The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

Party Favors

Nothing says "I'm having fun" like two or three dozen people simultaneously producing a noise like a sexually satisfied duck. Our ancestors actually had to sexually satisfy ducks to produce this effect, and on New Year's they had to do it simultaneously, so it's no surprise that someone came up with a simpler method. The luridly unrolling paper appendage only adds to the ambiance. For children's parties, though, I think someone should invent the whitenoisemaker, so that hyperactive school-age soiree attendees can soothe parents with the gentle sound of the ocean's surf. B+

Nothing also says "I'm having fun" like a pointy paper hat, a great way to fulfill the three Ls of party-enjoyment-experiencing: "(L)ook stupid," "(L)eave little red marks on your face from the elastic band," and "Have something to throw up in, (L)arry." Your extremely clever party-goer will occasionally wear the hat as a makeshift beak, adding to the festive mood and demonstrating his or her concern for the plight of the rare-but-majestic Cone-beaked Drizzly Egret. B

Squirt Guns
While I could see these being excellent for a black-tie debutante ball for the ambassador's daughter, the fact is that they're most often handed to the grubby-fingered Kool-Aid-swilling guests at a kids' party. This is a bad idea. Even if it's a pool party it's a bad idea, because the first thing that goes through your average child's mind when presented with a squirt gun is "Where's the cat?" followed by a search for those with casts or nice pants suits. After all, what's the point in soaking anyone who's already wet or willing to become so? C-

Cup and Ball Games
A cup-and-ball game is interesting for exactly as long as it takes for you to get the ball into the cup. Then you're proven your point and you're ready to move on. Which means it can be minutes of fun for the truly maladroit, but at that point they'd probably be just as challenged and entertained by the can opener. D

Little Plastic Bottles That Explode When You Pull The String
I think they're supposed to be champagne bottles, but that doesn't make any sense because most quality champagnes are opened from the little end. But still, I like these because they make noise AND a mess. Hell, if they could be rigged to eat clam dip as well, I could just send them to the party in my place. A

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