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May 25, 2007

World's Best Sprayer


From the website:

    World's Finest Sprayer

    This really is the finest sprayer in the world.

    Most companies include a sprayer with their product.

    They spit, spew and vomit with an uneven application.

    I promise you'll enjoy the performance of our sprayer.

    The trigger is long and comfortable allowing you to use one, two or three fingers, and is less fatiguing than others during prolonged use.

    The spray pattern is adjustable from a stream to a mist, with variables in between.

    It sprays three times the fluid of other sprayers, putting down more product with each pump.

    The tube has a strainer on the end and is extra long so it enables you to get every last drop of liquid from the bottle.

    The tip locks down to avoid leaks when transported.

    Fits bottles with a 28mm/1.1 inch neck.


May 25, 2007 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Music determines the quality of life

Afte years of complete freedom to choose the music that's playing — type, artist, volume, repeat, what-have-you — I've become convinced of the above.

If everyone had the luxury of listening to whatever they like — not with headphones or earbuds but blasting from speakers right where they work — the entire experience of working and concept of a job would be turned on its head.

To anyone who's wondering why it is that nearly everybody hates their job, the clue phone's ringing: figure out a way to make the above happen and watch absenteeism and grumbling slow to a trickle.


Guaranteed — or your money back.


In case you were wondering, today's track is above and below.


Magnificent music and lyrics, perhaps the anthem of the 20th century.

Someday when I get big — real big — I'll have someone put a "What's playing at bookofjoe" link to the music currently blasting here at my World Headquarters™® so anyone anywhere can experience what's going down in this zoo.

All you'll have to do to make the experience immersive is walk in place at 1.0 mph.

"Work is what you're doing when you'd rather be doing something else" remains the best definition ever.

May 25, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sense Enhancing Wine Glass


That's different.

From the website:

    Sense Enhancing Wine Glass

    This 16 oz. Burgundy size wine glass has a notch forged into its rim that accommodates your nose, allowing you to fully experience the smell of your favorite wine while drinking.

    The notch also allows you to keep your head upright and breathe normally while drinking, eliminating the natural reaction to hold one's breath while tilting.

    The notch also eliminates splashing and spills because you can insert the mouth of a bottle more fully into the glass before pouring.

    Each glass is individually handmade of 24% lead crystal.

    The wide bowl and notch allow wine to breathe while swirling.

    9-3/4"H x 3-3/4"Diam.




May 25, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Free Coke Zero


But wait — there's more!

Page 11A (that's the front section) of today's (Friday, May 25, 2007) USA Today is occupied by a full-page ad for Coke Zero.

In it the company invites you to conduct your own taste taste against its flagship by offering a free 20 oz. Coke and a free 20 oz. Coke Zero to anyone who brings in the coupon occupying the lower center portion of the ad.

No tricks, no catches, and the coupon is valid through December 31 of this year.

If you read the fine print it says "Only one coupon per purchase."

Which means you can do this over and over again with however many coupons you happen to have.

If you're somewhere where there are piles of USA Todays available for the taking free — I'm thinking hotel lobbies, etc. — you could do worse than make off with a bunch of these coupons.

We don't just like "free" here at bookofjoe — we love it.

Note that you can't photocopy the coupon.

Also note that the graphic up top has nothing to do with the USA Today promotion — it's only there to get you revved up.

May 25, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The mystery of Sharon Begley: Solved


For the past few months I've noticed her superb Wall Street Journal Friday "Science Journal" column to have been filled by a succession of unknowns, basically just taking up space.

I didn't recall a note at the bottom saying she was on book leave or vacation or "away" or wherever it is columnists go when they're not in their usual spot.

After a few months of this I got to wondering, what gives?

I hadn't seen her name pop up anywhere else: was she sick, dead, had she been fired or did she quit?

I asked my crack research team to find out what happened.

After a couple weeks, when they'd turned up nada — we're talking zero, cipher, zilch — I fired them all.

Then I looked into it.

A foray back into the Wall Street Journal archives revealed her last column appeared on February 23 of this year.

It took about 30 seconds on Google to scroll down to what's in the graphic up top.


Must not have been a happy parting because a number of emails to various and sundry Wall Street Journal writers and editors who in the past returned them promptly disappeared into hyperspace on the way in.

Or their responses did, because as I noted above the now-unemployed crack research team got the visual equivalent of the sounds of silence.


I don't read Newsweek or Time since I consider them about on par with Archie comic books.

And I already read and enjoy my Archies.

Ms. Begley is a very smart cookie.

And she has good ears.

I wonder if a little birdie landed on her shoulder one day last winter and sang two words — "Rupert Murdoch."

I'll tell you one thing: Newsweek has to be pleased as punch to have added this world-class journalist to its masthead.

You can read her Newsweek column here.

May 25, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World's Only Folding Bread Knife


Florence Fabricant wrote about it in the May 23, 2007 New York Times Dining In section, as follows:

    To Cut the Mustard, and More

    Protection for the knife isn’t an issue with the Bâtard folding picnic knife, whose five-and-a-quarter-inch blade snaps neatly inside the handle [above].

    A few years ago Charles Van Over, whose specialty is bread — he’s the author of “The Best Bread Ever” (Broadway Books, 1997) — concluded that his arsenal of equipment lacked something. “I would go visit bakers or go to bakeries, and I’d carry around a bread knife,” he said. “But a large bread knife is cumbersome and dangerous. Why was there no folding bread knife?”

    He set out to remedy the situation. And beyond professional trips to bakeries, he envisioned occasions when a slice of crusty bread might be accompanied by a bottle of wine. “So I added a corkscrew,” he said.

