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January 11, 2008

We get email: From Cathy Yingling for Ugly Mug Coffee of Memphis, Tennessee


It came in at 3:03:25 p.m. ET yesterday, and follows.

    Hi there,

    We’d like to send you a sample of new Ugly Mug coffee. Founded in Memphis, Ugly Mug is now available everywhere through its website, www.uglymugcoffee.com. It’s fair trade, organic and totally unpretentious.

    Please let me know if there is an address where we can send you a sample.



    Cathy Yingling
    Y&L PR
    407 N. Fulton St.
    Indianapolis, IN 46202
    Ph: 317-264-5860


Yingling — there's a name to conjure with.

I had my crack research team explore Ugly Mug Coffee's website and they told me it was pretty cool.

If you're ever in Memphis stop by and mention I sent you: that oughta elicit the sound of silence.

And if you're in Indy and clifyt's not in, don't hesitate to stop by Y&L PR on Fulton Street and say hi to Cathy for me.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

That's precisely what you'll hear after you introduce yourself.

Get over it.

January 11, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Alien Flashlight


From websites:

Alien Flashlight

With near-universal appeal to children (and most adults!), this sleek LED light playfully resembles an alien head — complete with ominously radiant oval eyes and a chin that glows brilliant blue to illuminate shadowed areas and darkened paths.


Easily carried in a pocket or clipped to a key chain, belt loop or backpack with the integral carabiner-style clip, it runs on two button-cell batteries (included) and has a pressure-sensitive power switch.

It comes in a cool presentation case shaped like a flying saucer.

The light stays on for 10 seconds, then shuts off.



January 11, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Back in the day


Nowadays we call it "Brutane" — don't ask.

You really don't want to know.

Trust me....

January 11, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Office Multi-Tool


So visually unappealing I couldn't resist.

From websites:

    Office Multi-Tool

    Incredibly useful, conveniently compact and easily portable in briefcase, bag or pocket for business travel.

    This tool functions as a calculator, stapler, paper clip holder, scissors and 39" tape measure.

    Lets you work efficiently when out of the office.

    2.75" x 4.25" x 1.25".

    Battery included.

    Flip-open case.

    Silver finish.


January 11, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eastern Promises: A History of Violence, Part 2


Consider that both films star Viggo Mortensen and were directed by David Cronenberg.

This one is very bloody, vicious and downright terrifying in parts, in no small part because of the frighteningly intense, realistic portraits of Russian mafiya members played by Mortensen and Vincent Cassel.

Having said that, it's a wonderful film, twisty and graced with impeccable performances by Naomi Watts and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

This is the first HD movie I've ever watched on a full 1080p 16:9 plasma display — but it won't be the last.

Movie theaters are in big, big trouble.

January 11, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

LP to iPod Converter


Interesting mashup.

From the website:

    LP to iPod Converter

    This belt-driven turntable converts and saves your prized vinyl LPs in MP3 format directly to a 5th Generation iPod or 2nd Generation iPod Nano connected to the built-in dock.

    In addition to providing high-speed vinyl audio conversion to MP3, the turntable plays LPs at 33-1/3 and 45 rpm speeds (adapter included), and its adjustable anti-skating control provides increased stereo balancing.

    It can also plug directly into your computer with its included USB cable, allowing you to convert your LPs to MP3 using the included recording software (PC/Mac) for the removal of scratches, hisses, and pops, but will operate with any software that supports USB audio input sound cards.

    Includes 1/8" RCA output and cable for connection to a stereo system equipped with either a CD or AUX input.

    20-1/4"W x 17"D x 3"H x.


$259.95 (iPod and LP not included).

January 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Gephyrophobia

Long story short: Gephyrophobia is a fear of bridges.

I learned that in the fourth paragraph of Lisa W. Foderaro's interesting story in the January 8, 2007 New York Times about the condition and problems which result.

Here's the Times story.

    To Gephyrophobiacs, Bridges Are a Terror

    The Verrazano-Narrows bridge has been called a study in grace.

    For Jan Steers, it was a study in terror.

    Even thinking about driving across the 4,260-foot suspension span made her start to feel dizzy, made her heart race, her breath tightening into short rapid gasps.

