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January 16, 2008

Nora Ephron asks, 'Is Google the end of conversation as we know it?'


The final paragraph of her Op-Ed page essay in this past Sunday's New York Times made a good case for it, and follows.

    The Chicken Soup Chronicles

    I love Google. I love everything about it. I love the verb Google and I love the noun and sometimes I can even use the word as an adjective. For a long time, I liked to think there would some day be a person called the Google, a mixture of a researcher, an assistant and a butler, who would stand by ready to ride to the rescue at all Google moments. No more desperately trying to come up with the name of that movie Jeremy Irons was in, which lurks like a hologram while everyone makes stabs at figuring out what on earth it was called. We can never remember the name of that movie, the one about Claus von Bulow, but never mind — the Google is here. The Google will find the answer. But as it turns out, no Google is necessary. Somebody has a BlackBerry. The answer is seconds away! It’s here! The movie was called “Reversal of Fortune!” What a fantastic relief! On the other hand, I have to say, there was something romantic about the desperate search for an answer. On the road to trying to remember the name of Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, for instance, you might find yourself having a brief but diverting chat about Alger Hiss’s wife, which might in turn get you to a story about Whittaker Chambers’s teeth, which might in turn get you to Time magazine, which might in turn get you to Friday nights at Time magazine back in the old days, which might in turn get you to sex. This meandering had its charms. It was, in fact, what used to be known as conversation. But no more. Instead, we have the answer. Ethel Rosenberg’s brother was named David Greenglass. And that’s that. So: is it possible that Google will mean the end of conversation as we know it?

January 16, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Burn This: Hershey's Candle


From the website:

    Hershey's Syrup Candle

    Imagine the delectable aroma of Hershey's chocolate syrup — only with zero calories and no guilt!

    Tantalizing candle smells so much like the real thing, you might want to hide the spoons!

    Burn time: approximately 65-70 hours.


January 16, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Vincent Grupposo, Creator of Kozy Shack Rice Pudding Empire, is Dead at 67


He died at his home in East Hampton, New York on December 29, 2007.

Dennis Hevesi's January 11, 2007 New York Times obituary related a tale of serendipity.

Long story short: Grupposo, while making his rounds in Brooklyn in the mid-1960s as an Arnold Bread Company delivery man, happened on the Cozy (with a C) Shack delicatessen on Seneca Avenue, tasted its creamy rice pudding, and took it from there.

Here's the Times obituary.

    Vincent Gruppuso, 67, Seller of Pudding Snacks, Dies

    Vincent Gruppuso, the founder of Kozy Shack Enterprises, a company in Hicksville, Long Island, that sells millions of four-ounce cups of pudding, particularly rice pudding, at supermarkets in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe, died Dec. 29 at his home in East Hampton, N.Y. He was 67.

    The cause was complications of diabetes, said his son-in-law Michael Caridi.

    Mr. Gruppuso was a bread delivery man making his rounds in Brooklyn in the mid-1960s when he took a break at one of his stops, the Cozy (with a C) Shack delicatessen on Seneca Avenue and tasted its creamy rice pudding. Soon after, he began selling trays of the pudding at his other stops.

    In 1967, he bought the recipe and set up a small factory in Ridgewood, Queens.

    Kozy Shack now has more than 400 employees at three plants, in Hicksville, N.Y., Turlock, Calif., and in Lough Egish, Ireland. Last year, the company had revenue of approximately $140 million, selling more than 115 million four-ounce cups and 22-ounce containers of puddings and pastries.

    Born in Brooklyn on Oct. 25, 1940, Mr. Gruppuso was one of three children of Joseph and Mazie Ditta Gruppuso. His father worked in construction and his mother was a seamstress.

    Mr. Gruppuso’s marriage to the former Virginia Pantaleo ended in divorce. He is survived by three daughters, Joanne Caridi and Diana Boland, both of Staten Island, and Lisa Salvo of Marlboro, N.J.; a sister, Libby Gruppuso of Ithaca, N.Y.; a brother, Frank, of Commack, N.Y.; and five grandchildren.

    Mr. Gruppuso served as an aerial photographer in the Navy in the late 1950s, then returned to Brooklyn. He worked at several jobs before acquiring his truck route, for the Arnold Bread company, and taking his first taste of that delicatessen pudding.

