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May 6, 2005

World's most exclusive playing cards


"Strictly limited edition of 50 worldwide."


Each set is individually numbered and made to order.


"The finely etched deck of stainless steel playing cards is beautifully packaged in a precision–engineered egg–shaped capsule weighing an impressive 3 kg (6.6 lbs.)."


£995 ($1,900) here (drawstring–closure leather bag included.).

May 6, 2005 at 09:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Popstar Feets


Londoner Helen C. Lawrence started this website in January of this year.


"Popstart Feets is a beautiful blog featuring pictures that I've taken each week of the shoes of all your favourite indie pop stars."


It's quite entertaining, as is Ms. Lawrence's blog, entitled "Big Yellow Tutu."


Memo to Nick Denton: hire Helen to write your London blog before someone else does 'cause she's gonna be big.


"People are caught at gigs, on the street, anywhere really. It's updated weekly with new photos for your shoe gazing habits. Gasp at the glamour, sigh at the scuffs and laugh at the laces...."

May 6, 2005 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Princess and the Pea's key accessory for the life aquatic


The Grit Gitter (who named this? A pox on that person...) is a super–suction device which "inhales and filters pebbles on the spa floor, bugs floating on the water surface, and sand tracked into the kid's pool."

Looks like a tricked–out, more colorful version of a standard rubber bulb suction device.

Also more expensive: $29 here.

"Just leave it floating on the water and use as needed."

I suppose it would work just as well indoors in your bathtub... but why would you need it there?

Or shouldn't I ask?

Yes, perhaps some things shouldn't be shared even with your doctor.

I understand.

But on the other hand, scientific studies have shown that confession is good for the soul.


The choice is yours: you can tell me now — or tell me never.

Later's a third option.

I try to make it is easy as possible for you here — God knows everyone else around you is busy doing just the opposite. But I digress.

I wonder if this digression problem qualifies as a core issue for me?

I need to ask a qualified individual when I find one, I think.


Where to look first, I wonder... but I digress yet again.

May 6, 2005 at 07:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Web Accelerator


"Designed for Broadband — Web pages load even more quickly on DSL and cable connections."

Where do I sign up?

"Easy to use — Simply install and enjoy faster web browsing in seconds."

What's not to like?

System Requirements:

Operating System: Win XP or Win 2000 SP3+

Browser: IE 5.5+ or Firefox 1.0+

Availability: For users in North America and Europe (during beta testing phase)

That's what not to like: me and my Mac OS X and Safari can go jump in the lake, for all Google cares....

This is all too often the case with Google.

I'm surprised in a way, because you know Google's wizards love simplicity, ease of use and elegance: how do YOU spell Apple?

May 6, 2005 at 06:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scent Systems


Filed under "The Cult Shop" in today's "How To Spend It" Financial Times supplement was an article about this tiny perfume atelier, tucked away in one of the smallest shops in London's Soho district.


Owner–operator Hiram Green, who'll be 30 this year, opened Scent Systems in late 2003 and it's been A-listed since the day it greeted its first visitor.

Nothing but artisanal perfumes, created by some of the world's most cutting–edge perfumers (attention SB: you need to stop by when your Scent Exquisite 2005 World Tour hits London — but I digress).

Green was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, where he studied painting and drawing at Ontario College of Art before opting out for a life in fragrance.


From Simon London's Financial Times piece:

    Everything stocked at Scent Systems is exclusive to the store in the U.K.

    All the products are from small, independent perfumers whose workshops are dotted around the globe from the Scottish Highlands and Norway to Italy and California.


    Scent Systems has also just launched its own bespoke scent fragrance service.

    For £150 ($280) clients can compose their own unique perfume from a selection of special ingredients.

I know whom I'd like to take to this store for her very own, exquisite scent to match her unique, exquisite self.


But I digress... sigh.

May 6, 2005 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Childhood Asthma May Result From Grandmother's Smoking Habit


I know, I know — it sounds like an Enquirer headline.

But it's the conclusion drawn by researchers whose paper on the subject appears in the current (April) issue of Chest magazine.

How is such a thing possible?

The authors of the study were trying to understand how a mother's smoking affects a child's asthma.

Then it occurred to them to ask what happens if the mother didn't smoke, but the grandmother did.

That a grandmother's smoking could be harmful to a grandchild was "an unexpected and novel finding," wrote Nicholas Bakalar in his April 12 New York Times story.

The researchers, led by Dr. Frank D. Gilliland, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, "speculate that in a female fetus, a mother's smoking may alter the DNA in the mitochondria," wrote Bakalar.

"The mitochondria are self–replicating and carry their own DNA, separate from the DNA of the cell itself."