    Mrs. Steers, 47, suffered from a little-known disorder called gephyrophobia, a fear of bridges. And she had the misfortune of living in a region with 26 major bridges, whose heights and spans could turn an afternoon car ride into a rolling trip through a haunted house.

    Some people go miles out of their way to avoid crossing the George Washington Bridge — for example, driving to Upper Manhattan from Teaneck, N.J., by way of the Lincoln Tunnel, a detour that can stretch a 19-minute jog into a three-quarter-hour ordeal. Other bridge phobics recite baby names or play the radio loudly as they ease onto a nerve-jangling span — anything to focus the mind. Still others take a mild tranquilizer an hour before buckling up to cross a bridge.

    The Tappan Zee Bridge, rising more than 150 feet over the Hudson River, appears to inspire particular panic — so much so that New York State offers the skittish a chauffeur who will transport them across the span.

    Similar rescue measures are provided in other places around the country with especially fearsome bridges. Authorities at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, for example, will dispatch a tow truck to pull panic-stricken drivers to the other side. The Mackinac Bridge, connecting Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas, provides a transport service like the Tappan Zee’s. Mrs. Steers’s phobia was so severe that she was virtually trapped on Staten Island for 13 years. She missed her brother’s wedding in Brooklyn. She sent her husband and two children off on family vacations without her. She had never seen her sister’s house at the Jersey Shore.

    “Every time I thought about going over a bridge I would get terrible, terrible anxiety,” said Mrs. Steers, 47, a former nursing home housekeeper. “That’s when my world started getting smaller and smaller.”

    Dr. Michael R. Liebowitz, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, said that while fear of flying is widely accepted, especially in the wake of Sept. 11, the fear of crossing bridges is less well known and still “carries a stigma.”

    There are no exact numbers of how many people suffer from the disorder, he said, adding that it is not only common but treatable.

    “It’s not an isolated phobia, but usually part of a larger constellation,” said Dr. Liebowitz, founder of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. “It’s people who get panic attacks. You get light-headed, dizzy; your heart races. You become afraid that you’ll feel trapped.”

    The flip side of bridge phobia, which experts say is often related to a fear of heights or open spaces, is a dread of driving through tunnels, more often linked to claustrophobia, experts say. Some people suffer from one fear or the other; some struggle with both. Whatever the cause, such phobias lead to panicky feelings that sufferers go to great lengths to avoid, grinding normal routines to a halt.

    In the case of Mrs. Steers, who in the last three months has finally ventured off Staten Island (with the help of behavioral therapy and medication), her bridge-and-tunnel phobia was paralyzing. For others, the fear of bridges becomes simply a somewhat embarrassing, highly uncomfortable backdrop to their lives.

    Jane Cameron, a 60-year-old bereavement counselor and artist in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., loathes driving over bridges, but she has not let it stop her. Nor has she sought help. For a time, she even had to drive across the Tappan Zee every weekend en route to a country house she and her husband, Jamie, owned in Sullivan County. “I would just grin and bear it,” she said.

    She traces her lifelong fear to an early childhood experience. “One of my first memories was going over the Brooklyn Bridge with my parents and looking out the window and thinking, ‘Holy cow. It’s just me and the water and not enough in between,’” she said. “I do have a feeling that I was pushed off a high bridge in a past life.”

    Her fear of bridges was put to the ultimate test in March when the couple traveled to New Zealand, going on a trek through the mountains. She was forced to walk across a dozen pedestrian bridges that wobbled high above the ground as a storm raged.

    “It was straight out of my worst nightmare,” she said. “I was practically sick to my stomach. It was howling wind and rain, and there were swinging wooden bridges with slats that were really, really high up. Nobody else seemed to be as scared as I was.”

    In hindsight, Ms. Cameron said, imagining the worst was therapeutic. “I felt really good about it,” she said.

    Then there are those who seem to have the most difficulty with bridges while on foot, whether a simple downtown overpass or an interior walkway. Vicki Shipkowitz, who works for a software company in San Francisco, attributes her bridge jitters to a fear of heights. The more vivid the view from the bridge, the greater her discomfort.

