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March 19, 2005

'I hate people who remind me of myself'


One of the many striking postcards on PostSecrets.com, a website created by Frank Warren.


You send him a postcard with a secret and it becomes part of his art work in progress.


He offers anonymity and urges creativity.


Confession is good for the soul.


Or so it has been said.


Warren exhibited at the Artomatic show in 2004, and there distributed over


2,000 postcards like the one above, imprinted with his address and an invitation to send him a secret.


New secrets are posted every Sunday.


He will continue to add to his collection and website until May of this year.


I find his site very elegant and one of the most compelling I've yet come across.


It's amazing how a part-time, self-taught artist who runs a small document-delivery


service from his home in a Maryland subdivision can create an


internet destination far superior to 99% of the


multi-million dollar disasters put up by large corporations.

March 19, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Learn Acupuncture at Home!


And that's not all.

The Aculife Magnetic Wave Therapist "combines 5,000 years of proven Chinese medicine with 21st century technology."

Tell you the truth, I'm much more comfortable with the ancient Chinese part than the modern component, but let's go on for now and find out more.

From the website:

    Aculife is a self-diagnosis device that detects illness, then does therapy.

    Through stimulation of hand and ear points by extra-long-wavelength magnetic waves, the product can improve the microcirculation, accelerate the metabolism and enhance immunity to prevent disease.

    Easy to operate: simply follow the easy-to-understand instructions and figures.

    Very important: see for yourself what's wrong with your body's Chi.

    How to use:

    • Turn the Aculife switch to "Diagnose"

    • Place the ear piece in the left ear and roll the tip of the probe over the hand

    • When you feel a tingling sensation you look at the hand chart (above) of which organ or bones are out of balance

    • Then turn the Aculife switch to "Therapy," then recheck the hand

    Strictly forbidden for use in:

    • Pace-maker user

    • Pregnant

    • Children under 3

    • Patient with malignant tumors

    • Patient with hemorrhagic tendencies

    • Patient with tuberculosis


Aculife costs $299.

Once you've mastered it, you're ready for my "Learn Anesthesiology at Home" course.

I'll also be offering a British version entitled "Learn Anaesthesiology at Home" for my many acolytes across the pond.

Details to follow at a later date.

You should know now, however, that mastery of the Aculife is a prerequisite for Anesthesiology 101.

March 19, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Measure Magnet


Sometimes you're tired, sometimes you're groggy from the night before, sometimes you just can't think straight.

For times like these, there's this most helpful tool that sticks via the magic of magnetism — Franz Anton Mesmer, call your office, your field is ready — to any ferrous metal, most likely your fridge.

Cups to fluid ounces to tablespoons to teaspoons to milliliters, everything you need to stumble your way through your recipe and make that cake everyone loves.

I guarantee you'll use this many times over the years — or your money back.

Just don't ask me for it.

A bookofjoe Design Award Winner on the basis of its lack of moving parts.

Oh, shush: I know quite well that if we turn a powerful-enough magnifier on this apparently quiescent piece of 18/10 stainless steel, at some point there'll be plenty of motion.

The device converts from 1/16- up to 1-cup.

Hanging hole comes pre-installed at no extra charge!

$6.99 here — or be really nice and get one for your best friend while you're at it: that drops the price of each to $5.99.

Hey — I can lead you to water, but I can't make you drink.

Just can't see dropping real cash money for this?

No problema: click on the picture above, print it out, then tape or glue it somewhere in your kitchen.


How's that for fast, cheap & out of control?

You know, two out of three ain't that bad.

March 19, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to minimize your chance of being in a car crash — by doing absolutely nothing


Yes, you read correctly: it is indeed possible to get something for nothing: in this case, something substantial.

All you need to do is buy the right color car and you will decrease your chance of being hit by a large factor.

Researchers at the University of Auckland found that silver cars have half the rate of serious crashes as white cars.

White, yellow, grey, red and blue cars all carry about the same amount of risk.

Black, brown and green cars are twice as likely as white and comparably risk-rated colored cars to be in serious crashes; that equates to four times more crashes, all other things being equal, than silver cars.

In the study researchers took into account engine size; make and age of the car; and driver sex, age and socio-economic status.

They also controlled for road conditions and ambient light.

They suggest that the reason some colors are safer than others is a result of higher reflectivity and increased contrast with the background.

The results were published in the British Medical Journal in December 2003.

Want to take things one step further and lower your crash likelihood by an additional 33%?

Simply turn on your lights during the day — don't wait for inclement weather or evening.

Swedish investigators have found this simple maneuver is enormously effective — so much so that in Sweden, Canada and more and more countries, it's not just a choice — it's the law.

[via Russ Walter's "Tricky Living"]

March 19, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's a miracle: I learn how to create a PDF file by just reading the instructions


Michael Tedeschi wrote a nice article for the Washington Post about how to create PDF versions of documents.

I thought the usual when I saw the headline: here goes yet another thing I won't be able to do with my computer.

But this proved to be the exception that proves the rule.

Because all I had to do was:

1) Select the Print command

2) Click the "Save as PDF" button that appeared at the bottom of the drop-down Print page

It worked.

The very first time.

But wait — there's more.

I could scroll down inside the document (I chose yesterday's bookofjoe archive) to one particular page, and then just print that one page.


As Brother Dominic might have said back in the day: "It's a miracle."


