This just in…
- Rep. John Dingell gets the “Holiday” spirit (glad he’s keeping his day job...obligatory hat tip to Atrios)
- Andy Williams in intensive care due to unusual shrinking accident with white turtleneck sweater
- Newly discovered documents tell the story of how Bing Crosby threatened to blow somebody’s head off if he didn’t get his “figgy pudding” PDQ!
This column from Kate Fratti of the Bucks County Courier Times provides some insight also, I think (hope you've done most of your shopping by now, but just in case...).
Toy stores no trip down memory laneIrving ("Bag Of Glass") Mainway (the bad toy maker played by Dan Aykroyd on the original Saturday Night Live) would be proud.
If you've not browsed a major toy store in recent years, I urge you to get right to it. Especially if you've been wondering what's wrong with today's kids.
The answer, I think, might lie in their toy selection.
What's that? You're so out of touch you think children still play with Etch-a-Sketch, pogo sticks, Matchbox cars and doll babies?
Go now. Go to the toy store.
I'm not suggesting you buy a thing. Just stroll the busy overstocked aisles and be as dazzled as I was recently by the overindulgence and weirdness that constitutes play.
For instance, you can still purchase a kid a Radio Flyer Wagon with removable sides for Christmas, but it would seem awfully quaint. Irrelevant, really. Especially when the receiver pulls it up alongside the kid who woke to find under the tree a $299 motorized C5 Corvette with working headlights, a real FM radio, horn and retractable cup holder. I kid you not. A place to put his sippy cup.
For the more outdoorsy first-grader there is the $299 Kawasaki Adventure 4x4 with a one-year bumper to bumper warranty. Or Little Tyke's rough and tough Hummer Adventure Series at $279.
While you can still buy pop-up books for your favorite little person, just know that her pals "age 6+" could be the recipients of the Little Tykes DVD Player with remote control - $79.99. Some will get the little blue 13-inch TV - $99.99.
Can you spell overindulged?
How about strange?
Remember your first diary? The one with the white patent leather cover and tiny brass lock and key to keep out creepy little brothers. Forget it.
Today's girl has Girl Tech's "Password Journal." For about $27, it comes with a voice activated spring-loaded cover. Tucked inside is paper on which to scribble her innermost thoughts. The pen has a built-in radio AND "a shredder."
Of course, if brother is determined to snoop, there are toys for that, too.
A spy tool kit by Spy Gear runs $14.99. It comes with a real "listening device" and a notebook to record conversations. There's another kit with a camera he can wear as a watch. It holds 24 exposures.
Can you spell stalker?
If he's snooping after lights-out Kids Station Toys offers a long-range night vision headband with a Batman theme, $29.99.
In the "makes-no-sense-at-all department" is FlyWheels Rapid Fire Launcher. It lets the owner shoot hard rubber wheels long distance. Just wheels.
"Like throwing rocks in the house," mused Gary, a Northeast Philadelphia man shopping for two nephews. The toy is not intended for indoors, but Gary was picturing the toy in the hands of his sister's 4-year-old who can't read those directions. The image made Gary grin.
"For five bucks, I'm measuring the entertainment value of upsetting my sister vs. the safety of their cat," he said.
I suggested something more creative for the toddler but had second thoughts. Even old standards like Play-Doh have been weirded up for this newest batch of kids. "The Chomp and Chew Diner" kit, for instance, invites the creator to form pizzas then feed them to the ugly little plastic figurines. The dough is forced up into the doll's head, which then sprouts Play-Doh hair.
If there was any comfort at all, it was the manufacturer warning to parents: "Contains wheat." Aha. Some things don't change. Kids still chomp and chew Play-Doh. What a relief.