May 19th, 2019

Radio Ramblings: Panic may ensue Christmas morn with some of these toys

By Medicine Hat News on December 6, 2018.

I’m thinking that approximately three weeks from now, Santa will have swapped out the velvety red pants for a velvety red Speedo and is enjoying shrimp skewers on a white sandy beach somewhere; after all, the man with a belly of jelly has earned it.

It’s bad enough he had to deal with a workshop recession but let’s hope Saint Nick had his affairs in order when contending with ‘World Against Toys Causing Harm’, also known as W.A.T.C.H. It’s a self regulated association that releases a annual list of dangerous toys. It should be noted that while W.A.T.C.H. doesn’t test said novelty knickknacks, this group of bubble wrapped watchdogs is rather effective in panicking parents when they purchase presents not constructed of four-ply cotton or felt blankets. And so for those of who possess steely-eyed conviction and stomachs of iron, read on, if you dare, of some truly wonderfully dangerous gifts for the 5-year-old in your life.

The Wood Burning Kit

A step above connect the dots, this toy-in-a-box would allow the lucky child to burn etches into pre-fabricated pieces of wood, once the wood burner reached its internal temperature of 1.3 jillion degrees Celsius, that is. It had no working pieces to assemble, no instructions to read, didn’t require batteries and made no noise, the ultimate present to offer up in a household of sugar-induced children.

The effort put forth from the giver was minimal other than to wrap the present and because ‘quiet time’ was considered sacred among the grown-ups, the wood burning kit became a very popular gift. Providing hours of entertainment for the up and coming wood working pyromaniac, the wood burning kit would also boast several small metal tips, perfect for a post-Christmas meal targeting people under the age of 2 years. Because the burner itself didn’t come with an off/on switch nor a stand, it was also the perpetrator in many a fire on Mom’s purple shag carpet. How more children didn’t come to school with homemade wood burnt tattoos truly is a Christmas Miracle.

The Sling-shot

Nothing could bring a tear to a grandparent’s eye like watching their niece unwrap a Trumark Folding Slingshot. Knowing that the family elders are keeping a farm tradition of gopher-hunting alive and well, the sling-shot was often a 2 part present, with the second gift usually entailing 50-100 steel ball bearings because what good is a sling-shot without ammunition? Cousins of similar age would also acquire the sling-shot for Christmas and while the models varied from the wrist support sling to the repeater, it was soon learned that peas, corn and mashed potatoes make for thrilling and yet relatively safe ammo, a useful feature when indoors. Pigeons and drunken uncles alike are helpless when a youngster who is plotting vengeance gets their hand on a shot of the slinging kind. But then again, you haven’t experienced a true Christmas until you’ve spent it at emergency, patiently waiting for that pesky pellet to be removed.

Lawn Darts

The only item more dangerous than receiving darts for a present is receiving lawn darts for a Christmas present. Never socially acceptable until of legal age, why wait to give tiny, wee, pub darts to a child when the larger, more deadly versions were readily available. Heavy, sharp and built to lob skywards until its good friend gravity would take over, unsuspecting toes, suspended ceilings and the occasional extremity would pay a heavy toll with the invention of the lawn dart. Even adults were unable to resist the unassuming rules of lawn darts and began to create new and creative ways to use the Jolly Green Giant’s dart set. Usually under the wisdom of rum punch and by combining the gift in the above paragraph, stories and scars would make their way to the forefront of festive stories told around the fireplace for generations to come.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll have a very disappointed daughter on my hands if I don’t get her flame throwing catapults wrapped in time.

And if you’ve got something on your mind, you can find Poncho weekday mornings on Medicine Hat’s Best Rock, 105.3 Rock. You can also track him down at or on Twitter @ponchoparker

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