Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Toy Whorey

I remember blogging!

I used to enjoy it. If I had a bit of spare time, I'd warble on for a few paragraphs, publish it, look forward to getting some comments, get excited about new posts by some of my favourite bloggers and read them with a cuppa and a garibaldi.

Life, in it's selfish, inimitable way, keeps rearing it's ignorant head and demanding attention, like the world's biggest and rudest baby starling, beak agape and begging insistently for the worms of necessity, forcing me to grub around in the mulchy humus of existence for whatever scraps of sustenance I can find, dutifully supplying it with whatever it needs when I'd really rather be flocking with the lads, wheeling about at dusk and shitting on clean cars.

This lack of me time has led to my neglecting this blog, as well as those I follow, and for this I can only apologise. I shall endeavour to make more of an effort in the next few weeks, so please feel free to lambast me for my tardiness.

Lambast me good.

I recall when time was so plentiful you had to find imaginative ways to fill it. Games and toys were obviously de rigeur for firing the imagination, although when you're a kid you can make do with a stick and some pebbles. And a target.

Remember playing War?

In your head, you and your mates would all be a specialist army commando unit, stealthily moving through the undergrowth to creep up on an enemy position, before launching an all out attack with blood curdling screams on unsuspecting baddies, shooting with deadly accuracy as they tried to escape into the jungle.

Or you were all half-cyborg space marines, stealthily moving through the star-destroyer to creep up on an enemy position before launching an all out attack with blood-curdling screams on unsuspecting baddies, shooting with deadly accuracy as they tried to escape into the vacuum.

Or you were all psychic ninjas, stealthily moving . . . well you get the picture.

To those uneducated in the dark art of warfare, the above exercises might have looked like some small bipeds with mud on their faces, skinless knees and hair sticking out at every conceivable angle carrying sticks and jumping out from behind walls to frighten elderly cats in the hope that they'd hack up a fur ball in panic.

The point is, accurate props aren't that necessary to small boys in the pursuit of excitement and replica derring-do. Being a middle-class libertarian, I wonder whether I will buy my son a toy gun, or will I try and persuade him that bead-work and craft dollies are just as exciting?

I think I will probably allow him to have one if he asks, but I won't be advertising the fact that guns are cooooool.

Strangely I have no such compunction against knives, having had one since I was a boy myself, and feel that they are an intrinsic part of growing up and, in fact, part of our human heritage. We've got a lot done since we started sharpening flint.

Recent demonisation of knives in the media because ignorant, barely literate teenagers have had a bonkers knife fight in a city doesn't stop me thinking of them as a generally wholesome sort of thing. As a boy, if you are given a knife with appropriate responsible direction and instruction, you learn how to hold it, sharpen it, use it safely and keep it in tip top condition until you decide to dig a trench with it and wonder why it then resembles a saw.

We all had penknives when I was young, and we all had fights as well, but no-one ever mixed the two.

Guns that are not used for defence and hunting, however, are out of step with human emotion. Our nature suggests that, if angry, even the most rational, calm and serene person might resort to violence. With fists, there are usually only temporary, relatively minor injuries received, and even that is often two-way. A few months later it's of little consequence.

With a gun, you get angry, you flex a few small muscles, and your target dies. They pay the ultimate price and you get to have killed someone for very little reason, and are left with the associated baggage for the rest of your life. Seems a bit extreme to me and might explain why I'm a bit nervous about anyone other than me being allowed to have one.

Anyway, it's guns for show, knives for a pro.

Bit of a tangent there. Excuse me.

Realistic weapons go in and out of fashion like big stupid sunglasses, and have done since I was a sprog. As children we love it and I expect my own son will too. As a growed-up though, I'm all suspicious of such desires and will no doubt explain how we had it hard when we were his age and had to whittle our own Kalashnikovs out of chicken bones and use dried horse droppings as grenades.

Actually, we really did do that last bit, but only because they made great grenades.

