They Stitched Her Hair!
We had a wonderful Christmas morning. There's not much in the world that compares to watching children open presents. The look of delight on their faces says it all. It's a thrill to make any of their dreams come true. My wife is wonderful about planning a wonderful holiday every year. (I help in spirit.) We took lots of care this year to get gifts that would be practical and usable far beyond the initial one-week novelty. There is, however, one thing that absolutely DRIVES ME CRAZY about toys. I'm absolutely sure it's a conspiracy, one that goes all the way to the center of our Chinese-made toy industry. Have you ever tried to actually open a Barbie? It's impossible! Most dolls are secured more soundly than a terrorist in Gitmo. Some of today's treasures had numerous twist-ties, plastic retainers, and all sorts of slice-your-finger-open plastic. I love that stuff. In an age of suing over hot coffee and narrow toilet seats, surely I could win some bucks for slicing my finger on Mattel packaging. My favorite restraint of choice, though, has got to be the stitched doll hair. Apparently, to get Barbie and her pals looking pretty in the package, some executive genius determined it would be a FABULOUS idea to sew her hair to the package. No joke, check out exhibit A. It's worth buying a Barbie just so you can see what I mean. No amount of pulling will free Barbie from her prison. Only a skillful hand with scissors or--my preference--a garage utility knife. Is it really worth all that effort just to secure Barbie for a fabulous glamour shot? Of course, this question is posed from a guy who wonders how any Barbies ever made it into his house in the first place. See, another conspiracy, though this one is led by none other than my wife. Where's a good tank-toy when you need one? They never come stitched into the package!
Even CD's and DVD's are part of the conspiracy. Most normal people can't open one of these cases because of all the barbed wire and booby traps they have. The RIAA is worried that we might actually listen to or view the material we purchased, which of course is a breach of license. Of course, the same industry is most happy to sell you special CD-opening devices. Hmm. Let's think about this for a minute. First they encase their wares in a bulltetproof fiberglass resin. Then they offer to sell you a device to help you get at the stuff you just purchased! Sounds very similar to the way DRM (copy protected) downloads work! No surprise there. It's the same strategy. Pay for the music, download it (with problems 1 out of 10 times). Then play it on your computer, but only if you have an Internet connection to refresh the license. Don't copy to any of the other computers in your house, and only burn a CD a limited number of times. Because, although you own it, you don't have a say in how to use it. Hats off to the RIAA for their lovely philosophies. I suppose I should pay them royalties for listening to the radio or even thinking about a song in my head. Where do I make out my check?