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July 29, 2005

Johnny Cash Estate 'Just Says No' to Preparation H


The estate of Johnny Cash refused to sell the right to use his song "Ring of Fire" to Preparation H.


The 1964 smash hit was written by Merle Kilgore and Cash's wife, June Carter Cash, who died a few months before her husband in 2003.

Too bad for Preparation H but hooray for Rosanne Cash, Johnny's daughter, who together with her siblings runs the estate.

You may recall that back in 1995 the Rolling Stones let Microsoft use their song "Start Me Up" for its Windows 95 ad campaign in return for a cool $10 million.


Maybe the Stones just needed the money more.

[via Richard Tomkins and The Financial Times]

July 29, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ply Backpack


I.D. magazine award winner.

Is it any wonder?

From the website:

Our signature backpack is streamlined for comfort and style, holding contents close to the body.


Italian leather layered with fabric creates a flexible hinge which allow the pack to begin flat and expand when stuffed.


Lined with dark green woven nylon.

Interior zipper pocket.


Five colors (pictured in order from the top of this post down):

• Teal/aqua

• Coral/tangerine

• Dark Olive/celery

• Caramel/moss

• Black/black

I honestly don't know which I'd choose: Caramel/moss is so warm, but the black is just to die for.

Measures 16" x 11".


$215 here.

July 29, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The rise of the vlog — bookofjoeTV draws nearer


Easily the most exciting news this week from my warped perspective was Sarah Boxer's story in Monday's New York Times about the rise of the video blog, or vlog.

Just when I was finally getting used to the dreadful word blog, along comes one that's even worse.


That sounds like some new footwear company out of Uppsala or Reykjavik, not the new new online thing.

But I guess I can get used to just about anything.

After all, every morning I wake up and I'm me so I should have a pretty good tolerance for weird by now, wouldn't you think?

Can you imagine what it must be like to be me 24/7?

You can't, really, but trust me: it's the most fun you can have in scrubs.

But enough idle chatter: on to vlogging.

Long story short: vlogging is making a video and then posting it online so people can watch it.

So far it's just a faint ripple on the internet's surface.

Boxer wrote, "At this point the video blogging world is still small enough that all vloggers appear to know one another and show up in one another's work."

Once upon a time — I think it was last year — podcasting was like that.

Tell you what: I'm just tickled pink about the new developments in vlogging because they're breaking the ground and paving the way for what I've dreamed of ever since bookofjoe began as an aberration of sorts in April of 2003.

Back then when I used to muse about my bookofjoeTV dream, many readers — well, OK, not all that many since all told there were about 16, but a few, how's that? — would attack me for being nutso.

Well, so?

You can be nutso and have a dream become reality, can't you?

I said it then and I'll say it again: bookofjoe (the blog) is simply a placeholder for bookofjoeTV.

Read Boxer's story for the bigger picture; it follows.

And if you want to have a look at the early days of vlogging, go to the sidebar of her article and click on the many links that will take you directly to an assortment of vlogs.

    Watch Me Do This and That Online

    In the vlogosphere, 'mundane is the new punk'

    Can you vlog a dead horse? Only if you make a video of it and post it on the Web.

    After blogging came photo blogging and then, suddenly last year, video blogging.

    Video bloggers, also known as vloggers, are people who regularly post videos on the Internet, creating primitive shows for anyone who cares to watch.

    Some vlogs are cooking shows, some are minidocumentaries, some are mock news programs and some are almost art films.

    Most simply are records of ordinary life.

    The Das Vlog recently demonstrated the virtues of urinating in the bathroom sink.

    Village Girl has posted a video of her 2-year-old dancing with a friend.

    Josh Leo taped himself browsing through his old baby pictures and art projects. (The first book he wrote as a child, "No," is excellent.)

    Fat Girl From Ohio is a man blogging largely about his wife's pregnancy.

    As the video blog Reality Sandwich recently put it in a video of vegetable shopping, quoting a mantra of the vlogosphere: "Hey ... mundane is the new punk."

    At this point the video blogging world is still small enough that all vloggers appear to know one another and show up in one another's work.

    For instance, two vloggers, Amanda Congdon and Richard Hall, recently met and their encounter was vlogged and blogged on at least three different sites, from more than one perspective.

    Michael Verdi, who wrote Vlog Anarchy, a manifesto, has two young daughters, Lauren and Dylan, both with video blogs. (Lauren shows off her Brownie badges; Dylan plays with Neopets.com and talks about a boy who can't get her name right.)

    Already, though, it's beginning to look a lot like television, at least in spots.

    Some vlogs even share television's worries, chief among them the burden of coming up with fresh programming on a regular basis.

    For instance, Rocketboom, an amusing and ambitious vlog posted by Ms. Congdon, looks like Weekend Update, the newscast on "Saturday Night Live."

