It's ironic that the Smiley Face first appeared in 1963, a year tinged with more than its share of sorrow, but the doofy little emblem of unflagging bonheur has been ubiquitous ever since. Why? Could it be that the cartoonish representation of what scientists call the Duchenne smile, (one that raises the cheeks and indicates true enjoyment), has the same effect on us as the smile itself? Who knows? What is clear is that the relentlessly happy visage isn't going away. In fact, it's grinned itself into all of these very up-to-date items.
Ohio Art's aluminum-dust sketcher debuted in 1960 and most of us have been struggling to draw a curved line with it ever since. Some brilliant souls, (check out the Etch-A-Sketch artwork by George Vlosich III and Jeff Gagliardi), have succeeded. But even we less-talented folk have loved trying to beat the limitations of the 2-way knobs, happily destroying the evidence of our failures with an upside down shake of the iconic red box. These fun and funky versions of the classic are evidence of its staying power.
Who hasn't turned to The Magic 8 Ball for guidance somewhere along the line? It may have started with queries re: Christmas presents and test scores, but practically every pubescent female in my junior high asked the omniscient orb for romantic advice they'd never have solicited elsewhere. Waiting for an answer to float up from the ball's murky darkness has yet to lose its allure as illustrated by these equally engaging 8 Ball offspring. But if you have a question that simply can't wait for an answer, consult the handy online Majestic 8 Ball for instant wisdom.
What is it about Lava Lamps anyway? Yes, their perpetually moving blobs are mesmerizing, and most of us have a soft spot for a smidgen of kitsch. But when a tiny town in Washington sees a giant lava lamp as its own Eiffel Tower and the source of its salvation, (see the Soap Lake Giant Lava Lamp press release here for details), have things gotten out of control? We'd settle for any of these smaller expressions of lava lamp love. A little bit of lava goes a long way...