowing you have to leave a lasting legacy part of the fun of holiday cheer?
So grab some duct tape and some surgical masks and lock and load for part one, below. Part two will run tomorrow—assuming the world doesn’t blow up before then.
Gwar iTaste MVP vaporizer ($10.99 and up)
Combining the wickedly metal act of vaping with the smooth, satisfying taste of Gwar, the thrash band’s officially licensed vaporizer wraps and liquids promise to make the act of sucking on an electronic cigarette more brutal than ever. The wraps come in eight designs, each highlighting a different Scumdog of the Universe—including the late Oderus Urungus (R.I.P.)—and covering one of Innokin’s variable voltage vaporizers. The e-cig juices, packaged as more Gwar-appropriate “fluids,” come in flavors reminiscent of what Gwar showers its fans with at shows. “Bloodbath,” “Jizmoglobin,” and the self-descriptive “Spew” are among the various ways you can put Gwar in your mouth and, if Gwar has any say in it, choke on it and die.
How will it kill you? Lung cancer. Or loneliness, after society shuns you for emitting clouds of candy-scented “Spew” in public spaces.
Known antidotes: Catching a glimpse of yourself vaping in the mirror; those asshole Stephen Dorff ads for Blu; ordinary cigarettes you smoke like a normal person.
Sensationalist news headline: “Gwar Vaporizes Mankind”
Did they send us one? They did, and you can watch us try it out right here. [Sean O’Neal]
Gremlins knit sweater ($85)
With Slayer and Wu-Tang Clan holiday sweaters already on the market, it was only a matter of time before the novelty pop cultural holiday sweater trend expanded into film as well. This Gremlins sweater, the result of a collaboration between Mondo and cheeky-sweater specialists Middle Of Beyond, features both adorable, kind-hearted Gizmo and his mischievous Gremlin counterparts, knit into the sweater in film-correct sunglasses and Santa hat. (There’s even a popcorn bucket on one Gremlin’s head.) Hopefully, by this time next year we’ll have an official knit apparel option celebrating that other Christmas classic—Die Hard.
How will it kill you? Seriously, don’t spill eggnog on it—not because the Gremlins on the sweater will come to life, but because the combination of toxic cleaning chemicals, an unventilated laundry room, and Aunt Barbara’s generous pour could lead to a tragic inhalation accident.
Known antidotes: Sunlight, of course.
Sensationalist news headline: “Acrylic Critters Spread Yuletide Fear”
Did they send us one? Yes, but we had to go down to this weird antiques store in Chinatown to pick it up. [Katie Rife]
Batman: The Complete Television Series limited edition Blu-ray ($175)
A decade or so of somber Batman movies has made the general public forget that Batman can be funny, and that’s a damn shame. The Batman TV series, which aired from 1966 to 1968, ran for three seasons and “only” produced 120 episodes, which have never before been collected on home video. In its day, Batman was not just a ratings hit, it was a pop cultural phenomenon, even inspiring a Batman-themed nightclub in the suburbs of San Francisco where a young Sly And The Family Stone cut its musical teeth. Warner Bros. packages the show—restored in HD—spread over 13 Blu-rays (or DVDs) with three hours of extras, including Adam West’s script notes on the first two episodes, a “celebrity roundtable,” the behind-the-scenes featurette Hanging With Batman, and a documentary on Batman memorabilia. (Speaking of which, the Blu-ray set comes with a Hot Wheels Batmobile and a deck of Batman trading cards.) Rejoice, Bat-fans, for your high-camp hero has arrived to save Gotham from his own seriousness.
How will it kill you? Besides the choking hazard posed by the Hot Wheels replica Batmobile (watch out for that trailer hitch), watching too much Batman has been known to inspire recklessness in regards to joy buzzers, trick umbrellas, and big comical bombs with wicks sticking out of the top.
Known antidotes: Repeated viewings of Batman & Robin could convince Adam West that maybe Batman shouldn’t try to be funny.
