Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Stunt Zombie's Fingerhut Christmas Wish List!

Hey! Do you realize we're less than a week away from Thanksgiving? Crazy, right? It feels like it was just last week that we were worried about getting our Halloween costumes put together, and now we're trying to figure out what sides to serve with the turkey. Then, as quickly as the holidays are going, we've got maybe two or three more days until Christmas.

If you're anything like me, you've been working on a most important document, one that will set the tone for the rest of this year and the next. Ladies and gents, I'm talking about the Christmas wish list.

Every year, right around the end of October, my folks would start pressing me about what I wanted Santa to leave me under the tree. Living in the pre-internet age meant I would have to rely on TV ads,  newspaper flyers, toy inserts, and the big daddy of them all, the Sears Wish Book. Pages would be bookmarked, corners dog-eared, catalog numbers circled. I did whatever it took to make sure there was no confusion over what I wanted. It wasn't enough for me to just list "a bunch of G.I. Joes". I'd actually list each individual figure. If I'd had the means, I probably would have pasted photos next to each thing I wrote down. You didn't want to run the risk of getting something you already had, or even worse, getting a bootleg.

The days of the Wish Book are over, but there are still some companies producing paper catalogs, like Fingerhut.  They're not quite the same as other catalogs or websites since you can't purchase anything outright. You have to get a line of credit through them and pay for your stuff monthly. So, if you don't mind paying about 10% more on top of every other retail outlet, plus another 40% more for interest over 18 months, they might be worth a look. Otherwise, Fingerhut probably isn't the best choice for anyone.

However, today we're going to make believe that Fingerhut works like any other mail-order catalog and I won't be forced to finance a pair of Lee jeans for $7.99 a month. I'm also going to pretend that I don't have internet so all my gifts will be coming from this catalog. So, join me as I try to justify my desire for hundreds of dollars worth of stuff I don't need.

Figi's Standing Ovation Gift Variety 
Even at a young age, I had a fascination with the sausage and cheese gifts sets. There are dozens of different makers, but the Hillshire Farms sets were always synonymous with Christmas to me. If you've never seen one, just think of them as a fancier, adult Lunchable. The most basic sets come with a link of summer sausage, a block of cheddar cheese, and a sleeve of crackers. Some even include a little strawberry candy, for dessert, I guess.

The set I circled includes enough meats, cheeses, mustards, and sweet snacks to start your own delicatessen. They also work great if you have a spontaneous dinner party. You know how it goes, you're sitting around in your underwear when a dozen friends show up unexpectedly, wanting to hang out. Just pull the cover off Figi's Standing Ovation Gift Variety and your friends will think you're one classy sumbitch.

Part of the fun with these larger sets is seeing how many different combinations you can come up with. By my estimation, there are at least 10^25 different ways you can put everything here together. Some work better than others, I'm sure. I mean, I don't ever plan on dipping that chocolate covered cake into cheese or mustard, but if that's your thing, don't let me stop you.

Belgian Wafflemaker 

I have an unhealthy love of hotel breakfasts. A hotel stay could be the worst ever, but if I get a chance to load up on some Sterno heated breakfast foods, it almost always makes up for it. Sure, I love the platters of sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, and bacon, but the real stars for me are the Belgian waffles. That's why it kills me that most hotels seem to be moving away from the waffle irons, instead opting for what are almost definitely safer and less messy pancake makers. Yet another sign that civilization is on the decline. I'm sometimes tempted to have a celebration when I find a hotel that's still willing to let their guests give themselves 2nd-degree burns in the name Lord Belgian of the Waffles.

The version here doesn't quite bring the same sense of danger and adventure as the hotel versions, but it does give you variable settings and browning controls. I don't know about you, but I've been known to forget I had a waffle waiting for me, leading to things getting a bit crispy by the time I remember to pry it out of the iron. It's nice to know this waffle maker will likely turn off before my breakfast pastry gets well done. The cool touch handle is especially welcomed since I've been known to accidentally grab a hot frying panhandle when I haven't fully woken up. If I get one of these, the only thing I'll miss out on is waiting impatiently for the other guest to hurry up and flip the damn iron over.

Bounty Hunter Landstar Metal Detector Kit

I have had a lifelong interest in metal detectors, but I've never actually used one. I would see them advertised in Boy's Life, with the promise that you would find buried treasure everywhere you went. And if there was one thing I was obsessed with, it was finding treasure. I blame movies like The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for instilling me with the belief that I was one shovelful of dirt away from finding enough gold and jewels to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. I even went as far as pulling the foldout maps from issues of National Geographic and pretending they were pirate treasure maps. They never did me any good, because it's kind of hard to apply a map of Brazil when you're on the east coast of the U.S.

This kit comes with everything I need to get started finding treasure, including headphones, a digger, and a Pinpointer object locator, which seems like just another smaller metal detector. I guess it's for when you have to really get in there and detect something. I'd like to think that one of these would open a new hobby for me, but in all honesty, I'd probably mostly use it to try and find my lost car keys.

