Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Who is that yo-yo?

A while back, Earth to Philly asked whether eco-friendly product delivery was enough to merit calling sex toys 'green.' And we don't bring that up now just so that we can have the word "sex" in the first sentence of this blog entry. But it helps. Thing is, a wacky story about local-TV producers brought that previous post to mind because it also spurs the question of whether "green" is now a meaningless catch-all to get people to pay attention to things that need extra juice.

Who is that yo-yo?

A man calling himself Kenny Strasser exhibits his dubious yo-yo mastery on one local-TV clip.
A man calling himself Kenny Strasser exhibits his dubious yo-yo mastery on one local-TV clip.

A while back, Earth to Philly asked whether eco-friendly product delivery was enough to merit calling sex toys 'green.'

And we don't bring that up now just so that we can have the word "sex" in the first sentence of this blog entry. But it helps.

Thing is, a wacky story about local-TV producers brought that previous post to mind because it also spurs the question of whether "green" is now a meaningless catch-all to get people to pay attention to things that need extra juice.

Apparently Kenny Strasser felt his own story, as a former alcoholic and drug abuser turned Yo-yo champion, needed that extra juice, and so he threw in the eco-tips when he successfully pitched a handful of Wisconsin stations to put him on the air.

Thing is, not only does "Strasser" seem to not be a champion, he seems particularly inept at the Yo-yo, hitting himself in the face and groin at one appearance, breaking the yo-yo in another, and "forgetting the string" upon arrival to a third, leading to a TV spot about champion yo-yoing that consisted solely of chit-chat. His skills as a guest are also a little suspect after he chose to answer his cell phone in the midst of a live on-air interview.

You can read the full story here, see how "ZimZam Yo-Yo, the world's first 'green' nonprofit toymaker" got this guy into morning television on the promise of "fun tips about how kids and adults alike can take small steps to make the world a greener place," watch a couple of clips from his infamous appearances, and learn how Mr. "Strasser" now seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth he so desperately wanted to save.

While TV producers draw the moral that we must all do better background checks on supposed yo-yo champions who wander into town, Earth to Philly would like to extrapolate a bit: Watch out for anything and everything whose newsworthiness depends on it being "green" and look into exactly what gives it that claim to fame. Swapping one process for another or putting something on a bike doesn't mean it's going to save the planet. Remember 'clean' coal.

About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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