A Letter to My Dog, Half Pint

This last year may have been the worst one of my life, but at least I've got the world's two greatest dogs by my side to help me stagger into 2018. Today's post features a letter to Half Pint. Benjamin will be getting a letter later this week--he'd never let me hear the end of it, otherwise. Also, this posts features a lot of short video clips of Half Pint being silly. Since I apparently can't do anything right these days, they are exclusively shot in vertical mode. Please accept my apologies (and cut me some friggin' slack).

Top 10 Worst Children's Toys Available This Christmas

(photo @ blog.formstack.com)

Everyone remembers getting gifts that they didn't like during the holidays. I still vividly recall getting a Care Bear doll and a copy of Charles Dickens' classic 'A Tale of Two Cities.' It was bad enough that these gifts were given during the same Christmas, but the fact that I was a boy and seven years old didn't help matters, either.

Still, I could at least tell that the relatives who got me those presents had put some thought into them (or were trying to cause me extreme gender confusion while simultaneously developing a disdain for French aristocracy during the 1800's).

Some gifts, however, should be a clear indicator that the parent or relative that gave them to you didn't think very hard about what you (or any child) would enjoy playing with...or that they hate you.

When I set out to compile assortment of terrible toys, many of the "worst of" lists I found on the internet were made based off of the fact that the toy was simply too dangerous. Like this water balloon launcher...

which made the list due to the fact that it can fire a water balloon "at high speeds of up to 75 mph." Maybe it's because I don't have children, but that sounds like all types of awesome.

The following products, however, have no business being found under the Christmas tree this year. Below are RamblingBeachCat.com's Top 10 worst children's toys that you can still buy this holiday season. Each entry has a helpful link to the item's purchase page if you are a horrible person.

10. FAO Schwarz Wooden Pounding Bench

Aside from its hilariously bad name, the 'Pounding Bench' offers nothing more than the FAO Schwartz brand name slapped on a few pieces of carved wood, a hammer, and some colorful pegs. 

The product's description page claims that this toy helps young children to "develop hand eye-coordination." It's also a great way to let your kids know that Santa Clause doesn't exist...because if he did, there's no way that even the darkest interpretations of St. Nicholas would send this to any child.

9. Pro-Thumb Wrestling Arena

Take a piece of "high impact" plastic, a few pegs, and some rubber bands, and you've got what is quite possibly the lamest addition to a game that kids have been playing for ages.

By the time your child has counted to four, he or she will not be declaring thumb war; they'll be going to their school's guidance office because no one wants to be friends with them anymore.

8. Wonder Cleaning Cart

Nothing tells I child that you love them quite like the gift of manual labor. If your kid doesn't see this as the pathetically veiled attempt to get them to clean the house that it is, you've completely failed as a parent.

But if you still insist on going that route, you might as well spring for the much less expensive (and infinitely more efficient) Toy Dyson Vacuum, which has actual suction to go along with some fake cleaning sounds.

No batteries required: It runs on the 
tears of kids that miss already miss their childhood.

7. Just Like Home 37-Piece McDonald's Playfood Backpack

I've never understood the 'Just Like Home' food toys to begin with, but maybe there is a large market for fake plastic food (besides squeak toys for dogs).

But what kid in his right mind is going to carry around a bunch of fake McDonald's food in a clear backpack that is shaped like a hamburger? A kid that's going to get the crap beaten out of him, that's who.

Oh, and if you buy this for your kid and he or she happens to be overweight, that should land you in jail for straight up child abuse (no matter how hilariously ironic it may have seemed at the time).

6. Dino Poop


This product lets you explore the awesome and mysterious time of the dinosaurs by digging through their crap to see what they ate for lunch. While searching through the "dino dough," you might find plants, bones, or pieces of corn.

If you decide to go with the carnivore package, there's a decent chance that you'll also find the remains of an injured and defenseless animal that was brutally devoured by a scavenging predator that stalked the earth millions of years ago...

...or more kernels of corn.

5. Zynga Words With Friends To Go Game

Yes, the popular online game that causes you to scream "THAT IS NOT A REAL WORD!" while standing in line at the post office is now available in a low tech, board game format.

Never mind that Scrabble has already existed for a few decades; this has the familiar Zynga brand name...which is pretty much all you're paying for since the price has been slashed by over 70%.

If you really want to get the true Words With Friends experience in real life (and are able to convince any of your friends to actually play this game with you), have each player begin screaming about various unrelated products and/or reenact movie trailers after every turn.

4. McDonald's Electronic Cash Register Set

McDonald's makes the list again, this time with fake food, a fake cash register, AND a bonus 10-piece drive-thru set with a real working intercom.

Look, there is no shame in eating at the Golden Arches or working there. But even the proudest McD's employee would have to admit that it's not the stuff of childhood dreams and imagination.

The set is also completely unrealistic because it comes with ice cream; everyone knows that the ice cream machine at McDonald's is always down.

3. Playskool in the Night Garden Goodnight Friend Upsy Daisy

Looking like she crawled out of a demonic fever dream, this monstrosity is somehow supposed to help your child get to sleep. 

Aside from the fact that its terrifying appearance would make any kid interested in self preservation keep one eye open while they laid in bed, the product's description says that "Her real working daisy light gives off a gentle glow to encourage your little one to settle down for bed, too."

Not only does this go completely against most current sleep research, but the "gentle glow" is most likely powered by the harvested souls of other unsuspecting children.

2. Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo Doll

Because nothing is more adorable or fun to deal with than baby who constantly craps itself, Baby Alive is here to give your child a taste of their own medicine from the early days of your parenthood.

Watch as this devious (and awesome) parent revel in their child's horror and disgust as they come to terms with the fact that her doll has just dropped a giant deuce in its pants...and now she has to clean it up.

The real question with this toy is not if the child will enjoy constantly having to change a doll that urinates and defecates (they won't for very long), but how long until the kids (or you in a drunken stupor) begin putting ground beef and lemonade in it to get a more realistic effect.

By the way, if you still want to do things by the book and go with the manufacturer recommended fake poop and pee, Amazon.com can hook you up with some reasonably priced refill packets.

1. Bebe Gloton Breastfeeding Doll

Yeah...I don't care how progressive you are about women breast feeding in public; this one is still pretty messed up. 

I really have nothing to that can top product's description page, it's tagline-- "Because you don't have to wait until you have breasts to start breast feeding your baby," -- or the argument raging in the customer review/comment section.

Good luck to everyone on their holiday gift shopping...and good luck in therapy years later with your teenage child if you get any of these gifts for them.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

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