Archive for the ‘Comment from Dave’ Category

Hurricane Irene Update

Hurricane Irene knocked out the power at Dave’s Cool Toys from Sunday until this afternoon, August 31, 2011. Once we get re-organized and clear up the backlog of toy orders, we will begin posting again to the Dave’s Cool Toys blog.

Thanks to all our customers for their patience during this time!


Uncle Milton, King of the Anthill, Passes Away.

Uncle Milton
with some of his nieces & nephews

Milton Levine, better known as Uncle Milton, passed away January 16, 2011 at the age of 97. He died of natural causes at an assisted living facility.

Uncle Milton was the co-inventor of the Ant Farm and a legendary contributor to the toy industry and pop culture. He was the co-founder of the company that would become Uncle Milton Industries.

He founded the company in 1946 selling novelties and introduced the ant farm in 1956. The company has sold more than 20 million farms and it’s been recognized as one of the top 100 Toys of the Century by the Toy Industry Association.

Uncle Milton was at a Fourth of July picnic in 1956 and was watching some ants. He started thinking about collecting ants in a jar as a child and announced "We should make an antarium."

He and his brother-in-law, E. J. Cossman then invented the iconic plastic habitat with the little barnyard that everybody is familiar with. They hired collectors to obtain red harvester ants from the Mojave Desert and paid them a penny apiece. One supplier showed up at Milton’s office with a jar of ants and when he couldn’t get paid the amount he wanted, he opened the jar onto his desk, releasing ants all over the office.

They were faced with some unique challenges when they began their business. The first was setting up the two-stage sale process so that customers could receive their live ants. They also needed to get permission from each state to ship live ants. You still can’t get them in Hawaii, where they are considered an infestation danger (you have to find your own).

The ant farm hasn’t changed much over the years. They had to use a different glue when they discovered that it was toxic to some ants. And in recent years they have replaced the sand that they used to use with volcanic ash, which makes it easier to watch the ants.

Uncle Milton has said that he thought the ant farm would sell for about two years and he sometimes joked that the ants’ most amazing feat was putting his three children through college. Two of those children, Steve and Ellen have been actively involved in Uncle Milton Industries since Milton’s retirement. The company now sells a wide range of products.

Goodbye Uncle Milton, we’ll miss you.

Katy Perry Kicked Off Sesame Street

Sesame Street has pulled a segment from the show featuring Katy Perry after it appeared on YouTube and received comments from parents that were angry about the amount of cleavage she was showing.

Here is Sesame Street’s official statement on the video:

"Sesame Street has a long history of working with celebrities across all genres, including athletes, actors, musicians and artists. Sesame Street has always been written on two levels, for the child and adult. We use parodies and celebrity segments to interest adults in the show because we know that a child learns best when co-viewing with a parent or care-giver. We also value our viewer’s opinions and particularly those of parents. In light of the feedback we’ve received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers. Katy Perry fans will still be able to view the video on You Tube."

Was it that bad? Decide for yourself. Below is the video (at least until they remove it from YouTube as well).

Wendy’s Pulls CD from Their Kids Meals Due to Racy Lyrics

Banned Wendy's CD
Banned Wendy’s Kids Meal CD

Wendy’s has been distributing several different CDs in their kids meals, but they’ve quietly pulled one from distribution afte they received complaints about racy lyrics.

The CD is the "Karaoke Disco Fever" version that was distributed with the meals. There are other CDs such as "Karaoke Motown for Kids". The song in question is Donna Summer’s "Last Dance". Apparently the song has been recorded with two versions of the lyrics. One version includes the words "I’m so so bad", which is what is written in the printed lyrics that come with the CD. But the song that was included on the CD had Donna singing "I’m so so horny". The CD was marked as being safe for children 3 years old and up (they offered an alternative Raggedy Ann & Andy book for kids under 3).

Wendy’s website currently has the statement "We are no longer offering this Karaoke Disco Fever CD. We’re sorry and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you.

Obviously, if you have one of these CDs, you might wish to refrain from playing it on car trips with the kids. A better place for it at this point might be eBay.

