January 25, 2006

David Sedaris, "Baby Einstein," & Gettin' The Alphabet Pal To Swear

chenille_abc.jpgVictoria writes at de stijl about their experiments getting the Leapfrog Alphabet Pal to swear. Which, of course, was a highlight of "Baby Einstein," an essay in David Sedaris's Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim about his brother becoming a dad. [I say 'of course' even though I lost track of David Sedaris's bookcount and hadn't read it, even though I knew him when he cleaned my apartment way back in the day, and then years later, we both ended up living in the same 'hood in Paris. But I digress. And namedrop.]

Anyway, a reader named Jay commented about this exactly a year ago, in fact, on a post that might offer a solution to your swearing toy dilemmas. Turns out the Alphabet Toy comes in Quebecois versions as well as English. So are English swear words blocked in the Quebecois Pal? Couldn't you get them to swear bilingually, in either direction? And wouldn't that bring the world just a little closer together? Mary Blair would be so proud.

Fun With Alphabet Pal! [de stijl via robotwisdom]
Get Sedaris's Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and an Alphabet Pal of your own at Amazon [amazon] [07/06: or not. Amazon's not carrying it right now.]
Previously: It's called La Chenille in Quebec


maybe i'm behind the times with the alphabet pal, but i'm still trying to figure out what all the a-z songs are. does anyone have a list of them?

This is my favorite Sedaris yet, Greg. I'd find yerself a copy and treat yourself.

Much mellower than previous books; touching really.

the same is true for the "word whammer" by leap frog ... you can make 3 letter words but nothing sketchy works, it just acts like you did not make a word and asks you to try again. it's the first thing every adult who comes over tries to do. was speak 'n spell censored too?

If memory serves, Speak and Spell was censored, too (much to my older cousin's chagrin). I'm also trying to remember the toy that laughs and says, "You're Silly" when you try to spell an "unmentionable." I think it's a leap frog, but I can't remember
(That whole "pregnancy amnesia" bit is pure garbage. It's more like, "the rest of your life" forgetfulness. It's slowly driving me insane.)

I don't know if it is a problem I need therapy for, but I love making these things say innapropriate words at my local Target. And record "surprise" messages on toys that record voice.

It's too easy, and too much fun.


The "new" talking worm-catepillar hybrid thingie will say "That tickles... hee hee". I, for the life of me, could not figure out how my kid was making the thing say it. THEN... we get an older version from my wife's brother. No such safeguards. As a "responsible" parent, I decided that I would check out the thing's word making ability and see what foul language my kid was going to pick up - for Scientific purposes. Sure enough, 3 and 4 (you had to be quick) lettered words came though without a hitch... then it hit me. My kid was trying to make censored words when the thing would say "That tickles... hee hee"... who knew?!

eliaday, the Leapfrog web site lists song titles for all of its products -- sorry I don't have the link handy but it's pretty easy to navigate.

I'll see if our Quebec version will swear in english... I have to report that it does the "that tickles" thing in french as well.

My husband just figured out the other day that you can't make the Alphabet Pal swear :)

(As for the song list, it came with the toy in it's infor pamphlet. I am not sure if you can find it on the Leap Frog site, but someone on the internet must have it)

A – Are You Sleeping?
B – Billy Boy
C – Clementine
D – Did You Ever See Lassie?
E – East Side, West Side
F – The Farmer in the Dell
G –Greensleeves
H – Hey Diddle Diddle
I – I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
J – Jimmy Crack Corn
K – Camptown Races
L – London Bridge
M –Mary Had a Little Lamb
N – The Man on the Flying Trapeze
O –Old MacDonald Had a Farm
P – Pop! Goes the Weasel
Q –Chopsticks
R – Row, Row, Row Your Boat
S – She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain
T – This Old Man
U – Upside Down World
V – Froggie Went A-Courtin’
W –Wheels on the Bus
X – Yellow Rose of Texas
Y – Yankee Doodle
Z – Wait for the Wagon

Alphabet pal will swear as long as you spell words like "FAC". Though I'd rather have the older version.

Every song sounds like the "Charm of the Highway Strip" album by the Magnetic Fields.

I have the one from 1999 that was recalled because of that. I worked at Toys R Us and had to purchase one once we realized it did that. The best is that I figured out how to make sentences with it, ex (W)(T) what, (D) the, (F)(C) f*ck. We used to get in trouble because we would put that on the intercom. When the toy came back it would laugh when you tried to press f and c (or k) consecutively.

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