Thinkgeek bills their $40 Blobfish Plush as a "Grumpy Cat of the sea." While its true that the "world's ugliest animal" is actually pretty unremarkable looking when it is compressed by the awesome high-pressure environment of the sea, there's no denying that it looks like a newspaper caricature of a sad, downtrodden shlub when brought to the surface, which makes it the perfect gift...for that someone special in your life.
Zack sez, "Submitted for your approval -- Bif Bang Pow! has a new line of action figures inspired by the classic TV series done in the scale and style of such 1980s figure lines as Star Wars. Personal favorites include the Invader from 'The Invaders' and Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis in 'Time Enough at Last,' who is getting a permanent space on my bookshelf where he can finally enjoy some good literature without worrying about breaking his glasses."
"Wheels That Go," a gorgeous 1967 short film by Jim Henson, starring his son Brian, with music by pioneering jazz and electronic music composer Raymond Scott. You'd recognize Scott's big band music from hundreds of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Many of those familiar tunes are available on the compilation Reckless Nights & Turkish Twilights. Scott's experimental electronic pieces, like the one in this film, can be heard on the collections Manhattan Research Inc. and the Soothing Sounds For Baby series. (via Experimental Music on Children's TV)
Nerf's Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow (part of the wider Rebelle line of action toys marketed to girls) gets pretty high marks from its owners, and promises a dart-range of 75 feet. I confess that I'm conflicted about this -- there's nothing inherently masculine or feminine about Nerf toys, their gendering is already a synthetic creation of the company's marketing strategy.
That said, there are unquestionably girls who feel like action toys are not for them because of normative gender pressure (to which Nerf is a contributor, of course), and the existence of toys that are intended to allow them the space for imaginative play without worrying about appropriate gender norms is a good thing. Especially since the Rebelle toys are not just "girly" -- they're also cool, as well-built and well-designed as the "boy" versions, the perfect imaginative accessory for your little Hunger Games fan.
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There's nothing quite so cuddly as a giant isopod plush toy. It has been encutified to make it even more adorable than the real-life version, with big, round, loving eyes. As the product description notes, these are "passionately loved" by some in Japan and are regarded as "mysterious and cute" -- one in Toba Aquarium has (allegedly) eaten no food for over 4 years.
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Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says:
Our very own Lisa Hix just interviewed Todd Coupee, who is a collector of Easy-Bake Ovens and wrote the definitive work on the subject, Light Bulb Baking. In her article, Lisa recounts how she and her kid brother destroyed her childhood Easy-Bake Oven (they tried to cook a green plastic steak from a Mattel Tuff Stuff play set, which melted under the incandescent bulb's 350-degree heat), and explains how Kenner ignored the gender politics of the day by marketing the oven to both boys and girls (to have done otherwise would have excluded 50 percent of the toy's potential audience, so the reasons were purely financial).
Seven year old girl tells Lego off for gender stereotyping in toys: "make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!"
Charlotte, who is seven, wrote this devastating letter to the Lego company over the way that girl characters and boy characters are handled in its increasingly gendered toys: "All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks."
She calls on Lego "to make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!"
That's a pretty unassailable request. Thank you, Charlotte, for putting it so well.
Where did Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax find inspiration for his magical monsters like the Bulette, Rust Monster, and Owlbear? Apparently inside a bag of crappy plastic "Prehistoric Animals" sold at variety stores in the early 1970s! Tony DiTerlizzi has more: "Owlbears, Rust Monsters, and Bulettes, Oh My!" (via Laughing Squid)
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A British teacher and artist named Guy Tarrant has assembled two cases' worth of toys confiscated from London schoolchildren, soliciting them from fellow teachers. The collection represents items from 150 schools and 30 years, and is on display at the excellent Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The Childhood Museum is very close to my home, and it's one of my favourite London museums -- I like it better, even, than its enormous parent institution, the V&A down in South Kensington.
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