Signing off for the year. Posting begins around January 2, 2007, if I feel up to it. Aught-seven, who would have thought we'd get so far?
The death of Gerald Ford, along with plumbing issues, distracted me from writing about some of our Christmas presents. I want to return to it before the subject gets too stale, especially because it involves writing about Mr. Potato Head.
Which is how it's styled on the box, meaning that his last name is Head. Maybe he has some less-famous siblings such as Mandrake Head or Nightshade Head (like Gummo Marx or Roy Krispy, brother of Snap, Krackle and Pop), but in any case a few days before Christmas I went to a nearby grocery store, and its toy aisle turned out to be a bonanza of small gifts. Among other things, I got a couple of Slinkies there, plus a rubber chicken for Lilly -- no home is complete without a rubber chicken, and we've been lacking one for too long now -- and a Mr. Potato Head for Ann.
I never had one myself. I never asked for one, and if you'd asked my childish opinion of it, I probably would have regarded it a lame toy, though I wouldn't have used that word. My newly revised, more mature opinion is that Mr. Potato Head is a fine toy, and Ann seems to think so too. Since Christmas she's been re-arranging his face according to whim, calling him "Tato-Head."
The basic Mr. Potato Head, made in China, comes with a potato body, pair of shoes, two arms, pair of eyes, two ears, nose, tongue, set of teeth, moustache, hat and pair of glasses. Years ago, he came with a pipe, but at some point Mr. Potato Head gave up smoking, even though tobacco is a black-sheep family member of his (as part of the Solanaceae family, you see).
How do I know about the pipe? Same way I know that plastic bodies started coming with the sets in the mid-60s, to take the place of the real potatoes that kids used to use for their early Mr. Potato Heads. I looked him up on the Internet, of course, and it turns out there's an insane amount of information here about the world's favorite plastic spud.
Naturally, Hasbro sells variations on the Mr. Potato Head theme, including Firefighter Spud, Space Spud, Construction Worker Spud, Glamour Spud, Safari Spud, and Birthday Spud. There could be hundreds more, I think. Just off the top of my head I thought of Attila the Spud, Tranny Spud (interesting removable parts) and -- to go with Construction Worker Spud -- add Indian Chief Spud, Motorcycle Cop Spud, et al. to form the Village Taters.