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April 11, 2005

Top 10 Flags in North America


The North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) conducted a survey of flag experts to determine the best and worst state, provincial and territorial flags of North America.

And the winner is... New Mexico (above).

The top ten:

1) New Mexico

2) Texas

3) Quebec

4) Maryland

5) Alaska

6) Arizona

7) Puerto Rico

8) District of Columbia

9) Marshall Islands

10) South Carolina

The worst flag on the continent: Georgia (below).


You can find out anything you ever might have wanted to know about flags on NAVA's website.

There's a particularly useful page on how to design a flag: it's entitled "Good Flag, Bad Flag".

Vexillology, eh?

Any joehead who knew that word before reading this post will please give me a holler and take over bookofjoe, effective immediately.

April 11, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out'


Richard Harrington wrote a great story for yesterday's Washington Post about singer Petra Haden (above) and her re–creation of The Who's 1967 album, "The Who Sell Out."

What makes Haden's cover of the album somewhat different from others is that she used only her voice.

Not only did she replicate the Roger Daltrey-led vocals: she also did Pete Townshend's guitar, John Entwistle's bass, Keith Moon's drums, and assorted other instruments.

She even performed the commercial parodies and radio jingles that made "The Who Sell Out" one of rock's first concept albums.


And she did it all on an eight-track cassette recorder, beginning her version in 2000 while she was recovering from serious injuries incurred when she was hit by a car while crossing the street.

She worked on it off and on for three years.

Pete Townshend said, "When I heard it I loved it immediately. The songs come to life in a way that makes me feel I'm hearing them for the very first time."

He added, "She makes me feel like Mozart. I so wish Keith Moon and John Entwistle were alive to hear this. I know they would feel the same."


Time to head to amazon for both versions.

April 11, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Official bookofjoe rocking chair


Pictured above, it arrived this morning from San Rafael, California and I'm sitting on it as I type these words.

I've been looking for a simple rocking chair for my computer activities — 99+% of which involve the care and feeding of the monster-on-a-screen called bookofjoe — for some time now.

I tried a couple I have around my house but they had one insurmountable problem: they have arms.

Can't type in a rocking chair with arms.

So last week when I came upon this simple Shaker–type chair, I stopped and read what the website had to say.

"This sewing (i.e. armless) rocker is especially popular among guitarists. It has steam-bent back posts and slats and a scoop seat for comfort. It is made of oak and hickory. These chairs are made using Shaker joinery techniques — dried interlocking components swell to make and exceptionally strong joint without glue."

When I saw it cost only $99, I was dumbfounded.

How could anything that sounded so good be that cheap?

Well, I still don't understand it but I'm here to tell you that it is good and a steal at $99.

Fedex cost an additional $35, bringing my total for the chair and transcontinental shipping to $134.

When I called to order I told the fellow at the company that I planned to use it at my computer.

He said he hadn't heard of that particular use for his chair.

I told him if I liked it I'd write it up in bookofjoe.

He asked, "what's that?"

I said you'll find out if I write it up.

I'm gonna give him a call (800-4-ROCKER = 800-476-2537) just so he knows to expect to be hearing from the world-wide community of joeheads.

I've always liked rocking chairs.

From the time I was a little boy, say age 5 and up, I sat in this big green vinyl rocker at home every waking moment, reading.

So I guess it's a nice, familiar feeling.

A few points re: this Shaker–style rocking chair:

• It arrives in a big box, with the curved runners packed separately from the rest of the (assembled) chair. You have to pound the runners onto the four pegs at the chair's base. Make sure to protect the seat if you rest it upside down on something when you do your hammering.

Also, don't hammer directly on the runners: put a piece of wood between your hammer and the chair.

• The Fedex shipping used by the maker requires a signature in person — you can't leave a signed slip in your absence.

• The chair looks much nicer in real life than in the picture on the website. I guess that's where furniture and people part company, eh?

• The rocker — before you add the runners — sort of resembles Van Gogh's chair (below)


as depicted in his iconic painting.

April 11, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wasabi Oil


From Tokyo Kaneku, a Japanese company that has grown and processed wasabi for 100 years, comes Spanish extra virgin olive oil with wasabi leaves added to give it a kick.

Florence Fabricant of the New York Times recommends spooning the herb-flecked drops on grilled fish or dressing a seafood salad or seafood risotto with it.

10 oz. for $15, 3 oz. for $10.

No online ordering, though: you call 908-351-1433.

From Boyajian comes a more intense wasabi-flavored oil, combining wasabi with a base of neutral canola oil.

