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George Takei Reviews 20 Totally Random Products on Amazon

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Somehow, one of Mental Floss' favorite Star Trek alums-turned-internet-sensations, George Takei, finds time to write Amazon reviews for products you never knew existed. And we're all so lucky that he does.

1. The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Hand dyed shirt featuring a stunning screen print of three wolves howling at a moon on a preshrunk, 100 percent cotton tee dyed and printed by the mountain."

5 Stars from George Takei, who loves how it lets him browse Walmart undetected: "But with The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee, the SHIRT now draws the eye. One young teen even shyly approached me, and instead of asking for a picture or an autograph, simply smiled conspiratorially and whispered, 'Team Jacob, right? Me, too. He's sooooooo dreamy.' Yes he is, young lady. Yes. He. Is."

2. Looking For... The Best of David Hasselhoff

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Amazon says: "2 new from $149.93, 4 used from $9.37." (Are people listening to this CD until it literally wears out?!)

4 Stars from George Takei, who delights in Hasselhoff's reinvention: "When 'Knight Rider' and 'Bay Watch' ended, I felt a distinct void in my life. Without Hasselfhoff's bouncing pecs gracing my television, life simply felt drab and unfulfilling.

"Imagine my delight when I discovered that Hasselhoff had not disappeared at all, but rather REEMERGED, this time as a serious force in music. It reminded me of when Leonard Nimoy had recorded his stirring tribute to Tolkien, 'The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.' It was that moving and momentous for me."

3. Fresh Whole Rabbit

Buy it on Amazon


1 Star from George Takei, who "hates to split hares" but who finds that: "First of all, it is NOT at all as easy as it looks in that [Game of Thrones] scene. Meera and Osha made it look so simple. But both Brad and I pulling together couldn't get that damn skin off. The rabbit wound up looking more like Theon Greyjoy's finger than a rabbit."

4. Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable

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Amazon says: "Get the purest digital audio you've ever experienced from multi-channel DVD and CD playback through your Denon home theater receiver with the AK-DL1 dedicated cable."

3 Stars from George Takei, who found this cable required all his Star Fleet training to use: "The minute I plugged this cable in, I knew something was amiss. The first evidence? The small wormhole that appeared in our living room, right next to our holstein cowhide recliner. Peering into it I could discern the snarling face of a Ferengi, likely somewhere out in the Gamma quadrant."

5. The 2009-2014 Outlook for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater China

Buy it Amazon

Amazon says (cryptically): "The latent demand for wood toilet seats in Greater China is not actual or historic sales. Nor is latent demand future sales. In fact, latent demand can be either lower or higher than actual sales if a market is inefficient (i.e., not representative of relatively competitive levels)."

5 Stars from George Takei, who hopes to release an audio-book version: "Sure, the title and the first few hundred pages may seem off-putting. 'What the f*@k is this?' Brad demanded, just 20 pages in. 'It's like some kind of terrible grad school thesis.'

"But right around page 375, the OFWTSIGC (2009-14) becomes a white-knuckled, roller coaster of emotions--the sort we expect from world class thrillers. Indeed, just when you think the author has exhausted his dear readers, after what seems an unimaginably methodical survey of mainland China's wood toilet seat projections, he reminds us, ever so artfully, about GREATER China."

6. Accoutrements Yodelling Pickle

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Great gift for the person who has everything except a yodelling pickle."

1 Star from George Takei, who advises that you stick with your current bong: "I tried for hours to figure out how to pry off the lid so I could load it properly, but no go. Then the thing started yodeling at me, and I thought, 'Well, no more from that dispensary.'"

7. UFO-02 Detector, magnetometer interfaced with micro controller for detecting magnetic anomalies.

Buy it Amazon

Amazon says: "The real question is whether UFO's are interstellar vehicles visiting Earth? Most UFO sightings can be classified as misidentified aircraft, planets or other aerial phenomena, but not all of them."

