15 Things You Didn’t Know Your Hair Dryer Could Do

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istock

You know a good hair dryer can fight frizz, tame cowlicks, and accentuate curls and layers. But its other functions might blow you away. You don't need to be a stylist to use your hair dryer as any of these things.

1. SHOE SIZER

Breaking in new shoes can be a painful process. Skip the wait—and the blisters—by putting on a pair of thick socks, stepping into your new kicks, and then blow-drying the tight areas for a few minutes. Walk around until your feet cool off to loosen up the leather. Be careful using this method on synthetics, though; it's possible to melt the shoes on too high a setting. 

2. GLASSES ADJUSTER

If your glasses are too tight or too loose, here's how to get them just right: Take off your frames and use a hair dryer to blow hot air on the part that hooks over your ears. After a minute or so, gently adjust the bend up to loosen or down to tighten. Repeat on the other side. Spec-tacular! 

3. STICKER REMOVER

Price tags and other stickers can be a pain to remove, unless you've got a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive’s hold. Blast the pesky paper for 30 to 45 seconds and peel it right off. (With some patience and a lot of heat, you can get bumper stickers off this way, too.) 

4. BAND-AID PEELER

The previous trick doesn’t just work on inanimate objects. Don't rip off a Band-Aid—and all your arm hair. Blow some warm air on it for a few seconds and peel it off painlessly. 

5. GUM CLEANER 

When chewing gum gets stuck in carpet or clothing, don't curse. Find your hair dryer! Heat softens the gum so you can pull it out. 

6. AIR MATTRESS INFLATER

Can't find the pump to the air mattress you last used in 2003? Impress your houseguest by inflating it with a hair dryer. Just make sure you use cool air—there's nothing hospitable about a melted bed. 

7. EYELASH CURLER

Combine an eyelash curler and hair dryer for maximum curl power. Blast the curler for a few seconds on medium heat and then check the temperature on your wrist before using. 

8. CAKE FROSTER

Bakery-style frosting is a piece of cake. Lightly blow warm air over your dessert's frosted top and sides for a glossy finish. 

9. SHOE SHINER

Shoes look brand new when you blast them with some heat between coats of polish. Shine on!

10. ICE CREAM THAWER

Scooping ice cream shouldn't be an upper-body workout. Give your frozen Ben & Jerry's pint a quick blast of warm air for easy transfer from the container to your bowl to your mouth. 

11. SPOT IRON

A completely wrinkled cotton garment requires an iron. Everything else can be tamed by your hair dryer. Hang the garment up, spray a little water on it, and then blast it with hot air from an inch or two away until the wrinkle disappears. If you're really in a hurry, you can even do this carefully with your clothes on. 

12. TOWEL WARMER

Some people have fancy heated towel racks and use the word "summer" as a verb. The rest of us have a hair dryer to make towels toasty and use "summer" strictly as a noun. (You can also do this with sheets in the winter for that cozy, straight-out-of-the-dryer feeling.) 

13. CRAYON CLEANER

When the muse calls, young artists listen, which can result in crayon all over the wall. Blow hot air to melt the wax, then wipe it up with regular dish soap and a paper towel. This trick works on most walls, but you should start with a test spot just to be sure—some walls can be prone to "ghosting" when the image doesn’t quite disappear.

14. ART MEDIUM

Then again, maybe you like the look of crayon on the wall. If so, here's an even cooler way to do it. Peel the labels off a pack of crayons and hot glue them to the top of a blank canvas. Once the glue's dry, put some newspaper on a table and then prop the canvas at an angle crayon-side up. Melt the crayons by blowing hot air on a low setting, so you won't get wax everywhere. Go all Jackson Pollock and vary the tilt to control the drips. Once your masterpiece is dry, you can hang it up or sell it for $1 million. Your choice. 

15. KEYBOARD DECRUMBER

There's a good chance you're reading this while eating at your computer. No worries—just make sure you clean up your keyboard every now and then. Instead of a compressed air duster, try using your hair dryer to excavate the crumbs. Stick to cool air to avoid melting your spacebar.

15 Delicious Facts About Pizza Hut

iStock.com/RiverNorthPhotography
iStock.com/RiverNorthPhotography

For more than 60 years, Pizza Hut has been slinging hot, cheesy pies to hungry consumers all over the world. (There are more than 16,000 locations worldwide.) Whether you're a meat lover or vegetarian, here are 15 things you should know about the popular pizza chain.

