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February 25, 2013

bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: Snow Peak Titanium Spork

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Not only is it a beautiful object that feels wonderful in your hand but it also functions perfectly as both a spoon and fork.

Besides which it is ultra lightweight and tough as nails.

What's not to like?

Eating soup or salads with this as opposed to using the crummy plastic spoons and forks you get from drive-thrus and take-outs makes a whole world of difference.

I keep mine in my pocket and would no more leave the house without it than my wallet.

$8.95 — cheap at twice the price.

February 25, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Is your cardiologist a quack?

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You be the judge.

February 25, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

i.Trek SupaMount — Exclusive Gray Cat Unboxing

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This piece of kit arrived about a half hour ago and Gray Cat was all over it (above and below).

Long story short: "The i.Trek SupaMount is a uniquely-designed tripod mount that makes any mobile phone or iPod attach to any kind of tripod [can your tripod mount do that? Didn't think so. But I digress]."

"You will no more need a digital camera."

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Constant readers will recall that I abandoned my digital camera two weeks ago when — after I picked it up for the first time in months to take a picture of something or another that attached to my iPhone — I was unable to use the camera because of the complexity of on-screen icons and buttons that made it impossible for this card-carrying TechnoDolt©™® to simply take a picture.

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No worries, though, now that I've got my nifty new i.Trek.

Features and Details as noted in attached literature:

• Fits any kind of tripod

• Can be used as a phone/MP3 player stand

• The most flexible tripod mount in the world

• Fits any mobile phone or iPod ≤15mm thick

• Anti-damage structure prevents your device from damage [sic]

• Crafted from solid aluminum and have super high strength [sic]

• Powerful holding system holds your device stable in any way [sic]

• 2 (two) screw holes placed 90° to each other let you choose your hold in portrait or landscape [sic]

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Fantastic build quality, with a buttery-smooth screw/tightening mechanism featuring rubber faces on both sides that won't damage your device.

B copy

$20.95.

Full disclosure: I only learned of the existence of this tool in a comment on Mark Frauenfelder's review of the Glif in last week's edition of Cool Tools.

Commenter Stanton trashed the Glif and noted the existence of this — to her or him, at least — far better piece of kit.

I can't speak as to the merits of the Glif since for me it's a non-starter because it only works with a naked iPhone: no in-case capability.

NO WAY am I gonna take my iPhone 5 out of its superb G-Force case every time I want to use a mount: completely negates the point of having a protective case.

February 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Barbecue Exchange — World-class 'cue comes to my Podunk town

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I happened on an article about The Barbecue Exchange when I was downtown Friday and was struck by the emphasis on pickles.

I love pickles and everything pickled and fermented and the story waxed on eloquently about Craig Hartman, the establishment's owner, and his relentless pursuit of pickling nirvana.

I figured what the heck, I'll stop by on my way back from Sunday's 5K in Richmond — Gordonsville is about 20 miles from my home in Charlottesville, sort of kind of en route from Richmond.

Good decision.

It turns out Craig (center below, chef Tiffany Gieser and pit master Van Jackson)

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is a classically trained chef with 40 years of experience at the very highest levels, interspersed with teaching at Cornell University's School of Hotel Management.

Three years ago he decided to open a little BBQ shack as a kind of hobby away from his day job as chef at Keswick Hall. 

One thing led to another and before you know it he was open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the people kept coming and coming and now the restaurant is his crown jewel.

His Belly-Q — sliced pork belly (to the right in picture up top) — is world-class, melt-in-your-mouth perfect, with a secret spice rub that melds perfectly in texture and aroma with meat, fat, and crust to create something sublime.

It alone is worth the trip.

I needed no sauce on anything — the mark of great 'cue. 

But let me interject that I couldn't avoid noticing the sauce selection — Hog Fire, Colonel Bacon, Craig's Carolina, QX Sweet, and Soo-eet — in the center of each table.

I tried each just to see and detected not the usual nondescript flavors and tastes you can find in the supermarket aisle in jars and containers but the masterful hand of an expert saucier. 

These sauces are no small beer (and you can buy them in containers or bottles and take them home).

