Archive for July, 2008

Pull Out Your Wacky Packs

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

Wacky Packages

I suppose it’s very difficult to explain a childhood fascination I had with the Topps Company’s “Wacky Packages”, a selection of stickers you’d collect inside a package of bubble gum. Just like trading baseball cards, which was what Topps did primarily, you could open up your wrapper and behind the long, flat stick of bubble gum you’d find a small piece of cardboard paper on which you’d find the latest clever creation: a sticker that mocked a popular consumer product like Tide detergent (Tied), Rice-a-Phoni (for that San Francisco treat) or Hawaiian Punks (for Hawaiian Punch).

All I know is I used to go wild when I’d see a new one when I’d go after school to 7-11 and wait to open up a new set of stickers.

Out now is a collection of these Wacky Packages, written almost as a history, from when the idea started in 1967 through those glorious 70s when Read the rest of this entry »

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Get Out the Vote with Luda!

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

Obama and Ludacris

Eager to post missteps or flub-ups designed to embarrass the Obama campaign each day on his gossipy website, Matt Drudge of the Drudgereport managed to find a doozy yesterday. Apparently, rapper Ludacris, aka Chris Bridges, has released a new song called “Politics: Obama is Here”. It’s, not something the Obama people will be happy about, and this despite the fact that their man revealed once in an interview that Ludacris, one of his favorite rappers, was also on heavy rotation on his iPod. Take a quick listen to this uplifting, inspiring and certain future Grammy Award-winning track and don’t forget to follow along with the deep, socially responsible lyrics:

I’m back on it like I just signed my record deal

Yeah the best is here, the Bentley Coup paint is dripping wet, it got sex appeal

Never should have hated

Never should’ve doubted him Read the rest of this entry »

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Beware of that New Car Smell

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH Technology with No Comments »

New Car Smell

What exactly is a “new car” smell? Come on. You know what it is –it’s that familiar, exciting, even nostalgic smell you remember when you were a kid and your Dad comes home in a new car. Or now that you’re old enough to drive one off the lot, that somewhat inviting smell sure made you happy. And then when it fades, and indeed it does, you get kind of bummed out because somehow the car doesn’t seem so “new” anymore. Then, you could go out and buy one of those little paper air fresheners that hang off your rearview mirror. Or, for about $10, you can give your car a little spritz every once in a while so you can “capture that new car smell.”

Well, that smell, that relaxing, pleasant scent –well, you might as well be sniffing glue. We have been literally getting high off this stuff. How could something like this be so….good? According to the environmental watchdog group, the Ecology Center, you really should be careful. The group, based in Ann Arbor, MI, has just released its 2nd Annual Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Cars and Children’s Car Seats. And the news isn’t pretty, especially to those of us who Read the rest of this entry »

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Wanted: New Owners for “Princess Chunk”

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

Princess Chunky

In a day and age of ever-increasing obesity, where health, diet and exercise are thrown out the window as cavalierly as a discarded candy wrapper — does the existence of a 44lb cat surprise you? Maybe not.

This morbidly obese cat, lovingly named “Princess Chunk” was found abandoned in Camden, Co., PA and surprisingly is two pounds shy of the 1987 Guiness World Record for the fattest cat ever recorded.

“Our cat scale only goes up to 25 pounds; the needle bounced off the machine, so they put her on the dog scale instead. I have been doing rescue for ten years and I’ve never seen Read the rest of this entry »

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TSA: Batteries, Bombs: What’s the Difference?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH Technology with No Comments »

“Mommy… that policeman opened Elmo and took his heart out… now he won’t talk to me anymore”

Now this is tops — the TSA, up to their normal befuddled way of going about “protecting our security” has gone and confiscated a battery pack for (get this) possibly appearing as if it were a bomb to fellow passengers.

That’s right, the TSA knew it wasn’t a bomb. But given the fact that perhaps that one-in-a-million passengers might look over at the battery’s owner (while witnessing him powering his DVD player with it) and suspect he’s Read the rest of this entry »

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Belly Up!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

Mervyn's Bankruptcy

News today that Bay Area-based retailer Mervyn’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was yet another victim of this crushing economy. Mervyn’s, which had been in financial trouble for several years, announced that its 176 stores in California and the Southwest would face some difficult times ahead.

The decision wasn’t an easy one, and it followed the company’s failure to report its financial states or projections to credit monitoring firms for two quarters in a row, which also prompted their vendors to take back its merchandise that was slated to be sold for the upcoming “back to school” sales. Ouch. That has to hurt.

This news may be of interest to consumers in California, but this is just the latest trend in Read the rest of this entry »

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What About Obama’s Own Surge?

Monday, July 28th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Obama Berlin

You would think that after a much-ballyhooed, mostly very successful swing through Afghanistan and Iraq, and a trip through some European capitals last week, Barack Obama would be rising even higher in the polls.

His speech in Berlin, in front of an estimated 200,000 people, was on the front page of every newspaper and on every newscast. The German press, for the most part, applauded the speech and saw in Obama a fresh new departure from what have been troubling years with the current Bush White House.

From the looks of it, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy found a new American friend in Paris, wildly shaking his hand and agreeing to a rare dual news conference after their meeting in the Elysee Palace. (When McCain visited Sarko recently, McCain was left to find his out and search for the cameras.)

In any case, the tour enjoyed extraordinary coverage and Obama himself seemed very pleased with the results of what had been, let’s face it, a very carefully scripted expedition from start to finish. Every single Kodak moment was deliberate and determined; this was a Read the rest of this entry »

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Repeat: ZAP-mobile not BAT-mobile!

