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February 2, 2006

Vince Lombardi Speaks


"In 1967 Green Bay Packer guard Jerry Kramer smuggled a tape recorder into the locker room before Super Bowl II and taped, among other speeches, Vince Lombardi's final locker room pep talk as coach of the Packers. 'I had to do it in secret,' explains Kramer, 'because I knew my ass was grass if Coach caught me.'"

The above is from a short item in the new (February 6) issue of Sports Illustrated.

Kramer unearthed his tapes last year while rummaging through boxes in his garage, according to the magazine, and has just released his fly–on–on–the–wall recordings in a $30 two–disc set entitled "Inside the Locker Room" (above).

For an additional $10 Kramer will autograph it for you.

You can listen to excerpts free here.

February 2, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bye, Bye, Bluetooth


It's bad tech.

Banished from bookofjoe.

My Apple Bluetooth mouse

1) Loses its connection with my PowerBook about every 10 minutes (yes, I put in fresh batteries: whatchoo tink, mon?)

2) Is heavy and takes way too much effort to use compared to its identically–shaped–and–sized USB 2.0 wired counterpart

My Sony Bluetooth headset for my Nokia phone

1) Needs to be fiddled with every time I try to use it — it's never just on and ready and functioning

2) Sometimes can't be used even with a lot of fussing and effort pushing buttons on both the device and the phone

Bluetooth is bad tech.

Where's the new, new thing?

February 2, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Teleblogo — Parla Italiano?


I've long since forgotten mine but maybe you live there so it's second nature, what with it being your native tongue and all.

Well, guess what, then?

You'll be able to enjoy Teleblogo a lot more than I did.

Who knows?

Maybe someday there'll be an English language version.

For now it's still in beta but you could say the same for me.

In fact, it wouldn't be at all amiss to say I was born in beta and just never managed to take it to the next level.


Permanent beta — hey, I've been called worse.

February 2, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Secret Digital Display Watch — Only you know 'what lies beneath'



From the website:

    Hidden Display Digital/Analog Watch

    This is the watch that hides an advanced LED digital face [above] behind its classic analog exterior [below], revealed only when needed for use in the dark with the touch of a button.

    The digital readout is otherwise completely hidden and it can also maintain separate timekeeping from the analog hands, making it ideal for traveling when you need to keep track of different time zones.

    The LED display also serves as a day/month calendar and it automatically adjusts for months with less than 31 days, as well as leap years.

    Water-resistant to 330' and containing a stopwatch timer, the watch has a black leather strap and a stainless–steel case.

    1.5"-diameter face.

    Weight: 2.75 oz.



$124.95 here.

Not endorsed by or affiliated with, in any way, shape or form, Harrison Ford or Michelle Pfeiffer.

February 2, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Washington, D.C. Metro 'Doors Closing' Contest Announces Winner: 'This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me'


Just announced and featured in today's Washington Post Metro section front–page story by Lyndsey Layton is the winner of the Washington Metro System's "Doors Closing" "Voice of Metro" contest.

She is none other than... drum roll... Randi Miller (third from either side in the photo above, where she's pictured inside a Metro station with four other of the contest's 10 finalists).

In her day job she's a lease retention manager at Lindsay Lexus in Alexandria, Virginia, where she doubles as the voice on the dealership's intercom system.

Other than that she's a complete amateur in the voice business.

I wonder if she burst into tears and started screaming like when Miss America hears that she's won?

Ms. Miller triumphed over 1,258 other contestants, including many voice professionals, in a competition in which a committee of Metro managers listened to all 1,259 audition recordings, narrowing the field to 10 finalists (seven women and three men) from who Ms. Miller was selected as the grand champion.

Linda Carducci was selected as the runner–up "in case Miller is unable to fulfill her recording duties," reporter Layton noted.

You know, the unexpected emergence of the kind of news that ends up on the Smoking Gun, like the "before–they-were–famous" gigs of such luminaries as Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams and Madonna.

Never heard about those?

Just as well.

Let's move on.

Ms. Miller's recorded announcements will be played 33,017 times a day and over 700,000 daily Metro riders will be listening.

So she better be good.

If you're busy and don't have time for all this nonsense and just want to hear what the new 21st–century "Voice of Metro" sounds like, OK: I feel your pain.

Here she is: "Doors opening...."

Those of you not in such a big hurry to get nowhere fast can read all about it in the Post story, which follows.

    Metro Chooses New 'Doors' Voice

    A 44-year-old Woodbridge woman whose only broadcast experience is the intercom at the car dealership where she works was selected yesterday to be the new voice of Metro.

    Randi Miller was chosen from among 1,259 contestants across the country who competed to record the "doors closing" message that plays each time a train leaves a station in the nation's second-busiest subway system.

    "This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me," Miller said as she stood inside the Gallery Place Metro station moments after a Metro manager unsealed a red envelope and announced her name, setting off flashes from news cameras.

    "For the last week, I've been dreaming about winning this thing. I guess dreams come true."

    Miller, a lease retention manager whose smoky alto draws compliments whenever she pages someone on the public-address system at Lindsay Lexus, was encouraged to enter the contest by her boss.

