The 2007 Holiday Skymall Strategy Guide, Part 7
Thermostone Rock Cover - $59.99 - $119.99
Massive boulder? No, it's a lightweight imposter, and it's hiding your lawn's ugly utility post underneath. Why hire a landscape contractor when you can easily move these natural-looking, Thermostone plastic replicated rocks to enhance your yard, or cover ugly sewer-cleanout pipes or utility boxes. Four flanges let you secure it into ground. Won't crack in cold weather. (Skymall)
N: Lily Taylor shown actual size!
P: For reaching the apex of her career, she wins the beige Agro Crag. This is a great product if you want to keep a spare key to the city in your front yard.
N: Notice that she has already used a similar product to cover her ugly brick house with an attractive blue vinyl shell. She got one size too small, though, and you can still see the bricks peeking out by her patio.
P: Maybe she's the unsightly blemish on the yard and she's just now managed to get the Thermostone off of her.
N: They say you're not supposed to cut people off at the knees in pictures. Now I know why: It makes the person look like a dowdy goblin.
P: I'm pretty upset with the cropping, considering they're selling a product that will make it so you don't have to crop things out of your photos. I can only imagine that the rest of the neighborhood is a simulacrum of Thermostone that looks like a planet from Star Trek.
N: The market for this thing could be big sci-fi nerds. They can buy a dozen, spraypaint them white, and with a few boxes of packing peanuts recreate the battle of Hoth in their own backyard.
P: In an industry dominated by blockbuster asperations, a lone faux rock auteur can shine through -- that's the only explanation for the piano key-shaped indentation facing us, along with the small beauty mark to prevent it from being perfectly homogenized. "That makes it real."
N: That's not a beauty mark, that's the little button you press to test the Thermostone. If the rock disappears, your batteries are low.
P: That brings up questions of reset times and where one would find a crossbow-sized paperclip.
N: I think Gizmo made a crossbow-sized paperclip in Gremlins 2. Actually, that might have been a paper-clip-sized crossbow.
P: I keep getting angry at her carelessness, but then I remember that's a fake rock and not an old CRT monitor.
N: It doubles as a mold for freezing your own glacier.
P: Or an instant, unaccomplished sand castle.
N: It's the landscape equivalent of a girdle: a quick fix that's shameful and uncomfortable for everyone involved. It's like you yell out to your yard, "Quick, my boss is coming over for dinner! Look ugly in a different way!"
P: You'll need a larger version to cover a certain unsightly thermostatic rock cover in your yard. Are mountains just the stacking dolls of OCD homeowners? Then again, I suppose someone can appreciate the rubenesque blandness -- that slack-jawed security light is perving pretty hard right now. Of course, it might be looking at the Thermostone.
N: Notice it doesn't say anything about "outdoor use only." You could use it inside to cover spills, piles of laundry, pet accidents, unpleasant children, the elderly, you name it. If you had a thick carpet, you could even make yourself a tranquil rock garden in the comfort of your home.
P: I don't know if you can see this, but that's a perfect model of her incisor, scaled up to the size of Nick Nolte's molars. A rock garden of these things would look like a Tooth Fairy altar. Children would fear Toothhenge both for having their teeth ripped out and for the travel dental supplies its owners would hand out on Halloween.
N: I like how the description implies you'd buy this thing to save money on hiring a landscaper. Something tells me the people who'd put a nondescript hunk of beige on their lawns aren't the landscaping type. They'd be more likely to build a ramshackle doghouse over their utility post. The nameplate above the doghouse entrance would read "Not Utility Post."
P: "Honey, the Board of Trustees says we have to do something about the sinkhole." "Do we still have that Skymall?" No matter how someone would save money on landscaping with this product, they'd either be fixing transmission leaks with bumper stickers or paving the way for enterprising child detectives to investigate the disappearance of utility boxes and the odd rockface of their neighborhoods.
N: That is none of Thermostone's concern. Remember their slogan: "If it sucks, cover it up!"
P: Too bad we don't have one for you to speak into. I wonder if they've ever gotten sued by ThermosTone, the exercise machine that fits in your cupholder.
N: No, but I think they're litigating against those guys who make the musical travel mugs, the Thermos-tones.
P: Oooh, another definition of "tone." You should be buried in one of these.
N: I didn't even say anything about the product that copies your Thermos (Thermos-toner) or people who make bongs out of long underwear (Thermostoners). I do this same thing when I play Scrabble with little kids and immigrants, I just make up definitions as I go along.
P: Your ability to keep that vein open by adding r's truly makes you The r-most one. Ugh, what have you done to us? Someone get us a Thermocone-of-silence. Moving on, I'm somewhat confused by her exuberance. Maybe we're missing a vital political dimension here, like she just chopped down a protected petrified forest and kept the stump as a trophy.
N: I think she's so happy because she doesn't know it isn't a real rock. She thinks she's strong, and now she can finally get revenge on everybody who ever said her neck was made of steel rebar.
P: I'm really unimpressed with the level of rock-mimicry they've achieved here. Characteristics this shares with a rock: it won't crack in cold weather. That said, the faux-stone-wielding housewife will make power boxes and fire hydrants inaccessable to those of lesser strength, even in sub-freezing temperatures. Or, god forbid, she sneaks this sucker into a bathroom and you forget where the toilet is.
N: You're right, the prankster possibilites are endless. "Honey, where's the car? All I see is a huge rock. I'm going to be late for my heart operation!"
P: I suppose you could fool somebody into thinking they had a view of a far off mountain, though the prank quality of such an act is questionable.
N: You could also paint them and tell little kids you lived in a gingerbread house with a gumdrop yard, and then laugh and laugh when they come crying to you with bloody mouths. And then I guess you could molest or sacrifice them, if that's the kind of thing you do.
P: Whatever satiates the Tooth Fairy. This picture reminds me of when couples buy matching jogging suits. It makes me wonder if she's hollow inside and whether she cracks in cold weather.
N: Aren't we all hollow inside? Look, I carved "Thermostone" into my arm, just to feel something.
P: I wonder what the four flanges of her life are. Religion, family, her political party, and whatever else tethers down her insubstantial spiritual weight.
N: I'd venture it's a collection of M&Ms Christmas ornaments. She really relates to the sassy green M&M, because "she's the girl one."
P: At least the green M&M is more than a candy shell.
After careful deliberation and consultation with Skymall and the pair's case officer, the courts have decided to revoke their parole.