December 14, 2004
Chief Justice William Rehnquist will not swear in President Bush on January 20, 2005
On October 25, the Supreme Court announced that Rehnquist would be presiding over the Supreme Court on November 1, the opening day of the current session.
On October 27, I wrote "don't count on it," because he would be far too ill after his then-recent surgery.
He did not appear on the bench on November 1.
On November 2 - Election day - I wrote that "he will probably never return."
He has not been seen in public since.
The reason Rehnquist won't swear in George Bush for his second term?
Most likely he will have died by then from his thyroid cancer.
Yesterday, December 13, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the chief justice would reduce his workload significantly.
Various legal experts and law professors have weighed in on what this might mean, but they are clueless as to the nature of anaplastic thyroid cancer, the rapidly advancing, lethal form Rehnquist most likely has.
It grows so fast doctors can sometimes trace its advance daily by marking the skin over the edges of the tumor.
It is not a pleasant truth, but it is best to consider these things realistically.
Consider today's headlines:
The Washington Post's page 8 story headline:
Rehnquist Won't Vote in Every Case Heard This Term
The Wall Street Journal's page 4 story:
Rehnquist Indicates No Plans To Step Down From High Court
USA Today, on page 3:
Rehnquist Further Reduces Workload
These papers and their stories completely missed the likely events to come.
Well, you've seen the NFL version - now it's time for a kinder, gentler approach to the classic game of crush, destroy and bankrupt your opponents.
From the website:
- Traditional games call for domination of your opponent.
Not so with Bible-opoly!
Winners assist fellow players along the way, reinforcing Christian values through fun!
The object of the game is to be the first to build a church in one of the Bible cities - and cooperation is how you get there.
An enjoyable and popular Christian game.
The box bills it as "A Biblical Game of Fun and Faith."
Accessories to die for.
And a really cool website to boot.
Ngozi Uchea is the head of their design team.
Not bad prices, either.
In the end, it's all about the accessories, if you're a girlie girl.
And even if you're not.
Squid Ink Shot
You're looking at it.
But what is it?
It's the signature creation of Bar Tonno, a hip New York City restaurant.
Hear's how the New York Times's Florence Fabricant described the Squid Ink Shot in last Thursday's Dining In section:
- Sometimes The Dark Side Wins
Food that's black and foamy is about as trendy as it gets.
At Bar Tonno, 17 Cleveland Place (Spring Street), the chef, Scott Conant, drops a scoop of potato purée enriched with mussels and strips of squid into a simple little beaker, then crowns it with warm, frothy, slightly peppery squid ink for a tidbit to sip or spoon.
The squid ink shots are $4.
If you look carefully at the picture, you can see the mussels, and the print version of the Times picture (unfortunately not reproduced on the website), which I'm looking at very carefully as I write this, shows one of those squid strips.
The picture shown above - reproduced from the Gothamist - clearly shows the graded volume markings of the lab quality Pyrex beaker the concoction is served in.
The Times picture didn't, making it look almost appetizing.
The newspaper also didn't reproduce the wonderful green accents (seaweed? One would assume...) in the Gothamist version.
Yes, a picture - or the absence of one - can be worth a lot of words.
In this case, not a thousand, but certainly way more than enough, wouldn't you say?
Or do you want still more?
SHHH! - Society for HandHeld Hushing
If I were the type to join a club - even one that would have me, a doubtful proposition - this would be one I'd seriously consider.
I stumbled upon it just now on some random website.
They even have a link on their site to a PDF file you can download to make your own membership cards (pictured above) to hand out whenever you want to improve your immediate aural environment.
Disclaimer: bookofjoe is not responsible for your hospital bills if you give one to Ron Artest.
Here what the inventors' website had to say:
- Shut Up Already
After reading a story in the New York Times, Jim's wife Heidi came up with a method to fight back against the obnoxious cell phone users that we all have to deal with in stores, restaurants, trains and pretty much everywhere else.
Can design ride to the rescue?
Jim and the incomparable Aaron Draplin think it can.
So, as a public service, we introduce the reasonably polite SHHH! - the Society for HandHeld Hushing.
I learned about something called subclavian steal in med school.
Then, a couple years ago, I learned about something I call "reverse steal."
It was invented by a priest who wrote a book which he finally self-published after failing to interest any publishers in taking it on.
With boxes of the books sitting around in mint condition during the holidays one year, it dawned on him: the perfect solution.
He took a bunch of his books into a local Barnes & Noble and made a neat space for them right up front on the tables that feature the highlighted books.
Then he walked out of the store.
He wrote about his experience for the New York Times, and I was absolutely, instantaneously enchanted.
He didn't call it a "reverse steal," that's my term, but it's perfect.
He would go back about once a week with a bunch more books and replenish the stack, which mysteriously got smaller but never completely disappeared.
After the holidays, he stopped.
I tried this last Christmas season at my local Barnes & Noble, in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, and it was an amazing feeling.
I loved it.
With my book, though, there was a slightly different outcome: every week I'd return, the stack of copies of my latest magnum opus (top) were gone.
So I simply put a new stack there.
Hey, it's only paper.
I had a friend try to buy one: you can't imagine the uproar when it didn't scan properly (it has an ISBN and a barcode, so it looks totally legit).
Store manager, the whole nine yards.
Oh, but I'm a fool, and I don't mind saying so myself.
So, if you find yourself in Charlottesville, Virginia in the next couple of weeks, and you see my book on the table at the front of Barnes & Noble, look but don't try to buy it, unless you like folly as much as I do.
Amazon's got it, without the drama.
MorphWorld: Ottoman into a bed
For $600 Target - yes, Target - will sell you this leather-covered ottoman in your choice of red, brown, or black leather.
At bedtime, open it up just like the picture and you've got a twin-size bed, complete with headboard and a four-inch thick mattress.
Made in Italy.
Don't waste your time trying to find it on Target's website, as my research team did earlier; it's just not there, under beds, ottomans, you name it.
A better option might be to call Target - 800-800-8800 - and find out more.
Olympus Stylus 500 - Set it on 'Cuisine'
It seems that the rage in Japan these days is photographing your restaurant meal before chowing down.
Far be it from Japan-headquartered Olympus to ignore the rumblings from the Tokyo street: they've created a new camera scene mode setting called "Cuisine" - making its debut in this instrument - to optimize things for indoor food photography.
On sale in January here in the U.S. for around $400.
3x optical zoom, 5 megapixels, and a very nice 2.5," 215,000-pixel LCD "Hyper Crystal" screen.
They've tricked-out the screen by laying out the liquid crystal molecules in a radial pattern so the viewing angle's up to 160°, which is much wider than typical LCD screens.
The camera's got built-in software that allows you to sort pictures stored on the memory card into 12 different albums.
Hey, JM in Singapore, here's your new camera.
Now where's my soba?