« May 5, 2007 | Main | May 7, 2007 »

May 6, 2007

Children of Men


Remind me when my time machine comes back from the shop not to schedule my next trip to anywhere near England, 2027.

How do you spell "dystopia?"

The cover of my DVD box reads as follows:

    The year 2027:

    The last days of the human race

    No child has been born for 18 years

    He must protect our only hope

That's as good a summary as any.

But it doesn't begin to tell you how gripping, frightening and plausible this alternative future appears in the hands of Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón.

What I didn't know before watching it last evening was that Michael Caine, my favorite actor on the whole planet, has a major role, playing a former hippie living in a hidden forest in his own private British Idaho.

And I'd completely forgotten, until the credits rolled, that the film is based on a 1992 novel


by P.D. James.

May 6, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Voice-Activated Grocery List Printer


Definitely not TechnoDolt™-approved.

All others may proceed.

From the website:

    Smart Shopper™ Voice-Activated Grocery List Printer

    Eliminates guesswork from shopping.

    No longer stand dumbfounded in an aisle wondering what you needed.

    Simply speak (throughout the week) the items you need into the voice recognition device and a list is printed on thermal paper with the touch of a button — items print automatically by category and "errands."

    Wall mount, fridge mount with magnets or sit it on a counter.

    Features LCD screen, 2500 pre-loaded items, paper, wall and magnet kits.

    Plastic and aluminum.

    7" x 3" x 9-1/4".


Me, I guess I'll just have to stand dumbfounded in the aisle wondering what I needed.

Same as it ever was.

$149.98 (No, Flautist — the device does not contain the 2500 grocery items — just their names. Sheesh).

May 6, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'My guest room is a Boeing 727'


You don't have to be a Middle Eastern prince to say that in all truthfulness.

Not if you're one Rick Broome of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In a March 28, 2007 Colorado Springs Gazette story by Carol McGraw that somehow languished in syndication hyperspace until I happened on it in yesterday's Washington Post, the long, strange trip of a Boeing 727 from the friendly skies of United Airlines to Broome's home [above] is detailed.

Broome thinks that his is the only airplane that's been incorporated into a house.

Here's the article.

    Just plane obsessed

    So you think you’ve got decorating problems? Next time you whine about it, think about Billie Broome. Her husband, Rick, added the better part of a Boeing 727 to their house, then built a sunroom around it.

    All Billie can say at this point is: “Thank goodness he didn’t bring the entire plane home.” Only the front section, from the wings forward, graces their residence — although “graces” hardly describes the looming presence of a 15,800-pound, 50-foot-long, 12.5-footwide, 27.5-foot-tall objet d’art.

    Oddly enough, you can’t tell there’s a gargantuan piece of a plane in their Broadmoor-area home if you’re standing outside. But open a door on the north side of the house, and you suddenly find yourself walking down the plane’s aisle, enveloped in a cocoon of the original decor: gray rug on the walls; a pink, orange and blue mural; more gray industrial rug on the floor. You can also board the plane via a catwalk from the kitchen, or from gleaming rollaway air stairs near Billie’s Early American couch in the sunroom.

    The tableau includes something never seen these days on a real flight — a cockpit with the door wide open.

    “It feels like home,” says Rick, sitting in the pilot’s seat of the fully equipped cockpit. “It’s in my will that some of my ashes will be scattered in here.”

    It’s a dream come true for Rick — literally.

    “I first saw the idea in a dream when I was about 16,” says Rick, who had that same dream often over the years.

    What do you expect from an airplane fanatic? He likes to point out that he was born in Pueblo on Oct. 13, 1946 — “a year and one day before test pilot and astronaut Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier.” He made headlines at age 16 when he soloed in nine types of planes. He has about 2,200 flying hours on 41 civilian planes and is an inductee in the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.

    In college, he worked as an airline mechanic and was accepted as a flightofficer candidate in 1971. When the class was canceled, he fell back on a longtime hobby, painting, and that became his livelihood. An internationally known painter of aviation scenes, he creates an annual painting for the Air Force Academy’s graduating class and has donated more than 60 originals to the school.

    But knowing how to paint a plane isn’t as much fun as having a real one in your home. So he searched two years for an airliner. At a movie lot, his broker found one that had actually flown the friendly skies of United before being put out to pasture as a prop in movies and TV, including episodes of “24” and an A&E documentary about United Flight 93.

    When the 727 arrived by truck at the Broomes’ home in 2005, a massive crane had to lift the fuselage 100 feet in the air and set it down on three specially made girders behind the house. In 14 months, the house grew from 4,000 square feet to 6,500 square feet with the addition of the new sunroom built around the plane.

    If Rick faced a challenge finding the plane and getting it to the house, Billie has been equally challenged trying to decorate a room around it. When she was hunting for a rug for the new sunroom, she had a hard time getting the color just right.

    “No one knew what ‘United Airlines Blue’ was,” she says. She had to lug dozens of samples home until she found the right one — that nondescript airline grayish blue.

    She had the wall behind the plane painted a sort of Wild Blue Yonder dark blue, but says it’s just not right. So she is looking at paint samples again.

    One feature in the sunroom that complements the airplane is Rick’s studio work table, which he designed to look like a United ticket counter.

