Once upon a time, in neighborhoods not so very far away, little boys and girls used to exercise by madly racing tricycles and bicycles up driveways, down sidewalks, and across streets.
Now comes the exercycle for children aged 4 to 10. Made by Apparent Inc. of Grass Valley, Calif., the 85-pound Kidcycle includes a multicolored, computerized display board with a timer, odometer and a row of lights that flash from left to right as youngsters pedal.
Dyke DeWitt, the company's co-founder, said he dreamed up the invention when his own children kept trying to use the adult exercycles at a Colorado fitness club he owned and that it is aimed at health clubs and hotels. In the three months since the product's launching, the company says it has shipped about 125. The price: $1,250.
'Happy Hour' Running Out
Is it last call for unrestricted "happy hours" in California?
At least 15 states have already limited the drink promotions, some even banning them. The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is preparing to crack down here. In hearings this year, the ABC heard about marketing gimmicks that "promote the overconsumption of alcoholic beverages," including timed drinking contests and 4-for-the-price-of-1 drinks.
An ABC report, now being printed, concludes that the ABC has the power to "spell out what is and what is not" an acceptable "happy hour," said Manuel Espinosa, one of the report's authors.
That prospect may not go over with some lounge owners, according to Beverage Bulletin, a Los Angeles trade journal, which editorialized recently: "Whatever they come up with will signal a sad day for the American free-enterprise system."
What, No Chopped Liver?
Here's a little riddle for Southern Californians: What contains lollipops, Mylar blankets, suntan lotion, a can opener, a first-aid kit and a packet of chicken soup mix? A picnic basket. No, it's an earthquake survival kit. More specifically, the Jewish Mother's Earthquake Survival Kit.
The kit also contains many other items deemed vital for surviving the aftermath of "the Big One." It's the brainstorm of two Los Angeles women, Karen Schwartz and Sissy Taran, who came up with the idea last summer while helping "earthquake-proof" a West L. A. synagogue. They ordered the goods from wholesalers and were assembling the kits in durable plastic tool chests on Oct. 1, when the Richter scale provided them with new sales incentive.
The $125 kits for a family of four can be ordered by writing P.O. Box 7323, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. There also smaller kits to put in your car or office.
It's Not Fit to Print
These days just about anybody with access to a personal computer can put together professional-looking newsletters, flyers and even books. At least that's what boosters of so-called desktop publishing like to say.
Don't believe it, say the design professionals.
Design Access Inc., a San Francisco firm specializing in electronic publishing, says the new technology has spawned so many "graphically atrocious" and "aesthetically impaired" documents that the firm is sponsoring a "Bad Art" contest.
"Just because you give someone a paintbrush doesn't mean he can paint, " says President Bruce Ryon. Contest categories include worst layout, worst use of color, worst use of fonts and most graphic elements in a single design.