Monday, November 30, 2009

Buy the Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Funhouse or the Reason for the Season Will Consume Your Corpse

Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Funhouse

I've seen mixed reviews for the Zhu Zhu/Go Go Pets Hamster Funhouse on Amazon.  The good outweigh the bad two-to-one, but there's a bad one at the very top, which for some reason always makes me nervous.

But you know what?  I kinda want one of these.  I don't know if I can buy it with the 300 other things I'm getting my unborn boy (Due round about Pisces) and my stepdaughter and wife and cats and the neighbor's kids and the neighbor's cats.  Why?

This is not a Zhu Zhu Pets hamster.

1. It's a funhouse for electronic rodents.  I grew up reading cyberpunk science fiction and watching Gremlins over and over and over again.  How could I not want my kids to have a funhouse for their little pets that run on batteries, drive little plastic cars, and have names like NumNums and their own personalities?

2. It makes your Zhu Zhu pets make funny noises and dance.  The funhouse uses special "track bumps" that let each of the four hamsters user their special "interactive intelligence" to make unique sounds and funny movements.

3. It's got a bathroom.  That's right, there is a bathroom for the crazy little pets that don't poop, stink, or die.  It also includes a bedroom (because the need sleep) and a kitchen (so they can cook all the stinky lettuce they pick from the back of your teenage son's closet).

4. The Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Funhouse has four outlets with caps on them that let you tack on more of the habitat units just as soon as you can beg, borrow, or steal a few home. 

I mean seriously at the prices these are going for, you'll do well to afford half a hamster funhouse and a couple of the actual pets.  But you'll be the coolest parent on the block and your kids will love you more than anyone else's kids do.  I promise.

4. All of the rooms are connected by cute little hamster tunnels.  Hamsters love tunnels, and kids love hamsters.  Therefore, your argument is invalid.  Buy the damn Electro-Rodent Hamster Funhouse, or the reason for the season will cry!

Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Add On Wheel--Maybe Not the First Zhu Zhu Acessory You Should Buy

You'd think I'd be sick of Zhu Zhu Pets by now.  But they're such a hot item this year, I just can't sleep in the Bradley Bed without telling you everything I know about the Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Hamster Wheel.  (Don't worry--it won't amount to more than 500 words.)

If you're one of my five readers, you already know that the little Zhu Zhu guys can run all around your house in a protective ball, and can even jump in and start their own cars.  But did you know they can also jump on a wheel?

Zhu Zhu hamster wheel is a balanced part of any electronic rodent environment.

This is the one Zhu Zhu pets add on toy that I think you definitely should not buy as a first accessory.  After all, how much fun will it be to see your hamster just run around on it all the time?

I don't actually have one of these wheels.  I can only guess that the little electronic rodent gets on it for a little while (it does crawl through the tube and get on the wheel all by itself) and then gets back off and...drives its little car?  Runs across the floor?  I don't know.  I'm just betting it needs to do something other than spin on its little wheel all night.

I'm sorry if that doesn't sound exciting, but seriously folks, these things are selling like hotcakes and stores literally cannot keep them on the shelves.  Honestly it's something I can understand, the Zhu Zhus are pretty cute and pretty fun.

But the wheel, I'm sorry, I am lost here.  I think that maybe it's just part of any complete Zhu Zhu Hamster set.  But personally, I would go for the much more reasonably themed Zhu Zhu Pets Surfboard and Sleep Dome.  Because somehow, that just makes more sense.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Garage

In case you haven't noticed, I’m thoroughly fascinated with electronic rodents.  And because I like it when said rodents own and drive lots of cars, I’m also fascinated b the Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Garage.

Why?  Because there is only one thing more sickly-cute fascinating than an furry electronic hamster.  And that's one of the little faux-crawlers driving a hamster-powered sedan is what.  And you damn well know it is.

WTF is he saying?  Something about electronic nuggets, I'm sure.

With the Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Garage, your furry bundle of artificial intelligence can cruise around their Hamster Habitat world or across your living room floor. Either way, the zoomy cuteness will have your kids smiling from one candy-coated cheek to the other on Christmas morning.

 When your Zhu Zhu Pets comes down the connecting tunnel towards the Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Garage, the garage door magically opens, your Zhu Zhu Pets hops into the hamstermobile and away they zoom!

The Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Garage comes with a hamster garage, a hamstermobile and a tunnel section with connectors.  The garage door opens when the toy reaches the end of its magic rodent tunnel; then the little guy gets into the hamstermobile all on his very own, and rides away like nothing crazy just occurred!

