I've just received a press release extolling the virtues of Quik Pod, "the world's first extendable hand-held tripod". It's a telescoping rod with a swivelling head that attaches to the tripod socket in the bottom of your camera, the idea being that instead of stretching your arm to take a photo of yourself, you hold the camera out in front of you on the end of a stick.
According to the Quik Pod Web site, this unbelievably innovative device (my words) enables you to take self portraits without the help of strangers (their words) and capture a moment when you don't want anyone else there (also their words).
The Quik Pod isn't actually a tripod, because it only has one leg. It's a monopod, and isn't the world's first monopod, either. And the point of tripods and monopods is to help you hold the camera steady, whereas the Quik Pod will wave around in front of you, magnifying any small movements of your hands. And if you look at the angles in the photo above, the Eiffel Tower isn't going to be in the snapshot. If the charming young couple enlisted the help of a passing local, the photo might be framed with Parisian panache -- and at the very least, it would include the famous local landmark.
Besides, if you don't want to communicate with strangers, what are you doing in a foreign country? You can spend $24.99 (£13) on a Quik Pod, or we can all just try to get along, a little bit, every now and again.