Friday, October 1, 2010

Tales of a Trendsetter – Georges Claude, Inventor of Neon

With our current sale being on neon lights, it seemed fitting to do an edition of Tales of a Trendsetter on Georges Claude, the French industrial chemist who invented the neon light sign. So read on if you want to learn more about neon (rhyme intended).

Claude was born in September 24, 1870 (Happy belated/posthumous Birthday!) and studied at the elite ESPCI ParisTech (The City of Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institute). In 1902, he co founded L'Air Liquide S.A. (Air Liquide), now a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation. The company’s original premise was to liquefy air to produce oxygen on a large scale. This process resulted in several left-over elements, including several inert gasses such as neon. Realizing that neon gas would glow red when exposed to electrical current, Claude just needed to figure out a useful application.

Claude displayed his first neon sign to the public at a Paris convention in 1910. He sold the first commercial neon sign in 1912 to a Paris barber, and patented the neon lighting tube in 1915. In 1923, Claude introduced the signs to the United States, first selling two to a L.A. car dealership for $1,250 each. Observers would begin calling neon signs “liquid fire”, and in the 20s, it would not be uncommon to see pedestrians stop and stare at the lights for long periods of time. The neon signs became an immensely popular form of outdoor advertising and would spread through the nation's metropolitan areas like wildfire. The rest is history.

Some neon sign facts:

  • Today, “neon tubes” actually refer to all positive-column discharge lamps, regardless of the gas filling.
  • The colors in order of discovery were blue (Mercury), white (Co2), gold (Helium), red (Neon), and then different colors from phosphor-coated tubes.
  • Neon signs always consist of one continuous tube. The trick of the eye neon plays is produced by blocking out parts of the tube with blockout paint.

Props to following sources:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Captain Morgan Drink Recipes

This week, we’re running a special on Captain Morgan merchandise. In keeping with this theme, here ‘s some recipes for cocktails featuring Captain Morgan liquors.

Banana Daiquiri

Banana Daiquiri

.75 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum (25 oz. per bottle)

.5 oz. crème de banana liqueur

1.25 oz. sweet and sour mix

1 cup(s) crushed ice

1 slice(s) lemon

Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, crème de banana, sweet and sour mix, crushed ice, and ripe banana in a blender.

Blend until smooth and pour into glass.

Garnish with cherry and lemon.

Barbados Punch

Barbados Punch

1 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum (25 oz. per bottle)

.25 oz. triple sec

1 oz. lime juice

2 oz. pineapple juice

1 slice(s) lime(s)

1 slice(s) pineapple

Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, triple sec, lime juice, and pineapple juice in a blender with crushed ice.

Blend until smooth and pour into glass.

Garnish with lime slice and pineapple slice.

Beer and Bite

Beer & Bite

0.75 oz. Captain Morgan Lime Bite (25 oz. per bottle)

6 oz. beer

Combine ingredients into a pint glass.

Captain Morgan’s Planters Punch

Captain Morgan's Planter's Punch

1.25 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum (25 oz. per bottle)

2 oz. orange juice

2 oz. pineapple juice

.25 oz. lime juice

.25 oz. lemon juice

1 teaspoon(s) sugar

1 dash(es) grenadine

1 cherry flag

Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, and grenadine.

Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.

Garnish with cherry flag.

Captain’s Orange Cafe

Captain's Orange Café

1.25 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum (25 oz. per bottle)

.25 oz. Grand Marnier (25 oz. per bottle)

1 cup(s) coffee

1 teaspoon(s) whipped cream

Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Grand Marnier, and coffee.

Top with whipped cream.

Cranberry Kiss

3/4 ounces Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

2 ounces collins mix

2 ounces cranberry juice

1 wedge lemon

Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, collins mix, and cranberry juice to ice-filled highball glass and stir.

Garnish with lemon wedge.

Jamaican Sunset


1/4 oz Captain Morgan's Rum

1/2 oz Meyers Rum

1 1/2 oz Orange juice

1 1/2 oz Pineapple juice

1 oz Sweet and sour

Shake and strain this drink into an ice-filled Hurricane glass.
Float Meyers rum and Garnish with a Pineapple / Orange / Cherry pinwheel.

We hope you enjoy these tasty recipes. Be sure to let us know which ones are the best! And remember - a true Captain drinks responsibly.

Now its time for some shameless self promotion: Be sure to check out our web store so you can enjoy your tasty Captain Morgan cocktails in a one of our nice Captain Morgan glasses while lounging in a comfortable Captain Morgan chair and wearing one of our stylish Captain Morgan t-shirts. (Subtle, ain't we?)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tales of a True Trendsetter – Lucille Ball

By Reid

Apparently affected by the “nostalgia” theme of Trendsetter’s current specials, I found myself browsing the web for stories about American entertainment icons. There was person one that stood out. Before Tina Fey, Bette Midler, Carol Burnett, even Joan Rivers and Mary Tyler Moore, Lucille Ball blazed the trail for women to succeed in comedy. She was the very definition of a true original.

