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December 20, 2005

'Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939–43'


Few people know that,


along with the thousands of black–and–white photographs


taken by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and its successor agency,


the Office of War Information (OWI) to record American life in the late 1930s and early 1940s,


the FSA/OWI photographers also took color pictures using newly available Kodachrome film.


The first major exhibition of these little–known color images is currently up at the Library of Congress,


where it will remain through January 21, 2006 before going on tour through 2007.


Can't get to Washington, D.C. in the next month?


No problema.


Visit the online exhibition here


to see about 70 photographs from the show, some of which appear above.

[via Giv & Doe]

December 20, 2005 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Safe' Bedside Table




By British designer James McAdam.

From the website:

    It is reported that 50% of people in London are worried about security and sleep with some form of self-defence to hand, for use against intruders.


    The "Safe Bedside Table" has a removable leg that acts as a club and a top that doubles as a shield for self-defence.


    This is for people who are willing to take on an intruder, providing an extra sense of security whilst in bed.


Who wouldn't want one — even if you didn't live in a state of perpetual fear in London?


Winner of a bookofjoe 2005 Design Award.

[via AW]

December 20, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Iran Declares Ban on Western Music'


Above, the headline of today's breaking news.

Who knew that the censors in Iran paid such close attention to bookofjoe?

I mean, it was only yesterday that I reported on the new Harrisonburg High School ban on grinding


at school dances.

Clearly, Iran knows a good thing when it sees one.

What do they say... "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," isn't that how it goes?

Though I'm not so sure that if I were Harrisonburg High School Principal Irene Reynolds, I'd want to have President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran using me as his role model.

But here's the thing that puzzles me: today's news story notes that the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran outlawed popular music.

So if it's already a fait accompli, why bother to do it again?

Well, for one thing the new edict prohibits the playing of classical music on Iranian radio and television.


Roll over, Beethoven.

December 20, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mad–Croc Gamer Gum


Just outa beta.

It comes in three flavors: Cinnamon Kick, Spiked Spearmint and Power Peppermint.

Two pieces provide 80 mg of caffeine, about as much as a cup of coffee.

Mike Musgrove wrote about the gum in today's Washington Post Health section; his story follows.

    Gum for Gamers

    What: Mad–Croc, caffeinated gum for video gamers seeking a boost to the next level. Made by Chantilly-based Nutravail Technologies, it has three flavors: Cinnamon Kick, Spiked Spearmint and Power Peppermint.

    Why: Even in a coffee-soaked culture, alternative caffeine delivery systems continue to appear — in energy drinks like Red Bull, candies including some Penguin mints and a caffeinated lip balm called Spazztick.

    How: Two pieces of Mad–Croc contain 80 milligrams of caffeine, about as much jump juice as a cup of coffee.

    The Test: The flavor isn't much — generic mint or cinnamon laced with a slightly bitter caffeine finish — and it runs out quickly. After that, the gum has the consistency of rubber bands.

    Taste isn't the point, says Nutravail's director of marketing, Corey Hamilton. "You aren't going to buy this gum just to chew gum, you're buying it for the energy." Hamilton said that an early version of Mad–Croc hid the caffeine aftertaste, but test groups didn't believe they were getting a jolt. Back came the caffeine bite.

    Who: Nutravail's research found that game addicts are the top consumers of energy drinks, followed by college students. (There's probably some overlap there.) Nutravail is advertising at GameSpot.com and is sponsoring computer-game tournaments. When Microsoft's new Xbox 360 game console launched last month, the company sent out teams to give away samples to game geeks lined up to buy the machine.

    Expert Opinion: Jason Petty, a gamer and a caffeine addict who runs a site called EnergyDrinkReviews.com, gives the gum a rating of "not bad," but "it probably won't cut it," he wrote in an e-mail. "[Gamers] typically want something that we can really feel... something that will keep us going frosty for hours on end, and this stuff is really too weak to go there."

    Oh, Stop: Helene Emsellem, director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase and author of the forthcoming book "Snooze... Or Lose!" ticked through a number of hazards to those who regularly pull all-nighters, ranging from loss of cognitive function to weakened immune systems.

    Her advice: Go to bed, dude.

    "Sleep has a clear purpose and being sleep-deprived has very clear consequences," she said.


Now just a cotton–pickin' moment... what about me?

Where's my blogger–specific flavor?

I mean, "going frosty" — what the heck is that?

Where's my term, not to mention the missing chew?

Come on, Nutravail, we're ready to take the bit between our jaws and run with it.

Also, please note that the word "LIE!" in purple in the photo up top was not placed there by me but, rather, by one Justin Clark, who authored a somewhat less than encomium–laden review of Mad–Croc gum on October 27 of this year.

Here's what he had to say:

    Last weekend I was in Target and some Mad–Croc Energy Gum caught my eye.

    The idea and packaging intrigued me so I decided to try some ( I realize this photo says that this gum was purchased at 7-Eleven, but it was pulled from the web).

    I tossed a piece in as I was driving home and I had to spit it out before I swerved off the road.

    This is the most awful tasting gum I have ever had in my life.

