On Earth Day, 47 years ago, I was Head of the Earth! Really. Check with the UN.

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STAN: Liar, liar, Goldenberg’s pants are on fire! I’m so mad, I can’t see straight.  I’m going to quit this gig and get a job on a real blog!
HARRIET: That would be tough, Stan. Did you forget you’re imaginary?
STAN: I don’t care, Harriet. I’m sick and tired of being the comic foil for Goldenberg on this blog. Did you see that outright lie he put in the headline? Head of the Earth? Hah, he couldn’t be a Head of Cabbage.
HARRIET: Look, I know Jack’s stories sound preposterous, crazy, almost impossible. But somehow they’re true.
STAN: Yeah, right!
HARRIET: Give him a chance, Stan. After all, he created you. You at least owe him that!
STAN: Oh, all, right, but I’m preparing my resume just in case.
HARRIET: OK. That seems fair.
STAN: You think there are any jobs on LinkedIn for fictional characters?
HARRIET: I bet there are a lot of fictional characters on LinkedIn. Now be quiet, Stan. I think Jack’s gonna explain himself.

Hey new Readers of 10 Minutes of Brilliance. I know what you’re thinking. (No, really. I know what you’re thinking. I have STP!)

You’re thinking I was just joking, maybe even lying, when I said I was once Head of the Earth.

Well it’s true. I was. And as far as I know, I was the first person to suggest that Earth Day should be an international event.

United Nations

The United Nations, possibly misnamed, definitely misdirected

Up front, I’m not claiming I came up with the original idea for Earth Day. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson is credited with raising the environmental consciousness of the inhabitants of Planet Earth. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, and it was a huge success.

A year later, in 1971, an even more successful Earth Day was held, mostly in the United States, although not everyone who showed up on Earth that day actually attended the event.

But by 1972, many of Earth’s inhabitants were already tired of hearing about the environment. They viewed the first two Earth Days in ’70 and ’72, as a “Been There, Done That Twice” kind of deal.

However, I had the feeling back than that we hadn’t really solved all the Earth’s problems. (Good thing we’ve solved all those problems by now, huh?)

As I figured it, we still had a lot to do to tidy up the planet and put everything back where we found it.

So, I did the only thing a sane, sensible and caring person could do. I appointed myself Head of the Earth. I had business cards printed, stationary, the whole 43 million yards* (*circumference of the Earth x yards in a mile).

You might question who or what gave me the authority to become Head of the Earth. Well, the position was open. And there were no other applicants.

Besides, I was young and figured it would look great on my resume.

Green Marketing is here to stay

Next, like any great adman, I carefully studied the field I was about to enter. I wanted to learn all I could about the Earth, endangered species, plant life, pollution, green marketing, population control, water and energy conservation, recycling and the myriad efforts needed to Save Our Planet.

About an hour later, I figured I’d learned all I needed to know, so I called a friend of mine, a wonderful illustrator named John Safrit and asked him if he would design some new business cards an stationery for me.

“John, I’ve just been made Head of the Earth. Would you design some new business cards for me?”

“How many colors do you want on the logo?” John asked without acting like he heard anything out of the ordinary. John’s response was not all that unusual. Did I mention it was the 70s?

I was serious about helping Mother Earth. With the the third Earth Day fast approaching, I got busy announcing Earth Day International!

I produced ads that were run in free newspapers (Would someone please explain to Millennials what a newspaper is?) One of my favorite ads was headlined, “The Earth is a Mother.”

I got radio stations across the country to tell listeners about “The 100 Things You Can Do to Save Planet Earth.” I convinced governors to announce International Earth Day proclamations. I got citizen groups to hold International Earth Day Awareness events. I even convinced a talent booker on The Today Show to interview an expert on the continued importance of environmental awareness and conservation.

How did I get so many people to follow my lead. Simple. I told them all, “Hey, I’m Head of the Earth, and you breathe the air. Or use the airwaves. We need your help.”

My stationery was on recycled paper, so people must have figured I was for real.

But my biggest accomplishment was getting the support of the United Nations.

STAN: OK, Harriet, there he goes. I believed everything Goldberg said up ’til now.  But getting the UN’s attention? I’d love to hear how this one turns out.

I remember my first phone call to the UN. It went something like this.

“Is this Whitman Bassow, Senior Public Affairs Officer at the UN?”

“Yes, it is,” Mr. Bassow replied, “How can I help you?”

“I’m Jack Goldenberg, Head of the Earth. We need to talk.”

Without questioning my authority, Whitman Bassow laughed and said, “When would you like to come in?”

I can understand why you might not believe this actually happened. It’s impossible to get the UN to do anything, right?

Hell, the UN is so dysfunctional, they would’ve never pulled off UNICEF if it hadn’t been for millions of kids pulling their international ass out of the fire.

But I lucked out because, as it turned out, Whitman Bassow was the one person at the United Nations who actually had a sense of humor to go along with his sense of decency. And when I met with him, he championed my idea. He wasn’t just humoring some crazy 25-year old who claimed to be Head of the Earth. He was in from the start.

He even sent me an official UN letter to prove it. (NOTE TO MY YOUNG READERS: A letter is like an e-mail that’s written on…Oh, never mind, you’d never believe it!)

But I still have the letter from the U.N. from 1972 to prove it.

UN letter to Jack Goldenberg

Heck, if the Senior Public Affairs Officer of the UN thought I was Head of the Earth, maybe I really was!

Somehow, I got the UN to acknowledge that I was Head of the Earth and they even gave me permission to use the UN’s name, logo and slogan from their “Only One Earth” Conference on my “Tickets of Admission to the Earth.” I wanted to charge people for coming to the Earth on Earth Day, 1972. A dollar for adults. 50¢ for children 12 and under.

