In many ways we are living the life that the Jetsons predicted back in the 60s. We're not zipping around in flying cars but we can 'Skype' each other, order new groceries from our kitchens, and pluck music out of thin air for only 99 cents a song. Wow. So many amazing things...but for the life of me I cannot deal with all of the cords in my house. Yes I have an iPod, no I don't know where the charger is. Yes I have a cell-phone, no I don't always remember to bring the charger when I go out of town. Yes I have a digital camera, but recharging the battery (do I wait til it's empty? what if it's half full but I can't afford to wait til it's empty before recharging it because I need to take it on a day-long adventure right away?) just makes me nuts. That's why the Eton Hand-Crank Solar Radio, Flashlight (and apparently, cell phone charger? but I might have to remember the cord for that part) is such a brilliant, no-strings-attached, addition to our collection of exciting portable stuff. Our first outing with it was to the playground. My nine year old son and his pal were reluctant to go because a Mets game was about to begin, but my four year old deserved ice cream from the ice cream truck and so I had to get her there. While she frolicked in the sprinklers and played on the swing, the two older boys sat on a park bench and listened to a Mets game (like old men). The kids enjoyed it in the back of the minivan once the batteries had run out of their iPods and Gameboys and Leapsters when we drove up to the Berkshires last weekend, and happily handed it up to me so I could use the flashlight to read the map when we got lost--lending an extra romantic touch to getting lost on back-country roads--something that doesn't happen to us anymore in this age of Mapquest, but which did happen the other night because I didn't trust my print-out and attempted to forge my own route. It's definitely my new favorite thing (mine's red).