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February 9, 2006

Hi–Def Horrors

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Phillip Swann of tvpredictions.com offers his list of the 10 stars whose true looks make you stagger backward in disbelief when you finally see them as they are, in realer–than–real high definition.

In order, from biggest [unpleasant] surprise (Brad Pitt) down, they are:

1) Brad Pitt

2) Jennifer Aniston

3) Cameron Diaz

4) Maria Sharapova

5) Madonna

6) Renee Zellweger

7) Kurt Russell

8) Ray Liotta

9) Frankie Muniz

10) Tommy Lee Jones

Details at 11 but if you just can't wait till then they're here.

Now, admit it: don't you feel just a wee bit better about yourself?

I've always said that schadenfreude is just a four letter word.

If you add nine.

Maybe I'll hold off a while on the high–definition TV, what?

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Give myself a few more years to do the Axl Rose thing.

February 9, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Scrolling LED Dog Tag

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OK, OK — you liked the idea on belt buckles and license plate holders but let's face it, those aren't gonna get you past the velvet ropes.

This will.

From the website:

    Let everyone know just what you’re thinking with this amazing Blue LED Dog Tag.

    Enter your favorite saying and watch it magically scroll from bottom to top in bright blue LED letters.

    Easily create a message up to 118 characters using the controls hidden behind rear panel.

    Display your team spirit, your name, or whatever is on your mind.

    Blue LED letters visible day and night.

    Adjust the speed the message travels and the brightness of the letters.

    Button cell batteries included.

    About 3" long with 28" chain.

You know you want one.

Really, really badly.

$23.98.

In red, you say?

No problema.

$19.98 here.

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I'm hoping one of my brighter readers (I.Q. in triple figures — you know who you are) will offer, in the comments section or, if you prefer, via private email, an explanation of why the blue version of these devices always cost more than the red.

February 9, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joe–eeze: Fun with citrus

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Lots of requests for more of this feature ever since I revealed the secret of fixing droopy windowshades last week.

Hey, I listen to two things: my Rice Krispies™ and my readers — in that order.

So without further ado, let's explore the cleaning space — lemon/orange/grapefruit division.

Following, a most refreshing column by James and Morris Carey which appeared in the Washington Post Home section on January 28.

    Put Extra Lemons, Oranges to Work

    Citrus Finds Uses in Bath, Kitchen

    Winter is when oranges, tangerines and grapefruits are harvested in Northern California.

    They become glazed oranges, dried oranges, orange juice, orange soda, lemonade, grapefruit juice and more.

    But best of all, we end up with a whole line of cleaning and deodorizing tools as a byproduct of good food.

    Lemon oil: Not lemon juice, lemon oil. Lemon oil is absolutely the very best glass cleaner we know of.

    If you have calcium build-up on your shower, you need lemon oil.

    Simply use a piece of extra-fine steel wool dipped in lemon oil to clean a shower door that you can't see through because of the lime deposits.

    When the door is clean, wipe the surface down with a fresh coat of lemon oil and future lime deposits won't have a chance.

    You can use car wax to protect glass in the shower when lemon oil isn't available.

    • Lemon juice: It's highly acidic and a great cleaning agent. Pure lemon juice is great for removing stains on many of the new solid surface countertops. Best of all, it is non-toxic -- and you can even drink it.

    • Lemon rind (peel): Grab a lemon and rub the whole piece of fruit firmly between your hands. The warmth of your hands and the pressure you apply to the skin will extract lemon oil from its skin and your hands will smell wonderful. That's why a lemon rind is so absolutely perfect as a deodorizer for your garbage disposal.

    Drop the rind down the disposal and in no time the fragrance of lemon will permeate the air around your sink.

    Before using the lemon rind, mix a cup of water and a cup of vinegar (any kind) into an ice tray and make cubes.

    Mix the water in with the vinegar because the vinegar won't freeze on its own. (Be sure to mark the ice tray so that the next batch of cold drinks doesn't end up with a surprise flavor.)

    Drop the cubes down the disposal and the ice will coagulate grease and oil while it acts as an abrasive, instantly cleaning the grease and grime in your disposal.

    Use at least half of a lemon rind or orange rind.

    *****

    Orange: Orange oil, orange juice and orange rinds can be used for the same purpose as lemons.

    However, be careful when shopping for citrus-based cleaners at the store.

    Often companies will advertise their cleaner as "Lemon Cleaner" or "Orange Cleaner" when the active cleaning ingredient is not citric acid at all, but some other chemical.

    This is important because citric acid is non-toxic and often its pleasant fragrance is used in combination with very dangerous chemicals.

    So, when you purchase a product that says it is an orange or lemon cleaner, check to determine what that the active cleaning ingredient is.

    It's better to be safe than sorry.

    *****

    Grapefruit: Grapefruit also is a great cleaner.

    Cut one in half, dip the exposed fruit in a dish of salt and you have the best marble cleaner money can buy.

    A note of caution: Don't leave the citric acid on the surface any longer than it takes to remove a stain.

    Flood with fresh water and towel dry immediately.

    And don't use citric acid to clean marble when it isn't stained. If fresh, clear water will do the trick then that's all that should be used.

February 9, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Two-in-One iPod + Cellphone Headset

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Huh?

Say what?

From the website:

    Eliminating the need to carry two pairs of headphones when traveling with your cell phone and iPod® (or other portable audio device), this unit allows you to use one pair of ear buds for both indispensable devices at once.

