Eco-friendly E.T.?

VATICAN CITY — Journalists got an interesting freebie at the end of yesterday’s unveiling of the Vatican’s pavilion at this summer’s world Expo on water and sustainable development being held in Zaragoza, Spain.

It’s a blue squeaky toy that looks a bit like E.T. disguised as a Smurf. He is the Expo Zaragoza 2008 mascot and his name is Fluvi — Latin for river or stream. Spokesmen for the Expo said they decided on this figurine after the public (especially children) chose him out of a lineup of numerous potential mascots.

Spanish communications officers were handing them out at the end of the Vatican press conference along with an explanation in lightning-quick Spanish.

Basically, when your kids or your pet are done playing and squeaking this 100% all-natural-latex creature,  you yank a little piece of string out of Fluvi’s bellybutton, pop him in a flower pot, cover him with dirt, water him regularly and — “arriba arriba!” — you will eventually have a full-grown tomato plant flourishing on your windowsill. Not sure if they will be cherry tomatoes or giant heirlooms, though…

But in any case, this takes the whole Chia Pet idea to a groundbreaking new level.


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