Monday, July 28th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with 1 Comment

Zap Alias

Have you had a look at Zap’s website lately? No? Who’s Zap? Zap stands for Zero Air Pollution.

The forward-thinking folks at Zap are currently taking reservations for their latest (and perhaps greatest) all-electric zap-mobile: the Alias.

Headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, this developer of ingenious, high-efficiency cars, scooters, cycles and boat engines (yes) hasn’t been asleep at the wheel lately. They’ve come up with quite an assorted selection of alternative energy conveyances that surely fit the needs and driving styles of many consumers.

Here are a few specs on the Alias from the company’s website: Read the rest of this entry »

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SMASH TV Review: Hurl!

Sunday, July 27th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

G4 Hurl

I decided to give “Hurl!”, the new game show on the G4 cable channel, a couple of viewings since it premiered a couple of weeks back. Not because it needed some seasoning, or that its quality would improve. Nope –there’s absolutely nothing that you could do to make this stinker any better. It has absolutely no social value; it is barely watchable; but it isn’t the most appalling thing on TV this summer. I’ll get to those shows a little later.

Hurl!, if you can believe the concept, is essentially a game in which five guys get together and Read the rest of this entry »

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As Cuil as Google? Only Time Will Tell

Sunday, July 27th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Cuil

There’s a kid on the block, and he’s as cool cuil as can be — or at least he promises to be when he grows up.

Cuil (pronounced “cool”), is a Mountain View-spawned search engine (started by some star Google engineers) that promises to be every bit as powerful as its big “G” counterpart, but goes about achieving this claim in a slightly unorthodox fashion:

Cuil’s ranking is based less on Read the rest of this entry »

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Comcast Not So Comcastic Anymore

Sunday, July 27th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

Comcast

In a recent SMASHgods post we discussed the recent (trial) law in the UK where folks downloading files illegally are going to be sent nasty notes regarding their behavior with full support from many of the country’s major ISPs.

Every time we get these bits of news, it’s alarming to say the least, as it represents blatant censorship and behavior monitoring on a grand scale, conjuring scenes from Minority Report or Enemy of the State, where all of our electronic activity is monitored and tracked.

Today’s news hits a bit closer to home since it involves Read the rest of this entry »

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Audi Driver Environment - MMI Laboratory: Pole Position-esque

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Audi MMI Laboratory

Audi is about to release their next version of the MMI (Multi-Media Interface) for the A8. The MMI is what powers the navigation, radio and car systems.

With a high-capacity HD, a DVD drive and super-fast processors, it is much more versatile and its performance is higher than ever before. The new MMI’s first appearance will be in the A8 luxury sedan, but before long it will also be Read the rest of this entry »

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Mars: Get Some Nuts!

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

Mr. T

The McLean-VA based Mars Corporation this week was forced to withdraw a TV commercial that critics deemed offensive. The candy maker, inventor of the Snickers, M&Ms and Milky Way bars, among others, and $21 billion strong in sales, didn’t think much of having ad agency AMV BBDO in London shoot a commercial they probably felt was amusing.

In it, 80s relic and pop culture hanger-on Mr. T, in certain need of a paycheck, can be seen riding atop a truck firing a Gatling-type gun full of candy bars at a man who is speed walking down a street. The man is portrayed as stereotypically weak and effeminate, with a close-up shot of the guy’s Read the rest of this entry »

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The Micro Compact Home Is Smaller Than a Hummer

Friday, July 25th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Micro Compact Home

Not to be confused with a two-person contemporary outhouse, the “m-ch” is actually a single-person home designed for the most ultra-minimalist (and ultra-tiny) home owner.

Its inventor, Prof. Richard Horden, wrote:

The micro compact home [m-ch] is a lightweight compact dwelling for one or two people. Its compact dimensions of 2.6m cube adapt it to a variety of sites and circumstances, and its functioning spaces of sleeping, working / dining, cooking and hygiene make it suitable for everyday use.

Don’t make the mistake in thinking the price is tiny though – one of these ultra-modern dwellings will set you back Read the rest of this entry »

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UK Residents : Share Illegal Files, Get Sorted

Friday, July 25th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with 2 Comments

Big Brother Watching You

Isn’t it unnerving enough that every peaceful, law-abiding Briton must go about their lives surrounded by clearly visible CCTV cameras monitoring his or her every move?

Imagine: where an errand as mundane as purchasing a curbside sandwich sarny from a vendor is recorded, scrutinized over, and archived for later (possible) evaluation.

Britain, with more than 22% of the world’s CCTV cameras in operation, has no qualms about its rampant voyeuristic practices, and continues to erect new cameras on a daily basis.

David Davis, previously a conservative party member of Parliament, in his fight against the rising “Orwellian State” could be called the “Nostradamus” of the civil liberties world (or at least the erosion of such).

His perceived clairvoyance, and long-time protest, is now in the spotlight again with the announcement of the government’s latest decree in regard to online file sharing.

Under a new, three-month-trial law, Read the rest of this entry »

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The Blob Has Returned to Clean Your Stuff

Friday, July 25th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Cyber Clean

Out with the Play-dohs and Silly Puttys of the world — they just aren’t useful.

Enter Cyber Clean, a cleaning product for computers and other gadgets that feels more like a homemade stress-relieving squeeze toy.

Countless times have I been let down by the traditional can-o-air when trying to remove tidbits of gunk that find their way into my computer keyboard. Stuff just gets pushed down further, and I create a machine-shop environment with my goings-on.

Well, this amorphous, bright-yellow blob will squish down between your computer keyboard’s keys, your phone buttons, or other little electronic hard-to-reach areas while removing germs and waste that prove harmful to your high-tech toys. It also kills germs and is biodegradable. Read the rest of this entry »

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