The Smurfs Dance Party for Wii - My Kid's Review



Currently my children have Smurf fever. In the early part of the summer they went through a mild obsession with the Smurfs iPad game and spent weeks trying to farm enough fruit and flowers to earn Sumurfette. The iPad game also did a pretty good job of introducing them to all the characters as well as hyping the movie (which releases today - 7/29). They even used their Build-A-Bear gift cards from their birthdays to get the “exclusive” Smurfette and Clumsy Smurf. Trust me, I’m pretty Smurfed-out these days.

Their favorite video game on the Wii however is “Just Dance 2”  - a dancing game where you dance along to pop songs (either by yourself or with friends) and the Wii manages to give you points based on how well you are following along. It’s a great game -  fun to play and probably funnier to watch someone else playing. And the fact that they are up ad moving around kind of assuages the parent’s guilt that they are letting their kids play a video game when they could be outside doing something. Kind of.

So when I got the opportunity to review the new Smurf video game for the Wii - “The Smurfs Dance Party” it seemed like a perfect fit.

The game is basically a Smurf version of the “Just Dance” video games. There is a Smurf on the screen (all characters from the movie of course - including Gargamel) and you follow along and dance with them to songs from the movie. There are a couple of other modes - a story mode that basically tells the whole story of the movie (apparently my kids have no problem with spoilers) and a mode where you can dance to all the songs in one giant loop.

My girls (ages 5 and 7) have been playing it for a few days now and they are far more qualified to review the game than I. Here’s what they had to say about it.

My 7 year old:

This video game is almost like Just Dance 2. It has different Smurfs that dance, and there are also lyrics that you can read along with the music. The music is cool because it has songs that people know, but with Smurf words in it. Also, each Smurf has their own special song.

The only thing I didn’t like about the game was in some of the songs Gargamel dances instead of the Smurfs, and I thought that Gargamel looked kind of creepy. I’m not going to blame the actor though.
I liked the game a lot, and I think it’s just as good as Just Dance 2.

My 5 year old:

I liked the game because it was fun. There was a lot of dancing in it, and it was kind of like exercise - kind of like a Zumba thing. There aren’t many songs with Smurfette by herself, and I wish there were more. I also didn’t like Gargamel because he was kind of creepy. I liked the songs because if you’re doing one player, the person who is waiting can sing along to the songs with the person who is dancing.

This game would be good for people who like Smurfs and Wii. But if you don’t like to dance you should not get this game.

So there you have it. I sure didn’t think they would like it as much as Just Dance 2, mostly because the songs are (to me at least) way more annoying. There are only a few songs that people would recognize and a lot of filler - songs that seem written for the game. But my Smurf-crazy kids didn’t seem to mind at all. And when I had them load in the Alvin and the Chipmunks game for a comparison, it’s obvious that a lot more effort went into The Smurfs Dance Party.

Now I can only hope the movie is also better than the Squeakquel.

The Smurfs Dance Party, $33.24 (and almost sold out??) from

Recreating Joy Division Through Playmobil


I knew there was a reason I "Liked" Joy Division on Facebook. Apparently someone took the audio and (visual cues) from a live television performance of one of my favorite bands, Joy Division, and recreated it with stop motion animation using Playmobil toys.

But which toys? Although there isn't a "Joy Division on BBC 2" Playmobil set, the person who made the video cobbled it together from multiple sets. Here's what I could find...

I'm not sure about the figures he used, but he definitely used the guitars from this decidedly heavy metal "Guitar Player" (Playmobil 4512) and the drum sets from both the new and old versions of "Circus Band" (Playmobil 3723 and 4231). He also used the television cameras (and microphone I'm assuming) from this discontinued set "Studio Crew" (Playmobil 3531).

If there was ever any doubt in the awesomeness of Playmobil, then this should settle it I think.

(Yeah, I said "awesomeness".) 

