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Collectible Carell: Steve Carell is the go-to guy for embodying the highs & lows of collecting
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

dinnerforschmucksWell, I don’t know the proper protocol, but when I set out to blog this morning, I learned that it is World Goth Day. Are you supposed to wish someone a “Happy Goth Day,” or is that counterintuitive? If a whole movement has sprung up around dark-colored garb, fascination with the dark side, and an interest in the dark arts, can the phrase “happy day” be freely given? I certainly don’t want to wish anyone a “Sucky Goth Day” or a “Miserable Goth Day.” Maybe, it should be a “Dark and Stormy Night … World Goth Day”? It is a dilemma.

 

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Go-Go Girls: Why do star athletes look more like pole dancers than pole vaulters?
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

While watching “30 Rock” this week, I chuckled when the always droll Tina Fey trumpeted what feminism had promised: (1) womenWallis Simpson and Edward could go into whatever career they desired, and (2) fatter dolls.

Well, the so-called more solid dolls—representations that are more realistic than idealized—have come to pass, but they certainly haven’t eclipsed the popularity of the more slender, more stylized, more stylish counterparts. And in a way, this makes perfect sense. If play—and, by extension, collecting—is an extension of wish fulfillment, how many young girls and women wish to be bigger and thicker? Not many. Why is it that most men secretly desire to get as bulky and muscled as possible, and women to become as tiny and as petite as calorically allowable? (Keep in mind the old saying from Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor: “A woman can never be too rich or too thin.”)

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Freeze Frame: Toys, tots, and creativity close up
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

 

nightmarebeforeChristmas

This weekend was a cause for celebration in my household. Saturday, May 5, was a once-a-year outpouring of love, lettering, and loot: it was Free Comic Book Day, aka “FCBD.” As the name suggests, if you visited a participating comic book store, you were given a free comic book. Having two children who are partial to reading—coupled with striking art panels—and a husband and myself, who are admitted geeks/nerds/fans (we actually played Dungeon & Dragons in our youth, and beyond), FCBD was marked on my household calendar. We were definitely going to hit up one store, maybe two, or if the greed became uncontrollable, we’d drop in on three. (The greed did spin feverishly, and we did go to three stores, met the nicest people, took business cards, and pledged to return as paying customers. I’m a former Girl Scout—my word is my bond.)

 

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Princess Phone: A chat about why some girls, like Kate Middleton, have all the luck!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

It was no surprise when my phone rang early this weekend. On the other end of the line was my partner in crime, my brother from anotherPrince William and Dutchess Kate mother, my doll enabler—through and through—otherwise known as Cam. For years now, I have been “Ethel” to his “Lucy.” (Or the other way around, we’ve both been known to make fools of ourselves.)

 

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Imagine That: Are dolls our friends, our possessions, or something entirely else?
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Did you have an imaginary friend? I suspect that most of us had that special invisible pal who accompanied us on bike rides, strolls to thejunie_b_jones_big1 park, and kept us occupied during endless family car trips (“Are we there YET? It’s been 30 minutes!”). My daughter has purported to have several incarnations of a make-believe pal, but her roster of fictional friends changes and no one seems to stick around for more than a season or two. However, she’s recently begun to read chapter books on her own—she’s in first grade—and now she has developed a hankering for a new kind of wishful friendship. She’d love for her favorite heroine—Junie B. Jones—to be a real-live girl. She said to me the other day, “Mommy, I wish that Junie and her family could live next door to us, and then I’d be able to know her for real. I know we’d be best friends.”

 

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Puppet Panache: Temperamental stars have to rein it in as they learn to pull each other’s strings.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Back in the 1960s and ’70s, when rally cries were a staple of the protest movements, someone lustily yelled out, “Power to the people.”Puppet Protest And that citizen scream stuck. “Power to the people”: it is concise, easy to remember, and encompasses a lot of situations. All in all, it’s a great catchphrase.

This weekend, I found myself enmeshed in a world where “Puppet Up” was bellowed over and over, and a tiny, furry, loving red beast reduced grown men and women to tears. Yep, I had a “puppet power” marathon. It wasn’t intentional, but its results were inspirational.

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The Hunger Games: Mattel feasts upon a cautionary look at future kids in America.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

I’m not sure if Suzanne Collins was picturing me when she pounded out the “Hunger Games” trilogy. Certainly, I was not who sheThe Hunger Games Books envisioned as one of her youthful, teen warriors, but did she ever imagine that her three books would be adopted as a battle-cry for folks of every age, and every background, who worry about the fate of the United States and what lies in store for us over the next generation? Published by Scholastic—which immediately suggests school book clubs and pre-teen passions—the fictional account of a post-Apocalyptic America is gritty and gruesome and captures the real essence of personal responsibility and grrrrl power!

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Face Time: a charity doll raises awareness and two teen “living dolls” raise eyebrows on the Net.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

This has been an interesting week—seven days filled with dolls that promise to be made in the image of often-overlooked children, while abald-barbie1 pair of children came to the foreground and demanded to be seen, heard, adored and looked at, via YouTube, of course.

After an online campaign, which had launched on Facebook, brought a massive amount of signatures to Mattel’s attention, the California-based toy company conceded to the group’s requests. A “bald Barbie” will be manufactured and distributed to children’s hospitals and alopecia foundations to be given as comforting playthings and as reminders to children with cancer and other health issues that they are not alone.

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