From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus - 10 Nov 03 - 2003 T.O.Y. Awards / More on Messenger

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOPS: 2003 T.O.Y Awards / More on Messenger

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, where Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize.

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REPORT: FAMILY FUN 2003 T.O.Y. AWARDS Audience: Everyone, especially if you are planning on buying any toys in the next couple of weeks

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, and with family budgets being as tight as they are, I figured it's time once again for our annual visit to Family Fun magazine's Toy of the Year (T.O.Y.) awards at

This year, the folks at Family Fun magazine collected 479 brand new toys from 148 manufacturers, dropped the toys in front of 134 elementary school kids in Kennebunk, Maine, and then seriously reconsidered their career choices. [As a wise man once said, "And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That's *one* thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!"]

Anyway, after destroying as many of the toys as is humanly possible, the kids in Kennebunk narrowed down the field of 479 toys to only 66 finalists. And that's when the fun began. The 66 finalist toys were sent to 14 different KinderCare facilities around the United States where some 900 children each spent about 34 hours over the course of two weeks hitting each other over the head with assorted Tonka trucks.

At the end of the two weeks, each child voted privately for their favorite toys, and the results were compiled by Digital Research on behalf of Family Fun magazine. Oh, and the KinderCare centers got to keep all of the toys as a thank you.

The T.O.Y. Awards themselves are pretty self-explanatory, and the layout of the Awards site hasn't changed much since 2001. There are two dozen award categories that cover both the type of toy and the age group for which that toy was designed. Each category has a winner and two runners-up. Click on any of the award-winning toys are you are taken to a page that shows you

  • A picture of that particular toy;
  • The toy's manufacturer and suggested US retail price;
  • A one-paragraph description of what makes that toy so cool;
  • and

  • Either a telephone number you can call, or a link you can
  • click, to locate a store in your area that carries that particular toy.

    Neat, huh?

    Long story short: The Family Fun 2003 T.O.Y. Awards page is the best, most up-to-date toy buying guide around. If you are looking for a toy that your kids will play with long after the holiday season is over, check out Family Fun's toy list before you even THINK about bravely venturing into the eternal nightmare that is a toy store during the holiday shopping season.

    UPDATE: WINDOWS MESSENGER SERVICE Audience: Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 2003 users in all countries

    Back on October 30th I told you about Microsoft's Windows Messenger Service and why you need to turn it off immediately. A week later, the United States Federal Trade Commission issued the same warning.

    Coincidence? Of course! But would you deny me the false dream that Tourbus is so influential that it drives the opinion of the United States government? :P

    Don't answer that.

    Anyway, if you missed my last post and want to learn how to turn off the evil Windows Messenger Service in Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 2003, hop on over to

    There you'll find a reprint of my last Tourbus post complete with pretty pictures.

    [By the way, if you have a Mac, a *nix box, Windows 95, 98, 98SE, or ME, you don't really need to worry about the Windows Messenger Service. This little bugger only affects Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 2003.]

    That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week and we'll talk again soon!

               .~~~.  ))
     (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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      `~  -' \    } ))    AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K
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    ---..{____}                  Warning: squirrels.

    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
    2003 TOY Awards-More on Messenger, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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