Here We Go Again

The web is a strange place. Sometimes it's like billions of people wandering around in the same room, anonymous yet present; sharing an interest, exploring shared curiosities, inexplicably forwarding each other links to videos featuring two girls and one cup -- and then at other moments you find yourself on pages where the communities are so tight-knit, so ingrained in their virtual cul-de-sac mindsets that at times you can literally feel like you're intruding on something private even if all you wanted to do was find a unique Christmas gift for that faraway friend or relative.
Perhaps I should explain.
About a year back I was working on a post for the other site I write for, Highly Recommended Thing of the Moment. It was the end of November and the holidays were in full swing, so there were plenty of cool seasonal things available to post on the site. One of these was a website offering something called "Monster Stockings" -- which are Christmas stockings that come complete with claws at the bottom where the toes would normally go.

The first moment I saw these I was instantly reminded of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, my all-time favorite kids story, which I always used to read to my son before bedtime when he was little. So of course I wanted to get one not only for me, but for him as well -- which is when I found out that the company selling these wanted 60 bucks a piece for them.
I don't know about you, but where I come from that's just waaaay
too much to spend on something you're only gonna use once a year.
So I posted about it on the site, including my complaints about the price -- only to find myself facing a storm of angry comments from supporters of the person behind the product telling me that the prices were totally justified because it was the only way for a crafter to expect any profit after all the costs involved for production, marketing, or whatever.

It was one of the first flame wars HRToTM's ever hosted, which I'm actually sorta proud of (sorry Satorical) -- but maybe wasn't the best way to help grow our readership or standing in certain circles, especially considering that my original intention was to promote the crafter's website and wares.
At the same time if you think I'm losing any sleep over a couple of
pissed-off hippies, then you don't really know me that well at all.
Fast forward back to the now, where I'm once again tooling around the intarweb looking for new content to highly recommend -- which leads me to this cool site called, who are promoting a new line of winter caps for cold weather climates that feature an interesting twist:
Built-in Beards.
First off, how killer is this? Certainly not an everyday thing, but what a conversation starter, you know? Plus I've always loved wacky hats -- especially ones that have a unique character of their own. But then you read a little farther down and you find out that if actually you want to get in one of these instant Yukon Cornelius costumes, you've got to pony up 135 clams first.
135 Dollars. For a Hat.
Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me!? Look, unless it buys me dinner and kisses me first there's no way I'm shelling out that kind of lettuce for 3 pieces of crochet and some glue. I'm perfectly willing to go the extra mile just for a joke (especially one with a built-in mustache ride punchline) -- but seriously, who the hell has that kind of money to throw around on something as silly as this?
..And no, Carrot Top doesn't count.

[Listening to:    Skindred"Rat Race" ]