5 Stars from George Takei, who ended up having his own close encounter: "When I came to, Brad was sound asleep in his tin foil hat, the UFO-02 detector was gone, and, sure enough, all of my Splenda had been replaced with little, brown raw sugar packets. When I tried to tell Brad about Leonardo/Dumbledore and The Message, he rolled over away from me, grumbling that I shouldn't eat so much ice cream or any dairy product before bed."

8. Deer Rear with Bottle Opener

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon Says: "[G]iving new meaning to the term 'the business end'!"

5 Stars from George Takei, who makes even more puns: "Deer friends: Looking for the perfect 'hunting lodge' accessory? No ifs, ands or butts, this is a staggering find. As any John Doe could tell you, mount this baby on your wall and BAMBI! Instant party. Now when guests ask me to open their beers, I just say 'Go buck yourself.'"


Buy it on Amazon


4 Stars from George Takei, who found it worked well against bigoted politicians: "For example, the last time Senator Rick Santorum was shouting Bible verses through my bedroom window, I merely sauntered over, withdrew the can from my nightie, and held it up at eye-level. 'What is THAT?!' he bellowed. 'A&@hole repellant,' I said, calmly displaying the clearly marked label. 'Don't worry, it won't kill you. I've got it set to STUN-NING!!!!'"

10. Star Trek Magnetic Spock and Captain Kirk Salt and Pepper Shaker Set

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "High quality."

3 Stars from George Takei, who found these "too realistic": "After Brad got me this set, I realized that they were a bit TOO true to life. The Kirk shaker kept wandering off in search of 'lady shakers,' insisting his salt crystals were real dilithium. I'd have recommended this as a great Father's Day gift, but I noticed over time that the body of the shaker droops, and the uniform now seems, well, a bit snug. I also was disappointed to learn that the hair piece does NOT come off as expected. One star off my marks for that."

11. Passion Natural Water-Based Lubricant - 55 Gallon

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Amazon says: "If you are looking for a simply jaw-dropping amount of lube, Passion Natural Water-Based Lubricant is ready to get the fun started with this 55 gallon drum!"

3 Stars from George Takei, whose home-test went awry: "Now, how to spray the lube on the excited on-lookers? Why, by water pump gun, of course. To test out our delivery mechanism, we purchased a drum for our back yard and set up a slip and slide. I had Brad charge toward me down the slide, and I fired at will. It helped to imagine he was a Klingon Bird of Prey: Target that explosion and FIRE.

"What I didn't expect was that Brad's forward momentum would cause him to crash into me, upending the entire drum along with us. Utter chaos. Our unfortunate cats, who had come out to judge our activities as cats will, were caught in the deluge. Looking like drowned rats, they howled and sped around the yard in hysterical circles, then tried for ten minutes to climb a tree."

12. Horse Head Mask

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Awesome conversation piece."

4 Stars from George Takei, who takes the opportunity to pun: "I purchased this mane-ly for anonymity, but instead it was a night-mare that saddled me with un-bridled panic.

"At a recent Comic Con, I donned the mask wearing my best track suit, jockeying for a simple laugh: 'What do gay horses eat?' I queried, eager to bray 'Heeeeeyyyy!!' Comic gold, friends, I know.

"But the neigh-sayers came unglued. 'No! You're George Takei! I know that voice!'

"Now, it doesn't take a gallop poll to know what happened next. I hoofed it out of there with herds of fans riding my ass, shouting till they, too,"

13. F500 American Flag Pants

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "These Flag Pants are cut with the same roomy thigh area and sharply tapered ankle cuffs which make them great gym pants and for casual wear as well."

5 Stars from George Takei, who avoided internment with this ostentatious display of patriotism: "I've often wondered, though, whether things would have been different if we'd simply been given a chance to demonstrate our loyalty.

