December 04, 2004
Shattered Window Rock
Very nicely done, indeed.
You simply place this prank on any glass surface, then wait for the scream.
If you prefer a more sporty horror, they also offer
football versions for the same price.
Bonus: the golf ball and baseball ones feature real balls.
Cher's Farewell 'Never Can Say Goodbye' Tour
Finally, truth in advertising.
Cher's Farewell Tour started last year, and runs well into next.
Nothing wrong with that: I like Cher, and I hope she continues her Farewell Tour for decades, until they have to wheel her out to sing.
It'll still be sold out.
I can listen to the original crummy AM radio version of "I Got You Babe" all day without ever getting tired of it.
Bonus: The Village People are her opening act.
If you wanna catch a show on the current leg of her never-ending story/tour, check out Cher.com, her trippy website.
Better not inhale while you're at work, though.
Chemicool Periodic Table
What a superb resource.
Just click on an element, and everything you'd ever want to know, and a lot of stuff you never even imagined about it, pops up.
Why wasn't this around when I took chemistry?
The trouble with chestnuts
New on the market is the Chestnutter (below),
a clever device invented by Sharon Siegel, a chestnut lover from Englewood, New Jersey.
Now, if you're not familiar with chestnuts, it's time you remedied that deficiency.
So before moving on to the invention, and then the trouble alluded to up top, let us consider the chestnut.
A wonderful thing, the chestnut.
Its tree once dominated
the forests of the Eastern U.S., growing over 100 feet tall
with a beautiful, spreading crown up to 100 feet wide.
It provided shade, fuel,
In fact, you can live on chestnuts, with their ideal, easy-to-digest combination of carbohydrate and just a little protein and fat, in this respect unlike other nuts.
They're similar in nutritional value to brown rice, and sometimes called "the grain that grows on a tree."
But came the chestnut blight early in the 20th century, destroying the native tree and rendering it a historical curiosity.
Attempts have been made, and in fact are ongoing, to bring back the lovely American Chestnut tree, but so far not much headway has been made.
And therein lies the problem - the "trouble."
I've stopped buying chestnuts because I cannot find them without the majority I buy being rife with rot from having been picked God knows how long ago, refrigerated and/or frozen, stored, and finally put into the bins at the grocery store.
I love the taste of roasted chestnuts, and have a
perforated chestnut roasting pan for the fireplace, and a
I even have a clever chestnut scoring device, about which more in a moment, but it's like being all dressed up with no place to go.
All my hardware sits dormant in my cupboards and drawers, awaiting good chestnuts.
With that background, let us move on to the problem of scoring chestnuts.
If you don't cut an X into the shell of the chestnut before roasting it, bad things happen: namely, there's nowhere for the heat and moisture generated inside the shell to go, and the thing kind of cooks in the shell.
Besides which, it's very difficult to peel as the shell kind of welds itself to the nut inside.
So the chestnut knife was invented to score the chestnut with an X.
But unfortunately, the curved chestnut and the curved, razor sharp blade of the knife often don't get on well, which can result in a trip to the emergency room for seriously deep lacerations not infrequently requiring stitches.
That'll ruin that cozy fireplace scene in a hurry.
So someone invented this little
Chestnut Critter, which I purchased last year,
You simply place the chestnut on a flat surface, press the device's concave side (not shown in the picture, unfortunately) down, and an X-shaped cutter extrudes and cuts a nice X into the chestnut's shell.
Quick, neat, simple, and the sharp edges are recessed when not in use.
But as I said, until I find a decent source of chestnuts, it's staying in the drawer.
Now, back to the Chestnutter.
It looks like mutant garlic press, what with that middle arm.
You place your chestnut inside the little cup, then secure it with the middle arm, then press down with the top arm, and a stainless steel blade cuts a perfect X.
Costs $12.98 at Zabar's and $19.95 at Gracious Home in Manhattan and Cooktique in Tenafly, New Jersey.
Or buy it from the company that markets it, at chestnutter.com.
Costs $19.95 there, plus $5 shipping.
Considering that the Chestnut Critter costs $3.99 and won't injure you; that a chestnut knife costs $6.99 and can seriously hurt you; and that the Chestnutter costs as much as $25, and requires - it would appear to me - a lot more effort to use than either of the two less expensive solutions to the "X marks the spot" problem, as it were, since you have to insert each chestnut into the little cup, then remove it after scoring, which might get old after a dozen or so, I'd go with the Critter if you forced me to choose.
But you know how I am.
"The Trouble With Harry," a 1955 film by Alfred Hitchcock starring John Forsythe, Edmund Glenn, and Shirley MacLaine in a sensational debut, is superb.
That's where the title for this post came from, in case you were wondering.
[via Florence Fabricant and the New York Times]
ÜberBlender - 'When projects get out of control'
From the website:
We needed a portable blender.
Val (above) in the R&D department
came up with this.
This blender takes 1 Gallon of ice and turns it into slush in 10 seconds.
Val took one of these and did a 7-minute segment on the Discovery Channel.
22 of these units were actually manufactured.
Three machines were held back as samples that were tested all summer long.
One tank of fuel makes 50 gallons
(or blender buckets) of margaritas.
Next summer at Southampton,
bring this baby out and watch the jaws drop.
Surfing Walk of Fame
It's at 101 Main Street in Huntington Beach, California.
The holy stretch of sidewalk on the North side of Main Street, between Pacific Coast Highway and Walnut Street, is across the street from the Huntington Beach Pier, across the street from Jack's Surfboards.
It pays tribute to the immortals of surfing.
An induction committee of about 80 international surf heavies submits its choices for each of six categories:
• Surf Culture
• Local Hero
• Surf Pioneer
• Surf Champion
• Woman of the Year
• Honor Roll
Inductees receive a one foot by one foot granite stone embedded into the sidewalk, with their name along with their category and year of induction.
The Surfing Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony is held annually in conjunction with the U.S. Open of Surfing Competition.
If you can handle being indoors for a few moments in Surf City, check out the International Surfing Museum, also in Huntington Beach.
Can you believe I lived in L.A. for 17 years yet never once went surfing?
Time to shine with one of these stylish accessories.
Retro chic doesn't begin to describe them, so let me try.
In gorgeous red or black vinyl, they're 9½" x 9½" x 4", and feature a working clock that runs on one AA battery (included!).
Inside zippered pocket and removable shoulder strap.
Wacky Patent of the Month
There're some very wonderful, weird things chronicled on this amusing site.
For example, one O. Schueller won last month's prize for his
"Moon Capsule Suit (above)," U.S. Patent No. 3,139,622.
Wonder if it gets DirecTV....