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Retro toys.

By Thom Wong 8 Jun 2006 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He has also been a teacher and contract specialist. With eight years of education and three bachelor degree, Thom focuses mostly on marketing writing.

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When I was younger, I had two go-to stuffed animals. The first was a baby ape I cleverly named "George" who had velcro on his hands which you could attach to his feet. I wore him strapped around my arm until my arm became too big; that day was the unofficial end to my childhood (the official end, I am told, occurred when the "feelings" began). The second one was a lamb I imaginatively named "Lamby." He was the first stuffed animal I ever received, and he spent the first eight years of its life on my bed. So naturally, when we moved to Vancouver, my parents gave him away.

Perhaps this explains my current fascination with toys. While vinyl toys are all the rage in Asian markets, I find plush toys to be a more interesting medium for artistic creativity -- which is to say there is something inherently cool about a stuffed bear with fangs that has blood dripping from its mouth. You can find such creations at Kid Robot, where you'll also find mini remote-controlled tanks that can shoot each other. For a cuter but still "edgy" option, try Ugly Dolls. The product of a husband and wife team, the dolls stretch the notion of what we consider cute to be.

But my favourite toy is the Wee Ninja made by Shawnimals. Available in, naturally, Ninjatown, it stands ten inches tall and is joined by Ninja Consultant (lost an arm), Ol' Ninja Master (beard and cane), and the Anti-Ninja (bright orange robes). Buy one for your nephew then "lose" it and give him a Nintendo DS. He wouldn't appreciate it anyway.

Thom Wong is a law student who spends an unreasonable amount of time online. His 40 bLinks column runs every Tuesday and Thursday on The Tyee.  [Tyee]

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