Archive for the ‘Product Previews’ Category

The Amazing Gyro Bowl

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Most of the time, when you see something advertised on television as being amazing, incredible, or some other superlative, chances are it’s cheaply made and doesn’t work anywhere near as well as they’d have you believe, if it even works at all.  Every once in a great while, however, a product comes along that you just know is every bit as clever as they make it seem on telly.  I suspect the Gyro Bowl is one of those rare creatures.


The Odious Ogre

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

When I was growing up, one of my favorite books was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer.  I loved the exploration of the dual meanings of words — jumping to the Island of Conclusions, for example — as well as the idea that there is so much to do and to explore in the world that one need never be bored.  Sadly, though, there was only the one book; Harry Potter got 7 volumes but Milo only one.  While that hasn’t exactly changed, there is good news for Tollbooth fans.


The Christmas Tree As Family Art Project

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Remember way back when, when kids actually made ornaments to decorate the tree this time of year?  In my day, we strung popcorn on thread and made chains of brightly colored paper rings.  There were the clay ornaments brought home from school shaped and colored by each child’s hand along with cut-out and colored paper snowflakes and macaroni-and-too-much-glue works of art.  Perhaps it is, once again, time to restore crafts and art to das tannenbaum.  After seeing this tree, I think I’m sold.


Zero-Maintenance Pets

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

While we were on holiday this past summer, I noticed an advert playing in heavy rotation on whatever kids’ television station they had on in the dining room of the hotel where they served the free breakfast each morning.  At the time, it seemed like one of those annoying, over-priced, “as seen on TV” products that we’re all used to being disappointed by, should we be foolish enough to purchase one.  Fast forward to the advent of the year-end begging-for-toys season and I’m dreaming of the relative peace of blaring television ads.  Yes, my kids want Pillow Pets.


The Wheel of Consequences

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Move over Vanna, there’s a new wheel in town.  We’re all familiar with spinners used in board games (and game shows like Wheel of Fortune) but who would have thought they could be useful in parenting as well?  When two of her kids began fighting and arguing excessively, Julie Butler figured out how to put a simple board game spinner to work and, in so doing, put an end to her kids’ battles overnight.  She has since packaged her discovery into a Windows-based software package and is making it available over the internet.