Giant yellow teddy bear bound for New York City

Visitors to New York City this spring should be on the lookout for a new landmark: a giant yellow teddy bear, bronzed and 23 feet high. The 35,000 pound untitled (Lamp/Bear) sculpture was created by New York-based Swiss artist Urs Fischer, one of three made in 2005/2006. The button-eyed bear sits against a lamp, which turns on above the bear’s head to keep him lit at night.

The behemoth bear will be outside the Seagram Building at Park Avenue and 52nd Street in Manhattan from next week for five months. Christie’s will auction the bear in May and the private collector who owns the artwork has already turned down a $9 million offer. There is a possibility the sculpture could be bought by a private institution or museum, but don’t rule out New York as a buyer if the bear proves to be a tourism draw.

Hat tip to Brooklyn Nomad on the story.

Photo courtesy of NYC Loves NYC on Flickr.

Duffy the Disney Bear – New face to see (and buy) at Disney Parks

If you are planning at trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World at the holidays, you will likely encounter Duffy the Disney Bear.

And when you do, I imagine you will likely think, “Hey, who the heck is this?”

No, you’ve never seen Duffy in a Disney movie. He’s never been in a Mickey Mouse cartoon or a Pixar animated short. And he’s not the star of a new series for preschoolers on the Disney Channel.

Duffy the Disney Bear is the first character conceived and introduced solely in Disney Parks. That’s right – Disney made him so that they could sell you another souvenir.

Duffy’s “backstory” is that he was sewn by Minnie Mouse as a present for Mickey, to accompany him on his travels around the world. We here at Gadling told you this summer how many grown men take teddy bears on business trips, I suppose grown mice need a stuffed animal to cuddle on their business trips, too.

Duffy was introduced as a costumed character at Epcot and Disney’s California Adventure this fall after six years of popularity at Tokyo Disneyland Resort. In Tokyo, Duffy is such a craze that young women line up outside Disney stores when a new Duffy outfit is released.

And just in time for Black Friday shopping, he is being sold in three sizes at Disney’s Florida and California theme parks, along with a variety of outfits, Duffy keychains and other souvenirs. The Orlando Sentinel reports that about three dozen Duffy items are expected to arrive in the coming year.

In addition to his souvenirs, Duffy has a shiny new Facebook page with more than 5,000 fans.

75,000 teddy bears left behind in hotels every year

This has got to be the saddest statistic I’ve heard in a long time.

Just think of it–seventy-five thousand teddy bears wondering why they got left behind. Seventy-five thousand distraught owners. Seventy-five thousand hotel owners frantically calling Teddy Bear Protection Services to get the bears emotional support.

It gets worse.

The figure is only for bears lost and returned last year at one hotel chain–Travelodge. Granted it’s one of the biggest budget chains in Europe with 380 hotels and 6.5 million guests last year, but think what the statistics must be globally. While Travelodge has made heroic efforts to reunite teddies with their families, it’s obvious the UN needs to gets involved.

Faced with this problem Travelodge did a bit of research and surveyed 6,000 people about their teddies. They made the surprising discovery that teddies are popular with adults too. A third of adults go to bed with a stuffed animal, and 25 percent of men take teddies on business trips with them. Respondents said it’s comforting to go to bed with a teddy, and psychologists say having a cuddly friend from home helps people feel comfortable in a strange place.

It’s heartening to see teddies enjoying travel. Some bears even have their own blogs, like Travel Schlepp, who is currently in Taiwan and offers some good advice on what to pack when going to Asia this season. BBC travel correspondent Misery Bear tells of the dangers of visiting the beach.

Just remember, teddy friends, to check your bed before checking out. You don’t want to leave your best friend behind.

Cute teddy photo courtesy user Mike R via Wikimedia Commons.

SkyMall Monday: Top 10 pieces of spy gear

The world is a scary place. Heck, even the Cold War is heating up (er, cooling off?) again with Russian spies being kicked out of the US. It’s becoming harder and harder to trust anyone, even your family. Here in the SkyMall Monday headquarters, I trust Calvin the Garden Yeti and no one else. In these crazy times, it’s best to find out all the information you can on those around you, lest they try to steal your possessions, kidnap your children or take over your life like that crazy lady from Single White Female. Covert ops are not just for TV and the movies. You need to take matters into your own hands and do constant reconnaissance to be sure that you stay one step ahead of your wife, boyfriend, babysitter, coworker or daughter. Thankfully, SkyMall knows that your paranoia is justified and that a tinfoil hat is not enough to keep you safe from the people who want to steal your thoughts. They have 89(!!!) different items listed in their “Under Cover” spy and surveillance section. If that doesn’t validate your decision to spy on your loved ones, then just do it because it’s fun! This week, we take a look at the top 10 pieces of spy gear in SkyMall.Teddy Bear Hidden Camera Pictured above, this innocent looking teddy bear houses a heat activated camera which will record your baby’s entire sweaty nap thanks to that handsome and thick wool cap. It also works on grown women who creepily dress like little girls.

