History of the Slip 'N Slide

My wife (and kids) are big fans of the classic Slip 'N Slide on a summer day. The New York Times Magazine has the history of its invention which involved belly-flopping on a concrete driveway.

Like any concerned father with ready access to rugged, waterproof synthetic fabrics at work, Robert Carrier took home a 50-foot roll of beige Naugahyde in hopes of persuading his son to splash down on something safer. He unfurled it in the yard, hosed it down and watched as every kid in the neighborhood showed up and stayed to slide for hours.

Realizing he had a hit on his hands, Carrier used his sewing skills to refine his product. “He stitched a long tube along one side, sewn shut at one end, with spaces between the stitching so that when you attached the hose, the water pressure would build up and water would squirt out those openings and lubricate the surface of the material,” (explains Tim Walsh, author of "Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them.")

(Thanks, Tanya Schevitz!)

Mr Potato Head R2D2


The Mr. Potato Head Star Wars R2D2 goes on sale on July 14 -- happy Bastille Day! Up the rebellion! (via Geekymerch)

FabLab: a free game that creates 3D printable toys

Makies, the 3D printed toy and game company, has launched FabLab, its inaugural game! FabLab is a free game for people eight and up, through which you create and customize a character and its accessories, which you can also get as real-world, one-off, custom-fabbed objects. MakieLab, the company that created FabLab, was founded by my wife Alice Taylor, and so I've had an inside view into the process by which the game and its back-end -- which includes a remarkable toolchain for turning 3D game-objects into printable items -- came into being. The Makies here in London are fantastic, and they've done brilliantly with the game, if I do say so myself. Please give the game a try -- and tell your friends!

Makies FabLab! Out Now! | Makie.me

Animatronic face-ripping Undead Ted horror-toy

The 700th Undead Ted horror-toy was a face-removing, talking animatronic that sold for £420 on Ebay. I love that it can do more than one line; I like to think of it as the reincarnation of good ole Teddy Ruxpin. (via IO9)

Liz McGrath's customized toy robot

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The inimitable Liz McGrath created "Minerva," a recycled toy robot, for the "World's Greatest ONE of ONE Custom Toy Show" curated by KMNDZ opening tonight at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, California.

Playmobil's political incorrectness

Tanya Schevitz on how Playmobil’s bold stereotyping can be a teachable moment with her 5-year-old, or not.

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Cyberpocalypse: the cyberpunk Lego city


In 2013, a group of Lego masters unveiled Cyberpocalypse, a spectacularly detailed, moody, neon-lit cyberpunk city. It's a triumph of EL wire and science fiction aesthetics, a kind of bricky Burning Man theme-camp in miniature.

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History of Colorforms

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Over at Collectors Weekly, our pal Ben Marks talks to the co-inventor of the wonderful classic toy Colorforms, simply a pack of die-cut vinyl shapes and a board to stick them on, invented in 1951 and available to this day:

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Unboxing a Makie doll

I just spent ten delightful minutes watching this vlog in which Pixie Blossom unboxes her new, custom, 3D printed Makie doll. She ordered one of the last, limited run of green-skinned dolls, and specified that it be only lightly decorated so that she could give it a total makeover. The result, presented with contagious glee in the final act, is a great testament to her creativity and the idea of giving people toys that are intended to be remade by their owners.

The video was a hit in our household because my wife, Alice Taylor, is the CEO and founder of Makielab, where the Makie dolls come from.

LEGO minifigs are satanic (or at least grumpy)

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Slawomir Kostrzewa, a priest in Wolsztyn, Poland, is concerned that certain LEGO minifigs are "about darkness and the world of death" and could "destroy (children's) souls and lead them to the dark side." More interesting is that Kostrzewa attempts to back up his argument with research by University of Canterbury professor Christoph Bartneck suggesting that the faces of LEGO figures have become angrier over the years. Kostrzewa's claim is on the heels of his revelation last year that My Little Pony is a "carrier of death."

"Lego the building blocks of Satan, warns priest citing NZ study" (New Zealand Herald)

Professor Bartneck's response to the matter is here: "LEGO is not a tool of Satan"

Unusual cat toy

Furreal Kitty is available on Amazon. [via]

Blobfish plush


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.

Blobfish Plush

New old-timey Twilight Zone action figures announced


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."

These are in addition to the existing line of Bif Bam Pow Twilight Zone toys which include some real standouts like the Mystic Seer bobble-head and the Eye of the Beholder Nurse.

Bif Bang Pow! Enters a New Dimension (Thanks, Zack!)

Jim Henson and Raymond Scott's "Wheels That Go" (1967)

"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)

AT-AT rocking horse


Jen from Cake Wrecks made this amazing AT-AT rocking-horse, documenting the build online (she's promised plans to follow). It will be auctioned for charity at Megacon by the Florida chapter of the 501st Legion.

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