February 07, 2006
Mario Testino does Princess Diana — The Last Session
In March of 1997, just five months before her untimely death on August 31, 1997 at age 36
under circumstances that remain mysterious to this day,
über–photographer Mario Testino was invited by Princess Diana to
Kensington Palace for a photo shoot some of whose results
later appeared in Vanity Fair magazine.
Many others remained unpublished until now,
when they make their first public appearance in this 136–page book.
The look and feel of these photos have an uncanny resemblance to those taken by Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe and published after her death as "Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting."
In that book, made up of over 2,500 shots taken over the course of a three–day sitting six weeks before the actress's death on August 5, 1962 at age 36 under circumstances that remain mysterious to this day, Monroe seems to recapitulate and relive all the roles and selves she portrayed and embodied over the years.
That book, however, is no longer in print and has become a collectible, with one copy currently available at Amazon "still in shrinkwrap" for $275 and others ranging up to $2,000.
Diana by Testino — $39.99.
21st–Century Spaghetti Plate
A bookofjoe exclusive.
Last night I was walking on my treadmill, doing something close to nothing (but fairly different than the night before) when, out of the ether, came an email from Canada, from one Jacques–Paul Rozand.
Attached were photos (above and below) of his sensational "Great Canadian Spaghetti Plate."
His unique dish offers a dedicated, formed pocket for one forkful of noodles to rest in while being twirled into a scrumptious, mouth–watering, perfectly proportioned (sauce/pasta) mouthful.
• 11"W x 1"D
• Heat–resistant to 284°F (140°C)
• Made of durable, high–impact–resistant Melamine
• Made in Italy
A set of four plates costs $21.80 (USD); shipping and handling add $15 for a total of $36.80 delivered.
If you'd like to be the first on your block to own a set, send a money order or certified check for $36.80 to:
#5 — 16061 Airport Road
Caledon, Ontario, Canada
You can email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to be Jacques–Paul's business partner or invest in his venture and join him in bringing his spaghetti plate to the mass retail market (ka–ching), contact him.
Tell him bookofjoe sent you.
Treadmill walking phenomenon spreading fast — American Public Media Radio's Jon Gordon, host of 'Future Tense,' interviews Tom Niccum and Dr. James Levine
It's viral, folks: this morning, just hours ago, the gospel went forth over the ether.
Radio host Jon Gordon seemed incredulous that Tom was actually walking on his treadmill throughout their live interview.
Well, the proof of the pudding will be in the viewing: Tom (whose treadmill desk is pictured below)
just emailed me and said WCCO–TV called and is on its way over to film a live interview for tonight's news.
Listen to the Future Tense radio interview here, then get over to Tom's page at squidoo (which, by the way, after only a couple weeks is ranked #2 in the Heath and Medicine section) and see what can be done if you're willing to take a walk on the wild side.
They say a person's treadmill desk set–up says a lot about that person.
Why does this not make me very happy as I look at the nifty creations of Dr. Levine (top) and Tom and then my messed–up, wigged–out electronic junkyard (below)?
Hey, I know what: I'll have my crack research team redesign my treadmill desk/multimedia set–up from the rug up.
That oughta be good for a wince and a laugh.
Giant Spatula — 'We never make pies without it'
Hey, if it's good enough for the superb bakers at BakersCatalogue.com then it's good enough for me.
Full disclosure: I ordered one of their coffeecakes at holiday time last year and it was so delicious I licked the plate it came on after the last scrumptious bite disappeared.
Put it on my (very short) permanent re–order list.
But I digress.
From the website and catalog:
- Moving pie crust has never been so easy!
This is the ONE pie tool I will not live without.
If you're like me, and have trouble moving your delicate (read: patched–up) piecrust from counter to plate (or getting underneath to add more flour when rolling), this is the tool you need.
• Easily moves your delicate pie crust.
• Features an aluminum blade and acrylic handle.
• Giant spatula measures 10 x 10 inches.
• Weighs 8 oz.
$19.95 (put giant spatula in the search box at the upper left, where it says "keyword").
BehindTheMedspeak: Got Earwax? And if you do, well, is it wet or dry?
Finally I address something important, something that might actually make a difference in how you live your life.
From a team of Japanese researchers led by Kohichiro Yoshiura at Nagasaki University comes sensational news: the gene that controls whether you have wet or dry earwax has, at long last, been identified.
Now admit it: haven't you been losing sleep for years, wondering when they'd finally pin it down?
Nicholas Wade of the New York Times reported on the findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics on January 30.
Should you prefer the USA Today take on the discovery, here you go.
Here's the Times story.
- Scientists Find Gene That Controls Type of Earwax in People
Earwax may not play a prominent part in human history but at least a small role for it has now been found by a team of Japanese researchers.
