Curious Commodities

Hero Doctor Fountain Pen

Meet the hero!

Make way for the newest superhero…the Hero Doctor Fountain Pen! The Hero Doctor has many useful superpowers, including a bladder-fill system that allows it to squirt ink from the tip just like the pens in old cartoons.

In fact, that is actually the Hero Doctor’s only superpower. It can shoot ink like a squid. And it’s more of a dribble than anything else. What did you expect from a cheap knock-off superhero anyway? I mean, there’s also the disorienting burgundy color, but I’m not sure that counts as a superpower.

The Hero Doctor pen is manufactured by the Shanghai Hero Pen Factory Co. Ltd., which, according to its backstory, is the same factory where the now-retired Parker 51 fountain pen was produced. At least I think that’s still the current story. It might have been retconned into being some kind of interplanetary base in the most recent issue, but I haven’t had a chance to read that one yet.

Like any good superhero, the Hero Doctor Fountain Pen also has enemies. In particular, there are agents of evil who produce $1.50 counterfeit copies of this $2.00 pen. To fight against these flagitious falsifiers, the Hero Doctor includes a scratch-off certificate of authenticity bearing a 15-digit number that somehow marks it as legitimate. This particular sample bears a code number of 7495 3069 2746 670. Hopefully that’s just an arbitrary number, because I really don’t want to accidentally give away any more missile launch codes. Remember what a mess it was last time that happened?

That's the combination for my luggage!

That’s the combination for my luggage!

Anyway, I’m satisfied that this Hero Doctor is the real thing and that I haven’t invited an impostor into the fold. The last thing I want to do is to be called back in by the Federal Bureau of Foreign Culinary Relations to investigate a counterfeit pen. I don’t think it’s even edible, but I’m sure they’d find a way to say that it was part of my job description to track down the culprit. That’s what they mean by “other duties as assigned.”

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Lusshin Mangosteen Herbal Refreshing Soap

Mangosteen is everywhere now.

Mangosteen is everywhere now.

Do you remember the good old days when mangosteen was literally the forbidden fruit? Finding it in cans was hard enough. Finding it fresh required putting on an elaborate disguise and asking shady individuals for “Croatian polenta”. Even then, you never knew if you were going to actually get mangosteen, or if you’d wake up in a seedy hotel without one of your kidneys. Even worse, your contact might actually be an undercover agent of the fruit police. There is a lot of crime in the world, but at one time, there were few crimes worse than the ones involving mangosteen.

Now mangosteen is everywhere. They practically throw it at you when you go into the store. If they recognize you as one of those annoying snack food bloggers, they really do throw it at you when you go into the store. They make mangosteen candy and every kind of mangosteen drink. The fruit police are all out of a job. I think I saw one of them working security at an outlet mall the other day. Mangosteen is boring now that it’s legal.

In a last-ditch effort to reignite interest in this misshapen fruit with the husky hull, Lusshin has turned it into a soap. If you’re completely bored with eating mangosteen, you can wash yourself with it instead. Go on, cover yourself with the luscious mangosteen-scented lather. Try to remember the days when you’d travel for a week just based on rumors of mangosteen, and then when you got there it was really just a bunch of shaved rambutans or a big smelly durian that someone had painted red.  Try to remember when you had to go to a special store to get cappuccino-flavored potato chips. Did you know they sell those at Wal-mart now? Next thing you know, they’ll be selling Pepsi-flavored Cheetos right next to the regular Cheetos. What is this world coming to?

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German Chancellor Nesting Dolls

Five different bosses

Five different bosses

People often ask, “Who exactly in charge of the Federal Bureau of Foreign Culinary Relations?” Usually this is in the context of questions such as, “Who’s in charge here?! I’ve been sitting in this waiting room for three months!” It also comes up when we are asked, “Don’t you ever get anything done? Where is your manager?!”

We normally don’t like to talk about this, since we prefer to think of ourselves as independent investigators who answer to no one, but the reality is that our agency is in fact controlled by a secretive quintumvirate that only rarely allows itself to be photographed.

Unfortunately, all of your recent complaints caused us to receive a surprise visit from the FBFCR leadership, and believe me, that wasn’t a pleasant experience. They berated us for our overall lack of productivity, and especially for our unhelpful attitude toward the Secret Society of Artificial Potatoes. Apparently we’re supposed to actually help troubled tubers instead of just sitting around eating junk food.

Before any more of you complain, I’d like you to see just what we’re up against. Pictured above, you see the managers who will punish us even more severely the next time one of you says that we’re a bunch of lazy bums who never get anything done. From left to right, our bosses are: Angie, Jerry, the Helmuts, and Lil’ Willy. You probably only have one boss. We have five different bosses right now. As you can see, Angie is the big boss. Jerry is Angie’s right-hand man, except when he’s on her left. The Helmuts always travel as a pair, so that reduces the effective number of boss combinations that we might encounter. But they’re still two bosses, and it’s like a full-fledged tag-team beat-down when they’re on your case. The only thing worse is when Lil’ Willy decides to take matters into his own hands. I don’t think I could survive that for a second time.

So, next time you have a bit of a disagreement with your boss, just think of us and our supervisory situation. At least you don’t have to spend half your time trying to find a place to hide from the Helmuts.