What’s the Most Expensive Toy on Amazon?

Jet Service Vehicle from Playmobil

Out of curiosity, and a comment from a friend, I went looking on Amazon for the highest priced toys. What I found stunned me.

The highest priced toy I was able to find on Amazon was the Playmobil Jet Service Vehicle, priced at $100,000,000.00. That’s One Hundred Million Dollars (if I’m reading it right)!

Oh. Plus $5.99 shipping.

So what is the deal with this toy? Is it really selling for this much? I don’t know. I would have to guess it’s a typo or a publicity ploy or something. Or maybe they used the wrong photo and it’s an actual Jet Service Vehicle.

I found the same item on eBay for $13.00, so it doesn’t seem like it’s worth that much. I also found it new for $18.19.

Stephensons Brothers Rocking Horse

The next lowest toy price on Amazon was the 123 Soft Activity Book by Kaloo priced at $39,099.00. I suspect this was supposed to be $39.99.

The first legitimate item I found with a high price on Amazon was an outdoor modular play set for $21,295.00. It’s a lot of money, but it seems at least appropriate for the item.

The first item with the highest price, that’s an indoor toy, and seems legitimate, was the Stevenson Brothers’ Limited Edition Rocking Horse for $7,600.00. Each horse if custom built to customers’ specifications. This limited edition horse is made to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen of England’s Golden Jubilee.

Truth in Advertising: My First Insta-Set Pool

insta-pool fail
Advertising vs. Reality with Insta-Set Pool

I came across this photo comparison of the "My First Insta-Set Pool" today.

We’ve posted a similar one in the past, but this one is a doozy!

The top photo shows the box and the bottom photo shows the actual pool. As you can see, the size is not the only thing inaccurate in this portrayal. The pool decoration isn’t quite the same either.

I was able to find this pool on Toys R Us (I’ll complain about the backwards "R" in their name later). It sells for $9.99 and is listed as being 3 foot x 8 inches. I’ve posted their photo of the box below.

One look at the advertising photo should show that there is no way the pool shown is 3 foot x 8 inches. The water is up to the little boys armpits, even with it filled to the very top, that’s not possible. And it’s certainly larger than 3 feet across.

I also don’t know where these kids legs would be if the pool was 3 feet across. There’d be no way to get 3 children those ages in a 3-foot pool with that much room around them.

I’d also have to say that it would be extremely difficult to keep more than about 5 inches of water in this pool. With, say 7 inches of water in an 8 inch pool, one child sitting down would overflow the pool.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I try to be very careful with our descriptions at Dave’s Cool Toys and it irks me to see this kind of false-advertising on toys.


insta-pool fail
A clearer photo of the box of Insta-Set Pool

Time to stock up on Bangsite for your Big Bang Cannon

Stock up on Bangsite now for the 4th

The Fourth of July is right around the corner. If you have a Big Bang Cannon, it’s time to get it out and make sure it’s cleaned up and ready. If you have an older cannon you haven’t fired in a many years, go find it and clean it up. With just a little effort, it should work fine. (Check out my prior blog post where I cleaned up a neighbor’s old cannon.)

It’s also time to stock up on Bangsite and Spark Plugs so you’re ready to celebrate.

Big Bang Cannon Flint

Go find your cannon and any bangsite you may have. First check the cannon for any buildup in the firing chamber. If you have lime buildup, I suggest soaking it with CLR to clear it out (it’s available at most grocery stores). A clean firing chamber will give you the best performance.

Next, check the spark plug and be sure it’s still making a good spark.

6F Big Bang Cannon
Our Best Selling Big Bang Cannon

Lastly, check your Bangsite. If you have an open container, it’s probably not good anymore. If it looks like dust or flour, dispose of it. It won’t work. It should look dark and granular. Unopened tubes should still be good, unless they’re very old. If you need Bangsite of Spark Plugs, order them now to be sure you have them when you want to use your cannon.

Dave’s Cool Toys has a great 3-pack deal on Bangsite and Spark Plugs for $27.49. You get 3 tubes and 3 flints.