Better used as a cooking ingredient — to season a sauce, marinade or stir-fry — than as a finishing oil.

At Whole Foods, Citarella, Agata & Valentina and Gourmet Garage.

Or you can have it delivered right to your door: order it online from Boyajian, the manufacturer.

$4.85 for 8 oz. here.

[via Florence Fabricant and the New York Times]

April 11, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunglasses that fit over your glasses


I know, it's a terrible headline, but one of the catalogs flogging these calls them "Fit-Over Sunglasses," which is even worse than the drawn-out description I used.

I mean, Fit-Over Sunglasses sound like something a neurologist might prescribe for someone with photosensitive epilepsy.

No matter: the play's the thing, wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.


Sunglasses, booboo, not theater — wake up and smell the coffee.

You've seen people, generally elderly, wearing those boxy dark glasses; these are a more stylish alternative if you'd like to wear your glasses and can't or won't be bothered with clip-on or prescription sunglasses.

Polarized lenses to protect against glare.

Side lenses for unobstructed peripheral vision.

Available in three Unisex sizes:

• Small (frames up to 1.75" H x 5.1" W)

• Medium (1.9" H x 5.1" W)

• Large (2" H x 5.4" W)

Nylon case and neck cord included.

Available in Tortoiseshell or Matte Black.

$39.95 here.

Don't like that style?

No problema, here's another:


This one comes in black only, and in two sizes:

• Medium (frames 1.6" H x 5.4" W)

• Large (1.8" H x 5.5" W)


Cheaper, too: $29.98 here.

Even if you don't wear glasses, you can still use these as sunglasses.

Just a bit more privacy than the usual styles.

April 11, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How To Increase Your Tips


Many bookofjoe readers, from Phuket to Philadelphia, depend on tips for the bulk of their income.

Waitresses, waiters, hostesses, hosts, coat check girls and others too numerous to mention rely on what people decide to give them as a gratuity.

What if I told you that simply by reading this post you could increase your income by 20% or more?

Would you pay me what you think I'm worth?

That's what I was afraid of.

But no matter — nothing deters me.

William Michael Lynn (below),


a former bartender, busboy and waiter, is now an associate professor of consumer behavior and marketing at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

He is considered by most authorities to be the world's leading authority on the psychology of tipping.

Oh, I see how it is: now you're all of a sudden interested.


His website is a mother lode of information about things tipping-related.

If you scroll down about half-way, you'll come to a link to his free 33-page booklet, "Mega Tips: Scientifically Tested Techniques to Increase Your Tips."


Oh, I see how it is: you're too busy to bother downloading the booklet; you want me to tell you what to do.

Well, why the heck not?

After all, you get started in the morning listening to your Rice Krispies: there's not a whole of difference between that and listening to me.

OK, then, here's what you do:

• Wear a flower in your hair. One study showed a 17% increase in waitresses' tips with that one simple trick (this probably won't do a whole lot for your tips if you're a male)

• Tell your customers your name

• Squat or kneel down next to your patrons' tables

• Touch your customers (be judicious here)

• Give after-dinner mints to diners. If your restaurant doesn't have them available, consider investing a few dollars for your own stash

• If you're female, draw a happy face on the bill. Waitresses' tips increased by 18% after doing this. However, waiters who tried it found their tips decreased by 9%.

[via Raj Persaud and The Financial Times]

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

EOLSS — 'World's Largest On-Line Encyclopedia'


EOLSS stands for Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, a particularly unfortunate name for this new online resource.

Sounds like a place you'd go to buy a mechanical ventilator. But I digress.

The content outline is illustrated above.

From the website:

    The EOLSS body of knowledge is an integrated compendium of 16 component encyclopedias.

    Within these are 185 themes, each of which has been compiled under the editoria supervision of a recognized world expert.

    The size of a theme may vary from 10 to 240 chapters.

    A chapter may be 5,000 to 30,000 words long.

    The virtual library is augmented and updated on a monthly basis.

$30 a year for students, $59 for everyone else here.

April 11, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cellpod™ Camera Phone Tripod


It's a quick-release tripod for your cell phone camera.

Weighs two ounces and fits in the palm of your hand, pocket, purse or backpack.


"Unless you have really long arms, you can't take a well-framed shot AND be in the picture. In addition, many cell phone cameras have their lens at a funny angle so someone actually has to hold the phone in order to take a picture. It's hard to rest one on a table to take the shot."

At least it was until now.


In blue or black for $24.95 here.

April 11, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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