Thursday, May 29, 2008

Who thinks barcodes are fun, raise your hand?

A Japanese firm named D-Barcode (who probably figured there wouldn't be too many people raising their hands in response to that question) has decided to start decorating barcodes to visually reflect the products they identify.

It's nice to see these otherwise mundane artifacts of our lives be so playful.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

5-in-1 barbecue tool

For those of us in the northern parts of this country, the official barbecue season has just begun. (All you guys who live in areas where the weather is always cooperative make us very jealous.) Anyway, it's time to take off the grill cover, see if all the parts are working, and get down to business.

You probably grilled over Memorial Day weekend, so while your memory of that is still fresh, did you spend a lot of time switching from the tongs to the spatula to the whatever else tool you usually use? If so, here's something that might be worth adding to your arsenal.

This 5-in-1 barbecue tool includes tongs, spatula (that has both a knife edge and meat tenderizer) and, last by certainly not least, a bottle opener. The tool sells for $13.95 from Wrapables.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Clean graffiti

Vindict, a wine company in Amsterdam, has come up with one of the greenest advertising campaigns imaginable. Using a big metal stencil and a power-washer, they blast dirt off sidewalks and streets and walls to leave behind the company logo. It may be the first graffiti that actually cleans up instead of messing up.

See for yourself

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TrueNorth is nuts

Starting this June, keep an eye out for a line of nut snacks called TrueNorth. The packaging is really attractive, but even better, what's on the inside is really tasty. (And--big surprise to me-- they're made by Frito-Lay.)

There are four categories: Clusters, Crunches, Crisps and whole nuts. Right now the nuts they use are roasted peanuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios. For more detailed information on the snacks, check out the TrueNorth website.

TrueNorth sells for $3.29 a bag and is in the nut aisles of big chains like Target, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wait, this might be the best recycling project ever

A canoe made out of 7,382 used chopsticks (see blog entry from April 24, 2008) is mere child's play compared with a 50-foot Viking ship made from 15 million recycled popsicle sticks.

The ship--named Thor after the Norse god of thunder--was built in the Netherlands by an American-born stuntman, Robert McDonald, with the help of his son and over 5,000 kids. He has sailed the ship locally in Europe, but he has plans to retrace the original (supposed) route the Vikings took to get to North America. The trip would eventually land him in Key West, Florida.

McDonald has spent his life proving that you can do anything you put your mind to. As a child, he was badly injured in a gas explosion (which killed his entire family) and was told that he would never regain the use of his right arm. He proved the doctors wrong and then went on to make a career of doing impossible building a Viking ship out of 15 million popsicle sticks.

As McDonald puts it: "I'm out to show that I'm not disabled, look what I've done, look what we have done, look what the kids can do. It's not only a ship of ice-cream sticks, it's also the world's largest recycled object."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Popsicles as art

So what happens if you let an art professor and industrial designer come up with cool ideas for popsicles? A book called POPS! Ice Treats for Everyone. Krystina Castella has come up with a collection of really beautiful and extremely clever popsicles.

There are some intriguing categories of popsicle, too, like Tea and Coffee Pops, which includes a Taro Boba Pearl Tea Pop and a Latte Pop. Or Soda Fountain Pops, with Napoleon Malt Pop and Root Beer Float Pop. And how about a Cocktail Pop? You could have a Mai Tai or a Cosmopolitan.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More lollipops

In the world of lollipops, interesting flavors--or maybe a chewy chocolate center--can set you apart. But in the world of Archie McPhee, my favorite goofy gadget store, lollipops are all about the shape. How about watermelon Sigmund Freud lollipops, cherry Marie Antoinette pops, a lemon pirate skull or an orange Abraham Lincoln? Check out Head Pops ($27.95 for a box of 24) on the Archie McPhee site.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


There's a candy company in San Francisco that's pushing the lollipop envelope. They started making lollipops about 6 months ago and right now have two flavors: Maple-Bacon (?!?!?) and Absinthe (ditto). They have promised that there are "a number of pretty incredible flavors on the back burner," so it would be worth checking back with them now and again....after you put in your first order for absinthe lollies, of course. A pack of 4 lollipops costs $10 from the Lollyphile website. It may seem a bit of an extravagance to buy for yourself, but they would make a great gift.

UPDATE: They have wasabi-ginger now.