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December 26, 2007

bookofjoe World Exclusive: Burger King 'King' is a Woman!


You read it here first.

The world's most annoying corporate symbol always occasions an instantaneous "Mute" response on my remote when a commercial featuring "him" appears.

The other day I happened to look carefully at "his" stockinged legs below "his" king's robe as "he" scurried away from yet another on-screen debacle.

To my shock (no awe) and amazement, it appeared obvious that those were a woman's legs — not those of a man.


Burger King?




December 26, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Spoon Wars — Episode 3: Revenge of the Sauce


Episode 1 back on January 16, 2006 introduced two contenders — the Ladle Cradle and the Drip Clip — for the title of king of the dripcatchers.

Then came Episode 2 on February 23, 2006, the invention of a Cook's Illustrated reader, with a rather novel take: an edible spoonrest.

Today marks the third in an apparently unending series of attempts to create the perfect spoonholder.

This one, however, comes highly recommended by the gimlet-eyed testers at Cook's Illustrated, who had the following to say about it in the "Equipment Corner" feature of the latest (September/October 2007) issue.

    Utensil Pot Clip

    Preparing soups, stews, and sautés with the kind of regular attention they need means keeping a stirring utensil on hand. A spoon rest can hold stirring utensils, but food can dribble off spoons and spatulas as you take them from the pot. The Trudeau Utentil Pot Clips ($13.50 for a set of two) keep drippy spoons and spatulas suspended over the food and actually do reduce mess at the stovetop. The silicone-covered stainless-steel pincher gripped the straight edge of a Dutch oven, saucepan, and sauté pan nicely, but it was a bit less sturdy on a slope-sided skillet.


Yellow, Green, Red or Blue.

$6.99 each here.

Black: $7.95.

December 26, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Removing Refrigerator Odors


David Pazmiño's "Quick Tips" item in the January, 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine follows.

    Removing Refrigerator Odors

    Mary LeBrun of Raymond, Maine, came up with a technique that works better than baking soda to deodorize a refrigerator. She places a handful of charcoal briquettes in a disposable plastic container (with no lid) in the refrigerator or freezer. Once the offending smell has dissipated, she simply discards the container.


Think outside the refrigerator: this method should work equally well in any relatively small, enclosed space such as a car or bathroom.

December 26, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Inflatable Snowman Limbo Kit


Just named Official Limbo Kit of Greenland.

From the website:

    Inflatable Snowman Limbo Kit

    Here‘s proof positive you don't have to be at a luau to limbo!

    Keep all those elves busy at the Christmas party with this fun and inflatable snowman limbo kit.

    Each vinyl set includes 2 freestanding 6-ft. poles, each with a snowman Santa motif, and a 6-ft. limbo stick.


December 26, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Help Wanted: Nitpicker ($50/hour)



Read Elizabeth Agnvall's December 18, 2007 Washington Post Health section front page story and learn how you — armed only with a barbecue skewer and a fine-toothed metal comb — can earn more picking nits out of kids' hair than you do in your current job.

Bonus: With this one you'll never be "right-sized" — nits, like cockroaches, will survive whatever goes down.

Here's the article.

    Lice Work, If You Can Get It

    The world is full of lousy jobs, but Karen Franco just might have one of the lousiest. As a professional nitpicker, the 45-year-old Silver Spring woman spends a good part of her week searching for live lice in hair and their tiny eggs, called nits.

    Armed with a fine-toothed metal comb, wooden barbecue skewers (to part the hair and clean the comb), magnifying glass, head lamp and scissors, she answers up to seven calls a week from parents desperate to rid their households of the parasites.

    Franco has been busy lately — some say, with reason. Lice complaints peak in December and January, according to University of Florida entomologist Phil Koehler, perhaps because that's when the pests reach a critical mass in school or kids are more apt to get cuddly with friends and relatives. (Harvard School of Public Health entomologist Richard Pollack dismisses "lice season" as a myth. New year "increases" probably stem from stepped-up head checks after holiday vacations, he says.)

    Franco, a part-time art teacher, stumbled into debugging 10 years ago when lice invaded her oldest daughter's third-grade class. Dissatisfied with the school's lice control measures, Franco and eight other parents got permission to screen all the children. They found lice or nits on about a third of them, including her daughter.

