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March 19, 2006

Pet Hotel — You can check in any time you like, and you can always pee


Jura Koncius wrote in the March 9 Washington Post about the rise of pet hotels.

Here's the article.

    All the Creature Comforts

    PetSmart Hotels Put On the Dog For Fido and Fluffy

    Jackson was one of the first guests to check in to one of Bethesda's newest hotels.

    He marched through the elegant lobby with its cherry wood reception desk and ceramic tile floor to his Large Atrium Room, outfitted with a comfy bed and aromatherapy scented air.

    He was treated to filtered drinking water and a hypoallergenic lambskin blanket, plus an afternoon snack of lactose-free ice cream.

    He brought four of his own toys in case he got homesick.

    Jackson is a bulldog.

    And last week he was a guest ($23 a night) at the PetsHotel at the PetSmart at 6800 Wisconsin Ave.

    The hotel catering to dogs and cats (kitty cottages are $14 a night) is one of a chain of 35 pet hotels that have opened inside PetSmart stores around the country (http://www.petshotel.com/).

    Last year, PetSmart opened similar accommodations in Columbia and Fairfax, and the pet products retailer plans to expand to a total of 300 hotels, according to Chris Rowland, company vice president of operations.

    "We wanted the look of the hotels to be upscale, because a lot of our customers are going on vacation and there's a guilt factor in leaving their pets," Rowland says.

    The windows of the lobby area in Bethesda are dressed in a red English chintz print featuring flowers and dogs; the curtains have tiebacks made of leather dog collars.

    Two club chairs flank a table piled with books.

    A large-screen TV is encased in a black louvered armoire.

    The challenge was to find homey materials, because everything from five feet and below has to be regularly washed down [top] because of the bathroom habits of their guests.

    Tracy Lader of Bethesda brought her Chihuahua, Pickles, in for a tour.

    "This might be a little more expensive than we're used to, but the convenience is worth it. And it's beautiful."

    The PetSmart venture is part of the vast American pet money machine, which will generate $38 billion in sales in 2006, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.

    About 63 percent of U.S. households own a pet, and pet services are among the fastest-growing parts of the business.

    Some people hotels are adopting pet-friendly policies, including monogrammed dog cookies and doggy massages.

    Country-club-style camps and woodsy resorts accommodate dogs whose owners are on vacation; cat hotels feature multilevel condos, aquariums and luxury theme rooms.

    Now the urban pet, already pampered with doggie day care and self-cleaning litter boxes, is being offered something billed as a step above your bare-bones kennel facilities.

    Are these facilities catering more to owners than pets?

    California pet expert and syndicated radio show host Warren Eckstein says probably so -- but he prefers leaving his pets with an in-home nanny.

    He says that with more Americans traveling, pet hotels are a good concept, as long as they are staffed round-the-clock and all animals in residence are up to date on their vaccinations.

    But aren't some of them just a wee bit over the top?

    "I've yet to meet a dog who lay down on a bed in a pet hotel and said he preferred a different style."

    At the PetsHotel in Bethesda, Jackson and his fellow guests do not get private bathrooms.

    Dogs must go down the hall to an indoor "park-like relief area" with fake ficus trees and cedar posts.

    But to make up for this shortcoming, their owners can upgrade to a suite ($33) with DVD players and a choice of flicks including "The Adventures of Milo & Otis" and "My Dog Skip."

March 19, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jacqueline Cullen — Episode 2: Whitby Jet at Donna Karan


The British jewelry designer is the only person on our planet working with Whitby jet in a contemporary fashion.

Ms. Cullen came to my attention last year when Edwina Ings–Chambers wrote in the September 10 Financial Times about her spectacular creations with this unique material.


The designer was kind enough to email me this afternoon with news of her upcoming show of sculptural Whitby jet jewelry ("jewellery," in the English parlance) at Donna Karan's flagship store in London's Mayfair district.

Her large–scale, sculptural Whitby jet pieces will be displayed on nine plinths throughout the store beginning Tuesday, March 28 (that's a week from this coming Tuesday if you're calendar–challenged) and will remain up for two months.


If you'd like to acquire a piece I suggest you visit early rather than later; I predict this show will sell out in a Mayfair minute.

The address: 19 New Bond Street, London W1S 2RD; 44 (0) 2074 953100.

Oh, I see how it is: now you've got your knickers in a twist about whether the show will be sold out by the time it opens.

You're so fortunate: here's Ms. Cullen's email address: info@jacquelinecullen.com; tel: 44 (0) 7989 470246


Give her a holler and you'll be able to number yourself among the chosen instead of the hosen.

Feel free to tell her I sent you but I must say that if I were you I wouldn't breathe a word.

March 19, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

yourfanmail.com: Finally, you can become a legend — in your own mind


From Mark Kaye (above), the host of the Washington, D.C.–based 99.5's radio show "Hot Morning Mess," comes this free website that emails virtual strokes to 3,000 people all over the world.

