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Techno-Gab 

This week, our holiday season look at silly gifts takes us to the surreal land of talking products. In a world where, at any moment, an estimated three to four billion people are yapping at the same time, you'd think folks would have their fill of human voices. But no. Every year, more and more yakking merchandise is marketed to the American public, as if we all need constant background chatter hitting our eardrums or else we'll have to stop and think about our lives. One of our favorite purveyors of mechanical gab is The Talking Pedometer. You remember those clunky, old-fashioned pedometers you had to actually look at in order to find out how far you'd walked or run? Well, you can forget about that Stone Age crap. Now, with the touch of a button, your own personal Talking Pedometer will speak to you, telling wondrous tales of how many miles you've traveled, how many steps you've taken, how long you've been at it, how many calories you've burned, and best of all, it will keep you company on those long, sometimes lonely strolls. Inspiring, isn't it? Just try not to get too attached. The Talking Pedometer is $25 and is available at Brookstone stores.

Amuse your friends -- confuse your animals -- scare your enemies! With the Talking TP it's all within your grasp. This "ingenius" device allows you to record your own personal messages onto the toilet paper roll, which is activated whenever someone gives it a tug. Remind those pesky boys to put the lid down, tell your employees to wash their hands - heck, scare the crap out of grandma with an unending loop of fart sounds! The Talking TP is only $19.95 and comes with an on/off switch for those of us who can see an end to the fun. To order your own visit www.youcansave.com.

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