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October 27, 2005

The Million Dollar Homepage



[via MP]

October 27, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Slipper Pillow


My favorite object of the year.

The designer, Maria Vinka, said her feet were always cold in Sweden, where she lives.

She was always searching for a pillow to put her sock–clad feet under.

Then she realized she could put the socks in the pillow and save a step.

Thus does creativity manifest itself — at least at higher latitudes.

It's called the PS Genevad footie cushion (item #10093287), measures 12" x 12" and comes in assorted colors and patterns.

$4.99 at Ikea stores worldwide.

I want one in the worst way.

But Charlottesville, Virginia has no Ikea store nor do I expect one to arrive during this century.

I tried to buy a footie cushion online but even with the assistance of my crack research team was unable to locate it on any of Ikea's numerous country–specific websites.

Then I tried the Ikea phone order number (800-434-IKEA/4532).

I am very patient, so being on hold for about 35 minutes didn't bother me at all — I mean, I was busy, true, but it was doing something close to nothing (but different from the day before).

Then a miracle happened.

A young woman named Chantal came on the line and was able to deal with my bizarre phone manner and asides and overall strangeness and not hang up.

At first I could tell she was not too happy with me but I quickly shaped up.

And by the end of our conversation — punctuated by several more periods on hold while she investigated why it was I couldn't find the item online — in the end, it turned out that to buy a PS Genevad footie cushion I'd have to personally visit an Ikea store to purchase one because they're not available by phone order either, but no matter, I found this personable Ikea employee (also an up–and–coming–soprano with a recital planned to take place in Baltimore, Maryland next year — but I digress) a kindred spirit, so much so that she was laughing to the point of crying when she envisioned my scenario of someone bolting from the couch to run to the bathroom during a commercial with their feet in a footie cushion, only to do a face plant and crack their skull open, later to be found by the Rescue Squad unconscious, with blood streaming out of their ear and both feet still in the cushion.

October 27, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Autospillology — 'Coke management strategy' in the 21st–century automobile


No, you won't find the word "autospillology" in any dictionary.

First I'd ever heard of it was in yesterday New York Times, in a story by Bonnie Rothman Morris.

Autospillology is the study of the effects of spilled liquids inside cars.

Morris wrote about the rapidly growing body of knowledge in this booming field, including what Ford engineers dealing with the problem call "Coke management strategy."

Here's the article.

    The Growing Science of Autospillology

    We know that sugar is bad for our waistlines, but it's probably bad for our car gearshifts, too.

    If not properly managed, spills can wreak havoc on a gearshift, said Todd Spaulding, an engineer at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich.

    Liquid can drip into the circuitry, which is "not a good thing," he said, causing malfunction.

    "We don't want it to stick because pop has spilled on it."

    But there is hope: Mr. Spaulding said he found that not all spills were created equal.

    His testing has shown that the stickier the drink, the more potential for trouble.

    Coke: bad.

    Mountain Dew: kind of bad.

    Coffee: bad, especially with cream and sugar.

    Red Bull: "maybe even worse," said Mr. Spaulding, who added that is just a hunch because he has not tested the drink.

    Best: diet soda, which isn't sticky when it dries.

    To prevent major soda malfunctions, the engineers designed little gutters buried under the gearshift panel that channel the soda away from the electronics and out of the car.

    "We call it the Coke management strategy," Mr. Spaulding said of the results of his work.

    Now Mr. Spaulding is pouring different-size sprinkles of dust over the gearshift.

    Can a chocolate-chip-cookie crumb catcher be far behind?

    Only the gearshifts know for sure.

October 27, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tailgate Cargo Box™


Daniel Morris, a landscape designer from Taylors, South Carolina and an avid fan of Auburn University football, spent five years perfecting it.


One day he looked at all the stuff he dragged to games, including two folding tables and a giant Rubbermaid storage container and thought, there's got to be a better way.

Now you can buy the fruit of his labor.


Wrote Fara Warner in yesterday's New York Times:

    By 2004 he had created a cargo carrier that could hold 12 collapsible chairs — the fancy folding type found in camping stores — and then could convert into two tables without using tools.

    The 45–pound aluminum box can be turned into tables by first lifting off the lid, which is attached to the backside of the cargo box.

    That section becomes the first table, with the legs tucked into it like most standard folding tables.


    The bottom and front of the box turn into the other table.

    The box also contains two carrying straps that hook onto the tables so they can be moved easily.

    The box fits inside most sport utility vehicles and comes with a carrier that can be attached to a vehicle's hitch so it doesn't take up room.

Watch the video to see how it works.


$399 here.

October 27, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Glare — by A. R. Ammons

the hills are alive with indifference,
a trembling, high–voltage

who–gives–a–hoot: I am so glad I
feel it so strong: they are not

after me, the hills, nor is anyone:
and I am not responsible to raise

them high or treed or consoled:
mountains could bother them: but I

don't care: mountains don't bother
them, though, because mountains,

too, are indifferent, only bigger:
no imperatives are delivered from

the peaks—except, of course, it's
hard to get up them and not much

easier to get down: but I don't
have to follow lofty urgings

ignoring which could bring pain:
except, perhaps—"don't stand below

high boulders on a deforested slope
in pouring rain": I mean, one does

have to mind the constitutions and
configurations of things: pay no

mind and you may have none to pay:
hills, if not totally indifferent

(and, of course, they are) communicate
by abrupt concretions, not words:

I would rather be communicated with
with words, especially since hills

don't have any, and their concretions
are roughish

October 27, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brancusi Spa Pillow


Not really — but it could be.

This beautiful object is a polyurethane pillow with suction cups on the bottom to hold it in place in your bathtub.

The curved cradle supports your neck while you daydream.

$14.95 here.

October 27, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My first Widget


When — not if — I buy my next Apple computer, you can be certain of one thing: the very first Widget I will acquire will be WatchMouse.

It's free, it was just went live 17 days ago and in my opinion any blogger who doesn't have it is missing the boat.

From the website:

    About WatchMouse Site Monitor

    Checks your company site or personal website every 5 minutes and alerts you in case of problems.

    • Checks your website from 16 monitoring stations worldwide for errors.

    • Warns you immediately or after 2 to 5 consecutive errors.

    • Pauses when your own computer is not connected to the Internet.

    • Shows the hourly availability of your website over the last 72 hours.

Perhaps you've noticed that in recent weeks and especially the past few days bookofjoe has been erratic in terms of the timing of posts.

The standard schedule here, 7 days a week, is that posts go up one minute after the hour (actually, they are timed to go up then but appear 16 minutes after the hour for technical reasons beyond my control), from 9:01 a.m to 4:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

There have been major problems with my blog host over recent weeks and these outages have resulted in mistimed posts and inaccessibility from time to time.

There is nothing I can do about this problem except deal as best I can.

There is no point in replying to the hundreds of emails I get about late or nonexistent posts, etc., since I have a blog to get up however I can manage and any time spent dealing with a fait accompli means that much less time and energy to apply to bookofjoe.

Thank you for your patience.

If you'd like a more detailed explanation of the problems, here is a mea culpa from one of the founders of TypePad, my blog's hosting service.


We now return you to our [ir]regularly scheduled programming.

October 27, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Colored Key ID Tags


I've got these, but in white only.

The colored ones would work even better.

They're invaluable for spare keys thrown in a drawer.

Write on them with a Sharpie.

20 in "assorted bold colors" for $1.99 here.

Hey, that's less than 10¢ apiece — go ahead, get crazy.

October 27, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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