Monday, December 07, 2009

DeadTree ThinkGeek

The first sticking snow of the winter arrived quietly in the night, just barely covering the grass and prettifying the bushes. Maybe an inch at its thickest. No shoveling necessary, so it's all right by me. Light, fluffy powder that doesn't make good snowballs. I know this because Ann did her best to pelt me with snowballs this afternoon, but mostly the snow scattered before it reached its target.

Recently we received a ThinkGeek catalog. Of course there's a web site, but it's good to know that they produce paper catalogs too. At least I think it's good. It may annoy them that they need to produce anything on paper. You'd think, though, that if a thing achieves its function (marketing, in this case), the geeks of the world would accord it some respect, no matter how enamored they are by electronic media.

"ThinkGeek started as an idea," the web site proclaims. "A simple idea to create and sell stuff that would appeal to the thousands of people out there who were on the front line and in the trenches as the Internet was forged. ThinkGeek started as a way to serve a market that was passionate about technology, from programmers, engineers, students, lovers of open source, to the masses that helped create the behind-the-scenes Internet culture."

That was in the '90s. They must have gone more mainstream since then or I would have never heard of them. I can't count myself as a creator of "Internet culture." Does this count as Internet culture? Hard to say.

Lilly spent some time with the catalog, and I'm glad to say that she appreciated some of its humor. Right on the inside front cover, marketed as stocking stuffers, are Plush Microbes. "Infectiously cute microbes expanded 1,000,000 times and then transformed into cuddly plush," the description notes. "Swine flu now available." Lilly got a laugh out of that last line. So did I.

My own favorite item is a black t-shirt decorated only with the image of a red-and-white Hello My Name Is nametag sticker, as you might see at a corporate event. "Written" on the sticker "HELLO MY NAME IS Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."



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