Politics, Moderate



Pick presents that come with the gift of time

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- If you're in the mood to get away from adult concerns and feel young again, just spend some time with this year's toy catalogs.

Several showed up in my mailbox last week, and it was nostalgia-inducing to browse the offerings for the upcoming Christmas buying season. Old classics like Easy-Bake Ovens (now in an "Ultimate" version that makes cookies and mini-pizzas), Play-Doh kits, and the latest in Lego and Hot Wheels track sets are still big.

Notably different from the catalogs of the past is the number of movie-tie-in toys and, of course, the preponderance of electronic offerings.

From edutainment-style toys like the "Fisher-Price Learn and Laugh Song and Story Learning Activity Chair" -- a musical seat for infants -- to any number of robotic "pets," candy-colored tablets and video game console controllers, there aren't many items that don't require batteries.

Interestingly, there are now a lot of gross-out titles that weren't around when I was a kid and hadn't yet gained popularity when my sons were little.

There's something called "Gas Out," which is described like this: "Guster the Gas Cloud is full of intestinal discomfort and he's ready to rip! ... Guster's blasts are not silent and they're definitely deadly. If Guster farts, you're out!"

"Guster" requires two double-A batteries to make the non-silent blasts that are sure to delight even the most strait-laced players

If that's not enough, there's a game called "Toilet Trouble," which features an illustration of a young boy leaning over a toilet with a wave of toilet water approaching his face (I couldn't possibly have made up something that repulsive. Here's the product description: "Which flush will cause the gush? Share some hilarious and suspense-filled moments as players take turns spinning the toilet paper roll, flushing the toilet handle, and hoping they don't get sprayed with water!"

If toilets are too much for you, perhaps you have a tolerance for flying dentures. In which case, you can play "Greedy Granny" in which "Granny has fallen asleep again with a whole tray of goodies on her lap. Players take turns attempting to remove the pieces from Granny's tray as carefully as they can without waking Granny. But Granny is a light sleeper -- someone may disturb Granny and send her teeth flying!"



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