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March 1, 2006

Chinese Restaurant Sign Generator


Can I have some more, please?


[via Shawn Lea and everythingandnothing]

March 1, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pop–Out Lighted Magnifier


Most interesting not so much for what it is but for what it could be.

From the website:

    Tuck this pop–out magnifier in your pocket or bag for all the fine print you encounter when you travel.

    Its 2X magnifying lens springs out of its protective case with a squeeze of a button.

    Squeeze again and a bright light turns itself on to help you read the tiniest lettering, maps and menus, even when it's dark.

    Includes two AAA batteries.

    3½ x 2½"; 3 oz.


If a Treo or Palm had one of these screens its utility would be magnified far more than two times.

How is it possible that PDA manufacturers haven't twigged to this ultra–low tech yet enormously useful add–on?


March 1, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I've been thinking a lot about Trevor Butterworth's article on blogs


The one I featured on February 21.

Because I must say that some days I am not in what you might call my usual state of good cheer as I shape and form bookofjoe out of whole cloth.

It doesn't happen often but when it does the whole thing just seems silly.

I press through my malaise and doubt and gradually the sense of uselessness and wasted effort ebbs.

But I can see how one day that feeling might not fade away but, rather, persist, to the point that bookofjoe just stops.


Sometimes I feel like one of those auto racing fans who go for the crashes — except it's my crash and burn.

This isn't a threat, nor is it a foreshadowing (at least I don't think so) of things to come.

Just me thinking out loud.

I mean, I think I'm allowed to do that here... aren't I?

March 1, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Big Bad Booming Bugs Electronic Insect Observation Station


You put a few ants inside.

You watch them through the 3X magnifying–glass top.

You listen to them via the "super–powerful" microphone inside the station — whose "special sound surface" amplifies every noise or move they make — and the included headphones: "It sounds and feels like you are inside the Bug Dome with the insects."


Funny: I could've sworn that we're the ants.

But then — who's watching?

Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).


$17.99 (insects not included).

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

Meet Rachel Weisz


Tomorrow (Thursday, March 2) at Bloomingdale's on 59th Street in Gotham.

She'll be on The Balcony on 1 at 12:30 p.m.

After that she's off to get fitted for her gown for the upcoming Oscars, where she's a nominee for Best Supporting Actress.

So you can see how it'll be difficult to get any quality time with her for the rest of the week.


Now that Burberry has thrown Kate Moss overboard Ms. Weisz is the face of the new fragrance Burberry London.

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

Black Light Marker — With Built–In Black Light


Sure, we've all seen those markers whose ink lights up under a black light.

But this clever company, Can You Imagine, took it to the next level by building a black light into their markers.

You turn on the light by flipping the lever.

It comes in several versions: the Elephant (top), the Dolphin (below)


and the Rocket (below).


Each costs $9.99.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the crack research team spent the entire night searching the internet for a site that sells them and came up empty.

Can You Imagine doesn't sell directly to consumers; Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon and all the usual suspects don't list the item.

So you're on your own.

Let me know if you stumble across an online source so I can put it up here.

March 1, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Door Gym


I have long believed that gravity is, in the end, the thing that brings us down.

Now, prolonged periods of weightlessness are no one's best friend: witness the state of astronauts and cosmonauts when first they return to Earth after sustained periods in orbit — they need to be carried from their spacecraft, so weak have they become as a result of the absence of gravity to work against.

The inexorable pull towards the center of the planet from the moment we stop growing, allowing that downward movement to proceed unopposed, causes all sorts of havoc.

Pinched nerves, the result of narrowing of the outlets between the bones of the spine wherein lie the motor and sensory conduits of motion and sensation, are a result of gravity.

The first line of treatment is thus to open up those narrowed channels: traction — stretching the spine so as to elongate it — is successful in a surprisingly large percentage of cases involving the cervical (neck) vertebrae.

I speak from personal experience: I had a terrible cervical disc problem about 15 years ago.

I could not sleep, I could not think straight, the dull, throbbing pain and ache were 24/7.

Medications left me woozy.

My hand was numb and weak which meant the clock was ticking: after a certain period of time nerve damage is permanent.

Surgery to relieve the nerve compression (it was at C3/C4 on the right, if you must know) seemed imminent.

I visited Dr. John Jane, the chairman of Neurological Surgery at UVA Medical School.

He examined me, told me what I had, sent me for an MRI to confirm it (which it did) and prescribed cervical over–the–door traction, four times a day, 15 minutes per session.

Long story short: you buy a kit at CVS or wherever containing a big plastic bag, a rope, a harness for your chin and head, and a pulley that rests on top of a door.

You fill the bag with 20 pounds of water (there's a red line that indicates that amount as well as lesser volumes), put the harness under your chin and skull, sit down in a chair, and let the weight — via the rope and pulley — exert a steady pull upward under your head.

That's it.

Nothing happened until about the fourth day, when I suddenly noticed that the pain seemed less intense while I was sitting there.

And it stayed diminished after I was done.

With each subsequent session it got better.

After another week or so the pain and ache were gone and strength started to return to my hand.

I asked Dr. Jane how something so simple could have so profound an effect.

He told me that nerve compression — or its absence — was a matter of fractions of a millimeter: the tolerances at the level of function vs. pathology were that critical.

Stretching the spine just enough to open up that tight space just the tiniest amount was enough to relieve the problem and allow healing.

Which brings us all the way back around to the door gym (above and below).


I don't use mine to do pull–ups: rather, I simply dangle from it for 5–10 seconds whenever I'm nearby.

It feels great and I believe it provides relief from the day–long assault of gravity on the spine and the rest of the body.

I have one upstairs and one downstairs.

I'm 5'9" tall and the bar itself is 6'4" above the floor so I can't fully extend when I dangle: I try to let my spine and shoulders and hips get as loose as I can, then bend my knees so my feet just touch the floor while I hang there.

So pleasant and, I believe, good for things that don't yet — and who knows, may never — ail you.


From a number of websites:

    The Door Gym mounts in one second in your doorway, making pull–ups possible

    • No fasteners required

    • The simple device uses the weight of your body leveraged against the door frame and requires that you have a doorway with trim

    • When used properly it will not damage doorway and can be installed and removed in 1 second.

    • You can also do deep push-ups with the Door Gym by placing it on the floor

    Door Gym door size requirements:

    • Face molding around door: minimum 1-1/2" — maximum 3-1/2"

    • Molding distance from wall: minimum 1/4" — maximum 3/4"

    • Wall thickness: minimum 4-1/4" - maximum 6-1/4" (trim to trim)

    • The Door Gym has been designed to fit residential (framed) wooden doorways 24" to 32" and support up to 300 lbs.


An excellent investment in terms of cost vs. potential benefits.



March 1, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hasbro Zoombox — Portable Instant Home Theater


Now this is kind of nifty.

You plug it in, throw in a DVD and voila — there's your movie or video game, projected onto any screen, wall, ceiling or other surface you like.

Speakers are built–in so it's totally plug–and–play.


Might be entertaining when you're in a hotel room somewhere and bored with the pap on cable and all.

Also works as a CD player if you're driving with your eyes closed.

But wait — there's more.


Also connects to many types of TVs, video cameras, digital cameras and cable boxes.

The only place you can buy it at the moment is online from Hasbro, though it's scheduled for a nation–wide release this August.

Tip to joeheads: don't spend too long thinking about it if you're interested because it could well become "unavailable" at any moment.



March 1, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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