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April 4, 2006

Things that make me go 'Doh!'


During one of the NCAA regional games last weekend a commercial somehow slipped by with its audio intact.

It was for some new Bank of America Visa Card program that rounds up your purchase to the nearest dollar, then deposits the overage into your savings account.

The commercial showed some woman lording it over her husband after buying something because "I just put 61¢ in our savings account."

"I just added 17¢ to our savings."

"We just put away another 26¢."

OK, OK — we get it.

In fact, the first time was more than enough.

But I digress.

It occurred to me just now — yeah, the lag time between the penny going in the slot and dropping is now getting to be days instead of minutes like once upon a time but hey, stuff happens — that I've been doing my own version of this passive savings approach since I opened my first checking account when I was in college, way back in the 20th century.

That was so long ago you'd need a kaleidoscope to see it... wait a minute... that's not right — is it?


Back in the day I watched all these people around me doing something called "balancing their checkbook" which struck me even then as somewhat silly and way too time–consuming.

I thought about it and decided to see what would happen if, instead of trying to make the numbers come out perfectly each month and then spending energy hunting down the cause of the inevitable financial discordance I simply rounded each check's amount up to the nearest dollar and then subtracted from my balance.

Not only was it much easier than trying to do the math to the penny but it would appear to guarantee that there would always be more in my account than my current balance as kept by me.


And keeps on working.

No bounced checks ever.

But you have to remember to always, always subtract each check, then and there, if you want to do it my way.

But you say, wait a minute, joe — what if the bank makes a mistake?

If you never look at your monthly statement (which I never do) you'll never know if there was an error.


But you know what?

That's why my middle initial should've been P. — for Pollyanna.

Because guess what?

I believe that bank errors even out in the long run.

Just like in Monopoly, you might get one in your favor.

Of course the bank'll be calling as soon as the miscount is noticed by its computers if it's in their favor.

But so what?

Move on.

Life's only meaningful currency is time — if you don't realize that sooner rather than later you're doomed.

Oh, yeah — almost forgot.

After decades of saving portions of a dollar by rounding up as detailed above I don't seem to have accrued any significant cash pile.

I'm just saying.

April 4, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Voice™ Alarm Clock — 'This toy is just for girls!'


That's what it says on the product's website, right under the picture (above): you could even look it up.


    Customize your Wake-Up Message with Girls Living In Style™!

    Wake up to the look and sound you love with this completely customizable alarm clock.

    The record-your-own-message feature lets you decide how you want to wake up – to a snippet from your favorite song, encouraging words, to the inspiration of your best friend’s voice, or to the late-night reminder you recorded for yourself.

    The options are endless as the message can be changed as often as you like.

    And visually, the clock is equally versatile.

    It comes with three custom interchangeable patterns.


    • Wake up to your own Personal Message

    • Records up to Six Seconds of Sound

    • Record your own Message over and over

    • Stylish Design Looks Great in any Room

    • Customize your Clock with the Included Patterns

    • LED Display

    • Ages 8+

    • Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included)


April 4, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Acupressure Pain Relief Device


Can it be?

For a lousy $15.99 you banish your headache?

From the website:

    Accupressure Pain Relief Device

    Delivers relief on the spot when you have a nagging headache or tension pain.

    Easily clamps onto the web of the thumb and index finger, directly applying pressure to key acupressure points [above].

    Improved technique for a time-tested remedy is made of plastic.


Get one here.

But what if you've got a headache now, not two weeks or two months from today when the device finally arrives?


Well, I guess that's why you're here, isn't it?

To find a better, cheaper, faster way to mess up your life?

No, wait a minute... that's not why you're here — is it?

No matter.

Without further ado... the official bookofjoe–approved acupressure pain delivery system... wait a minute, you fool, it's pain relief you're supposed to be delivering (what was I thinking?) — anyway, here:


There's also a left–handed version:


Before you laugh, try it.

Now you can laugh.

At office spaces everywhere.

For my fashionista readers I've found a nice assortment of 12, in teal, purple, pink and white (below),


for $3.90.

April 4, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bamboo Pajamas



What is it with this fetish for plant–derived clothing?

First hemp, now bamboo: when will I be able to buy sheets made from celery?

From the website:

    Genuine Bamboo Pajamas

    These are breathable 100% bamboo fiber pajamas with the softness of cashmere and the resilience of bamboo.

    Though bamboo is a plant with a tensile strength greater than steel, it produces a fiber softer than cotton, with durability, strength, and natural anti-bacterial properties that resist mold, mildew and fungi growth as well as odors.

    The tee shirt and drawstring pants' long-lasting fiber enables the set to retain its color through multiple washings without shrinking or pilling.

    Cross-stitching provides natural ventilation through thousands of microscopic gaps, resulting in comfortable wear and faster drying times.

    Specify Pink or Blue, and Womens size S (2-4), M (6), L (8-10), XL (10-12), 2XL (14-16), 3XL (18).




April 4, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Puzzlement Gum™ = iPod shuffle + Doublemint mashup


This came in just now from my home planet via wormhole transport so I'm putting it up here for anyone who wants to go into the chewing gum business with a hope and a prayer.

Wrigley's is too big and busy to bother with it so that leaves you.

