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April 12, 2008

Not that you asked, but...*

V_ihbgiy

... my favorite pizza in the whole wide world just arrived from my neighborhood Domino's.

Umm.

Large thin crust extra crispy well done with:

• Double black olive

• Double mushroom

• Double pepperoni

• Double sausage

• Double bacon

• Double onion

Umm.

First thing I do after it arrives is spread open the box and run my pizza cutter back and forth over the extravanza so as to create pieces approximately 2" square.

Then it's off to the races.

I mourn Domino's decision of about five years ago to bag the anchovies since "nobody orders them."

Except me, I guess.

Oh, well — can't have everything.

'Bout once a month does the pizza man makes his rounds here.

*NTYAB — whad'ya think?

A recurring feature in the making or a one-hit wonder?

Only time will tell.

April 12, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Magnetic Photo Frame Clock

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Think of the possibilities.

From the website:

    Magnetic Photo Frame Clock

    Displays your favorite photos in movable magnetic frames

    Shiny satin aluminum finish wall clock includes 11 magnetic frames to hold your photos.

    Place them around the clock face and change and rearrange them anytime!

    Great for displaying kids school photos, birthday and pet pictures, and more!

    Requires one AA battery (not included).

....................

No end of fun.

$39.98.

April 12, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The long, strange trip of Max Beauvoir — 'Voodoo's Pope'

Beauvoir650

That's what the New York Times called him in an April 5, 2008 article by Marc Lacey about how this 72-year-old man (above) recently came to be chosen by Haiti's national federation of houngans (voodoo priests) as their public face and spokesman.

The Times piece follows.

    A U.S.-Trained Entrepreneur Becomes Voodoo’s Pope

    The goat tethered to a tree outside Max Beauvoir’s home is doomed.

    Mr. Beauvoir, tall and majestic with closely cropped white hair, is a voodoo priest who was just named the religion’s supreme master, a newly created position that is aimed at reviving voodoo.

    His grand residence on the outskirts of the Haitian capital serves as a temple for voodoo practitioners and a late-night hangout for those paying customers eager to take in an exotic evening of spiritual awakening.

    The temple, the Péristyle de Mariani, is where Mr. Beauvoir and his followers dance around a giant totem to the beat of drums. It is where they light bonfires to summon the spirits. And it is where they drain the blood of animals like that scrawny white goat to, among other things, heal the sick.

    On a recent night, Haiti’s voodooists convened for a special ceremony. With music blaring and devotees dancing with all their might, two children threw white rose petals on a red carpet. Then along came Mr. Beauvoir.

    Popular in Haiti even among many of those who attend Christian churches, voodoo lacks the formal hierarchy of other religions. Most voodoo priests, known as houngans, operate semi-independently, catering to their followers without much structure.

    But many of Haiti’s houngans recently came together into a national federation and chose Mr. Beauvoir, 72, as their public face. He is now the spokesman for a faith whose followers say too often gets a bad rap and is in dire need of an image overhaul. (Think “voodoo economics.”)

    Even before he got the job, Mr. Beauvoir was a voodoo promoter extraordinaire. With his own Web site (www.vodou.org) and a following among foreigners intrigued by voodoo, Mr. Beauvoir is criticized by some purists as too much of a showman.

    “My position as supreme chief in voodoo was born out of a controversy,” Mr. Beauvoir said, saying Haiti’s elite had marginalized the houngans who generations ago wielded significant influence in society. “Today, voodooists are at the bottom of society. They are virtually all illiterate. They are poor. They are hungry. You have people who are eating mud, and I don’t mean that as a figure of speech.”

    A doctor's son who was not particularly interested in spiritual matters in his youth, Mr. Beauvoir left Haiti in the mid-1950s for the City College of New York, where he studied chemistry. Then he went off to the Sorbonne for graduate study in biochemistry. After various jobs in the New York area, he returned to Haiti in the early 1970s to conduct experiments on traditional herbal remedies.

    It was then that voodoo called.

    His grandfather, who was in his 90s, was dying and the entire extended family had gathered around his bed. Before he died, though, the old man pointed at Mr. Beauvoir and ordered him to take over his duties as a voodoo priest.

    Mr. Beauvoir said he was taken aback. He did not know his grandfather well, and could not understand why he had been selected from the 20 or so other family members in the room. And he knew virtually nothing about voodoo.

    But that was decades ago. Mr. Beauvoir has devoted the rest of his life to studying the religion, a mix of Christianity (introduced by slaves to mask their paganism from their masters) and animism that traces its origins to West Africa, which is also where Haitians, descendants of slaves, originated. The more he learns about voodoo, Mr. Beauvoir said, the more convinced he is that it can, and should, play a role in resolving Haiti’s problems, especially given its reach among the most disenfranchised people.

    As it is now, he said, the government seeks the input of Catholic and Protestant leaders when grappling with societal issues. “But do they call for the input of the voodooists?” he asked, shaking his head.

    Haiti has long been a battleground for Christian missionaries who view voodoo as devil worship and work tirelessly to convert the population to Christ. Voodoo, like Christianity, has one god, but it incorporates pagan elements that make Christians uneasy: casting spells and worshiping spirits seen as the major forces of the universe.

    To turn things around, the country’s voodooists decided they needed to organize themselves and confront voodoo-bashing head on.

    “We decided to come together and form a new voodoo structure,” Mr. Beauvoir said. “We Haitians want to move forward in life. We need to find our identity again, and voodoo is our identity. It’s part of our collective personality. We feel the government we have is relying too much on foreigners to fill their pockets.”

    Voodoo and politics have long been intertwined in Haiti, with some past leaders reaching out to voodooists as a way of burnishing their populist credentials. Mr. Beauvoir has himself been linked with Jean-Claude Duvalier, or Baby Doc, the dictator who fled the country in 1986 after a popular uprising against him. And Mr. Beauvoir opposed Jean-Bertrand Aristide, making him a hated figure among Mr. Aristide’s loyalists.

    In “The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier,” her 1994 book on Haiti, Amy Wilentz portrayed Mr. Beauvoir as an opportunist who preyed upon his people and had “the oily manner of a man whom you wouldn’t want to leave alone with your money or your child.”

    Mr. Beauvoir waves off such criticism. He acknowledges that he received death threats from political opponents in the mid-1990s and that he was worried enough about his safety — and that of his wife and two daughters — that he fled Haiti for the United States. He settled in Washington, D.C., where he continued with voodoo ceremonies from his apartment not far from the White House. Recently, though, he returned home and wasted no time in grabbing the spotlight.

    Speaking of the current crop of political leaders, Mr. Beauvoir is as harsh as some are about him.

    “They have been seduced by Western attitudes,” he said of current leaders. “They believe foreigners think that way so they have to think that way. They fear that if they don’t oppose voodoo, they won’t get a dime in their bowl.”

    The movie industry is another focus of Mr. Beauvoir’s wrath. And he speaks as something of an insider, having helped the anthropologist Wade Davis with his investigation of voodoo, which first became a book, “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” and later a Hollywood movie. On the big screen, zombies are scary monsters, Mr. Beauvoir complained, and not the carefully controlled subjects of voodoo science that he believes them to be.

    “The voice of Hollywood has grown beyond the border of the United States,” he said. “It’s everywhere. The voice of Max Beauvoir is very small compared to that.”

....................

Above, Jimi Hendrix's 1967 "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," recently voted as having the 23rd best guitar riff of all time.

You could look it up.

April 12, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Diamond-Covered Door Handle

Oiuu8u

Anyone can put Swarovski crystals on anything but few will go this far.

From the April 5, 2008 Financial Times:
....................

Doors of Diamond

Designer Frédéric Attar has created what might be seen as the ultimate in luxury, a collection of brass door handles... embedded with diamonds, for Corinne Darmon's L'Universe de la Poignée.

Customers can choose white, yellow, pink or black diamonds or sapphires.

Prices for the handles alone [below] start at €750.

Each handle is sold with documents of authenticity.

An entirely encrusted handle [top]

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can be ordered for about €1,000,000.

Inquire within.

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

Partstore.com — Check it out before you toss it out

Fgefg

Popular Science magazine featured this website in its April, 2008 issue, as follows: "Don't throw out your old vacuum cleaner or digital watch just yet. First head to partstore.com, an enormous repository of replacement parts for electronics and appliances. There are plenty of cellphone chargers to be found, but what's really remarkable is the obscure stuff: TV light engines, washing machine knobs, an AC adapter for that keyboard you got for your 14th birthday."

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

Talking Three Stooges Keychain

P69072bbfv

"Button-activated keychain features 6 soitenly silly sayings from the zany trio," including "Why you numbskull!"; "Soitenly!"; and "Woob! Woob!"

Replaceable button batteries included.

3.5" long.

$9.98.

April 12, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

D.B. Cooper's Parachute? — Episode 2: Sorry, wrong material

Chute

You may recall all the excitement recently about the news that a parachute (above) was found in the area where D.B. Cooper is believed to have landed back in 1971.

It was exciting enough for my crack reporting team to rouse itself from its collective stupor and make note of the discovery.

Turns out it wasn't Cooper's chute after all.

Says who?

Says someone who ought to know: Ed Cossey, who packed the parachutes provided to Cooper that rainy night in November of 1971.

Here's Gene Johnson's Associated Press story with the details.

    FBI: Parachute found in SW Wash. was not D.B. Cooper's

    Wrong material, wrong design: A tangled, torn parachute found buried in southwestern Washington last month was not that of famed plane hijacker D.B. Cooper, the FBI said Tuesday.

    Investigators reached that conclusion after speaking with parachute experts, including Earl Cossey of Woodinville - the man who packed the chutes provided to Cooper that rainy November night in 1971.

    "From the best we could learn from the people we spoke to, it just didn't look like it was the right kind of parachute in any way," said agency spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs.

    Further digging at the site turned up no indication that it could have been Cooper's, she added.

    A man calling himself Dan Cooper - later enduringly but mistakenly identified as "D.B. Cooper" - hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 passenger jet from Portland, Ore., to Seattle on Nov. 24, 1971. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, he released the passengers in exchange for $200,000 and four parachutes and asked to be flown to Mexico. He jumped out the back of the plane somewhere near the Oregon line.

    Some of the cash has been found but his fate is unknown, and investigators doubt he survived.

    Children playing near a recently graded road found the parachute, and they urged their father to call the FBI because they had seen recent news stories about Cooper's case. The parachute was the right color, and the location was in the middle of what could have been Cooper's landing zone.

    That got the attention of FBI Special Agent Larry Carr, who drove to the site to see the find for himself.

    But Cossey told Carr that Cooper's parachute was made of nylon. The one the children found was made of silk, and did not feature a harness container. Cossey sold parachutes at a skydiving operation in Issaquah in the 1970s, and he provided the chutes given to Cooper during the hijacking.

    Cossey's been through the drill before. This is the third time the FBI has asked him to examine parachutes to see if they might have been Cooper's. One chute found long ago - he couldn't remember when - was just a "pilot chute," used to pull the main chute out of the pack. The other time, in 1988, it was a parachute found by a Columbia River diver seeking clues to Cooper's fate.

    "They keep bringing me garbage," Cossey said. "Every time they find squat, they bring it out and open their trunk and say, 'Is that it?' and I say, 'Nope, go away.' Then a few years later they come back."

    Despite the cantankerous quote, Cossey seemed to be relishing the spotlight Tuesday. He answered his cell phone "D.B. Cooper" and said he got a kick out of telling some reporters that the parachute was, in fact, the hijacker's. One reporter called him back angrily, saying he could be fired for writing a false story, but another said the newsroom enjoyed the April Fool's joke.

    "I'm getting mixed reviews," Cossey said. "But I'm having fun with it, what the heck."

    The FBI didn't necessarily consider the parachute's provenance a setback in the case. Seattle Special Agent in Charge Laura Laughlin noted that the news coverage surrounding its discovery could generate more tips from the public.

    And Carr, the agent who's heading the investigation, took the news in stride, Burroughs said.

    "He was never that sold on the idea that it was Cooper's in the first place," she said.

....................

I just love that federal government Pollyanna-ish twist on the bad news, making it really good news if you look at it their way, to wit: "Seattle [FBI] Special Agent in Charge Laura Laughlin noted that the news coverage surrounding its discovery could generate more tips from the public."

True enough.

And if you give me all your money and possessions outright you'll save the expense of hiring a lawyer to create a will.

April 12, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Designer Earplugs

Vyhouyo

"Women's sleep, snoring, beauty and health accessories inspired by Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's.'"

More from the website:

    Stylish Earplugs

    Top quality foam earplugs that make a statement.

    Designed for dancers dancing next to loud speakers, for the meditating woman, for travelers flying on planes.

    For sexy beauty rest sleeping.

....................

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42 styles.

$4.99-$5.99 a pair.

April 12, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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