I find her determination and willingness to do things different to be the most fascinating aspects of her story.

Lucille Ball’s path to success was unlikely. Ball was born August 6, 1911 (Btw, Happy Belated Birthday, Lucy!) and was mostly raised in a modest setting by her grandparents in a small town in New York State. She dropped out of high school at age 15 and enrolled at the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City. Outshined by peers such as Bette Davis, Ball was sent home on the premise that she had no talent and, believe it or not, was deemed far too shy to succeed as a performer.

She soon returned to the City and began a long period of paying her dues. She found her first work as a model and later on Broadway (but was quickly fired). Still undeterred, Ball moved to Hollywood in 1933 and began a prolific yet under-appreciated career acting. Though her penchant was for comedy, Hollywood was more interested in beautiful starlets than comediennes, and Ball took almost any role she could find. She would become known in many Hollywood circles as, “Queen of the B’s”.

She achieved moderate success in 1940 with the musical “Too Many Girls” (where she met future husband and co-star Desi Arnaz) and in 1942 starring across from Henry Fonda in the film “The Big Street”. Ball married the younger Arnaz in 1940. The two would lie about their true ages for years because it was considered less acceptable for a woman to marry a younger man.

It wasn’t until the late 40s that Ball would begin to demonstrate her comedic talents to larger audiences in “My Favorite Husband”, a radio show for CBS in which Ball played a wacky wife (sound familiar?). CBS was interested in a television adaptation, but Ball insisted on working with Arnaz. The couple formed their own production company, Desilu Productions, in 1950 and produced a pilot. However, CBS was not impressed enough to be convinced that the masses would be won over by an American/Cuban couple. The couple responded by deciding to take the show on the road as a vaudeville act, and the tour proved to be a hit. CBS was finally convinced and the “I love Lucy”show first aired in 1951.

The rest is history.

Some accomplishments of Lucille Ball and trivia:

· “I Love Lucy” was the first show to use multiple cameras in front of a live studio audience.

· “I Love Lucy” is one of the most popular TV shows of all time, being the most watched show in America 4 of its 6 seasons. There were 3 seasons in which over half of the nations’ TV sets were tuned in to the show.

· When Lucille Ball became president of Desilu Productions in 1962, she became the first woman to run a major production company.

· Desilu Productions was home to many hit shows, including Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, Mission Impossible, and the Dick Van Dyke show.

· In 1968, Lucy was reported to be the richest woman in television.

· TV Guide picked Ball as the Greatest TV Star of All Time.

· Lucy appeared on the cover of the first issue of TV Guide in 1952.

· Ball registered to vote in 1936 and 1938 as a Communist. In 1953, she was subpoenaed by McCarthy’s House Committee on Un-American Activities. Arnaz famously quipped to a studio audience that year, “the only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that's not legitimate.

· Also in 1953, Lucy broke ground by insisting on writing her pregnancy into the script of “I love Lucy.” CBS relented and allowed the episode to happen, but only if the word “pregnant” was not used on-air.

· Ball’s numerous accolades include 4 Emmy wins and 13 nominations.

I’ll conclude this article with my favorite two Lucille Ball quotes:

· “I’m not funny. What I am is brave.”

· “I would rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy 80th Birthday Betty Boop!

80 years and still going strong! Read on to learn more about this iconic, and controversial, animated figure. And in case you’re wondering … Yes, we’re commemorating this occasion the best way we know how – with a sale! (Selected merchandise only; ends at midnight.)

Betty Boop was conceived by Max Fleischer for and made her first big screen debut on August 9, 1930 in the 6th installment of the Talkartoon series, “Dizzy Dishes”. Initially, she started out as an unnamed cabaret-performing female dog of all things, and as a mere supporting character that caught the fancy of the studio star, a dog named Bimbo. You can view that video here.

Later that year, Betty found a permanent voice – Mae Questel, who would also be known as the voice of Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoons and the singer of the platinum hit “Good Ship Lollipop”. Fleischer would realize that he had a potential star in the young Ms. Boop, and gave Betty her current name, a fully human form, and first starring role in 1932. Meanwhile, Fleischer’s brother, Dave added more sex appeal and a more distinctively feminine personality to the character. A dog she certainly was not! Betty Boop’s career immediately took off, and she went on to star in over 100 cartoons in the 30s, earning the distinction of becoming the world’s biggest female animated star.

