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September 1, 2006

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to keep your running shoes from stinking up your home


"To keep shoes from smelling to high heaven, place untreated charcoal (the cheap kind that is almost impossible to light) in a muslin bag, and then place inside the shoe. The charcoal will absorb the eau de stinky feet. Replace as needed."

"But where do I get small muslin bags?" you ask.

That's why you have me.

35 cents and up apiece (depending on size) right here.

For everything else, there's MasterCard.

[via Louisa Jaggar and the Washington Post]


    This just in 18 minutes ago (6:04 p.m.) from Flautist in the Comments section:

    No, no, no. I'll probably get a whippin' for saying this, but all that muslin and charcoal stuff is just not necessary. My five or six pair of walking/jogging shoes that I rotate had to be left out in the garage because my cat kept trying to cover them up. I purchased Odor Eaters "with Zorbitex technology." (You HAVE to use the kind with Zorbitex or nothing will happen. Odor eaters without Zorbitex is like, well I don't know, but something that needs something else really bad or it won't work.) Just sprinkle in shoes before use.

    This Odor Eaters smells like honeysuckle and keeps my shoes non-lethal and my cat non-frantic. My shoes can stay right by my favorite chair in my hanging-out area and not offend. (There is a lot of talk on the bottle [jar? can?] that says it absorbs its weight in sweat, blah-blah, but it doesn't do that for me. My feet just sweat right on in my shoes with a vengeance. But now the shoes don't stink, sweaty or not.) I went and bought six bottles of the powder (I never use the spray) because I KNOW they're going to tamper with perfection and put something in there, or take something out, that will make it not work at all, or make things smell even worse.

    Get some now, while it's good and they haven't screwed it up.

And that's all she had to say — about that.


$4.54 will get you a 6-oz. bottle [jar? can?] of Flautist-approved™ Odor Eaters Foot Powder with Zorbitex™ technology.

September 1, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

World's First Digital Makeup Pad


Simone, call your office.

Here's Warren Buckleitner's story from yesterday's New York Times on this waycool new device.

    The Many Faces of You (Clean Up With a Click)

    Want to see what you look like with purple eyeliner? Digi Makeover, a $60 digital makeup pad from Radica (www.radicagames.com), lets you try out different looks on your TV screen.

    You start by positioning the Digi Makeover’s camera about three feet from your face and taking a picture of yourself. It is a bit of a trick to line up eyes and mouth with the on-screen guides, but that is necessary to avoid getting lipstick on your cheek later on.

    Next, you can try out six types of effects: eyes, lips, blush, tattoos, jewelry and hair. With the blush and eyeliner, the harder you rub the small touchpad with your stylus, the darker the coloring.

    Professional makeup artists have nothing to fear from the Digi Makeover, which runs on four AA batteries or an AC adapter (not included). Still, the images will keep you chuckling, especially when you put a purple wig on Grandpa.

    A photo booth mode pastes your face into 16 picture frames, and you can save 5 pictures in memory. But the only way to export pictures is to connect the device to your VCR and record the output.


The above was the good news.

The bad news: it's vaporware — doesn't show up on Radica's dysfunctional website nor does it appear on the website of any of the stores purported to sell Radica products.


A Google search by the crack research team — including the "Dark Web," the internet equivalent of dark energy and matter — yielded zilch.

Ray Kurzweil's reflections on "Simone" are worth the price you paid to view this post.

Wait a minute....

September 1, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Res ipsa loquitur.

But in case you're having difficulty with the audio portion of today's blog, feel free to check in at the bestcheesesteak website.

I must say that every day that doesn't find me at Pat's King of Steaks ordering a "cheese wit" is one more day of gratification deferred.

But I say to you now: I will not wait forever.

Whether that's a threat or a promise I honestly don't know.

Nor do I care.

September 1, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tofutech T-Shirt


Look at the photo above.

What do you see?


Well, guess what: it could be.

It's Ex Officio's new Tofutech T-shirt — 100% soy.

I hope you're not too hungry 'cause you can't buy one ($34) until February 2007.

If they come out with matching knickers it'll add a whole new layer of meaning to "Eat my shorts!"

I've just declared the Tofutech T the Official Edible T-Shirt of bookofjoe™.

September 1, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Energi To Go Instant Cell Phone Charger: Energizer Bunny stops banging his drum long enough to smell the coffee — and the long green


I couldn't figure out last year how it was that all these fancy-shmancy catalogs were offering a nifty new cellphone accessory called Charge2Go (below)


that let you power up instantly with a regular old AA battery via a special accessory cord that converted the battery's power into a form the cellphone could use — sold along with a zillion different "smart tips" for various makes of cellphones so you could use the thing with any phone.

Where were the battery companies?

It was like Gillette offering Fusion Power razor blades and letting someone else sell the razor — ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

A better analogy, perhaps: Apple's iTunes working perfectly with any MP3 player instead of only the iPod.

