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September 16, 2005

'Cease and desist' — bookofjoe receives its first ever (but undoubtedly not its last) such notice


It happened earlier this afternoon while I was sitting here doing something close to nothing (but different than the day before).

Over the virtual transom came the following Molotov cocktail:

    Please Please Stop.

    I visit your web site each day and I have to say that I enjoy your site very much but I do have a request.

    These articles about the frivolous little items have got to stop.

    They're driving me bankrupt.

    So far I've bought the Underwater Talking Devices (my kids report they work not too well), the Folding Clothes Hamper/Basket and now just today the Chocolate Cell Phone.

    Actually, I bought two of the cell phones.

    One for my daughter Savannah and one for Gunnar, my son.

    My son doesn't really like chocolate at all but he REALLY doesn't like not getting something that his sister is getting.

    I enjoy all the articles in general but since I think I have ADHD I never seem to make it through the longer entries.


    Brian Nelson

    ps - just kidding about the "frivolous little items" in case you don't


Of all the things bookofjoe has been, is and might be the one thing it has never, ever sought to be is a negative externality.

And now it has become one, disrupting the life of joehead Brian Nelson and perhaps those of his kids, Savannah and Gunnar.

What to do?

I think the simplest solution is to only feature items such as yesterday's Oculas or $250,000 rims, things that cost in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and thus represent no clear and present danger to the economic well–being of my readers.

Hey, crack research team: wake up and smell the durian.

We know that for every email or letter there are a hundred or a thousand more Missourians out there far too busy to be able to take the time to contact us here.

Brian's is a voice in the wilderness, crying out to be heard.

If you are among the silent majority then I am sure you will agree that in this instance Brian is like that dazed band member in the classic "More cowbell" video — "He speaks for all of us."

September 16, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Ring Watch


If you can wear your heart on your sleeve then there's no good reason you shouldn't be able to wear the time on your finger.

Obviously I'm not the first person to have this thought because someone invented this Ring Watch to do just that.

From the website:

    Now you can wear your watch on your finger!

    This fashionable ring with up–to–the–minute styling features an easy–to–read, built–in digital watch with a precision quartz movement and a flexible, gold–tone band that stretches to fit perfectly.

    Great for men or women.

$2.99 here.

September 16, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Slacker Nation — The laziest state in the U.S. is... Missouri


A nationwide survey of 10,000 workers conducted by salary.com and AOL determined that workers in Missouri wasted an average of 3.2 hours of every workday doing things they were not being paid to do.

The number one time–waster: surfing the internet.


Yikes — maybe I'm biting the hand that (metaphorically) feeds me by featuring this study.

Oh well — I never claimed to have much sense anyway.

I shouldn't go on — but I'll go on.


Here is a list of the top 10 slacker states in order, laziest first:

1. Missouri

2. Indiana

3. Kentucky

4. Wisconsin

5. Nevada

6. Oklahoma

7. Virginia [Hooray for us! But I digress]

8. Pennsylvania

9. Connecticut

10. Idaho

Predictably, the politicos in Missouri were very unhappy with the results: Governor Matt Blunt said, "Nobody can match the work ethic of Missourians. This survey, which our busiest citizens did not want to waste their time on, cannot undermine decades of experience. Missouri workers are among the most productive in the world."

Well, salary.com and AOL, go stick that in your pipe.


Tony Messenger, a columnist for the Columbia [Missouri] Daily Tribune, wasn't quite as sanguine as the governor, and explored the possible truth and accuracy of the survey's results in a most amusing column which appeared on July 13, a couple days after the survey results were released.

Here's a link to another column, from the St. Petersburg [Florida] Times, about the study.


You know, there's really no excuse for my having brought these findings to your attention only today: I've had the story, clipped from the paper back on July 17, sitting around here at mission control for nearly two months.

It just goes to show you what can happen when you're goofing off all the time and not paying attention to what matters.


Hey, wait a minute — what does matter?

Do you know?


'Cause it's still as big a mystery to me as it ever was.

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

Oversize Stainless–Steel Beaker — For the serious cook


I can't speak for you but as for me, when I'm required to add five or six cups of water or some such quantity I find it just the slightest bit annoying to have to fill and then refill my 2–cup measure to satisfy the requirement.