"That's why when I go jogging around Hollywood, I always put on my BEST FORM AMERICAN FLAG PANTS while belting out a hearty 'God Bless 'Murica' for all the passers-by. So moved are the myriad witnesses to my overt and unabashed patriotism that they stare, mouths agape, overcome with, well, something, as I fist pump the air with an enthusiastic 'USA, USA!', the soundtrack to Rocky blaring from our car stereo as Brad urges me on and hands me another Ensure to slug. Sly Stallone, eat your heart out."

14. Canned Unicorn Meat

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "The bottom of the tin is easily removable to gain access to the mini dead unicorn inside. No can opener needed!"

2 Stars from George Takei, who thought it tasted like SPAM: "Unfortunately, I found this unicorn meat brand to be quite similar to spam, both in texture and blandness. I'd been hoping for that zestier kick that comes from the rump cuts of other mythical and fantastical creatures, such as griffins or centaurs (for the latter, serve only the back half of the creature with guests, or it gets awkward)."

15. BACON shaped themed Adhesive Bandages

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Treat your minor cuts, scrapes and scratches with the incredible healing power of meat."

5 Stars from George Takei, who can't help punning: "Not to pork fun at an injury, but nothing strips the pain away like meating friends out dressed like this. 'That's sow wrong, George!' they squeal. But fat chance they let such a pig idea go. In fact, they often rip it off quickly—after giving me the cold shoulder."

16. Schrodinger's Cat Executive Decision Maker

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "With this Schrodinger's Cat Executive Decision Maker, just ask the cat a yes or no question, slide open the door to watch the cat magically fluxing between life and death."

5 Stars from George Takei, who imagines a conversation with a coworker: "'Hang on, let me consult Schrodinger's Cat Executive Box for that answer. Aha! See? It says the answer is both yes, and no. That is, right now, knowing nothing other than your question, the answer could be either yes or no. But when we actually get to that point, we'll know whether it actually was yes, or no.'

"'But that box always gives that answer.'

"'So does quantum physics, and no one is arguing with that.'"

17. Pickle Lip Balm Dill Flavored Scented Novelty Gag Prank Present

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Much better than a boring old lip balm."

2 Stars from George Takei, whose husband didn't appreciate it: "Apparently, the taste wasn't kosher for Brad, who can be a sour puss, even when in the balm of your hand. So you might want to pickle little more carefully, and give your spouse more than lip service. Now I just say there's a pickle in my pocket and I'm happy to see him. Too cuke for words."

18. Inflatable Unicorn Horn for Cats

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Your cat makes a show of being regal and in control, but you could turn all that around with this Inflatable Unicorn Horn for Cats."

1 Star from George Takei, who did not appreciate his three cats gaining mystical powers: "Soon things began to happen. Inexplicable things. The neighbor's dog was found immobilized, trussed-up with some indeterminate golden binding, a warning sign scrawled above him, 'Do not crosses the THREE.' A heretofore undiscovered hotspring bubbled up from beneath our yard and now transverses our property. Our clothes began to emerge from the dryer already pressed and folded, and the vet's office mysteriously called to confirm we had intended to cancel their next appointments. But we had not....

'"And the expenses! The THREE demand much for their rule. They turn their heads in disdain at Meow Mix. Only skittles will do, individually unwrapped and separated by flavor. Harrods of London shipped three gold-plated water bowls, charged to 'Mssrs George and Bwad Takei.' And only yesterday we received a note, with perfect penmanship, requesting that 'henceforth' all water served in said gold-plated bowls should be of an imported varietal, well-chilled, and garnished with a 'just a spwig' of the freshest catnip."

19. Air Swimmer Flying Shark

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Requires helium to float—can be reinflated over and over."

5 Stars from George Takei, who find this perfect for pranking Sharknado-fan Brad: "I excused myself, claiming I needed to go 'visit nature' before turning in. When I was just out of sight, I ducked behind our tool shed and grabbed the AIR SWIMMER remote controls. To add to the ruse, I used my Bluetooth enabled smartphone to play the theme from Jaws on the jambox I'd hidden inside the tent.