Not likely, eh?

Not when the iPod accounts for 40% of Apple's profit.

But I digress.

Energizer announced in June of this year that they'd picked up the clue phone and were going to market their own little power booster (below)


starting today.

Kelvin Belle, senior product manager for Energizer, told Red Herring back in June, in response to the question, "Why so late?," that "Energi To Go chargers didn’t come out earlier because Energizer needed time to develop its smart tip technology, which optimizes the power transfer from the battery to the charger."

Red Herring wrote, "Still, even if it’s late to the game, Energizer has the advantage of national distribution, and that means users can go on trips knowing they can buy the products on their way and refill the batteries anywhere, according to Mr. Belle."

"'Most of the alternatives don’t have national distribution,' he said. "You have to get them from catalog sales.'"

Hey — is there an echo in here?

No way was Mr. Belle gonna confess that, "Hey, we were busy doing something close 2 nothing, but different from the day before," in an honest answer to how it was that Energizer missed the boat.


Erm, train.


Today's papers are replete with full-page color ads for Energi To Go, noting that it's available at stores everywhere.

That's good.

Because if you try to find one online, say at Best Buy, where the device (including two batteries) sells for $19.99, you'll see in the fine print, "Back-ordered. Usually leaves our warehouse within 1-2 weeks."


Say what you will about the catalog iterations, which are much sharper looking, what with their anodized aluminum cases in a variety of colors —


they're available today ($21.95 here) as opposed to being vaporware.

Now comes the audience participation portion of our program.

Look carefully at the photo leading this post.

What do you see?

I see a stupid piece of design: I mean, the Energi To Go charger is almost as big as the phone!

poor, Poorer, POOREST.

Here's today's million-dollar idea from the bookofjoe skunk works: design a cell phone that allows you to use a AA — or AAA — battery for power by simply attaching it to a built-in port on the phone — without a cord or extra accessory.

Hey, what's that sound?

Is that "ka-ching, ka-ching" I hear playing in the distance?

I would not be completely gobsmacked should the new Apple-Google iPhone have such a capability.


Uh-oh... here comes trouble....

What's that music I hear in the distance... wait a minute... is that the Cupertino-Mountain View High-Steppin' LawyerBot Marching Band?


September 1, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Giant Soccer Ball


No Photoshop used in the creation of the picture above.

Katie Couric, eat your heart out.

But I digress.

This puppy is 6 feet in diameter.

That means it measures nearly 19 feet around.

From the website:

    Giant 6-Foot Soccer Ball

    This 6' diameter soccer ball can be filled with air or helium (available at party stores) and has a puncture-resistant bladder and 420-denier nylon cover (the same used for backpacks for durability) that holds its seal for up to two months before requiring reinflation.

    The cover is washable and closed by a low-profile #5 industrial zipper, unlike the rope or string used for similar products.

    Uses the same valve found in inflatable boats and will fit standard air pumps.

    When the non-toxic vinyl bladder is inflated with helium, the ball gains 8 lbs. of lift and weighs only 2 lbs.

    When inflated with air, the ball weighs just over 10 lbs.

    The ball can withstand 250 lbs. of non-concentrated pressure, resulting in durable longevity when used in exuberant group play.

    Comes with vinyl patch kit and instructions for playing giant soccer.

    Ages 10 and up.


That last bit is welcome news: it means nearly two-thirds of my readers can safely play with this ball.


September 1, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

New York Public Library Reading Room Redo


You know you're a nerd when this news causes a frisson of excitement to run up and down your spine.

Sewell Chan's August 17 New York Times story about the revamped New York Public Library Reading Room (above and below) and its roughly 25,000 reference works on open shelves made me pencil this spot in as a can't-miss destination when the bookofjoe World Tour™ hits Gotham.

The article follows.

    With a New Classification System, the New York Public Library Makes a Change for the Clearer

    Dozens of shelves along the southeastern wall of the quarter-acre Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library stand eerily empty, but please remain calm.

    The books weren’t stolen. The library isn’t selling them off as, last year, it unloaded Asher B. Durand’s painting “Kindred Spirits.” And despite a central scene in the 2004 global-warming thriller “The Day After Tomorrow,” patrons have not taken to burning them for warmth.

    It’s just that, after 95 years as one of the city’s grandest public spaces, the reading room is letting go of the arcane, impenetrable ordering system to which it has clung for generations and replacing it with something a person might actually be able to understand.

    “We have a history of a classification system that doesn’t make a lot of intuitive sense to the user community,” said David S. Ferriero, director and chief executive of the New York Public Library’s four research libraries, which include the Humanities and Social Sciences Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, where the reading room and the library system’s headquarters are located.

