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January 7, 2007

ibiblio.org — 'the public's library and digital archive'

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It is what it says.

A joint undertaking of the Center for the Public Domain and the University of North Carolina, hence the Carolina blue in the logo.

"Home to one of the largest 'collections of collections' on the internet, ibiblio.org is a conservancy of freely available information, including software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and cultural studies."

January 7, 2007 at 06:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Uno Ashtray

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From the website:
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Uno Ashtray

Created by Danish designer Helle Damkjaer.

The unique funnel shape ensures that cigarettes and matches are automatically extinguished when they are put into the ashtray.

The shape makes the ashtray perfect for outdoor use because the ashes are prevented from blowing out onto food or people.

The many curves in the ashtray combined with the blank-polished finish allow for many vivid reflections in the ashtray.

The ashtray is available in two sizes: a small one for individual use and a larger one to be used for parties or cigars.

Material: polished stainless steel.

Also perfect for nonsmokers.

Small: 3.54"Diam. x 2.36"H.

Large: 5.12"Diam. x 2.75"H.
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Small: $59.99; Large: $79.99; both here.

January 7, 2007 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Michele Oka Doner on Craft v Art

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Anthony Haden-Guest interviewed the highly successful and yet oddly underknown artist (above and below, with her 1995 work "A Walk on the Beach" at Miami International Airport) for an article that appeared in the September 16, 2006 Financial Times.

Here's the story.

    'There's no craft here. This is about ideas'

    The studio visit is an art world ritual and Michele Oka Doner's studio, though workshop would be a more appropriate word, is on Mercer Street in New York's SoHo. The rooms are large, high-ceilinged and crammed with things, both natural and hand-made. Assistants are bent over screens, looking at slides. When I visited, one fellow was punching designs into a sheet of butter-coloured paraffin wax.

    I wandered around, examining rows of shells, giant tree roots, intricate scrims. Behind a huge round table stood a group of standing figures, headless and armless, their bodies textured like honeycombs or crumbling tree trunks. A pile of driftwood sat beside a table looking like a bonfire waiting for a match.

    Then Doner walked in. A slender woman just turned 60 with straight jet-black hair, she is an artist who manages to be at once excellent,highly successful and oddly underknown, even within the gossipy art world. This is, I think, partly because of the variety of her projects and materials, partly because many are commercial and partly perhaps because of her determinedly unfashionable concerns.

    What's the driftwood for, I wondered?

    "I have needed sometimes to make candelabras. Or I've needed a way to make a figure. And I've hauled one of those in. So this is raw material."

    She walked me around.

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    "Let's call this whole loft a noble experiment. This is my laboratory. When I need a table, I make a table. When I've needed a chair, I've made a chair. I needed a fork, I made a fork.

    "I'm on the frontier. Nobody has done what I'm doing. Except Alexander Calder. He made public art, he made sculpture, he made hair ornaments for his wife, he made necklaces for their birthdays, he made forks for the kitchen, he made everything.

    "People used to do that. A long time ago. Anything that needed to be made, they made. They didn't ask. The Japanese still do that."

    Do you make your own paper?

    "Yeah. I made all of these books."

    We approached a large round table. Which Doner also made. Likewise, the stools. Actually about the only things I can see that she didn't make, natural objects aside, are some pieces of furniture by Carlo Bugatti, the great designer, and father of another, the automobile engineer.

    The art world is, by and large, deeply suspicious of craft, I observed. It's seen as hobby-ish.

    "There's no craft here," Doner said equably. "Craft for me is about materials. This is about ideas. And what is fascinating is that the younger generation is bringing aggressively hand-made things into the arena. Because they don't want the machine-made things. They are tired of them."

    I looked at some forks.

    "I like to do flatware. I'm just starting some of these," she said.

    She picked up the prototype, a pronged branch.

    "I saw this and I saw that it was a good fork," she said.

    Where did she find it?

    "In the woods somewhere. I always find good things."

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    One of her forks had been in Feeding Desire, a show at the Cooper-Hewitt, the design museum on Fifth Avenue.

    "I had to pull this one out of their gift shop because the new foundry didn't know how to do it. So on Monday the silversmith's coming at nine and we're going to beat the hell out if it."

    She pointed out the anvil.

    "Isn't that a beauty? I have the whole kit. I make jewels. Why shouldn't I make my own jewellery? It's just sculpture on a small scale."

    What is she working on currently?

    "I'm still working in Miami Airport. But what's opening now is an entrance lobby at the University of South Florida in Sarasota."

    She added that four screens against the far wall were made for a courthouse in Gulfport. Mississippi. And these paraffin wax sheets?

    "They are banisters for Bill Sofield, the architect. We are doing a beautiful balustrade in a home in Colorado." She hollered to her assistants. "Where is the Colorado place?"

    And the honeycombed figures?

    "Those are sculptures. They are for my next show at the Marlborough. I made them using a heat gun on wax. They are cast in bronze."

    She picked up a piece of wood and looked it over.