    Really, though, the sunroom decor isn’t what this space is all about. It’s the plane, and Rick’s goal is to log 50,000 hours in it over the next 10 years. It shouldn’t take him long: He hunkers down in his 727 to get ideas for his paintings, sometimes pray or take an occasional nap.

    He thinks it’s the only airplane that’s been incorporated into a house. A California woman is planning an airplane home, but it isn’t finished. Scattered around the country are a few planes in museums and restaurants, including one at Solo’s in Colorado Springs, where you can dine in a Boeing KC-97. But in Rick’s research, he hasn’t found anyone who knows of other planes in a home. It’s a “historical piece of aviation sculpture,” he says.

    He estimates that the airline project has cost more than $100,000 so far, but he’s not done yet. He has many other plans for the room, too many to mention.

    If that’s not enough to keep him busy, he can always fill his time with another hobby. The Broomes’ house backs up to a lakelike reservoir, and Rick has been licensed as a wildlife park caretaker for wild ducks. Every year he feeds 12,000 pounds of cracked corn to the birds.

    “He likes anything that flies,” Billie says.

    Aircraft can boast comforts of a house


    To gussy up his airplane and sunroom, Rick Broome [above]:

    • Hooked up the plane’s first-class lavatory.

    • Brought in heat and air conditioning from the home furnace. (When he turns it on, it gives off that familiar whooshing sound you hear on a plane.)

    • Put in a couple of old, comfy chairs where the passenger seats used to be.

    • Used one of the plane’s 16-foot wing tips with a flashing red light as a chandelier in the sunroom.

    • Plans to install a roll-down screen in front of the cockpit windows and fancy equipment to simulate flying. It will be attached to the aircraft wiring system and flight controls so he can have the virtual thrill of a real flight.

    • Will paint the floor beneath the plane so that at night, when he sits in the cockpit and looks down, it will look like a lighted city from 30,000 feet in the air. There will be stars painted on the ceiling.

May 6, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Magnetic Scissors



I'm getting a pair for the OR, slap 'em right on the side of my anesthesia cart so I don't have to paw through heaps of endotracheal tubes, oral airways, laryngoscope blades and whatnot when I need a scissors now.

From the website:

    Magnetic Scissors

    Always losing your scissors?

    These Magnetic Scissors are a great way to keep your office or message center organized and efficient.

    Keep track of your scissors and always have them close at hand.

    The strong magnet adheres completely to any [ferrous] metal surface so your scissors will always be where you can find them.


    • Thick plastic construction for extra durability

    • Sharp stainless-steel blades

    • 7" x 3" x 1/2"



First your scissors, next your mind... we're working on it.


May 6, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why it's best not to pay your bills via automatic deduction


By doing so you lose the advantage of the float — at precisely 12:00:01 a.m. on the day the bill is due, that amount — whether it be for your mortgage payment, TypePad hosting fee, New York Times online subscription, whathaveyou — is deducted from your account.

Also, oftimes there is a grace period after the due date when it comes to mortgages, such that if the payment is received within 15 days after the due date, it's counted as paid in full without any late fee penalty.

So that money's remained in your account gathering interest while you dally.

In a similar vein, if you can manage to pay your credit card bill in full each month, putting everything possible on your card instead of writing a check gives you a nice long delay in terms of when you have to pay up.

Let's say it's the beginning of your credit card billing cycle and you're at the store and buy $100 worth of groceries.

Write a check and it's on its way to the bank that night with payment from your account made in a day or two.

Put it on your credit card and you won't even see the bill for a month, after which you'll have another two weeks to pay it.

That's a six-week grace period.

What's not to like about that?

May 6, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Desktop Air Conditioner


Be the envy of everyone in your cubicle farm.

From the website:

    Desktop Air Conditioner

    You'll stay cool & comfortable!

    Our Desktop Air Conditioner is not a fan but an actual cooling system.

    Instead of chemicals, frozen water creates a cool climate for your ultimate comfort.

    Simply fill supplied bottle with water, freeze and place inside.

    Compact, quiet and effective!

    Requires 2 D batteries (not included) or use with our AC adapter.


May 6, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MorphWorld: Andy Griffith into Sumner Redstone


I just noticed the resemblance this past Wednesday when I saw the picture above accompanying a New York Times review of the new film starring him and Keri Russell, "Waitress."


Good old Andy will be 81 on June 1 while Redstone, wheeling and dealing as if there's no tomorrow (which in his case might well be true) will be 84 in 23 days.

May 6, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iron & Hang


Not the best-named product of the year by a long shot.

From the website:

    Iron & Hang

    Hang garments while ironing.

    Our ironing board cover & pad has reinforced metal rings for hanging up to 10 ironed garments at a time.

    Constructed of double thick foam & fiber coated with Stainguard™ & titanium Scorchshield™ for ultimate protection.

    Fitted nose ensures a snug, stay-in-place fit.


It really works: I've had one of those noses since birth and it hasn't fallen off once.

But I digress.

But I can't help noting that for a guy (that would be moi) who hasn't had an iron in his hand since last century, there sure are an awful lot of ironing-related items appearing here lately.

$24.95 (Yes, Flautist — the two shirts pictured are included with your — and only your — order. You say you want the hangers too? No problema).

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

« May 5, 2007 | Main | May 7, 2007 »