Toy Firm Bucks Feds

Kiddie Novelty Firm
Brings Out Its Big Guns

Suggests that Customers, and
Government, Should Lighten Up

Shows Off Suckers

by Alonzo Fonts, Staff Reporter of the Wall Street VooDoo

NEW YORK --- Ignoring threats of government legal action, offbeat toy-maker Liten-Up Industries went ahead today with the planned release its new product line.

Although the Consumer Products Hazard Commission had announced a possible lawsuit against Liten-Up, manufacturer of the ``Hey, Lighten Up A Little!'' line of toys and gifts, the company declined to cancel this morning's Manhattan press conference, where it displayed the latest additions to its quirky stable of kiddie novelty items.

Out Of Their Minds?

In a statement to the press immediately afterwards, CPHC Senior Assistant Deputy Commissioner Duncan Marmoset explained that the lawsuit was an unusual step for the organization, but ``Liten-Up's recent product moves left us no choice. Those people must be out of their minds or something.''

Commissioner Marmoset was referring to the Winona, Arizona company's introduction of the X-Caliber line of infant and toddler pacifiers. The products resemble a variety of noteworthy pistols and handguns, with a pacifier ``suck tip'' at the end of the barrel.

Sonny Lemontina, of the public relations firm of Garintz, Gardusche, and Lemontina, representing Liten-Up, explained, ``We're not promoting anything except maybe a little comfort and fun for small children. What's wrong with that?''

Blessed Are the Peace-Makers?

During a mid-morning press conference, Lemontina and partner Vincent Garintz displayed the entire X-Caliber line of ``Peace-Makers.''

``Our tests show that kids love these,'' explained Garintz. ``When they squeeze the trigger, the Peace-Maker emits a gentle cooing sound, based on actual digitally-sampled vocalizations of real nursing mothers. Studies at the American Pacifier Institute proved that this sound was conducive to a child's psychological health and thriving, and that operating the trigger increases a child's sense of agency. Obviously the Hazards Commission doesn't approve of peace of mind in either children or their parents. Their funding goes up if they can keep everybody in a nervous and jittery state.''

The X-Caliber pacifiers come in a variety of styles: from the inexpensive ``Saturday Night Special'', a disposible model intended for baby-sitters on their way to a last-minute assignement, through the ``Whose Little Uzi Are You?'', a miniature version of the classic assault weapon, up to the deluxe ``Make My Day-Care'', a detailed replica of the .357 magnum made famous by Clint Eastwood and Ronald Reagan, which has a chamber that can be loaded with fruit juice or sugar water, dispensed whenever the child applies suction at the tip while activating the trigger.

Novel Novelties

In a stinging denunciation, Marmoset blasted Liten-Up founder and president Amos Liten as having ``a strange idea of children's novelties.'' He listed other earlier Liten-Up products:

Marmoset, who admitted that his office had no reliable casualty figures from these earlier products, said that reporters were ``missing [his] point.''

``Shrewd'' Founder

Inertia Lee Jefferson, business analyst with the consulting firm of Tandem, Willi, Woantey \& Wynot, predicted an improved financial picture for Liten-Up based on the expected popularity of the new pacifiers with post-holiday shoppers.

``Old Man Liten has always had a shrewd commercial instinct,'' said Ms Jefferson, smiling as she described Liten-Up's patriarch and founder, ``and this looks like the right product, in the right place, at the right time.''