Be sure to check out our Big Bang Cannon page for other tips and lots of great information.

Dave’s Cool Toys Blog Comment Spam, Installment #1

We don’t like it either

Dave’s Cool Toys’ blog gets lots of comments. But you won’t see most of them on our posts. That’s because most of them are Comment Spam.

Comment Spam results from unscrupulous bloggers and webmasters attempting to get link-backs to their site to boost their search engine rankings artificially by posting as much as possible on other blogs by leaving comments. Sometimes they do it themselves, sometimes they use software bots to post for them.

It’s a pain. Fortunately, we use software that does a great job of filtering out this nonsense.

But, there are times when I read through the comment spam just to see what’s there before deleting it and it gives me a laugh. I really must say I don’t understand what they think they are doing at times.

So, I thought I’d share some of the odd comment spam we’ve received recently. This is the first installment. My comments are in italics. I have not edited the comments, so misspellings, punctuation, etc. are as they were written. I’ve deleted or changed links, phone numbers, etc.

Dave’s Cool Toys Blog Comment Spam

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The replenish U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan has recommended an inflate of 40,000 troops as the buy viagra 50mg Luck minimum necessary to prevail, two sources familiar with his recommendations said on Thursday.
Very cleverly inserting a link in the middle

I stand here today humbled by the task before dofus kamas, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our cheap dofus kamas. I thank President dofus for his service to buy dofus kamas, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Brilliant and well deserved! Enjoy the moment and the prize!
What prize? Did I get a prize?

right now I will come in the picture and join you.

Welcome First time jumped here on your site, found on Yahoo. It really helps to have sombody to talk to other then my divorced parents. Thanks again Mr. Grey.

I am final, I am sorry, but you could not paint little bit more in detail.
At you a uneasy choice
I think, that you are not right. Let’s discuss. Write to me in PM.
Better late, than never.
What charming message
I’ve received several variations of this one such as the next one.

Do not give to me minute?
The word of honour.
Bravo, excellent phrase and is duly
In my opinion it is very interesting theme. I suggest you it to discuss here or in PM.
I can believe to you :)

Don’t hold it in! Tell us more!

lorem ipsum blabum leerum lusim husum kra
They couldn’t even be bothered to write something, just posted Greek Type

Check this Out!
2 days ago I received a message from 000-000-0000 (number removed) and was convinced the caller was a scam.
I decided to file a complaint with the Gulf Coast Western and complain.
Anyway, I feel like such a fool Gulf Coast Western -an oil corporation- called me back We’re contacting me about employment. Apparently I got the job
Any idea how to uncomplain and fix this????
This has what to do with toys?

I would equal to add your journal to my blogroll gratify bowman me what mainstay should I use?

I thank for the help in this question, now I will not commit such error.
I am sorry, that I interfere, there is an offer to go on other way.
What good question
You Exaggerate.
Not your business!
That was all one post

Im surprised to have found this blog, I though I was the only one writing about this…thanks.
This was on a post about my son making "Dave’s Cool Toys" out of K’nex. Who else would write about this?

Your babble makes me want to poop my pants…

In all, the theme was 121 comments and 120 of them spamskih – well is not that fox?

Many bukaf not mastered, but the author credit.
Hopefully "bukaf" is not slang for something I’m not aware of.

looking for information for propagation of sea sponge, does anyone know of any other articles besides the one i posted.

This is a good and organization site. I like this in internet and here it exist. Ok and good.

Drop the high class, everything need to be flashy and expensive idea. You need to entertain in your budget and your abilities. Make sure that you will enjoy yourself also. If you spend most of your time worrying that your gathering is as great as it should be, you will not be able to have a great time as you should.

If I must say something, then nothing will stop the chatter inside

How much would you pay for this “rare” toy?

Rare wind-up doll. Is it Betty Boop?

I came across this item as I was browsing eBay. It is listed as "MUSEUM Celluloid & Tin ULTRA RARE Toy Japan BETTY BOOP?"

