The biggest target of my ire is electronic toys for babies. We have this really cute gym for Vinny: it's visually stimulating, with a zoo theme and brightly colored zoo animals hanging down. But if you put pressure on a certain place on the floor of it, the dang-blasted thing also plays "music" -- a sound so vile, so out-of-tune, that it makes me want to dig my ears out of my head with a spoon. I always keep the switch at the "off" position, but the thing is haunted or something, because it still makes that horrible cacophony despite the fact that it's supposedly "off."
We have another gym for him, which is unfortunately not as visually interesting, but it doesn't play such loathsome music. Instead, it has a recording of some poor woman singing baby songs and giggling. It's revolting in a creepy way, and unlike this other gym, does not incite me to violence.
It's not just baby toys that are guilty of violating the rules of intonation, however. Even so-called recording artists have trouble keeping themselves on pitch. One of the biggest offenders: the Mamas and the Papas. Both of their otherwise very beautiful hit songs, Monday, Monday and California Dreamin', suffer badly from poor intonation. In both songs, the primary culprits are the backup singers, who are roughly a quarter tone flat. The jazzy flute is off in California Dreamin' too. These would be beautiful songs if they could all agree to the same key!
Another offender is Boy George. In Karma Chameleon, he is noticeably flat with respect to the backup band. You might say that the band is sharp, but I'm going with the band on this one because a) they are on standard pitch, and b) they are many and George is one.
Then, there's Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan is proof positive of the American Dream: if he could make it as a singer, then it goes to show you that anyone can. He doesn't even try to sing on pitch. Perhaps that's why I don't hate him as much as I hate Boy George and the Mamas and the Papas.
The thing that drives me crazy is that I have pretty good audio memory, and when one of these songs gets caught in my head, I get to experience the agony of hearing their contemptible strains over and over again.
Now you know why I have imposed a ban on children's toys that play music. It's for the sake of my sanity. I hate that off-key, electronic noise that spews forth. It's the ultimate form of torture for those of us with perfect pitch.