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October 03, 2010

My Little Serial Killer

By Elaine Viets              Betsy Red

Betsy Wetsy dolls were a mystery to me. We were supposed to give her a bottle of water, then change her damp diaper – and call it fun. I had a little brother. It was no playtime changing a smelly, squirmy baby.

Barbie was boring. I’d rather have my own wardrobe, thank you. Besides, she was dangerous. Barbie's pointy boobs could put out an eye.

Finally, I’ve found a doll I can identify with:


Dexter kill outfit action figure America’s favorite serial killer is now a seven-inch action figure. Dexter comes with "interchangeable arms, allowing him to transform from killer to blood-spatter expert and back again," the ad says. "He also includes loads of great accessories: knife, a body bag, ID badge and  blood slide!"

My own teeny body bag. Beats a wet diaper any day.                                            

I can also have a Dexter Morgan bobblehead – his head bobbles, not his victim’s.Dexter bobblehead

Or a Dexter bust. Actor Michael C. Hall’s likeness is cut off at the torso, but that’s only pretend. Dexter’s bust holds a blood slide in his hand and a knife behind his back.

There’s even a Trinity Killer bobblehead with a head-bashing hammer and throat-slitting knife.

Power saw to the people shirt I love the Dexter "Power-Saw to the People" T-shirt. Take that, Barbie.

After childhood horrors like Betsy Wetsy and Barbie, I’m amazed that anyone would be outraged by Dexter dolls. The anti-Dexter-ites say these toys glorify serial killers.

Dexter kills evil people outside the reach of the law. Okay, he made a few mistakes, but cut him some slack. Don’t run off to boycott stores, claiming Dexter dolls are inappropriate for children.

Dexter toys are plastered this warning: "may be intended for Adult Collectors. Products may contain sharp points, small parts, choking hazards and other elements not suitable for children under 16 years old."

Personally, I’m more disgusted by other gruesome offerings for girls.

Pole dancer doll Have you seen the Pole Dance Doll? That’s pole as in stripper, not a person from Poland. The Pole Dance Doll has her own little stage with blinking lights, a disco ball and a pole.

Grimmer still is the Disney Snow White Kitchen Playset. It has a stove, sink and kettle. That’s every young girl’s dream: Cooking and cleaning for seven men. Snow white kitchen play set

Give me Dexter. And give him more friends. Like these:

The Lorena Bobbitt Doll. Tired of little Tommy playing doctor with the girls in your neighborhood? Let your daughter fix his wagon with her Lorena Bobbitt doll. Lorena comes with her own carving knife. To make sure Tommy doesn’t get his member surgically re-attached like John Bobbitt’s, give your daughter the My First Kenmore Blender Playset.

The Lizzie Borden Doll. Lizzie was a do-it-yourself orphan who whacked her father and her stepmother in 1892. The jury acquitted her, but most people believed (and still do) that Lizzie killed Andrew and Abby Borden.

It was an August heat wave, the house wasn’t air-conditioned, and Lizzie’s tight-fisted father forced the family to eat cheap mutton for a week. No wonder Lizzie picked up that hatchet.

Lizzie comes with her own little hatchet, a change of clothes and a CD with the traditional jingle ("Lizzie Borden took an ax . . . ").                                                                                                                        220px-Lizzie_borden

NOTE: Not recommended for families with step-parents or hot summer days.


It's not too late to win 16 books by our friends the Femmes Fatales and TLC favorites Charlaine Harris,  Nancy Martin, Nancy Pickard, Brunonia Barry,  Heather Graham, Diane Chamberlain, Margaret Maron, Harley Jane Kozak, Hank Phillippi Ryan and more.

(1) Here is the link to the survey for current Femmes Fatales and Lipstick Chronicles blog readers:
(2) Here is the link to the survey for blog readers in general:




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What was the doll that was as big as a 3-year-old and could walk in zombie fashion? No daughters, so the only Barbie I ever bought was at a flea market so I could turn it into a voodoo doll. But my son adored G.I. Joe and talk about equipment and accessories! G.I. Joe eventually joined a peace rally.