The listing says it is Japanese and made of Celluloid & Tin, completely original from the 1920’s, "untouched", with a built-in key to wind it. The listing does mention some skipping and a missing rod for head action. She is 6.5 inches high and "Made in Japan" is marked on the bottom.

The asking price? $19,001.00. Or you can make an offer. For your money, you get free courier delivery to anywhwere in the world.

It is listed as possibly being Betty Boop. But nothing about this doll looks anything like Betty Boop to me.

And although it lists it as being complete, it certainly looks to me as though there should have been a dress over it. That would explain the way the arms are attached.

If you are interested and you have $19,000 laying around that you don’t know what to do with, check it out here. There are much more photos in the listing.

UPDATE – 5/24/10
The price on this item has been dropped to $11,001.00!

Dave’s Cool Toys website upgrade

Dave’s Cool Toys will be upgrading our online shopping cart system in the coming weeks.

During this time, there may be some website downtime when the entire site, or parts of it, are not available. At other times, the site may run more slowly than usual or some features may not be available while we get things back up to speed.

Once this is done, some links and bookmarks to our site may change. Unfortunately, this is outside of our control and necessary with the upgrade. The links to our main site will remain the same and you can always find the toy you are looking for by going through

We apologize for any trouble this may cause our customers and visitors. We assure you that this is only temporary while we update our shopping cart. This will allow us to add new features and make your shopping experience better at Dave’s Cool Toys.

Can you hear this sound? Probably not if you’re over 20.

Carl Fredericksen for hearing loss

I came across this interesting phenomenon the other day. It is a sound that only people under 20 can hear. The sound is a sine wave at 18,000 Hz. Dog whistles produce sounds at about 16,000-22,000 Hz.

Scroll down to the bottom to play the tone.

I downloaded the sound and played it very loud on my Mac and I can just barely make out a slight whine (I’m quite old, according to my son). My kids on the other hand heard it quite loudly and it hurt the oldest’s ears. (He’s 17, so he’s got a few more years to hear it).

Supposedly, some teens use this as a ring tone on their cell phones because they can use it in class and their teachers can’t heat it. Not sure why they wouldn’t just use "vibrate".

It has also been broadcast in areas that authorities don’t want teens to congregate because the sound is quite annoying to them, but adults can’t hear it.

Damaged hairs in the inner ear.

As you age, you lose more and more of the fine hairs in your inner ear. Higher frequencies are the first casualty. As you experience true hearing loss, usually you can only hear very low frequencies. Exposure to loud sounds can hasten this process. Obviously, music played loud on an iPod or loud video games that are quite commoon with "kids these days" are taking thier toll on their generation’s hearing.

As I understand it, there are also some changes in the way frequencies are transmitted to the brain which occur naturally. It is this phenomenon that accounts for the way this tone works.

I also came across some interesting Audio Illusions (which include this phenomenon). Check them out here.

Play the sound here:

A Rainbow In Your Hand Flipbook. Absolutely amazing!

My friend, Rich, recently alerted me to the coolest flipbook he found on the web. I loved it and had to have one for myself, but they were only available from one website in Japan. Since Dave’s Cool Toys only sells toys that I think are very cool, I imported the flipbook from Japan and as near as I can tell, we are the only place in the US that they are currently available.

Masashi Kawamura
Rainbow in Your Hand Flipbook

The flipbook is called Rainbow in Your Hand. Most flipbooks create the illusion of a little movie when you flip them. Rainbow in Your Hand instead creates the 3-D illusion of a rainbow floating above the book when you flip it.

Each page is printed front and back with the visible color spectrum on a black background. When you flip it as shown in the photo, the flipping pages with the image of the spectrum are what creates the illusion as they fly past.

It’s very creative and was the brainchild of Masashi Kawamura, a Japanese art director. He created it as a personal project. Rainbow in Your Hand also won the NY Art Directors Club Silver Cube award.

It seems that Rainbow in Your Hand works best against a black background as shown in the photo. I’ll get a video up on YouTube as soon as I can shoot it.

Where are your cannons? Oops.

