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April 30, 2005

The Smoking Gun v U.S. Postal Service: Throwdown — The Sequel


Last year the U.S. Postal Service, following in the footsteps of Canada, launched an experiment in conjunction with Stamps.com that let ordinary people order personalized postage stamps, submitting their own pictures or photos of whatever they wanted on their stamps.

The test began last August 10 and lasted two months.

The Smoking Gun submitted pictures of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic (then and still on trial for war crimes), Linda Tripp, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski to Stamps.com.

Surprise: only Oswald was rejected.

Stamps.com dutifully printed out real U.S. postage stamps bearing the likenesses of Milosevic and Tripp (above), as well as Kaczynski.

Round 2 begins on May 17.

This time, though, things are gonna be different.

For one thing, a "watch list" of persons not allowed on stamps has been established.

Wouldn't The Smoking Gun love to publish that?

Bet they will, too.

Wait and see.

Stamps.com has also hired experts and specialists in world culture and history to help screen images.

What do you want to bet some very cool stuff still sneaks through?

I'm reminded of back in the day when I still lived in California, and they started their personalized license plate program.

They had all sorts of prohibitions and stuff.

One day in Westwood I saw a car with a personalized plate that read


For the longest time I couldn't figure it out.

Then one day, it dawned on me.

Soon afterward, I learned it belonged to a urologist on the staff at UCLA Medical Center.


April 30, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World's Best Flashlight


Generating 2,000 lumens, it's about 120 times brighter than a typical D-cell model.

Yet it's no heavier or larger (3.25 lbs., 14.75" long).

Xenon–filled high–intensity discharge (HID) arc lamp bulb — no filament to break or burn out so the bulb should never need replacing.

Powered by 20 lithium batteries housed inside the aerospace–grade aluminum handle.

Military Specification Type III hard–anodized finish.

Heat–resistant Pyrex lens.

Bright enough to be used as a self–defense tool by temporarily blinding an opponent.

Very limited edition: only 85 serial–numbered flashlights will be sold to civilians.

$2,900 here (batteries and waterproof/airtight case included).

April 30, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NOTICE: Steal these materials (please)


There are others like me (below)


out there.

I cannot tell you with what pleasure I read the words in this post's headline.

They appear at the bottom of ShiftingBaselines.org, a website created by controversial oceanographer Dr. Jeremy Jackson (top).

The site is dedicated to educating the public about what Jackson believes is the ongoing devastation of the planet's coral reefs.

Unlike most such sites, which are the internet equivalent of "eat your spinach," Jackson's is amusing and irreverent.

Qualities which get him into trouble with his more somber colleagues.

Same thing happens to me. But I digress.

Jackson was described in an article by Cornelia Dean in this past Tuesday's New York Times Science section as "difficult," "impossible — if not absolutely impossible," and "a cantankerous collaborator."

I've been called worse. But I digress once again, don't I?

Got to work on this.

Memo to self: frequent digressions appear to be a core issue.

Now where was I?

Oh, yeah, Jeremy Jackson and coral reefs.

Don't forget to have a look at the


Rotten Jellyfish Awards.

April 30, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Floating Noodle Hammock Chair


Great name, what?

Sounds like it was translated from the Japanese by a non–native English speaker.

No matter.

"Simply strap the Funnoodle to the hammock–like mesh seat and float."

That's it.

You're done.

Sound like something you could handle?

You get one Funnoodle and one washable seat with straps.

Supports up to 200 pounds.

$19.95 here.

Pool and water not included.

April 30, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Roger Clemens Quarter


And you thought you had to be dead to be on a U.S. coin.

You were so wrong.

Turns out that you can now own any of 81 different genuine U.S. quarters, each with a colorized likeness of a major league ballplayer.

The Merrick Mint makes them and sells them at Walgreen's and online for $5.99 apiece.


Talk about a license to print money....

Sports Illustrated featured the quarters in its latest (May 2) issue, stating "The coins are legal tender."


I always thought it was against the law to in any way alter or deface U.S. coins or currency.

Guess not, if these coins are out there — and have been, apparently, for years — without the Feds clamping down.


I had my crack research team look into this, and they brought back the following:

    Title 18 United States Code, Section 331

    Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes,
    falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of
    the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current
    or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States;

    Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells,
    or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the
    United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced,
    mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened —

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five
    years, or both

So I guess writing on, coloring, and otherwise altering dollar bills and quarters and all is perfectly fine and dandy as long as you don't try to use the money fraudulently.

Thus, it would appear to this brain–dead anesthesiologist that it's OK to mess up money all you like.


Who knew?

Aren't you glad I exist?

I am.

April 30, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bacon Bracelet


From art and design collective Thwart Design in Brooklyn comes this rather raw rendition of a bracelet.

It's made of printed leather (there goes PETA's endorsement) with a Velcro fastening and is available from Thwart via its website in limited quantities.

Not to worry, though, if they sell out: I've got some knock–offs I'm keeping in the refrigerated meat section over at my local Kroger, and I'll be happy to sell you as many as you need.

Be warned, though: my version fastens with a paper clip (not included).

[via core77.com]

April 30, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Lucas Limon Candy Declared Toxic


Lucas Limon (above) is a sweet–and–sour powder made in Mexico.

It comes in thumb–size shakers that kids love to "waterfall," or knock back whole.

The 39–cent candy — meant to be a seasoning for fruit, ice cream or chips — turns out to have six to seven times the maximum amount of lead a person can safely consume in one day.

Health officials in cities across the U.S. are trying to find and remove it from markets.

The company voluntarily stopped making it last August once word got out about the elevated lead content.

Nevertheless, it remains on many store shelves nationwide.

Petula Dvorak wrote in yesterday's Washington Post about the sudden involvement of the District of Columbia's Department of Health in the issue, with officials now prowling the bodegas of Adams–Morgan on the lookout for the candy.

April 30, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Big John™ Toilet Seat


"Why would anyone squeeze into coach when they could ease into first class?"

Excellent question from high–end Los Angeles plumbing designer Aitan Levy, the creator of the Big John™ Toilet Seat (above, next to a standard seat).

The outside rim of Big John™ is 5 inches wider than a standard 14–inch seat.

It can hold up to 1,200 pounds.

• Stylish ergonomic design fits on any standard toilet, round or elongated

• Larger, more comfortable opening

• Luxuriously contoured sitting surface — "roomier than any other toilet seat on the market"

• Engineered tough for long–lasting durability

• Made of high–grade anti–microbial plastic — stain and chemical resistant


• Durable "continuous stainless steel hinges" (above) provide unbreakable strength where others fail

• Stabilizing rubber bumpers (below)


literally grip the porcelain, keeping the seat from any unwanted shifting

Very helpful for the elderly and the handicapped because it cantilevers over the side so they can grab the seat and make their transfer from a wheelchair more easily.

So far over 3,000 have been sold.

$120 to $130 here.

[via USA Today]

April 30, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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