Grocery bag grips #13 and #14!

This may seem strange, but without any really conscious effort we seem to have become collectors of grocery grips. You know, the little handles that lets you carry grocery bags without cramping your hands. Here are two new for the collection; # 13 and # 14. The one on top is the Helping Hands from Helping Hands. It is USD 19:95 for two. The other one is the One Grip from Space Savers and it is USD 5:- a piece. Link to all 14 grocery grips on the site!brbr

Wanted! Information on Chaino, the chainless bike.

We spotted one of these Chaino bicycles with a flat in a bike stand yesterday afternoon, and we must admit we had not heard of them before. As far as we could see, instead of an ordinary chain, it had a drive-shaft sort of arrangement, much like BMW motorcycles. It also seemed to have some gear shift arrangement. We vaguely remember a bike a bit like this for sale in a Muji shop in London in the eighties, but other than that we have not seen anything like it. Now we want to know more. Do you know anything about these bicycles? Were they nice bikes or disasters? Do you own one, or have you owned one? If you have any information, we’d love to hear from you!brbr

Forget jumper cables. Here’s the car battery power backup.

They call it Simple Start and it is a car battery power backup for those unfortunate moments when you have forgot to turn the lights off or left the radio on or something else that has sucked the power out of your car’s battery. The Simple Start can sit patiently waiting in a large-ish glove compartment, charged from your home power or from any 12V power source. The moment you find yourself out of juice, you connect the thing to your cigarette lighter 12V socket and just sit back and wait until the light goes green and you can start up and be on your way. This will take some 10-20 minutes. And once you get the car running, you can spend the drive re-charging the Simple Start, so that it is ready the next time… From Black Decker, it is USD 49:99 on Amazon.brbr

The perfect hard-boiled egg.

Just as all previous Easters, we have been cooking and eating a lot of eggs. And just as all previous Easters we have discussed the same thing; how to boil the perfect egg. We have tried a lot of ways over the years, but this year’s best (and probably all-time best as well) is a method attributed to all-american housewife Martha Stewart. Here are Martha’s egg boiling tip: Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, and cover with one inch of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and pull the saucepan from the burner. Let the eggs rest for about 1.5 to 2 minutes for soft-boiled, 2 to 2.5 minutes for medium-boiled, and 12 to 13 minutes for hard-boiled. Then remove the eggs from the water. Soft- and medium-boiled eggs should be served immediately, while hard-boiled eggs should be plunged into a bowl of ice cold water, to prevent the yolk from discoloring. Why the hand boiled eggs should rest in the hot water for so much longer than the medium ones, we have no idea. But as long as it works…brbr

The world’s best taxi vehicle.

This is not going to be a car blog, but while we are on the subject of London and road transport, we cannot but mention the classic London taxis. They are, at least from a passenger’s point of view, in our opinion the best taxi vehicles ever designed. They are easily accessible, even for disabled persons, they are roomy, comfortable and have lots of space for luggage. The classic London cab has reportedly been made in over 100,000 examples since the first FX series was introduced right after WWII. The taxis are manufactured by LTI – London Taxis International, and the model we are most familiar with is the Fairway, introduced in 1981. The TX I and TX II came in 1997 and 2002 respectively. The brand new TX4 (there is no information as to what happened to the # III) is the latest addition. Interestingly, during our few days in London recently, we saw several examples of all the three latest incarnations. That would mean that the Fairways we saw in the street could be 25 years old and still running. That is quite impressive given that a London taxi averages some 70,000 miles a year. LTI is reportedly experiencing a growing demand from other parts of the world, and sales are reported to increase. There is even a US sales company. A new TX4 Driver sells in England from GBP 26.995:- (about USD 53,000:-) with a stick shift. The TX4 Gold is GBP 35,880:- (about USD 70,000:-) with an automatic at Mann Overton. If that is too steep, you can always get the beautiful 18th scale model Fairway taxi for USD 96:- or EUR 84:30. More on the history of London taxis here and here.brbr

G-Wiz. The electric car that’s actually in use.