    Librarians have begun a yearlong project to reorganize, reclassify and update the roughly 25,000 reference works on the room’s open shelves. When they are done, officials promise, readers will have a much easier time locating many of the most commonly consulted works, from the Encyclopaedia Britannica to Shakespeare’s plays. The project will be the biggest change to the room since it reopened in November 1998, after a 16-month restoration. The core problem is this: Most people have no clue how to find books shelved in the Main Reading Room.

    For the bulk of visitors this is no problem. Most who use materials from the General Research Division look up a book in the online catalog (catnyp.nypl.org), fill out a request slip and wait for the book to be retrieved from stacks deep below Bryant Park.

    Since those books are housed in closed stacks, how they are arranged has little impact on the public. Since 1956, with some modifications, those books have been organized mainly according to their size; the library system tries to maximize the use of every bit of shelving space.

    But in the Main Reading Room, where anyone walking in off the street can consult any of the 25,000 or so works right away, size matters less than order. And here, books are arranged under a system invented by John Shaw Billings, the library system’s director from 1896, the year after it was founded, until his death in 1913.

    The system is used only by the New York Public Library. Its greatest drawback is that no one but the system’s librarians really understands it.


    After Mr. Ferriero was hired in 2004 from Duke University, he spent several weekends working at the information desk inside the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, at the entrance to the Main Reading Room, to familiarize himself with the historic heart of the library system.

    “It’s a very difficult collection to learn your way around,” he said, noting that his staff had taken to publishing a small map explaining the layout of the books in the room. “If it didn’t work for me, as a reference librarian, I couldn’t imagine how on earth a user could find anything.”

    It turned out that the members of Mr. Ferriero’s staff felt the same way. For years they had talked about converting the books in the reading room to the Library of Congress classification system, the standard used by academic and reference libraries in the United States.

    That system divides all knowledge among 21 classes, each signified by a letter. Additional letters, and numbers, are used to denote specialized topics. As new areas of knowledge — for example, the Internet or nanotechnology — emerge, new call numbers are created. The Library of Congress’s cataloging policy office updates the classification system each week, while New York librarians had to figure out a way to revise their antiquated Billings system each time they added books on new topics.

    “It’s much less time-consuming, and more efficient, for us to adopt the Library of Congress standard,” said Denise A. Hibay, assistant chief librarian for collection development at the General Research Division.

    The conversion means that every book in the reading room will have to be taken away and given a new call number and label, while its entry in the catalog system, known as Catnyp, is updated. The process began in late June; several hundred titles have already been reclassified and returned to the shelves.

    Some quirks of the old system will vanish. For example works by and about three English authors — Shakespeare, Milton and John Bunyan — and one Spanish author, Cervantes, have separate call numbers under the Billings arrangement. The four authors will now be reintegrated into the sweep of their respective national literatures.

    Readers, for what it’s worth, seem to like the idea.

    Sunand T. Joshi, an independent scholar in Moravia, N.Y., said that finding reference books in the Main Reading Room was no easy feat.

    “I basically had to memorize where these books were and recognize them on sight, or I’d have to ask a reference librarian, which can be a pain in the neck because there are such long lines,” said Mr. Joshi, 48, who called the project “an excellent idea and long overdue.”

    Others went further. “I can’t believe it hasn’t happened sooner,” said Bronwyn Wallace, 23, of New Canaan, Conn., who just graduated from Wesleyan University. The Library of Congress system “translates from place to place,” she said. “To learn a new classification system is like learning a new language.”

    Concerned that long-term users might become confused, librarians have set up an e-mail address (rmrr@nypl.org) for questions and complaints. So far the response has been muted. One reader worried that the Loeb Classical Library would disappear from the shelves; it won’t, but it may move.

    Another element of the project is to cull the reference collection, sending outdated or antiquated texts to the closed stacks, or a storage site in Princeton, N.J., and replacing them with more widely used materials.

    For now the project is limited to the Main Reading Room, although several of the smaller divisions within the Fifth Avenue library are considering making a similar switch. Of the system’s three other research centers, the Science, Industry and Business Library uses the Library of Congress method for its open-stack books, while the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts use Billings. The library’s 86 branches in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx use the Dewey Decimal System.

    For an institution steeped in tradition, giving up Billings has not been easy.


    “I had pangs of guilt at first,” the library’s Ms. Hibay said. “But I think Mr. Billings would appreciate this. He was quite an innovator, and always looking for practical solutions.”

September 1, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Wave Mussel Pot


Because "only the shallow judge by more than appearances."

From the website:

    Staub Mussel Pot

    The clever design of this pot combines a whimsical exterior with a thoughtful interior.

    A stainless-steel strainer separates mussels and broth after cooking for easy serving and dipping.

    The domed lid promotes continuous basting for moister steaming and braising.

    Made of enameled cast iron for excellent heat conduction and retention.

    9.5"L x 7"W x 3.75"H without lid.

    Oven- and freezer-safe.

    Made in France.

    2 qt.


In Blue or Black.


September 1, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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