Barbie concepts for modern times Let's pretend: Here are some fresh ideas to help meet the insatiable demand for Mattel's ageless doll.

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Every year, the Mattel Toy Co. produces about 90 new Barbie-related items, ranging from dolls to dresses to the latest dream house.

And every year, the popular dolls -- like this year's Teacher Barbie and Happy Holidays Barbie -- often sell out, sending parents on a frantic search from toy store to toy store, only to come up empty-handed.

Well, the solution seems obvious to us: more new Barbies.

We've thought of a few new Barbies that Mattel might consider, and listed them below. Just to make it more fun, we've sprinkled in the names of some actual Barbies as well.

See if you can tell the real Barbies from the oughta-bes.

Balanced Budget Barbie

Bad Hair Barbie

Teen Talk Barbie

Hacker Barbie

Rollerblade Barbie

Totally Hair Barbie

Bunion Barbie

Marine Corps Barbie

Burned-Out Barbie

Dr. Barbie

Ebola Barbie

Summit Barbie

The Rev. Barbie

Island Fun Barbie

Style Magic Barbie

Single Mother Barbie

Baywatch Barbie

California Dream Barbie

Bad News Barbie

Rocker Barbie

Crystal Barbie

Menopause Barbie

Japanese Barbie

Death Row Barbie

The real Barbies:

* Teen Talk Barbie, 1992. This is the doll that said "Math class is tough." She was quickly recalled.

* Rollerblade Barbie, 1992. Her skates set off sparks. In January, columnist Dave Barry used a spark-shooting Rollerblade Barbie to set fire to a pair of underpants on the Letterman show.

* Totally Hair Barbie, 1992. Her ankle-length tresses made her look like Cousin Itt.

* Marine Corps Barbie, 1992. Barbies representing the three other branches of the service came out in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

* Dr. Barbie, 1973, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994. Barbie has been a surgeon, a pediatrician, a veterinarian and an Army medic.

* Summit Barbie, 1990. A diplomat doll in black and brown.

* Island Fun Barbie, 1989. She came with an all-terrain vehicle.

* Style Magic Barbie, 1989. Her skirt doubled as a ponytail holder.

* Baywatch Barbie, 1995. Latest in a series of swimsuit-wearing dolls, she comes with a red swimsuit and life-saving gear.

* California Dream Barbie, 1988. She came with a Beach Boys record, "Living Doll."

* Rocker Barbie, 1986. For her first try at being a rock star, Barbie was backed by a band called the Rockers. They were replaced by the Sensations in 1988.

* Crystal Barbie, 1984. She wore an elaborate white gown and a crystal necklace.

* Japanese Barbie, 1984. A shorter, less shapely doll with dark hair and eyes, made specifically for Japan.

The oughta-be Barbies:

* Balanced Budget Barbie. You have to pay cash for her.

* Bad Hair Barbie. Her hair turned to straw when she permed and colored on the same day.

* Hacker Barbie. Mainlines caffeine so she can stay up all night surfing the Net.

* Bunion Barbie. Comes with lots of pointy-toed shoes, but none of them fit.

* Burned Out Barbie. Comes with a Grateful Dead T-shirt and a Bic lighter.

* Ebola Barbie. Hands off -- and don't forget the protective suit!

* The Rev. Barbie. Worships at the altar of conspicuous $l consumption.

* Single Mother Barbie. Never could get Ken to marry her.

* Bad News Barbie. Smokes, drinks, comes with a black leather jacket and tattoos.

* Menopause Barbie. Always putting her sweater on, then taking it off, putting it on, taking it off.

* Death Row Barbie. Committed too many crimes of fashion.

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