As I saw it, while it wasn’t mandatory to have an Earth Ticket to show up on Earth on April 22, 1972, it sure would be a nice gesture, though. And I wasn’t planning to abscond  with the money. All donations were earmarked for Friends of the Earth, Friends of Animals, the Sierra Club and two other environmental groups.

Was my campaign for International Earth Day successful? Well, yes and no. The Earth is still here, but even with all the recycling, conservation, pollution control etc, we’re still fouling up our home planet.

And even with the icebergs melting, drought on the West Coast  and far too many other harbingers of environmental doom and disaster, there are still far too many powerful people denying climate charge. They have a name for people like that. Republicans. Well, the extreme right wing of the Party of No, just to be more exact.

A few years later I wanted to proclaim myself “Master of the Universe.” But some damn toy company beat me to it.

HARRIET: There, Stan, now are you satisfied? Jack really was Head of the Earth.
STAN: I don’t care. I’m still getting out of here. I’ll write my own damn blog. And I’ll make Goldberger the but of all my jokes.
HARRIET: Stan, you can’t write. You can’t think. You can’t even spell the word butt correctly.
STAN: Butt, does it really matter, Harriet ? Maybe I was talking about a different kind of but.
HARRIET: Stan, you are a different kind of butt.
STAN: Thanks, Harriet. Thanks for noticing.
HARRIET: All right, say Goodnight, Stan!
STAN: Goodnight, Stan,
HARRIET: Good night Readers. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll sign up for the blog or come back next time when Stan will attempt the impossible, to write his own blog without Jack’s help.

Einstein, da Vinci & Goldenberg’s Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards

Once a year, toy makers and toy buyers of the world get together in New York for a 4-day extravaganza called Toy Fair. It is a showcase of  the latest and greatest playthings for kids of all ages and an opportunity for retail toy buyers to make their predictions for which toys they think kids will prefer.

What they buy determines what will be under the Christmas tree, Chanukah menorah and everybody’s favorite, the generic, non-religious, holiday evergreen.

Exhibitors at Toy Fair 2015 displayed over 100,000 toys in a space the size of seven football fields

Toy Fair 2015 displayed over 100,000 toys in an exhibit space the size of seven football fields.

This much-anticipated event is held in the cavernous Jacob Javitz Center in New York. By my estimate, over 100,000 people attended. I think most of them were on the subway car I took to get there.

It is impossible to be on a NYC subway car and not be "a close talker."

NOTE TO OUT OF TOWNERS: It is impossible to be on a NYC subway car and not be “a close talker.”

 

I’ve attend Toy Fair every year since I was 20. That’s over 300 years in dog time. I go there to see the new toys, meet colleagues, and pick up projects for my branding agency,  Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg.

I used to go to Toy Fair to see some of the toys I helped launch…

Cabbage Patch Kids dolls

Cabbage Patch Kids dolls

…toys I marketed…

GI Joe

GI Joe

…and toys I created…

Pee-wee Herman doll

Pee-wee Herman doll

I also go there to research my once-a-year Best of Show – Toy Fair Awards.

One year at Toy Fair, I had to promote a lesser known toy from a small company with little or no budget. I was challenged to create traffic for a 13″ action figure named Little Dracula. Our budget was smaller than the toy.

Challenges like that are when the most creative ideas percolate. I knew dressing up one character as Dracula was going to look like, well, one guy dressed up like Dracula. But three men dressed up as Dracula, now that was a little scarier!

So  I settled on hiring five guys to dress up as Dracula. In the toy business, you can never have too many Draculas!

Five Draculas at Toy Fair

When this lady saw 5 Draculas, she didn’t know if she had too much to drink or needed another. I got the Draculas at a bargain price because I think they were blood brothers.

Not many people know this, but the very first Toy Fair was held in a cave in Mesopotamia in 24,342 B.C.  The first show was so poorly attended, only one toy maker and one buyer showed up. And it was the same person. A caveman named Og.

Og the toy maker said to Og the toy buyer,”I want to show you this year’s hottest toy.”

Og introduced fire. Og was not impressed.

STAN: Hey, Harriet. Goldberger must be losing his touch. He’s written about 10 paragraphs and only cracked two or three jokes.
HARRIET: Not counting you, of course.
STAN: I don’t get that.
HARRIET:  Didn’t think you would. Stan, I think it would be a good idea if you didn’t talk during today’s blog.
STAN: Why is that?
HARRIET: Well, Stan, for one, you’re not real. You’re just a character Jack made up.
STAN: And your point?
HARRIET: We have a lot of new readers checking out the Best in Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards. It’s a little confusing for new readers if you keep interrupting Jack.

HARRIET NOTICES JACK IS ABOUT TO GET BACK ON THE BLOG.

HARRIET: Shhhh, quiet, Stan. I think Jack’s back.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was announcing the winners.

It is with great pleasure that I announce Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg’s Best in Show – Toy Fair 2015 Awards.

In the the two days I attended Toy Fair, 10 toys were so unique, creative or so cool they won a Best of Show – Toy Fair 2015 Award. Without divulging too much, here’s a rundown of the Winners.

1. Slime Baff: This toy turns bathtub water into slime!
2. IO Hawk: Another toy is a real personal transporter that can whisk you from here to there.
3. Pet Dino: It’s alive! A dinosaur toy filled with live one-celled bacteria that glows in the dark.
4. Loot Crate: A mystery toy. You never know what you’re getting, but you’re getting a lot!
5. Goldie Blox: A building toy for boy? No, girls!
6. Übertüb: A classic toy. Reinvented.
7. Chocolate Picture Maker: A delicious toy you can eat.
8. Insta-Snow and Sick! Science Kits: Two scientific toys that are amazing!
9. Crush It! and E-Z Grip Ball: A re-invented baseball bat and a ball that bounces on sand!
10. Air Pogo Xtreme and Zipline Fun Xtreme: High flying fun! A pogo stick on a rope and a make-over of the zipline.