We spent a few days in London recently. We had not been there for some time, so there were quite a few new things to discover. Among them we spotted these little city cars, that kept popping up all over the place. At first we thought they were a version of a EU moped car, but a closer look revealed they are smarter than that. They are electric. The car is called G-Wiz and it is available in two versions. The budget version comes in black only and has a little lower top speed and a little less range. It is GBP 6.998:- inc. VAT (approx. USD 14.000:-). The cheapest Smart Fortwo is GBP 6.770:- or about USD 13.300:-, but then you will have to add the cost of gas. The slightly up-market G-Wiz at USD 16.300:- has a range of 48 miles on a charge, can be coerced up to 45 mph, is available in any number of colors and with options like leather upholstery, AC, alloy rims, carpets, cup holder and a lot of other goodies. At GoinGreen who markets the G-Wiz, they claim to have sold more than 850 of them in London alone. And they have a few pretty good sales points: Apart from the actual cash, they are exempt from road tax and congestion tax, gets free parking and free charging in London and the lowest rate if you should decide to get one as a company car.brbr

Wall mounted home theatre projector from LG.

This may be old-ish by now, but we have not heard of any other wall mounted home theatre projector, so here goes. Hard working contributor Magnus I.B. mailed in this tip, and we are truly sorry it has been sitting in the mail bag for so long. The LG AN110 was the first (and at the time the only) home theatre projector that could be put on a wall, or placed on a small stand like in the picture above. Maybe it still is. Maybe not. In any case it is pretty smart, and had it been around a couple of years ago, we could have saved ourselves a bunch of holes in the ceiling… The LG AN110 won a design award in the Red Dot Awards 2006. Thanks, Magnus, for letting us know!brbr

Sweden’s secret weapon.

The fifties was a decade of cold war between the East and the West. Sweden had a geographically precarious position between Nato and the Warsaw pact. Sweden also had one of the world’s strongest air forces and made serious plans to build nuclear weapons. In spite of all the money that was spent (or invested, if you will) in defense during those years, hardly anything remains. Nothing except the only skin care product almost every Swedish male knows and have used. Försvarets Hudsalva, or Defense Forces Cerat. The cerat was developed during the fifties by the Swedish Military Pharmacy as a remedy for blisters and cold sores, but its uses quickly expanded as grunts discovered its versatility. It was used greasing bicycle chains and door hinges, as shoeshine, as a substitute for butter, for dry elbows, as ski wax and, it is rumored, as frying fat. Today this icon product is also used as lip cerat, paw ointment for dogs and much more. A 25 ml pack is SEK 29:- (approx. USD 4:-) at the Swedish Pharmacy web shop. Manufactured by APL, Apoteket Produktion Laboratorier.brbr

Smart hook for your headrest.

This is a clever looking little hook that attaches to the headrest support in your car (providing your headrests with steel stick supports) and where you can hang your purse or backpack or grocery bag or the bag with take-out food from the sushi place. Or anything else that works better hanging than standing or lying down. We do tend to get a bit upset when the grocery bags fall over and we have to search for lemons under the car seats or when the miso soup spills all over the sushi. So for the SEK 19:90 (approx. USD 2:80) for 2 that Biltema charges, we think it’s a both cheap and practical gadget ( 39-206).brbr

Skeppshult introduces auto shift bicycle.

We saw this in an ad in the paper the other day. The new auto shift bicycle from Skeppshult is called Arc Automat (gent’s version) or Nova Automat (ladies) and features an eight-speed automatic gear assembly from Shimano. There is no information on how it works on the Skeppshult web site, which is pretty lame, but it could be the same auto shifter from Shimano we posted on earlier. If so, it is electric and gets its power from a dynamo in the front hub. We are going to have to pedal down to our local bike shop for a test drive, but since the bike is priced at SEK 9,895:- (USD 1,415:-) we are probably not going to buy one. At least not this year…brbr