    Ms. Congdon has a wry look.

    She sits at a table in front of a map reading reports off sheets of paper.

    She tosses them after she's finished.

    She has correspondents in the field (who do things like give away the ending to the latest Harry Potter book), and she wears cute, nerdy glasses.

    She recently asked her audience to start sending her story ideas.

    Another vlog, the Carol and Steve Show, in which a married couple offer up the tedium of their daily lives - shopping, driving to the gym, arguing about "American Idol" - has stolen its type and its theme music from the land of sitcoms.

    It wants to sell out, but who would buy?

    Maybe a laugh track would help.

    One of the most winning vlogs is the 05 Project, the work of an 18-year-old in Keynes, England, Ian Mills, who has promised to post a video a day all year.

    He begins almost every short video by moving close to the camera and addressing the audience with a sweet formality, "Okay, so today...."

    In January, he showed the inside of his closet to prove he doesn't have just one set of clothes, but two.

    In February, he filmed a stuffed kangaroo seeking directions from a stuffed teddy bear sitting in front of a microwave oven.

    In March there was a video of a fire, with this note: "Damn im so glad i went to my grandparent's house today. If i hadn't, i wouldn't have seen this."

    But now the 05 Project is beginning to look a lot like "Fear Factor," minus the fearlessness.

    In June, when Mr. Mills found his well of ideas running dry, he asked his audience for challenges: an easy one, a moderate one and a hard one.

    In each "Challenge Ian" episode, he recites the three challenges, chooses one, and then makes a video of himself doing it.

    One of his most charming features is that he always takes the easy challenge.

    "I'm not going to slam my fingers in the door," he said, in one episode.

    "This isn't 'Jackass,' " he said, referring to the television show.

    So far, he has drunk a pint of raw eggs and vomited; jumped into a wading pool fully clothed; and spun around until he was dizzy.

    It doesn't sound like much.

    But Mr. Mills has a great sense of pacing and drama.

    He has Conan O'Brien's direct delivery and David Letterman's deadpan.

    In short, he has television charisma.

    Right now it seems that video bloggers can't agree what vlogs are exactly, and some of them want to keep it that way.

    "What's the rush to define it now?" Mr. Verdi asks in his video manifesto.

    "It would be like trying to pick a career and a mate for a newborn."

    But indeed, the newborn seems to have picked its mate.


    It's television!

July 29, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Measuring Tape Timer


Nicely done.

"You pull up the measuring tape, marked with minute lines up to 60, and watch it descend back into the timer, ringing as it reaches its destination."

You can see from afar how how many minutes are left by the length of the tape; you get an exact idea up close from the precise measurements on the tape.

Bet you can't do that with your old–fashioned dial–style timer.

Made of aluminum.

Measures 2.5"L x 2.5"W x 4"H.

$15 here.

July 29, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'It's Not the Heat, It's the Index'


Stephanie McCrummen of the Washington Post deconstructed the mysteries of the complex formula used to calculate just how hot it really feels in an entertaining story with the headline above that appeared in Tuesday's paper.

She pointed out that the classic paper that defined the heat index appeared in the Journal of Applied Meteorology, Vol. 18, No. 7, in 1979.

It was written by an Australian named R.G. Steadman and entitled "An Assessment of Sultriness; Part I: A Temperature–Humidity Index Based on Human Physiology and Clothing Science."

McCrummen wrote, "The paper tried to express empirically the toll of heat and humidity on the human body — specifically, on a 5–foot–7 male body weighing 147 pounds with a certain capacity for sweating and standing in a wind of eight knots."

Here's her article.

    Sometimes It's Not the Heat, It's the Index

    But a Complex Formula Can't Calculate All Variables in Each Individual's Meltdown Point

    And so the week began the way many summer weeks begin in these swampy parts: Forecasters warned of an oppressive air mass pushing east, sinking into the region and lingering for days, bringing not just high temperatures but also something far more sinister: a stifling heat index.

    The measure of misery reached 105 degrees yesterday and could go beyond 110 today and Wednesday, but even as Darrell Townsend sat in the thick and heavy 2 p.m. sun yesterday -- even as he has planned his Julys and Augusts around this precious, if mystical, number -- he confessed to having exactly no understanding of how it is devised.

    He simply trusted it, an article of summer faith.

    "How it's determined?" he asked, his forehead glistening.

    "I have no clue."

    For those who are curious, the heat index has its modern origins in the Journal of Applied Meteorology, Vol. 18, No. 7.

    A 1979 report titled "An Assessment of Sultriness: Part I: A Temperature-Humidity Index Based on Human Physiology and Clothing Science," by an Australian named R.G. Steadman, tried to express empirically the toll of heat and humidity on the human body -- specifically, on a 5-foot-7 male body weighing 147 pounds with a certain capacity for sweating and standing in a wind of eight knots.