Remember the inanities that Chatty Cathy used to utter? Could she be reprogrammed to be one of those "Stand By Your Man" wives who get dragged out when the high-profile husband apologizes to the voters for his affairs?

Voodoo dolls for Barbie! And a reprogrammed Chatty Cathy. She'd be useful in an election year, too. She could recite slogans. Margaret, we need to start our own doll company.

I just recently discovered the female indoor football league wherein the players wear lingerie (including garters!) with their helmets to play football. I figure those girls were forced to play with Betsy Wetsy and Chatty Cathy. There's no other explanation, is there? I am thinking Dexter is so much mentally healthier.

As the father of little ones, I hate to tell you, but Betsy is alive, well and still piddling. A relative made sure we received not one, but two for the girls. Somehow they went to the closet and were never heard from again shortly after getting home. Princess one bought one at a school flea sale. It was much harder to dispose of the second time. I don't get it, this is the same girl who shrieked "MERAV PEED!!!!" when her sister had a wet diaper.

I watched about ten minutes of the Lingerie Football League one night. Don't bet on it being around long. Their logo filled the screen more than the football, lingerie or commercials. Half of the commercials were for...the Lingerie Football League. These commercials also had the logo, but no football and no lingerie. By then it was time to find a Law and Order rerun.

If you have not yet seen the Bratz dolls, you must go here to check them out. Caution: May induce gagging at the thought of innocent young girls attempting to emulate the slutty looks of these horrors:


Seriously, they look like streetwalkers in the seediest ever red light district. I can't imagine parents with a shred of sense buying these things for their daughters. But they're enormously popular.

LOL - I LOVE this post!!!!!!

I never understood dolls. When I was a little girl people would, of course, give me dolls and I just didn't get it. They were mute and cute. And served what purpose? I wasn't clever enough to turn them into voodoo dolls (that is classic, Margaret!). My Aunt Belle who gave me my first Nancy Drew, on the other hand, was my very favorite auntie in the world.

My mother ended up with a huge box of dolls that were still in their original boxes. When she and my dad moved to a smaller place she gave the box of dolls to me and I immediately advertised them for sale as a set. They were in pristine condition. A young man bought them. Told me he liked to design and make clothes for them. Whatever.

I used to switch the heads on my sister's Barbie and Ken and play "Transvestite." Far preferred my Hotwheels.

And what about those action figure Steves in the right margin of this page?

When my middle daughter was about 10, she and her girlfriend used their many, many Barbies for "Barbie extreme sports". They hoiked the handles of plastic grocery bags beneath the Barbies' armpits and threw them out the second-floor window: parachute jumping. The Barbies rode the waves in the friend's Jacuzzi. They did some mighty impressive snowboarding down our front yard hill, too.

One day I came home from work to see some dozen and a half or so of Barbies and Kens hanging from a PVC framework the girls had made to use for a tent. At first I was horrified, thinking it was a mass Barbie suicide. Then I realized: Barbie bungee-jumping.

The best, though, was the Barbie who had all her hair chopped to a shock cut and multi-colored with markers to make "Reverend Dennis Rodman".

What a dull child I was! I could have been doing all sorts of clever things with those dolls! dang.

(love the Steves in the margin. for real).

I love this group -- what creative ways to handle Barbie. Karen, hanging's too good for her, but bungee jumping is good.
Kaye, your love of the Nancy Drew books was the first sign of your career as a mystery lover.
And Alan, this comment about Betsy and your Princesses makes me laugh: "As the father of little ones, I hate to tell you, but Betsy is alive, well and still piddling." I will refrain from jokes about the princess and the pee.

We have a huge trunkful of Dismembered Barbie, Bad Haircut Barbie and Magic-Marker-Covered Barbie. They are mostly nude. My children will not let me get rid of them.

I just realized I have my own doll collection! A Captain Kirk, a Batman, Superman, Supergirl, and an Evil Nun. Thank you, Elaine, for prompting this bit of self-discovery.

Laughing . . . then realize I have a Susan B. Anthony doll from the history museum and a Shakespeare finger puppet. Now I'm thinking I'd like to see Mary "Mother" Jones dolls and other wonderful role models . . .

