Sunday, June 28, 2009

Billy Mays

According to numerous new outlets and his son's Twitter account, Billy Mays has died. This sucks.

Billy Mays made me want products I never even knew I needed. And not in a sleazy, "you're not cool if you don't have it" way. In a way that celebrated invention, ingenuity and hilariously extreme laziness (See: pants glue).

I have a theory. The nutritional value of ice cream is misleading because there's no metric for joy. This theory applies to the products sold by Billy Mays.

Earlier this year I bought a Steam Buddy, in large part because Billy Mays' name was on it. Yeah, maybe I could just iron my clothes, or go the dry cleaner as often as I should, or even buy a professional steamer and keep it in a closet. But it delights me that I have a contraption that does -- cheaply and well -- what I need it to do.

Last month a friend of mine got married, and instead of giving her hand towels or champagne flutes, I bought her a set of my most favorite As Seen on TV products. She loves them, and has the same look on her face each time she tells me she used one. It's the look we all get when we use an item Billy Mays sold -- a smug, twinkly smile that says you found a faster, better, more clever way to do something, and it was only $19.99.

In the end, Billy Mays wasn't great because he was a great salesman. He was great because either through his products, his personality, or his mere existence, he made people feel like this:

Photo courtesy of
LaurenFarmer, under CC licensing. Taken by Tiffany Arment

Billy Mays has died.

From the LA Times
Tampa police say Billy Mays, the television pitchman known for his boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean, has died. He was 50.
More later.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Say goodbye to waterbras -- and hello to hair stuffing!

Are you humiliated by your natural flatness? Would you consider plastic enhancements to increase your sex appeal? Is your child's appearance just not "flirty" enough? Are you from Baltimore?

Then, my friends, Bump Its (Bum Pits?) are the answer for you.

Bum pits are basically the falsie of the hair world. You hide them in your ratty nest of a mane and voila! You no longer have to shout at your hair. Like this poor lady.

As you may have noticed, at about 37 seconds into the infomercial they call this child, modeling the Bum Pit, "flirty."

... Since we're friends here, I can openly admit that as a child I was a princessaholic. Every Halloween, every birthday party, and heck, usually every other day, I was rocking a princess costume. Thanks to this life experience and expertise, I can assure you that while I wanted very desperately to appear regal, glamorous and elegant -- if someone called me "flirty," or suggested I stuff something into my princess costume (and please note that a tiara is a crucial part of a princess costume) that would make it appear more "flirty," I would have alerted the authorities.

Stats: $19.99 + S&H for two large, two mini bang, and one "hollywood" Bum Pits.
Bum Pits volumizing inserts stay firmly in your hair. No matter what style you are bumpin'!

Can give you that extra "umph" when teasing just isn't enough. No, seriously, the first step to using Bum Pits is to tease your hair. Imagine if first step to use the slap chop was to chop your food with a normal knife.

Cons: People may mistake you for that alien from Mars Attacks.

Verdict: No thanks, hon.

Best informercial URL ever.

The graphic's not too shabby, either.

That is all.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sisterhood of the travelling Kymaro Curve Control Jeans

This is another product that aggravatingly does not have an embeddable commercial. Probably because it would blow too many people's faces off with it's amazingness. You must stop you are doing and watch the commercial for the Kymaro Curve Control Jeans now. The long version.

You're welcome.

Real talk: We all own Spanx, or some knockoff, right? Well, here's your chance to cut out the middlegirdle, and go for the gold: pants that ARE a girdle. Think of it as denim sausage casing. Heinously ugly, poorly hemmed, denim sausage casing.

An actual line from the commercial: "It's not your fault you can't fit into those tight, restricting jeans. It's the jean's fault!"

No. It's is objectively your fault. You either ate/reclined yourself to another size and your old pants don't fit -- or you just flat-out purposefully purchased jeans that don't fit! IT IS YOUR FAULT.

Also suspicious -- this lady is clearly in a resale/thrift store, but she's complaining about the price of designer jeans. See how each item is completely different than the one next to it? How the tags are huge and not uniform in placement? Thrift store. Two hundred to 300 dollar jeans have never crossed the threshold of that place.

As someone who worked in retail for a several years, I can assure you that these ladies do not suffer from some debilitating condition that is unsolvable by anything but television jeans, and therefore do not deserve your pity. They need jeans with more stretch, a bigger size and a rise that's so high it covers their belly buttons. Go to the Levi's store. Do not buy your pants from your television.

Stats: $39.95 + S&H for one pair
Comes with a free bottom shaper.
Can help ladies out who are so mad that they make this face at their current jeans:

Pros: Supposedly can cure what I've christened "Flat Butt Syndrome."

Cons: How are you going to turn heads at the bar without your trusty "rear end cleavage?"

Verdict: Do not buy. I repeat: Do not buy your pants from your television.

Top 10 grossest things about the Ped Egg™

I had to pare it down to 10 from 857348573405734503480594705730.

10. The line "Don't use potato peeler tools!"

9. The implication someone has been using potato peeler tools on their dried out foot skin.

8. This:

7. The sheer volume of shavings this lady has produced.

6. Pouring foot scrapings anywhere but in a waste receptacle.

5. Wildly spraying foot scrapings around someone's home or studio.

4. The group shaving session.

3. The foot close-up of the group shaving session.

2. Any image that accompanies the word "before."

1. I own a Ped Egg, and my significant other, Rusty, has challenged me to a scrape-off.*

Stats: $10 + S&H for two Ped Eggs™.
Gently removes callouses and dead skin to give your feet the incredible baby soft look and feel that everybody loves.
Bonus feature: you can scrape callouses off of balloons.

Pros: You can scrape off your shameful, shameful protective foot skin in private.

Cons: Doesn't do anything a Graty can't do.

Verdict: Buy.

* I did not accept.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Slap Chop. Vince redux.

The return of Vince, formerly of ShamWow, has been triumphant. This is probably the somethingest infomercial I've ever seen. I've yet to figure out what that something is, so instead of yabbering about it, I'm just going to ask you to watch it.

Now that you've watched this masterpiece, I want you to keep in mind someone wrote these lines down for Vince to read:
You're going to be in a great mood all day because you're going to be slapping your troubles away.

Stop having a boring tuna, stop having a boring life.

This is making you cry, this is making me cry. Life's hard enough as it is, you don't want to cry any more.

We're going to make America skinny again, one slap at a time.

Tacos. Frettucine. Linguine. Martini. Bikini.

Stats: Only $19.95 + S&H
You can mince onion with the skin on.

Cleans with the ease of a Monarch in spring.

Cons: Vince is selling it.

Buy for the free Graty.