Sensationalist news headline: “Holy Holiday Homicide, Batman!”
Did they send us one? Gosh, yes. [Katie Rife]
Box Brew Kits’ Double Barrel ($279)
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include at least one alcoholic item on this year’s Gift Guide. Box Brew Kits’ Double Barrel kit lets aspiring home brewers cook up two gallons of their very favorite ale (ingredient kits are an additional $20) in the most stunning fashion. While some brewers are using white plastic buckets and old dirty bottles, Box’s brew kit is all wood and pristine glass. The Double Barrel set even comes complete with eight lovely cobalt blue bottles with rubber stoppers à la something you’d see on a Grolsch. Kits can be monogrammed, with the whole effect being really stunning, actually. These are craft brewing kits for the craftiest artisans, ones that can be displayed and shared with no shame at all.
How will it kill you? Ignoring all the dangerous, dangerous glass, maybe slowly, considering you’ll no doubt grow to love making and thus consuming beer, ensuring a slow (albeit delicious) crawl toward death via liver failure.
Known antidote: The 18th Amendment.
Sensationalist news headline: “Brewing Beer At Home? What’s next? Making bombs?”
Did they send us one? They did, including all the ingredients to brew up a batch of our own Bootlegger Rye IPA. [Marah Eakin]
From 1961 to 1966, Mister Ed served as the most absurd show in a wave of sitcoms with fantastical premises: Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, The Munsters, and The Addams Family had nothing on Wilbur Post and his chatty palomino. Based on Walter R. Brooks’ talking horse stories and produced by Francis director Arthur Lubin, Mister Ed was essentially a TV translation of Lubin’s big-screen talking-mule adventures. Ed speaks, but he’s mostly heard by Wilbur, who must bluff his way through encounters with suspicious neighbors and one memorable tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Shout! Factory set marks the first DVD issue of the show’s sixth and final season, which opens with a multi-episode arc that finds Ed entering the field of international espionage. With source material like that, is it any wonder Saturday Night Live surrealist Jack Handey was once attached to re-imagine Mister Ed for Fox?
How will it kill you? Through an inner-mouth infection, caused by excessively licked gums that may or may not be coated in peanut butter.
Known antidotes: Coarse materials applied to optic side of discs, glue factories, the CBS “rural purge” of the late 1960s.
Sensationalist news headline: “Horse Causes Corpse, Of Course, Of Course”
Did they send us one? Neigh. (No, they did, but we can’t refuse a horse pun.) [Erik Adams]
Sriracha lip balm ($3.99)
Sriracha is having a moment, and danger of the only U.S. factory that makes the spicy Thai sauce closing down due to offensive smells led to stockpiling the flavorful, addictive condiment. The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman described his love for “Rooster Sauce” in a cute comic, extolling the condiment’s ability to turn crappy food into a “tasty firestorm.” The Oatmeal’s store sells mostly Inman’s artwork, including the “Dear Sriracha” comic, but the Sriracha lip balm adds a decidedly realistic element. While Sriracha is marvelous, the lip balm reduces the flavor to a sharp, unpleasant Sriracha-like smell and wax. It’s Sriracha for the Sriracha obsessed, and makes an appropriately gross gift for those people who can’t get enough of the Rooster Sauce.
How will it kill you? Let’s just say that ingesting this stuff might melt a hole through your organ parts.
Known antidotes: Prayer. Pray to your rooster god that the California Sriracha factory never ceases production.