This one looks intent.  Guess he's posing hardcore for his first photo shoot.

As you can already guess, you can hook the garage up to any one of the thirteen hamster habitats the company sells over at Amazon.

So go ahead and get your kids a Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Garage.  Because there's nothing quite like seeing an electronic rodent drive a car.  And you don't even have to take drugs to see it.

Painful Candy Land Game Memories for Me, Happy Memories for the Kiddies

I never could win at Candy Land.  Yeah, I know--everybody wins at Candyland, at least some of the time.  It's designed that way, right?

Well, not if you grew up in my family.  The game was angled against young Karl in the Bradley household.  That's the thing about having a domineering older sister and a dad and uncle who were just plain twisted.  I'll spare you the details.  Just understand that I always lost.  Always.  Lost.

Watch out buddy, she's about to kick your butt at the Candyland game.

Don't go off cryin' in the corner for me just yet, though.  I had my revenge.  When nobody was looking, I took out my little plastic army men--the kind with built-in foot bases--and tore the sh!t out of Candyland.  I ruled it!  Also I eventually set the damn board on fire.  That was a hoot!

Mrs. Bradley thought I should do a review for everyone's favorite childhood board game today, since it always sells like hotcakes.  I told her I didn't know what to write, since everybody already knows what it is.

"Some kids don't know what it is, Bradley," she said.

"Those kids will never buy anything I post on my blog anyway, Gertrude," says I.

"Call me when you're done with the article, Nixon," says she.  "I'm not coming home until you've encouraged people to buy the best board game ever!"

By "best board game ever," what she really means is, "That game I want to play but couldn't because my daughter thought at the ripe age of four, she was too old."

Then ol' Karl came around and let the little girl win every time.  I mean hell, I was already used to loosing anyway.  Ol' Gertrude (not her real name) always had, too--but that got old after about 500 games. 

My stepdaughter could tell she was faking.  She can't tell that with me.  I guess I just do a really good job of impersonating a loser.

Of course nowadays, companies have to make about 1,000 of anything that does well.  That's why Candy Land has a lot of variations: the Sweet Celebration Game (I have no clue, and no I don't want to look it up!), the travel-friendly "Fun on the Run" game, Dora the Explorer and Winnie the Pooh editions, and the Candy Land Castle Game (my personal favorite).

I guess there's not much else to say except that you should go and buy you some Candy Land game!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Goodness Gracious, Great Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Adventure Ball of Fire!

If you think electronic rodents sound like a good idea (and you should),just wait till you see the Zhu Zhu Pets Adventure Ball.

If you haven't heard of the Zhu Zhu Pets Hamsters yet, just click the link above.  Or read on below...

OMG Pipsqueak run away, run away from the weirdo with the hands!

These guys are little electronic rodents that act all cute so that your kids love them but they don't poop or stink or die.  Or get sucked up into the vacuum cleaner, eaten by your pet cat (or mine), etc.

They have a little bit of artificial intelligence with them, so that that they each have their own personalities and can interact with the furniture in your house (haven't you always wanted toy that can interact with the furniture?).

More importantly, they are programmed to act like real hamsters that want to cuddle with your kids.

These guys have a lot of accessories to go with them (13 at last count).  So when your kids get tired of cuddling their pets in "loving mode" and watching them run around in "adventure mode" (there's a switch), you can put these little suckers in their Zhu Zhu Adventure Ball and watch more craziness ensue!

Whether you have Chunk, Pipsqueak, NumNums or Squiggles; this toy will make it fun to watch your kids play with the hamster--or even watch the hamster play with itself!  Especially when you know there won't be any hamster cages to clean up.

One of the toy's big advantages is that your hamster can move more easily over deeper carpeting. So if your pimp bachelor pad with the thick burgundy carpeting has now become a munchkin playground full of burp-up and puree food stains, the Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Adventure Ball (a great ball of adventure!) is just right for you.

Mindflex Promotoes Telekinesis in Young Adults--News at 11

How can I express how excited I am about the new Mindflex Game game from Mattel?  I can't do it with words--but maybe I can hurl a ball at you with my mind!

Mindflex is a game that allows you to levitate and move a ball with the power of  your mind--and a little help.  The Mindflex strip actually reads your freakin brainwaves.  Crazy, huh?

That's almost an exaggeration.  It doesn't read your thoughts like a book (and even if it did, it couldn't tell anybody).

What it does is measure your brainwave activity with a headstrap that uses EEG technology to measure your concentration.  The more you concentrate, the more powerful the fans will move your little blue ball.

