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May 2, 2007

Terunobu Fujimori — 'World's only surreal architect'


He uses traditional materials such as earth, stone, wood, charcoal, tree bark and mortar.

But what he does with them, ah, there's the rub....

Fujimori was the unexpected hit of last year's Venice Biennale.


That exhibition is now reprised at the Opera City Art Gallery in Tokyo.

"Tanpopo House" (Dandelion House) [above] is adorned with dandelions.

"Takasugi-an" (Too-High Teahouse) [below]


is just that.

Visitors to the Fujimori show in Venice had to remove their shoes and then step through a square hole in a wooden wall (below)


to enter the exhibition room.

I've already begun construction on a similar entryway here at bookofjoe World Headquarters™.

May 2, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Smiley Face Toothbrush Holder


Is it just me or is that Smiley Face somewhat diabolical?

From the website:

    Smiley Face Toothbrush Holder

    This cleverly designed toothbrush holder puts a happy face on dental hygiene!

    With its suction cup back, the Smiley Face Toothbrush Holder attaches firmly to mirrors, glass, tile and stainless steel, protecting your toothbrush from germs.

    Made of sturdy plastic, it snaps over the head of any size toothbrush and has quick-dry ventilation slots.

    2" x 7/8" x 1-1/8”.


Two for $5.85.

May 2, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World's biggest — and longest — flea market


Also called the world's largest yard sale, it stretches for 450 miles across four states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama), mostly along the rural corridor of U.S. highway 127.


An annual event since 1987, this year's is from August 2 to August 5.


Leigh Ann Henion wrote about her experience in the April 29, 2007 Washington Post magazine.


Her advice should you decide to go: bring plenty of cash in small bills and a list of places to stay; she advises reservations.

Also, "bring towelettes, an in-car trash bag and utensils for the farm-fresh cheese and produce available at stands along the sale route."


www.127sale.com is the event's website.

May 2, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Iron Mesh Face Shield


I think I'm gonna get this and wear it the next time I do an ortho case.

When the surgeon glances up and says, "What the *&#!?," I'll just smile and reply that it's in case he's got a screw loose.


From the website:

    Face Shield

    Protect your face and eyes from flying debris when operating power tools and garden tools.

    Face shield makes cleaning, yard work and other chores so much safer!

    Rugged iron mesh with tough polyethylene and ABS plastic trim.

    Adjustable elastic strap fits most.



May 2, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Hearst Launches 'Cosmo Fake Calls'"


That's the headline above Emily Million's story in yesterday's MediaBistro.com about the newest brainstorm from the deep thinkers at Cosmopolitan magazine.

Here's the article.

    Hearst Launches 'Cosmo Fake Calls'

    Suffering from chronic bad blind date syndrome? Need a better way to escape from the awkward silences and painful convos without hurting the poor guy's feelings? Well girls, today's your lucky day.

    As part of its digital plan, Hearst has partnered with a company called Moderati to launch something called "Cosmo Fake Calls," a scripted call-back service that gals can book when they need to escape from a nightmare date. You can choose from different scripts (such as "boyfriend, girlfriend, or fake French lover") and pick when you want to be saved by the ring, whether it's five, 15, 30, 60 minutes — or immediately, of course.

    The service is vaguely similar to the Rejection Hotline, the phone number that leads to a not-so-subtle recording informing him of your lack of interest. Since the hotline's creation in 2001, over 100 million rejects have called in.

    Offering phone numbers in over 100 cities (NYC's is 212-660-2245, by the way), that company now boasts rejection business cards, email addresses and even offers users a personal "screen number" — for those guys that fall somewhere short of "hell no" — where a voicemail is sent to you via email as a mp3 file.

    While the Rejection Hotline's services are all free, Cosmo still sees a demand for their new service. At $.99 a call, the self-professed "relationship bible" believes "Cosmo Fake Calls" will become a go-to strategy for its young readers who have grown up in the era of texting fees. "As Cosmo has 15 million young female readers, many of whom are single and dating, we expect there will be a need for this 'mobile best friend' when those dates don't all go as planned," explained a marketing reprensentative. "The whole experience is scripted and utterly believable!"


I must say that the concept is not a new one.

Long ago and far away, when I was doing my internship at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Hospital, a few minutes before a meeting or conference or whatever was scheduled to take place, I'd go to the designated room and note the number of the wall phone, then call a fellow intern not on my service and ask him to call that number at a precise time ten minutes after the meeting began.

