Sunday, May 17, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Jean Godden

Car-Pool Pals Mint A New Idea

Times Staff Columnist

No use denying it. Caffeine is still the drug of choice in Latteland. First it was chocolate-covered espresso beans. Now it's peppermints laced with caffeine.

The pepped-up mints, called Penguins, come packaged in a black-and-white tin with a trademark penguin. They hit the Seattle market three weeks ago without fanfare.

But, as you might expect, Penguins already have some devotees and a Web site ( with a sense of humor. (Q. "Where do you buy Penguins?" A. "In dark alleys.")

Creators of Penguins are Brett Canfield and Adam Smith. Canfield explains the origins: "Adam and I used to car-pool to jobs at Wizards of the Coast in Renton. We'd stop for coffee and then I'd have a mint so I wouldn't have coffee breath at work."

One day, Canfield and Smith brainstormed: "Why not combine the two?" They spent the next year developing, packaging and marketing the product. Each spherical candy contains about 15 milligrams of caffeine. Take three and you've had the equivalent of a cup of tea or a cola.

Canfield and Smith no longer work at Wizards of the Coast. But they're hanging on to their night jobs. Canfield works at the Sorrento Hotel; Smith waits tables at Buca de Beppo.

They've placed Penguins at markets on Broadway and in the University District. A tin of mints sells for around $3, about the price of a mocha grande.

What next? Canfield warns, "We've got a whole lot of other craaa-zy ideas."

Kettle of fresh: People who live on the Kitsap Peninsula read the Sunday Seattle Times. Do they ever. Some laughed at my joking about the Kitsap Peninsula Visitors & Convention Bureau's uninspired new slogan: "Come on Over."

Others were not as amused.

One resident wrote, accusing me of "excessive offensiveness," but suggesting that I keep it up to deter Seattleites from "bastardizing" her pristine peninsula.

On the other hand, Grant Griffin, executive director of the visitors' bureau, wasn't dismayed. In fact, he had a rationale for everything.

He said, "While it's true we don't have the Olympic Mountains (an image appropriated by the Kitsap logo), the Forest Service has given us the rights of first refusal. . . ."

Incidentally, there is something I wrote that deserves correction. Among the alternative slogans I suggested was "Home of Ma and Pa Kettle." Turns out the Kettles, characters out of Betty MacDonald's "The Egg and I," did not live on the Kitsap Peninsula.

The actual family - Kettle was a fictional name - had a farm just south of Chimacum in nearby Jefferson County. They had 13 children and reportedly didn't worry over much about sanitation.

The motto I should have suggested for Kitsap: "NOT the Home of Ma and Pa Kettle."

Straight poop: The Washington Dairy Federation recently announced a name change for its newsletter. Formerly called "Dairy Waste Update," the bulletin is now known as "Dairy Nutrient Management."

Our song: Bumper sticker spotted on a car on Highway 520 on a misty morning: "Rain Happens."

Jean Godden's column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Local News section of The Times. Her phone message number is 206-464-8300. Her e-mail address is:

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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