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A Furby at the launch of Dream Toys 2012 at St Mary's Church on October 31, 2012 in London, England.

There's been an alarming development, one I'm amazed didn't trigger the emergency alert system and the activation of the National Guard.

Yes, the Furby is back.

Lest you forget, the original Furby was an interactive robotic pet, the hot holiday toy of the late 1990s and it was widely loved and/or mocked (surely you remember when Marge freaked out on "The Simpsons" when they were cleaning the garage and discovered a colony of vicious Furbys gone feral).

The seemingly harmless Furby resembled a monstrous Frankenstein-style mashup: the ears of the Mogwai critters from the "Gremlins" movies, the furry bodies of Day-Glo Ewoks and the beak of Mr. Owl from the Tootsie Pop commercials.

Furbys could dance to music and could even speak in their own language called "Furbish," gradually picking up English words from their owners. To the joy of parents everywhere, they had no "off" button. You had to stuff them in a closet for a while to get them to shut up. They were so annoyingly chatty that, in 1999, Furbys were officially banned by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and the Pentagon, based on the fear that the dolls would mimic top-secret discussions. Manufacturers insisted to the Washington Post that, "Furby is not a spy."

At least 40 million were sold and it's unclear where those Furbys are now. I had assumed most were killed in a flurry of Furbish expletives. But watch your back. They have apparently regrouped thanks to Hasbro, massed for attack and are being released in a Furby "reboot."

Just in time for the holidays, Furby 2012 is on store shelves. It's slightly bigger, has LED eyes, "unpredictable" reactions according to the Hasbro website, costs $54. New Furbys can also interact with others of its species, no doubt facilitating their evil plot for world domination.

And they've got some new tricks. There's a smart phone app in which you can feed them hamburgers or ice cream and they'll make yummy noises or roll their eyes when they're too full. Depending on how you treat them, they develop personalities. If you speak soothingly to your Furby, it will purr and wiggle. If you shout at it, it will become angry. We don't want them to be angry.

If nothing else -- if they are truly as harmless as manufacturers would have us believe -- they are evidence that toy companies, not unlike the movie industry, can't come up with anything new. (Be on the lookout for Teddy Ruxpin 2013.)

But if, as the Pentagon and I suspect, they are tiny Terminator-style robots from the future, I say don't reboot. Boot! Boot! And boot some more!