« June 15, 2005 | Main | June 17, 2005 »

June 16, 2005

Why it will be a long time — if ever — before I see another movie in a theater


The other day I was thinking about how long it's been since I've been to the movies.

I mean, I watch movies on DVD at home all the time but in a theater, jeez, I can't remember when I went last.

The thing that got me to thinking about this was all the "sky is falling"–type news stories recently about how Hollywood is praying that "Batman Returns" opens big this week because for the past 16 weeks box office receipts have been down 10% from the same period a year ago.

Let me tell you why they're down and will continue heading south.

I'll take things in sequence, from the time I might have otherwise decided to go to a movie.

1) What's playing, where and when? That's no problem: go to Fandango online and instantly the info comes up for my area.

2) Choose a movie and time — again, no problema.

3) Go there. If it's popular I'll have to wait in line first for tickets, then for admission. If it's really popular it'll be sold out for the showing I want to see so I'll either have to see something I didn't want to see or go back home.

4) Enter and get a seat. The concessions stands are a joke so let's not even discuss them; suffice it to say I've got all my favorite eats and drinks from 7–11 stashed in various pockets.

5) The seats in theaters in Charlottesville are dreadful: old, stiff, uncomfortable. Sure, I know that there are those cushy, rocking, high–backed ones elsewhere but I'm not elsewhere, am I?

6) Then there are the inevitable tall people who sit right in front of you so you can't see the whole screen.

7) Then there are the icky, sticky floors and all that.

8) Then the theater gets dark and the commercials start: stupid, boring, and loud. That takes maybe 15 minutes.

9) Then the previews start, again mostly of movies I'd never see: stupid, boring and loud. That takes maybe 15 minutes.

10) Then it's show time. Maybe 40 minutes after the time announced, the movie itself actually starts.

11) But wait — it's out of focus! Now what? Sit there and watch it or get up to complain? If I don't, no one else will. But why should I have to sit and wait apprehensively for the out–of–focus movie to begin anyway? I mean, I paid decent money for a ticket and all.

12) But wait — there are talkers around me. And there's some kid repetitively kicking the back of a seat in my row. Maybe the talking will stop and the kid will chill.

13) Oh, no, now I've got to go to the bathroom. But I'll miss some of the movie. Oh, well.

Now, let's consider the alternative: watching a movie on DVD at home.

All of a sudden most of the problems above don't exist.

And, bonus — if you get bored or tired you can stop the thing and come back later or tomorrow.

And you can eat whatever you like, not just contraband you've smuggled in.

And that's not even bringing into the discussion the ability to snuggle under a blankie with your sweetie should you be fortunate enough to have one.

Nolo contendere.

June 16, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The most depressing product of the day


No contest: it's the World Phone Adaptor Kit, a portion of which is shown in the photo above.

Why is it the most disheartening and depressing?

    Here's the website's description:

    Be prepared for virtually every modular phone connection in the world with a package of 34 telephone adaptor plugs that cover over 200 countries.

How did this nightmare occur?

You need to carry a 2.5–pound bag containing 34 different plugs, then sort through them each time you arrive in another country.


$195 here.

But wait — there's more.

The same company's offering a set of 10 grounding adaptor plugs (below) that "fit appliances from virtually all countries in the world."


$49.85 here.

June 16, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wear Marlon Brando's T-Shirt


Among other things.

Christie's is auctioning off "The Personal Property of Marlon Brando" in New York in two weeks — on Thursday, June 30 at 12 noon.

Viewing of lots to be auctioned will take place from Saturday, June 25 through Wednesday, June 29.

Both the viewing and auction will take place at Christie's (20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City).

The link above offers much to occupy the otherwise gainfully employed, including:

• A look back at Brando's roles

• "Browse the catalogue to view the entire sale or to leave absentee bids online"

• Read "Brando Revealed"

• Viewing and Contacts including Special Events

• Gallery of Highlights

The photo at the top appeared as a full page ad in this past Tuesday's New York Times.

Inquiries: 212-636-2272.

Catalogues: 800-395-6300.

June 16, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World's Most Elegant Travel Toothbrush


It's from OHSO.

Among its features — besides drop–dead gorgeous good looks:


• Self–dispensing toothpaste

• Easily refillable

• No mess

• Replaceable bristles

• Built–in rinsing cup

Explore the website, watch the demonstration video, and imagine just for a second how cool it might be to have one of these.


Available in three styles: Marko (top), Divo (just above) and Presto (below).


The website features nice schematic diagrams (below)


for the über–mechanically inclined.

Want to buy one?

Contact the company here.


*What would James Bond Use?

June 16, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Best (and Worst) ISPs — PC World survey results


The current issue of PC World magazine reports on survey results for "The Best (and Worst) ISPs."

Here's a link to the article.

See how your internet service provider stacks up.

I guess it could always be worse: consider this story from this past Tuesday's Washington Post, in which reporter Don Oldenburg relates the sad but true tale of a man whose Comcast service went out and stayed out not for six minutes, not for six hours, not for six days, but for six weeks.