My grandmother had dolls that her mother had brought over from Alsace-Lorraine, beautifully preserved in tissue paper in boxes. Somehow, that signaled to me that dolls were to be carefully preserved . . . and I didn't get to go play dolls with friends, so, my 'bride doll' and others mainly stood around in a glass-fronted book cabinet. On occasion I would take them out and lay them on the bed and try to imagine a wedding for the bride doll . . . but, somehow, playing with dolls never really took off for me.
Like you, Elaine, I had baby brothers--when I was given a Betsy-Wetsy, I poured a bunch of water down her little throat, observed what happened, let everything dry out and then stuck her in the cabinet. Doubt I ever bothered to pay attention to her again . . . my little brothers' live-action version of 'change my diapers' was plenty enough for me.
I sort of wish I'd learned how to give a Barbie a multi-color buzz cut or teach her to bungie-jump! Good going, Karen and Harley--way to foster imagination and joy in your kids!

Now that you mention it, Mary, I have a Houdini doll, still in the collectors package, a werewolf and two teddy bears. I have a soft spot for teddy bears. The werewolf is kinda cute, too.

I was a scary child who much preferred books and toy horses to dolls. Barbies given to me were a train wreck looking for a place to happen. Most were eventually beheaded after surviving various extreme sports. (Yes, I know shades of Wednesday Addams) I think my parents never bought me the train set I wanted because they knew I'd tie the various dolls to the tracks and run them over.

I had a Barbie and her cousin, Skipper (still have 'em). My husband thinks I collect Barbie dolls - he's so sweet, I haven't the nerve to tell him I don't, so now I have about ten high-end Barbies. They're cute, but I don't ever try to change clothes on them. Why would I try to put Cruella DeVille's outfit on April in Paris Barbie?

This is all reminding me of that Twilight Zone episode. You know the one. "My name's Talkie Tina, and I'm going to KILL you." Love that.

My daughter recently lectured me on giving away her "favorite Barbie dolls"...although I had to remind her about the one she turned into psycho-techno Barbie with a purple Mohawk and tattooed body. She missed her Weebles family more though. Now wouldn't those be interesting if animated? Daddy Weeble rolly-pollying off to work in the manner of Giant Marshmallow Man, Mommy Weeble rolling out pie crusts with her ample middle, and the little Weebles whirling about the playground withbout a merry-go-round.
These days I wouldn't mind unleashing Dexter as a justice-seeking bookseller...spill coffee on a mag or book(or table of books)Buy or die! Leave your child unattended for more than a second? Hot wax! Try to leave after creating a mess in the cozy chair department ( or,as has happened more often these days, in the restroom)? Ten minutes of gruelling laps around the store. Need I go on? I can hardly wait until the holidays!
Going back to my daughter though....she has instructions from me to donate my plush collection (primarily bears) to her childrens' hospital of choice...except for my childhood teddy, which gets to go to the great beyond with me.

Dolls. I never could figure them out, either. I mean, what were you supposed to do with them?

I did have some, people kept giving them to me, and I'd put them aside so they wouldn't get ruined. Madame Alexander dolls, and Terry Lee. Baffled.

I was more of a cowboy girl.

HOWEVER. I read there's a new Barbie coming out. News Reporter Barbie. Seriously. (Maybe it's anchorwoman Barbie, which is funnier, or maybe a lot less funny.) Really high heels, a pink jacket and a microphone.

I can't decide whether to buy one and play "Meet Dexter" with her, or try to ignore it.

Dexter meets Reporter Barbie -- I see a blog here, Hank.

I swapped my nun doll with one of the Colachico girls who gave me her brother's tonka truck. That was just before I moved to Woburn (one of many moves) where I met my cousin Alain, now Elaine (after leaving the monastary), and we became immediate gender-dysphoria co-conspirators. We swapped shoes, hats, gloves, sweaters... whatever we could get away with.

I had dolls - not many, but definitely to include a Francie and a Skipper - but I think that was mostly because I knew I was supposed to want dolls. Also because my parents refused to buy me sports equipment or Matchbox cars (gender stereotypes much?).