SPECIAL NOTE TO ONE OF MY READERS: Darryl, this blog is very long. Don’t try to read it all tonight. Just paly your cards!

And now, the Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards!

The Most Fun You Can Have in a Bathtub
Best of Show Winner: Slime Baff

Kids love the uglies! The more disgusting, the better. Kids love gross-out products for one simple reason. They know their parents will hate them. And when you’re a kid, that’s reason enough!

Slime Baff is a true-gross out product–it turns bath water into SLIME.  But the makers of this thoroughly unique toy, Gelicity, a skin technology company,  have added clean-up and safety features that parents will approve of.

Slime Baff is slimy fun.

Kids will love Slime Baff. It’s all the experiences of  a NY Subway car right in your own bathtub.

Here’s what kids will love about Slime Baff. It comes in three yucky colors: Gunky Green, Oozy Red and Goo Blue. You pour the packet into a tub filled with water. At first it starts off gooey, but the more you churn the water, the slimier the water gets. And the slimier it gets, they more kids will enjoy it.

Here’s what parents will appreciate. In the past, parents had trouble getting kids into the tub. Now, it’ll be a struggle to get them out!

And when the fun is done (and the kids are clean), you just turn the water back on to dilute the slime. Slime Baff has passed all the required safety and toxicity tests and it doesn’t leave a residue, smell like the town of Elizabeth, NJ (although it is much better now!) or make a ring around the tub.

Slime Baff is environmentally friendly — which is more than you can say about some kids! Slime Baff sold six million packages overseas and it’s just being sold now into America. Bath time (or Baff Time) will never be the same! Congratulations, Slime Bath on winning a Toy Fair 2015 Best of Show Award. Here’s a commercial that shows Slime Baff in action:

Right now, the easiest place to buy Slime Bath is online and at some small toy stores, but by late summer in August, you’ll be able to buy it at any Bed Bath and Beyond.

And summer is a great time to play with Slime Baff outside in a kiddy pool. Just dump it in the pool and watch the slime begin!

For creating a way for kids to have good, clean fun, Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg awards Slime Baff our Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Award.

Best Personal Mobility Device
Best of Show Winner: IO Hawk

Until Captain Kirk’s Star Trek transporter is fully developed, you’ll have to make do with a more down-to-earth version, the IO Hawk. This intelligent, high-tech personal mobility machine has been described as the love child of  Segway and a high-tech skateboard.

The IO Hawk Personal mobility transporter

The IO Hawk is the coolest way to get from HERE to THERE.

To move on the IO Hawk, you lean forward or backward. Mashable aptly described the ride as “strangely wonderful.” The fat tires give you a smooth ride and one battery charge will give you 10-12 hours of riding time.

You know the IO Hawk has to be a show stopper when comedian Seth Myers made sure he visited the IO Hawk booth so he could take it for a spin.

Seth Meyers at Toy Fair on the IO Hawk.

Seth Meyers on the IO Hawk.

For comparison purposes, here's Ethan Hawke on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Ethan Hawke on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

The IO Hawk can transport one person who weighs up to 280 pounds or four 70 lb kids standing on each others’ shoulders. (Kids, don’t try this at home!)

Just be advised you not only need to be upwardly mobile to ride the IO Hawk, you need to be upwardly mobile to afford it. The current retail price is $1799. Company officials informed me they are working to bring down that price.

For creating the best personal mobility device, Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg awards IO Hawk a Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Award.

Best Dinosaur Toy Not Licensed by Jurassic World:
Best of Show Winner: DinoPet

Everybody and their Smothers’ brother in the toy business are making toys based on Universal Pictures Jurassic Park sequel, Jurassic World. While the movie won’t be released until this summer,  international toy manufacturers aren’t waiting to jump on the dinosaur bandwagon.

Here’s the official movie trailer from this summer’s sure-to-be blockbuster movie, Jurassic World.


Hasbro has a wonderful line of collectible Jurassic World creatures, including a fierce new dinosaur named Indominus Rex. Lego plans a line of Jurassic World toys lead by their lead dinosaur, Diabolus Rex.

Hasbro created a  Jurassic World toy line led by a dinosaur  you've never beard of,  Indominus Rex.

Hasbro created a Jurassic World toy line led by a dinosaur you’ve never beard of,
Indominus Rex.

 

Lego's Diabolus Rex is just one toy of many that has a movie tie-in with the prehistoric feature from Universal this summer.

Lego’s Diabolus Rex is just one toy of many products that has a movie tie-in with the prehistoric creature feature from Universal this summer.

And countless other manufacturers will license the Jurassic World movie logo for everything from backpacks to video games.

Dinosaurs are always a perennial favorite at Toy Fair, so there were also a slew of non-licensed dinosaur toys in plush, rubber and metal. And inflatable and puppet dinosaurs, too.

But only one dinosaur is so completely unusual, so fantastic, so revolutionary, he’s won one our Best of Show Toy Fair Award!

I’m putting my dinero on a dinosaur named the Dino Pet. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it!

Bio-Pet

Have some prehistoric fun with Dino, a living bioluminescent pet unlike any other toy on the market!

The Dino Pet is a new kind of pet that photosynthesizes during the day and glows brilliantly when you play with it at night. The alluring blue light emitted by the Dino Pet is made from a living creature called dinoflagellates — a type of single-celled plankton — found in oceans around the world and in the toy’s dinosaur-shaped micro-aquarium.

By using sunlight, water and nutrients, instead of batteries and electricity, the Dino Pet allows you to hold one of nature’s most magical occurrences in the palm of your hand. Every year, thousands of people travel the world to experience the magic of bioluminescence in nature. The Dino Pet lets you bring this beautiful phenomenon into the comfort of your own home, and enjoy it night after night.

