Weird Amazon:

Take a walk on the strange side this holiday season

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Christmas shopping is never easy, especially for individuals with more unusual taste. Fortunately, exists. The online shopping juggernaut carries items for the most bizarre interests, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Spend too long in the inner layers of Weird Amazon, and you’re liable to teeter into a sea of madness that the likes of Lovecraft or Kafka never envisioned.


“How to Avoid Huge Ships” by John W. TrimmerHugeShips-WEB

Captain John Trimmer probably had perfectly noble, life-saving intentions when he wrote his 1993 ship-avoidance opus. Then the Internet came around. Charmed by its matter-of-fact title, pranksters began flooding its Amazon page with hilarious reviews in 2000, a tradition that continues to this day.

Amazon user Dan warns shoppers the book is “TOO informative” in his one-star review: “[I] read this book before going on vacation, and I couldn’t find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined.”

Graham Thomas, meanwhile, warns readers to check the title before purchase: “It was only after it arrived that I looked closely at the title and realized it said ‘How to Avoid Huge SHIPS.’ A simple error that means I am still treading on massive examples of canine excrement. Having said that, I read the book anyway, and I’m pleased to say I’m not even having near-misses with huge ships anymore.”


Edible insects sampler packInsects-WEB

Believe it or not, there are some compelling arguments for why we should all be eating bugs. For one thing, 100 grams of cricket have the same amount of protein and more vitamins and minerals than 100 grams of chicken, beef or pork. What’s more, farming one pound of insects requires far less land, food and water than one pound of traditional livestock, making them more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

If you’re convinced we’ll be biting into cricket burgers within the next few decades, perhaps it’s time to acquire a taste with some delicious snacks. The edible insects sampler pack features great flavors like barbecue, bacon and cheese or chocolate-dipped. And if cricket legs between the teeth become a problem, a bulk supply of toothpicks is only a few clicks away.


Hutzler 571 banana slicerBananaSlicer-WEB

Slicing bananas: The chore everyone hates. How many times have you prepared to make a fruit salad or a bowl of cereal, only to be cowed by the difficulty of this despised chore? Take heart, weary pilgrim: The Hutzler banana slicer is here to save the day.

“Faster, safer than using a knife!” boasts the Amazon listing, and it is. Uncle Joe’s hand stump is warning enough after my family foolishly sliced bananas without proper equipment one dark Thanksgiving Day. “Kids love slicing their own bananas!” the ad copy continues, and they do. In my experience, the only thing that tears children away from their Playstations and iPhones is the non-stop thrill of cutting fresh fruit.


55-gallon drum of lubeLubeDrum-WEB

Do you always find yourself running out of personal lubricant right when you need it the most? Probably not. But if this describes your strange life, perhaps a 55-gallon drum of lube would be a wise investment. As luck would have it, just such an item is for sale at Amazon.

For a mere $1,415.67 (you save $1,384.33, nearly 50 percent!), you can own 55 gallons of Passion Lube’s unique water- and silicone-based hybrid formula. According to the product information, it stays wet and is non-sticky, which strikes me as the basic point of lube. But hey, good to know!

There’s no question this product will make you a more versatile human being. In fact, it’s hard to pinpoint the best thing about owning a 55-gallon drum of lube—aside from telling people, “I own a 55-gallon drum of lube,” of course. My guess is it’s the ability to make a quick and easy slip-and-slide in the kitchen, but that’s just me.

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