Bushmaster 24 pc. Knife and Survival Kit

I don't know too many men my age that weren't obsessed with getting their hands on one of those hollow handle survival knives after seeing Rambo. Everywhere you looked, you could find ads for them; gun magazines, Boy's Life, even comic books. All of them trying to sell you on a knife that would allow you to take on an entire backwoods police department or survive indefinitely in the woods with nothing but the matches and fishing line in the handle. One of my older cousins owned one that had a camouflaged handle, and it always fascinated me. It was heavy as a brick and dull as one too, but at that age, I felt like I was holding Excalibur.

Of course, most of those hollow handle survival knives were total crap. The majority of them cost under $20, so you really got what you paid for. I've known of a few people that had blades fall off the handles, or they lost all the little survival items when the cap broke off the handle. Speaking of the cap, most of them had a compass built in, so it's not like you could use it to drive stakes for tents or killing vampires. Also, most of the compasses on the ones I've seen plain didn't work. At best it would lead you in circles. Worst case it would lead you off a cliff.

I'm sure the one sold here is just as bad as those older knives, but I still kinda want it for the fun of it. Plus, it comes with a flashlight so you can use it to find the matches and fishing line when you accidentally open the handle and drop them on the ground. That's if you can find the flashlight after it falls out of the handle.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Bedding
I don't know that I ever had themed bedding when I was young. I take that back, I had Raggedy Ann and Andy sheets. That's it. No Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe, or TMNT. Granted, I can't really think of anyone else I knew that had themed sheets, and I was probably getting a little old for themed bed sets by the time I was into the Turtles, but that doesn't mean I didn't feel like I was missing out. I blame all those themed bedrooms in the Sears Wish Books. If I had met some kid that had a room like that, I may have tried to kidnap them and take their place. I bet the parents wouldn't have even noticed.

I was initially tempted by a set of Batman bedding at the top of the page, but I had to go with these because of the classic designs. It's been over 20 years since I've seen this version of the TMNT used on merchandise, so it was quite a shock to see them popping off a comforter in 2018. They almost have that "airbrushed carnival t-shirt" look. Like, I wouldn't be surprised to see that picture on the side of a bitchin' panel van. Preferably one that's also been painted to look like the Party Wagon.

By the way, if you bought the comforter and sheet set for a Full sized bed, it'd cost you about $150. No better way to show that you're a fan of the heroes in a half shell than dropping almost two bills on a bedspread.

Lego Star Wars X-Wing Fighter
I can't make up a Christmas wish list and not pick something that combines two of my all-time favorite things, specifically Star Wars and Lego blocks. Besides, other than some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle bedding, I think there's just too many "grown-up" gifts on the list.  Fingerhut doesn't have the most extensive Lego selection, but they had enough to make it a tough decision. In the end, it was a toss-up between that giant walker thing to the left, and my third favorite ship in Star Wars, the X-Wing. If you're curious what my top two favorites are, it's Slave 1 and the B-Wing. Ships that fly in odd orientations do it for me.

The best thing about getting a Lego set for Christmas, other than the fact you were lucky enough to get a Lego set for Christmas, is the fun doesn't end after you open the box. Hell, half the fun is opening up all the bags of parts and organizing them for assembly. Or, you could just do what I did and pour all the pieces into one big pile. I know that's not how you're supposed to do it, but I liked to draw out the fun for as long as possible. Sure, I enjoy assembling the sets that only take 20 or 30 minutes, but my favorites were always the ones that took a good three or four days. I bet if I had the time off, I could stretch putting that X-Wing together into a week, at least.

Gotta allow time for R&D, and permits and such. You know how it goes.

Electric Fireplace

I love a nice fireplace. I've always enjoyed the smell of the burning wood, the warm glow of the flames, it's all so relaxing. Unfortunately, there's one major requirement in order to enjoy those things, a fireplace. It's not like I can just pile up some wood in the corner of my living room and light it all on fire. Well, that's not entirely true, I could do that. But then there's that whole problem with burning the house down. Insurance companies usually frown upon that sort of thing, and it's hard to get them to replace your home when you purposely lit a fire on the carpet because you wanted to some ambiance. Enter, the electric fireplace. You get all the benefits of the fireplace, with none of the drawbacks. No need to worry about cleaning out the ashes, no expensive chimney sweeps, and no need to worry about uninvited jolly fat men breaking into your house. All I have to do is put it in place and plug it in.

No, I chose this one because it looks like an older console style TV, what with its fancy wood veneer and shelves on the sides. The best part is, it actually acts as an entertainment center so the wife and I can enjoy our shows as we're sitting in front of the fire, wrapped up in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comforter, enjoying Figi's meats and cheese, while we cook some Belgian waffles and put together a Lego X-Wing Starfighter. Well, we can if Santa thinks I've been good enough. Here's hoping he hasn't been watching all the time.

By the way, does anyone else think that the "fire" in the fireplace looks like a couple of fighting wooly mammoths?


  1. Those electric fireplaces work great.I like to pretend I'm roasting fake marshmallows over the fighting wooly mammoths.


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