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June 30, 2007

Spend a night in a Frank Lloyd Wright house


Eve M. Kahn, in the June 14, 2007 New York Times Home & Garden section's "Currents" feature, wrote about a 1957 Frank Lloyd Wright house (above) near Pittsburgh that has just opened for tours and overnight stays.

Her story follows.

    A Night in the Home of the Master

    After a close brush with demolition and an arduous move from a Chicago suburb to a Pennsylvania forest, a 1957 house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright opens today for tours and overnight stays. Three years ago, Danic Homes, an Illinois developer, agreed to donate the house, below, to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, a nonprofit group that arranged for it to be dismantled. Then all the pieces — including mahogany siding and paneling, 1950s kitchen appliances and Danish teak furniture — were packed into trailers. “It was a major jigsaw puzzle,” said Thomas Papinchak, a builder who said he spent “close to seven figures” buying and reassembling the components at Polymath Park, a 125-acre resort he owns in Acme, Pa., near Pittsburgh, which was already home to two 1960s houses designed by Peter Berndtson, a Wright apprentice. The Duncan House, named after its original owners, sleeps six and costs $385 per night for three people, then $50 per night for each additional person. For information: www.polymathpark.com.

June 30, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bike Spoke LED Message & Pattern Light


Very, very cool.

From the website:

    Bike Spoke LED Message & Pattern Light

    This cool Bike Spoke LED Light with 36 graphic patterns and 5 messages will make you a biking attraction.

    It also shows riding time in hours, minutes and seconds and the number of riding cycles.

    The more lights, the more visibility and persistence of vision at lower speeds.

    Up to 6 Bike Spoke LED Lights can be placed on each wheel.

    2 look good, 3 look great and 4 or more look amazing.


    • Display sequence: Message, Patterns, Time of Riding, Number of Rounds, Patterns

    • Fits on bike with a wheel diameter of 20" or greater

    • Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included)

    • Display changes every 3 seconds

    • 14 blue LED lights

    • Waterproof

    • 7" long




June 30, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

It's later than you think: Poodwaddle (say what?) World Clock


Just in from Russ Thomson, my doughty L.A. correspondent, this nifty page.

Russ sent a cryptic message along with the link, to wit: "Don't hit the 'Now' button."

Well jeez, Russ, c'mon — what's the first thing any self-disrespecting joehead's gonna do after reading that?


Too bad, 'cause he was right.

It's been real, gang....

June 30, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack



As envisioned by Dick Locher, the Chicago Tribune's superb editorial cartoonist.

Roll video.

June 30, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'A fragile Stonehenge' — The eery riverbed sculptures of Peter Riedel


Omar El Akkad, in yesterday's Globe and Mail, wrote about the eerily balanced riverbed sculptures (above) of Peter Riedel, a professional photographer who wades for hours at a stretch in Toronto's Humber River seeking just the right stones to painstakingly counterbalance atop one another without any adhesive or cement, creating a "fragile Stonehenge."

The article follows.

    Rock Sculptures Rise From the River

    Toronto man creates his gravity-defying formations as a form of meditation

    A balance-field pierces the river; rock upon rock teetering precariously between art and avalanche.

    In an ankle-deep stretch of running water, where the Humber River scythes through Etienne Brule Park, Peter Riedel builds statues from riverbed stones. For hours on end, he wades around looking for raw material. He spends hours more fighting physics, as he painstakingly counterweighs the rocks to create a fragile Stonehenge.

    The end result borders on illusion — dozens of delicately balanced towers climbing out of the river, some up to 1.5 metres tall. Most look like they just shouldn't be: an upside down L-shaped slab the size of a bodybuilder's arm atop a series of smaller rocks; a half-dozen stones resting in a playing-card pyramid. At the right time of day, the sunlight bounces off a nearby building's solar panels and casts the whole gallery in a perfect lens flare. The effect leaves the endless parade of joggers mesmerized — by the time most people get to the park, the artist is long gone and only the towers and the trees are left.

    Mr. Riedel, 47, is not a professional artist. He was not commissioned or asked to do this. The days he dedicates to creating these works of gravity are, he says, a form of peace.

    "I get lots of thank yous, but it's not my reason for doing it," he said. "It's a way to unwind and meditate — the positive response is just a bonus."

    The most common question Mr. Riedel fields when he's spotted putting these statues together is what sort of adhesive he uses. But there is none, only calm hands and a series of impeccable balance points.

    This hobby was born of nostalgia. Originally from Montreal, Mr. Riedel spent some time living in land-locked Atlanta, before coming to Toronto four years ago.

    "I missed living near the water," he said. "When I came to Toronto, the first place I started hanging out was Sunnyside Beach."

    With Lake Ontario ahead of him and the cityscape to his back, Mr. Riedel began building his statues at Sunnyside, copying an artist he'd seen in Vancouver's English Bay.

    He found his newest canvas last week by accident. "I was shooting some real estate at the Old Mill Inn," Mr. Riedel, a photographer by trade, says, "and I discovered the mecca of rocks."

    Over the next three days, he put in seven hours creating a stunt course for the seagulls.

    Last Friday, Stephen LeBlanc was walking through Etienne Brule when he caught sight of the balancing stones for the first time. The professional designer said he had never seen anything like it.

    "I was just stunned," Mr. LeBlanc said. "It's so site-specific — it lifts right out of riverbed. You can't do that in just any old place."

    It wasn't just the sheer number of rock formations jutting out of the water that struck Mr. LeBlanc, or the variety of design — it was the spontaneity of it all.

    "This is so informal. It's just one guy who felt like doing this, it's not like some patron hired a sculptor."

    Yesterday, most everyone who walked past the statues during the lunch-hour break was pleasantly surprised.

