Thursday, March 13, 2008


Alfi La Ola Thermal Carafe
The Alfi La Ola Thermal Carafe.
[Image snarfed from the inimitable Sissy Willis.]

I spotted this striking orange-cobalt blue thermal carafe in a recent post at sisu. Designed by Julian Brown, this German-made Objet d’Art Utilitaire is the kind of thing you might expect to see on the shelves at Target, where similar arty-yet-useful housewares have rolled off the drawing boards of design visionaries like Michael Graves. Alas, no: If you want one of these, you have to go to the Alfi website.

As Sissy points out in a subsequent post, the working heart of the beast - a double-walled glass vacuum flask, AKA Dewar flask - is enclosed within a decorative and protective outer sheath of frosted polypropylene.

Aahhh, polypropylene, a product I know a little something about. O, the countless billions of pounds of thee that the Great Corporate Salt Mine hath produced since my employment began over thirty years ago. Thou hast inspired this Paean, a paean in Praise of this most Versatile Polyolefin...

Let us speak of the wonderful automobile -
That fabulous driving machine,
Made of rubber and glass (and let’s not forget steel)
And fine polypropylene.

We shall talk of the car seats protecting our kids
As we motor past fields so green,
And shiny containers with living-hinge lids -
It’s all polypropylene.

We will buy a dishwasher - yes, that’s what we’ll do,
Because we want dishes so clean.
It’ll last twenty years (give or take one or two)
Thanks to our polypropylene.

Don’t forget the fantastic returnable bin
Packed with produce: the lowly string bean
And the kumquat. To throw boxes out is a sin,
But we keep polypropylene.

And let’s go get some yogurt, both fruited and plain,
Low in calories: helps us stay lean.
It’s protected (so it will not give us ptomaine)
By food-grade polypropylene.

The stuff’s all around us! From birth until death,
Its impact on our lives is seen.
So please mold my coffin (when I draw no more breath)
Of long-lived polypropylene.

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