    Dual plugs are inserted into both jacks, allowing you to freely switch between phone and MP3 audio at the touch of a button to quickly answer a call without changing headsets.

    Compatible with mobile phones that use a 2.5 mm headset jack and audio devices that use a standard 3.5 mm headphone/Audio Out jack.

    Includes an omni-directional microphone for clear conversations and Flex Grip earpieces for a stable, comfortable fit.

Reduced from $39.95 to $29.95.

February 9, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

zillow — 'A web site for real–estate voyeurs'

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Finally, a real–estate voyeur website that doesn't require you to deal with a realtor to find stuff out.

Walt Mossberg brought it to my attention in his "Personal Technology" column in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

It's called zillow.

Long story short:

1) You put in the property's street address and Zip Code

2) In a few seconds up pops an aerial photograph overlaid with street names, house prices for the property in question as well as those in the neighborhood, and details about the home you're interested in

That's it: no need to identify yourself so a pain–in–the–butt local realtor can contact you as the price for obtaining this information.

Little by little the great real–estate information MLS firewall is crumbling.

What a wonderful thing — for everyone but realtors.

The new site, still in beta and created by the principals behind Expedia, works with any property — not just those for sale.

Zillow doesn't work with Safari, alas, but I've come up against that often enough in recent months that I've got Firefox 1.5 for Mac armed and ready in my applications folder and instantly rolled it out, with great success, for zillow.

Alas, zillow hasn't yet gotten to Podunk towns like Charlottesville so I had to make do with looking up all my friends' houses in other cities — good fun, that.

You could easily fritter away hours or even the rest of the day on zillow — be careful.

You know how easily you're distracted.

February 9, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Honey–Pop' — Tokujin Yoshioka's sensational paper armchair

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Washington Post writer Linda Hales waxed ecstatic about this chair (above, with the designer) in her story in yesterday's Washington Post.

Wrote Hales:

    A Chair That Knocks You Off Your Feet

    I first saw the chair in 2002 at the Milan International Furniture Fair, where Yoshioka, then 35, was making his -- and Honey-Pop's -- debut at the world's most prestigious design event after having trained under the late Shiro Kuramata and working for Issey Miyake, designing clothing stores and eye-popping exhibitions.

    On that occasion, the powerful Italian design patron Driade provided a Renaissance palazzo, the floor covered with a foot of plastic snow.

    As pilgrims crunched past, Yoshioka showed off a thick roll of layered paper, which turned out to be his assembly line.

    Individual chairs needed only to be cut free and opened by hand.

    There was -- is -- no hidden framework, only the strength of hexagonal honeycombs, which result from 120 layers of paper glued together and cut with precision.

    The paper is biodegradable.

    As we talked, Yoshioka sat on a chair to show how the weight of the body fixes the folds.

    His weight also imparted a personalized shape, similar to how children make snow angels.

    Museum curators were not the only ones to declare Honey-Pop a triumph.

    Driade took the essence of the paper chair as inspiration for a line of high-end furniture in durable white polypropylene.

    Yoshioka never once mentioned origami, although everyone else did.

    Instead he explained his work as an experiment in "materiality."

    People in Japan would understand his chair as a work of art, he said.

    But Americans?

    He wasn't so sure.

The thing that most mystified her is that "this museum masterpiece — which ranks among the most original furniture designs in a century — [is on display] on the basement level of a Washington office building" where it is part of an exhibition of over 100 Japanese "everyday" objects.

She went on to note that the Museum of Modern Art in New York has given the chair its very own pedestal since 2004, so highly does it value the chair's innovative design and beauty.

The Honey–Pop chair will be on display through next week Friday, February 17, at the Japan Information and Culture Center on 21st Street NW in Washington, D.C.

After that you'll have to head for Gotham.

February 9, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

L'Oréal's Chinese Star

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I do not know her name but her photo (above), nicely demonstrating what 13–foot–long hair looks like, accompanied a story by Doreen Carvajal, in Tuesday's New York Times, about L'Oréal's enormous investment in research ($607 million, over three percent of its $16.9 billion revenue last year) as it battles for market share with Procter & Gamble and Unilever in the blood–on–the–lipstick, take–no–prisoners beauty space.

The photo's caption read, "A woman in Shanghai helps L'Oréal study how hair fibers age."

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Note added at 3:42 p.m. today: Richelle Brown, one of my crack researchers, informs me that the woman in the photo is named Dae Yu Quin.

She is 41 years old.

But here's the best part: according to the News Telegraph story, her hair is not 13 feet long; rather, it measures 14 feet, 9 inches.

"Miss Dae has not cut her hair since she was forced to shave her head as a teenager because of a scalp disease. Twenty–six years on, it takes half a day to wash and dry."

February 9, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fixing a hole — Integrated spackle putty knife

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How often have you found yourself standing there in front of a vacated nail hole with your spackle in your hand and no putty knife to be found?

Happens to me most every day.

Never again.

From the website:

    Nail Hole Patch

    "Where's the putty knife?"

    Actually, it's attached to the end of this tube of spackle — no more searching.

    Just squeeze, swipe and you're done.

    Ideal for filling nail holes, cracks, and damage to walls and ceilings made of drywall, plaster and painted wood.

    Dries white and paintable in 4 hours.

    Includes instructions.

    4 oz.

$4.49.

Note: The official theme song of this nifty new product may be heard on the Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," where it occupies track number 5.

All aboard.

But I digress.

I'm not saying you have to listen to it while you work but you should at least give it some consideration, out of respect and all....

February 9, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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