Her saucy image and flapper ways brought their share of controversy, however. From 1932 to 1934, Betty fought a successful legal battle against real-life sexy singing star, Helen Kaye, who claimed Betty had stolen her likeness. Several Betty Boop cartoons would be deemed too risqué and would be banned. In 1934, a set of censorship guidelines, the Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, began requiring all films to obtain a certificate of approval. This forced Betty to tone down her image, both in appearance and in themes of the cartoons, and Betty began resembling a traditional housewife more than a tantalizing flapper. Her new more wholesome character proved to be less appealing to audiences, and the tamer Betty Boop series steadily declined in popularity until its finale in 1939.

The Betty Boop cartoons saw a modest revival in interest in the 1950s, when the series was sold for syndication. Further interest was generated in 1974 with the release of the Betty Boop Scandals, which hit home with the post-60s counterculture movement. Betty Boop’s true renaissance began in the 80s when marketers began merchandising her likeness. Indeed, Betty Boop has now gained more exposure as an image on various products than she did in her films and shorts.

In her 80 years of existence, the character known as Betty Boop has entertained and scintillated, and continues to retain significant influence. So we want to say “Happy Birthday Betty!!”

And to steal a line from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, Betty – you still got it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Let's Celebrate International Beer Day!

What better holiday to lift up your spirits, err… beer mugs? As many of you Trendsetters patrons probably already know, we at Trendsetters believe beer is beautiful. So when we discovered this made-up holiday whose tradition dates all the way back to 2007, we said to ourselves, “Count US in!” Heck, we like it so much we’ve decided to milk this thing for a whole week. So, to do our part in commemorating what is at the very least the best holiday in August, this week’s special - running till Tuesday - will be discounts on selected beer-brand merchandise such as Stroh’s, Lone Star, Guinness, Red Stripe, Brooklyn Brewery, Labatt and more. Check it out at

International Beer Day dates back to 2007, when a few great men from San Francisco were, as legend has it, engaging in some “beerstorming” and decided it was time to stop beating around the bush with holiday’s like St. Patty’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, and New Year’s Day and get straight to the heart of the matter – why doesn’t the world just come together to celebrate the thing that makes other holidays fun to begin with?

Or, as the official IBD website more eloquently puts it: “Because we all need an excuse to drink another beer.” Their creed:

“The purpose of IBD is threefold:
1) To gather with friends and enjoy the deliciousness that is beer.
2) To celebrate the dedicated men and women who brew and serve our beer.
3) To bring the world together under the united banner of beer by celebrating the beers of all nations and cultures together on this one remarkable day.”

Now that brought a tear to this author’s eye. We highly recommend you check out that website at We also propose that if, this holiday spirit touches your heart in the way it has touched ours, feel free to join us today by raising your frosty mugs.

So, by all means, drink responsibly, and Happy International Beer Day everyone!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who is this Ed Hardy anyways?

Trendsetters started carrying licensed Ed Hardy merchandise a little under a year ago, and this brand has proven to be a huge success. Indeed, Ed Hardy imagery has become a phenomenon over the last decade, first appearing on the clothing of celebrities and later appearing on everything from cell phones to glassware to clocks and more. This week, we’re doing a neat little sale on all of our Ed Hardy merchandise at

For those of you not familiar with the man dubbed the “godfather of modern tattoo”, read on…

A Southern California native born in 1945, Hardy revived a childhood determination to become a tattoo artist and underwent a tattoo apprenticeship while simultaneously receiving a B.F.A. degree in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967. Tattooing professionally since then, he developed the fine art potential of the medium with emphasis on its Asian heritage. In 1973 he lived in Japan, studying with a traditional tattoo master – the first non-Asian to gain access to that world. He resumed these studies in Japan throughout the 1980s. Since 1974 he pioneered the emphasis on unique tattoo commissions at his San Francisco studio.

In 1982 he and his wife, Francesca Passalacqua, formed Hardy Marks Publications and have written, edited and published over twenty-five books on alternative art. They moved their primary household to Honolulu in 1986, where Hardy resumed painting, drawing, and printmaking. He maintains the studio Tattoo City in San Francisco, with younger artists continuing to evolve and carry on his unique work format. Hardy’s primarily focus is on creating and exhibiting works in more traditional mediums, including porcelain painting. He began developing this body of work in 2006 in a traditional Japanese setting.

In addition to showing his own works, Hardy has curated a number of exhibitions for both galleries and nonprofit spaces and frequently lectures at museums and universities. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, books, and films internationally. In 2000, he was appointed by Oakland mayor Jerry Brown to that city’s Cultural Arts Commission, and awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2004 “Ed Hardy”, a major fashion line featuring his artwork, was launched internationally. Hardy and his wife now divide their time between Honolulu and the San Francisco Bay area.