Turns out that for once, Mac (OS X only) users like myself have a huge advantage over the Windows/Word/PC crowd.

They've got to use various PDF-publishing tools that are clunky and, according to Tedeschi, "involve intimidating installations."

If you want to buy a PDF-creation program from Adobe, which developed the standard, that'll be $299.

I'm thinking about going back and archiving bookofjoe from day 1, each in its own date-specific PDF file, with graphics and links just the way I created them, then transferring the whole lot onto a CD.

I could even offer them for sale.

Of course, you could do it too, for free.

But why waste your time, when I've got my crack research time standing by with way too much time on their hands lately?

PW, you listening?

Here's the Washington Post story; this link will take you to the story online, which will let you link to the various websites and programs Tedeschi writes about.

    Writing PDF Versions of Documents

    Portable Document Format (PDF) files routinely fill people's browser windows and e-mail inboxes.

    They're sent there by organizations, companies and government agencies that use this format to ensure that documents such as tax forms and loan applications look the same on whatever computer they're opened.

    But you can also use this format yourself with a little work.

    Why not just send a Word file?

    A PDF will preserve whatever text styles and graphics you added, which you can't count on with Word files transferred between computers — even those running the same version of Word.

    It will also be readable on computers that don't have Word installed at all.

    Lastly, a PDF cannot be edited except with high-end software (a handy consideration if you're sending contracts back and forth).

    But although PDF reader software, such as the free Adobe Reader (www.adobe.com/reader), runs on desktop machines and handheld organizers, PDF writer software is hard to find in Windows. (Mac OS X can make PDFs from any application; just select the Print command, then click the "Save As PDF..." button.)

    Neither Windows XP nor Microsoft Office includes a save-as-PDF capacity, although some Office competitors, such as WordPerfect by Corel and OpenOffice, do feature that option.

    The cheapest PDF-creation program from Adobe, the developer of the PDF standard, is its $299 Adobe Acrobat Standard.

    However, since this format is an open, well-documented standard, other companies have been able to develop their own free PDF-publishing tools — or at least, free in a monetary sense.

    Two programs, CutePDF Writer (Win 98 or newer, www.cutepdf.com) and Pdf995 (Win 95 or newer, www.pdf995.com) come in free versions intended to promote upgraded or ad-free siblings, while a third application, PDFCreator (Win 95 or newer, sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator) is an open-source project.

    Fair warning: All of them involve intimidating installations for computer novices.

    Just getting each set up requires downloading and installing separate files, a process inadequately explained by their instructions.

    PDF995 was slightly easier to install, but not by any great margin.

    Once properly downloaded,however, all three programs worked well.

    To get a PDF copy of a document — from whatever application, be it Word, a Web browser or anything else that can print — just select the "Print" command instead of "Save," then choose the PDF-creation program instead of your usual printer.

    All three translated even moderately complex word-processing documents, spreadsheets and even presentations into perfectly legible, completely portable files.

    Where they differ is in the options they provide at this step, and in how obnoxious they can be in routine operation.

    PDFCreator, for example, is smart enough to name a new PDF after the file you're converting it from.

    CutePDF offers the most straightforward interface; once you select it as your "printer" for a file, you're presented with a simple "save as" dialog box.

    It will also regularly remind you that a $50 version can do things like rotate pages or stamp them with text or images ("draft," "top secret" and so on), but that seems like more money than most casual users will want to pay.

    PDF995 was most annoying in use; every time it processed and saved PDFs, it popped up ad banners and other advertising windows.

    To get rid of those, you'll have to pay $9.95 to register it.

    If you're going to be cranking out PDF copies of your work with any regularity, go with PDFCreator, which does the basic job as well as the other two but with fewer hassles once installed.

    Otherwise, though, the simplest option may not be any of these programs at all: Adobe maintains a PDF-conversion Web site (createpdf.adobe.com) that allows five free uses when you open a new account, then costs $10 a month.

    It's not nearly as fast and convenient as using a program right on your computer, but for every-now-and-then use, the price is right and the setup procedure (none) is as well.

March 19, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Hey, I didn't name it: that's what the company selling it calls it.

They advertise it as a cat toy:

    Will occupy curious felines with hours of fascinating fun.

    Crazy bag moves and makes noise.

    Strong enough to withstand claws and bites.

Runs on 3 AA batteries (not included).

Made of Tyvek (the same stuff those thin white FedEx envelopes you simply cannot tear open are made from).

Was $19.98, now reduced to $14.98 here (item # 23086).

Better hurry — at this price they won't last long.

As I look at this device, it occurs to me that it might offer me the same "hours of fascinating fun."

Better put in for one now before I post this.


March 19, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Slow Men Working


The Pointer Sisters


will please call in for a message:


we have located


what you requested.

[via leaveamark]

March 19, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dipping Bowls


What to put your soy sauce in, that is the question.

The answer may be pictured above.

Stackable tempered glass French bowls of 1 oz. capacity, measuring 2.25" across, deep enough to offer a discreet plunge for your sushi.

Remember, only the fish — never the rice — touches the sauce.

And no chopsticks, please: sushi is handled with the fingers, just as it was created by them.

Also useful for herbs, spices, egg yolks and more.

Microwave and dishwasher safe.

4 bowls for $7.95 here.

March 19, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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