Sensationalist news headline: “Sriracha Overdose Kills Everyone”
Did they send us one? Apparently The Oatmeal is a fan of The A.V. Club, which might explain whey we received six Sriracha lip balms in the mail. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]
The Offerman Rocket ($160 for the board; $229 fully loaded)
Known for playing a character with a handsome mustache and manly demeanor, it’s not surprising that Nick Offerman, better known as Ron Swanson from Parks And Recreation, has his own woodshop. The Offerman Woodshop is a collective of woodworkers based out of Offerman’s space in East Los Angeles, crafting items out of fallen trees from Northern California. While it’s best known for its wooden mustache comb, the shop recently added a beautiful skateboard to its offerings. The skateboard is good looking and sturdy, much like Offerman, and has an edgy racing stripe down the middle of the otherwise plain, white oak exterior. We tested it out in the office early one morning before co-workers could see us and laugh at our lack of skills, and the board feels very secure and thick under our feet.
How will it kill you? Ron Swanson may kill you with his icy stare if you ruin the simple aesthetic of the fine, hand-carved item.
Known antidotes: Show great stoicism when injured.
Sensationalist news headline: “Pawnee Official Responsible For Roadside Deaths On Attractive Skateboards”
Did they send us one? Yes, the “fully loaded” edition, complete with trucks and wheels. Until it’s warm enough to ride home, it will remain proudly displayed in the office. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]
Eat, Drink, And Be Murray Leggings ($69.99)
There’s one piece of clothing iconic to Bill Murray’s character in The Life Aquatic, and that is the pair of leggings featuring his head, with a red hat on it, for some reason. The uptick in Murray’s career combined with cold weather means there’s never been a more crucial time to adorn your legs with Steve Zissou’s face scattered across a sky blue background.
How will it kill you? It is not at all helpful in the fight against pirates.
Known antidotes: Opening your heart to family and the joy of adventure.
Sensationalist news headline: “Jaguar Shark Devours Murray Legs”
Did they send us one? Yes, and we wear the leggings under our pants every day. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series ($149.99)
Any good A.V. Club reader should know about Pee-Wee’s Playhouse—and not just about the show’s basic existence, but about its undeniable greatness. And while DVD and VHS reissues of the show have been flying around for years now, this new Blu-ray set basically turns those versions on their respective ears, considering the show was actually shot on film, something viewers could never really see until now. Packed with four hours of brand-new interviews with the show’s cast and crew plus some behind-the-scenes footage, this is an essential purchase for anyone who’s ever seen, loved, or even heard of the show.
How will it kill you? With whimsy, if Billy Baloney doesn’t get to you first.
Known antidotes: Preparing taxes. Shopping with grandparents.
Sensationalist news headline: “You’ll Never Believe What Pee-Wee Herman Has Done Now”
Did they send us one? You know they did and what am I? [Marah Eakin]
Woojer wearable woofer ($99)
Have you ever sat on a train listening to music or on your couch playing video games and thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I could actually feel the vibrations in this audio!” If so, you probably already donated to the Kickstarter that raised $140,000 for Woojer, a tiny metal box that connects between your audio source and headphones, and rumbles along to the sound. You can clip it to your shirt or belt, then crank up the music to feel it. If you’re nuts, you can even get the “extreme” version, which is actually just two Woojers that you place on different parts of your body. The press release makes it sound a little more intense than it actually is, with lines like “enables an immersive augmented reality sensation.” It’s more like a pleasant thump. But maybe I haven’t found my hotspot yet—Woojer recommends the sternum, lapel, or just above the butt pockets.
How will it kill you? Its high-energy waves will melt your skeleton and vital organs, causing you to vomit up your innards to the tune of “Forgot About Dre.”
Known antidotes: There’s actually a little red light on the Woojer that tells you when it’s getting too loud, which also means you’re getting too old.
Sensationalist news headline: “Woojer Wear A Device That Could Kill?”
Did they send us one?: Yes, ya feel me? [Josh Modell]
From the time he first wrote a song for his beloved mama to the time he died in the bathroom, Elvis Presley always had one thing in the back of his mind: branded bedding. And now his dream has come true, with this line of comforters and pillow shams. You’ll never be “lonesome tonight” with Elvis’ face and autograph staring back at you. The set comes in either “guitars” or “dancing Elvis” styles, with the latter in a deep shade of sultry red. You can’t help falling in love with them, or on them, or under them.