What about this then:

A local supermarket was selling it and I took a closer look. It's a stealth kit with night-goggles, compass and camo paint. For children. The picture of the kid on the front of the box freaked me out a bit:

He looks quietly confident, and his cold, cold eye gives him a terrifyingly competent air, as though he would think nothing of sliding up behind you unnoticed, maybe appearing out of a wall of mud, producing a matt-black stilletto and silently dispatching you with emotionless efficiency before having a jam toastie.

If I were the parents of the child who had modelled that, I don't think I'd be very comfortable around him now. Imagine trying to relax in the garden and suspecting that, just feet away, your little cherub could be fully camo'd up and watching you like a hungry jaguar. It'd be unnerving.

Does it glamorise joining the army, and if so, is that a bad thing?

When I was young(er), joining the armed forces was something we all considered, because it meant learning a trade, getting ski lessons and having sexual relations with adventurous ladies of questionable virtue.

These days, you actually go to war.

What's the world coming to?

Still, the toy in question here is no more offensive, I suppose, than having a realistic cowboy hat, or an exact replica police uniform, items that have been around for decades and resulted in no more than the usual amount of psychopathic cowboys and coppers on our streets.

Occasionally, you see a toy that causes your eyebrows to rise slightly, like the one mentioned above. Other times, you see a toy that makes them scuttle back over your head and nest at the nape of your neck like eloping ferrets:

It's a winking lady with a cat's head dressed in bondage gear.

That's right.

Bask in the glory of the winking lady with a cat's head dressed in bondage gear. It's not every day you see a winking lady with a cat's head dressed in bondage gear.

Did I mention that the winking lady with a cat's head dressed in bondage gear squeaks?

Well she does.

The fact that this is a dog toy makes it even worse.

Or better.

I haven't decided yet.


  1. I swear my dog whistled faintly behind me, reading over my shoulder about the toy in bondage gear(dog whistle, get it?) and wiggled his eyebrows...might be the coffee talking too..

  2. Why is my male dog in the room with me panting a lot and attempting to mount my leg? I suspect it might be the winking lady with a cat's head dressed in bondage gear.

    On the subject of guns, I grew up in a small mountain town, where guns re a way of life. When you are raised around them, learn how to use them and learn respect for them, there isn't a problem.

    And I agree about the horse droppings as grenades, excellent fragmentation capabilities.

  3. Consider yourself thoroughly lambasted. (you know you like it)

    The boy on the box is worse than the Chucky (killer ventriloquist's dummy) movie posters that used to give me nightmares.

    I'll be forwarding my therapist's bill to you.

  4. Mr.Mischief - Your dog's a perv! Loving the waggling eyebrow imagery.

    SkylersDad - Does your leg look look like a winking lady with a cats head dressed in bondage gear? I bet it does. And you're right. It doesn't tend to be people familiar with guns from an early age who use them like idiots, does it?

    Vic - Oh, that's some good lambasting baby. And my therapist charges my the bottle.

  5. Buy a 'toy' gun for kids? Round these parts, kids get a 410 shotgun or a .22 caliber rifle when they are old enough.

    Guns aren't bad if the mystery is taken away about their operations and everyone is on the same page about the implications of deadly force.

  6. Ah, the mulchy humus of existence.

    The Jules, this post is so full of win that I cannot lambast you for neglect. It's worth like four or five of my posts in its vocabulary goodness.

    That army child is indeed extremely unnerving. I can't decide if it's better or worse than the dog toy, that's just upsetting.

  7. Personally, I find bondage kitty more off-putting than the stealth kit.

    And I agree with the distinction between knives and guns. Knives are primarily for survival. I think even the Neanderthals used them. Guns, on the other hand, are primarily for destruction.

  8. Eric - Good point. I don't think guns are bad per se, just that they require a lot more brain and/or sense of responsibility to use than a lot of humans have.

    Soda and Candy - Thank you for the kind words. Sorry about upsetting you with the cross-species sex doll.

    Colleen - I nearly bought it though, and I don't want to know what that says about me!

