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January 30, 2013

Read This In The Next Five Minutes


I love the late night sales pitches on television. I'm one of those guys who stares at the tube, dumbstruck, ready to buy whatever they are selling. The absolute best classic hard sell of all time? Ginsu knives.

They had me at hello when the announcer says the knife, so sharp it cuts paper, never needs sharpening, has a lifetime guarantee, and costs only $19.95. But there's more! There is always more. If you act in the next five minutes – and this offer will never be made again – they throw in a filet knife and a carving knife for free. The knives have "full tangs triple riveted to Bakelite handles." Furthermore, the announcer says proudly, the knives are for "left and right handed use!" Holy crap! OK, what number do I call?

There's more. "Act right now, in the next five minutes (notice no time has actually expired since his last warning) and we'll throw in a full set of Ginsu steak knives!"

By now I'm on the phone, frantically dialing to get in under the five-minute mark. "So you get all this, the classic Ginsu knife, the Ginsu carving knife, the filet knife, six steak knives, and if you act now and we'll send you two complete sets for only $19.95!" It's like I went to heaven.

The other day I watched in awe as a pitchman and his beautiful assistant pitched some kind of "naturally pulsing" blender. You can make "batter, slushies, soup, juice, milkshakes and sauces" in a matter of seconds. It stirs, whips, grinds, liquefies, purifies, slices and dices. It's only $29.95.

But wait; there is a special offer only available to viewers who are watching right at this very moment. That's right, in addition to the naturally pulsing blender with a 10 function remote, those who order right now will get a second "Turbo Boost" pulsar. Not only can this one slice, dice, liquefy, puree, crush ice and make perfect ice cream in eight seconds, it can magnify, fornicate, fluctuate, dismember and grind human bone into a fine powder in less than 30 seconds. We got one – I can't put it together so down the basement it went.

Recently I became mesmerized by the revolutionary new, "Electric Double Hydovection Oven" even though I don't think "hydrovection" is a word. But there they were, the announcer and his pretty assistant, with eight of them in action. They were cooking a variety of foods. One was "perfectly grilled vegetables in less than one minute." This could be accomplished, I was told, because the thing is equipped with a "four speed auto-reversing fan," and has "2.5 inch mineral board insulation."

One by one, increasingly complex foods were cooked almost instantly. First, a "grilled" burger in a minute or two, then, "perfectly cooked bacon without the grease." Next up pork chops, potatoes and broccoli, a whole meal, ready in minutes. Then it gets progressively crazier. A whole chicken in less than 20 minutes. Roast beef, succulent and lean, 15 minutes. What's next, an entire mule?

The oven usually sells for $129.95 at fine retail outlets, we are told, but not today. Today they are $59.95, a price that will expire in one hour. The Double Dutch will never again be available at this price. Did I know the oven has a "thermostatically controlled quench system?" Stupid me, I did not know this.

The most important thing, though is the Double Dutch is "eco-friendly," little wonder, what with that quench system and all. There you have it, I'll take two because I want to close the Black Hole and save our planet.

I once invented my own miracle tool that I should sell. It's the 100 percent guaranteed snow removal system, which comes in handy around here.

When we were little kids in Brooklyn we used to knock on doors and offer to remove the snow from the front yard. If the people were stupid enough to pay us we'd just leave. Once some angry woman collared me and accused me of stealing. "You said you'd shovel my walk!" she said angrily.

"No, I didn't. I said I would remove the snow."

"But you didn't." I then asked her if there was any snow in her yard. Being it was summer, of course, the answer was no. And there's my snow removal system – it's called the sun. Order in the next five minutes and I'll throw in a Ginsu knife.

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