I'm just a bowl cut and a sit and spin away from happiness

I spun til I was dizzy as fuck on that exact same Sit and Spin!

Rockin' out. Read the rest

Toy blocks that teach about our solar system

Thomas Romer of the excellent Chop Shop Studio in collaboration with the nonprofit Planetary Society designed these delightful solar system toy blocks to teach kids (and adults) about the wonders of outer space! He's launched a Kickstarter to fund the manufacturing of the wood blocks with debossed typography. They're $75/set. Thomas says:

We worked on the project for over a year and while I did the graphics, etc — they made sure all the data was accurate and totally up to date. It is a set of 20 blocks featuring the most interesting worlds of the Solar System. Notice I didn’t say “planets”. One of my main objectives is to show children (and adults) that planet or not doesn’t matter. There are worlds like Io and Europa that most have never heard of. Two moons are bigger than Mercury, never mind Pluto (also included).

Then each side is loaded with data like size, distance, interior, name, appearance and the missions we have sent to explore them.

When they are shipped to our (Kickstarter) backers they will be sold in the Planetary Society store and profits will be sent to support their overall mission.

"Planetary Blocks: Our Solar System" (Kickstarter)

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A collection of self-referential objects

Tim of Grand Illusions shows his collection of objects that refer to themselves in one way or another. My favorite is the can opener that comes in a sealed can.

My second favorite is this label:

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WATCH: Super satisfying magnet action

These magnetic balls look fun as heck. Keep them out of the way of small kids and pets, please. Read the rest

The worst toy: Flushin' Frenzy

Flushin' Frenzy [Amazon] is a toy wherein you push a plunger until a poop pops up. All the fun of clearing out a blocked toilet! The game's tagline is "Poop there it is!"

Game night just got gross - in the best way!

Flushin' Frenzy makes being a plumber fun! Push the toilet handle to release the die. When a number pops up, you plunge the toilet that number of times. Be ready to catch the poop when it flies out at any moment! POOP - there it is! The player to catch the poop wins a token, or two tokens if they catch it in mid-air! Set includes 1 toilet, 1 plunger, 1 die, and 10 score tokens.

Safe for ages 5 and up. 2-4 players.

At Mattel, play matters. We strive to help children learn and develop through play ever since our founding in 1945.

Note:

WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD

Furthermore:

Flushin' Frenzy [Amazon] Read the rest

The Lego Apocalypseburg Set: YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP!

The second Lego movie includes a memorable scene in Apocalypseburg, an homage to the final scene in Planet of the Apes, complete with a Beyond Thurderdome-style settlement in Lady Liberty's tilted shadow; this is now immortalized as a $300 Lego set. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Twistable snake reminds me of my childhood

Picking up one of these twistable snakes pretty much makes an hour disappear.

Instantly I immediately remembered how to make the soccer ball and the little terrier. I would never have known to consider these a 'fidget' toy way back in my single digit days, but these snakes kick the shit out of any fidget spinner.

Speed Cube Snake Ruler Cube Puzzle 3 Pack via Amazon Read the rest

Star Wars Trench Run LEGO set

For under $25 the X-Wing Fighter and Turbo Laser LEGO set is getting snapped together soon!

With Luke, R2 and Storm Trooper minifigs, this new smaller Star Wars kit is one of many I'll be picking up this year under the guise of "gift for my daughter."

LEGO Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter Trench Run 75235 4+ Building Kit , New 2019 (132 Pieces) via Amazon Read the rest

View-Master movie in the works

MGM and Mattel are developing a live-action movie based on the iconic View-Master stereo viewer. This news comes on the heels of the two companies' announcement of an American Girl film based on the insanely popular doll brand. From Hollywood Reporter:

“Since the 1940s, View-Master has inspired wonder and joy in children of all ages, creating huge opportunities for storytelling,” said Brenner in a statement. “MGM Pictures has tremendous expertise and a proven track record in capturing audiences’ imagination through film, and we’re proud to be partnering with them to bring another Mattel franchise to theaters. This marks another important milestone as we transform Mattel into an IP-driven, high-performing toy company.”

