Five Ideas to Watch
Clothing that repels bugs, Bill Clinton's latest plaything, and more.
- Antimosquito Wear
Fear West Nile no more. A new line of clothes from Seattle-based Ex Officio is engineered to repel insects. The EPA-approved apparel--created in partnership with Buzz Off Insect Shield, a Greensboro, N.C., company--is treated with permethrin, a pesticide that occurs naturally in the chrysanthemum plant but can also be created synthetically. "It gives mosquitoes a skull- crushing headache," says Ex Officio's Rick Hemmerling. "If they land on you, they can't even think to bite you." Buzz Off's outdoor togs start at $59.
- Call Me on the Fly
A new service from Verizon Wireless lets road warriors forward calls from their Verizon mobile lines to an airplane seatback phone--without paying hefty fees. The service costs $10 a month, plus 10 cents per minute for calls made from Verizon Airfones, which appear on most major carriers. That's a bargain, considering Airfone calls normally cost $3.99 to initiate and $3.99 per minute.
- Talk Into the Mouse
One problem with some new Internet-based telephone services is that users are limited to speaker phones (no privacy) or headsets (hi, I'm a Time-Life operator). A device recently patented by Dell engineer Roger M. Blood seeks to make the process less cumbersome: From one end, the gizmo is a regular computer mouse--but flip it over, and you have a nifty clamshell phone.
- Speck on the Map Is Trumped Up
With the first season of The Apprentice wrapped, Donald Trump now has time for his latest venture: transforming an obscure Caribbean island into a branded Trump theme park of sorts. Canouan, home to just two small hotels, has long been a poor relation of nearby hot spots like St. Lucia. Until now. Trump plans to build 135 luxury villas and to revamp the island's championship golf course. He's also taking over the local casino. Twenty-five villas are scheduled to go on sale this summer. In a statement, the big man said: "It's great to be branching out."
- Presidents Who Never Lie
In time for the election, a small Houston company is rolling out talking presidential action figures. Toy Presidents Inc., which introduced a George W. Bush doll last August, just unveiled five new posable prez. The action figures cost $29.95 and come replete with hand-tied double Windsor knots and theme underwear (T.R.: teddy bear boxers; Clinton: red satin). The best part: They can recite top sound bites ("Four score and seven years ago...").
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