Tie Spy CameraWhat better way to spy on your coworkers than by placing a camera discreetly in your office attire? Of course, if you work as a lifeguard, you’ll want to make sure that the tie matches your swimsuit.

Cell Phone Spy Text ReaderThis device lets you read deleted text messages and review deleted numbers from any cell phone that uses a SIM card. There’s no way your girlfriend can hide her affair – or her obsession with the Justin Bieber fan line – now.

ID Card Hidden Camera Almost every office requires employees to keep an ID badge with them at all times. So what better way to hide your spy camera then behind that unflattering photo of that kind of makes you look like a pedophile? And, since everyone from your office park eats at the same Applebee’s, you can also use it to see who’s been spitting in your Wonton Tacos.

Tissue Box Internet CameraThe camera in this tissue box streams video directly to the web for you to watch in real time. If you see someone bring a bottle of moisturizer over to the tissues, it may be time to navigate to another website.

Panning Faux Security CameraYou’re not the only person who’s paranoid. Play on your friends’ fears by just making them think that they’re being watched. Now maybe they’ll stop leaving those bags of poop on your front porch.

Electric Outlet Hidden CameraSince it’s motion-activated, you’ll get great footage of your unattended toddler approaching the outlet immediately before sticking a fork in it.

Wireless Color Mirror CameraAs the product description so poetically puts is, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, catch that burglar once and for all.” Assuming, of course, that the burglar stops in the bathroom to put on some of your makeup. Speaking of which, you look like a clown whore when you wear all that blush.

Cell Phone Voice ChangerI’ll defer to the product description on this one: “No one will recognize your voice with The Cell Phone Voice Changer. Easily change your voice from man to woman, woman to man, a child’s voice, or even a robot–and it will sound completely real and natural.” Now you can call your ex and use that completely real and natural robot voice. She’ll be none the wiser.

Ultra Spy Hearing Ear MuffsHear every conversation going on around you while blending into the environment with your massive headphones with two microphones prominently attached to each ear.

Of course, what you do with this equipment is your business. Gadling in no way, shape or form condones you violating any privacy laws or statutes when spying on people. I assume you’ll be using these tools for educational purposes. Though, if I see you in the gym locker room in nothing but a tie, I’m going to punch you in the throat.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

SkyMall Monday: Spa Teddy Bear

I stay pretty active when I’m not holed up in the SkyMall Monday headquarters testing products. If I’m not wrestling tigers, dog sledding or setting an orphanage on fire saving orphans from a burning building, I’m nursing my aching muscles. Living an active life leaves me sore and in need of comfort. But, sadly, I live alone in the SkyMall Monday headquarters and there’s no one to help nurse me back to health. Sure, I could go to a spa and pay someone for a massage, but that would require leaving my home and interacting with human beings. That just sounds taxing. No, I need something that will soothe me physically and spiritually while catering to my debilitating social anxiety disorder.

Thankfully, SkyMall understands that even us agoraphobic social pariahs need muscle relief. They know that we need warm hugs from soulless creatures who won’t feed our insecurities. They know that we need a plush toy that will be there when the rest of the world has turned their backs on us and labeled us “weird” or “not allowed near schools.” They know that we need a stuffed animal that we can put in the microwave and then rub on our naked bodies. They know that we need the Spa Teddy Bear.Look, not all of us have friends or lovers who will rub our bodies and release the stress of a hard workout or cathartic cry. Some of us need to turn to the only things that truly understand us: plush toys. Even those people who have been shunned by normal society and have sought solace in the inanimate love that dare not speak its name deserve to find muscle relief and reduction in swelling. The Spa Teddy Bear is there when the everyone else is not.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who think that stuffed animals are just for kids and have no business providing comfort to adults with sore muscles. That’s just intolerant. People like you make me sick. But, I’ll indulge your close-mindedness and let the SkyMall product description explain to you just how normal it is to find comfort in the warm embrace of a plush toy:

When everyone else leaves you cold, you will always have Hot Teddy, also known as Buddy D. Bear to give you an endless supply of cuddles. Just warm him up in the microwave and then get ready for some good hugging. Or if you are nursing a fever, chill him in the freezer and he will give you a cool, soothing hug.

You may have a wife, but can she fit in the microwave? I didn’t think so. And for you ladies whose flows may be heavier than others, Buddy D. Bear “can even ease away monthly cramps.” I bet your boyfriend can’t do that. And when that boyfriend is sleeping with your younger, less menstruating sister, “Hot Teddy makes a great bedtime cuddle bear.

So, rather than try to cram that mail-order Russian bride into the freezer, why not let the Spa Teddy Bear do all that hard work for you? Whether he’s fresh from the microwave or chilled after “at least four hours” in the freezer, he’ll always smell like clove, cinnamon and eucalyptus. Your mail-order Russian bride will just smell like herring and packing tape.

And, if you and Buddy D. Bear decide to take things to the next level, his outer cover is washable. But before you consummate your love, be sure to let him cool. That microwave can make things hotter than you’re ready to handle.

So, stop judging those of us who are alone and instead help us treat those third-degree burns on our privates. You might just help us build our first real inter-personal relationship.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.