    The lone negative comment came from a power-walker, who proclaimed as he passed briskly by: "I think it's hideous; what's wrong with nature? They look like pagan idols."

    Inevitably, Mr. Riedel's sculptures will come crashing down. The park's very mechanics — everything from a strong breeze to a distracted bird — can prove fatal. Sometimes collapse comes at the hands of a dumbfounded onlooker, who simply can't believe the rocks aren't fused together.

    Mr. Riedel doesn't mind.

    "It gives me a clean slate."


[via Marybeth Shea and minxterbloom]

June 30, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Leaf Shade — Pop-Up Sunshade


From the website:

Leaf Shade Pop-Up Sunshade

• Folds up compact — easy to take along to beach, park, camping or picnic

• Pop-up extended "leaf" keeps you covered from the sun

• Comes with nylon carry bag and shoulder strap

• Sand anchor and beach chair clip included


• UV and reflective coating for sun protection

• Elastic corded poles with adjustable heights

• Leaf canopy dimensions (open): 38"W x 51"L

• Carry bag: 16" x 11".

• Green



June 30, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Snack Attack Epidemic in Virginia: Twinkie Defense Won't Fly


Just in, news of the third known road rage case this past year in Virginia involving a fast-food item hurled at another motorist.

Bill Brubaker's story in today's Washington Post has the details, and follows.

    Commuter Charged in Route 1 Snack Attack

    A lane change.

    A finger.

    And — splat! — a Dairy Queen Blizzard.

    Those are just the facts, ma'am, as authorities in Virginia unravel the third known road rage case in a year involving a fast-food item hurled at a motorist.

    Spotsylvania County authorities arrested Latasha M. Johnson, 25, of Stafford on Wednesday after she allegedly threw a Blizzard Flavor Treat at another car on Route 1 in Massaponax, just south of Fredericksburg.

    Johnson was charged with throwing a missile at an occupied vehicle, a felony charge that attracted national attention when another 25-year-old woman was convicted of the same offense in January.

    That caper came to be known as the "McMissile" case, because the item in question was a large McDonald's cup filled with ice.

    The Blizzard incident has some of the same markings as that of the McMissile, although Johnson was in the passenger's seat when she allegedly vented her anger.

    Jessica Hall of Jacksonville, N.C., said she threw the McDonald's cup in frustration last July 2 when a driver cut in front of her twice on I-95 in Stafford County. The unemployed mother of three whose Marine husband was serving in Iraq became an object of sympathy from people across the nation who felt her jail sentence — two years — was too harsh. She ended up serving seven weeks before being released to her family and a crush of media.

    Two days after she got out of the slammer, a Loudoun County man was charged with tossing a cup of coffee from his car into another vehicle, then briefly fighting with the other driver at a Fairfax County intersection.

    Wednesday's incident unfolded about 5:15 p.m. when the alleged victim — a 30-year-old woman driving a Ford Explorer — changed from the right lane to the left on the part of Route 1 known as Jefferson Davis Highway.

    The woman looked in her rearview mirror and noticed the driver of an Oldsmobile making an obscene gesture at her.

    "She was giving her the, ah, finger gesture," a Spotsylvania sheriff's spokeswoman, Sgt. Liz Enslen, said yesterday.

    The Explorer driver, whose name was not released by the sheriff's office, quickly responded.

    "She gave her the gesture back," Enslen said.

    The Oldsmobile driver apparently followed the Explorer driver into a nearby subdivision, where Johnson allegedly threw a cup of Blizzard out of the Oldsmobile's front passenger window.

    The ice cream-and-candy treat smeared parts of the Explorer, including the hood and driver's-side door, authorities said.

    Enslen said she did not know the flavor of the Blizzard that Johnson tossed.

    The Explorer driver wrote down the Oldsmobile's license plate number, then phoned the sheriff's office. Deputy Brian Hammond responded, took a report and contacted the owner of the Oldsmobile, who gave him Johnson's name.

    "The woman who was driving the Oldsmobile said that the victim cut her off when she switched from the right lane to the left lane," Enslen said. "And that, I think, is what made them angry enough to, you know, give that gesture."

    Johnson told Hammond that she threw the Blizzard and was arrested, Enslen said. She appeared before a magistrate Wednesday night and was released on $2,000 bond. Possible sentences include one to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine, authorities said.

    Johnson did not respond to a message left on her home answering machine yesterday. Virginia driving records show she has paid fines for driving with an expired registration in 2001 and for speeding four times between 2000 and 2003.

    The alleged victim declined a request for an interview yesterday.



It's not a jungle out there — it's a blizzard.

June 30, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'I'm in love with these apples' — Flautist on the Pink Lady


I've been softening her up for years and this past Wednesday, June 27, 2007, she finally caved.

You can run, Flautist — but you can't hide (at least, not forever).

Without further ado, then, her very first bookofjoe post.

You know, totally against my nature, lately I've been paying attention to all this food and cooking stuff. I've even been mining the posts of yesteryear, looking at the stuff I originally ignored.

And so, with the brash confidence that only an idiot newcomer to the world of thinking about food for longer than it takes to heat it up could exhibit, I'd like to highly recommend to your millions of fans the greatest apple on earth: the Pink Lady [above and below].

A gorgeous pinky-magenta-yellow outside with a white-to-cream inside, a heavenly aroma before and during peeling, a dense equally sweet and tart chew, they're lovely. The real genuine Pink Ladies wear little stickers with pink hearts. They have web sites and everything. I'm in love with these apples.


Let's make sure she doesn't make this her last post ever by giving her a worldwide bookofjoe cheer... how's it go, anyway... anyone remember?

June 30, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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