November 28, 2020

Still jarring after all these months

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Above, a picture that appears above the fold on the front page of today's local paper, of shoppers on Black Friday on Podunkville's Downtown Mall.

It still looks more like a still from a sci-fi movie than real life.

I wonder how many more years till it becomes unremarkable to people over over the age of three.

November 28, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'The Queen's Gambit'

This seven-part series on Netflix is fo shizzle.

I mean, it's that good.

I read the book by Walter Tevis upon which it's based when it first came out in 1983: it's really good.

Did you know that three of Tevis's six novels — "The Hustler," "The Color of Money," and "The Man Who Fell to Earth" — were adapted into major films?

But I digress.

"The Queen's Gambit" is so good that I think — but I'm not certain — that I read it a second time sometime this century; second readings are rarer than four-leaf clovers in my world.

Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays the lead in the Netflix series — whom I'd never heard of before — is eerily good; in fact, the whole show seems to edge up against a kind of uncanniness from moment to moment, in a good way.

The rest of the cast, none of whom I'd heard of nor seen before, is top-notch.

Bonus: The show takes place for the most part in the 1960s and the soundtrack is replete with my favorite songs from high school so I had a blast singing along.

The music sounds way better coming out of my TV's speakers than it did back in the day, when a fuzzy AM car radio was pretty much it.

Highly recommended.

November 28, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Far Out — Philip Larkin


November 28, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Noburo Step Ladder

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From the website:

Noburo means "to climb" in Japanese.

1420060 Noboru Step Ladder_M

This is a multifunctional step ladder.

The lower step can slide in, taking up less space and turning the step ladder into a stool or side table.

Under the step, a short handle is milled, so you can easily grab it to pull it out and push it back in.

1420060 Noboru Step Ladder 02_M

This minimalist solid oak step ladder has slim profiles on all sides.


Apply within.

November 28, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 27, 2020

Güiro (wooden percussion frog)

Right after I featured the wooden frog impaled on a dowel pictured below in yesterday's "What is it?" — which had puzzled reader Michael, who'd emailed the pictures to me  — I posted it on reddit:

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Instantly, informative and entertaining comments (and upvotes) started coming in, with a number of peeps identifying the device as a wooden percussion frog.

Wrote one: "It is called a güiro and it croaks like a frog :)"

Another: "Rubbing a stick one way is a normal frog croak and rub it the other way for a frog mating call, my grandma has these at her farm along with some medicine bowls."

More: "I had 2 of these years ago, got them from Egypt."

And: "I remember elementary school music class... that was on the percussion table."

Can't stop: "I bought one of these in Kauai!! Had no one showed me what it was, I would have had no idea also! 😆."

Finally: "It makes a sound that attracts frogs when used correctly. Oddly enough there's a slightly different version that somehow gets earthworms to come to the surface. I need more coffee."

Not only did a number of people have them, oftimes found amidst grandma's stuff, but also there appeared a link to an instructive video (top) and links to places where you can buy one for your very own self:

$9.99 here, $19.99 (Medium) and $22.99 (Large) here.

As I think about it, this would also be a great gift for the child of someone you don't like much: drive 'em nuts.

November 27, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Walk a mile in my shoes

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Earlier this week I was walking along on my treadmill minding my own business when I noticed my shoes' soles were rubbing against the treadmill belt and making a noise.

I was wearing my most cushioned walking shoes, Skechers (below)


whose heel foam padding measures 1.75" thick.

I've tolerated the shoe-belt contact in the past but for some reason that day I was determined to get to the bottom of it and make it go away.

I changed shoes, donning my Nike Vaporfly 4% (top) whose rubber road inserts on the soles had fallen off such that they were just foam on the bottom.

Guess what: no noise, no rubbing of shoe on belt. 

I measured the Nike heel foam padding: 1.25" thick.

Problem solved.

Lagniappe: The Nike shoe weighs 6.75 oz. while the Skechers weigh in at 19.75 oz. apiece, nearly three times more and over 3/4 of a pound more/shoe. 

If you're putting in serious miles in them, that's a huge difference in the load on your legs.

November 27, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Taxi Ceilings of Mumbai

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[Above and below, Mumbai taxi ceilings]

From Rachel Lopez's Instagram:

The world's largest gallery of #mumbaitaxi ceiling photos from India.

I take #kaalipeeli cabs, I look up and this is the art I see 🚖 ♥

Wrote Lopez on pri

In Mumbai, any commute is an adventure.

No journey is without a traffic jam.

The roads are an obstacle course of potholes and pedestrians.

Google Maps often can't tell if the highway it's recommending is closed for repairs, yet again. 

If you need to take a taxi, cross your fingers.

Mumbai's 58,000 metered taxis (or kaali-peelis as the black-and-yellow fleet is affectionately called) are driven by a temperamental species.

They refuse short-distance rides.

They're picky about out-of-the-way destinations.

They're simply grouchy — even on a good day. 

But once you've scored a taxi, get in and look up.

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You'll notice a canvas that holds the most unusual art.

Approximately half the city's cabs decorate their ceilings and doors in some kind of colorful plastic or vinyl sheeting.

If you're lucky, you might get the common fruit design — photos of melons, berries, kiwis, even a sliced papaya, all cobbled together.

Continue taking taxis, and you may spend one ride under what looks like a tacky tablecloth your grandmother threw away.

There are neat geometrics, subtle two-tone filigree patterns, delicate cherry blossoms, garish zebra prints, and monstrous bouquets.

