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June 25, 2005

Original Picasso For Sale At... Costco?

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You could look it up.

Right here.

"Atelier De Cannes" (above), an original 1958 crayon drawing by Pablo Picasso, is available for $129,999.99 at Costco.

For real.

The front of the work is signed and dated (May 27, 1958) by Pablo Picasso.

The drawing is authenticated on its back by a hand–written, signed declaration by Picasso's daughter Maya, considered "the world's utmost authority."

It measures 12.5" x 16.75".

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: "Standard UPS Ground shipping is included in the quoted price."

Nice touch, what?

As is the ninety–nine cents at the end of the price.

Vintage Costco.

[via MT]

June 25, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Kris Nations — Jewelry with flair

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Not only are the

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creations of this

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San Francisco–based

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artisan visually arresting,

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but they're also

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surprisingly inexpensive considering

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the level of craftsmanship.

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Most of the rings

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featured in this post are $30.

June 25, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zoe Cruz is the 'Cruz Missile'

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Best nickname of the year.

Zoe Cruz (above and below) was recently appointed co–president (there's a dopey title) of Morgan Stanley after Philip J. Purcell "decided to step down as chief executive of Morgan Stanley last week," as Landon Thomas Jr. wrote in his New York Times story this past Monday about the current days and nights of the long knives at Morgan.

Purcell stepped down the same way a batter "chooses" to duck when a Randy Johnson fastball comes right at his head. But I digress.

Long story short: Purcell didn't jump — he was pushed. Hard.

Ms. Cruz, 50, is a 24–year employee of Morgan Stanley who ran its fixed–income division from 2000 to 2005.

The Financial Times wrote of her last week that she is "known as the 'Cruz Missile' because of her ability to home in on her target and pursue it unswervingly."

So great.

She only looks innocent.

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Thomas's story said that Ms. Cruz told managing directors in London two weeks ago that "the board had better not propose a candidate less qualified than her."

Oh, mama — better not cross her.

"If Ms. Cruz ascended to the top, she would be the first woman to guide a major Wall Street firm," Thomas wrote.

I wonder if she's put in a call yet to Carly Fiorina, who might have a few pointers to offer on how to make the final ascent without getting thrown off the face by unexpected bad weather near the top.

Goodness knows Carly's got plenty of spare time these days.

June 25, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rhodia — World's Best Notepad

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Francis Ford Coppola grew to like these so much he decided to import them and sell them at his winery.

They're extremely hard to find in the U.S.

Rhodia was founded in 1920 in Lyon; it's named after the Rhone River.

What's so great about Rhodia pads?

1) They're beautiful, with their orange covers and backs

2) They're bound across the top, with perforations at the top of each page to enable you to tear pages out neatly and cleanly

3) The backs are very heavy cardboard for ease of writing

4) The paper is high quality white vellum with a graph paper pattern, letting you put one letter in each box for an almost magical transformation of your notes and words into something that actually appears of substance

5) Their best feature, though, is so subtle it's not mentioned anywhere I've ever seen, nor is it obvious when you hold one in your hand. The cover of the pad is indented all the way across in three places toward the top. You can see the lines in the photo above, the middle of the three being most prominent. The purpose of those indentations is to let you fold the cover up and back over the pad such that the cover sits perfectly square and flat against the top and back. You have to use one of these pads to appreciate the elegance of this feature.

I like the Number 13, which measures 4.1" x 5.8" (10.5 cm x 14.8 cm).

A pack of three 80–sheet pads costs $7.50 here.

What is it about the French

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and their association of the color orange with luxury, anyway?

June 25, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LG Electronics Washer/Dryer Remote

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From LG Electronics, the company that brought us the world's first internet refrigerator, comes the Remote Monitoring Laundry System (above).

The concept: monitor your laundry cycles from anywhere in your home.

The remote displays what stage the laundry is in and how much time is left in the cycle.

Why don't I feel more excited about this?

Maybe I'm just a Luddite after all, ya think, notwithstanding all this chatter here about Luna and Repliee Q1 and the coming singularity?

