Boys and their toys or, do we really need a gadget to help us shop?

Well, here's a new item. Named the "... gift of choice at Oscar time ..." by the president of the company that makes the item, may I introduce the SmartShopper.

Here's what this perky little device does. It lets you record your shopping list. "Macaroni!" you can say. And "Cheese brick!" you can command. And "Cabbage!" and "Toilet paper!" and "Tampons!" You can shout all this and more into your device as you walk down the street, pick up your child from day care, and even one-more, TWO-MORE, three-more in aerobics class.

And what does this device, the one the press release calls "A revolutionary new kitchen device" on one hand, and says it can even be used by "... 5 year-old children ... " on the other (as opposed to, what, a 5-year-old adult?) do with all this verbiage? Why, it records it. So you can read it on the LCD screen in 9-point font (the documents I write default to a standard 12-point font which is a good legible size). Or you can print a categorized list.

What fun!

Of course, you need to find room in your life next to your cell phone and PDA (such as your Palm) and digicam and iPod and even such pedestrian items as, say, a pen and paper. All of which are perfectly capable of capturing the information this device captures. But, hey, why stop at one, two, or even three devices when you can have more! After all, could such luminaries, people who both know and love food and gadgets such as Swoosie Kurtz and Montel Williams (both of whom the press release says "... have them"), be wrong?

And here's the clincher. You can have this device, about which a customer is quoted on thier site as saying "Take my microwave oven but don't take my SmartShopper," all for the low, low price of (Sis, git the smelling salts. Ma done fainted dead away.) $149.99.

Interested? You can get one of these puppies at such stores as the JCPenny catalog. And, hey, while you're shopping, remember to stock up on the AA batteries. Because this puppy takes four at a time. And it doesn't recharge. Ever.