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In the Spotlight
Tattoo You: Barbie puts her stamp on the fuss over “how far is too far.”
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Friday, 21 October 2011 13:25

Oh, Barbie! Whereas most other ladies your age are figuring out how to cope with empty-nest syndrome, you keep filling newspaperstokidoki-barbieface1 and magazines with gossip, outrage, cries of “the end is near,” and sociological lamentations. When other 50-plus-year-old women are being issued their AARP card and ushered into a more gentle, leisurely lifestyle, you are showing it’s never too late to be a “hard body” with a “badass” attitude. This week’s cyber universe was abuzz with Barbie blasts—complaints and condemnations that once again tried to tie the “Plastic One” with the demise of civilization as we know it.

This time, the link was due largely to ink.

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The Artful Dodger: Can someone explain what distinguishes a doll maker from a figural artist?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 13:06

The other day, my daughter, who is 6 going on 36, announced that she had to write a paragraph in school about her future plans andpixiehollowfairy1 ambitions. That’s a great deal of forward-thinking for a bunch of first graders. Jane was very pleased with herself because she poured out her energy into composing a look at her life as a chemist/scientist.

However, as she was regaling me with her futuristic résumé, she seemed to be smiling like the cat who devoured the proverbial canary—or maybe the cat who lapped up the cream. It’s a much nicer simile.

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Narnia No More: Is there a chance of the C.S. Lewis dolls making a return trip?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 14:00

Is necessity the mother of invention? I was brought up hearing that maxim, and on face value, it certainly seems true enough. But being anarniaposter1 mother—and with that, a part-time inventor of road-trip games, Halloween costumes, and blue-ribbon-worthy science projects—I don’t think it’s really “necessity.” It’s more likely “creativity.” Necessity makes you run out to Walmart and Target when you’re in a fix; creativity urges you to stay up late at night with a glue stick, a glob of glitter, and a gut feeling that a unicorn’s horn can be constructed from an empty paper towel cylinder.

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Character Clones: Despite some facial slip-ups, the collecting force is strong.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 15 September 2011 14:45

One of the lessons I learned rather late is that “life isn’t fair.” I hadn’t really known that until I was 21 years old and employed at astar-wars1 scientific trade journal. Suddenly I saw how hard work, competency, and smarts didn’t always reap rewards. That was eye opening. Another lesson I picked up at that job was life doesn’t offer do-overs. That is, unless you’re George Lucas.

On Friday, September 16, Lucas—the mighty maven behind the Indiana Jones quartet, “American Graffiti,” and countless technical breakthroughs—is going to release his most famous work, yet again, on DVD and Blu-ray. The newly restored “Star Wars” saga—all six films—is going to be re-released. Or, should that be re-re-released. Or, more accurately, re-re-re-released. Well, you get the point. Mr. Lucas can’t seem to leave a good thing alone.

 

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Remembering 9/11: A decade after our world came tumbling down.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Friday, 09 September 2011 13:41

One of my most favorite things about blogging rather than straight reporting is that I get to speak directly to you, the reader, about eventsthe-world-trade-center1that amuse me, or bemuse me, or have moved me. This week’s blog goes beyond just simply having touched me; it is a meditation on the events of 9/11/2001 and how I was never the same again. Our country—the whole world—was shaken awake on that clear Tuesday morning, and we have never really rolled over and gone back into our pre-9/11 slumber.

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Dolls & the Deluge: An extreme weather condition has an unexpected sunny ending.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 15:19

What is it about dolls and flooding that seem to go hand-in-hand in my life? Longstanding readers of this blog might recall when mysevenbridesfrotier1 basement was flooded more than a year ago and my Titanic doll was launched to float facedown in the murky, rising tides.

Now we were visited by Hurricane Irene, and that houseguest did not act like a lady at all. Like an angry, bombastic toddler, she rushed through my hometown, leaving branches and trees and power lines in her wake. My family and I are among the 500,000 New Jerseyites who lost power. I must tell you that living like a frontier woman is not what it’s cracked up to be.

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We Love Lucy: A special anniversary gives doll collectors a chance to be in the show.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 14:27

Everyone loves Lucy, but especially now, during her centennial year. The “wacky redhead,” as she was often billed, was born inlucyatchocolateconveyor1 Jamestown, New York, on August 6, 1911, so August is the 100th anniversary of her birth. Over the years, doll companies have issued some stunning renderings of her best-loved, funny bits, and this year, as well, more are on hand to commemorate the celebration. I know that I shall be picking up one—or maybe two, perhaps three? (I must confess, I feel like I’m on the chocolate-factory assembly line here. I’d just love to grab hold of all the great products as they come down the manufacturing conveyor belt, a Lucy fan let loose in the proverbial candy store!)

 

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Dolls in Danger: Courtney Love’s confessional “Doll Parts” still aches 20 years later.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 15 August 2011 13:13

It’s difficult to believe, but MTV has turned 30 years old this month. When it first launched, the network functioned as a video jukebox. Itcourtneylovebarrette1 was the repository for some really cutting-edge, mind-blowing musical montages. It was also the dumping ground for some pretty schlocky, low-rent efforts. (We’re talking cheesy, clunky musical outings that make Rebecca Black’s self-produced “Friday” look like a spark of genius.) But over time, the network reinvented itself, inspired many vocalists who have raised the video format to a work of art, and cemented its standing as a pop culture landmark. Oh, it’s also given us “Jersey Shore”! So, much for evolution.

 

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Revolutionary Road: Created to save humanity, a hero emerges . . . from the toy box.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 04 August 2011 16:45

Over the last year we’ve been building a new, home-based ritual: the family movie night. With the invention of the DVD and the arrival of9posterfinal1 its sleek, sophisticated cousin, the Blu-ray player, it really does feel like “Hollywood on the Hudson” in my house. The images are crisp; the choice of movies is enormous; the amount of fun is immeasurable. All it takes is a trip to the library (films are free), a visit to Redbox (rentals for a mere buck each), or crafty buying on eBay, and the gamut of family entertainment is rich and rewarding. My kids love it! We all get to sit together, munch on popcorn, talk at appropriate pauses, and enjoy a movie night-out, without having to leave our living room. And best of all, we can create our own theme events: like a doll double-bill.

 

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Farewell, Mr. Mattel: Toy tycoon Elliot Handler passes away at age 95.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 12:55

It’s an unavoidable fact of life: we all are going to die one day. Yes, that’s a “downer” way to begin this week’s blog, but it’s the truth,Mattel-founder_new and perhaps we all need to remind ourselves of that. On Thursday night, July 21, Elliot Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, passed away. He was 95 years old. His age shows that he had a long life; and the way that his family and friends have praised him in quotes to the press reveals that he had a happy life. That’s what we all want in the end, isn’t it? A long and happy life.

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