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December 12, 2004

Free eBooks from the University of Virginia Library


Charlottesville, Virginia may be geographically remote, but electronically it's the center of the virtual world for those who love to read.

The University of Virginia Library now has 1,800 eBooks downloadable FOR FREE from its website.

They include classic British and American fiction, major authors, children's literature, the Bible, Shakespeare, American history, African-American documents, and much more.

There are thousands more titles in the Electronic Text Center's collections and projects.

Each book can be accessed in HTML for online viewing, and can be downloaded as both an MS Reader E-book for the Microsoft Reader and a Palm-readable text for the Palm Reader.

There's also a step-by-step guide to how to get and use ebooks and ebook software.



As we say here in Charlottesville (and, alas, in beautiful Boise, Idaho this December 27, as our football team couldn't quite break into the ACC elite this year),

Wa Hoo Wa

December 12, 2004 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: What makes you happy?


Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and colleagues, in last week's Science magazine, published the results of their exhaustive research into happiness.

Their findings?


• What makes people happy has little to do with what they say makes them happy.

• Money and children, which people often say give them happiness, do not appear to lift people's moods on a day-to-day level.


• "Saying that you generally don't enjoy spending time with your kids is terrible," said Norbert Schwarz, a psychologist at the University of Michigan involved in the study. "But admitting they were a pain last night is quite acceptable."


The scientists, using a technique they call the "Day Reconstruction Method," found that simple social activities and watching television turned out to be among the most enjoyable daily activities, whereas being married or rich made relatively little difference to people's everyday moods.


The study was conducted on 909 women by researchers at Michigan, Princeton, the University of California at San Diego, and Stony Brook University.

December 12, 2004 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tattoo Sleeve


Ever think that's maybe it's not your clothes, or your shoes, or your accessories, or any of the usual suspects getting between you and the apple of your fantasy eye?

Perhaps if you added a little body-modification, you'd have more crossover appeal.

But then, what to do on Monday when you're on best behavior at work?

Here's the ingenious solution.

These tattoo sleeves let you "get inked by night and keep your day job."

The design is printed directly on the sleeves' fabric.

The sheer, flesh-toned, full-length sleeves come in Tribal (stripes) or Traditional (serpent, skull, or woman designs).

You get two for $14.98; wear one or both.

I'm sure these will do the trick.

December 12, 2004 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Perhaps the best place online to find out what's hot and what's not when it comes to cosmetics.

Each item is rated by the number of users who'd buy it again.

For example, 96% of readers would buy MAC's 266 Small Angle Brush for eyes a second time, but only 50% would come back for more Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips.

Hey, wait just a minute: I adore those Bioré strips.


The site's unhappy users probably don't do what I do, which makes the Bioré experience truly unforgettable.

I take a 10X lighted magnifying glass and study the fruits of the Bioré's extraction.

It's another world when you look at it this way.

Eeek - that stuff was inside my pores a few minutes ago?


So much fun for so little money.

Simple pleasures are truly the very, very best ones.

And don't try to pretend you don't do equally gross stuff.

I know you better than that.

Yes, I'm talkin' to you.

Who else do you think I'm talking to?

'Cause you're the only one here. (Robert De Niro, your cab is outside)

December 12, 2004 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bodum Double-Walled Glass


The first question that comes to mind is what took 'em so long?


I mean, we've had storm windows since forever, so why not adapt the same air-insulation technology to everyday objects like a drinking glass?


Bodum has done it, simply and elegantly.


They make the glasses in a variety of sizes and price them very reasonably: $12-$20 for two.

[via BW]

December 12, 2004 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



I'm seriously considering changing my last name.

Stirt was originally much longer: I know for a fact that it was Stirtya+, and when my dad arrived at Ellis Island from Lithuania as a teen-aged boy, he said his full name and the immigration officer told him it was too long and difficult and from that moment on he was Stirt.

Now comes one of my Icelandic fans (yes, AR, that would be you) to inform me that the only word in Icelandic that's at all close to Stirt is "stirtla," which means the name of that small part of a fish right before it broadens into the tail.

In German, a stirtla is a fishtail.

I really, really like Stirtla as a last name.

Zoëga's Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic states that stirtla is a verb meaning "to raise with difficulty."

My mother would concur with that one.

But wait: from Johnny Jensen's Photographic Fish Library comes a beautiful picture of a Lookdown/Horsehead (top).

And the news that in Finnish, it's called a... Stirtla.

That does it.


I'm filing the papers at the Albemarle County Courthouse tomorrow.

December 12, 2004 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why I wasn't an econ major


"BBC Says It Will Cut 2,900 Jobs Over 3 Years" - that was the headline over a story in Wednesday's New York Times.

"Colgate Announces Job Cuts" - that was the headline of a Washington Post story the same day.

"GM Confirms 12,000 Job Cuts in Europe" - that was the headline over a CNN story Thursday.

News that these bulwarks of the economy are cutting 10% to 20% of their work forces over the next 2-4 years is greeted with approval and increases in the price of their stock, if they're private companies.

But here's the thing that's mystified me for years: how - if there's no one to buy what you make - can you make money?


If you fire everyone, and they have no jobs and no money, then what good is it for you to offer your wares for sale?

I dropped the only economics course I ever signed up for about a week into the semester; it seemed to have no bearing on the real world.

Just goes to show, I guess, that testing reality's never been one of my strengths.


But that's OK, 'cause there's plenty of other people happy to do it for me.

December 12, 2004 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The best reason to live in New York City


I saw the big ad in the New York Times yesterday:

Same Day Delivery in Manhattan


You order online from anywhere in the world.

If your order's in by 11 a.m. Eastern, Monday-Friday, your book, CD, DVD, whatever will be delivered to you anywhere in New York City - free - by 7 p.m. that day.

Over 1 million items in stock and ready for Same Day Delivery, reads the ad.


You think of a song, read a review, hear a movie's really good; just visit your computer and voila - you can listen to it, read it, or watch it that night, in the cozy comfort of your own crib.

Man, I'd be using this service constantly if I lived there.

Both for myself and to send stuff to people.

The only thing I like more than getting something I want is giving someone else something they want.

I love, adore, am fervent in my search for gifts and things of interest for people I like.

Get on my list: it's a good place to be.

December 12, 2004 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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