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April 8, 2006

World's Tallest Buildings — Together, for the very first time


The 25 highest as of 2003.

[via skyscrapernews.com and Eliot Gelwan's followmehere]

April 8, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OwlCrow — Maybe the anti–DNA recombination folks have a point


I mean, look at this chimera of sorts, just in from the gene sequencing skunk works.

From the website:

    Bobble Head Owl

    Owl "In Motion" Protects Your Garden With A Realistic Threat To Birds And Rodents!

    Squirrels, rabbits and birds eventually learn to ignore those typical stationary fake owls — because they never move!

    But as soon as they see this realistic–looking, molded–plastic owl guarding your garden — with his head bobbing and rotating in the slightest breeze — they’ll high–tail it out of there in a hurry, reducing the chance of damage to your garden's produce.

    A life–sized 18" tall.




April 8, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints From joe–eeze: How to get the smell of cigarette smoke out of your hair — Hint: being a sheethead is not necessarily a bad thing


Dealing with last night's residual smoke was number six of 14 "Remedies for Grooming Gaffes" offered by Michelle Hainer in her April 2 Washington Post story.

Here is that tip in its entirety.

Not one word has been omitted.

    You were at a smoke-filled bar last night, and your hair still smells like an ashtray the next morning.

    Fabric softener sheets leave your laundry smelling fresh, and they'll do the same for your tresses, according to Norbert Amsellem, owner of Norbert Hair Designers in the District.

    Simply rub the sheet over your head to remove the offensive odor.

    If you don't have one handy, a dusting of lavender baby powder will also temporarily mask the smell of smoke, says Lauren Bourland, a hair stylist at Toka Salon in downtown Washington. (Try Johnson's Lavender & Chamomile Baby Powder, about $3 to $5 at drugstores.)

    To camouflage powder residue, follow up with a spritz of hair spray.


Ms. Hainer is a writer to be reckoned with and I suspect we will be seeing her name here in the future.

Note to readers: it takes an awful lot to get me to overlook/ignore/accept the presence and/or smell of cigarette smoke.

I'm not saying it hasn't been done — but you better be bringing a lot to the table.

[via Michelle Hainer and the Washington Post]

April 8, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Self–Weighing Luggage — 'No more overweight penalties'


You may have been the unhappy recipient of the $25 charge airlines now impose for every bag weighing over 50 pounds.

Easy money for them but a pain in the butt for you.

Never again if you're carrying one of these nifty new bags.

They feature a built–in digital scale and readout (above and below) you activate by simply lifting the handle.


First–place winner last month of the Travel Goods Association Product Innovation Award.

Comes in two sizes (25" and 28" tall) and two colors (Black and Crushed Berry).


The 25" version costs $320 and the 28" model is $340 here.

[via Gene Sloan and USA Today]

April 8, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hello Kitty Debit Card


Targeted at girls 10 to 14.

It came out in 2004.

I must've been asleep at the switch along with my crack research team 'cause it would've had pride of place in this blog's posts had we twigged back then.

Michelle Singletary, in her "The Color of Money" column in the April 2 Washington Post wrote, "I was livid when the popular Hello Kitty brand for children introduced a MasterCard debit card targeted at 10- to 14-year olds."

Ms. Singletary may know money but she sure doesn't know much about pop culture — "...for children..."?

Pick up the clue phone: Hello Kitty is huge among those who,


chronologically at least, are long past childhood.

April 8, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Precision Watering Wand™


What with the first daffodils already up for weeks, it's time to start thinking about this year's garden.

Just in time, this clever device.

From the website:

    Garden Watering Tool

    Simply attach this handy tool to your garden hose for precise watering while you plant or aerate!

    Durable plastic garden fork loosens and cultivates soil to prepare planting rows, then waters right from tips — exactly where desired.

    On/Off switch controls water flow.

    12-3/4"L x 4-3/4"W x 3"H.

    Fits standard hoses.


Now you tell me — which grabs your attention more: "Garden Watering Tool" or "Precision Watering Wand?"

I rest my case.


April 8, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Bedbugs


Jennifer Huget's excellent article headed "Bedbugs 101" appeared in the Washington Post Travel section on March 26, most likely because its lead–in was the story of the Chicago woman who's suing a Catskills hotel for $20 million (that'll buy a lot of calamine lotion) because of the approximately 500 itchy, burning bedbug bites she said she got there during her stay.

