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April 23, 2005

Splatter Shield — No more degreasing your kitchen after making bacon

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I'd never known such a device (above) existed until a joehead sent me the link, which he'd incidentally found while looking at the Instant Egg Peeler from Thursday.

I had a look and darned if I can't use one of these greasecatchers too.

"Splatter Shield catches hot oil and grease before it permanently ruins your walls, tile or woodwork."

Made of hinged aluminum; sets up in a second; wipes clean.

"Triple-sided coverage while cooking home-fried chicken, bacon or searing pork chops and tender juicy steaks!"

Was $7.99, now reduced to $6.99 here.

After the last mess I created pan–frying a steak that seems cheap even at twice the price.

[via EG and CG]

April 23, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Niels–Henning Orsted Pedersen — The world's greatest jazz bassist — is dead at 58

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He died this past Tuesday at his home in Ishoej, south of Copenhagen.

How good was Orsted Pedersen?

In 1963, at age 17, he turned down an invitation from Count Basie to join his band.

In 1973, at 27, he accepted Oscar Peterson's invitation to join his trio.

Orsted Pedersen is pictured above with Peterson, photographed during a performance at Carnegie Hall.

The bassist played on hundreds of records with, among many others, Toots Thielemans, Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, and Martial Solal.

Here's his obituary as it appeared in Thursday's New York Times.

    N-H. Orsted Pedersen, 58, Bassist in Danish Jazz Scene, Dies

    Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, the famed Danish jazz bassist who performed with legends like Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, died on Tuesday at his home in Ishoej, south of Copenhagen.

    He was 58.

    His manager announced his death to the Danish news media.

    Mr. Orsted Pedersen's career took off in 1962 when, at age 16, he played in Copenhagen's famous Montmartre jazz club, where American greats like Count Basie, the tenor sexophonist Dexter Gordon and the pianist Bud Powell performed.

    At 17, he turned down an invitation to join the Basie band.

    His international breakthrough came in 1973, when he joined the Oscar Peterson trio, which was produced by the jazz impresario Norman Granz.

    Mr. Orsted Pedersen was heard on hundreds of records and played with Toots Thielemans, Chet Baker, Lee Konitz and Martial Solal, among many others.

    Claus Vittus, a leading jazz expert with Denmark's public radio, called him one of the greatest jazz bassists in the world.

    From 1964 to 1982, he was a member of the Danish Radio Big Band and he also performed with the trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and the keyboard player Kenneth Knudsen, both Danes.

    Mr. Orsted Pedersen is survived by his wife, Solveig, and three children.

April 23, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Sleeping Robot Kitty — It 'breathes' and 'purrs!'

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Wait just a minute... I thought that "A.I." was a movie, not a documentary.

This very life-like kitty (above) goes way beyond Honda's ASIMO.

From the website:

    Looks, feels and sounds so real.

    "Inhales" and "exhales," softly "purrs."

    Simply stroke fur to activate.

Requires two AA batteries (not included).

$39.98 here.

This clearly marks a significant advance by the very same company that a couple months ago brought us the Cat Pillow (below).

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That one just sat there.

April 23, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Revs — The Legend Returns

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Still anonymous after all these years, the iconic graffiti artist called Revs turned convention on its head in the early 1990s, upending traditional notions of graffiti and inspiring a new generation of street artists.

After lying low and fleeing Gotham for Alaska when his co-artist Cost was arrested for vandalism in 1994, Revs learned a trade and is now a union ironworker in New York, surrounded by co-workers who haven't a clue that a near–mythical deity of the graffiti world welds among them.

Revs gave a very rare interview recently to New York Times reporter Randy Kennedy, but only after taking elaborate precautions to make certain the meeting was not observed or recorded.

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He said to Kennedy, regarding why he has never tried to commercialize his work, "To me, once money changes hands for art, it becomes a fraudulent activity."

That's the best argument I've ever heard for keeping bookofjoe uninterrupted, uncluttered and commercial-free.

I'm so down wit dat. But I digress.

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Revs did mostly painting back in the day; now he's creating sculptures (above), with more than 100 of his pieces installed around New York, two-thirds of them with permission, a far cry from his outlaw days.

April 23, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Camel-Racing Robot Jockey To Replace Humans?

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Camel racing is huge in the Middle East.

The sport's jockeys are boys, some as young as 4 years old, who are either bought from their parents or kidnapped from their home countries and taken to the Gulf to ride.

The boys live in bleak conditions and are underfed before races to keep their weight down.

Human rights groups for years have condemned the practice of obtaining and using such children as jockeys.

Now engineer Alexandre Colot of the Swiss robotics firm K-Team has created a RoboJockey (above) that may finally supplant the wretched boy jockeys.

The rulers of Qatar, one of the hotbeds of camel racing, say that by 2007 all camel racers will be robots.

The robots can receive commands from a remote control up to a half-mile away.

A camel handler follows the rider and animal in a vehicle and uses a joystick on the laptop–sized remote to issue four instructions: forward, backward, sideways and whip action.

The robot, in turn, uses those commands to drive the camel.

The 60–pound robot is also equipped with a GPS satellite beacon and shock absorbers for the rough ride.

To prevent camels from rejecting the robots, handlers spray their jerseys with traditional perfume used by trainers.

"It was important for us that the camel recognizes and accepts the robot, so we had to make him as human as possible," said Colot, the designer.

20 riding robots are expected to be ready when racing season starts in October.

Sheik Abdullah bin Saud, the Qatari official in charge of the project, said plans are underway to set up an assembly plant, a maintenance center and a training institute for robot users.

If you don't mind a bit of heat and you're really good at videogames, I bet you could make a nice pile of cash in a hurry commanding a robotic camel driver.

Don't apply within, though; contact Sheik Abdullah.

[via Tarek al–Issawi and USA Today]

April 23, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Readerville

Rrrr

Karen Templer is the proprietor of this virtual agora for readers and book lovers.

Exchange book recommendations, talk about newly acquired books, interact with writers, librarians, publishers, critics, and anyone else who's at all involved or interested in the printed word.

News about tour dates, readings and the like.

Discussions about what makes a book's cover succeed or fail.

Good stuff.

April 23, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Solar System Shower Curtain

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"Better than a meteor shower," says the website.

Features facts about and pictures of all nine planets and the sun.

Perfect for the family that has those place mats with maps and state capitals and types of birds.

Oops.

I didn't mean you.

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$30 here.

April 23, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Field Guide to Meat'

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"How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Meat, Poultry, and Game Cut" is the book's subtitle.

Written by Aliza Green, whose previous book, the PETA-friendly "Field Guide to Produce" was a huge hit last year, the new volume, postcard-sized for carrying in your pocketbook on your forays into the meat department, offers 311 pages of comprehensive yet concise information.

The book ($10.17 at amazon) includes iconic keys for quick-glance reference; characteristics; aka names; techniques for buying and storing; and a fair number of recipes.

A photo section shows different cuts, odd meats, and sausages.

All kinds of quirky informational tidbits as well (what else would you expect from a book published by Quirk Books, as this one is?), such as the slight differences between beef labeled "stew meat" and "kabob meat"; whether alligator does taste like chicken (I've had alligator — at the Cajun Fall Fling in Pass Manchac, Louisiana — and it's delicious but does not taste like chicken); the fact that German Westphalian ham is made from acorn-fed pigs, and much more.

[via the Washington Post]

April 23, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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