How will it kill you? Your increased libido might actually cause your latest flame—Marie’s the name—to set the bed on fire. Either that or drugs.
Known antidotes: Diet, exercise, willpower.
Sensationalist news headline: “Elvis Is Back… From The Bed?”
Did they send us one? Yes. Thank you, thank you very much. [Josh Modell]
Vinyl Me, Please subscription ($23 a month)
The vinyl boom is very real right now, with LP sales going up, up, up, as every other category of music sales goes down, down, down. But how can new or busy record nerds keep up with what’s hot? (Other than reading The A.V. Club, of course.) Vinyl Me, Please aims to help, sending new copies of records that are either buzzing or classically essential every month, as well as both a cocktail recipe and art print inspired by said record. November’s record, for instance, is Perfume Genius’ excellent Too Bright, pressed on limited edition colored vinyl and accompanied by a recipe for something called “The Elixir.” Other Vinyl Me, Please selections have included Madvillain’s Madvillainy, The War On Drugs’ Lost In The Dream, and Thelonious Monk’s Paris 1969, all of which would be great contributions to any LP collection, be it burgeoning or already established.
How will it kill you? Ever hear of the brown sound? Imagine that in a lock groove.
Known antidotes: Earplugs and/or extensive wax.
Sensationalist news headline: “It’s Coming In The Mail And You Can’t Stop It”
Did they send us one? We got a bunch of copies of the Perfume Genius record, with promises of more to come. [Marah Eakin]
We all live in Chicago, and thus all our dogs live in Chicago. Since it gets cold here sometimes, they occasionally need to wear little coats, just like the rest of us. The thing is, dog coats are too cute. They’re all like covered with adorable bones and pirate flags and look like little Fair Isle sweaters. What about the dogs that aren’t preps? What about the dogs that prefer a more death-positive look? Enter Party Animalz’s Black Metal Dog apparel. We’re partial to the Warmer, since we’re in Chicago, but the company makes both a Black Metal Dog Vest and a whole heavy-metal-centric line of canine apparel as well. They’re definitely no nonsense, but don’t really scream “I’m a sad crust punk dog on a rope,” which is good. Nothing says holiday spirit less than that.
How will it kill you? The warmer can unleash your dog’s Satanic side, and we all know what happens then.
Known antidotes: Pat Benatar. Taylor Swift.
Sensationalist news headline: “Could These Dogs Be Worshipping The Devil?”
Did they send us one? Fuck yes they did, and little Harley Morgan-Eakin, the baddest French bulldog in all the world, looks amazing in it. FTW. ACAB. (All Cats Are Bastards) [Marah Eakin]
The age of mixtape making has long since passed, but we’re all still holding on to a few gems made by old loved ones—or, at least, we remember them being gems. It’s hard to know without having a Walkman, and even then, there’s a danger that the old ass machinery could snap the tape, thus leaving your memories tragically unmemorialized. Ion’s Tape 2 PC not only connects to stereo systems, but to any computer via a USB cable, thus allowing users to rip their favorite decades old love songs and punk demos straight to Mp3. It’s surprisingly easy to do, even for the most technophobic tapeheads, and once it’s done, it’s done forever. It’s not as romantic to hear those tunes from the cloud, but at least there’s no danger that you’ll lose those sentiments to time, fire, or a grabby and enthusiastic toddler with a penchant for exploration.
How will it kill you? With tears and/or regret.
Known antidotes: Mix CDs, Spotify playlists, or anything exceptionally soulless that kids these days are into.
Sensationalist news headline: “Could Your Old Mixtapes Spontaneously Combust?”