The 3 Biggest Disappointments of CES 2011


I went to the Consumer Electronics Show last month, and I've bitched about written already about some of the stuff I saw, but today on Man of the House I've written about my top three disappointments. Including in this is my open post to George Lucas:

Dear Mr Lucas, enough already. I bought your movies when they were on VHS. And then I bought them again on VHS when you "updated" them. Then you made brand new movies that kind of sucked but I went (and even waited in line) to see those. And then I bought the good movies when they came out on DVD. And then I bought...

The 3 Biggest Disappointments of CES 2011 [Man of the House]

Bond on the Brain - The Music and the Fashion


You may or may not have heard about the recent death of film composer John Barry, but he was the person most famous for composing eleven James Bond soundtracks, most notably the James Bond theme at the beginning of every movie. He also wrote the theme songs for Goldfinger and Thunderball.

Even if you set aside one of the most iconic themes in all of film music, he'd be tops in my book just for Goldfinger. Who can deny the awesomeness of Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger?


In fact, if you want to check out a really great interview of John Barry before he passed away, check out his interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air on NPR

The Suits of James Bond
And then last night I was reading one of the blogs that I regularly check out - Put This On (it's a blog that kind of aims to encourage men to dress like adults) and they linked to an amazing website called "The Suits of James Bond." And while I am rarely what anyone objective might call "well dressed," I stayed up way too late last night reading it.

The Suits of James Bond is a website written by a person who has (what appears to me at least) an expert-level knowledge of mens clothing, who can parse exactly what type of suit James Bond is wearing, how it is made, and often what brand it is. It covers all phases of James Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. And sprinkled inbetween the minutiae is how the fashion relates and inter-relates to the rest of the James Bond universe. To wit:

Roger Moore always wore slip-ons with his suits, as practised by the literary James Bond. Slip-ons are traditionally too casual to wear with a city suit, though it was popular to wear them in that fashion in the 1980s. Moore left behind the bit loafers in the 1970s and for the 1980s wore a more conservative style.

Read it long enough, and you start to realize you're getting tips about dressing yourself too (for instance, shiny neckties are more appropriately worn in the evenings and for more formal occasions). It sounds nerdy (and believe me it is) but it is really awesome.

The Suits of James Bond via Put This On.

UPDATE: For those shopping on a budget, check out Affordable Bond via my friend (and 007 enthusiast) David.

Star Wars Clothes (Onesies, Snapsuits, T-Shirts and Hats) for Babies and Kids


Back when I was a new Dad, I tried hard to find a cool Star Wars Onesie (or snapsuit, or bodysuit or creeper, or romper, or whatever you're supposed to call them) for my daughter. I eventually found some at mall store Hot Topic, but those have long been removed from their store - probably to make room for truck loads of Angry Birds T-Shirts.

Sadly, there isn't much to choose from out there. Even Think Geek doesn't have any Star Wars clothes for babies (costumes don't count). However I did find a couple of cool things, so here's an updated roundup of the best of the Star Wars baby clothes (in no particular order):

Buy Buy Baby is selling a basic red Star Wars Bodysuit

with the Star Wars logo (pictured above). Sizes newborn through six months are sold out, but the 9 months version is available for $6.99. has a few "unofficial" Star Wars snapsuits. Instead of images from the movie they have quotes from the movies. There is "Judge me by my size, do you? Size matters not." and my favorite, "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" (above, available for $9.99).

The Retro Baby doesn't have any Onesies or snapsuits, but they do have some pretty cool vintage-looking t-shirts. They've got a girls pink long sleeved shirt with a picture of an Ewok that says "Save the Trees," a neon R2-D2 girls shirt and a black Empire Strikes Back T-shirt that looks like it was taken from a Chinese poster for The Empire Strikes Back. If you're looking to get your kid (or nephew) a Star Wars shirt that most of his friends don't already have, I'd check that one out. (

If a Onesie or t-shirt just aren't cool enough for your kid, then the Baby Yoda Hat might fit the bill. is full of crafters and entrepreneurs making cool stuff to sell, but this might be one of the cooler things I've seen. Honestly, you'd have to pay me a lot more than $22 to make a green beanie with Yoda ears, which is why I think you should probably go get one now. (Star Wars Baby Yoda Hat - crocheted by knitterkrys on

And finally, the absolutely LAMEST option for Star Wars baby clothes is ironically the only baby item sold at the official store. It's a rather ugly bodysuit and bib that says "Ugnaughty or Ugnice?". I mean, I get it, but no one likes the creepy Ugnaughts from The Empire Strikes Back. And it's a long way to go for a lame joke - especially for $22.