In a way, the Dino Pet is a lot more than a toy. It’s a contemporary living art piece, a biological magic trick, a conversation starter and a science lesson that instills wonder in people of all ages. It’s available online from Bio Pop and sells for around $60.

For being more interesting and unique than the thousands of licensed Jurassic World toys, Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg awards Dino Pet a Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Award.

Best Toy Box and Best Box of Toys:
Best of Show Winner: Loot Crate

Loot Cate is more than a toy. It’s a bunch of toys and accessories and the premier subscription service for geeks and gamers.

Remember the old Grab Bags?  You bought nondescript bags without knowing what was inside them. (Like arranged marriages.) And you could have a wonderful surprise or a disappointment, depending on the toy you got.

Well, instead of a bag, these surprises come in a box. A big box called the Loot Crate. It’s filled with 8-10 (or more) toys and video game accessories. You buy a subscription to Loot Crate for as low as $11.95 a month (for a year) or a one-month subscription for $13.95 (plus $6/month shipping and handling). And the retail value of each month’s toys is guaranteed to be $40. Or more!

Loot Crate

The December 2014 Loot Crate surprised kids and all gamers with 8-10 video games and accessories in their “surprise package” box. It costs $11.95-$13.95 a month (plus shipping/handling) depending on how long your subscription is. The company says the actual retail value of each month’s toys is at least $40.

 

Loot Crate was founded in 2012 by an entrepreneurial team of geeks and gamers who thought online retail was missing the sense of community, interactivity, and mystery geeks and gamers fell in love with at shows like PAX and Comic-Con. Each month, Loot Crate ships a themed mystery box of the best geek, gaming, and pop culture gear to a subscriber base of over 100,000 Looters. They include gear from some of the most respected entertainment and consumer product companies in the world.

How can Loot Crate offer so many toys for such a low subscription price? They steal them. No, no, of course, they don’t. They make incredible deals with manufacturers who want their products to get into the hands of geeks and gamers so they can act as brand ambassadors, spreading the word about how cool or hot something is.

For being the Best Toy Box and Box of Toys, Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg is honored to award Loot Crate a Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Award.

Best Building Toys for Girls:
Best of Show Winner: Goldie Blox

Goldie Blox set out to prove building toys were not just for boys. So they created and successfully expanded a line of fun construction toys for girls.The toys were not only fun, they had a higher purpose: to teach girls about engineering, inventiveness, solving problems and to inspire girls that they can do anything they set their minds to. (Similar to how Sisterhood of the Pantsuit empowers girls and women on its Facebook page.)

You have to admire the creators of Goldie Blox. In a world where instant gratification has become the norm, these toys are designed to encourage girls to want to build the future. Father knows best? Not!

When Founder and CEO of Goldie Blox, Debbie Sterling, was in engineering school at Stamford, it wasn’t hard to notice how girls were underrepresented among her classmates. She figured the best way to change that was to create a line of building toys aimed at girls 4-9.

When she contacted toy stores, she was warned off trying to change the status quo.  Toy stores buyers are not a very adventuresome bunch. They’d rather buy toys that knock off last year’s big hit, than chance it and try to sell something that was truly unique.

But after Goldie Blox ran a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $150,000 in the first four days, it became evident the company was onto something. Sure, girls “wanna have fun.” But they also want to build something today and make something of themselves tomorrow.

For creating a gender bending line of fun construction toys for girls and inspiring them that the only limits one has are the limits you place on yourself, Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg is honored to present Goldie Blox with a Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Award.

Best Classic Toy Reinvented:
Best of Show Winner: Übertüb

I’ve always been a fan of classic toys. Like the ultra-classic red wagon, the Radio Flyer. The flying Frisbee. And the gyrating Hula Hoop.

Classic toys keep their cool without electronics or batteries. They don’t run down until your energy runs out.

The Radio Flyer

The always hip, always cool classic red wagon, the Radio Flyer. Brother sold separately.

Dog catching a Frisbee

This looks like a dog making an incredible Frisbee catch. Actually, he was throwing it!

Hula hoop

The classic Great American Fad from the 60s-the Hula Hoop, is still twirling around today.  Please note, this little girl is having an appropriate amount of fun with a Hula Hoop.    (Shot by Adam Baker)

 

Hule hoop

This woman is having entirely too much fun. The Hula Hoop was made by WHAM-O. It doesn’t give you one.

Inventors of Übertüb, Steve Miller and Scott McCrindle, were just trying to solve a family problem when they reinvented a timely classic, the humble inner tube. A toy that was never branded was suddenly brand new fun!

Ubertub, reinventing the classic inner tube

Ubertub, reinvented the classic inner tube.

The Übertüb can be pumped up by a gas station air pump, a portable compressor, or a foot/hand pump. And if you don’t have any of those handy, it comes with its own manual pump. (Brilliant Readers Note:  There was a kid in my high school named Manual Pump. He sat right next to Jose Canusee and near Patti O’Furniture).

Remember how the air used to leak out of inner tubes when you screwed on the cap? Or deflate in rubber inflatable toys?

Not with Übertüb! A check valve keeps the air in place until the cap locks in place. And when the fun is done, it’s simple to deflate the tube and slip it into the dry mesh bag that is included.

Übertüb comes in five bright colors, red, white, yellow, pink and blue. And if you prefer basic black like the inner tubes of days gone by, that’s available, too.

As of this writing, Übertüb still has a little more than three weeks to go on their Kickstarter campaign, so if you’re a fan of the classics, this might be a good one to back.

Übertüb offers all the fun of yesteryear’s childhood, with none of the drawbacks that made floating on your back soaking up some summer sun a little less than perfect.

Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg is proud to award Übertüb our Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Award for the Best Classic Toy Reinvented.