  9. Well life is certainly getting complicated for toys it seems. What happened to being six and all you wanted was to pretend your Space Hopper was the premiere mode of transport for cool people, even if it had the face of an evil rabbit that looked like the strange buck toothed guy from Slade? I miss those days.

    I watched some TV show last year about the making of night vision goggles, in particular the ones used in kids' games and I thought then, ".....the f*ck?!" I guess this is what it meant. It's funny because in the US everyone is getting bent about toy guns for kids but in the UK you can get a whole stalking/killing kit. ROCK ON, UK!

  10. just when i was really getting upset by your lack of concern and attention, you write something like this! what a read and damn your eyes, well worth the wait! but don't leave me hanging again, sugar! xoxoxo

  11. wanted to know if just bring the food back, or if you eat it and then barf it up

    and yeah
    that kid is a sociopath waiting to happen

    and psychic ninjas? very cool.

    you are uncerimoniously lambasted

  12. You're a bad boy...a bad, bad boy. (the last person that spoke to me like that had a cats head mask and bondage gear)
    I agree completely about knives, we all had them as kids and strangely no one ever got cut or stabbed... guns however are entirely different. Guns were big in Oz until recently and having had many myself could regale you with stories of near death experiences from clumsy handling by others who should never have been allowed to hold one.

  13. Veg Assassin - I think it's only a matter of time before we start seeing My Little Mercenaries in the shops.

    Savvy - No miss. Sorry miss. Won't happen again miss.

    justsomethoughts - Is there some sort of bondage and barf fetish I don't (want to) know about?

    Tempo - lol, whatever turns you on! I've used guns, and yet feel a little vulnerable when I do. Odd contradiction that.

  14. Where did you find that bondage lady kitty doll? I'm sure that's a huge seller!

  15. That kid is indeed scary, more scary than the snowman, he's like just emerged from a disused mineshaft where's he's been hiding from the enemy for 2 years just living off worms.

  16. I just needed to let you know that your profile picture is causing me a great deal of anxiety. Every time I see your little head poking up out of the gravel, but not enough to clear the breathing passages, I want to carefully brush the gravel from your nostrils and give you back the gift of oxygen.

    Because I care.

  17. thinkinfyou - There's only one in the shop, so it looks like the rest must've sold out.

    Gadjo - True. Although to be fair, don't most little boys look like that?

    Vic - Oxygen is the gift that keeps on giving. Maybe I'll shop in a snorkel.

  18. Isn't he old enough to go up a chimney or whatever passes for employment in those parts? Still allowing him to play is a shocking waste of useful labour.

  19. The kid on the box looked a bit Borg-ish, if you know what I mean. And the doll with the cat's head and bondage outfit reminded me of some of the adventurous ladies of questionable virtue I never learned the names of while I dallied in Uncle Sam's Navy. Those ladies would play such tricks on you...

  20. Based on the bondage cat, I'd say you REALLY want to be lambasted. Sick, really! (hehe - just kidding) Welcome back!

  21. Mdme DeF - Dickens's chimbly sweeps urchins lucky. They had as much camo as they could possibly want.

    Douglas - I knew I should've joined up. And you'r right, that kid has got a touch of the "resistance is futile" about him.

    Charlene - I do like a good lambasting every now and then!

  22. That doll demonstrates all that is wrong with the world.

    And I wish you wouldn't speak so horribly about baby starlings. I know a great number of baby starlings that are absolute sweethearts.

  23. I've always wanted to learn how to shoot a gun, but with my accident prone nature it's probably not the best idea. I stay away from knives at all times. I sat on one once. Dropped one on my foot, blade down. And I might have whirled around quickly with one and nicked someone in passing. Maybe.

    As a result of my accidents I've become overly paranoid when the kid is around any sharp objects etc. I'll just bet being accident prone is hereditary.

    Also, that toy is the shiz. The cat head, not the one with the killer man-child.

  24. Mo - I'm actually in favour of starlings. They're great generalists, like the swiss army knives of the bird world.

    otherworldlyone - Are you allowed knives at the dinner table? And I'm thinking that a life size version of that doll might ssell well.


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