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Dusting Off: Intimidating Executive Desk Toys

Back in the ’80s, interspersed amongst various raised-seal accolades from Ivy League universities, stacks of (TPS?) reports and expensively framed photographs of family vacations to Gstaad and St. Barts (aka “the happier times”) were a series of curious adult toys and trinkets, more often than not mail-ordered from Sharper Image catalogs and the like.

Pictured here is the most ubiquitous of the bunch: Newton’s cradle (aka “Newton’s Balls”), named, of course, for Sir Isaac Newton’s conservation of momentum and energy law. By now, of course, the physics behind the executive ball clicker is no mystery. But in Gordon Gecko’s day, the contraption served as a vehicle to demonstrate intellectual superiority over potential clients or job applicants seated across the desk.

Click, click, click, click...»

The Terrifying Steve Jobs Action Figure

Apple fanatics have produced some pretty weird stuff over the years (exhibit A), but we just stumbled across the most unsettling creation to date: the Steve Jobs action figure.

It’s basically all the troubling elements of the Apple fanatic in one object, right down to the “One More Thing” backdrop, just in case you want to stage your own keynote speech for the iCar. It also comes with a pair of apples (one with a bit missing), for reasons we can’t begin to fathom—and even more troubling, it looks like it’s sold out.

This Cease & Desist letter cannot arrive fast enough.

Three Inches High and Rising


Although we’re partial to the fabric-based end of things, we have to cop to this one: the perfect gift is usually some variety of toy.

And in the case of your more lyrically minded friends, it’s probably a toy replica of the three-headed lyrical beast known as De La Soul.

These limited edition figurines come courtesy of Kid Robot, which is why they’re so square, and why they’re warped enough that non-heads might not recognize the trio. But perched on top of the right boom box, they should be unmistakable.

Tip Top


The design crowd prides itself on being able to turn just about anything into an art object, so it was only a matter of time before they got around to toys.

These tops come from Herman Miller’s workshop, supposedly inspired by Charles Eames preoccupation with childhood playthings. Of course, because it’s a serious design house, the tops are all lathed and lacquered like the leg of a dinner table.

Watch your back, Hasbro.

Tiny is the New Black


Duty Calls: We try to stay up to date on the latest bikini trends. [Refinery29]

Drink Up: Your July 4th beer count does not, in fact, have anything to do with your increasing rotundity. [Slashfood]

Exiles: A few early 70s snaps of the Rolling Stones in action. (Subscribers only.) [WWD]

Geometry: Rubik (of the famous cube) has a new toy in the works. We’re predicting something in a tesseract. [TG Daily]

A Toy of the Establishment


We knew it was only a matter of time before Obama action figures started coming out of the woodwork. But we certainly hadn’t predicted this.

The full absurdity of the toy is best experienced in its original form (via Balk), incomprehensible Japanese script and all, but rest assured, it paints #44 in a whole new light.

If there isn't an animated series in the works yet, there should be.

Can’t Buy Me Love


This object probably conjures up familiar feelings for anyone hoarding a nest egg as their own personal safety blanket. It may not be quite as fuzzy as the average plush toy, but it’s satisfying to touch, and the smell is quite nice.

We see two potential markets: hyper-capitalists with a sentimental streak (for instance…) and their offspring. After all, what better way to train little Dalton the proper banking instincts than by tossing one of these into his crib?

Steel Wheels


You’re never too old for a little fun and games, even if you’ve run out of good toys.

This one might be worth a look, provided your equilibrium is still in good shape. It’s called the 360, and it’s very good news for anyone looking for a replacement skateboard. It comes from an Italian designer named Francesco Sommacal, and we’re expecting (or hoping, really) that it’ll have about the same shelf life as the Razor scooter.

In other words, you’ve got a solid eighteen months to enjoy this before it gets irritating. On your marks, get set…

On Safari


Much like newspapers and jokes, physical toys are threatening to go the way of Crystal Pepsi, replaced by Wiis and teletubbies.

So if you have a nephew or two on your gifting list, we suggest getting them away from the screen with something like this Rhino puzzle, which assembles into a foot-and-a-half of faux-taxidermy…assuming the kid’s clever enough to put it together.

The best part? The website says it’s PETA-approved.