Best Toy You Can Eat:
Best of Show Winner: Chocolate Picture Maker

Kids love toys and kids love chocolate. Wouldn’t it be great if some toy maker could combine the two? Well, that’s exactly what a company called i-Spy has done. Kids can create their own personalized chocolate bar, decorate it any way they’d like, then eat the fun they just created. How cool!

Chocolate Picture Maker comes in three delicious flavors of pure Belgian chocolate. Eighty grams of milk, white or dark chocolate. And kids don’t even need an oven to “bake” it. Just warm tap water.

Chocolate Picture Maker

Chocolate Picture Maker

With Chocolate Picture Maker, a huge part of the fun is designing the chocolate bar. A child can design his toy freehand by spelling name or a message like “Love You,” or use one of the included stencils to add a spaceship, ghost, butterfly and many more, even licensed character like Mickey Mouse.

Spongebob Squarepants chocolate bar

With Chocolate Picture Maker, you can create you own original design or use a stencil to create designs like this Spongebob Squarepants chocolate bar made with 3 kinds of Belgium chocolate.

The delicious chocolate bar you can create with Chocolate Picture Maker contains no nasties. No artificial flavors, color or preservatives and it’s gluten free.

For creating the Best Toy a Kid Can Eat, Einstein da Vinci and Goldenberg is excited to award Chocolate Picture Maker our Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Award.

Most Fun with Science Toy:
Best of Show Winners: Insta-Snow and Sick! Science Kits

Back when I used to work for Hasbro Toys’ ad agency on GI Joe (“Knowing is half the battle”), Transformers (“More than meets the eye”) and Weebles (“Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”), we would often hold focus groups for kids and parents (separately) to ask them what they liked and didn’t like about a toy.

My favorite response was when we asked a mom why she didn’t like Weebles.  She replied, “Because they ain’t educational.”

Sesame Street (TV show and toys) has done a miraculous job for generations educating kids and, at the same time, making learning fun. While they continue to mash up fun and education, the new leader in that field in the toy arena is Be Amazing Toys. Their toys are so incredibly fun, interesting and educational, I felt I had no choice but to award them 2 Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards. making them one of 3 companies to win two Best of Show awards.

Be Amazing Toys was started in 2002 by Steve Spangler, described in Time Magazine as, “The science teacher you always wanted to have in school.” The science toys he developed both teach and inspire. While an imaginative team of creative toy designers and inventors now have added their genius to the toy line, Spangler continues to develop toys for the company.

I saw their demonstrations at Toy Fair and was mesmerized. That’s why we’re awarding Be Amazing Toys two Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards for The Most Fun You Can Have With Science, for Insta-Snow and Sick! Science Kits.

Insta-Snow

The genius behind Be Amazing Toys is that they’re fun experiments that actually work and they stimulate a child’s curiosity. After performing a seemingly miraculous experiment, kids ask themselves, “Wow! How did that happen?”

Kids can use technology (taking a picture of a QR code with a smart phone) to access a video link that explains the science behind the experiment.

kids playing in Insta-snow

Insta-Snow makes it’s own snow. People of Boston, don’t look! Turn your heads!

Insta-Snow

Oh sure, right now may not be a good time to convince you that you need more snow, but come summer, Insta-Snow’s going to a welcome sight.

Now I know Winter 2014-15 has brought inordinate amounts of show to the lower 48 (Hey, I can see Sara Palin from here), but once those mountains of snow melt and spring blossoms into summer’s heat, kids are going to be Jonesin’ for more snow. And they’ll get the closest thing to the real thing with Insta-Snow.

Climate change aside, no one makes more snow than Insta-Snow. It’s a dry white powder that creates an amazing reaction when combined with simple tap water. Insta-Snow is a compact, super absorbent polymer (I used to have shirt that was 100% polymer) that quickly drinks up a lot of water, then erupts instantly into an avalanche of fake, but realistic-looking snow 100 times its original size.

It’s very fast and very visual. Here, watch  for yourself!

Sick! Science Kits

Millions of people who watched YouTube videos of volcanic reactions when Mentos were added to bottles of soda pop will look back on those videos as prehistoric compared the the videos created by Be Amazing Toys for their fascinating family of toys called Sick! Science Kits. Over 100 million people have tuned in to view company founder Steve Spangler on his various YouTube channels. They no doubt agree with the company’s assessment, “Sick! Science toys are insanely cool!”

Sick! Science takes science to a new fun, dynamic and educational level. Each kit has a QR code kids can click on to access a short video of their upcoming science experiment. Part of the magic and interactive nature of these kits is that the initial video doesn’t explain the science behind the experiments, it leaves kids to wonder, “How does that work?”

After conducting the experiment and experiencing it firsthand, kids can watch a second longer online video where “Science Professor” Spangler explains the science behind the experiment kids just performed. Be Amazing Toys’ Sick! Science Kits are sure to ignite the wonder, curiosity and brain cells of future scientists.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what seven year-old Presley says about one of her experiments with Sick! Science Kits. You’ve gotta take Presley at her word. After all, the kid’s already got her own YouTube channel. On one of Presley’s introductory videos, she charmingly answers a question posed by one of her viewers, “Yes, I am a girl,” she replies.

It is with great pride that I am awarding Be Amazing Toys with two Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards for The Most Fun You Can Have With Science, for their products, Insta-Snow and Sick! Science Kits.

Best Sports Toy Reinvented:
Best of Show Winners: E-Z Grip Ball and Crush It! Bat

Tucker Toys mantra is they want to “transform play.” When you see what they’ve done with a bouncing ball and baseball bat, it’s evident they’re not just ahead of the game, they’ve created entirely new games. That’s why they’re one of three companies to win 2 Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards.

E-Z Grip Ball

The E-Z Grip ball bounces high. But so do a lot of balls. And that’s where the comparison to other balls ends.

