SkyMall Monday: Money Maze & Bilz Pinball Game

The holiday season is in full swing and everyone is looking for the best gifts for friends and family. The SkyMall Monday headquarters is filling up with presents for our favorite people. Sometimes, though, you simply have no idea what to get for someone. No matter how much you rack your brain, you just can’t come up with the perfect gift for someone in your life. Whether it’s your coworker, mailman or mistress, you may realize that they’re better off picking out their own gifts. That’s when you need to suck it up and give them a gift card or, if you want to limit them only by their imagination, cash. However, gift cards and cash can seem cold, easy and, possibly, lazy. Not on your part, that is. You were generous. Cash and gift cards are easy for the recipients. Make those people earn their gifts by forcing them to solve a puzzle to get to that sweet consumer gold. Thanks to SkyMall, now your friends and loved ones will be able to cherish the greatest gift of all: humility. Because, after a few glasses of eggnog and with everyone staring at them, they’re going to have a hard time freeing those gift cards from the Bilz Pinball Game and Money Maze.

While there may be no greater holiday thrill than opening a giant wrapped box to find exactly the gift that you were hoping for (oh yes, I remember getting my original Nintendo very well), as an adult there is a simple joy in receiving cash. I mean, it’s money. It sure as heck beats underpants, a hideous sweater or a Two and a Half Men box set. The down side of receiving cash is that it lacks the oohs and ahhs elicited by flashier gifts. If you want the recipient of your monetary gift to be the center of attention, there’s no better way to do so than by forcing them to solve a puzzle to get their hands on their holiday booty.

Think it’s perverse to require someone to solve a puzzle to receive their holiday gift? Believe that it’s not in the Christmas spirit to make someone earn their presents? Well, seems to me that complaining about your gift might just put you on Santa’s naughty list.

The Bilz Pinball Game and Money Maze also serve another wonderful function: They allow the gift-giver to avoid shopping for holiday cards. Normally, you would put cash in a greeting card. Have you gone to a stationery store to shop for cards during the holidays? Christmas songs are blaring, the shelves are in complete disarray thanks ravenous customers and the employees are counting down the days until their seasonal position is eliminated by slashing marks into their wrists. In other words, it’s not the most pleasant retail environment. By putting the cash in one of these puzzles, you save yourself the time and depression of having to shop for cards. It’s a win-win.

This year, stop trying to figure out what everyone on your list wants for Christmas and Chanukah. Just get them all cash and lock it in either the Bilz Pinball Game or Money Maze. They’ll be sure to thank you when they’re done muttering obscenities under their breath while trying to solve the puzzle that is holding their gifts captive. Frankly, if you have to endure their company at yet another holiday party, the least you can do is make them get carpal tunnel while navigating their gift.

Happy Holidays!

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act

Alas, a quiet bill was introduced by the House of Representatives earlier this week and could finally bring an end to a near 50-year U.S.-Cuba standstill. While everyone else in Washington has been deliberating on the stimulus package, Democratic Representative from Massachusetts, William Delahunt proposed the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act.

The proposed act hopes to end all travel restrictions for all U.S. citizens across the board. Some people still have concerns about the drastic effects this would have on travel to the still quite Communist country. In fact, the Cuban American National Foundation would like the bill to be amended to allow only Cuban exiles to visit the island whenever they wish to see family. The foundation wants to see restrictions to exist for American tourists until Cuba shows some indications of democratic reform.

President Obama has long been a proponent of alleviating the harsh ban on American travel to and from Cuba.

Regardless of the outcome, tourism in Cuba is hot compared to nearly all of the other travel destinations in the Caribbean and even in Latin America.

The problem with staying the middle of nowhere: an $85,000 phone bill!

A couple of months ago, my cell phone bill came to $150. Ouch. Turns out I don’t have a very good long distance plan, so texting and leaving tipsy messages for my friends from my vacation was a little pricey. Still, I guess I can’t really complain — a 22-year-old man working in the oil fields in Northern Alberta received a shockingly high cell phone bill — for $85,000! Good grief! That’s a house, not a phone bill. I’m surprised that phone bills even get that high.

Apparently, Piotr Staniaszek thought that he could use his cell phone as a modem for his computer and, since he was holed up in a shack in the middle of nowhere by himself, spent his time surfing the net and downloading movies.

Bell Canada, his provider, has agreed to reduce to the charges to $3,400. Still. That’s pretty steep.

Did you know?