Archive for the ‘toys’ Category

Barbie Whores for Baby

29 March 2009 5 comments

My neice’s birthday is coming up, and so I decided to head on over to Amazon to get some ideas on what I should get her (she’s in kindergarten). It did not take long for me to discover a rather glamourous Barbie Doll of the World. Representing France, here’s Can Can Barbie:

Can Can Barbie... shes worldly

Can Can Barbie... she's worldly

The can can, or can-can (cancan), is a chorus dance made popular in the dancehalls of Montparnasse, Paris. Moulin Rouge, Folles Berger, that kind of stuff. You saw it if you watched the popular movie Moulin Rouge! by Baz Lurhmann or the old Shop-Rite cancan commercials of the 1970’s and 1980’s here in the United States.

A violent dance where women would lift up their petticoats to show off their bloomers, the can-can was oft danced by, well, whores enticing men to rent them for the night. That’s really the nature of the dance: sex for money.

Certainly these dolls are meant not for children ages 5 to 7 as Amazon is selling them. They have to be more for the adult collector, right? I mean, after all, what adult would want to get their child a hooker in stilletos like the Barbie above?

I wonder if there’s a Ken john available to compliment this doll.

I didn’t actually have Barbie when I was a child. My mother did try to get me on the doll thing briefly. She purchased a set of Sunshine Family stuff for me. They were the hippy dolls of the 70’s, and I think you could even grow pot in the laminated cardboard house that you got with it. I never played with it. It gathered dust and eventually went somewhere else once Star Wars came out and I got all sorts of cool action figures like R2-D2 and the 6″ Luke and Leia action dolls.

Okay, I lied. I did get one Barbie doll, but it was Ken. The Ken where you could draw facial hair on him. That was neat, because you could draw a beard on him and be literal in that gay way of his.


Remembering the Little Professor Calculator

22 March 2009 Leave a comment

While surfing around my innumerable feeds I came across a interview on the G4 blog with Jon-Paul C. Dyson, the Director of the National Center for the History of Electronic Games and Eric Wheeler, Associate Curator. While it’s true that there is now a valid reason to visit Rochester, NY (and why build a museum all the way out there is what I want to know), something smacked me upside the head with a big old “oh my god, I totally forgot about that!”

The Little Professor Calculator

The Little Professor Calculator

Meet The Little Professor Calculator. Released by Texas Instruments in 1976, it was given to me for Christmas that year by one of my parents, most likely my mother who couldn’t handle helping me learn new math. The Little Professor was not a bad gift to give a child who was not doing well in mathematics. I was fine with 1 + 1 = 2, but after that I’m all fingers and toes (and still am!).

I was completely in love with my Little Professor. It had buttons, flashing LEDs, and was electronic and I was utterly fascinated with it despite it’s mathematical inclination. It had a wrist strap which was attached to the professor’s plastic mortarboard-like top, so it kind of looked like a tassel. According to Retroland, it came with five levels of difficulty and 16,000 math problems. I think it even had problems where you were given two numbers and a result and had to figure out which operator resulted in the answer. I think it may have even kept track of how many answers your got right or wrong, but my memory is kind of fuzzy on this point.

I spent a lot of hours counting fingers and toes playing with this thing. But sadly, I don’t think the Little Professor helped my budding educational career when it came to math: to this day I struggle with my seven and eight times tables. Maths is clearly not my thing. But at least for a while, until the next cool shiny electronic toy came along, I had a friend in the Little Professor helping me along.

Here’s the Little Professor co-starring in a Texas Instruments calculator commercial from 1978: