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December 22, 2007

Johnnie Walker Bespoke Blend Experience


Lucia van der Post noted it in a December 7, 2007 Financial Times "How To Spend It" magazine supplement, writing, "For anybody looking for a present for somebody who loves whisky and who has £3,000 to spend, Johnnie Walker has come up with a splendid notion, The Bespoke Blend Experience — a tutored tasting, leading to a bottle of bespoke personally blended whisky, an experience that to the company's knowledge has never been offered outside a distillery before (only 10 available, exclusively through Selfridges). The blender will come to your home, where you can ask up to three friends. He brings with him some of the rarest single malts in the world, including malts from distilleries such as Cambus and Rosebank that are now closed, and after much sniffing and discussions as to whether one can detect the caramel, the fruitiness, the vanilla, whether it is floral or woody, one proceeds by a process of selection and elimination to a combination of the whiskies you like best."

When I get big — real big — I'm gonna order up The Bespoke Blend Experience for clifyt.

Selfridges telephone number (London, England): 020-7318 3939.


December 22, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pocket Level


Do your friends a favor and straighten their pictures next time you stop by.

From the website:

    Pocket Level

    Ideal for quick reference, it reads plumb and level as well as slopes of 45° and 60°.

    It is particularly useful for levelling picture frames to avoid arguments.

    The same size as a credit card, this level fits easily in a shirt pocket.

    The durable plastic housing measures 3-1/2" x 2-1/8" x 3/16" thick.

    The integral rule is metric with 1mm graduations.

    Made in Japan.


December 22, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

SurgeXperiences — 'Where we share our surgical experiences'


Jeffrey Leow just emailed to inform me that I'm on the blogroll (above) of this website.

The list of medical bloggers by specialty is the best one I've seen and might be useful for any number of reasons.

December 22, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mini Dynamo LED Flashlight


No more dead battery issues.

From the website:

Mini Dynamo Flashlight

It's hard to go wrong with this hand-crank flashlight.

Two minutes of cranking provides about 20 minutes of light, and you'll never have to worry about dead or leaking batteries.


At only 3-1/2" long by 2" wide by 1-1/4" thick with the crank folded for storage, it is ideal for keeping in a glove compartment, kitchen drawer, purse or backpack.

Its three bright LED bulbs are rated for 100,000 hours each, so they will never need replacing.



December 22, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Joseph Conrad's 'The Heart of Darkness' — As originally serialized in 1899


Part 1, as it appeared in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in February, 1899.

December 22, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nomis Heated Hoodie

Shred toasty.

That's hot.



December 22, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Move over, Moore and Taylor — welcome Garcia and Rodriguez


Sam Roberts' November 17, 2007 New York Times front page story brought the news that for the very first time ever, non-Anglo names have become among the 10 most common surnames in the nation.

Welcome Garcia (#8) and Rodriguez (#9), and congratulations to Martinez, which came in at #11, just barely shy of #10 Wilson.

Makes that idiotstick fence the U.S. is building across Arizona look even dumber than it already is.

Here's the Times article.

    In U.S. Name Count, Garcias Are Catching Up With Joneses

    Step aside Moore and Taylor. Welcome Garcia and Rodriguez.

    Smith remains the most common surname in the United States, according to a new analysis released yesterday by the Census Bureau. But for the first time, two Hispanic surnames — Garcia and Rodriguez — are among the top 10 most common in the nation, and Martinez nearly edged out Wilson for 10th place.

    The number of Hispanics living in the United States grew by 58 percent in the 1990s to nearly 13 percent of the total population, and cracking the list of top 10 names suggests just how pervasively the Latino migration has permeated everyday American culture.

    Garcia moved to No. 8 in 2000, up from No. 18, and Rodriguez jumped to No. 9 from 22nd place. The number of Hispanic surnames among the top 25 doubled, to 6.

    Compiling the rankings is a cumbersome task, in part because of confidentiality and accuracy issues, according to the Census Bureau, and it is only the second time it has prepared such a list. While the historical record is sketchy, several demographers said it was probably the first time that any non-Anglo name was among the 10 most common in the nation. “It’s difficult to say, but it’s probably likely,” said Robert A. Kominski, assistant chief of social characteristics for the census.

    Luis Padilla, 48, a banker who has lived in Miami since he arrived from Colombia 14 years ago, greeted the ascendance of Hispanic surnames enthusiastically.

    “It shows we’re getting stronger,” Mr. Padilla said. “If there’s that many of us to outnumber the Anglo names, it’s a great thing.”

    Reinaldo M. Valdes, a board member of the Miami-based Spanish American League Against Discrimination, said the milestone “gives the Hispanic community a standing within the social structure of the country.”

    “People of Hispanic descent who hardly speak Spanish are more eager to take their Hispanic last names,” he said. “Today, kids identify more with their roots than they did before.”

    Demographers pointed to more than one factor in explaining the increase in Hispanic surnames.

    Generations ago, immigration officials sometimes arbitrarily Anglicized or simplified names when foreigners arrived from Europe.

    “The movie studios used to demand that their employees have standard Waspy names,” said Justin Kaplan, an historian and co-author of “The Language of Names.”

    “Now, look at Renée Zellweger,” Mr. Kaplan said.

    And because recent Hispanic and Asian immigrants might consider themselves more identifiable by their physical characteristics than Europeans do, they are less likely to change their surnames, though they often choose Anglicized first names for their children.

    The latest surname count also signaled the growing number of Asians in America. The surname Lee ranked No. 22, with the number of Lees about equally divided between whites and Asians. Lee is a familiar name in China and Korea and in all its variations is described as the most common surname in the world.

    Altogether, the census found six million surnames in the United States. Among those, 151,000 were shared by a hundred or more Americans. Four million were held by only one person.

    “The names tell us that we’re a richly diverse culture,” Mr. Kominski said.

    But the fact that about 1 in every 25 Americans is named Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller or Davis “suggests that there’s a durability in the family of man,” Mr. Kaplan, the author, said. A million Americans share each of those seven names. An additional 268 last names are common to 10,000 or more people. Together, those 275 names account for one in four Americans.

    As the population of the United States ballooned by more than 30 million in the 1990s, more Murphys and Cohens were counted when the decade ended than when it began.

    Smith — which would be even more common if all its variations, like Schmidt and Schmitt, were tallied — is among the names derived from occupations (Miller, which ranks No. 7, is another). Among the most famous early bearers of the name was Capt. John Smith, who helped establish the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Va., 400 years ago. As recently as 1950, more Americans were employed as blacksmiths than as psychotherapists.

    In 1984, according to the Social Security Administration, nearly 3.4 million Smiths lived in the United States. In 1990, the census counted 2.5 million. By 2000, the Smith population had declined to fewer than 2.4 million. The durability of some of the most common names in American history may also have been perpetuated because slaves either adopted or retained the surnames of their owners. About one in five Smiths are black, as are about one in three Johnsons, Browns, and Joneses and nearly half the people named Williams.

    The Census Bureau’s analysis found that some surnames were especially associated with race and ethnicity.

    More than 96 percent of Yoders, Kruegers, Muellers, Kochs, Schwartzes, Schmitts and Novaks were white. Nearly 90 percent of the Washingtons were black, as were 75 percent of the Jeffersons, 66 percent of the Bookers, 54 percent of the Banks and 53 percent of the Mosleys.


The top ten surnames in the 2000 census:



The Times story has an interactive graphic that lets you search a list of the 5,000 most common surnames in the U.S., noting the occurrences/100,000 people, rank in 1990 and change in rank since 1990 of each of the top 5,000.

December 22, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

December 22, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

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