« May 9, 2006 | Main | May 11, 2006 »

May 10, 2006

Which is better — a bigger pie, or more of it?


Me, I'm of the bigger pie persuasion.

But I know lots of people who're just the opposite.

Allow me to digress a bit.

Once upon a time, in a century far, far away, I received a phone call from a woman purporting to offer me a chance to get in on the inside of an investment opportunity that would set me up for life.

This was back in the day before I'd placed my telephone number on the "Do Not Call" registry* which, amazingly, does work very, very well.


In the years I've been on it I've received almost no unsolicited telephone calls.

Would that its equivalent worked online.

But that's a story for another day.

Anyway, I listened to the woman run through the talking points of her dog and pony show sales pitch, which concluded with her observation that in her experience there were two kinds of people in this world: "The Donald Trumps and the Donald Ducks."

"Which Donald are you," she asked, "A Trump or a Duck?"

"A duck," I replied, and then I heard her phone slam down.

True then — true now.

But I digressed, didn't I?

Clearly a duck.


One day I asked a good friend the following: would he prefer to drive a top–of–the–line Lexus knowing everyone else in the world had one, or a Camry when everyone else had a Kia?

His response: "The Camry."

I was astounded.

Still am.

Because this ethos is very pervasive: to have more than others, even if it's not as good as it could be, is better than everyone having better and the same as you.

In Jamaica there's a saying that covers this nicely, to wit: "Scornful dog eat dirty pudding."

I couldn't have said it better.

*If you'd like to place your telephone number on the Do Not Call registry you may do so by calling 888-382-1222.

No telephone?


No problema: you can do it online.

May 10, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Stealth Birdbath/Feeder


It's a bird [feeder], it's a [water bath] plane, it's... wait a minute — that's so messed up.

On radar this object has the signature of a paper plate.

Let's cut to the website while I try to straighten things out behind the curtains....

    Birdbath/Seed Tray

    Mount to deck for a bird's-eye view of visitors!

    Fill this glazed terra cotta tray with water to give birds a safe place to cool off.

    No pedestal in the yard to mow around or danger from pets!

    Tray holds 1-1/2 qts. of water or 2-1/2 lbs. of seed.

    Measures 14"W x 2"D.



May 10, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Never let a person with a head injury fall asleep — myth or fact?


Anahad O'Connor's "Really?" column in the November 15, 2005 New York Times Science section looked into the commonly–held belief that you should never let a person with a head injury fall asleep.

    Here's what he wrote:

    The Facts: Right after a person suffers a potentially serious head injury, those around him often try to force him to stay awake, assuming that being awake will lower the risk of a coma, or worse.

    But experts say that like most old wives' tales that belief is rooted in a misconception.

    Dr. Philip Stieg, the chairman of neurosurgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital, said the fear stemmed from a phenomenon known as the lucid interval, in which a person seems coherent shortly after being knocked out but later slips into a coma and dies.

    That rarely happens.

    A study this year in the journal Pediatrics looked at 314 children in Pennsylvania who were examined after suffering head injuries that later turned fatal.

    It found that only 2 percent had been declared lucid by doctors before they died.

    Five of those six, the researchers found, were infants whose skills were probably not developed enough to be assessed accurately.


    A good rule, Dr. Stieg said, is that unconsciousness is serious.

    When someone is knocked out and then comes to and seems drowsy, sleep is immaterial, he said.

    Then, only medical attention can make a difference.

    The Bottom Line: Trying to keep a person with a serious head injury awake does not help.



You would think that a neurosurgical anesthesiologist — namely, moi — would know the answer to the question posed by O'Connor.

But I must confess that my instinct with an individual who'd sustained a head injury or anything that altered consciousness would be to try and prevent the person from lapsing into unconsciousness before I could get them to an emergency room.

I recall the old story about Cher walking her then–boyfriend, soon–to–be–husband Gregg Allman around after one of his drug overdoses, trying to keep him from lapsing into a coma.


I'm with Cher.

May 10, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Toilet Nanny


From the website:

    Give him an 'earful' when he lifts the lid

    "Excuse me Sir! PUT THE SEAT DOWN when you're finished! Thank you."

    Secures under toilet seat with included double-sided tape.

    Batteries included.

    5¾ x 4½ x 1".



What's not to like?



May 10, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'How To Find Lost Objects' — by Professor Solomon


Kevin Kelly featured this book recently in Cool Tools so you know it's good.

With an appearance in Cool Tools — or a name like Smucker's — you know it has to be good.

But I digress.

The book costs $6.95 new at Amazon or you can pick up a used copy there for $2.46 — you do what's best for you.

Long story short: if you apply the principles in this book you will become a Finder, rather than the Loser you've been your whole life up to now.

That resonated with me.

But I digress again.

There's even a Certificate of Proficiency at the end of the book for you to insert your name into, then have Perma Plaqued or framed.

There's a page of quotations on the subject of losing things.

My favorite, from George Bergman: "The quickest way to find something you've lost or misplaced is to purchase another just like it."


There are FunFacts about losing stuff.

For example: "The average person could spend up to two months of his life searching — often fruitlessly — for things she/he has lost."

Professor Solomon writes that if you apply his techniques "missing objects virtually line up to be found!"

Sound pretty good?

But perhaps still not good enough to drop $2.46 or $6.95 on the book?

I feel your hesitation.

How about if I provide the heart of the book right here and now for free?

Would you like that?

Is that a low enough price for you?


