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Bill O’Reilly: Techie toys have Santa under siege

One hundred years ago in America, Christmas was a mighty different situation. Based on newspaper reports, recently put together a list of the most-asked-for gifts by children who lived back then. Here are the top five requests:

• Candy.

• Nuts.

• Rocking Horse.

• Doll.

• Mittens.

It’s a modest list, to say the least, but reflective of a time that was far less complicated than society is today. Now, kids rule in many homes. And Santa is under siege.

This year, the top five kid-wants according to retailers are:

• Furby Boom.

• Teksta Robotic Puppy.

• LeapPad Ultra.

• Flutterbye Flying Fairy.

• Big Hugs Elmo.

Let’s begin with Furby. This is a robot toy that resembles an owl. The “all new” Furby has a mind of his own and can interact with the tykes.

The Teksta puppy is allegedly just like a real dog except there is no bathroom component.

The LeapPad Ultra is a tablet that kids can write on, as well as summon apps, videos and games. If your child isn’t an Internet zombie by now, he or she will be once the LeapPad gets inside the house.

The Flutterbye Flying Fairy is marketed toward little girls and, according to the manufacturer, puts “enchanting” fairy flights directly in the hands of the child.

And finally, the Big Hugs Elmo toy moves his arms to return hugs, plays songs, dances with your children and might even kick in toward their college education. Elmo is for both girls and boys and is capable of making more than 50 animated sounds. If that sounds like your Uncle Vinny, it’s a coincidence.

The cost of these toys is substantial, and you’d better have an engineering degree if something goes wrong. The high-tech dog is especially interesting, conjuring up all kinds of horror movie possibilities. No way this thing is getting inside my house. I already have a dog named Fiona who would attack the bogus dog on sight.

For my money, I think toys are too complicated these days. I like the rocking horse and toy train scenario. But if I gave those things to my kids, their response would be somewhere between the Bay of Pigs and Woodstock — a lot of angst and chaos.

Luckily, Santa Claus has adapted, and his new high-tech sleigh and reindeer have him finishing his rounds in Guam long before dawn. But don’t mention the Flying Fairy to old St. Nick. He’s not into competition.

Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor.”

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Posted: December 17, 2013 Tuesday