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September 19, 2005

Big Girls Rock — 'Meet Wendy Shanker!'


It's about time.

Instead of Paris Hilton or Elizabeth Hurley, Macy's is getting real this coming Thursday: author and humorist Wendy Shanker (above), author of "The Fat Girl's Guide to Life," will appear after the HER fashion show and meet and greet and — dare I say it? — press the flesh.

The show starts at 6 p.m. in Macy Woman on 7 at the Herald Square (New York City) store.

Reservations required: 212-494-4000.


What it is.

September 19, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Binocular Glasses II


Just in, my new crack research team's first triumph.

You may or may not recall that it was just one week ago — Monday, September 12 — that the now–unemployed crew brought me a pair of binocular glasses which I dutifully featured.

You may also recall their rather formidable price: $119.95.

Well, guess what: the replacements found a better deal.

How does $5 sound?

'Cause that's exactly what the ones pictured up top will cost you here.

Bonus: these bargain ones have 3x magnification as opposed to 2.1x for the pricey version.

Nice job, gang — now get back to work.

September 19, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Buy.com v Amazon — Price War


Two dot–coms enter but only one will leave.

Thunderdome Redux (Retail version).

Last week Buy.com announced it was going to undercut Amazon's prices on books by taking 10% off Amazon's published prices through December 31.

I guess they've drunk Jeff Bezos's Kool–Aid and figure they'll make up for the loss on every sale by simply selling more books.

This isn't the first time Buy.com has tried to go mano–a–mano with Amazon: they did it back in 2002 but left the ring on a stretcher.

I have no idea why they think things will be any different now — if anything Amazon is even bigger, better and stronger than it was back then, an eternity in internet time.

Both merchants offer free shipping on most book orders over $25 so they're evenly matched in that arena.

I had the crack research team investigate.

They discovered that the truth is not quite what Buy.com would have you believe.

For our test case we used the world's most expensive cookbook ($350 list price), Ferran Adrià's "El Bulli 1998–2002" (below).


As we noted here yesterday Amazon sells it for $220.50, which is 37% lower than list price.

According to Buy.com's new pricing policy it should therefore be pricing this book at 10% off Amazon's price = $220.50 minus $22.05 = $198.45.

But guess what: Buy.com's price is $210, which they herald as 40% off the list price.

True — but not quite the same as $198.45 the way I do the math.

And Buy.com doesn't even sell my books.


If you can't do what you say you will do then it's better to say nothing.

Buy.com may offer a lower price but it loses in the credibility department which, in the end, is what makes or breaks a brand.

September 19, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Musical Fun in the Tub


Splish splash I was taking a bath... and music broke out.

Where where these water–friendly instruments when I was little?

The water flute (above and below)


costs $6.71 here.

The drums


are $8.99.

The xylophone


is $10.80.

Throw all the kids in, close the door and go chill while they go insane.

September 19, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself — by Wislawa Szymborska

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn't understand remorse.
Lions and lice don't waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they're right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they're light.

On this third planet of the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.

September 19, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Telescoping Lighted Magnetic Retriever


"Reaches those awkward places human hands can't get to."

Don't go there.

From the website:

    Perfect for car repairs, hobbies and home repairs.

    Clips to pocket, extends to 26" and holds up to 2 lbs.

    Bright LED light illuminates dark areas and can also be used as a reading light.

    On/Off switch automatically turns on when the unit is extended and shuts off when unit retracts.

Requires 3 button cell batteries (included).

$12.50 here.

September 19, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NYPD creates world's first police department podcast


It's on: just click here and you're at the podcast headquarters of the New York City Police Department.

You can subscribe to the podcasts or simply listen via your computer.

The information you get comes straight from the NYPD, unfiltered by journalists or broadcasters.

The first podcast went up last Wednesday and offered information about street closings around the UN.

It also contained information about identity theft and an interview with a high–ranking officer sent to New Orleans after Katrina.

The department plans to to update the podcasts at least weekly, more frequently as circumstances demand.

They'll contain updates on major cases and appeals for help with unsolved crimes.

The NYPD is also planning a Spanish–language version.


Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly listens to all manner of music, audiobooks and language lessons on his iPod; it was his idea to make the NYPD the world's first iPod–friendly police department.

September 19, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Scorah Pattullo Colette Fairisle Boots


I happened on a picture of them in last Friday's Financial Times "How To Spend It" supplement.


£350 ($633; €516) but my crack research team couldn't find them on the company's website.

Not to worry: I fired the entire crew and I'm breaking in what I hope will be a more effective bunch as I write this.

Very little downside potential, actually.

[via Edwina Ings–Chambers and the Financial Times]

September 19, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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