« December 31, 2006 | Main | January 2, 2007 »

January 1, 2007

bookofjoe channels Foucault


The French philosopher, one of the leading lights of deconstruction, once remarked, "Love is giving something you don't have to someone who doesn't exist."

Andy Warhol couldn't have said it better.

But I digress.

I'm reminded of Foucault's wonderful epigram — it doesn't matter if it's true or not (and after all, what is "true?"), it's still superb — every time I get a request from someone to use something that's appeared in bookofjoe.

Because 99+% of the time, that "something" is a photo or drawing or graph or the like that I've simply appropriated on the fly because it fit, not having hesitated a zeptosecond to consider whether or not to ask permission to use it.

Two long-held observations come to mind: "It's far easier to apologize than to ask permission" and "If we wait till we're ready, we'll never get started," the latter by Eleanor Roosevelt.

So, to save you time and trouble should you wonder if it's okay to use something you find here for your own purposes, the answer is a blanket "yes."

Free, of course — the way it should always be.

Though I do wonder if it ever happens that some corporate lawyerbot comes after someone who's been given the okay by me, only to be told, "But, but... bookofjoe gave me permission to use it!"


January 1, 2007 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Who is Jeff Tarlo? And why should we care?


Tarlo (above, right) is a salesman at J&R Music World on Park Row in New York City.

He's an expert on classical music on whom many customers depend for advice and tips on precisely which recording of a work would be most to their liking.

Alas, he's a dying breed, as Anthony Tommasini noted in a December 28, 2006 New York Times article lamenting the accelerating demise of bricks-and-mortar record stores — and those individuals like Tarlo with a lifetime of hard-won knowledge.

It's not the same, reading endless user reviews on Amazon and its ilk: much is lost when you can't judge for yourself the credibility and information base from which someone speaks.

January 1, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rip Curl H-Bomb — 'World's first power-heated wetsuit'


Just the thing if you're gonna be surfing Lake Erie this winter, wouldn't you agree?

"Two lithium-polymer batteries power waterproof, fiber-based heating elements along your back to keep your core warm," wrote Popular Science in its January 2007 review.

More here and here.

Here's a link to a great movie of the suit in action in Arctic waters.



January 1, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

World's oldest newspaper — published daily since 1645 — to stop printing


Post Och Inrikes Tidningar, the official Swedish publication for bankruptcies, printed its final newsprint issue yesterday.

Starting today, you'll have to get your Swedish bankruptcy news on the website of The Swedish Companies Registration Office (SCRO).


January 1, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fridge Door Alert


Useful if you're the absent-minded type — or if your pet is clever enough to open the fridge.

From the website:

    Fridge Alert — Warns you if the fridge isn’t properly closed

    You'll have the time to get what you need, but if you leave the refrigerator door open for 30 seconds, this alarm springs into action to save electricity and preserve food freshness.

    Light-activated alarm is loud enough to be heard in the next room.

    Features a thermometer on the front.

    Batteries included.

    6" high.


January 1, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Everybody's gone surfin'... Cleveland (?) U.S.A.


Christopher Maag's wonderful New York Times front-page story about surfing in icy Lake Erie got my attention when it appeared on December 10, 2006.

The trouble was, it was over 70 degrees outside here in Charlottesville, Virginia by the time I got around to it and a glance at the weather map on the back of USA Today showed Cleveland was unseasonably warm as well.

So I decided to wait until today, when it was suitably chilly outside and I had a nice fire going, to put the article up.

It follows.

    Yes, You Can Surf in Cleveland, Before the Brown Water Freezes

    They surf in Cleveland because they must. They surf with two-inch icicles clinging to their wet suits, through stinging hail and overpowering wind. They work nights to spend their winter days scouting surf. They are watermen on an inland sea.

    Given its industrial past, Cleveland largely turns its back to Lake Erie, lining the coast with power plants, a freeway and mounds of iron ore to feed its steel factories. The shore is especially deserted in winter, when strong winds and waves pummel the land. In December, as temperatures dip into the 20s and ice gathers in the lake’s small coves, Cleveland surfers have Lake Erie almost entirely to themselves.

    “Surfing Lake Erie is basically disgusting,” said Bill Weeber, known as Mongo, 44. “But then I catch that wave and I forget about it, and I feel high all day.”

    Scott Ditzenberger hoped to experience the same feeling when he heard that the first blizzard of the winter was pounding across the Midwest.

