CLOSE
Original image

Another stick on the wall

Original image

Imagine every nasty, chewed-up wad of gum you've ever had the misfortune of discovering on the bottom of your shoe or the underside of a desk, times 10,000, magically transposed to one spot. If that sounds like somewhere you'd love to visit, then welcome to otherwise relatively hygenic San Luis Obispo, California, whose number-one tourist attraction is Bubblegum Alley, AKA Cooties HQ. For over 40 years, pop-art pilgrims and masticatory thrill-seekers have donated wads of their own to this erstwhile shrine to the almighty bubble "“ more than 300,000 pieces in all, measuring 40 meters in length and up to 15 pieces deep. Awe-struck, inspired and more than a little overwhelmed by the smell, I felt compelled to post some holiday snaps of the Pollock-esque Alley, as well as a few gum-related facts for y'all to chew on:

gum_flag.JPG

1. The minty-fresh Greeks of yore were famously fond of a gummy substance called mastiche, derived from the resin of the mastic tree. (For you etymology buffs, mastic is the root of masticate, which despite sounding dirty to fifth graders means "to chew.") First century botanist Dioscorides thought the mastic had medicinal properties, and he was onto something: twentieth century scientists confirmed that chewing its resin reduces bacterial plaque in the mouth.

2. The US Army has issued its infantrymen packs of chewing gum since World War I, claiming that its use during battle improves soldiers' concentration and relieves stress. Only since Gulf War I has the Army dispensed caffeinated gum, with each stick approximately equal to the pick-me-up of one cup of coffee.

gum-tini.JPG

3. In an attempt to avoid having a Bubblegum Alley of their own, the neatfreak nation of Singapore banned the posession of chewing gum outright in 1992. The punishment for smuggling it into the country "“ even a small amount for personal use "“ ranged from steep fines to caning. But thanks in part to a 2004 free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Singapore (and heavy lobbying by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company), the law was revised to allow certain types of chewing gum which boast "proven health benefits" "“ such as "enamel-strengthening" Wrigley's Orbit gum.

4. Perhaps owing to an increased blood flow to the brain experienced while chewing, gum-chewers have scored higher on word-recall tests than non-chewers. Despite this, chewing gum is banned in many schools.

Original image
Little Baby's Ice Cream
arrow
Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
Original image
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

Original image
Warby Parker
arrow
Space
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
Original image
Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios