Southerly by David Haywood


Religious 'Innovations' for Christmas

For raw comedy fire-power, there's not much that surpasses the Innovations catalogue. Every few months this astonishing publication appears in my letterbox and provides me with hours of hilarity.

The idea behind the catalogue is simple -- it provides a commercial outlet for all those brilliant innovations that big corporations would otherwise attempt to suppress. You know, like the 'Lawkscrew', a handy device that transforms your lawnmower into a high-powered corkscrew (slogan: “Never struggle to open a wine bottle again!”). Or the 'Vacuulyser', a useful gizmo that turns your vacuum-cleaner into a fully-functioning breathalyser machine (slogan: “Measure your blood alcohol level while you clean the carpet!”).

The 'Holidays' issue of the Innovations catalogue is always particularly entertaining. It contains a variety of special innovations that are appropriate for Christmas, Hannukah, or Laylat al-Qadr celebrations.

I've exhaustively studied this year's 'Holidays' issue, and would like to present my selection of the top five Innovations products for that special religious person in your life.

  1. Pope Clock

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    Ideal for people who have difficulty remembering the current pope, this attractive clock is sure to be a talking point at any party! The names of past, present, and future popes are shown on a large easily-readable dial. The hand on the clock points to the name of the incumbent. Guaranteed infallible for all popes after 1870.

  2. Torah-Compliant Pacemaker

    [Click to view the full-size image]

    So your cardiologist tells you that you need a pacemaker -- but you're 'turned off' by the idea of a device that uses electricity (or “makes fire”) on the Shabbat? This stylish pacemaker has an inbuilt electronic calendar that disconnects the battery from Friday evening until Saturday night. Enjoy your Shabbat as God intended, and be the envy of your friends!

  1. Politically Incorrect Dalai Lama calendar

    [Click to view the full-size image]

    Each month this truly elegant wall-calendar features a different politically incorrect pronouncement by the former head of the Tibetan government. Read the Dalai Lama's hilarious and seldom-reported edicts against contraception, homosexuality, and women's rights. The perfect holiday gift for those members of the community who have forgotten that just because a religious leader is fashionable doesn't mean they're not an insufferable bigot.

  2. Anti-Depiction Goggles

    [Click to view the full-size image]

    These discreet goggles are a must for those religions that forbid depictions of deities, saints, or prophets. The viewing window becomes opaque within two microseconds of detection of visual representations of a religious figure in cartoons, postcards, or motorway billboards. Make a fashion statement and avoid the temptations of idolatry at the same time. Amaze your friends!

  3. Televangelists' Rapture Early-Warning System

    [Click to view the full-size image]

    Sounds a loud alarm and flashes a bright blue light half-an-hour before the beginning of Judgement Day, giving you ample time to repent your transgressions before 'Rapture' begins. Enjoy the life of a sinner right up until the last moment: take drugs, steal church funds, have sex with prostitutes, etc. and be forgiven just in time! Also suitable for agnostics.

I realize that readers will probably have their own favourite religious Innovations product -- so feel free to make your own nominations on the discussion thread.

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