"The harmonica playing stopped. 'George?' Brad called out, standing slowly up and wiping some sticky marshmellow from his chin.

"Da-dum, Da-dum

"It was a low, unmistakable rumbling, as if from the depth of the darkest ocean. Brad's flashlight was out, scanning the tree-tops. Preposterous indeed! At just the right moment, I maneuvered the Air Swimmer into the clearing.


20. Squirrel Underpants

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon says: "Standard white cotton jockey-type drawer. One size fits most squirrels."

3 Stars from George Takei, who does not recommend them for gay hamsters: "We thought our friend's hamster Frederick (he prefers the German Frederick, definitely NOT Fred or, gasp, "Freddy") would appreciate this gift, as he often complains that 'hees business' is always on display, especially as he frolics in his wheel. But when we presented the 'Accoutrements Squirrel Underpants' to Frederick on his birthday, his disappointment was palpable. 'Vell zen,' he quipped crisply, as German hamsters so often do. 'Ve are polite and must still appreciate da gesture, no?' Frederick clearly expected something with a bit more 'oomph.'"

All photos courtesy of All illustrations courtesy of iStock. 

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Fearless Man Slices 26 Watermelons on His Stomach in 60 Seconds, Setting New Record

Ashrita Furman, a 63-year-old New Yorker who holds the world record for setting the most Guinness World Records, just achieved another one. This time, it was for the most watermelons sliced on top of his stomach in 60 seconds, Nerdist reports.

Furman came up with the idea for the record himself, and while he didn’t have any competition, Guinness stipulated that he had to slice at least 20 watermelons to be recognized. He managed to cut through 26 melons with his tool of choice, a katana, in less than a minute. (He walked away without a scratch.)

Check out this spectacle (and serious ab workout) for yourself:

“I’m really thrilled,” Furman told Reuters after pulling off the feat. “My first reaction is I’m relieved that I didn’t kill myself and the second is that I’m exhilarated because it is not only a skillful record, but also it’s something that I invented and now it’s out there and other people can challenge it.”

Furman, who has been called “Mr. Versatility,” currently holds more than 200 Guinness records. He set his very first record in 1979 after completing 27,000 jumping jacks, and he hasn’t slowed down since. In the past near-40 years he has set the record for—among other feats—the most knives caught in a minute (54); the greatest distance traveled while juggling on a pogo stick (4 miles, 30 feet); and most grapes caught in his mouth in one minute (86).

[h/t Nerdist]

Courtesy of Shout! Factory
No Strings Attached: The Puppet Satire of D.C. Follies
Courtesy of Shout! Factory
Courtesy of Shout! Factory

At one corner of the bar, Jack Nicholson is seducing Margaret Thatcher. At another, Richard Nixon is reconsidering the sins of his presidency. Before the night is out, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver North, and Dan Rather will all make appearances, each sporting slightly exaggerated features and misshapen heads.

For two seasons between 1987 and 1989, a fictional Washington, D.C. bar was the setting for this unlikely assembly of political and entertainment figures cast in foam and orbiting around the show’s only regular human performer, actor Fred Willard. D.C. Follies might have been the most peculiar thing to come from the minds of famed television duo Sid and Marty Krofft, and when the hallucinogenic H.R. Pufnstuf is on their resume, that’s saying something.

A screen capture from the 'D.C. Follies' television series
Courtesy of Shout! Factory

The satirical, syndicated half-hour series might not have been paying licensing fees to the UK’s ITV network, but there’s a good argument for why they should have. In 1984, the channel began airing Spitting Image, a sharp, cutting take on world affairs created by Peter Fluck and Roger Law that used hypnotically repugnant puppets to represent political figures and members of the British royal family. The altered reality allowed for skewering, with jokes and actions that would have seemed too mean-spirited in live-action made permissible by the fact that they were embodied by living caricatures. In one sketch, then-Prime Minister Thatcher wondered why the poor didn’t just “eat their own bodies,” while newspaper employees at reputed tabloid outlets were depicted as literal pigs. At the height of its popularity, Spitting Image was viewed by 18 million viewers weekly.