It’s got a patented super grip, so kids can catch it with one hand. It has a soft, but tough outer web and a durable, inflatable inner ball. On any playing surface, it provides high bounce performance, a great grip and a fun, unique look.

E-Z Grip Ball

The high-bounce E-Z Grip ball bounces on grass, sand and even water!

But what makes makes the E-Z Grip ball so ultra cool is that it also bounces on water, grass and sand! So it’s an incredible ball to take to the pool, beach, or really anywhere.

The E-Z Grip ball will put some real bounce in kids’ play. No matter where they’re playing!

Crush-It! Bat

When something is cool, people sometimes say, “It’s a home run.” The Crush-It! baseball bat is a home-run! Literally. Tucker Toys has redesigned the baseball bat and it definitely transforms the way kids play.

Crush-It! Baseball Bat

The Crush-It baseball bat redefines backyard and playground fun with a totally unique baseball bat.

Crush-It! is the adjustable bat for high-powered hits and the only bat that offers the lightweight power of a tennis racquet. It has high tension strings that provide a spring-action bat that can smack a ball far, and even farther with its adjustable Power Knob!

The Power Knob allows you to adjust the string tension for playing on a large baseball field or a small backyard. It even provides its own sound effects making a “whoosh” sound when swung. It comes with a high-performance Foam Ball.

It is with much excitement that I am awarding Tucker Toys with two Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards for The Best Sports Toys Reinvented, for their products, the E-Z Grip ball and the Crush-It! baseball bat.

Best Backyard Family Fun Toy:
Best of Show Winners: Air Pogo Xtreme and Zipline Fun Xtreme

Adventure Parks, a newly organized company that markets  a collection of classic outdoor adventure toys, won two Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards because they redesigned two classic outdoor toys, a pogo stick and a zipline. Now, moms and dads can join their kids in backyard family fun. Adventure Parks was one of three companies who won two Einstein da Vinci and Goldenberg Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards.

Air Pogo Xtreme

Air Pogo Xtreme is like a pogo stick on a rope. It lets kids take a big bounce on air instead of on a concrete driveway or pavement. You just suspend the rope from a tree limb, deck, wooden swing set or any other sturdy overhead support that’s at least 8 1/2 feet high. Kids love bouncing up and down and with Air Pogo they can swing, twist, twirl, dive, float and fly to their heart’s content without hitting the jarring ground.

Kid on a Air Pogo

Air Pogo has all the fun of a classic pogo stick without ever hitting the ground. Instead, you bounce on air!

It has been redesigned it so Moms and Dads can now bounce around on Air Pogo, after their kids’ turn is done. While the previous limit was up to 90 pounds, Air Pogo Xtreme can now handle up to 250 pounds.

Zipline Fun Xtreme

The original zipline was introduced for family backyard fun about 40 years ago. Like Air Pogo, the parent company has improved Zipline Fun Xtreme, so kids and parents can enjoy flying through the air together, one at a time, of course.

Weight limits have increased from 80 pounds to 200 pounds on the entry level Zipline and it has a 90 foot cable. The top of the Zipline can accommodate a 400 pound weight limit so parents and kids can still enjoy their Big Mac and Quarter Pounder with cheese (in moderation, of course!) without negating their ability to zip along in their backyard.

We are very honored to award Adventure Parks two Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg Best of Show Toy Fair 2015 Awards for Air Pogo Xtreme and Zipline Fun Xtreme.

The Worst Toy at Toy Fair

It is with some sadness that I have to report that the worst selling toy at Toy Fair was the 4,500 pound Jacob Javitz statue. Is it an action figure? Apparently not. A backyard toy for the kiddie pool? No way.

No one can quite figure out who the target audience is. So for the 10th year in a row,  no toy buyers have ordered this monument to the man who created a great hall and exposition center and the $8.00 hot dog, hold the mustard.

Jacob Javitz statue

The worst selling toy at Toy Fair for the 10th straight year was the Jacob Javitz Statue

Thanks, Readers, for joining us for our annual Best of Show Toy Fair Awards. We hope you’ll check out the many unique toys we’ve honored. They’ve earned a place in toy history and we appreciate that you were a part of it.

STAN: Well, did I keep quiet enough?
HARRIET: Yes, I was very impressed. So, I suppose you’ve given up your plan to be the STAR of this blog.
STAN: Yes, but I’m replacing that idea with an even more diabolical plan.
HARRIET: What’s that?
STAN: I’m going to publish my own blog.
HARRIET: Where?
STAN: Here! I’ll post it right here under Goldenwasser’s nose.
HARRIET: But how can you write a blog? You’re not real.
STAN: I’ll hire real people to do it for me.
HARRIET: So, you’re a man with a plan, huh, Stan?
STAN: That’s right And I plan to make my blog more interesting than this one. ‘Course that won’t be hard.

HARRIET SCOFFS AT STAN’S ABILITY TO PULL IT OFF.

STAN: Plus, my blog won’t have some idiot interrupting the blog’s writer to make his own asinine, stupid comments!
HARRIET: But you’re the idiot!
STAN: A detail, Harriet. A small detail.
STAN: So, Readers, look for my new blog, right here. But whatever you do, don’t tell Goldenberg.

HARRIET: Hey, you got his name right for once.
STAN: Lucky guess.
HARRIET: T
hat’s quite enough. Now, “Say goodnight,” Stan.

STAN: Goodnight, Stan.
HARRIET: Goodnight, Brilliant Readers. Thanks for joining us today for our annual Best of Show – Toy Fair Awards. I’d invite you back to see the next 10 Minutes of Brilliance blog, but I’m just not sure what Stan has up his sleeves.
STAN: Both arms.
HARRIET: Here we go again.

10 Ways to Tell Mother Nature and Old Man Winter to Shovel it!

Let’s face it. Winter 2015 has been brutal. Snow. Snow. More snow. Ice. Freezing Rain. And then more Snow.