The truly fortunate may even see the unicorn of taxis: a fully mirrored ceiling with a chandelier affixed just behind the driver's head.

None of the designs have ever matched the upholstery on the seats, of course.

Perhaps Mumbai taxi art is just meant to clash.

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But taxi decor is not new.

Older car models were bigger and some would feature a shiny pole between the front and back seats.

Many had blinking lights inside — simply because they could.

Upgrades over the last five years, however, phased out the old models for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

There is no longer room for poles.

Worse, factory-fresh models come covered in felt-like fabric that's not only dull, but also hard to keep clean, necessitating printed coverings.

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I took my first shot of a taxi ceiling in April 2017 — a chocolate-brown background covered in strawberries of unnatural hues.

It occurred to me that perhaps I wouldn't be seeing the colorful ceilings for long.

In the five years since app-based rides have entered India, they won over the middle-class with more transparent pricing, polite drivers, carpool options, and e-payment.

Mumbai taxi drivers have gone on strike several times in protest — driving even more commuters away.

I'll admit, kitschy decor is no match for the promise of a smoother commute.
But over the past month, as I've shared my shots of ceiling art on Twitter and Instagram, one thing's clear: Many Mumbaikars still take taxis.
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They need only a little prodding to look up.
And once they do, they're hooked.
My feeds are now full of friends and strangers, alike, sharing pictures of taxis they've taken across the city.
Many locals comment that they simply didn't pay attention to the variety of kaali-peeli designs before.
The drivers, however, remain unimpressed in the face of compliments about their cars and drive on.
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Still, it's more fun than the cold, gray inside of an Uber.

November 27, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

World Newspapers

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"World newspapers, magazines,

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and news sites in English."


Free, the way we like it.

November 27, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

OXO Pie Server


Using this kitchen implement, for the first time ever I am able to remove the first piece from an intact pie


without making an appalling mess.





November 27, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 26, 2020

What is it?


From reader Michael come the photos above and below.


He wrote:

"What is it? Found this when I was cleaning out my parents' house a few years ago. I have no idea what it is. Maybe for curling ribbon instead of the edge of a scissors??????"

Answer here this time tomorrow.


Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: wood.

November 26, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)



Inspired by a ordinary paper party banner,


OOOMS designed a one-piece structure.


Once stretched, it lengthens to become a beautiful necklace resembling lace.

November 26, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog'


Peter Steiner's cartoon appeared in the July 5, 1993 issue of the New Yorker. 

It is the magazine's most reproduced cartoon ever.

November 26, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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Above, the broken image icon that often appears when I try to add a picture to a post.

But wait — there's more!

Most days now when I take my first look at boj, the 8:01 a.m. post that leads the day's festivities appears featuring this same broken image icon.

You've probably encountered it in recent weeks, when this glitch started happening.

Look, here's one from today's 8:01 a.m. post:

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Even better: when I first tried to repost it, it gave me a broken link symbol: how recursive and meta is that?

Anyway, since I'm the one in charge here (subject to Gray Cat's whims, of course — duh), before I do anything else I have to go behind the scenes and repost the broken image(s).

The thing is, at the time I initially finished the post, all images were intact, though some required several attempts on my part because of the FAIL icon initially encountered.

This problem has occurred before, most recently a couple years ago.

No point opening a Help Ticket with Typepad because decades-long personal experience doing just that has taught me that:

1) They'll ask me a zillion questions, each more annoying than the last;

2) They'll fail to provide a fix, and, most enraging,

3) They'll say that my code is bad, the same excuse that they've reverted to over many back-and-forths regarding why my Comments section regularly breaks down for weeks or months at a time before spontaneously fixing itself.

They've offered to fix it but I don't trust them; they say they'll make a copy first so I can revert to it if their fix isn't satisfactory but I think that's a bad choice.

Many decades of telling anesthesiology residents that perfect is the enemy of good, for example not letting them fiddle around with a malfunctioning ventilator in the middle of a case but instead telling them to disconnect it and turn it off and instead squeeze the breathing bag for a couple hours like I did in the old days, has taught me the wisdom and truth of this simple aphorism.

I think any attempt by Typepad's coding and software BrainGenius®© engineers to fix my behind-the-scenes code will result in the crash, burn, and end of bookofjoe, irretrievably.

Here's what I, a card-carrying TechnoDolt©®*, think: If an action taken on a computer results in different results when the same action is repeated, there's a fault in the code. 

Whatever software posts pictures, it's not unique to me but, rather, universal across Typepad's universe.

And that's all I've got to say about that.

November 26, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

My other car is NOT a Bentley Mulliner Bacalar


I just missed snagging one of these 12 very limited edition vehicles.


You snooze, you looze.


But I digress.


From Barron's:


This year, we got the roof-free Mulliner Bacalar, which will sell for approximately $1.9 million in an edition of just 12.


The coachbuilt vehicle is not specifically a "green" car but it does have interior trim made from 5,000-year-old copper-infused wood found in river bottoms, lakes and peat bogs in East Anglia.

November 26, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 25, 2020

When marble becomes transparent


The illusion of transparent cloth carved in marble.

"The Veiled Virgin" (1856) by Giovanni Strazza.

The sculpture is in the care of the Presentation Sisters, Cathedral Square, St. John's, Newfoundland.

It may be viewed by appointment.

Apply within.

[via RealityCarnival]

November 25, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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