Here is an example of Lenny the Wonder Wizard before go out to drink Wild Turkey:

Lenny's sober brainwaves power Mattel's Mindflex game before we go drink Wild Turkey.

As you can see, this thing's got potential.  It's perfect for freaking young kids the hell out, and it's a great toy if you're a young bookish sort who always looses at family holiday arm wrestling matches (not that I've ever been there). 

(There is also a half-price Star Wars version of this game--or this kind of game--I'll have to tell you about really soon.)

There is one myth about the Mindflex game that ought to be dispelled, though.  I've read it said that the game amplifies your brain waves in order to move a ball around.  That sounds exciting but it just ain't so.

It measures your brain's output and controls the base's fans (the ones that blow to move the ball) accordingly.  Just wanted to clear that up--maybe someday you'll see me on Penn and Teller!

Friday, November 27, 2009

EyeClops Night Vision Googles Will Turn You Into a Ninja Chuck Norris

EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles  are the greatest thing since those plastic satellite-dishes with the pistol handles and headphones that let you point and pull and listen to anything going on outside of immediate earshot.  (Or point and listen and pull...well, you get the picture).

I would have loved this thing when I was a kid.  In fact, I love it right now!  I'm just waiting the requisite 8 years or so that it'll take little Bam Bam to turn into the lean, mean, night-fightin' machine to play water-guns or paintball with Daddy.

(Okay, my kid might not turn out like that at all.  I can accept that.  And I won't mind sitting out in the bushes with my EyeClops goggles and sound-spying equipment on.)

It's not a battery hog, either--just takes five AA batteries, so it won't make your kid's head to heavy.  It's got an  LED screen display on for the right eye.  So if your little one just happens to be named Odin and he traded in his left eye for the ability to see the future, well, now he can see it at night, too.

(There's also an eye-piece over the left eye that your kid can flip open in case he gets disoriented and feels like he's gonna puke.  You should also tell your kid to use it with the eye piece open if they ever get crazy and use the EyeClops by itself--which maybe they shouldn't--just to make sure they don't trip over anything or fall into any holes.)

Professional actors display how Mrs. Bradley spies on me while I simulate sleeping.

If I could vote twice for EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles  then I would--but I'm only registered in one state.  It's a great toy for your young adventurer or S.E.A.L-to-be, and you may even want to use them on a few covert ops of your own (wink nudge)!

Bakugan Battle Brawlers

Some damn web site I just read described Bakugan Battle Brawlers  as a cross between marbles and Pokemon.  That's kind of like saying that hand grenades are a cross between baseballs and firecrackers.  Actually, it's a lot less accurate.  Plus it's just plain retarded.

Bakugan Battle Brawlers are the most badass toys since the monsters from Voltron back in the 80s.  Those monsters were like holding a little piece of Jack Vance cartoon right in your hand.

Like all of us, the Battle Brawlers come from balls.  Unlike the balls we came from, these balls get rolled across a playing field and open up when they pass over metal gateway cards.  Then they fight!

Each player gets three Brawlers, three Gate Cards, and three Ability Cards.  Each player can also get one trap to bring a little chaos to the situation--always a good idea.

Each of the Bakugan has a point value.  Gat cards add to that value, depending on the type of bakugan that is on it.  As you've probably guessed, gate cards are pretty vital do the game.

Once two of them land on the same card, they get to slingin.  You add each Brawler's card to the gate and ability cards and then pit them off against each other.  Sometimes the cards have text that override the normal rules; again, chaos is always a good thing.

There is a whopping century of Bakugans out there (i.e. there's a hundred of'em).  There is also a cartoon, talks of a movie, video games, etc etc which is all just another way of saying that kids are hyped about this stuff, they love it, and they'll pee all over themselves with joy (don't worry--not literally) if you just buy the damn toys!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Tolo Toys Rolling Ball Shape Sorter Won't Kill Your Kid

It is a fact acknowledge at all points East of the Mississippi, and most points West, that a brand spankin new child in possession of a brain must be in want of some badass toys.  Enter The Tolo Toys Rolling Ball Shape Sorter

(And then get your niece and nephew to say it five times real fast with full mouths at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  It's a riot!)

I mean really, which would you prefer if you were a baby: any old sock with cat-hair sewn into it and turned into a "sock monkey" via magic marker--or a little magic ball with entry points for stars, triangles, moons, and three other shapes (including a pentagon, in case you want your child to someday work at the Pentagon/worship Cthulhu).