It’s gotten so bad, I’ve got Log Cabin Fever. I just want to stay inside til Spring and eat pancakes.

Part of me thinks climate change is responsible. While another part of me keeps hoping it’s just an overly ambitious post-movie campaign for Disney’s Frozen.

Disney's Frozen logo

Disney’s Frozen and Winter itself have taken the country by storm. Literally.

If Mother Nature is going to wreak havoc with every aspect of your life this Winter,  remember some of the great advice our Moms used to give us.

No, no.! I’m not talking about when your Mom said,

“If you fall off that ladder and break your leg, don’t come running to me.”

I’m talking about when she said,

“If you can’t beat ‘em,  join ‘em.”

With that sage advice in mind, here are 10 examples of people who refused to let the snow and bitter cold get the best of them. Instead, they got the best of Mother Nature and Old Man Winter.

 

Erect a tribute to "Sharknado!"

Erect a tribute to “Sharknado!”

 

Venus de Milo

Sculpt some art. Hint: pick an easy Subject. Choose Venus de Milo not “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”

 

Snoopy Ice Sculpture

“Hang on, Snoopy, Snoopy Hand On!”

 

Ice sculpture

Write your own caption. I can’t be doing all the work here!

turtle ice sculpture

Great turtle ice sculpture. And the three people on top of the turtle look so lifelike!

 

ice sculpture dragon

Winter got you dragon?

 

Ice sculpture car in dragon's mouth

This is one of my favorites!

 

yellow dog

Please don’t write to me to tell me how they got the yellow snow.

Giant Star Wars Snow Bunny

Giant Star Wars Snow Bunny

 

Hello Kitty

Hello, Kitty!

Well, that’s all for now. This is just a short blog to warm up your winter. Stay tuned, though, because I’m halfway through my once-a-year look at Toy Fair. I’ll be revealing Einstein da Vinci & Goldenbergs 10 Best of Show Toys at Toy Fair 2015. You won’t want to miss this behind-the-scenes look at what will be the best toys under the Christmas tree.

It’s an event so big, I even had a noted Canadian artist create a logo for me. Here. I’ll show it to you.

Einstein da Vinci & Goldenberg's Best of Show Toy Fair Awards 2015

This logo cost me $7000. I don’t think I overpaid, do you?

Thanks for checking out my compilation of the best Winter photos. I hope it inspires you to build your own snow sculptures, laugh at Mother Nature and Blow Off Old Man Winter.

One more thing. I kept Stan and Harriet off this blog because I found out Stan has been planing something behind my back. I don’t know exactly what it is, but if you hear about it first, please let me know.

Until the next time we meet, may your cocoa be hot and filled with marshmallows. Bye now.

STAN: Is he gone?
HARRIET: Yes, but I don’t think you should follow with what you’re gonna do. Jack will be furious.
STAN: I don’t care, Harriet! Keeping me off this week’s blog was the last straw! And I don’t want you to telling Goldstein or his Readers what I’ve got planned, you hear?
HARRIET: If you don’t want me to spill the beans that you’re planning your own blog, then I promise not to say a word.
STAN: Good. Let’s leave it at that.

New maps of the US, Cool Inventions and the Latest on Exploding Kittens

Hi, Welcome to 10 Minutes of Brilliance.

STAN: It’s more like 10 Minutes of Stupidity.

I’m your host, Jack…

STAN: …Silverberg?

No, no, it’s Goldenberg. Jack Goldenberg, Stan,. Now will you please shut up?

STAN: Hey, a**ho**, you’re the writer. Make me.
STAN:
STAN:
STAN: All right, all right. I get it. I’ll be good (for a while).

Today’s blog reveals:

1. Three Recently Discovered New Maps of the United States
2. 10 Cool Inventions You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
3. Let’s Pause for Ten Seconds of Zen
4. The Latest News on Exploding Kittens
5. An Advertising Story from My Checkered Past. This One’s for the Birds.

And so it begins…

Three Recently Discovered New Maps of the United States

Kids today don’t know a damn thing about geography. When I grew up we had to memorize country names like Burma, Ceylon, Persia, Rhodesia, Zaire and and faraway places like Pikesville, Maryland.

It was important for us to memorize these places and know approximately where they were located.

Not sure why it was important, though. None of those countries are still around. Oh, wait, they’re still here. They didn’t vanish. The just have new names. You know, like Datsun became Nissan. And Abott became Costello.

STAN: If Goldman has somethin’ to say, why can’t he just say it?
HARRIET: Don’t challenge, Jack, Stan. Especially so early in the blog. If he deletes this blog before he posts it, the only place we’d be working in his last blog on the Super Bowl.
STAN: Please, Harriet, I’d rather be the comic foil on the Entanglement Spectocoscopy of Quantum Matter blog or The Wit and Wisdom of the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates than suffer though that turged tome again.
HARRIET: Then quit yer yappin’ and let Jack finish.

So here’s what I was thinking. Since most boomers have forgotten what they learned 600 years ago in school and since today’s Millennials and the most recent generation, Gen Z, never had to learn country names or fold maps, I’m proposing a new set of maps that more Americans can relate to:

Here are a few suggested maps stolen in the dark of night from other places on the Internet. To enlarge each map so you can read them better, Mac users should hold down the Command and Plus keys.

PC users should buy a Mac.

The Fast Food Map of the United States

The Fast Food Map of the United States lists which fast food chains are most popular in each state.

 

Or how about a map that identified each state by what they were worst at?

 

What is your state worst at map

On The United States of Shame Map, Florida is the worst state for identity theft, North Dakota has the ugliest residents (it’s OK to say that because no one lives there), and Texas has the lowest rate of high school graduation. (Rick Perry still thinks the 3 branches of the US Govt. are Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontale)

Or we could really simplify things by defining the most popular TV shows set in every state. Surely that’s something even Baltimorons could understand.