    She will not be paid for the recordings, and at yesterday's ceremony there was no sash or tiara -- just the satisfaction of knowing her voice will be played 33,017 times a day.

    "Randi's was the voice that commanded attention but was warm," said Doris McMillon, a former local television anchorwoman and one of the judges.

    "We liked her sound. She has great pipes."

    They also selected a runner-up, Linda Carducci of Vienna, in case Miller is unable to fulfill her recording duties.

    Metro officials said they decided to make a new recording for the "doors closing" warning because the existing recording, made by District resident Sandy Carroll in 1996, had become stale.

    "The message and the door chime have become a little like the yellow signal on a traffic light," said Jim Hughes, Metro's deputy general manager for operations.

    "The purpose of the chime is to tell people to step back, that doors are closing. But our customers hear that, and they run to get on a train... It's got to be a different voice, something that sounds different, because right now it's background noise."

    Miller's recordings will be tested on a small number of rail cars by late February and then expanded systemwide by spring.

    The new message is one of several things the transit agency is doing to try to improve the way people enter and leave rail cars and circulate inside stations.

    Metro is also redesigning the interior of new rail cars, taking out some seats and moving handrails, to try to speed up boarding and exiting.

    Soon after the agency announced in December that it wanted a new recording, Metro received unsolicited calls from broadcasters offering their services, and the idea of a contest was born.

    Transit officials were taken aback by the level of public interest in the competition; contestants entered from as far away as Seattle.

    A committee of Metro managers listened to all 1,259 audition recordings and narrowed the field to 10 finalists: seven women and three men.

    All 10 were white, despite the region's diversity.

    Debra Johnson, a Metro manager who helped choose the finalists, said the panelists were given no information about the contestants except their names.

    "We didn't know if they were white, black, purple or green," Johnson said.

    "When we were listening, we were only focused on whether it was clear, whether it was audible."

    Miller, who does not regularly ride Metro, acknowledged the irony of her working for a car dealership.

    "Maybe I could record something like, 'Thank you for riding Metro. But wouldn't you rather ride in the luxury of a Lexus?' " she joked.

    As she rode a crowded Red Line train yesterday, her accomplishment began to sink in.

    "Can you imagine having 700,000 people hear your voice every day?" asked Miller, who planned a celebration dinner last night with friends at a restaurant.

    "Very cool."

    When the other passengers in the train learned Miller had won the voice contest, they offered cheers and laughed as she offered a live rendition of "doors closing."

    Rhonda Carpenter was getting ready to exit the rail car but paused to congratulate Miller on her newfound fame.

    "Be hearing you!" Carpenter tossed over her shoulder as she stepped off the train.


For some reason a superb epigram by Degas (yes, the painter) just came to mind: "Some forms of success are indistinguishable from panic."

Look at yourself and your life for a moment and think about it.

But not for too long — you don't have the time.

But wait a minute: suddenly you realized how silly you're being.


Because your reward for having read this far — or being as indolent as you apparently are, with not very much to do, apparently — is to be able to listen at your leisure to the contest's 10 finalists and see whom you would have chosen — had anyone cared enough to ask.

February 2, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cake Icing Comb


From the website:

    Create hundreds of unique designs with the Icing Comb.

    Sculpt icing to create professional-looking cakes in no time.

    Includes 64 easy-to-attach blades with 15 sculpting edges and a sculptor blade holder.

    Special holder guides you in designing both vertical and horizontal patterns and special effects on the sides of cakes.

    Works best with Tilting Turntable, Item #20095.


64 blades?

15 sculpting edges?

Special effects?

This thing's way above my pastry pay grade.

Maybe not yours, though.

$15.99 here.

February 2, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alex Mumzhiu, intrepid Russian Brompton enthusiast, takes his bike to Tibet to see how far up Mount Everest he can get


Spend some time here with Alex (above, with his Brompton folding bicycle in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet) and I guarantee your mind will leave the work space far, far behind.

Between September 28 and November 12, 2000 he chronicled his adventure in a series of 12 wonderfully evocative email entries.



Alex's bike during the approach to Mount Everest.

I wonder what he's up to these days?

Who knows, maybe he'll see this post and let us know.

Stranger things have happened....

February 2, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fun with DirecTV


The other night I was running on my treadmill for a change when I happened on channel 102 on DirecTV.

What's this? I wondered.

The channel's called "News Mix" (above).

There's a guy talking in a framed screen in the upper left and below him two rows of three screens, each with a live feed from one of six channels (Fox News, Headline News, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and the Weather Channel).


I moved up to channel 104 and there was Sports Mix (below),


two rows of three screens each, this time with sports (ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network, Golf Channel, Speed and Outdoor Life Network).

On 111 was Kids Mix (below),


same deal (Animal Planet, Disney, Toon Disney, Cartoon Network, Noggin and Nick).

With the remote you can move around the screen and highlight the channel whose audio you might want to hear.

Very nice distraction while running.

I felt important, like I was in the Situation Room or Mission Control, what with all those simultaneous feeds.

I like it.

More control in my hands and less in those of the men in the high castle


is what it's all about.

No — how many times do I have to tell you?

It's not the Hokey–Pokey.

February 2, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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