E-Z Bake Electric Chair! (And other bad toys)

Hi Readers! Perhaps you remember that my one of my other gigs is running the humor contest in my favorite news magazine, The Week. Thought you’d like these results — and just in time for Christmas!


Recently, the ball was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame — really! — along with other classics like the jump rope and bike. We asked you to predict a toy that will never make it into the Hall of Fame and you sold us on:

The E-Z Bake Electric Chair
Bruce Meyer, Carlsbad, Calif.

SECOND PRIZE: Mr. Potato Head’s neighbor, Mr. Crack Head
Ed Markarian, Santa Monica, Calif.

Text ‘n’ Drive Big Wheel
David R. Tune, Hagerstown, Md.


Strawberry Shortskank
Bill Muse, Seattle

Obstructive View-Master
Bill Hutton, Winchester, Va.

Trick Bungee Cord
Chris Healy, Riverside, Conn.

Jihad Joe
Keith Newman, Athens, Ohio (and others)

Don’t Tickle Me There Elmo!
Dave Zuda, Worth, Ill.

Free-Range Ant Farm
Mimi Hassett, Housatonic, Mass.

Hamster Embalming Kit
Daisy Michael, Westminster, Md.

Baby’s First Bong
Kevin Wrede, Portland, Ore.

Cripps & Bloods Action Figures
Megan Browne, Sierra Madre, Calif.

Abandoned Refrigerator Secret Hideout
Eric Peterson, San Jose, Calif. (and others)

Botched Boob Job Barbie
Kathleen Myers Schlachter, Seattle

Co-Dependent Ken
Sean Osborne, Cross Plains, Tenn.

Dart Board with an Automatic Return
Ken Hussar, Lancaster, Pa.

Ginsu Hula Hoop
Francesca Kranzberg, Washington, DC (and others, similar)

The Hula Square
Chuck Gaston, Lancaster, Pa.

Subprime Monopoly
Valerie Potter, Albuquerque, N.M.

The Solid Color Rubik’s Cub
Steve Kaplan, St. Louis Park, Minn.

Horny, Horny Hippos
Cathy Curtis, Finksburg, MD

# # #

Speaking of Paranoia…

Here is a great quote, lifted from The Week (my favorite magazine*), which lifted it from David Iganatius in The Washington Post. It points out  that we have gotten so used to thinking in terms of preparing for the very worst, the very least likely scenarios, that that we don’t realize how overbearing (and often dumb) our safety measures have become. I was thinking the same thing today as I struggled to open the super-tamper-resistent seal on my can of whipped cream. I really was not that worried about someone tampering with my whipped cream. — L

This September, as we mark the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, let’s resolve to dial the paranoia meter back a notch. The Transportation Security Administration is so pervasive at airports that we forget how bizarre it is to see old ladies and pregnant mothers and 8-year-old kids frisked and searched as if they had just arrived from Waziristan. Does this really make sense? Every Cabinet secretary seems to have a security detail; so do governors and maors and prominent legislators. What are all these secruity officials protecting our officials from? Al Qaida? Hezbollah? Aggrieved constituents? Or is it something more ephemeral — a nameless, pervasive sene of danger? Surely, we have reached the point of diminishing returns for the fortress mentality.

Right on! Sometimes we get so concerned about safety that we forget what we are giving up. Like freedom. And resourcefulness. And using our common sense. Or even believing that common sense has any value at all.  — Lenore


*I also write a humor contest in The Week. But I was a subscriber long before they hired me!