Personally, I would've enjoyed a sock Cthulhu.  But I'm special.

The wife says that little Bam Bam is going to need toys that are educational.  I guess watching Sesame Street and reading aloud the poems of Clark Ashton Smith just don't count in this "new age of education."

It seems like every kid gets some kind of "shape sorting" toy early on.  Being a toy brand loyalist, I was going to get the Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First blocks.  Then I read the top review for it.

Apparently, the Fisher-Price toy had a toxicity warning on it for a while.  Now it doesn't--yet FP says that nothing has changed in the manufacturing since '07.  So... I just figured I'd steer clear.

And you know what?  I like the idea of a globe over a more conventional one-way-to-stack it ectangle.  A sphere is more engaging and keeps the mind constantly moving and at attention.  That's something that everybody needs in this day and--oh, look, it's a bird!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bananagrams--Scrabble From a Banana

Bananagrams  is supposedly one of the hottest games for the 2009 holiday season.  This was a little surprising to me; from its name I thought maybe it was some kind of weird fruit telegram. 

What is Bananagrams?  Imagine if scrabble had fewer letters and happened all at once.  And also came packaged in a zip-up vinyl banana.

You play it by putting down all the little letter-squares face-down on the table.  Then everybody grabs some.  How many?  Depends on how many people are playing.

Then somebody yells "Split!" and everybody flips their tiles over.  They all start putting their tiles together to make words, and the first player to run out of tiles wins.

Of course it's not quite as simple as I’m making it sound--otherwise the games would last maybe a minute, and your little ADD dumplings would hate you for getting them such a lame gift.

But it's not an uber-complex game, either.  There are only 144 letter tiles, so it's not like you'll be spelling "Mary Poppins" with them.  Unless of course you get "Bananagrams Jumbo".

Everybody turns their tiles over and gets to work.  There are a few variations on this theme, to keep things from getting too booring.  The games last several minutes--long enough to keep'em out of trouble, short enough that they don't start throwing game pieces.  Fun for the whole family!

Bananagrams was designed so that basically anyone who can read, can play.  Which means it's a great game to have when you end up watching your sister's kids and the neighbor's kids and your stepdaughter and her cousin's and your wife's ex-inlaws' kids who she still talks to even though she doesn't talk to her ex, that are all different ages.  

Not that I've ever found myself in that situation.  But if I did, I would want a game like Bananagrams..  Or for that matter, Scrabble Apple or Pears in Pears (two other word-fruit-salad games).

There's even a book called, you guessed it, BananaGrams! The Official Book.  I haven't read it yet.  But I've got this feeling that I'm going to.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster--The Freaky Little Cyber-Pet that Won't Poop, Stink, or Die

The Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster really kinda freaked me out at first.  After all, what's worse than having cutie-affectionate feelings for something that at its heart is made of gears, springs, and a micro-chip?
A lot of things are worse: finding poop pellets inside the new lingere you bought for your favorite significant other, for example.  Noticing that a real rodent has chewed up Volume 17 of your Jack Vance Integral Edition.  Or especially, explaining to your niece why her pet hamster jumped up in the vacuum just as you were cleaning house, and where pet hamsters go when they die.  Not that it's ever happened to me.

But these little guys won't chew up your best books or poop all over anything.  More importantly, they won't force you into any embarrassing, uncomfortable, shame-filled explanations about why little NumNumbs committed suicide and whether or not he gets to enter Hamster Heaven.

There are four different little Zhu Zhu hamsters, each of which have their own "personality".  NumNums is cuddly and Pipsqueak is a little "go getter".  These two are fun. 

Then we have Chunk, "the laid back surfer dude" and Mr. Squiggles who has "been there and done that and seen it all."  I don't make these things up, people--I just report them.  Glad to see that toy creators are still smoking some grade-A dope.

Each one of these things interacts with its environment, sort of like a little micro-Furby on wheels.  Each of the four interacts differently.  Plus you can switch them from "cuddle and coo" mode to "explore" mode, depending on how tame you want to keep the kids.

As you might guess, these guys have their own line of accessories.  Hamster wheel, running ball, slide--even a damn car!  I'm sure I'll have something to say about those in the near future.

But for now, all I really want to say is that Zhu Zhu Pets Hamsters seem like the way to go if your little ones are cry cry crying for a cuddly little rodent, but you know you're the one who's gonna end up picking up the pellets.  Get one now our you're un-American.

