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June 29, 2006

Moral hazard in the home marketplace


"If ordering from a catalog, please enter the code found in the yellow box on the back cover" (above).

Translation: if you have a paper catalog but intend to order online, you are requested to

1) find the catalog

2) hope it's not been torn apart such that the back cover is mysteriously absent

3) painstakingly enter a long combination of letters and numbers (above) into the box on the website
before proceeding to place your internet order.

"Properly entering your code will ensure you will receive any special promotions offered."


But just as often, I've found, there are offers online that don't appear in the printed catalog, as well as lower prices than appear in the paper version.

Long story short: by following the steps advised in the online instructions you

1) have to take more time and trouble and

2) may well pay more after doing so

to get the same result.

I call that a moral hazard equivalent in the home marketplace space.

And you know very well that here at bookofjoe we are dedicated to doing the most with the least — whether it be with effort, money, time or the seven viable neurons remaining in my peabrain.

Otherwise, why take up space?

June 29, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Expandable Door Hinges


Where where these when I destroyed one of my doors last year trying to move a piece of furniture into another room?

Not on my door, that's for sure.

See, that's the problem: you just never know when you're going to find yourself in a tight spot needing two more inches.

As if.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, I was just stopping laughing.

I'm so easily amused.

You really wouldn't believe it.

Or maybe you would, considering.


From the website:

    Expandable Door Hinges make your doorway 2" wider when needed!

    Now you’ll be able to move big items more easily between rooms, or get a guest's wheelchair through an interior doorway (especially bathroom doorways).

    Expandable door hinge adds 2" to the doorway width by completely moving the door away from the jamb as it opens.

    It's an easier, far-less-expensive alternative to a reconstruction project!

    Installs with the same screws and holes you used with your previous hinges.

    Shiny brass finish.


And don't worry if you can't quite make head nor tail of the photo up top showing how these hinges work: I couldn't figure it out either.

You're not making the most powerful statement possible about your intellect by joining me here, I might add.

A set of two hinges, which will let you convert one door (assuming it has two hinges — if it has three, like mine, then you'll need two sets, won't you?) is $16.99.

June 29, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Utility Fog — One spectacular website


You could spend the rest of your life here — if you were immortal.

June 29, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Photon Sensor Multi-Directional LED Nightlight


From the website:

    Automatic LED Nightlight

    This smart little nightlight features a built-in sensor so it automatically turns on when room darkens, then turns off when not needed.

    No switches to flip or bulbs to change — the bright LED bulb never needs replacing!

    Swivels 360 degrees to direct light exactly where needed.

    Plastic, metal.

    1-7/8" x 2".


Not a bad price for all that technology: $3.99.

June 29, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Sleep Inertia


Researchers at the University of Colorado have determined that "the average person is not able to perform at peak level for the first two hours after waking up," according to WJRT-TV (Flint, Michigan) reporter Leslie LoBue.

In her May 25 report she noted that grogginess after awakening is greatest during the initial ten minutes after waking, but that "the entire two-hour window can be especially dangerous for people who have to make split-second decisions upon waking."

Tell you what: maybe from now on I'll spend another half-hour reading the paper before starting my first case.

When the surgeon asks what's going on with the delay, I'll reply, "I'm improving patient safety."


Here's the full story from the WJRT website.

    Sleep inertia

    Have you ever awakened feeling sleepy? Most of us do, and now experts say that grogginess is a lot like being drunk.

    HealthFirst reporter Leslie LoBue says the average person is not able to perform at peak level for the first two hours after waking up.

    Though the worst effects go away after about ten minutes, that entire two-hour window can be especially dangerous for people who have to make spilt-second decisions upon waking.

    Firefighters are jolted awake for an emergency. "The adrenaline kicks in; you jump out of bed; you head for it," said fire rescue worker Lt. Max Twombly.

    Adrenaline may help get them going, but it won't prevent the serious effects of morning sleepiness. "The brain takes a little while to wake up. We can't just go from zero to 60 in a few seconds," explained psychologist Kenneth P. Wright Jr.

    Researchers at the University of Colorado are the first to scientifically measure the effects of what's called "sleep inertia" - a period of impaired thinking after waking up.

    For one week, researchers studied sleepers. Upon waking up after eight hours of sleep, subjects were given a math test.

    "A simple mathematic test that an elementary school child should have been able to do, and they had impairments in their ability to do it," Wright said. "This suggests that the doctor being woken up on call or the emergency firefighter or the paramedic being woken up out of sleep to go respond quickly to an emergency, that they are going to be potentially at risk."


    So what can you do to get rid of morning grogginess? Turn on a bright light. Crank up the volume on the radio or television. Exercise. And drink soda, coffee or tea, but they take about 30 minutes to have an effect.