 

The Most Popular TV Shows Set in Every State Map

The Most Popular TV Show Set in Every State Map clearly identifies the state locales of  Walker, Texas Ranger and Hawaii Five-O.

 

 

10 Cool Inventions You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Some inventions don’t solve a huge human problem. Like stairs that contain a sliding board.

cool invetions-sliding board next to stairs

The kid in me would ride down the slide moments  before the adult in me would break a leg.

Other inventions are quite brilliant and useful. I love this one.

Parking garage

This parking garage has lights to indicate a parking space is open.

Here are a few more real inventions:

Wall outlets with USB chargers

Wall outlets with USB chargers.

Movie theater bathrooms with built-in movie screens. So you won't miss!

Movie theater bathrooms with built-in movie screens. So you won’t miss a thing!

benches

Benches you can turn to always have a dry seat.

Soda vending machine

Supermarket vending machines where you can build-your-own 12-pack of sodas. (How come they still charge for Pepsi Free?)

 

pizza vending machine

If this fresh pizza vending machine doesn’t work, you call Customer Service by banging on the machine and saying, “Hey Mario, you forgot the pepperoni.”

App that unsubscribes you to spam mail.

This app unsubscribes you from spam mail, just by taking a picture of it.

subway ticket vending machine that sell you a ticket for Westport

Subways where you can pay by recycling.. “That will be two more Coke bottles and one Nehi Orange. Deposit another recyclable and we’ll let you off in Westport.”

traffic lights

Traffic lights with countdown indicators.

Let’s Pause For Ten Seconds of Zen

We live on a mostly blue planet that is 71% water and weighs approximately 13,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 lbs. yet floats freely in space.

We live on a mostly blue planet that is 71% water and weighs approximately 13,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 lbs. yet floats freely in space.

 

Planet-Earth

The planet revolves around a fiery ball that is 93,000,000 miles away, yet it controls plant life on Earth.

 

the

The closest celestial body, the moon, is 235,500 miles away, yet it controls our seas.

sistine ceiling

And still you don’t believe anything is possible?

The Latest News on Exploding Kittens. It’s the most backed Kickstarter project

When Mathew Inman, Elan Lee and Shane Small launched a card game called Exploding Kittens on Kickstarter,  they had a modest goal. They only wanted to raise $10,000. Twenty minutes after putting the project on Kickstarter, they reached their goal.

Within an hour they raised one million dollars.

Their project is still live with less than two weeks to go. They’ve raised over $5 million and attracted 130, 657 supporters, the largest number of individual backers, in Kickstarter history.

Exploding Kittens Card game

The campaign with the most backers on Kickstarter featured Exploding kittens. Laser beams. And sometimes exploding goats. What’s not to love?

What is so attractive about Exploding Kittens? After all, it’s not even a video game. It’s just a very clever deck of cards. According to one of the co-founders, Elan Lee, “This is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.”

OK, that explains it!

An Advertising Story from My Checkered Past. This One’s for the Birds. ( With apologies to the readers of Larry Brauner’s LinkedIn group, Larry Brauner and Friends, who’ve heard it all before)

The story takes place in the prehistoric past. Not just before Google Maps, but back before people had any inkling what a GPS was or why they even needed one.

In case you missed my earlier post on today’s blog, I should explain that back around the mid 1980s, people would travel from place to place guiding themselves with a folding phenomenon called “maps.” The directions on these “maps” were printed on material made of cellulose pulp, wood, rags, and certain grasses, processed into flexible sheets deposited from an aqueous suspension.

My client, a telecommunications company called Communications Electronics, was introducing the first global positioning system to the Baltimore marketplace. We created an elaborate invitation designed to entice the top executives of 25 fleet car companies to witness how a GPS operated.

We figured they would be the ideal first adapters of this new invention designed to get drivers from here to there quickly and more accurately.

The invitations went out and no one responded. No one even RSVP-ed their regrets.

Rather than re-inviting these executives by explaining the advantages of GPS technology, we sent each of them a live homing pigeon along with information on the GPS demo.

We told our invitees that the pigeons they’d just received were homing pigeons and they was very much like a GPS. Because no matter where they were released, the pigeons could always find their way home.

Homing pigeon who is lost

A rare bird, indeed, a homing pigeon who is forced to “Recalculate.”

Walter Pigeon

Walter Pigeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We told the executives that if they wanted to attend the demo, all they had to do was release the pigeon. There was a band on each bird identifying the 25 company executives we invited.

We also told the executives that if they didn’t want to attend the event, they should just keep the pigeon.

Do you know what? All 25 executives released their pigeons and attended the demonstration. Many of them brought two or three other people with them.

They probably just came along to see what kind of crazy ad agency would send out live pigeons as part of an invitation.

But really, they didn’t have to attend the event.

They could have just kept the pigeons.

OK Brilliant Readers, I appreciate that you stopped by to see what was on my mind. If you enjoyed today’s blog, please leave a comment or use the space if you have any questions.

Of course, that’s not likely to happen. A few regulars are in my good graces for leaving a comment every once in a while. But although we have over 20,000 subscribers, (I know. It says 11,000 subscribers below. I have to fix that.) few Brilliant Readers ever leave a comment. I’ll get over it. Maybe.

Until the next time we meet, all I can say is… OK Stan, take it from here…

STAN: Why don’t you all ** **** *******ves.
HARRIET: Way to go, Stan. Now we’ll never get a job on another blog.
STAN: Say, you wouldn’t happen to have the number for the Entanglement Spectocoscopy of Quantum Matter blog , would you?
HARRIET: No, I don’t. Now, say you’re sorry, Stan.
STAN: You’re sorry, Stan.

Night all.