    In 2006, the Dining section of The New York Times named Kozy Shack rice pudding on a list of “Grocery Gems,” and said, “Rice pudding, like baked beans, has slipped out of the culinary spotlight, but this version makes up in flavor what it lacks in glamour.”


For what it's worth, the cinnamon raisin variation might be even better.

I have a very hard time deciding which one to buy — the original or the tricked-out raisin.

More often than not I take the fork (spoon?) in the road and buy both.

But perhaps you're not in a place where Kozy Shack's available.

Not to worry — that's why you have me.

$3.50 for 22 oz.

More on rice pudding here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to run down to Kroger for a sec....

January 16, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

World's most technical measuring cup


Possibly the only one with a moving part.

From the website:

    Liquid Measuring Cup

    • Measuring liquids in a dry measuring cup? For shame! True measurements require a clear cup.

    • Tough acrylic 4-cup (1 liter) cup shows both U.S. and metric measurements, from 1 cup to 4 cups by the 1/4-cup.

    • Just slide the red clip to the measurement you want. Fill till liquid reaches clip, reading from either inside the cup or out.

    • Dishwasher- and microwave-safe (without the removable clip).


January 16, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

bookofjoeTV is on the air


Who knew?

Not me, that's for sure.

I happened by YouTube this morning and noticed things had changed.

Long story short: They've created the bookofjoe Channel (above and below),


featuring the four videos I've posted.

So cool!

Now, if I could only figure out how to post directly to YouTube from an iPhone, I'd be stoked.

But wait a minute....

I just wandered over to the iPhone page and learned that while you can watch YouTube videos on the device and take pictures with it, it has no videocam capability.

Soon come, as they say in Jamaica.

January 16, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Red Hibiscus Luggage Cover


From the website:

    Bag Rags™ Red Hibiscus Luggage Cover

    No more confusion at the carousel, no more worries about mix-ups at the hotel.

    This stylish, stretchy, snug-fitting cover make spotting your bag a cinch — plus it adds a personalized, protective layer.

    Sized to fit 28"—30" upright wheeled luggage bags and made of 90% polyester/10% spandex.

    Machine wash.


January 16, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

RulesOfThumb.org — 'Every rule of thumb on Earth in one place!'


There's only one way to find out if the website's contention is correct.

[via Dan Mitchell's "What's Online" column in the January 12, 2008 New York Times]

January 16, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blast from the past (literally): Screaming Meanie 220 — 'World's loudest alarm clock'


I promise you, you won't sleep through this one if you have a pulse.

Unfortunately for others nearby, neither will they.

No matter.

When you absolutely, positively have to get up, this is the alarm clock you want on your bedside table.

I featured it back in 2004 and again in 2005 and it's time to freshen things up with another post, which incidentally finds my crack research team having located it for 25% less than it cost back in 2004.

From the website:

    Screaming Meanie 220 Alarm Clock/Timer

    Its called the Screaming Meanie 220 because it is an extremely loud alarm until you turn it off. Created for long-haul truck drivers, the Screaming Meanie 220 is designed to get you out of bed, no matter what. We also find it useful in a noisy situation where an alarm must be heard, or for anyone with hearing loss who is looking for a very loud alarm.

    The Screaming Meanie 220 Alarm Clock and Timer has three volume settings, timer and alarm clock, and the homing signal can be heard up to one mile away in an emergency. The Screaming Meanie 220's convenient one-button battery test and indiglo display create a very unique and useful product.

    Pictured below, the back of the device.



    • Alarm Clock and Timer

    • Alarm activates for 10 seconds every 5 minutes

    • Homing signal can be heard up to 1 mile in emergency situations

    • Convenient one button battery test

    • Indiglo display light

    • Belt Clip


    • Uses one 9V battery (not included)

    • Three alarm settings: Low, Medium, High

    • Low is 70dB — Like a regular alarm clock

    • Medium is 95dB — A very loud alarm that will wake most heavy sleepers

    • High is 120dB — This is an extremely loud alarm that will wake the heaviest sleepers



Also highly recommended for musicians, to wit: "The Screaming Meanie will make sure to wake up exhausted musicians the next morning so they can get to their regular jobs."

Transparent Green: $28.95.

Black: $35.97.

January 16, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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