    “I was so excited I could barely sleep last night,” said Mr. Ditzenberger, 35, who quit his job as a lawyer in August to spend more time surfing and to film a documentary about Cleveland’s surf community.

    It was the kind of day that lives mostly in Cleveland surfers’ fantasies. Pushed by the storm’s winds, water the color of chocolate milk rose 10 feet in the air before slamming onto a beach of boulders and logs. The temperature was 40 degrees and falling. One surfer, Vince Labbe [top], climbed onto his board only to get blown backward by 40-mile-an-hour winds.

    Mike Miller, known as Chewbacca, managed to tuck his head and left shoulder into the barrel of a wave before being crushed by a wall of water.

    “I haven’t seen a break this good in 10 years,” Mr. Ditzenberger said.

    Go ahead and laugh. Cleveland surfers are used to it.

    When Jamie Yanak sits at a stoplight with his surfboard atop his 1996 Ford Thunderbird, he said, people point and laugh. Every year a local television crew arrives on the beach to film surfers in the snow and make jokes about “California dreaming.”

    But this is not California. And Cleveland surfers are not playing around. Many of the roughly 25 committed surfers here work nights all year to keep their winter days free for surfing. Mr. Weeber quit his job as an advertising art director and makes less money as a summer landscaper. He moved his family closer to the beach, to spend more time on the waves.

    Sean Rooney, 31, said, “All I want to do is surf.”

    The strongest winds and waves come in winter, just before Lake Erie freezes. Waves up to 10 feet have been surfed, but the largest swells are usually chest-high. Instead of curling into a vertical wall, the waves are round like haystacks, and they collapse onto the shore like soggy paper.

    Surfers learn to avoid ice chunks the size of bowling balls. Some wear goggles to surf through freezing rain, which can sting their eyes like needles. That is a bad idea, Mr. Labbe said, because the goggles freeze to their faces.

    Surfers watch their friends for signs of hypothermia, urging them to leave the water when their eyes glaze over and their words slur. Ear infections are a common affliction.

    To reach the lake, surfers drag their boards across snowdrifts and beaches littered with used condoms and syringes, Mr. Ditzenberger said. The most popular surf spot is Edgewater State Park. It is nicknamed Sewer Pipe because, after heavy rains, a nearby water treatment plant regularly discharges untreated waste into Lake Erie.

    Love and family obligations prevent most surfers here from moving to California or Hawaii. So they adapt. Mr. Rooney chose a surfboard that is longer and wider than most modern boards because it adds buoyancy in the lake’s salt-free water. He replaced its three small fins with one large fin, which helps him turn quickly on small waves.

    Because the nearest surf shop is on Lake Michigan, 285 miles away, Mr. Labbe builds surfboards for his friends in his mother’s basement.

    “Cleveland surfers have a reputation for being gritty and hard-core,” said Ryan Gerard, owner of Third Coast Surf Shop in New Buffalo, Mich. “They just don’t care what other people think about them.”

    Except that they hate being compared with the modern California surf scene. Cleveland surfers believe they are the last remnants of the original surf culture in the 1940s and ’50s, when surfing was still a renegade sport of social misfits who scouted virgin breaks, surfed alone and lived by a code of friendliness to newcomers and respect for the water. They keep their best surf spots secret. They consider themselves part of an underground society. And they hope to keep it that way.

    “Everybody surfs in California, which waters down the experience,” said Mr. Rooney, who grew up surfing in Orange County, Calif., before moving to Cleveland three years ago to work in his family’s real estate business. “Being here takes me back to that feeling of discovery that the founding fathers of surfing experienced.”

    Occasionally there are days when the waves are good and the sunset falls into Lake Erie like a red fire and the Cleveland surfers bob silently in the water, alone in the city. And they laugh at their good fortune.

    “Nobody surfs here to get noticed,” Mr. Ditzenberger said. “We surf here because we love it.”


All over La Jolla
At Waimia Bay
Everybody's gone surfin'
Cleveland U.S.A.

January 1, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

nj0y.com — 'pairs, symmetry, search'


It's the brainchild of one Andreas Wacker.


Deceptively simple in appearance,


it affords endless amusement.


At least to those of us who are easily amused.

January 1, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


As always, the answer will appear here tomorrow, in precisely 24 hours.

January 1, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

« December 31, 2006 | Main | January 2, 2007 »