The game plan: place assorted minty flavors of gum — spearmint, peppermint, etc. — in one pack in random combinations, with plain wrapping such that you can't tell which flavor's which.

What you chew is what you got — iChew™ random.

I've already done the song for your ad campaign — you just have to run with it for a while until you get your cease and desist letter.

But hey, look at me: I'm in my fourth year and have yet to receive one though I can't for the life of me imagine why not.

But I digress.

    Your song:

    Double your mystery,
    You know you want one,
    Chew Puzzlement, Puzzlement, Puzzlement Gum.

May you flourish and prosper.

Send me a pack once production ramps up.

[via moi]

April 4, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Longtail T® — 'Say Sayonara to Plumber's Butt!'


You know how to say "Sayonara," don't you?

You just put your teeth together and... wait a minute, that's not where we're supposed to be taking this.

Who's running this blog, anyway?

Is anyone in charge here?


Oh — OK, then.

Let's go the website:

    Tom’s Ten Buck T: A great idea from a Master Machinist

    As useful as a pocket can be on a tee, apparently it's not always a plus.

    Thomas B. let us know – several times – so we’re responding with this, the first ever Longtail T® without a pocket.

    Has the same features as the original (Item #95587).

    Made of comfortable 100% cotton.

    One of the best work shirts you can buy, especially at this low price.


In Blue, Fatigue Green, Navy or Gray Heather.



But wait — there's more.

The website description of the original Longtail T® from back in 2002 is so good I'm providing it below as a public service.

    Longtail T: Solution to Plumber's Butt

    In 2002, in the cause of modesty and good taste, we introduced the Longtail T.

    A little bit of innovation – three more inches of shirt body length – solved an age old problem: the infamous, much feared Plumber's Butt.

    Suddenly, the guys who bend over when they work had new respectability.

    They were better able to stay in the good graces of clients and stop frightening unsuspecting passersby.

    Still, the comments and ideas for improvements poured in – from all kinds of guys on all kinds of jobs.

    Take the scratchy neck tag out, they said.

    So we did.

    Beef up the fabric, they advised.

    So we did.

    Soon, the improved Longtail T debuted, loaded with work-friendly comfort and ruggedness any tradesman in any field can appreciate.

    Today, it's one of the best work shirts you can buy.

    Best of all, it still covers your back side.

    Keeps you from sharing too much of yourself at the job site.

    Now there's no excuse.

April 4, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Why Some Snails Are Left–Handed'


Hands–down (ooh — my bad) the best headline of the week past.

It appeared in the March 25 issue of the Economist over an article explaining just why snails with sinister tendencies tend to live longer.

Here's the story.

    On the one hand

    Why some snails are left-handed

    In the human world, the left-handed seem at quite a disadvantage.

    Indeed, a whole industry has sprung up to supply this oppressed minority with everything from left-handed computer mice to mugs and boomerangs.

    The world of snails, too, has its sinister minority.

    Hold a snail with the tip of its shell pointing upwards and the opening towards you, and the shell will normally coil away to the right.

    Less commonly, it will coil to the left.

    Until now, biologists have been at a loss to explain what advantage these rare reversals in shell-coiling offer.

    But Gregory Dietl, of Yale University, and Jonathan Hendricks, at Cornell, think they know the answer.

    Dr Dietl and Dr Hendricks, who have just published their results in Biology Letters, looked at the question by examining fossil sea snails.

    They studied 1,722 specimens from six different species and found that right-handed snails were far more likely than left-handers, on a per-snail basis, to show evidence of a lethal confrontation with a crab.

    What they suspect is happening is that left-handed snails avoid the attentions of right-handed crabs because these dexterous crustaceans find it tricky to eat lefties.

    To appreciate this theory fully, you need to understand a little about crab table manners.

    Modern-day right-handed crabs (below, a right–handed flame box crab)


    orient their prey with the shell pointing away from their body and the opening on the right-hand side.

    This allows the crab to insert a large toothlike appendage on its right-hand claw into the opening, thus cracking the snail's shell.

    The rest of the shell is then rolled towards the tooth in an anticlockwise direction, in order to remove it.

    The process is rather like peeling a potato with a right-handed peeler. Peeling in the other direction is awkward.

    Thus, a left-handed snail presents a right-handed crab with a challenge—and one that it usually cannot be bothered to accept.

    Indeed, when Dr Dietl and Dr Hendricks tested their hypothesis they observed crabs picking up left-handed snails and then abandoning them.

    For humans, the equivalent is probably those really annoying pistachio nuts that accumulate at the bottom of the bag.

    They are simply more trouble to open than they are worth, and are thus likely to be tossed aside.

    It all seems to parallel ideas about left-handedness in human cultures.

    Left-handers enjoy an advantage in some sports, such as tennis.

    In the past, it is theorised, they enjoyed a similar advantage on the battlefield.

    But that raises a further question: if left-handedness is beneficial, then why is it so rare?

    Here, Dr Dietl and Dr Hendricks, like many others before them, admit they are stumped.

    One possibility is that lefty snails have difficulty mating with their right-handed relations.

    Here, at least, parallels with humans appear to end.


Can't get enough?

Here's a link to an excellent BBC story on the findings.

April 4, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bird life


April 4, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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