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Watch Clarissa Explains It All Fans Read Their Fan Mail 20 Years Later

Clarissa Explains It All, which debuted on Nickelodeon in 1991, got tons of fan mail during its four-season run. (This was long before social media, and before most people were regularly using email.) This year, the show’s creator, Mitchell Kreigman, released a new Clarissa book called Things I Can’t Explain—and to celebrate, he caught up with some of the kids who sent that fan mail. The now-adults agreed to read their letters on camera for a video that’s done up in Clarissa’s signature style.

One fan, in his letter, talked about the birth of his baby brother; another, who said in her letter that she’d gotten roles in school plays, confesses that that had been a lie. Another fan—who, in her message, listed all of her pets—summed up why the show appealed to her then, and why it's still so beloved now: “It's a good thing to be smart ... [Clarissa] never had to pretend to be somebody else.”

Kreigman, who spoke with mental_floss last year on the 20th anniversary of the show’s final episode, has done a lot besides Clarissa: he served as executive producer on Bear in the Big Blue House, wrote episodes of Rocko’s Modern Life, and penned a YA novel about a Jersey girl obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. But, he told us, Clarissa is still the “most satisfying thing” in his career. The idea that you do something 20 years ago, and everybody still remembers it—not just remembers it fondly, but passionately, and cares about it—I just love it,” he said.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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Design
A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

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