"Smoking, the researchers speculate, may turn on or off important genes in the mitrochondrial DNA, leading to diminished immune function and susceptitiblity to asthma."

"Although boys could inherit the altered mitochondrial DNA and develop asthma, they could not pass the DNA on to their children because mitochondrial DNA is transmitted only through the mother."

"Another possibility is that smoking may cause changes at the molecular level in the cellular DNA of the fetus's eggs, which are then passed on."

Talk about secondhand smoke....

Here's the abstract of the journal article.

    Maternal and Grandmaternal Smoking Patterns Are Associated With Early Childhood Asthma

    Objective: To investigate the associations of maternal and grandmaternal smoking before, during, and after pregnancy with childhood asthma.

    Design, setting, and participants: We conducted a case-control study nested within the Children’s Health Study in southern California.

    The case patients consisted of 338 children with asthma that had been diagnosed in the first 5 years of life, and 570 control subjects were countermatched on in utero exposure to maternal smoking within grade, sex, and community of residence.

    Measurements: Detailed maternal and household smoking histories and other asthma risk factor information was obtained by telephone interview.

    Results: The participation rates were 72.3% and 82.5%, respectively, for control subjects and case patients.

    In utero exposure to maternal smoking was associated with increased risk for asthma diagnosed in the first 5 years of life (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 2.3), and for persistent asthma (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0 to 2.3).

    The associations did not differ in children with early transient asthma compared to those with early persistent asthma.

    Relative to never-smokers, children whose mothers smoked throughout the pregnancy had an elevated risk of asthma in the first 5 years of life (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0 to 2.6).

    Children of mothers who quit smoking prior to the pregnancy showed no increased risk (OR, 0.9; 95% CI, 0.5 to 1.5).

    We were unable to assess the association of smoking cessation during pregnancy because very few mothers were reported to have done so (15%).

    Asthma risk did not increase in a monotonic pattern with smoking intensity during pregnancy.

    Postnatal secondhand smoke exposure was not independently associated with asthma.

    Grandmaternal smoking during the mother’s fetal period was associated with increased asthma risk in her grandchildren (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.4 to 3.2).

    Conclusions: Maternal and grandmaternal smoking during pregnancy may increase the risk of childhood asthma.

May 6, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rice Ball


A tea ball on steroids is what I call this useful device.

You put two cups of any type of uncooked rice inside and get back four cups of perfectly done grains.

Double your fun.

No more fussy measuring how much water to use.


That's the culinary variant — at least in this case — of "plug–and–play."

Which more often than not is more fantasy than reality. But I digress.

"Just fill the hollow ball with rice, secure the clamp and use the attached chain to suspend the ball inside a pot of simmering water or broth."

I like the broth idea: give your grains some pizzazz, what?

"Liquid circulates through tiny perforations in the ball, infusing the rice with the ideal amount of moisture."

The hollow stainless–steel ball is 5.5" in diameter.

$29 here.

May 6, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Phrontistery — 'In the beginning was the word'


Stephen Chrisomalis teaches anthropology at the University of Toronto.

In his spare time he maintains the Phrontistery, a website which since 1996 has focused on "word lists on various topics in order to spread the joy of the English language."

Among the highlights and features:

• International House of Logorrhea

• Compendium of Lost Words

• A Loquacious Location of Lipograms

• Word Finding Tips

• Forthright's Favourite 50 Words

Manias and Obsessions

Note added Friday, May 6 at 2:11 p.m. by bookofjoe

Only by a chance email from LLT, one of my most devoted acolytes, did I learn just now that bookofjoe had gone dead for the day so far.

As any fool can plainly see (I mean, I can, so clearly any other fool must, by logical deduction, be able to do so equally well, if not better... but I digress) our policy here, stated repeatedly, is to publish eight times daily, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

That my host TypePad is prone from time to time to outages and failures like today's is beyond my control.

I just pay them, I don't run them.

However, it becomes clear from the events of the day to date that a reliable blog requires daily attention: had I and my crack research team taken the month or more off we so clearly deserve, bookofjoe would be dark regardless of the "advance publish" function supposedly in place at TypePad.

Therefore, I will personally supervise the remainder of today's posts, which will appear, as always, hourly; today, at:

3:01 p.m.

4:01 p.m.

5:01 p.m.

6:01 p.m.

7:01 p.m.

8:01 p.m

9:01 p.m.

All times are U.S. Eastern.

I do hope we will be able to resume our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow morning at 9:01 a.m.

On another note, yesterday I purchased the domain bookofjoe.tv

The future is already here — it's just unevenly distributed," said William Gibson.

Too true.

"Ain't it great?" (if not uttered by John Travolta, it should have been)

May 6, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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