Playskool Busy Ball Popper--More than Just a Bad Name, It's Also a Healthy Gift

The Playskool Busy Ball Popper

Playskool Busy Ball Popper  is one of the most sought-after toddler Christmas gifts this year.  Why?  Because it helps that all-important bit of greymmatter turn into something special, instead of something shaped solely by Barney the Dinosaur and Hannah Montanah.

If you care at all about your kids--let's hope that you do!--I don't have to tell you how essential the right learning environments from ages 0-5.  These are crucial years both emotionally and intellectually.  Playskool understands this.

You really need to treat your kids to the right stuff if you don't want them to turn out to be serial killers.  And while there's no guarant the Playskool Busy Ball Popper will keep your little bundle of joy from stalking prostitutes 20 years down the road, it's certainly worth a try.

Playskool is pretty much the Sesame Street of the toy industry.  It's fun, it's educational, and hipsters like the memorabilia.  No, wait…their toys are fun, educational--and parents who played with them as kids, are now buying the same brand for their own kids.  Just like Hamburger Helper ™.

The Busy Ball Popper will help stimulate your toddler's senses of touch, sight, and sound.  In addition, your child will probably try and stimiulate his or her sense of taste as with it as well.  Not only will it help them develop a near-snobbish delicacy of taste concerning the flavor of plastic, it will also develop their hand-eye coordination and motor skills
The child drops a brightly colored ball onto the track of the Playskool Busy Ball Popper then the ball pops out the top and back onto the track, then out the top over and over!  Helter Skelter! 

And while I recommend everyone play the Beatles for their children (start with Revolver), with the Buuuuuuusy Ball Bop, you don't have too.  It comes pre-loaded with eight songs, as well as other sound effects and lights that are sure to have your kids raving out by the time they're 14.

You can also buy replacement balls.

The Playskool Busy Ball Popper has supposedly won awards and received lauds (i.e. it's been lauded) from from parents, pediatricians, and child development experts. I don't know much about that.  

What I do know is that when my little Bam Bam ("Bam Bam Squirrel, according to my stepdaughter) comes around, I'll have him playing with this and eating Hamburger Helper.  Otherwise, he might turn out like Uncle Robert and...well, that's better just left unsaid. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Air Hogs: The Great Toy Helicopter Our Parents Never Let Us Have

Air Hogs: The Great Toy Helicopter Our Parents Never Let Us Have

Ever want a toy helicopter when you were a kid?  How many of them did you ever get?  Probably about as many as I did--just enough to simulate the after-effects of a trip through the Bermuda triangle.  

Your folks probably skipped over this completely badass gift idea for the same reason mine did--they were big, expensive, hell to put together, and used desiel fuel.  And they were just about guaranteed to end up as a either a wreck on the football field, or a murderer of the next door cat-lady's cat.

Air Hogs™ is here to let you re-live the Flight Failures That Could Have Been vicariously through your children--without any of the above difficulties.  There is no difficult or fragile assembly with these guys and no gasoline--Air Hogs are strictly battery-powered!  At the prices they're going for, you can even buy one to put in your own fat-ass stocking.

The smallest model is called the Air Hogs Havoc Heli and, as the name implies, it's the absolute perfect toy for your favorite 8-year-old hellion.  It's small and made mostly of plastic.  That way if your kid crashes it--and you know s/he will--it won't end up a total heap.  Plus you won't leave a divit on the high school football field or kill any cats.  Plus the Havoc Heli Stealth model is only $25 bucks.

The Havoc Heli says it's for ages 8 and up.  It's also rated for indoor use, which sounds pretty insane until you realize that these things are tiny and made of plastic.

For ages 10 and up, get a load of the perfectly peaceful Air Hogs Switchblade.  One of the special powers it boosts is vertical take-off, just like a real damn helicopter!  I don't know who writes the copy for these things, but it's not me.

I'm sure you could fly this one in the house too, but it's got a special feature just for outside: press the Morph button on the control unit and it'll turn into a stunt flying plane instead!  All you need to do is steal some Transformers stickers from the kids next door, and your own kids will be drooling all over themselves clear to New Year's Day (and beyond!).

Let's not forget about the Storm Luancher, aka "The All-Terrain Wonder".  This is the platipus of remote-control toys because it moves on land and air as well as water!

These aren't the only Air Hogs toys out there, though.  They have a hovercraft (eels sold separately) and, my personal favorite, an "Apache Green" helicopter that looks just like the real deal--only smaller. 

(They even have Chinok-like choppers for G.I. Joe's extraction mission, and an SR-71-looking jet to fly while you teach your kids to love Rattle and Hum.  Go Air Hogs!)