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November 14, 2005

'The sitter is someone of flesh and blood and what has to be caught is their emanation' — Francis Bacon


The British artist created work that rarely fails to elicit strong emotion.

In many people it is one of disgust at the tortured, seemingly mutilated and deformed figures in his paintings.

Bacon was all too aware of the effect of his work on others.


Matthew Creasy, in a story about the artist that appeared in the Financial Times, wrote, "Aware of the potential for upset, Bacon spoke of the 'damage' and 'injury' he did to friends in his work. Rather than confront their reactions in person, he chose to work from photographs, explaining, 'I would rather practice the injury in private by which I think I can record the fact of them more clearly."

He believed his methods were more faithful to his subjects than conventional portraits.


Bacon said, "I'm always hoping to deform people into appearance; I can't paint them literally."

He commissioned John Deakin to take photographs of his friends in specific poses with their portraits in mind.

Bacon was among the most self–destructive of artists, both in regard to himself and his work.


He repeatedly worked and reworked his paintings and never hesitated to destroy those which didn't please him.

November 14, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Palm–Sized Hand Wrench — 'No moving parts'


This palm–sized tool lets you carry the equivalent of an adjustable wrench in your pocket.

The tool automatically sizes the nut for proper wrench selection (3/8"-3/4" and 8-19mm).

Standard fractional inches on one side and metric on the other.

Weighs 6 oz; 3.25" long.

Withstands 15 lbs. of torque.

A bookofjoe Design Award 2005 winner: no moving parts.

$14.95 here.

November 14, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Museum–quality glass


It'll cost you: if framing a picture costs $200 with regular glass, museum–quality glazing will run you $275, about 40% more.

What do you get for the extra money?

Glass that's non–reflective (above, left; regular glass is on the right), making it easier to see the work beneath it, and protects your art from UV rays.

If you've got delicate pencil drawings, watercolors or prints that are of value you'd be foolish not to go for it.

Professional quality glass has been used for over a decade by museums and galleries and is just now becoming widely available to hoi polloi.

Peggy Edersheim Kalb wrote an informative article about the pricey glass for the Wall Street Journal: it follows.

    Not All Glass Needs to Glitter

    "When I heard the price, I swallowed," says Fern Mills, a collector of antique Japanese woodblock prints who lives in Haddonfield, N.J.

    She was reacting not to the price of the art, but to the cost of framing it: up to $400 per print, much of it for so-called museum-quality glass.

    This specially coated glass protects artworks from ultraviolet rays and minimizes reflections -- and costs about 10 times as much as regular glass.

    Ms. Mills took the plunge and said she was "thrilled" by the results. She is now reframing the rest of her print collection.

    "I'm doing it on the rolling plan because of the expense," she says.

    Used for more than a decade by museums and galleries, professional-quality glass is now widely available to consumers.

    Two companies manufacture it: Tru Vue, based in McCook, Ill., and Denglas Technologies, based in Moorestown, N.J.

    The frame shops that offer the glass say demand has grown: At Aaron Brothers Art & Framing, a Dallas-based chain of 166 stores, sales of museum-quality glass have increased from 1% of its business two years ago to 25% today, says President Harvey Kanter.

    Marion Stroh, who owns Left of the Bank, a frame shop and gallery in Old Greenwich, Conn., says her sales of professional-quality glass have risen dramatically since she introduced it last year.

    "Nobody believes there's glass there," she says.

    Ms. Stroh estimates that if a 16-by-20-inch picture with frame, matting and regular glass would cost $200, the same job would run to $275 with museum-quality glass.

    Consumers can also opt for glass that only screens out ultraviolet rays; it is slightly more expensive than regular glass.

    Custom-framing is a $1.8 billion business, according to the Professional Picture Framers Association, an industry group based in Jackson, Mich.

    They estimate that 7.4% of American households had a piece of art custom-framed in 2003.

    Lora Baier of Sammamish, Wash., says she used museum-quality glass to frame a 1920s newspaper article she wanted to hang in her brightly lighted home office.

    The framed article is now protected from the sun and, best of all, she says she is able to read it clearly while seated at the desk several feet away.

    "Anything with print, I highly recommend it," Ms. Baier says.

    But not all consumers are lining up for the new glass.

    "Only about a half to 1% of our business is museum glass," says Michael P. Murphy, manager of the Frame & Art Warehouse in Yonkers, N.Y., a discount frame shop.

    Mr. Murphy had high hopes for museum glass but, he says, "most of our customers just won't go for the price."

November 14, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brighthandle Illuminated Door Handle: Red = 'Do Not Disturb'


Swedish designer Alexander Lervik got the idea for the Brighthandle while gazing at a "Do Not Disturb" sign in a hotel.

He said, in a New York Times story by Ernest Becker, "I thought, it might be possible to design the function of that sign into the door, to use light to communicate the same thing."

The device contains an LED inside an acrylic tip that glows green


when the door is unlocked and bright red when locked.

It was introduced earlier this year at the Stockholm Furniture Fair and is slated to sell for about $150.

November 14, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kidsbeer — From Japan, a soft drink that looks and foams like beer but tastes like cola


It's going to be available soon in Europe but underage drinking watchdogs in the U.S. say it will enter this country over their dead bodies.