Also on Modern Day Dad: 

Star Wars snapsuits. A hot topic. (from 2005? Seriously? I've been blogging that long?)
May the force be with you. Just not in 12-18 mos. (Wow. I guess I have) 

Apple TV vs. Roku: Get Started With Internet TV | Review of Internet Television Boxes & Options | Man of the House

It's not exactly a bold prediction to state that in a few years much of the stuff you watch on TV will arrive to your TV via the Internet. With services like Netflix, Hulu and iTunes you can already watch most of your favorite shows and movies courtesy of your Internet connection, so what's the best way to start to adopt some of this new technology without spending an arm and a leg?


My latest post on Man of the House is my breakdown of AppleTV vs. Roku. If you're interested in bringing the Internet to your TV, it's my opinion that they are the only two devices worth looking at.

Oh, and they split it up between three different pages, so if you're interested make sure to click through to each page...

People Who Bought Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht Also Bought...


This can't be real, can it? Considering Amazon probably doesn't sell a "Noose" for $19.99 I have to figure it's fake. But goddamn if it didn't make me laugh every time I thought about it today.

[Note: It might be fake, but now on my Amazon page Amazon thinks I'm interested in this DVD, and it's showing me more similar items - one of which is a baby onesie with a picture of a noose on it. Which I'm pretty sure will be the subject of a future blog post...]

New Stay-At-Home Dad "Web Series" on

MTV's let's-make-some-viral-funny-online-videos site has a new "Web series" about a Stay-At-Home Dad called (wait for it) "Stay-At-Home Dad." Even though - or maybe because - I automatically have my guard up anytime anything in the mainstream media deals with at-home Dads, I checked it out immediately.

(As an aside, I'm not going to pretend that this "Web series" isn't in the mainstream media. It's owned by MTV and a freaking publicist emailed me about it today. Also, will I ever not feel odd using the term "Web series"?)

Expecting to hate it, I watched all three episodes and although it isn't exactly comedy genius - there were some pretty funny moments. But best of all, it portrays an At-Home Dad that's neither some sort of lame, emasculated super-Dad, nor a bumbling all-thumbs idiot. The Dad in the show is just kind of a surly a-hole. And although he's certainly not the typical At-Home Dad, he might be that Dad we secretly feel like in the back of our minds (at least from time-to-time).

So, like Brian was writing over at Rebel Dad, I think the jury might still be out on this one. But for me at least, until they do an episode where it's supposed to be funny because he can't change a diaper, I'm going to give it the thumbs up.

Stay-At-Home-Dad at

Modern Day Dad At CES 2010. Oh. And Lady Gaga Too.


Well, I did the quick calculation this morning, and this is officially the 7th CES I've been to, and while some were fun (the first few) and some were really underwhelming (last year), this year's is proving to be a little better, if only for the fact that I pretty much kicked it off by going to a Lady Gaga press conference at the Polaroid Booth.

You see, she's now a Creative Director at Polaroid for a special line of New Imaging Products or something. In the conference she made it very clear (while she tried her best to hide her face with her bizarre hair-hat), that this wasn't a typical endorsement deal, and that she and "The Haus of Gaga" (I couldn't make that up if I tried) were going to be very involved with new products.

Hey, that's great I suppose, and I know that Polaroid who haven't had anything exciting going on with them in about, oh, twenty years or so, are probably thrilled with the association. But all that stuck out to me during the whole thing was, there's a guy who works for Polaroid, one of the last great brands in photography, up on a platform saying "Lady Gaga" as if it were the most normal thing anyone ever uttered. Maybe I'm old or something, but it was kind of funny to me.

