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The Brand New Product Review Column

March 18th, 2006

We’ve been receiving oodles of goodies here at Wacky House and are ready to review ’em all. Yes, Swiffer, Dan Zanes, DOG TRAIN! and (wait! There’s more!) Jack the Cuddly Dog.

What do they all have in common? They make us happy.

First of all, Wacky Girl would like to talk about Jack the Cuddly Dog: Colors and Shapes.

“It’s a video for babies. It’s like, well, Baby Einstein. Only slower.” (WM would like to break in with the following Public Service Announcement: The American Academy of Pediatrics sez babies under the age of 2 should watch no TV. None. And this DVD is geared for ages 6 months to 2 years. Back to WG.)

“I like the flowers, all the pink ones, and Jack walking through Central Park. I liked the baby faces, the doggies,” (Wacky Boy did, too) “I like how slow it is, cuz you can take a closer look at the picture. I liked the movie a lot.”

Wacky Boy: “I like the dog because he’s cute.”

He’s right — Jack really is adorable. Kinda a cross between Biscuit and Kipper. The music was lovely, and really complemented the colors, shapes and scenery.

Next, it’s time to turn off the telly and clean the house. The contractors have been tracking drywall dust all over and nothing cleans it up better than the Mr. Clean Magic Reach. It has a pivoting head, and an adjustable pole so you can clean high in the shower or low behind the toilet. It has throwaway pads designed for the floor or the shower. Pretty nifty. The Swiffer Sweeper — too cool. It comes with wet or dry cloths. Wacky Girl is sold on the new Swiffer Dusters and spent the better part of an afternoon cleaning the living room, dining room and office.

We also did a test drive on the new Febreze products — the Allergen Reducer Fabric Spray (great for getting rid of allergens on pet beds and in the car), the Air Effects spray, and the NOTICEables, which I adore. It’s an electric air freshener that alternates two scents. We tested Morning Walk/Cleansing Rain and my basement no longer stinks of hockey gear and cat litter.

And talking about cats makes me think of dogs, of course. (Nice segue, eh?) Ha. Dog Train: Midnight Express, Rock & Roll. Where can we start? Better yet, when can we stop? Wacky Boy loves the CD book combo, with songs and illustrations by the inimitable Sandra Boynton.

“No no no, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, no no no I don’t wanna no no…” And it goes from there. The woman is well-connected, cuz from “Tantrum” aka “The No Song,” performed by the Spin Doctors, to “I Need a Nap,” with Kate Winslet and “Weird Al” Yankovic (“Make him stop!” she wails at one point. I’m with her.) well, the list of guest stars goes on and on. WB wants it on the CD player from the second he wakes up ’til last thing at night, so really? When a package of Dan Zanes CDs arrived in the mail I was ready to sing hallelujah to his publicist.

Dan Zanes — funny hair, purple suit, lots of kooky friends (Deborah Harry, Bob Weir, Father Goose and the Dandelion Chorus). He used to play with the Del Fuegos, Back in the Day. Apparently Wacky Dee did sound for these guys, Back in the Day when he did that sort of thing for the Del Fuegos and Odetta and the Replacements. Wacky Dee was not keen on the Replacements. “They were all assholes,” he says.

“No, they were all drunk assholes,” I said. Having been at a show that was so bad they later put “We’re Sorry, Portland” on the vinyl of Don’t Tell A Soul. So I know.

But Dan Zanes, he did not act like an asshole to Wacky Dee and thus we will review him in this column. The kids and I listened to Dan Zanes and Friends House Party; Dan Zanes and Festival Five Folk, Sea Music; and the new one, Dan Zanes and Friends, Catch That Train!

Which one do you think WB liked best? WD, WG and I liked the pirate music quite a bit. And House Party? Also delightful. Plus, House Party comes with a cool board book, and Sea Music comes with a booklet of chords and lyrics. Yar. He’s just the ticket, for those of you who have outgrown Elmo and Raffi.

(I will never outgrow Raffi. But Dan Zanes is awfully cute, and fun. And his players are good, too.)

Until next Saturday,

The Wackies


  1. HH says

    Wow, I feel positively assailed with product reviewness! Dan Zanes
    rocks!!! We have enjoyed him for years at our home. The song about thrifting with Sandra Bernhard, “Thrift Shop,” is a favorite along with the big beat of “Skip to My Lou” with Rankin’ Don. Really great quality kid-friendly music minus any grating high-pitched singing. Good stuff. Haven’t had the pleasure to take the kids to see him perform, but I’m sure it would be fantastic fun.

    Oh, and Febreze Fabric refresher, Allergen Reducer?: a real lifesaver. When you own 3 guinea pigs, and a cat, and a dog, you need something like this: And let me tell you, it works. It smells fresh and clean without drawing attention to itself– just whisks away the gamey odors. Magic.

    Here’s to feedback on your free stuff. Cheers! (You should really look into product review with wineries and breweries. These establishments and their products are very important to parents.)

    March 19th, 2006 | #

  2. HH says

    Oh, and remember your friends when you start getting free meals when reviewing local family-friendly eateries. Thank you! ;)

    March 19th, 2006 | #

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