Having fun nuking the enemy.

Two of the most sobering media presentations regarding the insanity of nuclear war were the final scene from “War Games”

and the 1983 production, “The Day After.”

And, as primitive as it was, the old Macintosh game “Missile Command” put the fear of God into me as those incoming warheads began to MIRV, and I saw that no matter how many you took out, your cities would still be reduced to smoking ash.

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Thanks to Mark Pazolli for the image.

The effects of nuclear damage are horrifying. Eyewitness accounts, footage and images from Hiroshima and Nagasaki should have been enough to convince humanity that these weapons of mass destruction have no place anywhere on the planet, but unfortunately this was not the path we took. In fact, some people actually capitalized on the fun of using atomic bombs on your enemies.

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Atom Bomber Toy, above and below.

Bomber

Then there was the next level: Mutoscope’s Atomic Bomber arcade game.

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Images found at Pinrepair.com

Remember, the “Atomic Bomber is built for profits and pleasure.” Never mind the charred ruins of two cities and hundreds of thousands of lives ruined or shattered.

What the hqiz is wrong with people? One would think we as a species would have learned from the past, but it’s chilling to remember that there are certain factions and certain governments who would gleefully launch nuclear attacks on their enemies if they only had viable technology: North Korea and Islamic terror groups come quickly to mind. And sadly, it’s only the threat of massive retaliation that has kept our nuclear arsenals locked up.

My voice is only a small one, but the more people who call for peace and the abolishment of such engines of horror, the sooner we will live in a world worthy of being called human. For the sake of us all, I pray that it may happen sooner than later.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Safety or Paranoia?

The sad news has arrived that Buckyballs and Buckycubes will be no more.

Thanks to the douchebag wise attorneys at the Consumer Products Safety Commission and their relentless thirst for billable hours, the makers have thrown in the towel, and will not be making any more of these amazing and entertaining devices. Glad I got me a set when the getting was good. If you want some, head over to their website and order now before this little bit of history is gone.

Yes, these are not for children. Yes, the warnings on their website and packaging and instructions are loud and brash. And yes, there have been some injuries requiring surgery as adults have ignored the warnings. Yet, somehow, the following things continue to be sold:

  • Axes
  • Fireworks
  • Guns
  • Nitric Acid
  • Replica katanas
  • Chain saws
  • Skil saws
  • Ginsu knives
  • Plastic shopping bags

and a whole host of other things that, given to a child, could be wildly dangerous or fatal.

What’s going on here?

I remember another toy that vanished early on – click-clack balls.

Sort of a 20th-century version of the old paddleball toy, these could be both entertaining (because it was devilishly hard to get them going) and maddening (because of the noise.) Unfortunately, if you didn’t do it right, those hard little glass balls could whip around and give you a good solid whack on your wrist, or pinch your fingers. Worse, if you got them going hard enough and long enough, they could shatter with the surprising effect of a fragmentation grenade. The video below shows them in action:

Later versions were made of rubber or plastic, but as far as I know they are still banned here.

Other banned toys included a Gilbert atomic energy laboratory (1951)

which allowed young people to operate their very own cloud chamber, or lawn darts

which allowed people of all ages to put each other’s eyes out and perforate various body parts.

So the question is raised, where do you draw the line?

Common sense would dictate that when something is marketed as a toy and targeted at children, if it causes bodily injury from normal use (lawn darts racked up over 7,000 incidents), it’s probably not a good idea. But if something is marketed as destined for adults, and children are hurt because of rampant stupidity, does that mean that a product should be persecuted into oblivion? Nowadays, a single case of harm means that the personal injury attorneys come from the voodvork out, but it was not always so. Something had to be pretty egregious to get government action going.

Here are some other things that are difficult to find nowadays:

Jungle Gym

See-saw (or teeter-totter, depending on where you grew up)

Basic playground slide (a low one – there were higher ones as well)

Swingset

Merry-go-round

I played on each of these regularly, and somehow survived without the tender attentions of an attorney. I fell off of them, was flung off of them, swung around on them, got my cojones smashed on them, bonked my head on them, scraped knees on them, and never once told my mother that I was entitled to compensation. When my oldest son fell off a jungle gym and broke his arm in the early 80’s, it was an “oh well, huh” type of event – he got a blue cast, was cool for a few weeks, and survived to be an awesome young man. Today, you’re lucky if you can find a playground worthy of a child’s attention – all of them dumbed down to the level of a McDonald’s playland.

I blame the growing litigiousness and entitlement mentality of our society: people willing to sue at the drop of a hat, and attorneys encouraging them to do so. The CPSC still has a valid function, because people will also try to market anything that turns a buck and providing our kidlets with lead-painted toys and chokables is still rather not done. But that doesn’t mean every item that could cause harm to a child, especially when it’s prominently and forcefully advertised as being for adults only, should be hounded out of existence.

The death of common sense saddens me.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

 

No wonder little girls want to be sexy

An article in the Huffington Post explores a study published online in the Sex Roles journal. Of greatest interest was a slideshow illustrating some toy lines which have, over time, morphed themselves into a “sexier, girlier” version.

Lego

Holly Hobbie

Candy Land

Strawberry Shortcake

Rainbow Brite

My Little Pony

Trollz

Cabbage Patch Kids

Lisa Frank

I have no brief with any of these toys in particular, other than to illustrate a general trend. What I do have a real problem with is this:

Bad enough that the Bratz line was sexualizing 8-year-olds; now they’re zooming in on the infants, and this comes right up to the line of catering to pedophiles. I’m astonished that an abomination like this made it anywhere near an American shelf.

Children need to be allowed a childhood. The way things are going, layettes will someday include infant bikinis and makeup. {Note: Don’t point me to websites that are already advertising such things. There must be some rule of the internet that says “if you’ve imagined it, someone has already done it.”}

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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