Andrew Adam Newman wrote about the new drink (above) in the New York Times.

In Japan its slogan is, "Even kids cannot stand life unless they have a drink."

That probably won't play very well here.

Here's the Times story.

    If the Children Can Drink Uncola, What About Unbeer?

    Kidsbeer, a Japanese soft drink bottled and formulated to look like beer, may soon be available throughout Europe, but watchdogs of underage drinking say they will fight any effort to ship it to the United States.

    The drink, which comes in a brown bottle and is advertised with the slogan "Even kids cannot stand life unless they have a drink," is lager-colored and foams like beer, but tastes like cola.

    Introduced two years ago, it is sold by more than 150 restaurants and supermarkets in Japan, according to Tomomasu, the small bottler that makes it.

    Beer is widely available in vending machines in Japan, where the legal drinking age is 20.

    An article in August in The Sunday Telegraph in London about plans to introduce Kidsbeer, first to Britain, then to the rest of Europe, caused a fuss among alcohol industry critics and government officials.

    Tim Loughton, a member of Parliament, told The Telegraph that the drink's expected arrival was "an alarming development."

    Neither a British soft drink association nor an alcohol watchdog group could confirm that Kidsbeer was in Britain.

    Amon Rappaport, a spokesman for the Marin Institute, an alcohol industry watchdog based in California, said Kidsbeer would "unwittingly play into the alcohol industry's efforts to glamorize drinking and introduce kids to beer."

    The group criticizes beer product placement in youth-oriented PG-13 movies like "Dodge Ball" and "Hell Boy."

    "The last thing we need is another product that introduces kids to drinking when the alcohol industry already spends billions doing that," Mr. Rappaport said.

    George Hacker, director of the Alcohol Policies Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit group based in Washington, said that if any company were to introduce a similar product in the United States, there would be immediate opposition. (Tomomasu has not said it has such plans.)

    "Given the strong antidrug movement in this country, my sense is the outrage would be immediate and overwhelming," Mr. Hacker said.

    The last company that marketed a look-alike beer ended up with a public relations hangover.

    In 1995, Royal Crown drew the ire of Lee P. Brown, then the White House drug policy adviser, for its Royal Crown Draft Premium Cola, which also was in a brown bottle and beer-colored.

    The company agreed to change the soda's packaging, most notably its label, on which "draft" had been by far the largest word.

    In 1978, Anheuser-Busch inflamed politicians, clergy and doctors when it introduced Chelsea (slogan: "the not so soft drink"), which also foamed like beer but had less then a quarter the alcohol content of regular beer.

    After critics called it "baby beer" and said it would foster underage drinking, the company withdrew the beverage.

    While tomorrow's barflies may lack pretend booze, they can still pretend to light up.

    Both Necco and World Candies continue to produce candy cigarettes, which are widely available on the Web and in candy stores.

    According to an article in The British Medical Journal in August 2000, some cigarette makers once authorized candy makers to mimic their package designs and logos.

    The article, by Jonathan D. Klein, a pediatrician, and Steve St. Claire, a lawyer, found that "sixth graders who reported having used candy cigarettes were twice as likely to have also smoked tobacco cigarettes, regardless of parental smoking status."

    Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Australia and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that have banned candy cigarettes, according to the article.


    Proposed federal legislation banning them in the United States, however, failed in 1970 and 1990.

November 14, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gwen Stefani 'Bananas' Stationary


The L.A.M.B. queen is extending her staggeringly popular reach into the realm of paper.

This week marks the debut of her "Bananas" letter–writing set, featuring banana–scented paper and envelopes.

12 sheets of paper and six envelopes cost $5.95 — assuming you can find some before it sells out.

Call 310-649-1188 to find a retailer.

If you'd rather not pick up the phone, hey — I understand.

Here's an online store that sells all manner of her Harajuku Lovers stuff.



November 14, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time and the Brown Sisters


This past Saturday Nicholas Nixon's new show, "The Brown Sisters," opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.


Each year since 1975 Nixon has taken photographs of his wife, Beverly (Bebe) and her three sisters.


The four women are always photographed in the same order from left to right: Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie.


One photograph of the many he takes is selected by Brown to represent each passing year.


The 31 photographs in the show, from the first in 1975 to this year's, tell many stories.


The show will remain up through February 20, 2006.


The photographs in this post, from the top down, were taken in: 1975, 1978, 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2004.

November 14, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mickey Digital Mix Stick MP3 Player


Hey Mickey.

From the website:

    Our innovative digital music players combine Disney design magic with the latest technology.

    Each plays MP3 and WMA audio formats and offers 128MB [about 60 songs] of built-in memory, expandable up to 1GB via SD/MMC slot.

    Disney Music samples, an audio-jack, lanyard and ear-bud headphones, USB port, and rechargeable batteries are all included.

    Features built-in, rechargeable battery for up to 10 hours of playback time.

    Also plays Disney Mix Clips, sold separately.

    Average battery life 8-10 hours.

    Stores music and data files.

    4.2"H x 1.5"W x O.6"D.

    Easily portable.



Also available in Princess Pink and Pixie Purple.


$49.99 here.

November 14, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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