For more information on Don Ed Hardy and his art, we recommend

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer is here... and it’s time for barbeque & BEER!

Bread and butter, Joanie and Chachi, peas and carrots… and barbeque and beer. Some things just go well together, especially when one of those things is beer. Well… unless the other thing is a firearm… or a bad breakup… or a massive inferiority complex…

Anyways, let’s move on. Beer goes well with barbeques, and that’s indisputable. Have you ever tried barbequing WITH beer? Our latest party tip gives you ideas on how to do just that. So here’s a few beer-induced barbequing recipes to get you started. And if you’ve already created some of your own beer-barbeque-deliciousness, please feel free to share YOUR recipes.

P.S. In honor of beer – that summer staple – Trendsetters is doing a week-long special on beer brand products. 15% OFF selected items from Brooklyn Brewery, Coors light, Corona, Guinness, Lone Star, Miller, Old Milwaukee, Old Style, Olympia, Pearl, Piels, Rainier, Red Stripe, Schaefer, Schlitz, Schmidt, and Stroh’s! Sale ends Tuesday.

BBQ Beer Can Chicken

-from Cajun Chef Ryan

Why? Because the beer adds moisture in addition to flavor during the slow grill roasting process. The larger 18 to 24 ounce tall beer cans work better for standing up the bird in all its glory!


1 large whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)

3 tablespoons Finger Lickin Rub¹

1 can (18-24 ounces) beer

1. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body cavities of the chicken. Remove the package of giblets, and set aside for another use. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the rub inside the body and neck cavities, the rub another 1 tablespoon all over the skin of the bird. If you wish, rub another 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture between the flesh and the skin. Cover and refrigerate the chicken while you preheat the grill.

BBQ Beer Can Chicken

2. Set the drip pan in the center of the grill, between the mounds of coals. Place the food on the grate over the drip pan, and cover the grill. You’ll need to add about 10 to 12 fresh briquettes to each side after an hour of cooking. If you want to add a smoke flavor, add 1 to 2 cups of presoaked wood chips, or 2 to 4 chunks, to the coals just before you start to cook, and again whenever you replenish the coals. Set up the grill for indirect grilling* placing a drip pan in the center. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat the grill to high; then, when smoke appears, lower the heat to medium.

3. Pop the tab on the beer can and take a good sip or until it is within an inch of the top. Using a “church key” –style can opener, make 6 or 7 holes in the top of the can. Then spoon the remaining dry rub through the holes into the beer. Holding the chicken upright, with the opening of the body cavity down, insert the beer can into the cavity.

4. When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss half the wood chips on the coals. Oil the grill grate. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan. Spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod, to support the bird.

5. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until fall-off-the-bone tender, 2 hours. If using charcoal, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side and the remaining wood chips after 1 hour.

6. Using tongs lift the bird to a cutting board or platter, holding the metal spatula underneath the beer can for support. (Have the board or platter right next to the bird to make the move shorter. Be careful not to spill hot beer on yourself.) Let stand for 5 minutes before carving the meat off the upright carcass. (Toss the beer can out along with the carcass.)

Beer BBQ Ribs -from

3 Pounds boneless Country Style Pork Ribs
3 oz. Hickory Smoke Flavoring
2 Cups Beer

8 Cups BBQ sauce
8 Cups Honey Dijon Dressing
6 oz. Beer

Place several layers of aluminum foil or a wire pie rack at the bottom of a large pot.

Layer ribs into pot. Add hickory smoke flavoring and beer. Fill with water to one inch above ribs. Bring to a full rolling boil. Cover. Reduce heat to a simmer, cook 35 to 45 minutes until ribs are fully cooked.

While ribs are simmering, mix together BBQ sauce ingredients. Fully drain water off the ribs. Place ribs in foil lined baking pan. Fully cover ribs with BBQ sauce.

Cover pan with foil. Bake in a pre-heated 275º oven for 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours.

Jalapeno Beer BBQ Sauce -from

2 green Jalapenos, pith removed, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 Tablespoons Garlic, peeled, mashed and chopped
2/3 cup yellow Onion, peeled and chopped
3 large canned green Chile Peppers, drained
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Dark Beer
1 Cup Tomatoes, peeled, stemmed, cored and seeded, crushed
1 teaspoon dried Oregano, powdered
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
Salt to taste

Sauté jalapenos, garlic, onion and Chile peppers in a medium skillet with the vegetable oil until onions are translucent. pour into blender, add, beer, tomatoes, oregano and cayenne.

Blend until smooth. Use Jalapeno Beer BBQ sauce as a BBQ sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking.