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March 26, 2008

'Grizzly Man'


Werner Herzog's mesmerizing 2005 documentary about Timothy Treadwell, who spent twelve consecutive summers living in the wild in Alaska with grizzly bears, all the while filming his encounters yet never being harmed, got better and better as it went along.

Even the knowledge that summer number thirteen was to be unlucky indeed for Treadwell and his girlfriend, both of whom were eaten alive by a grizzly bear (no, there's no footage of these events, but the descriptions by those who heard the audio tape and found their remains is more than vivid enough, trust me), did not make the film and Herzog's quiet, sensitive, thoughtful narration and exploration of just what it was that made Treadwell the unique person he was any less absorbing.

Highly recommended.

March 26, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Darth Vader Slippers


From the website:

    Darth Vader Slippers

    Embrace your dark side in these super-soft, comfy-design plush slippers, stitched with wonderful 3-D details and authentic colors.

    100% polyester.

    Machine wash.


March 26, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Is your dentist skimming?


A couple weeks ago, reading Michael M. Grynbaum's New York Times story about the meteoric rise in the price of gold, I happened on the following:

"And in Rockefeller Center, Robert B. Raiber, a dentist, was warning patients that the price of installing a gold crown was about to go up.

"'Patients will see a 10 or 20 percent increase on what it may cost to do a gold inlay or a crown,' said Dr. Raiber, who sits on the board of the New York State Dental Association.

"In Manhattan, Dr. Raiber said, gold crowns already cost up to $2,000. The amount of gold in a complete crown — three pennyweights, or less than a fifth of an ounce — would now fetch $149.81 on the open market, up from $103 a year ago.

"The high prices are forcing some patients to consider other options, like crowns made of porcelain or acrylic.

"'Gold is the best restorative material known to dentistry, bar none,' Dr. Raiber said. But, he added, 'the combination of a recession and the increase in cost for dental work may cause people to hold back.'"

What interested me wasn't so much the price of the gold as the fact that dentists assume that when they remove a crown — as happened to me recently because of nearby decay that couldn't be fixed absent destruction of the in situ crown — the debris is theirs.

Unlike car engines and their ilk, which can be removed and then replaced without damaging the the components, a crown must be destroyed in order to remove it.

At least, that's the case in my dentist's office.

But even if a gold crown is destroyed in the process of removing it, hey, the gold's not destroyed: it has as much value in crushed fragments as it did in place.

So shouldn't dentists automatically offer you your gold back or compensate you for what they'll be receiving from the lab after they ship it back to be melted down?

I'll take a $150 rebate on my bill for the replacement crown, thank you very much — and so should you if you're faced with this situation in your dentist's office.

They figure you'll be too intimidated to say anything but I'm here to tell you that they'll be embarrassed they didn't offer to make you whole should you bring it up.

No charge for this advice, as always worth precisely what you paid for it.

March 26, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Playmobil TSA Airport Security Checkpoint Play Set


"It's time to line up, take off those shoes, remove your laptop from its bag and put those liquids, creams, gels and aerosols in a 1-quart clear plastic baggie because baby, you're getting hand-wanded if you don't agree this set is the absolutely perfect gift for the screener in your life."

From the website:

Playmobil Airport Security Checkpoint Play Set

For Sale: One BRAND NEW collectible Playmobil Airport Security Checkpoint Play Set.

This set (#3172) has been discontinued by Playmobil and is getting very hard to find anywhere.

The toy set is brand spankin' new in a perfect, pristine, unopened box.


Set includes an airline passenger, two security screeners (Transportation Security Officers), a gun, a rolling carry-on suitcase, a chair, a walk-through metal detector (WTMD), a hand-held metal detector (HHMD), an X-ray machine (just pretend it's a Heimann or Rapiscan and prepare for your image test) with a view screen, and a moving baggage belt.

Heck, the X-ray machine even has lead curtains!

Great for kids or collectors.

If you work for the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, are a private, state or local security guard, or just collect Playmobil, this set is a fun and hilarious MUST-HAVE gift item!

Would also make a terrific reward or incentive for a high-performing screener.


I have a small stash of these sets left but folks, when they're gone, they're gone!

You can wait until they're $75 each but why would you want to?

Get it now before this discontinued item disappears forever.

Don't let the collectors snatch them all up!

Play set box measures 10" x 4" x 6".

Make an offer!


Or "buy it now": $39

[via Jerry Young, who wrote, "Why am I sending you this? I don't know. Who else can I send it to?"]



Stop Press — This just in 12 minutes ago (1:14 p.m.) from Nick: "Or get it here for $8.99."

joehead Nation rules!

March 26, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

'Lightness isn't stupidity' — Sarah Ruhl


John Lahr quoted her thus in his superb profile in the March 17, 2008 New Yorker.

I couldn't agree more.

But lightness can be maddening when it appears in the wrong circumstance.

Such is my specialty, perhaps the thing I'm best at — cracking a joke precisely when it's least appropriate and most uncalled for.

My timing is impeccable.

I recall, among many memorable moments, making a terrific pun while I was having one of those knock-down, drag-out screaming battles with a (now ex-) girlfriend.

I started laughing, and asked if she didn't think that it was funny, regardless of everything else that was going on.

That was the last I saw of her.

I know that somewhere there's someone (besides Sarah Ruhl) who thinks like me.

Not easy to spot in a crowd of six billion plus, tell you what....

March 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'Fiskars Garden Multi-Tool — 'Brings Leatherman convergence to your plants'


Tell us more.

From the Popular Mechanics website:

    Fiskars Garden Multi-Tool

    By sharpening the normally dull sides of a pruning shear, the Fiskars Garden Multi-Tool brings Leatherman-like convergence to your prized plants.

    While we love the added functionality, be warned: You may be used to grabbing regular shears by the blade, but one squeeze of these could be enough to keep your hands out of the garden until harvest.




March 26, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Are your eyes closed? Then you must be in the Metaverse

Ranit Mishori's story in yesterday's Washington Post Health section about the new new thing in nanotech — a contact lens (above and below) that displays videos, images, email and anything else that can be rendered on a screen — right on your eyeball, in real time, heralds a whole new era.

Makes "heads-up display" seem positively last century.

Here's the article.

    Someday We May Be Surfing With Our Eyes Closed

    Move over, Bionic Man. Engineers at the University of Washington in Seattle have come up with a nanotech device that Steve Austin would have loved: a contact lens that displays images, letting a person surf the Web, read e-mail, scan a spreadsheet or play a video game, all without using a computer screen.


    The lens has not undergone human trials, but it has been tested on rabbits [above and below] for up to 20 minutes without ill effects.


    Among the uses that Babak Parviz, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the university and one of the inventors, imagines for the lens: Pilots and drivers could keep track of their speed and direction without looking at an instrument panel.


    Parviz and his team are also exploring applications that could monitor a person's health. Integrating biosensors into the lens, for example, could allow a biochemical sampling of cells on the eye's surface. "If we analyze what is occurring on the corneal surface, we get an idea about what is happening inside the body without even collecting a blood sample," he explained.

March 26, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Birthday Party Earrings


From the website:

    Birthday Party Earrings

    Wear them once a year on your special day, or break them out whenever a friend is marking their 39th birthday (again).

    Colorful and oh so celebratory, these delightful creations feature a cake, balloons and invitations, and are a swell gift for the birthday girl.

    Handpainted and handcrafted in metal with Swarovski crystals and glass beads.

    3" drop earrings with posts.


March 26, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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