Without further ado, the Post's story.

    Sleep Tight: Battling Bedbugs

    By now, many travelers have heard about the Chicago woman who's suing a Catskills hotel for $20 million because of all the bedbug bites she says she got there. Hers was apparently an extreme case -- she claims she got about 500 itchy, burning bites during a three-night stay. But the lawsuit (and a handful of similar ones in the United States over the past few years) has drawn big attention to the tiny critter -- one that's increasingly been making its presence known to travelers since the early 1990s. Here's what you need to know.

    WHAT THEY ARE: Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius, pictured above and below) are flat, brown, nocturnal insects that feed on blood. Nymphs (the baby bugs) are tiny -- "about the size of the letter 'L' on a penny," says Stoy Hedges, a bedbug expert at Terminix -- but adults are about a quarter-inch long. They don't have wings, so they must crawl toward their food.

    The bugs tend to gather in headboards or along mattress or boxboard seams so they don't have to crawl too far for what experts call their "blood meal." They need that blood meal to grow larger and to produce eggs (which, being tiny and whitish, are really hard to see), but they can go as long as a year without eating.

    THE BACK STORY: Bedbugs were plentiful in the United States until the mid-20th century, when powerful pesticides like DDT were introduced and kept them in check. But when those pesticides were banned (DDT in 1972) for the dangers they posed to humans and the environment, bedbugs began a quiet resurgence, with first reports coming from hotels.


    The National Pest Management Association reports a fifty-fold increase in bedbug-related calls over the past few years. Some experts suspect that their increased presence over the past 20 years is related to an upswing in foreign travel: Bedbugs are happy hitchhikers, stowing away in suitcases and even shoes, anywhere that promises to keep them close to human bodies. In addition, they have remained common overseas through the years, particularly in underdeveloped locales.

    WHAT THEY DO: The good news is that while bedbug bites can sting, burn or itch -- depending on your body's reaction to the anticoagulant the bug injects to keep your blood from clotting until it's done eating -- they're almost always harmless. Bedbugs aren't known to transmit diseases. And because their bites are generally painless (their saliva contains a numbing agent so you won't interrupt their meal by waking up and swatting them), you might never know you've been bitten. In the grand scheme of things, bedbugs really aren't all that bad.

    But they sure are gross. Bedbugs turn reddish-brown when they're full of blood (your blood, that is), and as they return to their hiding spaces, they excrete some of what they've just eaten, leaving little red spots on the sheets. Still, experts say, bedbugs -- unlike, say, cockroaches -- aren't necessarily a sign that a hotel's unsanitary; they bed down at even the toniest establishments.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO: There's nothing you can spray on yourself or a bed to keep bedbugs from biting. Hedges says there's no science to suggest insect repellents like OFF! work`.

    But there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Hedges -- who says he's never spotted bedbugs in any of the many hotel rooms he's stayed in (and, yes, he checks) -- recommends the following:

    • Check the mattress, box spring, sheets and headboard of your hotel bed -- looking carefully for actual bugs or for those telltale bloodstains -- before you unpack your bags. It's also worth checking lampshades and nightstands near the bed and upholstered furniture anywhere in the room, as bedbugs have been known to hang out there, too. If you see anything suspicious, ask for a new room. An infestation in one room doesn't mean there'll be bedbugs in the next room, Hedges says.

    • Don't leave anything on your bed or on the floor next to your bed.

    • Hang your clothes in the closet farthest from the headboard and put your suitcase on the fold-out rack most hotels provide.

    • Don't even leave your shoes by your bed, suggests Hedges, who says he's less afraid of being bitten at a hotel than of carrying bedbugs home in his shoes or suitcase.

    IF YOU'RE BITTEN: Bedbug bites usually just look like little red bumps; sometimes, though, they resemble mosquito bites and, when your body reacts severely, they rise into red welts. If that happens, check with your doctor, who might recommend an antihistamine or a topical cream to relieve any itching or burning.


    INFORMATION: Because bedbugs don't transmit disease, there isn't a fount of available info sources. The Web sites for Terminix (www.terminix.com; click on "Termite and Pest Information," then "Pest Library" and go to the "Biting Insects" category); the National Pest Management Association (www.pestworld.org/; search for "bedbugs"); and the Harvard School of Public Health (www.hsph.harvard.edu/bedbugs) do offer some insights.

April 8, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time up


April 8, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

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