    Taking into account more than a dozen factors such as rates of evaporation, the body's core temperature, salinity and clothing resistance to heat transfer, Steadman devised an elegant chart of numbers he called the "apparent temperature," and by the mid-1980s, the National Weather Service began using it, including the so-called "heat index" in regular forecasts.

    But the weathermen of the world were not satisfied and began lobbying for a more precise gauge.

    In 1990, Lans P. Rothfusz, working in Texas, answered the call, publishing a paper subtitled, "More than you ever wanted to know about the heat index."

    "Now that summer has spread its oppressive ridge over most of the Southern region, [National Weather Service] phones are ringing off their hooks with questions about the heat index," he wrote by way of introduction.

    "Some are satisfied with the response that it is extremely complicated.... But there are few who will settle for nothing less than the equation itself."

    And so he gave it to them, a formula of T's (dry bulb ambient temperature) and R's (relative humidity) that tries to reduce the complexities of human physiology and thermodynamics to math:

    HI or Heat Index = -42.379 + 2.04901523T + 10.14333127R

    - 0.22475541TR - 6.83783x10{+-}{+3}T{+2}

    - 5.481717x10{+-}{+2}R{+2}

    + 1.22874x10{+-}{+3}T{+2}R

    + 8.5282x10{+-}{+4}TR{+2} - 1.99x10{+-}{+6}T{+2}R{+2}

    "It's as good as we can get in terms of a formula," said Rothfusz, who works in Peachtree City, Ga., where the heat index yesterday was pushing 107.

    "The caveat is it's chock full of assumptions, like wind speed, type of clothing and the clothing's resistance to moisture."

    Ultimately, the heat index is a subjective matter, and as the late afternoon sun draped McPherson Square yesterday, there were as many indices as there were people having lunch, each with his own threshold of suffering.

    Marc Mosby, eating a hot sandwich out of hot tinfoil without benefit of shade, said that if the outside temperature was in the 90s, his own personal heat index at the moment was somewhere in the range of "not that hot."

    But he is a slim man raised in Louisville.

    Across the way, near a garden full of marigolds that looked like so many blazing suns, Ki-Hong Han, a heavier man visiting from the more delicate climate of Seoul, considered his own heat index at the moment.

    His forehead shone.

    He apologized for his English, then offered his assessment.

    "Killing hot," he said, nodding. "K-i-l-l."

    "Too hot to concentrate," he added, pointing to the book he'd stopped reading, "A Very Short Introduction to Anarchy."

    July 29, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    StealthSurfer: Surf the web from any computer — anonymously


    It's a USB 2.0 key with flash memory — and much more.

    1) Actively masks your I.P. address

    2) Redirects your web surfing history to its memory as you go

    3) Automatically fills out e–commerce forms with your stored personal information

    From the website:

      No Installation Required!

      1. Plug in the StealthSurfer

      2. Start the customized, pre–loaded browser

      3. Surf the web with total privacy

    Prices start at $99.29 for 128MB and top out at $299.29 for 1GB here.

    128MB holds 1,900 jpg images, in case you were wondering; 1GB holds 14,400.

    You know, this is perhaps not the best device I could feature here, it just occurred to me: if you had one you could spam me and I'd never be able to block you.


    Oh, well — I may be dumb, but I'm fun!

    July 29, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Xul Solar — 'Our William Blake'


    That's what Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges called the visionary Argentine painter and poet.

    Borges was perhaps Xul Solar's best friend.

    Now the Buenos Aires Museum of Latin American Art has mounted a retrospective consisting of 130 works, mostly small watercolors, by the great artist, who died in 1963 at age 75 having sold very little of his work during his lifetime.

    The show went up last month and will remain in Buenos Aires through August 15; then it moves to São Paulo and, early next year, to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston for what will be Xul Solar's first individual show ever in the U.S.

    From the two works pictured above and below you can see why many critics and art historians compare Xul Solar to Paul Klee, whose work he was familiar with from the dozen years he spent in Europe before returning to Argentina in 1924.

    Larry Rohter wrote a great story which appeared in Monday's New York Times about the painter and his circle.


    "A man versed in every field of knowledge, curious about everything arcane, father of writings, of languages, of utopias, of mythologies, a guest in hells and heavens," was how Borges described his friend in an essay he wrote while Xul Solar, twelve years Borges' senior, was still alive.

    July 29, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Nooka Zot Watch


    The LCD screen shows hours as dots, minutes in the bar and seconds in the little box.

    Designed by Matthew Waldman.

    Stainless steel with a backlight.

    Black leather strap.

    $250 here.

    July 29, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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