Playmobil, Pinocchio, & other Play things

Well, today I discovered that Hans Beck, the German creator of those little Playmobil
figures died. It’s almost like hearing that Charles Schulz finally
passed away, the creator of Snoopy. You'd think they could just keep on
creating forever (and, in the case of Playmobil, I imagine they will).
And, it started me thinking of how many things we grew up with, which,
in America, everyone simply believes is American. Like Prince
spaghetti, Pinocchio (although Gepetto kind of gives him away) or even
Speed Racer. In our limited world view, there are many people out there
who probably don’t realize a lot of the things that have achieved
nearly cult status are, in fact, imports [although today one could
argue that it's all coming from China anyway].

And so it is as well with the Legos.
Who knew they came from Denmark (well, except all you out there who’ve
been to Legoland). Awesome. Pretty soon we’ll learn that Barbie
actually came from Bali or Bermuda or even Sweden.

There’s actually a fabulous book on Amazon
for kids, Look What Came from Italy, which shows all the things we have in America that came from
Italy, including the pretzel [I actually know this story which is on my
Audio Tour of the Vatican Museums…a
baker made them in honor of the Polish General who fought off the
Muslims at Rome’s Ponte Milvio…they were called after his stirrups or
something like that…]

But, there’s a Dutch import I truly wish had never left its borders: TV’s Big Brother.
Was I relieved to learn it wasn’t yet another trash American export
come our way…! But then again, although it’s from the same country that
gave us the Red Light District, they also came up with those rich
Coffee Houses and so…we won’t hold it against them.

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