The message for whomever answered: "Dr. Stirt's patient in room so-and-so is crashing, he's needed STAT."

You never saw a graver, more concerned face than the one I wore as I rushed from the room.


May 2, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Backyard Drinking Fountain


From the website:

    Backyard Drinking Fountain

    Backyard drinking fountain turns your standard faucet into a convenient place to get a fresh drink in the yard without stepping indoors.

    Connects to hose spigot with controllable dual valve hose connection that lets you take a sip and water lawn simultaneously.

    10" x 11-1/2" x 5-1/4".

    ABS, PVC, Steel.


May 2, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

In search of the perfect tartiflette


I had to search for the meaning of the word before getting too involved in Kim Severson's enticing April 29, 2007 New York Times Travel section article about her travels last fall through France's Haute-Savoie.

Here's the story.

    Searching the Alps for Haute Comfort Food

    The first thing to do with a tartiflette [above, alongside a salad at Châlet la Pricaz in Montmin, France above Lake Annecy] is to ease your fork through the crust of cheese. If the casserole is done right, that cut will release a whiff of milky steam infused with a suggestion of onion and garlic.

    The best moment, though, comes with a perfectly proportioned forkful. A chunk of cream-soaked potato and a smoky bit of lardon will be married with a smooth coat of reblochon — cheese made from the milk of one of three breeds of French cows that march to Alps meadows in the spring and return to hay-filled barns in the winter.

    The tartiflette is perhaps the most comforting dish in all of France's Haute-Savoie,


    and it's what led me to take a three-day tour of small villages in the region in search of what I imagined as a perfect tartiflette. The dish has the tang and satisfaction of macaroni and cheese baked until it forms a chewy crust, the pure pleasure derived from a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes and a flavor that could only come from 500 years spent perfecting cheesemaking.

    I was in Annecy, the capital of the region, with my partner, Katia, visiting her cousin Nora in October. Lunch the first day was at Marc Veyrat's three-star Michelin country French temple, and as we worked our way through 15 refined courses (it now costs 338 euros, or about $465 each, at $1.38 to the euro), Nora described the best tartiflette she had ever eaten. It was made by Mr. Veyrat himself, for a little side operation he had back in the early 1990s.

    “I can remember nothing else of that restaurant but the tartiflette,” she told us. That's the effect a good tartiflette can have.

    The trick is the reblochon, which is sliced over the top before the dish is baked. Reblochon is a soft, washed-rind round cheese about as thick as a paperback copy of “Candide.” A good one has tang and aroma and a slightly salty quality. The bad are as bland and rubbery as cheap brie.

    At its best when the cows are eating nothing but Alpine grass, the cheese got its name from 16th-century farmers who were sick of the tax on their milk. They'd milk their cows until they were about halfway done, pay the tax on that bounty and then finish the job.

    They had to do something with the remaining milk to avoid charges of tax evasion. So they made cheese, the name of which comes from the word reblocher, which means to milk again. (Some tie the name to the slang term “reblessa,” which in the local dialect basically means to steal.)

    To make tartiflette, the whole cheese is sliced in half horizontally and turned cut side down before the dish goes in the oven. The idea is to turn the soft, brushed rind into a crispy crust as the inside of the cheese melts into the cream and coats the potatoes.

    For a road-weary traveler looking for a regional dish, tartiflette is inexpensive and accessible. No one can argue with the instant comfort that comes from a bubbling hot dish of cheese, bacon and potatoes.

    In dozens of villages around Lake Annecy, people make and sell reblochon. Similarly, the region is crazy for tartiflette. It is a staple on the menus in the small city of Annecy, considered one of the oldest settlements in the Alps.

    Bad tartiflette is easy to find. The tourist-driven cafes near the medieval prison in the heart of the historic quarter of Annecy all offer versions with a small salad and sometimes a small plate of charcuterie. I ate enough bad tartiflette that halfway through my search, I threw myself across my bed like fat Elvis.

    Things started looking up at Le Fréti, in the pedestrian-only section near the old prison. It had a terrific cheese cellar and three small rooms filled with the smoky smell that comes when half-moons of raclette melt in front of long electric burners.

    Local fruity white wine or warm tea is the thing to drink with all the cheese dishes in the Haute-Savoie; otherwise, Nora warned, “you end up with a cheese stone in your stomach.”

    We ordered some of both, and I paid about 11 euros for a bubbling tartiflette. The dish was capped with a couple of crusty bits of cheese and had fatty strips of lardon.