Stated Jonathan Glickman, MGM's motion picture group president: “View-Master was the first device that allowed families all over the world to escape their reality and take them places they never thought they could go. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Mattel to create a family adventure integrating the old school turn and click stereotypic device with the modern world of virtual reality.”

(Thanks, Jason Tester!) Read the rest

Realistic rubber feet

The two bullet points for the Belladonna Foot Soldiers [Amazon] makes clear all you need to know. First, it offers "astonishing details" in "realistic rubber," and second that there is one left foot, one right foot, and a free bottle of lube. [via The Worst Things For Sale]

Now you too can have your own set of Belladonna's exquisite feet to hold, fondle, love and caress. Live out your wildest fantasies with Belladonna.

The top review, alas, warns of a strong smell.

I’m not sure what it is, but the smell never goes away. This time I’m determined to see if it does. I’ve owned these for 6 years, and rarely take them out of the box. I can smell the material at least 6 feet away. It’s a shame, because they are beautifully detailed. I wish I knew the cause. I’ve throw them in nylons and will keep them out of the box as a last ditch effort to see if the scent mellows. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Though less life like, I prefer the Topco Justine Joli Cyberskin Foot Stroker.

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Terrorise other beachgoers with the Beach Behemoth, a 12-foot beach ball

The Beach Behemoth is a 12-foot beach ball. Perhaps you think that this is a mere toy, one of those ultimately trivial impulse buys of no permanence beyond momentary amusement. This is because you have not read the buyer reviews at Amazon.

Reid Hamlin writes:

We took this ball to the beach and after close to 2 hours to pump it up, we pushed it around for about 10 fun filled minutes. That was when the wind picked it up and sent it huddling down the beach at about 40 knots. It destroyed everything in its path. Children screamed in terror at the giant inflatable monster that crushed their sand castles. Grown men were knocked down trying to save their families. The faster we chased it, the faster it rolled. It was like it was mocking us. Eventually, we had to stop running after it because its path of injury and destruction was going to cost us a fortune in legal fees. Rumor has it that it can still be seen stalking innocent families on the Florida panhandle. We lost it in South Carolina, so there is something to be said about its durability.

Troy Beaver:

First of all, if you have your heart set on this, and want this GIGANTIC ball, there is technically nothing wrong with this product, but PLEASE take a minute to consider some things that I did not consider before imposing this monstrosity onto our son's graduation party. ...

Once it was completely blown up, (about an hour and a half with a small air compressor), it bounced....EVERYWHERE....across people, picnic tables, horse fence, the neighbor's yard, and INTO A FOUR LANE HIGHWAY!!!!!!!

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Ozzy Osbourne sells bat plushie with detachable head

On Sunday, Ozzy Osbourne launched pre-orders for this darling plushie bat with a detachable head, and it has already sold out. Today is the 37th anniversary of Ozzy's show at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa during which he bit the head off a real bat. From a January 22, 1982 article in the Des Moines Register:

Osbourne reportedly put a dead bat in his mouth, bit its head off and threw it back into the crowd of about 5,000 at the auditorium Wednesday night.

Some skeptics think the whole thing was a publicity stunt – even the taking of the first of a series of five rabies shots at a Des Moines hospital after the concert.

But Mark Neal, 17, of Des Moines said he threw the dead bat onto the stage, saw Osbourne pick it up, bite its head off and then throw it into the audience.

“It really freaked me out,” Neal said. “I won’t get in any trouble for admitting this, will I?”

After the show, Osbourne went to Mercy Hospital Medical Center, and was referred to Broadlawns Medical Center because rabies vaccine was available there.

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The Furby was "coded for cuteness"

Released in 1998 by Tiger Electronics, more than 40 million Furbies were sold in its first three years of life. What made this bizarre animatronic toy so damn popular? Read the rest

Donating unwanted LEGO to someone less fortunate is a great way to bring more joy to the world

Lots of folks continue to build fabulous creations out of LEGO well into adulthood. Others tire of it, as they do many of their other childhood belongings, at an early age. Both are fine. What's not OK is being a kid who, because of their parent's financial situation, doesn't know the joy of having a box full of LEGO to call their own. Given the years of imagination-stretching enjoyment the wee plastic blocks can bring into a life, that's a damn shame.