Earwax comes in two types, wet and dry.
The wet form predominates in Africa and Europe, where 97 percent or more of people have it, and the dry form among East Asians.
The populations of South and Central Asia are roughly half and half.
By comparing the DNA of Japanese with each type, the researchers were able to identify the gene that controls which type a person has, they report in today's issue of Nature Genetics.
They then found that the switch of a single DNA unit in the gene determines whether a person has wet or dry earwax.
The gene's role seems to be to export substances out of the cells that secrete earwax.
The single DNA change deactivates the gene and, without its contribution, a person has dry earwax.
The Japanese researchers, led by Kohichiro Yoshiura of Nagasaki University, then studied the gene in 33 ethnic groups around the world.
Since the wet form is so common in Africa and in Europe, this was likely to have been the ancestral form before modern humans left Africa 50,000 years ago.
The dry form, the researchers say, presumably arose later in northern Asia, because they detected it almost universally in their tests of northern Han Chinese and Koreans.
The dry form becomes less common in southern Asia, probably because the northerners with the dry earwax gene intermarried with southern Asians carrying the default wet earwax gene.
The dry form is quite common in Native Americans, confirming other genetic evidence that their ancestors migrated across the Bering Strait from Siberia 15,000 years ago.
The Japanese team says that the gene that affects earwax, known to geneticists as the ATP-binding cassette C11 gene, lies with three other genes in a long stretch of DNA that has very little variation from one person to another.
Lack of variation in a sequence of DNA units is often the signature of a new gene so important for survival that it has swept through the population, erasing all the previous variation that had accumulated in the course of evolution.
But earwax seems to have the very humble role of being no more than biological flypaper, preventing dust and insects from entering the ear.
Since it seems unlikely that having wet or dry earwax could have made much difference to an individual's fitness, the earwax gene may have some other, more important function.
Dr. Yoshiura and his colleagues suggest that the gene would have been favored because of its role in sweating.
They write that earwax type and armpit odor are correlated, since populations with dry earwax, such as those of East Asia, tend to sweat less and have little or no body odor, while the wet earwax populations of Africa and Europe sweat more and so may have more body odor.
Several Asian features, like small nostrils, are conjectured to be adaptations to the cold.
Less sweating, the Japanese authors suggest, may be another adaptation to the cold in which the ancestors of East Asian peoples are thought to have lived.
But now you're just getting warmed up, isn't that right?
I know you so well.
But I digress.
Here's a link to the abstract of the Nature Genetics paper.
And now I'm really gonna put a bee in your bonnet.
Because tomorrow, at 12:01 p.m., precisely 24 hours from now, bookofjoe is going to run an unprecedented (if it happened before I sure as heck can't remember it and my crack research team is, as usual, asleep at the switch so there's no help from that peanut gallery) Episode 2 of "BehindTheMedspeak: Got Earwax?," featuring a revolutionary new tool to enable 21st–century earwax management — in the privacy of your own home.
Don't miss it.
Magic Date Ball Pocket Slider Watermelon Lollipop
Pictured above, it's a triumph of design and function.
In a pocket–sized package (it measures 4.75" high and the barrel is 7/8" in diameter) Mattel and 7-11 (where I purchased it yesterday for a couple dollars, up near the cash register with all the St. Valentine's Day stuff) have delivered one wonderful toy and candy delight.
1) At the top is a working mini Magic Date Ball, with the little window and the dark inky blue liquid inside and the small white thingie with all the triangular faces that say stuff like "maybe," "count on it," "sure," — you know the drill by now.
2) There's a button on the side: you remove the Magic Date Ball, follow the instructions on the label to "slide lollipop up" and a cylindrical watermelon–flavored lollipop rises from the device's body for you to marvel at and enjoy.
3) When you've had your fill you slide it back down and reattach the Magic Date Ball.
Bonus: "For ages 4 and up."
Finally — something we can all enjoy.
I Vote for Shawn
Shawn Lea (above) styles herself an "official bookofjoe crackpot research team member" but she is far too modest.
The cream always rises to the top and so has she, to reign supreme above my mötley crüe of wanna–be's masquerading as crack research team members.
You want proof?
OK, how about the following boilerplate which she singlehandedly has concocted out of whole cloth and which is appended to all of her responses to requests for help from bookofjoe?
VOTE FOR SHAWN: If you feel this e-mail has helped you in some small way, please help me win the coveted bookofjoe Crackpot Researcher of the Month title. Just forward this e-mail to Joe at email@example.com with "I Vote for Shawn" as the title.
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Tiffany Sterling Silver Harmonica
10 holes and 20 reeds.
Made by Hohner.
In the Key of C.