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January 26, 2006

World's smallest fish discovered in Indonesia

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Pictures of the just–announced discovery, which lives in an acidic peat swamp on the island of Sumatra, appear above and below.

A member of the carp family, it is called Paedocypris progenetica.

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The fish has a see–through body, boneless head and grows to a length of 7.9 mm.

For reference, that's approximately the width of a wooden pencil, or half the diameter of a dime.

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The discovery, by a team led by Dr. Maurice Kottelat of the National University of Singapore, was reported yesterday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

January 26, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tear Drop Hanging Vase

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From the website:

    Wall Flower

    Experiment with nature.

    Handblown chemistry lab borosilicate beaker glass in a simple teardrop shape wall–hangs via a cut and polished opening.

    4"D x 7"H.

So simple.

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$3.95 here.

January 26, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Tear down this wall' — The Goths are at the gates of Hollywood and they are circling the wagons within...

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The long–talked–about pipe–dream of shortening or eliminating the window of time between when a movie appears in theaters and when it's shown on TV and the DVD becomes available is no longer wishful thinking on the part of those of us who wonder why we have to wait for someone else to decide when we're ready.

Tomorrow Steven Soderbergh's new film, "Bubble," opens at Mark Cuban's Landmark Theatres chain as well as on his HDNet high–definition TV network.

Four days later, on Tuesday, January 31, the DVD will be be released.

Hollywood doesn't like this one bit nor do theater owners.

Wrote Joshua Chaffin in the January 20 Financial Times, "'Bubble' was not greeted warmly by the studios when it was announced last year. Cinema owners, concerned about dwindling ticket sales, reacted with particular hostility."

Sharon Waxman reported on the new wave about to crash down in her article in Sunday's New York Times.

I pre–ordered the DVD from Amazon just now, so I'm doing my part — just like Reagan told Gorbachev, "tear down this wall."

January 26, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Grapefruiter

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Breathtakingly complex in appearance but perhaps such engineering is what it takes to finally produce a tool that extracts the reluctant fruit from its begrudging peel and all–embracing segment sheaths.

From the website:

    A Great Gadget For Grapefruit Fans!

    The Grapefruiter™ sections citrus in a snap!

    Simply insert the stainless steel V-blade into a grapefruit (or orange) and squeeze the handle for perfect wedges without the waste.

    Dishwasher–safe.

    7.5"H x 4"W.

$12.99 here.

January 26, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: A cure for an upset stomach you won't find in the Merck Manual

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That's because I discovered it as a boy in Milwaukee and ever since have kept it to myself because it's kind of bizarre.

Long before I had any inkling that I'd become a doctor – heck, back then the only thing I wanted to be was a major league baseball player — I was already developing quack remedies.

What with all the talk about transparency these days I thought it was time to reveal a few of the very closely held family jewels.

So from time to time, when the mood strikes or I'm bored, I'm gonna drop a pearl here.

Without further ado then, bookofjoe's until–now–super-secret Upset Stomach Remedy™.

1) Go to the kitchen

2) Make sure you're alone

3) Lift your shirt so that your belly is exposed from your waist to your rib cage

4) Press your bare skin against the door of your refrigerator

5) Screaming as you do so helps because the cold metal door is a major shock

One application is almost always sufficient to eliminate your tummy trouble.

My theory about why it works is that the shock of the cold door instantly forces your brain to react to it, pulling nerve impulses away from your gut pathways.

Sort of how suddenly scaring someone with hiccups can stop them.

Think of it as a stomach defibrillator.

Before you laugh try it.

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Then you can thank me.

January 26, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints From joe–eeze: Let's fix those droopy window shades!

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If I had a penny for every time I've walked into a room, espied a window shade hanging down and asked the responsible party why, only to be told "It's broken — it won't go back up," I'd have about six cents more than I do now.

But so what?

Maybe I'd be a dime richer, now that I think about it.

Enough — let's get to the helpful hint already, we don't have time for this nonsense.

OK, OK, my bad, sorry.

1) Remove the offending shade from its brackets (be gentle — force can wreck the shade by screwing up the spring inside: been there, done that)

2) Roll the shade closed by hand

3) Put it back

That's it: it's fixed.

Still too loose?

Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 above.

What about a shade that's too tight and snaps up as if possessed, scaring the bejesus out of you?

1) Remove it from the brackets

2) Unroll about two feet of it

3) Put it back into the brackets

Repeat until just right.