Got fan mail?

You can: just sign up here and voila, you're a star.

Everybody is a star,


true enough, if this is the criterion — but at least it'll last longer than 15 minutes.

Kaye's book, "Eddie the Idiot: The Smartest Things I Ever Learned From the Dumbest Man I Ever Knew," will be published by B&B Entertainment next month.

No — my real name is not Eddie.

You SO bad.


[via Rachel Machacek and the Washington Post]

March 19, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Personal Vehicle Diagnostic Code Reader — The end of the 'check engine' blues?


Can it be?

From the website:

    A "check engine" light no longer means being at the mercy of the dealership.

    All 1996 and newer cars use a common set of computer codes called OBD-II.

    Now there's Code Scout, a user-friendly OBD-II reader for your car’s computer.

    It retrieves codes quickly, tells you what they mean, and lets you clear them (and the check engine light).

    For example, if you accidentally leave your gas cap loose, you can reset the "check engine" light yourself and skip the trip to the dealer.

    Or, if a more serious problem occurs, you’ll be armed with the trouble codes and what they mean — before you head for the shop.

    It can even check your car’s emissions inspection readiness.

    Uses 4 AAA batteries (included).


Videre est credere.*


But wait — there's more.

From the website:

    EZ-PC 500

    EZ-PC makes your Code Scout even more effective and efficient.

    This revolutionary Windows-based software enables your Code Scout to interface directly with your computer.

    EZ-PC converts Data into easy-to-read graphs and charts, prints reports, archives data and allows you access to product updates via the Internet.

    Hardware requirements:

    • PC running Microsoft Windows 95/98/2000/NT 4.0/XP

    • 10MB of hard disk space




*Seeing is believing

March 19, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

My latest not so bright idea


Big money here for whomever can make it real.

I got to thinking the other day about how useful it would be to be able to somehow have the person you were calling on the phone be able to tell what kind of mood you were in before they answered.

Then I pushed it one step further and realized it would be equally useful — in fact, much more so — if you could know what kind of mood the recipient of your call was in before you made it.

How to do it?

Well, what with the rise of VOIP it shouldn't be impossible for people who know their way around computer code to create an add–on to your number such that it shows an emotion — either by sound, color, ring tone, word or emoticon, whatever — on the receiving end.

The other half of this equation needs more thought but hey, I've taken you half the way there for not a whole lot of investment on your part.

Besides the time you've wasted reading to this point.

But don't worry — all time is wasted, in the end.

March 19, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Color–Coordinated Decorator Doorstops


Brown doorstops — like brown shoes — just don't make it.

From the website:

    ColorStops® Doorstops

    Designed in five decorator colors, this wedge-style doorstop coordinates with wallpaper, carpet, and room decor, adding a touch of fun to your home!

    Extra-wide, non-slip rubber stop holds door securely and won't mar floor or carpet.

    4-3/4"L x 2"W x 1-1/4"H.


Red, green, blue, yellow or beige.

What — no pink?

What were they thinking?


March 19, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine' — by Steven Rinella


What a great title.

Aram Bakshian Jr., reviewing it in the March 11 Wall Street Journal, wrote, "If Jack Kerouac had hung out with Julia Child instead of Neal Cassady, this book might have been written 50 years ago."

I love it.

Here's the review in its entirety.

    If Jack Kerouac had hung out with Julia Child instead of Neal Cassady, this book might have been written 50 years ago.

    As it is, outdoorsman and travel writer Steven Rinella brings bohemian flair and flashes of poetic sensibility to his picaresque tale of a man, a cookbook and the culinary open road.

    The cookbook, "Le Guide Culinaire," is one of gastronomy's classics.

    Published in 1903 and written by Auguste Escoffier, a Belle Epoque master chef, it includes more than 5,000 recipes drawing on exotic ingredients and a life steeped in kitchen skills.

    Discovering the book prompts Mr. Rinella to set off on a year-long quest as a quixotic hunter-gatherer, seeking out ingredients-in-the-rough for an Escoffier -- i.e., an inspired feast.

    He finds everything from snapping turtles (encountered at rural road crossings) to urban pigeon hatchlings (filched from air-conditioner vents).

    Though the language is occasionally a bit raw, Mr. Rinella does have his standards: "After I butcher a kill, I clean the blood off my knees and hands before going into a gas station."

    A more important rule of the road: the author's insistence on combining good food and good fun, a policy that readers will heartily endorse.


The book's $15.57 at Amazon.

I'm reminded of a wonderful observation made by a one–of–a–kind Louisiana lawyer when I was down there eons ago: "You never see a dead animal on the road in Cajun country."

Think about it.

March 19, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Quantum reality


March 19, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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