1. It was founded by two brothers who were still in college.

Dan and Frank Carney borrowed $600 from their mother in 1958 to open a pizza place while attending Wichita State University. The name was inspired by the former bar that they rented to open their first location.

2. Pizza Hut franchising was almost instant.

A year after the first location opened in Wichita, Kansas, the Carney brothers had already incorporated the business and asked their friend Dick Hassur to open the first franchise location in Topeka, Kansas. Hassur, who had previously gone to school and worked at Boeing with Dan Carney, was looking for a way out of his insurance agent job. He soon became a multi-franchise owner, and worked to find other managers who could open Pizza Huts across the country.

Once, when a successful manager of a Wichita location put in his notice, Hassur was sent in to convince the man to stay. That manager happened to be Bill Parcells, who had resigned his Pizza Hut job in order to take his first coaching job at a small Nebraska college. Of course, he later went on to coach numerous NFL teams, including leading the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories. "I might have been wrong there," Hassur said of trying to convince Parcells his salary would be better as a manager than as a coach, "but I'm sure he'd have been successful with Pizza Hut, too."

3. There was a mascot in the early days.

image of vintage Pizza Hut restaurants featuring mascot Pizza Pete
Roadsidepictures, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Before the iconic red roof logo was adopted in 1969, Pizza Hut had a mascot named Pizza Pete who also served as its logo. The mustachioed cartoon man wore a chef’s hat, neckerchief, and an apron while serving up hot meals to hungry customers. Pizza Pete was still used throughout the 1970s on bags, cups, and advertisements, but was eventually phased out.

4. Pizza Hut perfume was a thing that existed.

It was announced late in 2012 that Pizza Hut had plans to release a limited edition perfume that smelled like "fresh dough with a bit of spice." One hundred fans of the Pizza Hut Canada Facebook page won bottles of the scent, and another promotion around Valentine's Day gave American pizza lovers a chance to own the fragrance via a Twitter contest. The packaging for the perfume resembled mini pizza boxes, and a few later surfaced on eBay for as much as $495.

5. They struck gold with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

image of people dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

When a group of crime fighting turtles that love pizza become huge pop culture icons, it's a no-brainer that a pizza company should do business with them. Domino's was featured in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in 1990, but ads for Pizza Hut were included on VHS when the film hit home video. Pizza Hut also reportedly spent around $20 million on marketing campaigns for the Turtles during the 1990 "Coming Out of Their Shells" concert tour and album release. The partnership continued all the way up to the 2014 release of Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

6. Pizza Hut Easy-Bake ovens were also real.

Children of the '70s were lucky enough to own small toy ovens shaped like the restaurant in which they could bake tiny little Pizza Hut pizzas under a 60-watt light bulb.

7. Their vintage commercials are star-studded.

An 11-year-old Elijah Wood got his start flinging potato salad at his co-star; Ringo Starr and the Monkees marveled at the stuffed-crust pizza; and former Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev had a very odd, political pizza pitch, appearing along with his young granddaughter in a Russian Pizza Hut (though the ad was not set to run in Russia).

8. The Book It! program is 35 years old.

In 1984, Pizza Hut kicked off the BOOK IT! program, an initiative to encourage children to read by rewarding them with "praise, recognition and pizza." It was such a success that First Lady Barbara Bush threw a reading-themed pizza party at the White House in 1989. The program is now the "longest-running corporate-supported reading program in the country" and has reached over 60 million children.

9. They were early to the pan pizza create.

image of someone removing a slice from a personal pan pizza
iStock

Pizza Hut introduced pan pizza in 1980, nine years before their competition, Domino's, added the style to their menu. In 1983, they introduced personal pan pizzas, which are still the coveted prize of the BOOK IT! program and the only pizza option at smaller Pizza Hut cafes (like those inside Target stores).

10. They were also early to online ordering.

In 1994, Pizza Hut and The Santa Cruz Operation created PizzaNet, an ahead-of-its-time program that allowed computer users to place orders via the internet. The Los Angeles Times called the idea "clever but only half-baked" and "the Geek Chic way to nosh." And, the site is still up and running! Seriously, go ahead and try to order.