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Bacon Strips Adhesive Bandages

It's a natural anesthetic.

It’s a natural anesthetic.

Injuries happen to everyone. Sometimes, insult is added to injury, and that makes it even worse. Other times, bacon is added to injury, and then it’s really not so bad. After all, no matter how painful anything is, the mere thought of bacon can make it feel just a bit better. That’s obviously why these Bacon Strips Adhesive Bandages were created. Whether you have a simple paper cut from opening a box of psyllium husk, or you’ve been dropped into a pit full of knives by the Vast Soursop Conspiracy, you can at least patch yourself up with a very realistic replica of bacon. It’s so realistic, in fact, that Elvis might have eaten himself to death with these bacon bandages before he even realized what he was doing.

And, speaking of Elvis…Well, you’ll just have to wait and see what we have in store…

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Avocado Olive & Basil Bar by Crabtree & Evelyn

Sadly inedible

Sadly inedible

Imagine my excitement when I saw this Avocado Olive & Basil Bar. Those are three of the five best food ingredients in the world (the other two being sun-dried tomatoes and sour cream). To finally have this tasty triumvirate in bar form would be the savory answer to the sweet perfection of the Chuao Firecracker Bar. I began to imagine spending the rest of my life eating nothing but Avocado Olive & Basil Bars followed by Chuao Firecracker Bars for dessert. I knew that experience would be tragically cut short by a ruptured stomach, but I tried not to think about that.

I eagerly tore into the packaging and revealed the perfectly formed bar inside. I smelled the avocado, the olive, and the basil. Everything is better with more avocado, and this bar was going to be no exception. Combining avocado and basil was clearly going to be the most brilliant culinary concoction in the history of bar-form foods. Topping it off with delicious olives was a sign of an incredibly creative chef.

I prepared to take the first bite. I slowly moved the Avocado Olive & Basil Bar toward my mouth, and took one final smell to make sure I would enjoy the experience as much as possible. Just when I thought that nothing could spoil this momentous moment, I was jolted back into reality by a rude realization: it’s soap.

It’s soap! Crabtree & Evelyn, how could you do this to me? How could you cruelly raise my hopes by listing such a perfect combination of ingredients, only to destroy my dreams by turning these fragrant foodstuffs into a personal hygiene product? It’s like you made this whole line of products just so that I’d find them one day and then suffer the crushing disappointment of not being able to eat the world’s most perfect food. Rest assured that I have been suitably emotionally damaged by this painful prank.

Oh, they also make Avocado Olive & Basil Shampoo. My hair smells like basil. I’m still disappointed.

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Emergency Barbecue!

Emergency Use Only

Emergency Use Only

Afternoon, readers.

I understand quite clearly what it’s like to be lost on a desert island with little to no chance of survival. Well, to be precise, I understand that Tom Hanks knows what it’s like to be lost on a desert island with little to no chance of survival. But that’s irrelevant.

The point is, at some point in our lives, many of us come across some disaster, some impossible circumstance which has pushed us  to the brink of death and despair.

Some feel fear–nay, terror. I, and I feel many else like me, when I am put in a desperate and dreadful direction, feel something else. We are not afraid. We look fear in the eyes and spit on its boot and high five our colleagues and walk away into the sunset, kicking conveniently placed dirt in fear’s eyes. Aye, we do not feel fear. We feel a need, a primal need that transcends all changes and limitations. It is a need rooted in the empty bellies of our omnivorous primogenitors. What is this need, you say? It is the need, the desire, the absolute utmost foremost necessity in a stressful situation, passed down through millennia of natural selection–it is the need to barbecue.

But how could we possibly satisfy such a need when in a desperate situation with no means of escape? The answer is simple: the patent pending (not really, don’t sue us!) Armenian Fungus Cake emergency barbecue kit.

To access the kit, all you need is a:

  • Table
  • Something with which to barbecue
  • A being intelligent enough to participate in table-top athletics

However, once you have these things, a whole world of possibilities opens up. Before, you were stranded on an island, in a jungle, in a concrete jungle, in a desert, in Asbury Park on the 4th of July, in Atlantic City, in a Broken City, on Bleecker Street, in Beverly Hills (even if “That’s where [you] wanna be!”), in Grimsby, in My Hometown, or even In Dreams. Now, you’re stranded in those places, but you’re able to have an emergency barbecue.

How? Well, in the (not) patent pending Armenian Fungus Cake barbecue kit, everything you need that we

Precooked, and ready to...cook again?

Precooked, and ready to…cook again?

have not told you to provide is there for a good barbecue.

In the kit, there is a:

Smoked Ham Sausage (dried)

Spicy Beef Summer Sausage (dried)

Miniature table table tennis set

That’s right, we’re giving you two whole dried sausages, and a table tennis set that you can use with a regular table. It’s a marvel of modern science!

You can fire up the barbecuing apparatus, heat up those sausages, and eat them alongside your sentient ping pong partner!

Once you’re done, suction cup the net to the table, and start playing intense mini ping pong. You’ll never know that your chances of survival are next to nothing, since you’ll be satisfying your urge to ‘cue with our top quality emergency barbecue set.

Happy grilling! Don’t die!


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