    It was good, but I felt vaguely disappointed. This wasn't the tartiflette that the food-obsessed argue over on culinary blogs. True, it was an improvement over my grandmother's scalloped potatoes, but I knew there had to be something better.

    The next day, we headed to the village of Menthon-St.-Bernard to eat tartiflette with the cows. Not literally, but pretty close.

    The owners of Ferme de la Charbonnière take the idea of farmstead dining to an extreme. Want to know where all the cheese on your table came from? Just glance through the plexiglass down to the barn below, where some of the herd is most likely being milked.

    The restaurant smells like a mix of broiling cheese and barnyard. An evening sitting on wooden benches and watching the cows brings the notion of terroir to a new level.

    There, a tartiflette must be ordered in advance. If you don't call ahead, you can make do with a kind of do-it-yourself tartiflette called “reblochonnade.” Grumpy-looking women haul little charcoal broilers that look like toy ovens to your table, along with reblochon split into two rounds and placed on little skillets. The customer shoves the cheese under the broiler until it melts, then pours it over a boiled potato and adds some slices of soft, dense air-cured ham.

    But the dish, like its sister tartiflette, suffered from cheese that was almost as bland as American Muenster.

    At this point, I thought perhaps I had been wrong about the tartiflette. I was at the epicenter of tartiflette cooking, and I couldn't find a good one. Perhaps, as I had been warned, tartiflette was nothing more than a marketing ploy invented by the makers of reblochon to sell more cheese.

    Then I headed up the mountain toward Montmin, a place that is not much more than a collection of small buildings, some cows and a little ski area for kids. I parked and took a short, steep hike to Col de la Forclaz, mesmerized by the view of blue Lake Annecy far below the mountain pass.

    I continued through a clearing and saw a soft asphalt ramp on the edge of the mountain. A driveway to nowhere. Men and women were strapping themselves into what looked like tricked-out baby car seats and running down the ramp, parachuting to the fields far below.

    An hour of watching that can make a girl hungry. Besides, the sun was going down and it was getting cold. So I hiked back to a small restaurant, Châlet la Pricaz, a gathering spot in Montmin. The owners have 50 head of Tarine cows, and make their reblochon not far from their restaurant.

    Two old French women were the only other customers on that cold Sunday night. I decided to take one more shot.

    “Une tartiflette, s'il vous plaît.”

    Finally, it came. A brown crockery oval covered in cheese that a hot oven had transformed into a crispy lace crust. The reblochon had character and tang, and had melted into the cream just so, marrying the potatoes and bacon. I had found tartiflette nirvana, with a side of charcuterie.

    I paid my 13 euros, said goodbye to the women, and drove back down the mountain. But after three days of almost nothing but cheese and potatoes, I kind of wished I'd hiked.


Visitor Information

Le Fréti, 12, rue Ste. Claire, Annecy; (33-4) 50-51-29-52; www.le-freti.com. Open for dinner every day and for lunch on Sundays and public holidays. The tartiflette costs 11.10 euros, about $15.50 at $1.38 to the euro.

Ferme de la Charbonnière, Route de Thônes, Menthon-St.-Bernard; (33-4) 50-02-82-59. Open all year for lunch and dinner. Closed Monday. A meal of charcuterie, tartiflette, salad, cheese and coffee is 17 euros.

Châlet la Pricaz, Col de la Forclaz, Montmin; (33-4) 50-60-72-61; e-mail: lapricaz@fnac.net. Open every day in summer; closes Thursdays in April and May and Wednesday and Thursday from October through March. Tartiflette, 17 euros.

May 2, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Floating Waterproof iPod Stereo Case


Can your iPod accessory do that?

Didn't think so.

Pool, lake, ocean, or shower.


Dive, dive, dive.

From the website:

Waterproof iPod Stereo Case

Perfectly portable, our Waterproof iPod Stereo Case lets your iPod float safely alongside you in the pool, lake or ocean.


Just slip your mp3 player into the tightly sealed compartment and snap the case shut for crystal-clear enjoyment of your favorite music, videos and movies.

• Waterproof click wheel navigates your media playlist

• Dual full-range neodymium drivers provide high-quality audio sound


• Shatterproof polycarbonate case protects from spills, splashes and corrosion in salty ocean water

• Fold-out stand in back enables you to prop up the iPod carrier for beach and poolside concerts


• Features protective bumper guards, shower mount and adjustable wrist and shoulder straps

• Included inserts make it compatible with other iPod models

• 9.5" x 6.5" x 1.75".



May 2, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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