Here, then, without further ado, are Professor Solomon's 12 Principles For Finding Lost Objects:

1) Don't Look for It

2) It's Not Lost — You Are

3) Remember the Three C's [Comfort, Calmness, Confidence]

4) It's Where It's Supposed to Be

5) Domestic Drift

6) You're Looking Right at It

7) The Camouflage Effect

8) Think Back

9) Look Once, Look Well

10) The Eureka Zone

11) Tail Thyself

12) It Wasn't You

See: that didn't hurt a bit, did it?

Allow me to close with a joke I just made up for you.

Q. What can you say about a person busy finding something lost?

A. They're in recovery.

May 10, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Flash Tape — 'Dress like a movie star'


No more



From the website:

    Body & Clothing Tape

    Close gaps between buttons, keep bra straps and low necklines in place, repair ripped hems and more!

    Body and Clothing Tape creates an invisible fix instantly!

    Safe for use on any fabric, it won't leave a sticky residue or damage fabric like pins.

    Simply peel and stick.

    30-foot roll.



Shouldn't it be called "No-Flash Tape?"


May 10, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The magical mystery 'fairy doors' of Ann Arbor, Michigan


The April 23 Washington Post Travel section featured an article by Andrea Sachs about the mysterious little doors that since last spring have been appearing throughout Ann Arbor, Michigan.

So far ten have made their presence known.

At the time Sachs's article went to press there were eight: two more have since appeared.

No one knows who is building them or why, but a mini-cult has sprung up around them, complete with a map available to anyone who wants to see them up close and personal.

The photo above shows the one at Red Shoes.

Here's the Post article.

    Ann Arbor Proudly Presents: The Doors

    When walking around Ann Arbor, Mich., it's easy to miss the tiny doors with the tiny knobs and tiny hinges.

    And if you don't believe in fanciful creatures, you just might miss the point.

    But what's certain is that someone -- real or magical -- is building what locals are calling "fairy doors," and the town is going all out for its new inhabitants.

    Since last spring, the pint-size doors have been mysteriously appearing on structures around the University of Michigan college town: inside a coffeehouse, beside a grocer's steps, beneath a toy store window.

    The entryways are Thumbelina small and are so subtle and incongruent that they're easy to overlook -- or dismiss.

    At first glance, you might mistake one of the eight doors for an electric socket or a mismatched brick.

    But look closely and you'll see evidence that, yes indeed, something very little could live in there.

    Forty-five miles west of Detroit, Ann Arbor is the ideal canvas for such a quirky display of art and imagination; its population skews young, liberal and bohemian, and one of its biggest annual events is the Hash Bash, which celebrates the liberation of pot.

    When the fairy doors starting popping up, curiosity grew: People wondered who built them -- and how they could get a fairy door in their own home.

    Maps were printed so visitors could, in the spirit of a scavenger hunt, track down the intricate, fragile doors.

    Apparently, no one (at least those who are talking) will admit to having seen man, woman or fairy hammering away at the teensy doors.

    But Ann Arbor's resident fairy researcher, Jonathan B. Wright, has some intriguing theories.

    At Sweetwaters Cafe, just a table away from a white fairy door built into a brick wall, the 46-year-old storyteller and illustrator explained that the woodland, forest and flower fairies had been living in nature but were being displaced by urban sprawl.

    Searching for a new domicile, the winged ones -- who count among their relations the Tooth Fairy and Tinkerbell-- ventured into Ann Arbor. (Yes, we know what you're thinking.)

    Wright surmised that, liking what they saw, they decided to uproot to specific addresses amenable to fairies.

    How does Wright know all this?

    Seems he has a direct line to the fairies, or else he's been reading too much Tolkien.

    "They are carefully selecting environments that are appealing to them," he said.

    "They are taking up residence in unobtrusive places and mimicking them."

    The urban fairies have clear favorites.

    Judging by the locations of the doors, and by the items sold in the related stores, they enjoy toys, art, candy, fashion, deli meats, theater and caffeine.

    Wright hinted that they may also have a yen for books and chocolate.

    From the street, the fairy doors are hard to spot; crouching is required.

    All but two are outside, and some have interior doors or windows as well.

    A few models swing open, allowing civilians to peek into the fairies' private life.

    At Red Shoes, for example, you can see a mini vestibule with an upholstered reading chair on a tile floor.

    The Peaceable Kingdom's doors shield a fairy general store whose wares include baby teeth, a plastic monkey, hand-knit socks and other gifts left by fairy admirers.

    A few establishments also have guest books where people can comment on the doors and ask pertinent questions like, "If faeries could order drinks at Sweetwaters, what would they get?"

    On occasion, an elusive fairy with great penmanship and bad spelling will respond (for the question above: dewdrops and gummy bears).

    "Fairies are everywhere, you just have to look," reads one musing.

    Written like a true believer.


    Ann Arbor, Mich., is 45 miles west of Detroit. The majority of fairy doors are downtown. Some stores, such as Peaceable Kingdom (210 S. Main St.) and Selo/Sheval Gallery (301 S. Main St.), carry free maps of the fairy doors.

    For info on the fairy doors and a map (below):


    urban-fairies.com. For general information: Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-888-9487; www.annarbor.org.

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

Hot Head Hot Sauce — World's first hot sauce with a built-in adjustable thermostat


From the website:

    Turn up the heat as high as you dare with this ingenious little number.

    Our Duluth Trading Hot Head Hot Sauce lets you customize the heat of the sauce by turning the cap – from mildly spicy all the way up to hellaciously hot!

    Guaranteed to please every palate at the table.

    Our pump-action spray top gives you even distribution on your food.


May 10, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

« May 9, 2006 | Main | May 11, 2006 »