The report by Wright's group, entitled "Effects of Sleep Inertia on Cognition," appeared in the January 11, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

June 29, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

DeathForecast.com — Perhaps you should stop buying green bananas


The science behind the site comes from Dr. David J. Demko, who's been in the demise prediction business since 1974.

[via Ashley Sisti and C-Ville]

June 29, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



He's a Bristol (U.K.)-based graffiti artist whose fame has spread around the globe.


His work appears above and below, along with newspaper stories about him.


From his website:

    If you want an audience — start a fight.

    Be aware that going on a major mission totally drunk out of your head will result in some truly spectacular artwork and at least one night in the cells.


    People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at at graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.


    The time of getting fame for your name on its own is over. Artwork that is only about wanting to be famous will never make you famous. Any fame is a by-product of making something that means something.


This website has over 200 images of Banksy's work.


Wikipedia's article about Banksy is quite informative.


Three books by Banksy ("Wall and Piece"; "Cut It Out"; and "Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall") are available at Amazon.

[via Guy King — so you know Banksy must be good]

June 29, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Isaac Mizrahi — The Apron


He created it in response to a request from the Smithsonian to design a functional garment for the museum's conservation staff.

It turned out so well the museum's decided to sell them in its shop.

Yesterday's Washington Post Food section "On The Fridge" feature noted the new apron, as follows:

    Mizrahi Apron

    For the latest in museum fashion, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, which reopens Saturday, asked New York designer and Target icon Isaac Mizrahi to create a functional garment for the conservation staff. But the Mizrahi apron ($85) could also be a special gift for someone who likes to grill. Cut from fine blue denim, it has deep, angled pockets for tools and brushes, or perhaps a potholder. Satin fabric on the back of the ties can be draped to show the name of the Lunder Conservation Center, a new part of the museum complex where visitors can watch conservators care for national treasures.


This month's Smithsonian magazine features a most interesting short Q&A with interviewer Jennifer Drapkin and Mizrahi; it follows.

    Q&A — Isaac Mizrahi

    Please excuse the pun, but Isaac Mizrahi is truly a man of many hats. The fashion designer, who hosts his own talk show on the Style network, creates affordable styles for Target, $30,000 shirts for Bergdorf Goodman, and costumes on Broadway. He just finished outfitting the urban miscreants in a revival of Bertolt Brecht’s anti-bourgeois Three Penny Opera. And most recently, Mizrahi found the time to fashion aprons for the conservators of the newly renovated American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, due to reopen in July.

    Q. Was it harder or easier to design clothing for the Smithsonian, than say, a rhinestone dog collar for Target?

    A. There are definitely some things that are harder to design than others. But I don’t take a job unless I have a good idea to begin with. The idea I had for the Smithsonian conservators was to design them aprons instead of lab coats. Lab coats can be so constraining. It's like how nobody wears couture suits to work anymore. People wear ordinary clothes. So I thought a little apron would do the trick.

    Q. Is that why you chose blue denim?

    A. Exactly. I love blue denim because it democratizes everything. And in the case of an apron, one size really does fit all. I hate to use this word, but it's very proletariat. I guess I've been reading a lot of Bertolt Brecht lately.

    Q. It’s easy to get the Three Penny Opera stuck in your head. Growing up you went to an Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn. Did you imagine that this would be your life path?

    A. Oh, I'm doing exactly the same thing now as back then. My environment has changed but I haven’t. I started by making puppet shows as a child. I sewed and carved wood and added strings and wrote music to go with my shows. So I have always been about design coupled with entertainment. When I was in yeshiva it was rough because I wasn't understood and I was an outsider. But then I went to performing arts high school, where everyone was a crazy actor or singer or dancer—it was a culture shock, but it was wonderful to be accepted.

    Q. It’s strange, but do you ever find that you sometimes miss being alienated?

    A. Oh yes. It's just like how success is often just as awful as failure. Ten years ago, I had to close my fashion line because it failed. And since then I have had varying levels of busyness — right now I’m really busy — but I sometimes miss the days when I had nothing to do but play computer bridge. I miss being a little sad. Because that's where great art comes from. Oh, I guess I'm thinking about Brecht again.

    Q. He haunts you. In recent years, you've become such a personality, do you ever worry that your persona is going to overshadow your work as a designer?

    A. No, because I don't know what the difference is really. My personality is one of my products. Unlike many fashion designers, I’m just about the ideas, and no one can do the idea of Isaac Mizrahi better than me.


The apron costs $85 but doesn't appear to have made onto the Smithsonian Shop's website yet.

At least, my crack research team couldn't locate it.

Maybe yours can.

If not, you'll either have to visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery shop (Eighth and F Streets NW, Washington, D.C.) or pick up the phone to order one: 800-322-0344.

June 29, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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