I don't know: I mean, I'm trying to lose remotes, not gain more.

The LG system will run you $1,349 for the washer, $949 for the dryer and an additional $99 for the remote monitor.

Jeez, you'd have thought they'd have thrown in the remote at those prices; I mean, you get a remote with a $29 TV from Kroger.

What do I know about stuff like this, anyway; I should stick to my knitting.

Hey, wait a minute — I just had a great idea for Version 2.0 of LG's system: LaundryCam.

Genius, if I do say so myself.

A camera looks at the front of the machines and transmits the image — in real time, of course — to your remote.

That way if the movie or game you're watching gets boring you can watch your laundry instead.

And when friends call and ask what you're doing you won't have to fib when you reply, like you have in the past, "Oh, just keeping an eye on the wash."

June 25, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Customizable Flip–Flops

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For girls of all ages.

You get:

• A pair of plain black flip–flops

• Three tubes of paint

• A bag of "jewels" and sequins

• Waterproof glue

Lots of fun at the beach in this little box.

Child's Flip–Flop shoe size: XS(12–13), S(1–2), M(3–4), L(5–6).

Women's Flip–Flop shoe size: S(5–6), M(7–8), L(9–10).

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Child's sizes are $14.50; Women's are $19.50.

June 25, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tool–Using Dolphins

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The June 9 Economist had a fascinating story about culturally transmitted tool use among dolphins.

A group of researchers led by Michael Krützen, of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, has found that the bottlenose dolphins of Shark Bay in Western Australia like to mop up their food with sponges (above and below), and that they learn the trick from their mothers.

Here's the article.

    Mother Knows Best

    Culture in the ocean depths

    There was a time when the ability to make and use tools was regarded as a purely human trick.

    So was the possession of culture—that is, the ability of individuals to learn patterns of behaviour from others and, eventually, to pass them down the generations.

    This anthropocentric view of the world is long gone in zoological circles.

    The manufacture and use of tools has been observed in many species (chimpanzees "fishing" for termites using specially prepared twigs, for example).

    So has the transmission of ideas (washing food in the sea to get rid of sand grains, by Japanese monkeys).

    And indirect evidence from chimps suggests that tool use itself is culturally transmitted, with different groups having different cultural traditions.

    But now a group of researchers led by Michael Krützen, of the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, has found evidence of culturally transmitted tool use under the sea.

    The bottlenose dolphins of Shark Bay in Western Australia, it seems, like to mop up their food with sponges, and they learn the trick at their mother's flipper.

    Or, rather, some of them do.

    The animals in question break off bits of sponge, cover their beaks with them, and probe the sea floor for fish.

    Whether the sponge aids the probing, or merely makes it more comfortable, is not clear.

    But what is clear from Dr Krützen's study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is that the sponge-using dolphins are related to one another.

    They all share the same mitochondrial DNA, a type of DNA transmitted to offspring only from their mothers.

    All seem, therefore, to be descended from the same female.

    Moreover, all but one of the spongers are female, too.

    At first sight, that suggests the explanation for sponging could be either cultural transmission within a clan, or genetic transmission of a recent tool-use-inducing mutation.

    But the detailed statistical analysis of the genetics of the spongers that Dr Krützen carried out shows that a mutated gene could not explain the pattern of sponging individuals actually observed.

    The researchers are therefore reasonably sure that what they are seeing is cultural transmission from mother to child.

    Why sponging should be so sex-specific is, however, still a mystery.

    Maybe female dolphins are smarter than males—or, at least, pay more attention to what their mothers tell them.

    Mmm_13

    Or maybe they are just more sensitive to sticking their noses into the seabed.

June 25, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Candle Night Light Flashlight

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What a graceful shape.

I'm a sucker for a beautiful shape, inanimate or alive. But I digress.

"Stand it up and one end is a night light; pick it up and the other end is a flashlight."

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How does it know which end is up?

Is it alive?

Perhaps an intelligence of another sort entirely? But I digress yet again.

6.5" high.

Long life LED lamp.

Silver aluminum casing.

Takes 3 button cell batteries (included).

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$18 here.

June 25, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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