Did they send us one? They did, and the office has been putting it to good, sappy use. [Marah Eakin]
Twin Peaks is due to return to TV in 2016, but reminders of the 1990s’ strangest TV obsession have hung around for years. Prominent among them is Twede’s Café in North Bend, Washington, the stand-in for the show’s Double R Diner and the home of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper’s favorite dessert. David Lynch devotees no longer have to make the pilgrimage to the place “where pies go when they die” in order to sample Twede’s wares—the “food explorers” at goldbely.com will bring pop culture’s premier cherry pie to you.
How will it kill you? Well, it was the cherry pie at the Lamplighter Inn that Cooper said “will kill ya,” so Twede’s Pie should be relatively safe, its perishable state aside. That said: The way the characters of Twin Peaks wolf down pie at the Double R, the series’ true killer might be diabetes.
Known antidotes: Lap band surgery; pro-cake propaganda; an Albert Rosenfeld-level resistance to the charms of small-town life.
Sensationalist news headline: “Damn Good Pie—Damn Good Death?”
Did they send one to us? Yes. Carefully wrapped in several layers of plastic, one Twede’s pie arrived in The A.V. Club offices—and was pronounced “eaten” no more than 30 minutes later. With a filling that’s a few shades brighter than the curtains in the Black Lodge, the real attraction here was the crust, its dense flakiness preserved by Goldbely’s shipping methods. The pie came out of the box tasting like Norma Jennings just pulled it out of the oven. [Erik Adams]
While there can never be enough really strong women on and involved in the production of TV, these days we’re doing all right. Lena Dunham’s Girls tells the fictional story of some struggling Brooklynites, and actual struggling Brooklynites Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson star in Comedy Central’s Broad City—a show that’s produced by Amy Poehler, star of Parks And Recreation. And those ladies are all the best. Certainly, big-ass tattoos would be fair tribute to these gals, but those are expensive, permanent, and look weird on old skin, so we’re partial to Sara M. Lyons’ amazing line of pop-culture-infused nail decals, which honor everyone from Dolly Parton to the aforementioned Dunham, Poehler, Glazer, and Jacobson. The details on the mini-transfers are amazing, with the Girls decals boasting a dancing Dunham and a skeptical Marnie, and the Parks ones featuring not only Poehler, but also Retta and a box full of “Treat yo self” cupcakes. Delightful.
How will it kill you? There’s no real proof that either these decals or the nail polish used to apply them aren’t made of some horrible chemical that can seep into your skin and kill you slowly and painfully over time. Beware.
Known antidotes: Acetone. Biters.
Sensationalist news headline: “Are You Strong Enough? Woman Enough?”
Did they send us one? The fine people at Emerging Thoughts sent us every single set, meaning we’re rocking Dolly Parton on our hands—like she’d want—and the Golden Girls on our toes. [Marah Eakin]
Bruce Springsteen’s seven early albums—Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Nebraska, Born In The U.S.A., and so on—have long been considered seminal LPs, and while they’re certainly not rare at record stores, they’ve never been really available together in a fancy LP box set—until now. Perfect for dads, uncles, moms, aunts, friends, brothers, sisters, and anyone both living and breathing, The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984 is beautifully remastered and comes with a 60-page book full of rarely seen photos, original press clippings, and copies of memorabilia from Springsteen’s first decade as a real life recording entity. To put it bluntly, this Boss reissue is pretty boss.
How will it kill you? With raw, unsullied emotion and song.
Known antidote: Cynicism. Ronald Reagan.
Sensationalist news headline: “Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Boss?”
Did they send us one? BRUUUUUUCE! [Marah Eakin]
The Belgian Dart Set ($122)
Darts are long-honored bar sport, and this handcrafted wooden set is an exceptional piece, allowing the game to be taken into your own home. Smaller than most sets, this Belgian number originated in Flanders around the time of 1792, and has a simple scoring system, with a bullseye earning players 50 points. The next ring is 25, followed by 20, 15, 10, and 5.
How will it kill you? When you’re stuck inside and can hardly resist the allure of some healthy competition, things quickly go awry with a dart to the eye, or worse yet, you become pinned down by an arch nemesis.