    Not only does it change from blue to green in your mouth, but it changes from "gum" into a substance that tastes like muddy cigarette butts.

    I let Blake Green try a piece to make sure it wasn't just me, and after about 2 minutes of chewing he ran directly to my bathroom and spit it out.

    30 minutes later he complained that his mouth still tasted of crocodile dung.



Note to self: contact Justin Clark instanter and bring him aboard my crack research team.


He'll fit right in.

December 20, 2005 at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Museum of Modern Betas


Sure, everybody knows about MoMA but I'll bet you've never heard of MoMB — time to rectify that, doncha think?

Me too.

Without further ado, then, here is a link to the MoMB's "Betas of the Year."

Oh, I see how it is: you're far too busy to be running around visiting links — you like it right up front and center where you can easily get at it, then toss it, eh?

No problema.

The winner was Writely,


with Flickr


taking the runner–up slot and Netvibes the second runner–up.

Honorable mention, in alphabetical order:

Amazon Mechanical Turk

Dabble DB



Google Base

Google Book Search

Measure Map

Num Sum


Remember the Milk

Tell you what: I must be asleep at the switch 'cause I've never heard of most of the winners.

But then, they've never heard of me.

December 20, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Space–Age Pen Watch


So last Friday I was just sitting here, doing something close to nothing, when I happened on Shawn Lea's post about Cartier's fountain pen watch (below).


Shawn wrote:

    The perfect tool.

    It cures both my pen and my watch obsession.

    The Cartier fountain pen watch.

    Black lacquer, platinum finish, Cartier quartz movement, 18k white gold nib.

    But there's always a catch, isn't there?

    In this case, the price... $1,915.

I like and admire Shawn Lea so I decided see if I couldn't assuage her pen watch yearning just a tad.

I told my crack research team to drop everything else and spend the weekend or even longer — as long as it took — and bring back another, less costly, iteration of this tool.

And I'll be darned if they didn't return wearily triumphant late last night, after countless hours of searching and sifting, with a pen watch that, though it may not possess certain qualities of the Cartier, has some of its own that the pricier model can only dream about.

Behold, at the top of this post, a picture of the remarkable Space–Age Pen Watch.

From the website:

    Featuring a sealed and pressurized ink cartridge, this ballpoint pen writes smoothly at any angle, in extreme cold or heat, over grease and underwater.

    Adding further function is a quartz-movement watch at the end.

    Approx. 5 1/2"L.

I'll bet the Cartier can't write over grease and underwater.

And I'll venture a guess that it doesn't do too well in extreme heat or cold either.

But the best part is the price: a most affordable $35.99 here.

For the quants among you, that's precisely 1.88% of the price of the fancier version.

Heck, it costs less than the sales tax on the Cartier — why dither a femtosecond longer?

[via Shawn Lea and Red Ferret]

December 20, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



"Create an e-mail to send to the future."

What an interesting concept — not least because it forces one to deal with issues of time in the most profound sense.

It seems to me that each and every email you send is sent to the future in the sense that it doesn't get sent now but, rather, only at some point in the future to be determined by you — but always later than the present.

A more precise description of what FutureMe.org does might be, "Create an e-mail to send to the non–sequential future."

Because if you should create your e-mail now and then mark it for delivery in, say, 2010, well, you've effectively bypassed that five–year interval.

Some of the messages marked for future delivery to a given recipient are open to anyone who wants to read them now.

Isn't that a lot like how sometimes you're nicer to strangers than people you care about?

Because you're letting people who don't matter read an e-mail that's intended to be interest only to the one person who won't be getting it until sometime in the future.

I've always thought that there's something messed up with this behavior but I explain it to myself as being the result of family and friends being more tolerant of my shortcomings, thus allowing me to sometimes put them second to strangers who'll cut me no slack.

At least, that's the best rationale I've been able to come up.

Maybe you have a better idea.

Anyway, FutureMe.org.

Matt Sly, 29, invented it four years ago and partnered with 31–year–old Jay Patrikios of San Francisco on the project.

Sly told the Associated Press in a story published Sunday that "the site has made maybe $58 through donations."

Hey, that's a lot better than I've done — don't be so hard on yourself, Matt.

You can schedule your email delivery for up to 30 years from now (2035!), but most people want them to be sent within three years.

Tell you what: don't be shortsighted and use some email address with a company name that's likely to disappear, as happens all too often these days.


Count on your school's email address to be there forever, unlike adelphia.net or suchlike, which are almost guaranteed to be game–over sooner rather than later.

December 20, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Kyocera Perfect Peeler


I'd been meaning to feature this new kitchen tool but it took Julia Moskin's rave review, which appeared in the December 14 New York Times Dining section, to get me off square one.

She wrote, "The blade on Kyocera’s new Perfect Peeler flips around so it can be used in a pulling motion, as for peeling a pear, or a scraping one, as for a carrot. It also works for left–handed users, and the ceramic blade is smooth and sharp. Unlike most... other redesigned gadgets, this one worked better than the old–fashioned kind."

Of the many new kitchen gadgets Moskin tried out and wrote about in her story, she liked the Perfect Peeler best.


$19.95 here.

December 20, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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