October 25, 2016
How you will die
There it is.
Tortilla Pencil Case
That's how I see it, anyhoo: the company selling it calls it a "Pen-Cake" but if that's a pancake hold the syrup.
10.6"Ø; polyester; hand wash.
$19.95 (writing implements not included).
October 24, 2016
Years you have left to live, probably
Good news bad news, depending on your point of view and how life's treating you.
Me, I stopped buying green bananas a couple years ago....
"Momma always said dyin' was a part of life."—Forrest Gump
TO BE CONTINUED... (Bookmark)
4" x 3" x 0.4".
October 23, 2016
The Cut Paper Art of Eric Standley
Above, "Arch 6" (2016), watercolor on cut paper measuring 24" x 28."
Below, detail from "Arch 6."
From the artist's website:
These works are comprised of upwards of 250 sheets of laser-cut archival paper and can take a year to produce.
The drawings are created using CorelDraw and cut on a ULS CNC laser.
Each layer of paper is drawn and cut individually.
Compositions are determined consciously by removing material from each sheet of paper, and pre-visualizing the sum of the layers as line, color, and space.
Loungaroo Travel Blanket
It's a riff on the Australian hopper,
invented by an American who lived in Melbourne for a while
before returning to the States
where he had his epiphany.
Features and Details:
• Soft brushed knit fleece with anti-microbial finish
• Machine wash/dry
• One size fits all
• Grey or Black.
October 22, 2016
What's in a name?
My last name is found mainly in the U.S.
"What is the origin of name Stirt? Probably Romania."
I don't think so.
Both my parents were born in the Soviet Union shortly after the Russian revolution.
When my late father, then 17, entered the U.S. in the late 1930s via Ellis Island he told the immigration officer his name, which was Stirtas.
The guy thought it sounded too foreign so he chopped off the last syllable and Bob's your uncle.
He asked my dad what his middle name was and my dad said he didn't have one: the officer then gave him the middle initial J.
It didn't stand for anything but it sufficed on forms and whatnot in lieu of an actual name.
FunFact: I'd bet my name has been misspelled 100 different ways over the years — these
are just the tip of the iceberg.
Find out about your name: go to www.name-list.net/worldwide/surname/ and put in your last name, like this:
3D Closet Rack
Gives the illusion of a three-dimensional cube tower.
Completely flat IRL.
9.4" x 9" x 0.07".
$26.90 (scarves and belts not included).
October 21, 2016
BehindTheMedspeak: Lebenswecker (Life-Awakener/Rescucitator)
From Atlas Obscura:
In 1847, German inventor Carl Baunscheidt was sitting in his room in pain, his hand aching from arthritis.
He was swatting at hungry mosquitos until he finally gave up and allowed one to bite his hand.
As the wound swelled, he was surprised when he felt a bit of relief.
"How, in a quite simple and natural manner, the morbid matter that may be found in the body, may be extracted from the suffering parts, and removed without the loss of blood," wrote Baunscheidt about his experience in the 1865 edition of his book "Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure."
In other words, Baunscheidt was convinced that the bite, or "artificial pore," allowed the pain and poisons in the body to leak out of the skin.
This episode with a mosquito inspired Baunscheidt to create the Lebenswecker, or Resuscitator — a sleek ebony-wood staff with a spring that launches 30 thin sharp needles.
From the mid-19th century to well into the 20th, people tried to cure everything from sleeplessness to yellow fever to epilepsy by puncturing different areas of the body with his homeopathic contraption.
An oil, called Oleum Baunscheidt, was slathered over the small welts, creating blisters and pustules like fake insect bites.
"If you created these blisters and they oozed, then that oozing would be sickness coming out of your body," says Kelsi Evans, an archivist at the University of California, San Francisco Library who came across a Resuscitator kit in the over 1,000-piece collection.
Baunscheidt had no professional medical training, yet he invented an assortment of medical devices.
He built a smallpox vaccinator, a breast pump, and a bloodletting device called the Artificial Leech (a thin device that used the same mechanics of the Resuscitator with only one needle).
But Baunscheidt's fame and fortune came after he released the Resuscitator in 1848.
To support the use of his device, he developed an alternative medical practice he called Baunscheidtism, a form of homeopathy heavily influenced by the ancient Greek theory that the body is controlled by the four humors: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood.
Many people and practitioners during Baunscheidt's time believed that an imbalance of the four humors caused illness — an idea that allowed the technique of bloodletting to persist for thousands of years.
However, bloodletting was beginning to decline in popularity, and patients were not satisfied with the results of internal medicines and remedies, Baunscheidt wrote in his book.
He reasoned that removing the "disease-producing substances" through puncture wounds was a more direct, simple, and controlled treatment option.
Baunscheidt based his treatment on this balance and imbalance of secretions and liquids in the body, explained Evans.
"The idea is basically using the pain from the device to distract and send your body's illness to a location, a concentrated space."
Baunscheidt's original Lebenswecker, which literally means "life awakener," is a simple device.
On one end of the staff is a loose, moveable piece connected internally to a tightly coiled metal spring.
This controls the needles sheathed inside the barrel-shaped container.
The operator pulls back the small handle about two inches to retract the needles and then releases the handle to snap the needles forward and pierce the skin.
The Resuscitator was often sold in an $8.00 kit with Baunscheidt's booklet and a bottle of the blister-causing oil.
The Oleum Baunscheidt kept the wound open longer, allowing more rapid removal of the "evil" in the body, Baunscheidt explained.