No more such nonsense if you decide to get serious with this piece of kit, a very tricked–out measuring cup indeed, if I do say so myself.

Among its features:

• 7 cup capacity

• Pouring spout

• Clear polycarbonate window marked in cups to make it easy to see how much you've got inside

• Measures in fluid ounces and milliliters

• Wide base for stability with large volumes

7.5" high.

$35 here.

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

First mission to return asteroid pieces to Earth on schedule


I was really surprised to read earlier this week that Japan has succeeded in bringing its Hayabusa spacecraft, launched over two years ago in May, 2003, to within 12 miles of an asteroid named Itokawa on an unprecedented mission.

Anyone can send an impactor to a comet and create a big explosion as the U.S. did this past 4th of July to much fanfare.

Far more difficult, it seems to me, is not only bringing a spacecraft up close to a distant astronomical object — in the photo above the asteroid is 180 million miles from Earth, between Mars and our planet — and then collecting fragments of the asteroid and returning them to Earth, which is precisely what Hayabusa is on track to do.

The spacecraft (below, in an artist's rendering of its current near approach)


is scheduled to hover near the asteroid for the next three months, gathering data, before moving in close for its sampling mission.

The asteroid is 2,300 feet long and 1,000 feet wide, with a gravitational pull 1/100,000th that of Earth.

The Japanese probe will lower itself close enough to the asteroid to fire a small bullet at it, then collect the ejected fragments in a funnel–like device.

Hayabusa is scheduled to return to Earth and land in the Australian outback with its precious cargo in June of 2007.

The amount returned to Earth will be less than a teaspoonful but it will be the first asteroid matter ever recovered.

JAXA, Japan's space agency, has had a very rocky course over recent years, with its rockets blowing up on the pad or soon after launch.

That's why I'm so surprised and delighted for the country to see that it's back on track towards its announced goal of a permanently manned moon base by 2025.

The more competition the better.

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

Keys–U–See — 'World's most visible computer keyboard'


This keyboard was invented for people with visual impairments but like so many things created for a small subgroup it has much wider applicability.

Who wouldn't want to more easily see the letters on their keyboard?


Not only do these keyboards have a large, bold type size and style, but they come in optical yellow as well as white and black.

USB and PS2 connections are built–in.


$69.95 here.

September 16, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Wasting Away in Berkshire Hathaway'


The photo and caption above appeared on page 16 of this past Monday's New York Times.

Got my attention, tell you what.

Turns out the very clever ad was placed by members of the Newspaper Guild, who are very unhappy about Reuters' recent decision to outsource its formerly U.S.–based photo editing and captioning work to Singapore.

    From the ad:

    Warren Buffett or Jimmy Buffett?

    Not easily confused, unless you're a worker in Singapore, India or some other far away place trying to report news or caption photos from 6,000 miles away.

    Help us tell Reuters: Remote control journalism is bad news.

I'll bet you a nickel that Warren Buffett, if he hadn't been asked for permission to appear in this ad, when he saw it burst out laughing with delight.

September 16, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

What am I?


Well, looks like it turned out to be a recurrent feature, what with this second appearance.

Last Friday's unknown?


A garlic peeler (above and below) from Williams–Sonoma.


$9 here.

militantplatypus got it right and posted the correct answer 69 minutes after the post went up.

Other answers were amusing and you can read them in the comments section after that post, right here.

Which leads me to my comment.

I was shocked — shocked! — at some of the very inappropriate answers I received, some from members of my community I frankly didn't think even knew the objects and devices they suggested even existed.

Girls — this is Version 2.0.

Not 1.0.

1.0 has been erased from history, tossed down the memory hole.

Please, ladies: it took a long time to get back into the good graces of the MPAA and Disney and all the G–rated, Focus on the Family–Friendly websites that now link to and often feature bookofjoe posts, such as the remarkable $2.99 keychain Bible.

You know where to go if you have those other needs.

But I can no longer help you with them.

I'm sorry — but that's the way it is and that is the way it must be.

With this website now the central recruiting post for prospective CIA agents between the ages of 9 and 14 I do not think there is any alternative.

September 16, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

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