The ribs (below)

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were perfect — fall off the bone delicate and tender, with a dry rub as good as — yes, I will dare to say it — that of Charlie Vergo's in Memphis, which up to yesterday was my high bar for spare rib nirvana.

These ribs are the equal of the Tennessee master's.

But I was just getting started.

I continued with pulled pork, beef brisket (below, in the bespoke cooker called "The Beast," created by Craig's brother-in-law Jim Kush and able to cook 48 shoulders and 108 racks of ribs, working on it own convection and fired by bbq hardwood charcoal and hickory logs) both sliced and chopped,

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and sides of bacon-studded baked beans and pepper cabbage, good vinegar-based slaw being one of my favorite — and very difficult to find — accompaniments.

I sampled a medley of pickles but I must admit: I was so taken with the Belly-Q and ribs that I wasn't really paying the closest attention to the subtlety of the pickle assortment.

I plan another trip in the near future to sample the rest of the menu in detail, a meatless visit that will feature a medley of sides along with pickles: that list will include but not necessarily be limited to the following:

• Macaroni and cheese

• Collard greens

• Spicy cole slaw

• Home-style cole slaw

• Potato salad

• Macaroni salad

• Fried pickles

• Fried green tomatos

• Fried onion rings 

And those pickles:

• Garlic pickles.

• Sweet pickles

• Horseradish pickles

• Mustard pickles

• Spicy pickles

• Dill pickles

• Pickled onions

• Pickled green tomatoes

• Pickled sweet peppers

• Hot peppers

These deserve my total focus and concentration will receive just that when I return.

Below, Craig with the woman who keeps the trains running on time, manager Jaclyn Conlogue.

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A third trip will be required for Brunswick Stew, Hog Wings ("small pork shanks fried until they are crispy and tossed in sauce of your choice"), pulled chicken BBQ, Fu-Q (smoked tofu — true!), hush puppies, french fries, the soup of the day, corn bread, and pumpkin muffins.

Craig was nice enough to take me back into the kitchen where I saw the dough for each and every muffin and roll being made from scratch by hand, as is everything served by this remarkable establishment. 

This is one superb restaurant which, if located anywhere near a major city, would be a mecca for BBQ enthusiasts from around the U.S. and the world.

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Above, the menu.

Sayonara, pit master Van Jackson —

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hasta la vista.

February 25, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Brass Antibacterial Rollerball Pen

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From Michael Hsu and the Wall Street Journal:

According to the pen's manufacturer, the brass from which it's made has been certified by the EPA as being antimicrobial, able to kill six especially nasty strains of bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, within two hours.

Metals with a high copper content, like brass, can also be effective at neutralizing viruses. Studies conducted at the University of Southampton have found that copper alloys can kill a range of viruses, including the dreaded influenza A H1N1. According to lead researcher Dr. Bill Keevil, other recent tests show that noroviruses — the culprits behind the stomach bug — die within 10 minutes of dry contact with a copper surface.

Given these advantages, copper-based products, such as IV poles and light-switch covers, are increasingly being made to prevent the spread of disease in hospitals and other institutions. This inspired industrial designer Karl Zahn to fabricate the most basic of physicians' tools — the pen — from the same material. "It's the one piece of equipment that every doctor has contact with," said Mr. Zahn.

Each part of the Hatch Pen, except for the stainless-steel clip and rollerball refill, is made of solid brass. While most brass pens are heavily lacquered to preserve their lustre, the Hatch is finished with just a thin coat, intended to wear away quickly, leaving the hygienic surface exposed. So although the pen may soon lose its glossy sheen, its germ-killing properties will endure past flu season.

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$104.

February 25, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Google Glass is fo shizzle

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bookofjoeTV is about to happen.

It's been 8+ years I've been banging on about boj being just a placeholder for the main event while I waited for the technology to catch up to my dream.

Now the moment has come.

Of course I'm applying to be one of the 8,000 Google Glass Explorers who'll be given a shot at early access to this life- and world-changing technology.

FunFact: You can submit 3 applications — who wouldn't do that?

I mean, three lottery tickets instead of just one: anyone knows you're way more likely to win with three.

Duh.

February 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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