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March 26, 2007

World-Class Caramels from DAS

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DAS Foods, in Chicago, Illinois, to be specific.

I read about these caramels (above) a month or so ago in passing, and ordered some.

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Long story short: not only are they — by far — the best caramels I've ever eaten, I've already reordered (and, alas, finished that supply as well last evening).

But I digress.

Katie Das, their creator, hand-wrote a note on my first order sheet explaining that she delayed shipping it one day so as to send the very freshest ones she had, just made that day.

Each box is hand-dated with a "Best by" date.

Tell you what (as I emailed her then): that's the kind of delay I love.

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Okay, then, what makes these caramels so good and sui generis, not even remotely like the Kraft cubes I grew up thinking of as generic caramels?

1) The mouthfeel is extraordinary — silky-smooth and beautifully counterpointing the crunch of the sea salt on top or the walnuts within

2) They're not too sweet

3) They last longer than one might expect once on the tongue

4) The very delicate wax paper wrapping is sometimes a bit difficult to remove, but after a while I grew to like this feature — it prolongs the anticipation of the treat to follow

5) The packaging, in very elegantly designed, clear-windowed boxes with a closure that would do Steve Jobs proud, is just right

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I confess to having eaten nothing but these caramels for several days in a row after receiving them — there was nothing I could think of remotely as good, so why fool around?

Five flavors are available: Chai Latte, Classic, Orange & Honey, Lemon & Honey and Chocolate Walnut (below)

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which contains — in addition to dark chocolate and walnuts — ancho chilies, ground pepper, cinnamon and fleur de sel.

Exquisite.

Each variety costs $5.99 for 18 pieces (4 oz.) — cheap at twice the price.

Trust me....

March 26, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Banana Cellphone Holder

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Hey — is that a banana in your pocket or...?

Never mind.

From the website:
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Banana Cellphone Holder — Start Monkeying Around!

This banana cellphone cover from Nanaco will no doubt crack you up!

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A hilarious way to keep in touch with friends and attract curious stares!!

Available for both flip and bar phones.

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Not guaranteed to fit all cellphones.

Note: Cellphone not included.

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Measures 1.5” x 9.5”.
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$10.

March 26, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Fail Better' by Zadie Smith — Episode 2: Part 2

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Just in this afternoon from Irish filmmaker and writer Donal Foreman, the news that Part 2 of Ms. Smith's much-acclaimed January 13/20, 2007, Guardian essay entitled "Fail Better" is available online here.

You may recall that Part 1, which I linked to in Episode 1 on February 21, 2007, was online at the Guardian website at the time, for reading and/or printing out — that's gone now.

But someone's put it up here.

Part 2 never made it to the Guardian's site due to copyright issues or some such nonsense.

My advice — and the reason I put it up here now, bumping a previously-scheduled post instead of waiting until tomorrow — is that it could disappear in a yoctosecond just like Part 1 did from the Guardian website.

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Hit "Print."

March 26, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wonderwash — The environmentally-friendly laundry alternative

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You turn a hand-crank to power it through the cycle.

At $42.95, what's not to like?

March 26, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Four Minutes Thirty Three Seconds — by John Cage

March 26, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Just in Time Clock — by Shiro Kuramata

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Created in 1986.

37cm W x 52cm H (14.5" x 20.5").

Melamine board, twigs, woolen yarn, nylon string and a clock mechanism.

Contact Paul Hughes (ph@paulhughes.co.uk) if you'd like to buy one.

March 26, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

13-Year-Old Katharine Tuck Wins $2,500 First Prize in 32nd Annual Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest

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Just in from Montpelier, Vermont, the competition's venue, the news that the Tooele, Utah seventh-grader's tattered blue-and-white Nikes (above and below) last Tuesday (March 20, 2007) triumphed over a strong field to come first in the fiercely-contested competition.

Took a while for the story to drift down Charlottesville way.

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Along with the money, she will receive the Golden Sneaker Medal, an all-expenses paid trip to New York City to see "The Lion King" and a supply of Odor-Eaters products.

But wait — there's more: Ms. Tuck (below)

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and her sneakers (above and below) will be inducted into the Odor-Eaters Hall of Fumes.

Her winning secret? She wears the year-and-a-half old shoes to play soccer, basketball and other sports, hikes in them and once waded into the Great Salt Lake, where they became infiltrated with brine shrimp.

Needless to say, they've never been washed.

Associated Press (AP) writer John Curran wrote, about the shoes, "... The smell was only the half of it. Ripped on the right toe, with red and yellow duct tape holding one together and frayed laces on both, they looked like something from a landfill."

Here's the amusing AP story.

    13-year-old wins rotten sneaker contest

    Thirteen-year-old Katharine Tuck's sneakers are equal opportunity offenders. They smell as bad as they look. Now, the Utah seventh grader is $2,500 richer because of it: On Tuesday, she out-ranked six other children to win the 32nd annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest, stinking up the joint with a pair of well-worn 1 1/2-year-old Nikes so noxious they had the judges wincing.

    "I'm so proud of the little stinker," said her mother, Paula Tuck.

    Ah, the foul smell of success.