There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Until the next installment, then....

January 26, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small it takes time — we haven't time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.' — Georgia O'Keeffe

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Blake Gopnik, the Washington Post's art critic, in Monday's edition wrote, "The time the average museumgoer spends looking at a work of art, as clocked one morning at the Hirshhorn: Well under 10 seconds."

He thought about how you'd spend three hours, 58 minutes watching "Hamlet," uncut; and noted that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, performed briskly, clocks in at 66 minutes, 15 seconds.

He continued, "I decided to see what it would feel like to push the experience of a single picture as far as it could go."

    He wrote:

    To add to the challenge -- the risks we critics run! -- I chose a spare abstract work: "Color Line" [above], painted in Washington in 1961 by Morris Louis and on view in an all-Louis room on the third floor.

    It's a plain, unprimed vertical canvas, about seven feet tall, with nine soft-edged stripes -- midnight blue, orange-red, dull brown, orange-red again, forest green, yellow, more dark blue, dark olive, then yellow once again -- running from its very bottom almost to its top edge.

    The picture kept me going for 2 hours 9 minutes.

    Here are some points pulled from a minute-by-minute record of this marathon. (The guards clearly thought I was casing the joint. The longer I stayed, the more often they checked up on me.)

    * * *

    10:37: There are flubs in the picture: Wrinkles in the canvas, smudges on its pristine background, even a tiny curl of hair caught in the paint. That seems okay, even good. It helps fight the myth of the "perfect" masterpiece. Fine works of art are prone to the same imperfections as other man-made things. They're great despite their flaws, not because they don't have any.

    10:46: The painting's upside down! Or rather, Louis chose to hang it so that it would push against its "natural" orientation. Its stripes look as though they have been made by letting paint flow "down" the canvas -- as it hung in the studio -- until it stopped short of the far edge. But by hanging the finished painting so the dripped stripes now run "up" the canvas, it stops being an obvious record of the action of its making, and becomes a more purely abstract composition.

    The paintings of Louis's most important predecessors, such as Jackson Pollock, were all about leaving a record of an artist's dramatic actions. This picture rejects such "narrative" content.

    10:51: It's pretty. It's remote and uninvolved in the outside world. You could even say that it reflects the "Brady Bunch" complacency of prosperous, postwar America. It would look good in a bourgeois dining room. So sue it.

    10:57: As a composition, it's still surprisingly traditional. The stripe still reads as a figure on a background, about the height of a tall man. Its "foot" rests on the picture's bottom edge, with open "sky" around it and above its "head."

    11:04: The plain canvas background that takes up so much of this picture is actually a pretty rare color in older works of art. You mostly find it in skin tones. White skin tones, that is. Louis was working in recently desegregated Washington: Could there be some sense that, unconsciously, his pictures stood on the Caucasian side of things? That they're part of an artistic tradition where pale, pinkish beige is a color of special note?

    11:16: The midnight blue Louis used has a glistening surface, whereas his other paints are absolutely matte. It's that kind of subtle detail that makes the picture sing. You only really absorb what the picture's about, and how it works, if you give it time. The less there is in a picture, the more time it takes to "get" it properly.

    11:34: Is this picture a kind of distillation of a single brush stroke? Does it represent, blow up and pull apart that basic artistic gesture -- the flick of color put down on a canvas ground?

    12:08: The more you look at the picture, the harder it is to pin down precisely what visual experience you get from it. It generates so many weird afterimages and so much optical "buzz" that it's hard to say exactly what "there" there is, there.

    12:46: A Hirshhorn docent brings a bunch of tourists to the Louis gallery -- one of the most important in the museum. She seems apologetic. She explains that it's the kind of work you don't talk about, because it has no "content." She says, "You either like it or you don't."

    After two hours, I've still got things to say about this picture. If it weren't for an aching back, I'd stay awhile more. I guess I like it.

January 26, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Spoon Coffee Mug

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Heart-stoppingly wonderful.

From the website:

    This clever, all-in-one design solves the eternal question of where to park your spoon post-stir.

    Modern white glazed porcelain mug and spoon.

    • Unique design keeps spoon handy

    • Glazed white porcelain

    • Dishwasher- and microwave-safe

    • 7 oz.; 4"H

Don't say I didn't warn you that at $3.95 here

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these will sell out in a New York minute.

January 26, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

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