Immediately after being punctured by the Resuscitator, the oil was rubbed on with "a chicken feather or small pencil."
Within four to six minutes the skin would alight with "an eruption resembling millet seeds," patients feeling a "curious crawling sensation," he wrote.
For a more concentrated experience, users would dip the needles in the oil prior to application to receive an experience "kind of like an injection," said Evans.
Baunscheidt declared that all ailments could be treated with the Resuscitator.
For a toothache, one should pierce the nape of the neck, between the shoulder blades, behind the ear, and on the side of the head where the toothache is found.
Sleeplessness and baldness call for punctures down the spinal column while asthma requires application on the chest and ribs.
Those with measles, influenza, or relapsed itch apply the Resuscitator over the entire posterior of the body and the abdomen.
While Baunscheidt provides suggestions for many diseases, testimonies reveal that users would experimentally stab themselves on all areas of the body until they felt a result.
"People who were writing to him were trying it for all kinds of things," Evans says.
"There is a woman in here with cramps, so she applied [the punctures] around her abdomen where the pain was."
One patient, C.A. Munk from Fostoria, Ohio, wrote: "I have applied the Resuscitator to my little daughter, who had been almost entirely deprived of hearing; and with the happiest results. She now hears very well again. I have also used it three times already, in cases of throat-diseases, with excellent effect. In cases of headache it produced good results."
By 1854, the Resuscitator was widely popular.
It was a common item in Germany and the United States, and testimonies reveal that there were Resuscitator users in Canada, Scotland, Chile, and Italy.
Competitors and profiteers made imitations of both the device and the oil.
Baunscheidt was extremely protective about the recipe of the Oleum Baunscheidt and kept it a secret.
While the original contents remain unknown, today the oil is described as toxic.
Around the mid-1900s the Resuscitator craze began to dwindle.
German editions of Baunscheidt's booklet were published until the 1940s, but foreign copies tapered off drastically.
Today, Baunscheidt's practice and the Resuscitator are widely discredited.
Physiologically, there is nothing that ties stabbing the skin and forming a blister with healing any kind of illness, explained Evans.
Yet Baunscheidt's Resuscitator is a unique device that differs from the many bloodletting and homeopathic contraptions invented during the 1800s.
"The Lebenswecker is an interesting tool because it looks like a bloodletting tool, but it's in fact not really tied in with the blood," Evans said. "It's tied more with this morbid matter, the idea that the blisters rather than the blood are going to release sickness."
Money to Burn BBQ/Fireplace Starter
Made from paraffin and recycled newspapers.
3.9"L x 1.4"Ø.
Three for $8.95 (bucket of charcoal not included).
Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?
October 20, 2016
What is it?
Answer here this time tomorrow.
Hint: smaller than a bread box.
Plug & Chug Wine Bottle Glass
Unfortunate name (Guzzle Buddy) — they should've attended the bookofjoe Crack Product Naming School©® before unveiling their creation.
When I first heard about the Guzzle Buddy — a glass that lets you drink straight from a wine bottle — I thought it was too ridiculous to be true.
It reminds me of a weird but funny present you might give to a bride-to-be at her bachelorette party.
Who Would Use This Product?
Isn't drinking out of the bottle frowned upon?
Well, when I really mulled (ha) it over, I decided that it's pretty cool.
The Guzzle Buddy screws into the top of your bottle.
When you tilt the bottle to fill the glass it naturally aerates the wine, enhancing both aroma and taste.
Not only does the device strengthen the flavor, but it also reduces the need to pour your own glass.
Summing It Up
Is it lazy?
Is it unique?
I'm not sure I'd want to drink out of a glass that's bigger than my face, but it might be funny for others to witness.
Borosilicate lead-free glass; 16 oz. capacity.
$14.49 (wine not included).
October 19, 2016
Don't quit your day job
Above, the most recent royalty statement for my first book.
It's for the first half of 2016.
Alas, for about the past 15 years
Strawberry Heart Maker
$12.95 (strawberries not included).
Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?
October 18, 2016
World's Oldest Snowshoe (3,700-3,800 B.C.)
From a September 12, 2016 Telegraph article:
Scientists in Italy's Dolomite mountains have unveiled what they believe to be the world’s oldest snowshoe.
Carbon-dating has shown that the rudimentary snowshoe, made of birch wood and twine, was made in the late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC.
"It is the oldest snowshoe in the world so far discovered, dating to around 5,800 years ago," scientists said in a statement.
It was discovered by chance at an altitude of 3,134 metres (10,280 feet) on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier, close to Italy's border with Austria.
The ice and freezing temperatures of the glacier had provided "ideal conditions for the preservation of organic material," the researchers said.
The shoe, which consists of an oval-shaped frame with strands of twine tied across it, was found by Simone Bartolini, a cartographer from Italy's Military Geographical Institute, who was mapping the border with Austria.
He came across it in 2003 but for the next 12 years kept it in his office in Florence as a curiosity.
"At first I thought it was maybe 100 years old and was a snowshoe that belonged to a farmer who lost it while driving cattle. I kept it in my office as a keepsake," Dr. Bartolini said.
It was only last year that it dawned on him that it could be much older and more significant.
He gave it to archaeologists to study.
"The shoe is evidence that people in the Neolithic period were living in the Alps area and had equipped themselves accordingly," said Dr. Catrin Marzoli, the director of the provincial cultural heritage department.
It was unclear why people were travelling through such an inhospitable region, she said.
They may have been hunting animals, fleeing enemies from a rival tribe, or visiting pagan sites of worship.
The shoe will be put on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano.