« February 12, 2005 | Main | February 14, 2005 »

February 13, 2005

MTA Seam–Up Boot by Kenneth Cole: Opening bid = $159


New York City's MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) is currently running an online auction to raise money for its Transit Museum.

Among the items being sold is a pair of black calfskin boots (above) designed by Kenneth Cole.

They have a retail value of $795, and are distinguished from every other pair of Kenneth Cole boots ever created by the "discreet side pocket to hold a MetroCard."

Opening bid: $159 here.

The boots will be custom-made for the winner once the auction closes, and delivered within 30 days.

February 13, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jasper Morrison's Cork Stools



The great British designer has created stools that look like giant champagne corks.

That's probably — at least in part — because they're made of cork.

$415 each at Vitra (29 Ninth Avenue at 14th Street in NYC; 212-929-3626).

I'll take the one on the right, if you don't mind.

[via Marianne Rohrlich and the New York Times]

* = What would Alice sit on?

February 13, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The magic of Indian Larry


Nothing I have ever written has come close to generating the number of comments received about the September 3, 2004 post entitled "Indian Larry is dead at 55."

Last night on the Discovery Channel I watched the Indian Larry v Mondo "Biker Build-Off" taped last August 28, the very same day he would fall off his bike demonstrating a stunt, hitting his head and causing the brain injury which would lead to his death on August 30.

I was mesmerized.

I had never heard of Indian Larry until I read his New York Times obituary.

I know nothing of bikes and motorcyles.

I've only been on a bike once in my life, as a passenger, and I was so scared I'd never do it again.

But you don't have to be a chef to know what tastes good, and it was clear from the first moments of the TV show that I would have very much liked Indian Larry had I known him.

The show was great, and getting even this second-hand, posthumous look at this singular man was wonderful.

I urge you to visit the Discovery Channel website, check out their schedule, and try to catch this program.

It's repeated about 3-4 times every week.

I know this to be true because each time it airs, visitors to bookofjoe — specifically to the September 3, 2004 post — skyrocket.

So popular is that post that of the 1.68 million results you get if you type Indian Larry into the Google search box, my post comes up third.

Go ahead, try it and see for yourself.

February 13, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Hotspot Bloom


For her final thesis project, Karen Lee created this wearable Hotspot finder, called "Hotspot Bloom."

Just like the boxy ones that people use, it detects wireless networks (802.11b/g) in the vicinity.


Unlike the others, Hotspot Bloom glows and changes colors to indicate the signal strength of a nearby wireless network.

[via whereisben and CNETAsia]

February 13, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

California city to ban cosmetic surgery — on animals


West Hollywood, California, along with Beverly Hills the epicenter of cosmetic surgery — some say that any attractive young woman without breast implants in their environs is most likely a tourist — is moving to become the first municipality in the United States to ban cosmetic surgery and other "non-curative" operations in animals.

California's a strange place — the voters authorized spending $3 billion to make California a world center for therapeutic cloning, but they're adamant about animal welfare.

For example, under a law passed four years ago, in LA a dog does not have an owner but, rather, a "guardian."

In San Francisco, rescued strays are not sent to animal shelters but instead are housed in "apartments."

Last month San Francisco passed a law stating that dogs have rights and are entitled to a fresh bowl of water every day and a doghouse with a roof over their head.

Would that San Francisco cared as much about its legions of homeless people.

Craig Howie wrote a sprightly article about the coming limitation on cosmetic animal surgery for the Scotsman.com.

I really liked their headline, which was:

Botox Ban Puts Bite on Nip and Tuck for LA Pets

February 13, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kitchen To Go


Forget meals to go: designer Alfred Averbeck has created a kitchen you can take with you.

Behind the slatted sliding doors is storage space equivalent to 12 conventional cupboards plus:

• stainless steel sink

• waste bin

• drawers

• lighting and electrical sockets

• options to specify a fridge, dishwasher, microwave, fully-integrated coffee machine, ceramic cook top, built-in microwave/oven combo, and range hood.