    One place she hates to tread is a metal walkway leading to an exhibition space on the sixth floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Ms. Shipkowitz is a member of the board of directors of ArtSpan, a nonprofit arts organization, and she finds herself at the museum at least once a month.

    “It’s got metal slats and you look all the way down to the ground floor,” she said of the walkway. “I literally close my eyes and have someone lead me across. If I go on my own, I don’t go across the bridge.”

    In the New York region, the New York Thruway Authority will lead bridge phobics over the Tappan Zee, the longest span in the state. A reluctant driver can call the authority in advance and arrange to be driven across the bridge in his or her own car by a patrol operator. The authority receives a half dozen such requests a year, officials there say.

    Ramesh Mehta, a division director for the authority, said the service helped prevent situations in which a phobic driver might get stuck mid-span. “It is very dangerous to stop the car right there on the bridge, because the traffic is so great and somebody can get rear-ended,” he said.

    Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said that the agency did not have a policy in place to escort drivers through the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels or across its four bridges, including the George Washington.

    For those determined to conquer — or at least tame — their fears, however, there is ample help available: phobia workshops, exposure therapy, mental tricks, medication, self-help books.

    “Once you finally decide to fight it, you have to make sure you have the proper tools in your bag,” said a 35-year-old financial services executive in Fairfield County in Connecticut, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize her work. For years, she avoided planes, trains, tunnels and traffic jams. Sept. 11 intensified her fears. “It’s the whole trapped feeling you get,” she said. “That’s the consistent vibe.”

    In the last year, she began treatment at the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center at White Plains Hospital Center, starting first with trains and recently moving on to tunnels. In the last few months, she successfully traversed the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, with her counselor at her side.

    Among her “tools” were such distractions as reciting baby names, reading license plates backward and listening for words on the radio starting with the letter A. “You want to engage your brain in another activity,” she said.

    After many false starts, Mrs. Steers of Staten Island realized that she needed more than distractions to help her overcome her bridge phobia. For several years, in addition to receiving therapy through Freedom From Fear, a nonprofit mental health organization based on Staten Island, she had taken an antidepressant to relieve her anxiety. Still, she could not approach a bridge.

    “Just the thought of going over a bridge would give me a panic attack,” she said. “My husband and kids came to accept it, but it wasn’t easy. Two years ago, I said I’ve had enough. I can’t keep doing this.”

    Mary Guardino, founder and executive director of Freedom From Fear, knew about Mrs. Steers’s struggles. Mrs. Guardino herself had suffered from panic attacks for years, once abandoning her car on the Brooklyn Bridge and fleeing. “I said, ‘Take the tranquilizer, come to my office and I’ll take you over the Bayonne Bridge,’” she said, recalling a conversation with Mrs. Steers.

    On Sept. 20, Mrs. Steers took a small dose of Ativan, a tranquilizer, and got in the car with Mrs. Guardino, who was the driver, and a nurse. She was armed with a video recorder to tape her ride. “I went off Staten Island for the first time in 13 years, and I did O.K.,” she said.

    She has since crossed several bridges with her husband, driving the car herself three times. She has gone shopping in Brooklyn and finally visited the house in Red Bank, N.J., where her sister has lived for nine years, surprising her one day on the doorstep. Still on the horizon are her brother’s house in Tappan, N.Y., and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

    “Oh, God,” she said. “Tunnels are even worse. I haven’t been to Manhattan yet. That’s another thing on the list. But my ultimate goal is going on vacation with my husband.”


Above and below,

Thomas Heatherwick's Rolling Bridge at Paddington Basin in London.

It operates every Friday at 12 noon.

January 11, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Upside-Down Sprayer — Works in any position


Can your spray bottle do that?

Didn't think so.

From the website:

    Spray-Right Plug-In

    Get every drop out — and spray at any angle

    Tired of not being able to use that last ounce of spray cleaner?

    The highly flexible, weighted Spray-Right dip-tube makes that frustration a thing of the past, turning any bottle into a 360-degree sprayer.

    Get more out of your bottle by replacing its tube with the Spray-Right Plug-In.

    Works in any tall spray bottle up to 9", or cut to fit into smaller bottles.



Very cool.

Set of 3 Spray-Right Plug-Ins: $4.95.

January 11, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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