So anyway, if you're interested in my posts about stuff I'm seeing at CES this year, check out my posts over at's product blog, Droolicious.

Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, Boy-rettes and a Pink Plastic Octomom Sculpture


Even though last week was my kid's spring break from school, I've managed to write about some pretty interesting stuff over at Babble in the last month or so. Some of my favorites are:

The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. The Empire Strikes Back's favorite beast of burden made into a kid's sleeping bag. And I thought they felt cozy on the outside.

Boy-rettes. Alterna-hipster boys with long hair need something cool to keep their long hair out of their eyes. And while I know I shouldn't have a problem with this, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that this didn't rub the wrong way.

The Kata 3N1 Camera Bag. Easily the best camera bag for parents I've ever tried. If you've got a DSLR and kids then you need one.

The Snuglette. It's the Snuggie - the blanket with arm holes - for kids. With an equally bizarre television commercial.

Octomom Scultpture (pictured). This is just nuts. And creepy. And funny. And art?

Dumbo Jumbo?


My wife was reading a small book based on the Disney movie Dumbo to our two-year-old this evening, and she brought up a good point. If Dumbo's mother's name is "Mrs. Jumbo," then Dumbo's full name is Dumbo Jumbo.

At first I suggested that maybe she never took Dumbo's dad's name, or maybe they were never married. Forgetting the fact that this scenario would be pretty progressive for the story of a Disney movie from 1941, were any of that actually true she'd be "Ms. Jumbo." Nope. His full name is definitely Dumbo Jumbo.

Which leads me to wonder what kind of a mother would name her kid "Dumbo Jumbo?" It has to be at the top of the list of all time worst names. Don't you think a mother who loves her child as much as Mrs. Jumbo obviously does in the movie would have thought it through a little better?

Which further leads me to wonder if the actual writers of this whole Dumbo story even realized that they were naming their lead character "Dumbo Jumbo." I can only imagine they probably liked the name "Dumbo" and then wanted to name the mom something else kind of like it and came up "Mrs. Jumbo." But when you think it through, it's really a terrible choice.

I think I should probably stop thinking it through now.

Of course, if you're interested in watching the movie yourself, you can get Dumbo (Big Top Edition) for $16.49 from But be forewarned. When Mrs. Jumbo tries to help her son and the animal trainers keep her caged up and tied down, it will probably get to you too.

Sesame Street Monster Gallery. Dad research I never thought I'd have to do.

Mosterfaces_elmoSo we're in Borders this past weekend, my 20 month old was acting up, and in a moment of desperation prudence, we bought her this simple Elmo board book called "Monster Faces." The whole book is just faces of different Sesame Street monsters making faces. You get the idea - hungry face, sad face, angry face, silly face, happy face etc.

It worked and calmed her down, except for the rest of the day (at least while she was with us in the stroller shopping) she wanted to know the names of the monsters. Every single one. Over and over.

And to be honest, after Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, Oscar the Grouch and Zoe I was kind of at a loss.

So later that night, I spent a little time looking on the magical internets, and I stumbled on the Muppet Wiki, specifically the Sesame Street Monster Gallery. If you've ever wondered what Elmo's dad's name is (Louie) or what the name of that baby monster is (Baby Natasha), it's definitely worth checking out.

Check out the Sesame Street Monster Gallery, and if you're shopping for a baby check out the super cute Monster Faces board book.

Jennifer Lopez must love PBS Kids Television.

Jlo_babiesSo I bought a copy of the People Magazine with the Jennifer Lopez twins in it this week (purely for research for my blogging job, I swear) and while my wife was looking it over, she noticed something. J-Lo named her kids Max and Emme, which also happen to be the names of the boy and girl on PBS' kids' show Dragon Tales.

Which in as of itself is only mildly strange, except now my three year old knows J-Lo's kids' names.

"That's Max and Emme," she tells me whenever she sees the magazine. In fact, she just did it as I was writing this post.

Why am I not entirely comfortable with this?

Jack's Big Music Show DVD this month.