What I really loved was my small family of troll dolls. I made minimalist clothes for them, and a habitat on one of my bookshelves. Someone got me a carrying case that opened up into a cave house with a very mysterious hole next to the fireplace. I spent many hours at night imagining it as a gateway to magical worlds.

My daughter had 13 Barbies. They lived naked in her closet, but she wouldn't get rid of them. Her "My Little Ponies" got the real play action.

My childhod dolls always fell victim to my brother's fiendish designs, but I must confess that my Edgar has a big assortment of hats. Right now he's wearing a farmer's straw hat. There's a witch's hat for Halloween and a top hat for St. Patrick's Day plus a Santa hat for C'mas. The hats for a 10" teddy bear are perfect for him. Hmmmm. He surely needs a Pilgrim hat, right?

This just in! What if "Dexter" was on other networks?

Don't forget Columbus Day, Margaret.

Oups... "Marie" back on name-- fell off somehow.

So many of you--or your children--did such deliciously imaginative things with your dolls. I wish I'd thought of that! My fav doll was a big one-armed girl. I don't remember how she lost her arm, but now I'm thinking she might have been a victim of a 1950's version of Dexter!

No dolls here at Casa del Basset, but I do seem to accumulate stuffed animals, despite the negative effect that has on my macho image.

My fave is a purple with yellow polka dots teddy bear that I named Owsley, after the LSD of days gone by. He wears shades & a bandana, has a pierced ear and is, generally, not the sort of bear one would take home to mother.

The other stuffed ne'er do wells include an octopus, a chicken, two ducks (Frank and his gay brother, Hank), a hedgehog, two platypi and assorted other creatures. They spend most of their time in my game library. I think they play Call of Cthulhu when I'm not around.

Dibs on Dr. Steve! Or, Etienne.

Please, can I have both? I'll work with Dr. Steve and go home at night to Etienne.

Holly, you're an eff'n genius!

Wait a minute, where's Me, Margie? I'm starting to get a little worried . . . she can't have been on vacation this whole time, can she? I wonder what dolls SHE played with?!

My favorite doll was named Sally.
Sally had blond hair which I style mercilessly.
Finally, Sally had very little hair due to the fact that I was reckless with scissors.
However, my most favorite pastime was playing with paper dolls. I would eagerly punch out the glamorous figures and the clothes with tabs.
Then I would of course trace the dolls and create my own fashion designs. My trusty crayola crayons kept the designs very colorful.
Times seem simpler then.

Love the additional eye candy of FOUR MORE Steves!! Woohoo!

That Stiv guy looks an awful lot like my real-life Steve once did. Ooh-la-la.

Harley, I'm thinking Bob is a grown-up version of a doll, and one you can't easily hide.

At a friend's open house last night, on guest explained that the rabbit head of his costume was from a thrift store stuffed animal. He did great face makeup (similar to the _Cats_ makeup) and said that the body part was going to become a costume for a friend's child, as it would just about fit. I have friends who have made puppets from stuffed animals by making a hole for the hand, removing some of the stuffing, and sewing a cloth bag (or I'll bet a glove would work).
The open house was also an "outrageous Halloween costume" event. I was more timid, with a "Hand Over the Candy and No One Will Get Hurt" t-shirt, as I had appointments at the Apple Store and my sister's library before the party.
I think Skipper was the one my mother allowed my little sister to have -- a doll that looked like a little girl, not a porn star. I made an elaborate wardrobe for her, which my sister's daughter also played with.

Stephano for me please . . .

It's Me, Margie.

WTF is going on when I have to interrupt my Sunday night because one of the Steves just texted me wants to know why HIS picture isn't on TLC?!

Seriously - Now I guess I have to send Holly a photo of MC Steve (he rides a Harley) so he won't feel left out.

Men. They always want something.

Karen, ooh, la la, indeed! Lucky you.

You, Margie: yes, do let us see MC Steve. I've always liked a man who knows how to keep his wheels on the tarmac. Glad to hear you're around.

I want the Lizzie Borden doll! Looking back, it must have scared my parents as I had a whole shelf of Jack the Ripper and Lizzie Borden materials by the age of 16!

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