11. Pizza Hut pizza has been to space ...

image of the International Space Station hovering above Earth
iStock

In 2001, Pizza Hut became the first company to deliver pies into space. Before being sealed and sent to the International Space Station, the pizza recipe had to undergo "rigorous stabilized thermal conditions" to make sure that it would be still be edible when it got there. Pizza Hut also paid a large, unspecified sum (but definitely more than $1 million) to have a 30-foot-wide ad on a rocket in 1999.

12. … but not to the Moon.

In 1999, Pizza Hut's then-CEO Mike Rawlings (and current Mayor of Dallas) told The New York Times that an earlier idea for space marketing was for the logo to be shown on the moon with lasers. But once they started looking into it, astronomers and physicists advised them that the projected image would have to be as large as Texas to be seen from Earth—and the project would also have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Better to stick with Super Bowl ads.

13. They once offered pizza engagement packages.

image of someone proposing marriage
iStock

What's the perfect way to pop the big question? In 2012, Pizza Hut suggested that grooms- (or brides-) to-be order the engagement party package that included a $10 dinner box, a limo, a ruby ring, fireworks, flowers, and a photographer, all for $10,010. In keeping with the theme, only 10 of the packages were offered. But, to be clear—if you bought a Pizza Hut engagement package, you would have spent $10 on food and approximately the cost of a wedding on the proposal.

14. Pizza Hut accounts for three percent of U.S. cheese production.

With all those locations and cheese-stuffed crusts, Pizza Hut needs a lot of dairy. The company uses over 300 million pounds of cheese annually and is one of the largest cheese buyers in the world. To make that much cheese, 170,000 cows are used to produce an estimated 300 billion gallons of milk. Something to think about the next time you order an Ultimate Cheese Lover's pizza with extra cheese.

15. There are a lot of repurposed Pizza Hut locations.

An empty, former Pizza Hut building
Mike Kalasnik, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Franchise locations of companies are not always successful, and when they close, the buildings are often left untouched by their new owners rather than being demolished and replaced. Because the hut-shaped stores have become synonymous with the company, their former locations are easy to spot. The blog "Used to Be a Pizza Hut" has an interactive map of more than 500 ex-huts submitted by people all over the world. There is also a successful Kickstarter-funded photo book—called Pizza Hunt—documenting the "second lives" of the restaurants.

5 Fast Facts About Sake Dean Mahomed

Today's Google Doodle will be many people's first introduction to Sake Dean Mahomed, a noted traveler, surgeon, author, and entrepreneur who was born in Patna, India in 1759. Though he's been left out of many modern history books, Mahomed left a profound impact on Western culture that is still being felt today.

In honor of the 225th anniversary of the publication of his first book—The Travels of Dean Mahomed, a Native of Patna in Bengal, Through Several Parts of India, While in the Service of the Honorable the East India Company—on January 15, 1794, here are some facts about the figure.

1. He was the first Indian author to publish a book in English.

In 1794, Sake Dean Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomet, an autobiography that details his time in the East India Company's army in his youth and his journey to Britain. Not only was it the first English book written by an Indian author, The Travels of Dean Mahomet marked the first time a book published in English depicted the British colonization of India from an Indian perspective.

2. His marriage was controversial.

While studying English in Ireland, Mahomed met and fell in love with an Irish woman named Jane Daly. It was illegal for Protestants to marry non-Protestants at the time, so the pair eloped in 1786 and Mahomed converted from Islam to Anglicanism.

3. He opened the England's first Indian restaurant.

Prior to Sake Dean Mahomed's arrival, Indian food was impossible to find in England outside of private kitchens. He introduced the cuisine to his new home by opening the Hindoostane Coffee House in London in 1810. The curry house catered to both British and Indian aristocrats living in the city, with "Indianised" versions of British dishes and "Hookha with real Chilm tobacco." Though the restaurant closed a few years later due to financial troubles, it paved the way for Indian food to become a staple of the English food scence.

4. He brought "shampooing" to Europe.

Following the failure of his restaurant venture, Mahomed opened a luxury spa in Brighton, England, where he offered Eastern health treatments like herbal steam baths and therapeutic, oil-based head massages to his British clientele. The head massages eventually came to be known as shampoo, an anglicized version of the Hindi word champissage. Patrons included the monarchs George IV and William IV, earning Mahomed the title shampooer of kings.

5. He wrote about the benefits of spa treatments.

Though The Travels of Dean Mahomet is his most famous book, Mahomed published another book in English in 1828 called Shampooing; or, Benefits Resulting from the Use of the Indian Medicated Vapour Bath.

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