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Clock Says It’s Later Than You Think

A desk clock and calendar just on the market from a Pasadena inventor has an additional, nightmarish attraction: It calculates the national debt continuously, adding about $8,000 to the total every second.

Dubbed a product “for the person who has everything and doesn’t want to lose it” by its designer, Warren Dennis of OSFA Corp., Debtman is a mini-micro computer encased in a black metal cylinder 5 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. “Nicholas Brady, secretary of the Treasury, has one on his desk,” Dennis said.

Dennis has programed Debtman using U.S. Office of Management and Budget figures. The computer, which operates on two C batteries, comes running, so the number you see will be the actual debt at that second. Right now, it is about $2.64 trillion.

The batteries last about a year, according to Dennis. When you replace them, all you have to do is reset the computer to the right date and time and it will automatically reset the debt to the current, correct figure. If there is a change in the rate at which the debt is increasing or decreasing, the computer also can be re-programmed at any time to reflect that.

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Debtman, which sells for $29.95 until Dec. 30, is available by calling (800) DEBTMAN. Dennis said he will give $1 for every Debtman he sells to the U.S. Treasury toward reducing the national debt.

Tale of the Tape

A new plastic, self-adhesive tape may save you some time in wrapping holiday packages for mailing. Packaged in a dispenser with a sharp cutting-edge, the tape is already printed with the words FRAGILE and HANDLE WITH CARE.

One of the Quikstik line of packaging tapes manufactured by Gould Packaging Inc. of Seattle, the 2-inch-wide tape is moisture resistant and meets U.S. Postal Service mailing requirements. A 400-inch roll costs about $2.40 and is available at Drug Emporium and Longs Drugs.

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Storyteller Lamp

There’s a fanciful new Mother Goose lamp that lights your child’s bedroom as it plays lullabies and tells bedtime stories, then softly dims as (if all goes well) sleep overtakes your toddler.

Kidstar, a division of Monogram Models Inc. in Morton Grove, Ill., has introduced the Mother Goose storyteller lamp, an adjustable gooseneck lamp with Mother Goose head that contains a 12-volt bulb. A cassette player that will spin an hour’s worth of stories and songs to a sleepy child is enclosed in the body of the seated goose figure. As the cassette tape ends, the light gradually dims and then turns off.

Mother Goose storyteller lamp is 16 inches high and plugs into a regular outlet. Suggested retail is $59.95. In Southern California, it is available at Toys “R” Us, Best stores, Bergstroms Childrens Stores, the Home Shopping Network and through the Right Start catalogue (800) 889-3660.

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