Here's what you can do to put a dent in this unfortunate state of affairs.

Lifehacker had a recent post on what to do with old LEGO, if you're not able to pass it down to a younger member of your family or hand it off to friends for their kids to mess around with. They mention that you can sell the blocks online but, better than this, there's organizations out there that specialize in putting LEGO bricks in needy hands:

Sites like Brick Recycler, The Giving Brick and Brick Dreams have launched in recent years in order to address the unique supply and demand problem presented by LEGOs. Each has its own requirements for donations, but in general they accept donations of LEGO bricks of all kinds: mixed up, all together, dirty or clean. Brick Recycler says it has “repurposed” more than 3 million LEGO pieces.

The groups clean and sort bricks and then donate them to children’s support groups, hospitals, daycare facilities and more. Some sell cleaned sets that were donated in order to pay for operations.

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Yellies toy spiders: "The louder you yell, the faster they move"

This year's hot -- and controversial -- holiday toys are Hasbro's Yellies, a line of plush spider-like ("Spooders) creatures that move faster when you scream at them.

The toys are creating quite a kerfuffle with parents who think the toys are a bad idea.

One mother shared that her son was scared of the toy and that it actually fed off her kid's "screams of terror":

...Being the mother of a naturally loud and boisterous kid, I thought it would be the perfect Christmas present... well I couldn’t wait for Christmas. So I crack it open tonight, and get a good look at it. I test it out. I’m amazed at how powerful the little motor is... how fast the little legs move... how its creepy little eyes glow a lovely shade of radioactive green. So I call Leo in. He looks at it, cocks his little head to the side. And then, obviously, I yelled at it. The spider ran for it. Leo starts screaming... the louder he screams, the faster the spider pursued him. He runs. And this is when we discovered the fun little feature in which the spider has a tendency to stop abruptly... pause for a couple seconds... spin in several erratic circles... and then turn towards wherever it senses sound... and take off in that direction.

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Argentine hacker mods Furby so it quotes Borges, creates a "Borgy"

Argentine hacker [Roni Bandini] modded a 1998 Furby so that it responds to stimulus by rattling off a random quote from Jorge Luis Borges. He calls it "Borgy." Read the rest

Toy makers tap into what kids really want: 'Unrolling is the new unboxing'

Ok, I'm not just sharing these "Cutetitos" for the sake of sharing them. I'm sharing them because I've just learned that toy makers have figured out that young kids really like unboxing videos and they have now found a way to replicate that experience with "mystery toys" (like these plushies wrapped up a burrito). 

The Atlantic [emphasis and some links mine]:

"Enter the L.O.L. Surprise! doll, a sphere the size of a bocce ball that consists of seven layers of packaging. Kids peel away the layers of crinkly plastic, which contain stickers and messages and tiny accessories that are surely crunched under many a parental foot, and find a small, nearly naked plastic doll with giant Bette Davis eyes who measures just a few inches tall.

More than 800 million L.O.L. Surprise! toys have been sold since their debut in late 2016, and they were one of the top products sold on Cyber Monday this year... Parents can now buy eggspods of foamcake popsburritos, and balls of many shapes and sizes containing mystery animals and figurines. (“Unrolling is the new unboxing,” said Ashley Mady, the head of brand development at the company that launched the burritos, called Cutetitos, in October.)"

...There are biological reasons young children like watching unboxing videos, and it’s the same reason they’re drawn to surprise toys. Kids don’t really get good at understanding and anticipating the future until they’re about 4 or 5, Rachel Barr, the director of the Early Learning Project at Georgetown University, told me...Unboxing videos and surprise toys allow kids to enjoy the anticipation without being too afraid...because they know roughly what will be in the package, just not the exact details.

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