June 16, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

College Logo LED Keychain Light


Be true to your school and all that.

Hold down for 5 seconds for strobe function.

Automatic shut–off after 60 seconds.

Replaceable battery included.

$5.98 here.

June 16, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mysterious Dual–Sex Crab Discovered — 'It was unreal'


On the front page of today's Washington Post is a photo of an extremely rare blue crab (above), a "bilateral gynandromorph" — that is, split between two genders, in this case the right side of the creature being female and the left side male.

How rare is such a crab?

1980 was the last time one was caught in the Chesapeake Bay region, where this one was hauled aboard a crab boat on May 21 of this year.

In the interim millions of crabs annually have been caught without finding another.

David Fahrenthold wrote a story about the crab — named "Springer" by the watermen who caught it because they instantly realized it was strange enough to appear on "The Jerry Springer Show" — for today's Post; it follows.

    Part Male, Part Female, Fully Mysterious

    Dual-Sex Crab Found in Bay Could Yield Clues to Species' Genetics and Mating Habits

    Watermen say that female blue crabs "paint their fingernails," meaning the tips of their claws turn bright red as they age.

    The male crabs, on the other hand, have sky-blue claws -- a sign as masculine as a mustache in the world of crustaceans.

    So when Robbie Watson dumped out a crab trap and found a specimen with one red claw and one blue one, the discovery stopped him.

    As his boat, the Wharf Rat, moved on to other crab pots, Watson, 42, studied the crab.

    Underneath, its shell should have had a design looking roughly like the U.S. Capitol dome if it were female, or a Washington Monument pattern if it were male.

    Instead, Watson found a wavy arrow, which seemed to be a combination of both sexes.

    "It was unreal," Watson said. "I've never seen anything like that, and I've worked the water all my life.''

    Scientists said the crab, caught May 21 near Gwynns Island in the lower bay, is an extremely rare creature called a "bilateral gynandromorph" -- that is, split between two genders -- with its right side female and its left side male.

    The last time such a crab was caught in the Chesapeake region was about 1980, scientists said.

    Since then, watermen have hauled in millions of crabs annually without noticing another.

    On the day they caught it, Watson and boat captain David Johnson had been crabbing since about 5:30 a.m., dumping females into one basket and males -- who are often bigger and sell for twice as much -- in another.

    "What basket should we put it in?" Watson asked the captain.

    "I think we're going to put it in one up front," Johnson, 50, recalled telling him.

    They covered it with a wet rag to keep it alive.

    Now, the crab lives in an aquarium in the reception area at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, Va.

    The creature is eating voraciously and showing no signs of health problems.

    Kimberly Reece, a scientist at the institute, said the crab's condition probably resulted from what she called a "chromosomal mishap" shortly after it was conceived.

    As the cells began to divide, at one point a sex chromosome was lost or changed -- and as a result, the two halves developed according to different genetic blueprints, she said.

    That means the crab could help scientists understand a crab's genetics and early development, which remain mysterious despite the creature's ubiquity around the Chesapeake.

    "At what point in its development is its gender fixed?" asked Romuald N. Lipcius, a crab expert at the institute.

    There are other questions: Can the crab reproduce?

    Can it mate with itself?

    Mating season has come and gone for this year, Lipcius said.

    "It's possible that it already mated with itself," he said.

    Before turning over the crab to the scientists, Johnson and other watermen conducted their own experiment into its sex life, with bewildering results.

    They dropped a female crab, which was just about ready to mate, into its tank.

    First, the half-and-half crab cradled the female under his legs, as a male crab would do in preparation for mating.

    Then, the crab seemed to lose interest in the female and let her go, Johnson said.

    Then a day later...

    "He ate half of her," Johnson said.

    "The first day, the male side was coming out, the next day, it was the female side," said Lipcius, noting that in the wild, female crabs will often eat other competing females after they have shed their shells and become vulnerable.

    Lipcius said that after the crab dies, it will be mounted and put on display at the institute next to another crustacean celebrity, a nearly 11-inch-wide crab that is the largest caught in the bay region.

    But, he said, Johnson will always have the right to take it home to his family in Deltaville, in Virginia's Middlesex County.

    Watson said the crab already has a name, Springer.

    The watermen thought it was strange enough to be on "The Jerry Springer Show."

    "Our next goal is, I want to catch a mermaid," Watson said. "Hey, man, you never know."

June 16, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dr. Bulb — A cure for the 'nude light bulb syndrome'


From the very people who brought you the world's most compact multimedia installation comes Dr. Bulb (above).

It was created to mask the piercing glare produced by the heated filament of a clear glass light bulb.

Say the creators:

"We prescribe a pair of polished steel sunglasses adaptable to 3 different sizes of light bulbs."

Go here, then go to DrBulb and move your cursor over the red line drawing.

Getting easier, isn't it?

Just takes practice.

All you have to do is — well, we'll save that for another time.

I would so get along with the krew that creates things like this and the multimedia setup.

June 16, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

« June 15, 2005 | Main | June 17, 2005 »