Access to the various components is achieved by rotating the central core 180° and the top unit through 360°.


Prices start at $6,500 and go up to $15,000 fully-equipped.

[via whereisben and CNETAsia]

February 13, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kabbalah Strikes Back


Ever since Kabbalah was popularized by Madonna, Lindsay Lohan, Winona Ryder and friends, many Jewish leaders have condemned what they see as the Hollywood version of the ancient teachings.


Now Shlomo Perelman, an Orthodox Jew and owner of Pinsker's Judaica Center in Pittsburgh, has decided to take a stand.

He spent $10,000 creating a 7-minute video about the significance of the red string worn around the left wrist that has come to be the iconic face of "Hollywood Kabbalah."

His website, Judaism.com, features the video and much else.

Dan Nephin of the Associated Press wrote about the drive to reclaim the ancient mysteries and put them in their rightful place.

Which, serious students of kabbalah believe, is not on the left wrist of David Beckham (below).


Here's the story.

    Pittsburgh Store Owner Tries to Reclaim Kabbalah

    For centuries a strand of red string worn around the left wrist has, to some Jews, signified their link to Kabbalah - the Jewish mystical tradition that was once the realm of scholars.

    But ever since Kabbalah was popularized by celebrities such as Madonna, Demi Moore and Lindsay Lohan, countless Jewish leaders have condemned what they see as the Hollywood version of the teachings, saying they've been watered down into a self-help philosophy unrelated to authentic Judaism.

    One Pittsburgh businessman feels so strongly about the issue that he's now trying to sway public opinion himself.

    Shlomo Perelman, an Orthodox Jew and owner of Pinsker's Judaica Center, worries that the study of Kabbalah and the red string itself are being transformed into hollow fashion statements.

    He's spent about $10,000 producing a seven-minute video about the significance of the red string that can be seen free on his Internet site, Judaism.com.

    "It's been co-opted by Hollywood types, and it's been adopted by mass-market, New Age people," he said.

    "It's not being linked at all to Judaism."

    According to Jewish folkways, the red string wards off the evil eye.

    Some trace belief in the evil eye to rabbinic sources and kabbalistic texts, which recommend various remedies such as wearing amulets.

    The practice of wearing the red string is said to have grown from a tradition of winding a red string around the stone marker over the West Bank tomb of Rachel, a Jewish matriarch, while reciting Hebrew prayers.

    The string was then cut into bracelet-size lengths and worn as a symbolic request for spiritual and physical protection and blessings.

    Arthur Green, a professor of Jewish mysticism and theory at Hebrew College in Newton, Mass., and professor of Jewish thought at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., sees the fad among celebrities as "nonsense" and "a rip off."

    "It's commercialization of people's psychological weaknesses. I'm opposed to it at any level," Green said.

    "This is the most trivial level of Kabbalah. ... There's lots to talk about Kabbalah, but the red string isn't part of it."

    Kabbalah's followers believe that by studying texts from their tradition they can understand the hidden meaning of the Torah and can develop a more intimate relationship with God.

    For a long time, many Jews tended to look down on kabbalah, viewing it as abandoning rational thought.

    Today, many Hasidic Jews study it.

    In the Middle Ages, Kabbalah was passed on to married Jewish men older than 40 who were deemed to have the maturity and spiritual depth to handle mysticism's power.

    But in recent years, Kabbalah centers have been opening throughout the United States, teaching a hybrid version with no restrictions on age, gender or religion.

    Some critics contend the practice is growing into a cult, although its leaders reject that claim.

    Perelman said it troubles him that Jewish teenagers consider Madonna and other celebrities "icons of Jewish spirituality."

February 13, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Talking Toilet Paper


"This'll catch your friends by surprise!"

"Records your 13-second message, then plays it back with every yank on the roll!"

On/Off switch.

Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included).

"Change your fun message often to give guests a laugh."

Regularly $14.98, now $12.98 here (item # 22088).

If you don't act now, there you'll sit, brokenhearted....

February 13, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

« February 12, 2005 | Main | February 14, 2005 »