Jbms_dvdI must be slipping, because there's a DVD of Jack's Big Music show releasing in less than three weeks and I didn't even realize it. But thanks to MDD reader Andrea, now I'm fully caught up. Hopefully in my house Jack's Big Music Show: Let's Rock! will hopefully take the mantle of favorite DVD from Dora the Explorer: Super Babies (which, quite frankly, if I have to hear that "Super Babies" song one more time that DVD might have to disappear).

And for those of you also asking, I haven't heard any word on any other Jack's Big Music Show merchandise, but if I hear anything I'll pass it along.

In the meantime, you can pre-order the DVD (releasing October 23) from here.

Breaking news on CBS: Dads change diapers.

I missed the segment about stay at home Dads on the CBS Early Show yesterday, but I was just able to watch it online here. I thought it was fairly straight forward and obvious. And considering some of the portrayals of involved dads in the media it wasn't bad, just slightly condescending (my favorite was the Hannah Storm comment at the end "Does it meant they're actually changing diapers?...I'm glad we're making progress!" Ugh.). Thankfully they got a hold of Gary from who represented us well I thought. Nice job Gary.

The thing that bothered me the most about it though was the fact that they used the same old, tired clips from the movie Mr. Mom. Goddamn that gets under my skin. Then I read Greg at Daddytypes' take on the Mr. Mom thing in the segment yesterday, including his tete-a-tete with an Early Show producer about it, which made me feel a lot better. Thanks Greg.

Liveblogging the CBS Early Show Segment On  'Hip Hands-On Dads' []

On TV: Diaper Bags for Modern Dads [ video link]

Also on MDD, my old post from 2004 (where was Hannah Storm then?) - Diaper bags for dads.

How 'bout that? The new TWIB is terrible.

I'm going to use this Major League Baseball All-Star break to complain about something that's been bothering me for a while.

When I was a kid and very much into baseball, I used to love watching This Week In Baseball. Before ESPN, before Baseball Tonight, before "Web Gems," it was kind of a highlight show that showed all the great plays and bloopers of the previous week. Hosted by Mel Allen, it was also a Saturday morning kid's show with youth-focused segments like famous players showing baseball fundamentals (like Ozzie Smith showing you how to stop a ground ball for instance). And best of all it was a show that your mom and dad might like watching with you too. Oh, and it had a classic theme song.

So now that my oldest is rooting for Big Papi right along side me, I figured I could introduce her to TWIB and maybe it could be something that we would enjoy on Saturday mornings. Unfortunately the show isn't even close to what it used to be.

The newest iteration feels like you're watching some kind of lame 30 minute infomercial. They rely heavily on "film look" video and the segments themselves often feel like some third-rate episode of MTV Cribs. A lot of my problem with the show is due to the unbelievably bad voice over work of the current host "Buzz Brainard," who, although he's a fine voice-over guy, has all the narrative excitement of a guy reading a billboard. He even sounds condescending at some points, as if he's talking down to the kids. I'm not saying anyone could replace Mel Allen, but can't MLB Productions find someone with some baseball credibility who can also convey some of the excitement of the game?

You be the judge. Check out the latest TWIB segments at (and be sure to click on the "Classic TWIB Theme" link at the top of the page).

Yo Gabba Gabba! So yummy! So yummy!

YogabbagabbaHas anyone else noticed on Noggin the promo for this new show coming out in August, Yo Gabba Gabba? It's a crazy song with this nutty furry green monster who is eating and singing. And it (mostly) goes like this:

So Yummy! So Yummy!
So yummy! So yummy!

The song is like LCD Soundsystem meets Newcleus, meets The Electric Company, and let me tell you it's freaking infectious. The tag line is "Yo Gabba Gabba! Life Lessons with a Beat." BIz Markie is even going to be a guest host on one of the episodes. THE BIZ for chrissakes!

It's premiering on August 20th, and I for one (oh yeah, and my girls) will be watching.

Check out the "Trailer" for the Yo Gabba Gabba! season at their old web site.