    "That day was horrifying," she says. Her 2-year-old had lice as well. "From that point on, somebody had to step up, and we needed to deal with it correctly. It became a personal mission." Franco turned herself into the go-to person for lice advice in her school and community.

    Between 6 million and 12 million children nationally, most between ages 6 and 12, are estimated to have lice infestations each year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because lice cases don't have to be reported to state departments of health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's impossible to know how many Washington area children are affected. But one statistic suggests how common the problem is locally: Montgomery County records show that 1,356 students required treatment for lice last year, up from 1,073 the year before. For the past five weeks, Goshen Elementary School in Gaithersburg has battled an outbreak affecting more than 45 children and 27 staff members.

    Today, Franco gets $50 an hour for her fine-toothed combing. She says she has seen everything from one tiny nit on a scalp to cases "where the entire head is a moving mass of bugs."

    While hers might seem an unpopular profession, some major cities are, well, fairly crawling with professional nitpickers. Hair Fairies is dedicated to outing lice in Los Angeles, its home town; the business also has salons in San Francisco, New York and Chicago.

    Maggie Prieto met Franco this spring after her third-grade daughter was sent home from Lafayette Elementary in Northwest Washington with lice. By the time she called Franco, Prieto had already tried an over-the-counter lice treatment, a comb-through and prescription Ovide, which she used despite her worries that the active ingredient, malathion, was toxic.

    (Many parents share such worries, judging from conversations with more than a dozen parents who have battled lice in the past year. That, plus a conviction that lice have become resistant to over-the-counter medications, has led some to turn to unproven treatments.)

    Several weeks later, the vermin reappeared. Prieto's youngest daughter, in pre-kindergarten, got lice, and so did Prieto.

    "I'm thinking, how the heck am I going to treat myself?" she says.

    Another Lafayette parent told her about Franco, who swept into the Prieto household with her color-coded nit-picking system.

    First, Franco uses the barbecue skewers to check the whole head for lice or nits. Then, working outside when weather permits, she divides the hair into small sections and puts small rubber hair bands around each. Next, she dips her comb in rubbing alcohol and begins weeding the insects out, slipping a colored band on each section that's nit- and bug-free. When she finds a nit, she snips off the strand. She chats reassuringly all the while.

    She advised Prieto of her recommended routine: Wash and dry all bedding, pillows and towels, vacuum the mattress, house and car seats. Sterilize combs and brushes with alcohol or by boiling in water. Put all bedding in the dryer for 20 minutes every day after that for two weeks — it's the heat that kills the lice — and do a cleaning (including vacuuming) every third day. (The CDC recommends somewhat less stringent cleaning.)

    Franco advised Prieto to re-treat a week later, using herbal products she sold her: one that claims to dissolve nit glue, a sticky substance that binds nits to hair; and another that's said to kill the lice after it's left on the head one to two hours. Then, she told Prieto, comb thoroughly with a nit comb while the products are in the hair. Next, wash the products out, first with dishwashing liquid and then shampoo. Comb twice a day and re-treat if you see more nits.

    "To have somebody who is willing to do this for money and is very good at it, is totally worth it to me," Prieto said. "I found her services to be really invaluable."

    Several studies suggest that lice have developed increased resistance to permethrin, the most common active ingredient in OTC treatments.

    In 2002, University of Miami researchers found that, after the recommended application time of 10 minutes, Nix killed 3 to 5 percent of lice, while Rid killed 8 percent after 20 minutes. By contrast, prescription Ovide, which contains the insecticide malathion, killed 88 percent at 10 minutes. Lindane shampoo killed only 2 percent of lice at 20 minutes. When the Miami researchers compared their results to similar 1986 and 2000 studies, they found Ovide was the only product that had not become less effective.

    Resistance can be compounded by failure to follow treatment instructions.

    Alternative remedies, such as the natural oils that Franco recommends, are largely unproven. Some experts also caution that such products don't have to meet Food and Drug Administration safety standards.

    "There's not a body of evidence out there that would satisfy scrutiny that the stuff is efficacious or safe," says Harvard's Pollack.

    He recommends parents start with an over-the-counter treatment and use it as recommended. If that doesn't work, he advises a prescription product that contains a different insecticide, because "resistance to one insecticide doesn't necessarily mean resistance to another."

    Pollack warns that misdiagnoses and mismanagement of lice infestations are common. The maniacal household cleaning such as that recommended by Franco is overkill, he says. Pollack also wants to dispel the notion that head lice are associated with filth, poor parenting or poor housekeeping.

    "Lice don't give a damn," he says. "First, they want human blood. Second, they need a way to gain purchase to their favorite spot, the head hair. They don't care how many times a day you vacuum."

    So, is hiring a nitpicker worth your while?

    Koehler says it could be, depending on skill and speed. "The kids don't want to sit still for long." Pollack is skeptical.

    "If people have the financial sources and desire to hire people to do this, fine," he says, adding, "I'm not convinced that some of these nitpickers know what they are doing or are successful."

    Franco shrugs off the criticism. Her clients recognize, she says, that bringing in an outsider can help ease the tension that can seize a household after an outbreak. "Sometimes your kids are more receptive to an adult who is not Mom," she says.

    And once she's on the case, she adds, she's confident the critters won't get away. "At a certain point, there's nowhere left to run. I can anticipate where they are going to go."


Below, a sidebar which accompanied the Post article.

    About Lice

    What are lice? Adult head lice (Pediculosis capitis) are parasites that are 2 to 3 millimeters long, about the size of a sesame seed and usually pale gray. Nits, their eggs, are about 1 millimeter long — hard to see with the naked eye. A female louse lays about 10 eggs per day, attaching them to hair with a glue. A nymph hatches from its egg after about eight days. Lice feed only on humans, not pets or other animals.

    Who gets them? An estimated 6 million to 12 million children get head lice each year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics; Harvard public health entomologist Richard Pollack estimates the number is much smaller. African Americans are less likely than others to be infested with lice. Prevalence is not related to cleanliness. Head lice should not be confused with body lice or pubic lice.

    What are the symptoms? Primarily itching. As the lice suck blood from the scalp, they inject saliva into the wound, which causes an allergic reaction.

    How are they spread? Lice cannot hop or fly; they crawl. Transmission mostly occurs by head-to-head contact. Much less frequently, lice are spread by combs, brushes and hats.

    Standard treatment: Over-the-counter treatments include A-200, Pronto, R&C, Rid and Triple X with pyrethrins, often combined with piperonyl butoxide, and Nix with permethrin. Prescription treatments include Ovide, which contains malathion (for ages 6 and older) and lindane shampoo (prescribed with caution in patients less than 110 pounds; seizures reported after excess dosage).

    Alternative treatments: Pollack says the oils commonly used in natural treatments may have insecticidal qualities but haven't been carefully studied for lice treatment in humans, and concentrations aren't regulated. There's no clinical evidence that petroleum jelly, mayonnaise, margarine or olive oil smother lice on human heads. Studies on effectiveness of frequent combing alone have found most combers fail to get all the nits. A second treatment is often necessary, about 10 days after the first, because some eggs may survive the first treatment.

    For more information

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/lice/default.htm.

    • Harvard School of Public Health, www.hsph.harvard.edu/headlice.html.

    • American Academy of Pediatrics, www.aap.org. For information on the effectiveness on treatments and resistance, see the AAP's clinical report on head lice published in the journal Pediatrics in 2002.

December 26, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Kitten Throw


That's one big kitty.

From the website:

    Kitten Throw

    You'll love cuddling up in this adorable, snuggly soft throw.

    In velvety soft, plush polyester fleece with an irresistible "sleeping kitten" design.

    Generously sized with a blanket-stitched edge, it's great as a blanket on your bed and charming as a throw over your chair or couch.

    Purrfect for cat lovers!

    Machine washable.

    60"W x 50"L.


December 26, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

ElevatorRadioShow.com — 'A Podcast dedicated to the elevator industry'


It's a weekly show about everything elevator (and escalator) related.

Life in the slow lane (stops on every floor).

December 26, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Official bookofjoe Attaché



From the website:

    If Something Happens To Me Workbook and Organizer

    Prepare your family for the unexpected with this workbook and organizer.

    Designed by an estate planning attorney and financial planner, this workbook contains space to record the details relating to your assets, liabilities, insurance, wills and estate plans; a comprehensive document locator system; a step-by-step guide to applying for Social Security and other government benefits; guidance on protecting yourself with Durable Powers of Attorney should you become incapacitated; and much more.

    The bright green organizer is a generous 13" x 14" expandable file folder with separate tabs and pockets for your most important documents.


Alas, they won't sell you the organizer by itself; you have to plunk down $40 for the organizer + workbook.


December 26, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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