Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

We just report it

You read it here first. Turns out that I wasn't the only one mildly inflamed by bootylicious Béyoncé's saucy Fourth of July performance at the tomb of President Ulysses S. Grant. The president of the Grant Monument Association has written a blistering letter to the National Parks Service, denouncing the "lascivious choreography" I described in a previous blog. The letter-writer, a Mr Scaturro, was particularly incensed by the scantily clad backup dancers, although Grant's great-grandsons were of the opinion that the old guy "might have enjoyed it"...

Meanwhile, letters are probably already being composed denouncing a slightly different provocative outfit that was paraded around a Riverside Drive playground this morning, not far from Grant's Tomb. Busytot's London-based auntie kindly sent him a flash new T-shirt that reads, in stencilled faux-military letters, "Weapon of Mass Destruction." We think it's pretty funny -- albeit a bit of a slur on his character, as he's really one of the tidiest and politest almost-two-year-olds we know -- but according to Busytot's dad, there were several sniffs of disapproval from some of the more irony-challenged parents in the playground.

God knows what they'd make of some of the other naughty T-shirts I've had my eye on and would buy in bulk were I not sensitive to the politics of turning my kiddo into a walking in-joke that he's not exactly in on (although I suppose statements of fact would pass muster -- you can't really argue with the one that reads "My daddy is a mother f*cker", nor, come to think of it, "My mother wears combat boots").

The WMD T-shirt reminded me of something I saw recently in one of the many unsolicited mail-order catalogues that flood the mailboxes in this country. While terrible for the environment, they make for great bathroom reading. This one was from a company that deals in children's birthday party paraphernalia. We're not talking bulk supply of hundreds and thousands, cheerios, and cupcakes here, but full-on theme parties, coordinated all the way down to the toothpicks. There's name-brand cartoon character party gear as well as various other goopy concepts (including my personal fave, the violently psychedelic "Ultimate Rainbow Unicorn Party Deluxe Package", which the catalogue suggests pairing with the Beaded Tiara Party Activity for that extra queeny touch).

Anyway, in amongst the princesses and ponies and dinosaurs was a page devoted to the "Ultimate Special Forces Party." It comes with camo pattern paper plates, a body crayon kit so you can face-paint all your little commandos in concealing colours, plastic army helmets for all the troops, a jeep painting party activity, and best of all -- the United States Tank Piñata. Wow. That must be the highlight of the Ultimate Special Forces party: dress up in fatigues, hang an American tank from a tree, and whack the hell out of it till it erupts in a voluptuous debacle of candy. Bet you can't get these amazing party favours for love nor money in Baghdad...