Our best selling Big Bang Cannon

What happened to our cannons?!

If you were on our site recently looking for Big Bang Cannons, you might not have been able to find them. A helpful customer called to say that they were not displaying.

Well, I’m not entirely sure what happened, but for some reason they all disappeared.

The good news is that they are back now. So if you had wanted to purchase a Big Bang Cannon and couldn’t find them, they are back now. If you haven’t seen them, check them out.


How long is your snake?

amazon tree boa
Measuring snakes on my desk

Sometimes my job is very surreal. This morning I find myself measuring rubber snakes.

The other day we had an order for the Amazon Tree Boa (my favorite of the snakes we sell). When the customer received it they felt that it was far smaller than was on our website. The description on our site lists the guy as 56 inches long (which is what the manufacturer says). The customer measured it at 50 inches.

I try to be as accurate as possible in describing our toys and I never just use the description the manufacturer uses because I don’t like "puffery" (with apologies to Domino’s) and don’t feel they are always adequate. So I do research, I check out the toy myself, sometimes I play with it, and I write my own descriptions.

Well, after measuring the Amazon Tree Boa myself, I found he fell a little short of 56 inches. Yes, it’s true, I’m not perfect. I measured him at about 51 inches from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. I used string to measure every twist and turn in his body, then measured the string.

So, this morning I have updated the description with a slightly more accurate one.

And I spent my morning measuring a plastic boa constrictor.

OK Go “This Too Shall Pass” video is amazing!

Mousetrap (game)

After my last post of the video my buddy and I made, I thought I’d follow it with another video I just discovered that I really liked. This is OK Go’s video of their song This Too Shall Pass. They created a very complex Rube Goldberg-like machine that took up two stories of a warehouse in LA. It was built by the band and members of Syyn Labs and took several months and about 60 people to create It was shot on February 11 and 12, 2010. It took about 30 people an hour to reset the machine after each run. It took 60 takes to get just the right video with most of those takes only lasting about 30 seconds till something went wrong, stopping the production.

This video brought back memories of my childhood and the game Mousetrap
. In retrospect, I have no idea how you were supposed to play the actual game. We would just build the mousetrap and activate it.

It also brought back memories of the old MTV and some of the great music videos they used to play back when they had something to do with music.

Be sure to watch the video below in high def if your computer can handle it. You wouldn’t want to miss any details. Why are the band members wearing coveralls with paint spatters on them? Watch to the end to find out. Scroll down after the video for more (spoilers).

This video is even more amazing when you consider that there are a few points where the "machine" is synced with the music (the drinking glasses, window shades, etc.). And, did you notice, it’s one single camera shot (that’s some cameraman!).

A few details I noticed (spoilers)…

The pile of smashed TV’s, presumable from practice runs.
A previous paint-splattered background paper on a wall with 4 band member outlines.
A few moments when you can catch the guys running to their next position (just after the typewriter between the wooden background, just before the file cabinet falls).
A cameo appearance of their famous "treadmill" video.

Oh. Yes. And it’s not a bad song either.

Just before posting this I discovered a "making of" video series! Here they are…

Dave’s Cool Toys Blog
We post news about new toys on our site, new toys in the market, general toy information, or stuff we just thought was cool (usually toys).

We welcome your feedback and comments.

Be sure to check out our toys at Dave's Cool Toys. We work hard to find toys you won't find at the big box stores. Now go out and play!

Dave Ference

A little disclaimer
A few things we thought you should know:

Some of the links on our weblog will not take you to Dave's Cool Toys, but to other sites. If you purchase an item from that site we may, or may not, receive a commission on that purchase.

All toy reviews are honest and will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly, even if it's a toy we sell. We receive no compensation for any toy reviews.

Links to other sites have been checked by us for appropriate content, but we cannot check every page of every site and every link on those sites, and any changes that may have been made to those sites since we visited them. Children should be supervised at all times while surfing the web.

We've done our best to make sure that information on our weblog is accurate. Some items may be rumors, gossip, or hearsay. We will do our best to make it clear when it is, and will correct anything we find to be wrong.