The '9-1-1' scooter and other worst toys for Christmas

From annoying, noisy toys that you want to hurl against the wall to just plain scary ones, here are the worst toys of 2012:

2. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey

Leanne Shirtliffe
This toy wins our 'Surrogate Parent Award.'

This cute fluffy monkey looks benign at first, until you spot the durable iPhone case permanently attached to its belly where you're supposed to put in your iPhone or iPod Touch. This drool-proof case and the fact that this toy is targeted to 6- to 36-month-old babies and toddlers means that it gets the Surrogate Parent Award. The toy claims it enhances sensory development and fine motor skills. So does letting your baby play with a cardboard box, a cheaper option than the $29.99 Apptivity Monkey.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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