Monday, September 29, 2008

the bane of my existence

looks something like this:

Those of you with small children in your lives, those of you who succumbed to the unrelenting advertising bombardment of the Christmas 2007 toy shopping season will no doubt recognize this perp as none other than Squawkers McCaw. Here are some of Squawkers' "selling points" from Hasbro's official press release:

*SQUAWKERS McCAW will repeat – in a squawky voice - any words spoken to him.

*SQUAWKERS McCAW will respond to preprogrammed phrases, such as “Hello” and “Are you hungry?”, with his own phrases.

*You can “teach” the parrot to respond to you by programming voice commands or prompts. For example, you can program him to respond with “Happy Birthday” every time you say a specific child’s name. You can also program additional phrases that the parrot will say at random.

*SQUAWKERS McCAW can also be “humorous” and “playful” by randomly responding to his pre-programmed phrases in a nonsensical way.

Yeah, that's all well and good and everything. But the truth? The truth is that when Daughter has Squawkers out on the swing set and I'm sitting at my computer inside it sounds like Carrie White and Sybil Dorsett are taking part in some kind of Tim Burtonesque Toastmasters Competition in my back yard.

In other news, I have a new answering machine that lets me know just what I have done every time I listen to a message and then press the Delete button: "Message elited," the machine says, in a most authoritative-if-somewhat-emotionally-devoid, masculine voice. It's like each lost message has just graduated from West Point or something.

Ah, technology. Some days I am in utter awe of just how many things the human race has accomplished in this area. Other days I feel like the release of the original Speak n' Spell isn't far behind us at all (I always especially liked the sound of the "w" key). It's those days - these days, actually - when I suspect we may still have a long, long way to go.


  1. maiden537:40 AM

    "Humorous and playful"?? I think someone was *high* when he was designed AND so was the person who wrote that ad!

  2. Thanks for your helpful highlights for the culturally challenged. I wish Mr Eliot had had access to this way of writing. Have you come across any poets that point you to websites possibly explaining their obscure allusions?

    Now that you're back I've put you on my Best and Brightest List!
    Keep up the good work.

  3. *Gulp* Best and Brightest, Ken? Crikey, now I have something to live up to (something up which to live?) See? It's already making me grammatically self-conscious.


    Thanks for the morale boost, though!