    "You know, if John Chamberlain picks up a car bumper and uses it to make a sculpture or gets one from an auto shop, they are accepted as found objects. Or the Duchamp urinal. They're made by technology, they are manufactured. The club membership has been using industrial cast-offs.

    "But not nature. Nature's objects haven't been allowed in the door. But that's changing fast. That's right now breaking open. There's no difference to picking up a bumper and" — she indicated the branch — "picking that up in the woods."

    Does she see the useful pieces and the artworks as different categories of object?

    "No," she said crisply. "They are all about beauty. Beauty is one category."

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    Aha. Beauty. The contemporary art world by and large distrusts beauty at least as much as it distrusts craft. Michele Oka Doner, of course, knows this very well indeed.

January 7, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Transformer Buddy

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Res ipsa loquitur.

But in the case the music's too loud to hear anything, here's what it says on the website:

    Transformer Buddy™

    Plug-in big transformers without blocking other outlets

    Transformer Buddy adapters make sure one transformer takes up only one outlet on a wall or power strip.

    Also works as a 104-Joules surge suppressor; has an LED "Protected" indicator.

    Each grounded adapter rotates 360° to make room for other plugs.

    15-amp, 1875-watt capacity.

    1-1/2" x 3-1/8" x 1" thick.

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Two for $9.99.

January 7, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

codinghorror.com

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I happened on this website Thursday evening (January 4, 2007) while I was wandering around my statistics pages.

I had my crack research team spend some time at codinghorror to try and figure out why it was the 8th-highest referring site to bookofjoe at around 10 p.m. ET.

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Turns out Jeff reviewed Russ Walter's great book, "The Secret Guide to Computers," and happened upon my March 5, 2005 review and linked to it.

Russ Walter even emailed me to correct a couple things after my post went up.

But I digress.

Jeff's website is so far above my TechnoDolt™ pay grade I couldn't see it with an Earth-based Hubble telescope equivalent — but that doesn't mean all you slick code doyennes and barons can't enjoy yourselves there.

I really, really like how he integrated a guy with his hair on fire (hair on fire spoken repeatedly really fast and jumbled up = horror, see? — at least, to my mind's ear which admittedly might be made of tin) into his site's logo (top).

January 7, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stiil putting on your 'game face?' Fuhgeddaboudit — Time to move on up to a Super Bowl MVP Game Helmet

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That's right.

Even Drew Bledsoe might score if he had this puppy on when he parks with that blond babe young enough to be his daughter in the dopey NFL.com ad that plays repeatedly on the NFL Network.

But I digress.

From the website:
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Super Bowl MVP Autographed Helmet

This autographed, limited-edition Superbowl XL MVP Helmet is the ultimate gift for any sports fanatic.

Own a piece of NFL history with a regulation helmet signed by 35 living legends of the game.

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Signatures include: Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Hines Ward, Deion Branch, Tom Brady, Dexter Jackson, Ray Lewis, Kurt Warner, John Elway, Terrell Davis, Desmond Howard, Larry Brown, Steve Young, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Mark Rypien, Ottis Anderson, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Doug Williams, Phil Simms, Richard Dent, Marcus Allen, John Riggins, Jim Plunkett, Randy White, Fred Biletnikoff, Lynn Swann, Larry Csonka, Jake Scott, Chuck Howley, Len Dawson, and Joe Namath.

Please note, this item is not returnable.
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Protective display case included.

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$14,999 (free shipping).

January 7, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'ALPR is going to revolutionize the way we police in North America'

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The headline above is the final sentence of an approximately four-minute-long-video narrated by Sgt. Rick Stewart of the British Columbia (Canada) police.

ALPR stands for "Automatic License Plate Recognition."

Like it or not, it's coming to a police department near you.

Not real soon now — it's already here.

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With stuff like this they won't even need Precogs.

They could even call their in-car systems "Recogs."

Just a thought.

Remember — you heard it here first.

January 7, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My big fat organized sock drawer

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All of this can be yours for $12.99.

But wait — there's less!

Huh?

That's not how it's supposed to go, joe....

Doh.

Pantyhose, socks and the drawer itself not included.

Well?

Which way's it gonna be?

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I've got plenty of time, don't make any rash decisions....

Maybe you'd have a better idea about what this nifty invention could do to improve your life if you read the website description:

    Sock Drawer Organizer

    When your sock drawer is organized, it's easier to find a matching pair

    Find the socks or hosiery you need quickly and efficiently, without having to rummage through messy drawers.

    Sturdy plastic organizer strips interlock in seconds to arrange socks (in matching pairs!), pantyhose and other accessories so they're easily found within the thirty-two 4-1/4" x 4-1/2" compartments.

    18-1/2" x 14-1/4" x 2-3/4" tall assembled; can be compressed or cut to fit smaller drawers.

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I have it on good authority that the Geek Squad™ will come to your abode to help you set up your organizer should you encounter difficulty.

One last thing, for what it's worth (still reading, eh? Some people can't get enough... but I digress) — I have just adopted "When your sock drawer is organized, it's easier to find a matching pair" as my official bookofjoe 2007 mantra™.

Say it soft, and it's almost like praying....

January 7, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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