    The knife has good heft, a handsome dark wood handle and a no-nonsense serrated blade of stainless steel that can tackle much more than just a loaf of bread. It is named for a kind of thick, short French loaf called a bâtard (translation: bastard), and Mr. Van Over thought the name was more amusing than that of the more common elongated baguette. The knife does an admirable job on a crusty loaf, turning it into slices appropriate for all sorts of toppings and fillings.

    The Bâtard folding picnic knife, made by Lamson & Goodnow, is $25 at Cook’s Companion in Brooklyn Heights and at lamsonsharp.com, and $19.99 at the Cooking.com Web site. It would make a terrific gift for Father’s Day, June 17.

    And to put your bread knife, slicer or spreader to proper use for a picnic, you might try a sandwich of shortcut rillettes with Basque seasonings made from prepared duck confit, sold in many fancy food shops.


From the Cooking.com website:

    Lamson & Goodnow Batard Folding Bread Knife with Corkscrew

    The perfect picnic companion.

    5.5-in. heavy serrated blade folds into handle for easy storage.

    Serration is perfect for crusty breads, cheeses, meats & tomatoes.



May 25, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How small is small? Miniature books


In the May 20, 2007 New York Times William Grimes wrote about miniature books, in conjunction with an ongoing exhibition in New York City of some of the world's most diminutive tomes.

His article follows.

    Catching Up on a Little Light Reading

    In the 1930s the paperback made its appearance. Readers in Germany, Britain and the United States responded enthusiastically to the idea of a small-format book that could be slipped into the pocket and read on the bus or train. What a novelty it seemed, a streamlined leisure product fitting for a scientific age.

    In fact the shrunken book was nearly five centuries old. The earliest miniature books, illuminated manuscripts that could be dangled from the waist on a chain, predated the invention of moveable type. Their dimensions made the typical paperback look gargantuan. The larger examples measured three inches or less on each side. As bookmaking technology improved, the small became even smaller. Bookbinders in Russia and Japan have published books, complete with bindings, that are about the size of the letter “a” on this page.

    The story of the incredible shrinking page is the subject of “Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures,” an exhibition at the Grolier Club of New York that continues through July 28, and a companion volume of the same name by Anne C. Bromer and Julian I. Edison, published by Harry N. Abrams in association with the Grolier Club.

    The books are small, but the subject is surprisingly big, embracing thumbnail-size cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia; the “thumb Bibles” first printed for children in the 17th century; and the first printing in book form of Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation,” a three-inch volume distributed to Union soldiers and slaves. Miniatures also include exquisite, bejeweled books of hours, practical sets of classic writers intended for travelers and a sinister German series from the 1930s, “The Führer Makes History.”

    Unlike dollhouse furniture or Matchbox cars, miniature books originally served a useful purpose. Reduced-size prayer books, for example, made it possible to practice devotion on the move. But early on, the human fascination with miniaturization assumed its own momentum. In 1480 Salvadore Gagliardelli, a Florentine scribe, created an illuminated prayer book with 17 paintings measuring about three-quarters of an inch square: unquestionably light and portable, but first and foremost an exhibition of the bookmaking art.

    Miniature books were often issued in large numbers with profit in mind, notably almanacs. In the 1860s Frances Elizabeth Barrow took the children’s book market by storm with a series of tales featuring children and their animals. Early on, however, the practical aspect of miniature books yielded to the unconquerable urge to make small books even smaller, while maintaining, in the finer examples, the highest standards of the bookmaking art: fine bindings, exquisite calligraphy or typefaces, and vibrant color illustrations on expensive paper.

    In descending order, collectors categorize such books as macrominiatures (three to four inches in height), miniatures (one to three inches), microminiatures (one quarter-inch to one inch) and the greatest of the least, the ultramicrominiatures (less than one-quarter inch).

    Moveable type obviously aided the cause, but amazing feats were accomplished by calligraphers dipping pen in ink. Esther Inglis, a French Huguenot working in Edinburgh in the late 16th century, produced remarkable little books written in a simple, elegant script that, when magnified, turned out to consist of minute squiggles.

    When the hand eventually reached its limits, type designers took over. Henri Didot, a French engineer and engraver, created a two-and-a-half-point type in 1819, the smallest ever (this sentence is printed in 8.7-point type), only to be overtaken a half-century later by an Italian two-point type called occhio di mosca, or “fly’s eye,” first used in 1878 to print Dante’s “Divine Comedy” in a 499-page volume measuring 2 1/8 inches tall and 1 ½ inches wide.

    The two-point barrier still stands, but dimensions have continued to shrink. By a process of photo reduction over a seven-year period, a Worcester, Mass., publisher squeezed verses from “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” into a 1932 book measuring 4 millimeters by 6 millimeters (the required unit of measurement for miniature books, as a sixteenth of an inch is too large). In 1978 the Gleniffer Press of Paisley, Scotland, printed “Three Blind Mice” in a volume 2.1 millimeters square. Seven years later it produced an edition of “Old King Cole” precisely half as large.

    Yes, there are erotic miniature books. Less predictable are one-off editions like “1918-1923 German Hyperinflation,” a miniature book bound in a German banknote from the Weimar period, or James Lamar Weygand’s “Papers of Eastern Europe,” a travel book incorporating swatches of toilet paper from beyond the Iron Curtain. Like all miniature books, they pose an insoluble problem. For late-night reading how do you clip on the Itty Bitty Book Light?


"Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures" is at the Grolier Club of New York; 47 East 60th Street, Manhattan; 212-838-6990; Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. through July 28, 2007; Admission is free.

May 25, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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