Although other UK comedy exports like Monty Python's Flying Circus had found success with American audiences, Spitting Image was strikingly topical and resonated best with British audiences. A series of American-oriented specials for NBC that aired in 1986 and 1987 did well, but not well enough to commit to a series. At the same time, Sid and Marty Krofft—who had made their last name synonymous with Saturday morning kid TV culture in the 1970s—were working on a show that would emulate Fluck and Law’s approach. Thatcher would take a back seat to Oliver North, Dan Quayle, and other sometimes scandalous figures in then-contemporary U.S. politics. With Willard cast as the bartender, D.C. Follies got picked up in 90 markets for syndication beginning in September 1987.

The Kroffts had experience with parody puppets, having crafted Elvis Presley in felt as far back as the 1950s and mounting an elaborate live show, Les Poupées de Paris (The Dolls of Paris), that featured topless puppets. Not quite as appalling in appearance as the Spitting Image cast, the near-life-size foam stand-ins cost between $1500 and $3000 apiece. Political cartoonists like Bob Myers, who contributed to the New York Daily News, would offer a design that puppet makers could use as inspiration for a sculpt. People with easily identifiable features, like the drooping lip of Stallone or the shock of bright red hair sported by Jim Bakker's mistress Jessica Hahn, were ideal.

Unlike Fluck and Law, who typically targeted elected officials, the Kroffts had to be more cautious when it came to legal consequences. While political figures were largely powerless to complain or litigate over puppet counterparts, celebrities tended to exercise more caution over their likeness. D.C. Follies got away with using Woody Allen, Dolly Parton, and a host of others, but Frank Sinatra threatened to sue if he showed up cast in foam. The show eventually added a disclaimer at the end reminding viewers it was meant to be taken in jest.

There was also the challenge of remaining topical in a fast-moving news cycle. Unlike most scripted series, D.C. Follies was taped just three days prior to air to avoid time-worn jokes. Marty Krofft told the press that a puppet could be crafted in just 36 hours if needed, making it easier for them to comment on that week’s headlines.

D.C. Follies premiered the weekend of September 26 and 27, 1987, an auspicious debut for a syndicated offering: It was the same weekend Star Trek: The Next Generation began airing. Often on late at night and sometimes opposite Saturday Night Live, Follies invited a number of human guest stars—Martin Mull was the first—who tried not to be upstaged by the vaguely disfigured effigies surrounding them. Marty Krofft allegedly recruited some guests simply by threatening to make a mocking puppet of them if they didn’t agree to appear.

A screen capture from the 'D.C. Follies' television series
Courtesy of Shout! Factory

Each week, Willard—who was apparently hired for his ability to make conversing with puppets seem plausible—lent a sympathetic ear to the problems expressed by his satirical patrons. The blend of characters and real guests made for some odd pairings: The real Mike Tyson once appeared to box a puppet George Bush. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund in his familiar makeup) saddled up to the bar to help plug a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie. Krueger's nightmare: Quayle becoming president.

Mostly, though, the puppets walked in and out of frame in non-sequitur sketches. John Madden might accost Pope John Paul II; Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford were seen playing Trivial Pursuit, with Nixon admitting his Presidential Library was a Bookmobile; Madonna, Sean Penn, Jesse Jackson, Ted Koppel, and dozens of others also passed through.

Follies earned a second season while still filming its first, but ratings were never strong enough to warrant a third. (Late last year, Shout! Factory released the full series on DVD.) The Kroffts went on to produce similar puppet productions like Red Eye Express and Krofft Late Night. Nothing, however, seemed to endure quite like Spitting Image, which ran for 12 years in the UK and is currently being considered for a U.S.-based revival. Based on today’s political climate, there should be no shortage of material.


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