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March 28, 2005

OnSiteOilService — 'Zero-minute oil change'

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I don't know about you, but when I went to one of those Pennzoil oil change centers that advertise that they'll do it without an appointment, while you wait, I found their assertion to be absolutely true – with emphasis on the word "wait."

As I recall, my car was in there a couple hours while I wondered why I ever dreamed it would be any different.

But when I read yesterday's Charlottesville Daily Progress Business section front page story about David Kulman's new OnSiteOilService, I thought it was an excellent concept.

You call or email Kulman and set up an appointment for when- and wherever you want your car serviced.

Your driveway? Fine.

Your company's parking lot? That's OK too.

Public parking lots? Nope, he won't go there.

Everywhere else is on.

Oil + filter change starts at $35.95.

You don't even have to be around.

An oil change which does not require my effort or my presence: it sounds like something from a Kinky Friedman dream.

I'm calling David posthaste.

He even dresses all snazzy, in a red logo polo shirt and khaki pants.

He got the idea for his business when he was in Australia, and a friend said he needed to call the oil-change man to come service his vehicle.

When he got back to the states he investigated and found there are several franchises doing the same thing, but not with much success to date.

March 28, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2-Dimensional Vase

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That's right, pretend you're in Flatland if you don't mind while you read this.

"The amazing WonderVase packs flat and molds to any shape to hold fresh flowers wherever you are."

Excellent invention.

It's been my experience in hotels of all types that when you bring flowers in and ask for a vase, it's not very easily or quickly done.

They promise to send one up and maybe they will — in an hour or three.

Meanwhile, you feel like a kid at Christmas, looking at the presents but unable to get at them/see your pretty flowers in their fresh-cut glory.

No more of that nonsense with this number.

"Unique, leak-proof vase is made of a sturdy lightweight thermoplastic that looks like glass, yet folds flat."

With warm water, it becomes malleable for molding any way you choose.

Then you fill it with cool water and add flowers.

When it's time to check out, lose the flowers, empty the vase, and smooth it flat to pack.

Set of three vases includes one small blue (8" x 4"); one medium clear (11" x 6"); and one large blue (13" x 8").

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot to note that when the hotel finally sends up the vase, invariably it's the wrong one: wrong size, shape and color for the bouquet you've purchased.

This problem too becomes history with WonderVase.

$14.85 here.

March 28, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nyko iPod MoviePlayer — Vaporware?

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When I first saw a picture and read a description of what this cool device ($200–$250 estimated street price) does, I was astounded.

Unveiled in Las Vegas this past January at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Nyko MoviePlayer lets you store tons of movies on your iPod, then watch them whenever you like on its 3.5", 16-bit, 65,000-color TFT screen.

It's got built-in stereo speakers, and no doubt a headphone jack, along with a rechargeable lithium battery Nyko says will let you watch "several full-length movies on one charge."

The clamshell lid folds down to protect the screen.

You just slip your iPod into the player via the dock connector and you're all set.

The included software, compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X, converts any audio, video or image file into a format compatible with the MoviePlayer.

When I read about it in January, it was slated for release in "spring 2005."

Then I saw it in last week's New York Times Magazine, this time "available by late summer."

Why do I think I'll never, ever see one?

Because when I looked around online, and visited the company's website, there was a section headed "Future Nyko Products," and another headed "Nyko Products."

But the MoviePlayer didn't appear in either one.

Not a good sign, in my experience.

March 28, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Red Army Vodka — How to wrap your package

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Kathy Lally wrote a great story for yesterday's Washington Post Business section about how the Russians are slowly coming to realize the importance of packaging.

She illustrated it with the story of Red Army Vodka, made by a little-known distillery in the Russian provinces.

Soon after the collapse of Communism in Russia, the company put its repackaged product (above) on the shelves of liquor stores next to the premium brands with their plain glass bottles with poorly printed labels.

Red Army flew off the shelves as fast they could make it.

I must say, that is some bottle they dreamed up.

Looks like a cross between a bomb and a lipstick.

Perhaps that's no accident.

March 28, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Free: A poem a day by e-mail every day in April

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And not just any poem, mind you.

The Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month to celebrate the place of poetry in American culture.

In 2001 publisher Alfred A. Knopf joined the celebration by emailing a poem to subscribers every day in April.

The list is now 18,000 members strong and growing.

How about something to read with your spam each day?

The poems will come from poets such as Jack Gilbert, Anthony Hecht, John Hollander, Mary Jo Salter, Franz Wright, and Mary Kinzie, among others.

Sign up here.

Uncertain if you should sign up?

You can read last year's poems here.

No, I won't sign you up.

Sheesh, come on, you're a big person now, you have to do something.

March 28, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Baseball Bracelet and Necklace

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They're handmade of genuine

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baseball leather and thread,

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then crowned with your

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favorite team's logo.

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Perfect for you and/or

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the sports fan in your life.

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Bracelets are $10 and

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necklaces $12 here.

March 28, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How do you spell brain-dead? N–o–k–i–a

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File this bizarrre device under "What were they thinking?"

It's Nokia's new top-of-the-line, as-placed-in-Oscar-nominees'-gift-bags model 7280 phone.

They call it the "Going Out" phone.

I call it the "Flamed Out."

Why am I being so hard on this $749 piece of superstylish-looking kit?

Because it doesn't have number keys.

That's right, it operates exclusively through voice commands.

Huh.

I guess the computer inside this expensive paperweight-to-be is different from every other computer ever invented, in that it never, ever crashes.

Because if it did, well, you wouldn't be able to activate it by pressing a key to see if it worked, would you?

It weighs three ounces, so you won't even know it's there.

4.53" long x 1.26" wide x 0.75" thick.

Feeling prosperous today?

Order yours here.

March 28, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mink Eyeshade

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With one of these on you can even pretend you're in first class.

Comes in brown, white, pink, or black with a matching satin case.

$285 here.

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If you simply have to have it today, and you live in New York City, Kirna Zabête sells them.

March 28, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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