Known antidotes: Avoid Dory’s Bar at all cost and don’t feed that fuzzy creature after midnight. You will regret it.
Sensationalist news headline: “Dart Deaths On The Rise”
Did they send us one? Bullseye. [Becca James]
You Oughta Poe Top ($34.99)
Edgar Allan Poe is a literary luminary. Known for his macabre writing, his words have been haunting English literature classes for years. His mad genius persona has been appropriated for popular culture for just as long, and to this day, over 160 years after his death, he continues to influence many mediums.
How will it kill you? Once obtained, it will haunt you day and night. You’ll love the shirt, with that casual racerback cut. Then, one night, it will dawn on you that a literary idol of yours has been reduced to a fashion accessory. You’ll hide the shirt in the back of your bottom drawer, but… do you hear that? That sound. What is that sound?
Known antidotes: Death is the antidote to life. You have no hope. Just embrace it.
Sensational news headline: “Tell-Tale Tank Top Drives Owner To Murder”
Did they send us one? Yes, replied the Perfect. [Becca James]
The Wonder Years complete series ($249.95)
From 1988 to 1993, The Wonder Years was one of the most popular shows on TV, achieving a spot in the Nielsen Top 30 for four of its six seasons. Puling nearly everyone’s heartstrings with its bildungsroman brilliance, the entire series is now available in an insane 26-DVD collection, contained in a mini metal locker just like the ones from Kennedy Junior High, and it’s bursting with added features.
How will it kill you? The nostalgia-overload will crush your heart and you will be found dead on your living room couch, dehydrated to death after too many tear-jerking moments from Kevin & Co.
Known antidotes: The Internet, home to Marilyn Manson/Josh Saviano conspiracy theories and information about Fred Savage’s sexual assault case. Nothing brings you back to reality like a does of the awful truth.
Sensational news headline: “After All These Years, Wonder Is What Killed Them”
Did they send us one? Yes, and it’s insane. [Becca James]
Astro A50 wireless headset, Halo Edition ($300)
The “Chat Headset” that comes with the Xbox One is not as chintzy as the one Microsoft included with the Xbox 360, but it’s still low-rent. Better to shout obscenities at your far-flung foes in luxurious comfort with the Astro A50. The package includes the headphones (with attached boom mic) and a small mixer/amplifier that you hook up to your console; the mixer beams audio to the headset through some manner of wireless sorcery. (It’s not entirely wireless, as you still have to connect the headphones to your controller, but that goes for every Xbox headset.) The new Xbox One Edition is the first Astro headset that’s explicitly compatible with Microsoft’s latest machine, and the Halo Edition is the same headset tricked out in Halo-specific livery. It’s ideal for a fan of, say, Halo. Astro also sells A50 packages tailored for other consoles; the only significant differences are the included cables and the color of the trim. And you can plug almost any source of optical audio into the included Mixer, so there’s no reason it has to be a gaming-only affair. With the right hookup, the A50s can serve as general-purpose wireless headphones for the living room or even a ridiculously plush smartphone headset.
How will it kill you? A shrewd hacker could beam a deadly sound into the headphones, the same way the villain killed a guy at the United Nations at the beginning of Live And Let Die. So avoid the U.N. while wearing the A50, especially if you are a minor character in a James Bond film.
Known antidotes: Earplugs, ear removal, taking the headphones off.
Sensationalist news headline: “Could Your Headphones Be Deadphones?” [John Teti]
“Weird Al” Yankovic: The Compleat Al ($16.97) and the 25th anniversary edition of UHF ($18.97)
With the release of Mandatory Fun earlier this year, “Weird Al” Yankovic once again thrust himself gently into the collective consciousness, proving that 30-odd years into his career, he’s still as vital as ever. But how did Yankovic become the accordion-playing weirdo the world knows and loves now? The Compleat Al investigates that process—albeit in mockumentary fashion—taking fans and viewers behind the scenes as Yankovic grows up, figures out life, and becomes the comedic musician he is today. Shout! Factory’s new DVD release even includes versions of eight “Weird Al” videos, including “Eat It,” “Like A Surgeon,” and “Dare To Be Stupid.”