    The contest, which was founded in 1975 as a sporting good store promotion and is now sponsored by the manufacturer of anti-foot odor products, pits children from around the nation who have won state-level competitions for the generally cruddy condition of their footwear.

    Kyle Underwood, 9, was in from Las Cruces, N.M., with his low-cut black Starters, the ones with the blown-out toe on the right foot. "These are bad," sighed judge Andy Brewer. "Ooh, these are really bad."

    Michael Nduka, 9, of White Plains, N.Y., was there, too, with his ratty black-and-white low-cuts, which — like the others — were passed from judge to judge for inspection. Judge William Fraser, who is Montpelier's city manager, held one up using the tip of a pen, like a crime scene investigator trying not to taint the evidence.

    Eleven-year-old Alex Clark's sneakers had tape over the holes in the toes, and the instep of one was blown out. When judge George Aldrich took a whiff, he coughed and then handed the sneaker back to Clark. "I saw you flinch," Aldrich said to him.

    "As a parent, you want to hide," said Kathy Midgley, 48, of Berkeley Heights, N.J., who was there to watch her 8-year-old son compete.

    Clad in Odor-Eaters baseball caps and Odor-Eaters T-shirts, each contestant had to jump in place once and then make one full turn in place before taking off his or her shoes and handing them to the judges. It was 24 degrees outside, but only one of them wore socks — since foot sweat is a boon not a bane in this game.

    Odor-Eaters paid to fly eight contestants — each with a parent — to Vermont, but not all arrived on time. Devin Koivisto, 12, of Phoenix, didn't make it due to travel complications.

    Tuck almost didn't, either: Her flight to Newark, N.J., was delayed, forcing she and her father to miss a connecting flight to Vermont. They drove the rest of the way, but their luggage still hadn't arrived Tuesday.

    But her mother had the foresight to warn Tuck not to ship her prized shoes in her checked baggage, lest it get lost en route.

    Mercifully for airport security screeners, she didn't wear them, either, opting to carry them in her purse.

    For these sneakers, the smell was only the half of it. Ripped on the right toe, with red and yellow duct tape holding one together and frayed laces on both, they looked like something from a landfill.

    She has used them to play soccer, basketball and other sports, hiked in them and waded into the Great Salt Lake, where they became infiltrated with brine shrimp.

    "People ask me why I don't get new ones and why I would enter a contest like this," she said before the judging started.

    Once it did, she called her mother on a cell phone and kept the line open so Mom could listen in. Once Fraser got a look — and a whiff — of Tuck's Nikes, he took the phone from her. "Do you actually let her wear these in public?" he asked her mother.

    After the judges' decision was announced, Tuck shyly granted interviews. Was she proud? "Yeah, I guess."

    "She's going to put this on her first job application," said her father, Michael Tuck.

    "I am?" she said.

Here's a link to the Odor-Eaters press release about the contest.

    Thirteen-Year-Old Girl From Tooele, Utah Wins 32nd Annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest

    Seven kids, ages eight to thirteen, from across the country, descended on the small town of Montpelier today wearing sneakers so decrepit and odorous, even the town dump wouldn't take them. Why? To participate in the annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest. Each has won a regional contest and, therefore, earned a place in the national finals. In the end, thirteen-year-old Katharine Tuck took home the grand prize with a pair of one-year-old sneakers that nearly caused the judges to pass out.

    Celebrating its 32nd year, the National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker contest is the ultimate test of just how offensive sneakers can get when they're not taken care of properly. Sneakers are judged on the conditions of the sole, tongue, heel, toe, laces or velcro, eyelets/grommets, overall condition and most important ODOR, by a panel that includes NASA "Master Sniffer" George Aldrich, Chemical Specialist for NASA space missions, and Dr. Joel Goodman, founder and Director of The HUMOR Project.

    This year, Katharine Tuck beat out six other contestants, from, Worcester, NY, White Plains, NY, Montpelier, VT, Eagle River, AK, Berkeley Heights, NJ and Las Cruces, NM to take home the grand prize of a $2,500.00

    "My sneakers got dirty and smelly by just wearing them every day to work in my yard, play sports, and just playing," said Katharine.

    Katharine also received the Golden Sneaker Award trophy, plus an all expense trip to New York City to see The Lion King, and a much-needed supply of Odor-Eaters® products to kick out the odor from his/her sneakers. Although the maker of Odor-Eaters products sponsors the contest, it's clear that the contestants keep the product far from their willfully worn and torn warriors submitted for judging.

    Katharine's sneakers will also be enshrined in the Odor-Eaters "Hall of Fumes" in Montpelier, VT.

    For more information about the Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest or Odor-Eaters products, visit www.odor-eaters.com.

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Want more?

No problema.

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How about a video with highlights of the competition?

Too bad our present-day computers can't do smell....

In time.

March 26, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ray Earhart's Floor Desk — 'Build it yourself, it's more fun'

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That's why Ray and I get along, I think: we take the fun out of funeral.

Wait a minute — that's just silly.

Oh, never mind.

Ray was kind enough to send me a link to his website which spells out, in terms even I can understand, how to build you own nifty rug potato™ workstation (top).

March 26, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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