And while The Compleat Al might be for the Yankovic newb, UHF is for the experienced. A complex and amazing movie that’s in the midst of its 25th year, UHF not only reminds viewers what it was like to live in a world with just two TV dials, but also of what things were like before everyone knew who Michael Richards was. Plus it’s a really fucking good movie. The new Shout! Factory Blu-ray not only boasts the film, but also commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, production stills, Easter eggs, and video of a retrospective panel from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. For fans of this movie—or, really, of all movies—it’s a must.
How will it kill you? Both the Blu-ray’s paper sleeve and the actual discs could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Known antidote: Lameness. A clogged accordion.
Sensationalist news headline: “Could UHF Be The Best Thing “Weird Al” Yankovic Has Or Ever Will Make?” (Note: This headline is especially sensational if you’re “Weird Al.”)
Did they send us one? There are indeed a few making their way around the office. [Marah Eakin]
Mr. Boost portable charger ($32.99)
Everyone’s run into some sort of harebrained situation where their cell phone absolutely dies right when they need it to work the most. Mr. Boost is both a helpful and adorable solution, especially considering this portable charger looks pretty much like the charming little milk carton in Blur’s “Coffee And TV” video. Pick it up for your most forgetful, Britpop-obsessed pal.
How will it kill you? By quietly turning into a sentient being while you’re sleeping and strangling you with your own iPhone cord.
Known antidote: Power outages. Responsible adults.
Sensationalist news headline: “It’s Little, Adorable… And Deadly?”
Did they send us one? Absolutely. [Marah Eakin]
Mozie “Hugo” bicycle ($1449)
Part of our annual gift guide adventure has become this simple question: “What will companies send us for free?” When we asked for one of these gorgeous Mozie bicycles—“the leader in fashionable, upscale transportation with European vintage spirit”—the odds seemed low. But then, at the last possible minute, here comes the Hugo in a big ol’ box, mostly assembled and ready to ride. They weren’t kidding: It’s built like a tank, with nice leather seat and handlebars, crazy rear-disc brakes, and a butler that drives you around on it. (Not included, ever.) It feels like riding around on a grown-up version of Pee-wee Herman’s bike. BUT… They’re probably going to make us send it back. Would Santa do that?
How will it kill you? Sadness, from having loved and lost.
Known antidotes: Not giving it back.
Sensationalist news headline: “This Tale Of Treachery Is Off The Chain!”
Did they send us one? Yes, as above. We’re hoping they forget, though. [Josh Modell]
R.E.M, 7IN-83-88 ($110) or a brick from St. Mary’s Steeple ($100)
It’s a very R.E.M. holiday season, with the release of a six-DVD set (which we’ll cover elsewhere) and this crazy box of 11 7-inch singles from the early part of the band’s career. Rather than scouring the Internet for oldies like “Can’t Get There From Here” or “Wendell Gee,” you can conveniently buy a box containing all of them, and then inconveniently stand up and flip or change the record every five minutes. (Be honest, you’re just buying these to look at them, which is fine.) Or you could spend about the same amount of dough for a piece of R.E.M. history: A charity is raising funds by selling bricks from the church at which the band played its first-ever show. (They come with a certificate of authenticity and everything.) The R.E.M. fan in your life probably needs both things.
How will it kill you? The brick could “fall on me,” or I might die from exhaustion having to get up and flip the records after every song in the box set.
Known antidotes: Giving.
Sensationalist news headline: “The Sky Is Falling, Says Popular Local Band”
Did they send us one? The vinyl box, yes, and we donated for a brick, because we’re not heartless bastards. [Josh Modell]