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July 22, 2008

Acrobatic Swan Lake

Above and below, performed by the Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China.

The top video records its debut performance last month at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.

Premiered in 2006 and co-produced with the Shanghai City Dance Company, the production combines elements of classical dance, traditional Chinese acrobatics and elements of Peking Opera.

July 22, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Siamese Toilet Paper Holder


You see these now and then in public restrooms but until today I never knew how easy it was to have one of your own.

That's why I read Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools, edited by apparent guest editor-for-life Steven Leckart.

Here's what contributor/reviewer Roger Knights had to say about this mutant iteration of the old stand-by in a January 24, 2008 5:00 a.m. (time zone not specified — sorry for the lack of precision) entry.

    Double Paper Holder — Dual TP Dispenser

    Modern public toilets employ versions of these dual TP holders, and even though a private household has no similar absolute need for one, it's very nice to permanently eliminate one of life's little nagging gotchas. I've been using this model for 15 years, and it's served its purpose admirably: having an at-hand spare roll when the primary roll unexpectedly runs out. It's bound to happen someday to someone (maybe to a visitor), so why not attack the problem proactively? Rather than being haphazardly located under the sink, next to the john, etc., the spare roll is rather tidily found; neither in the way nor out of the way.

    Also, there is no spool to thread through the roll(s), meaning there's no detachable part to drop while re-threading or misplace while moving or painting. Instead, there are a couple of 3/8" circular projections on each side that fit snugly into each roll's cardboard center. Press a little black button and an arm on the side pivots out an inch. Insert one side of the roll onto the center (fixed) post and swing/click the arm back into place — fast and foolproof. This design also fits the roll more tightly than a spool, so the TP doesn't rattle on its axis while being turned and thoughtfully stops turning when the pulling stops. There are slightly cheaper versions of this style of holder, but they have spools. Besides, in 15 years mine hasn't failed, tarnished or scratched. I think building codes should encourage such dual TP holders.


July 22, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Finally — Help for the hopelessly indecisive


Mattel's gone and done all the heavy lifting for you.

All you have to do is click where it says "Shake Me!!" and all will be revealed.

Considering how things have been going lately you probably couldn't do any worse using this for life guidance.

I'm just saying, is all....

Note added just 13 minutes after this post went up: Already two people have emailed me complaining that when they followed my instructions above and clicked "where it says 'Shake Me!!'" the only thing that happened was the picture got bigger.

They want their money back.

Whad'ya think, gang — should I give 'em a refund?

And if so, how much?

I await your guidance.

It would appear that TechnoDolt™-level does not define — contrary to what I've been led to believe — the absolute bottom of the virtual food chain.

July 22, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Is Cindy McCain a Terminator prototype?


Every time I see a picture of her (above, from the front page of the dead tree iteration of today's Washington Post Style section) I wonder....

You may recall Kristanna Loken's memorable Model T-X (below)


in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."

From Wikipedia: "... a terminator is a fictional autonomous robot, typically humanoid...."

July 22, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'World's most expensive A-V cable' — Episode 2: It isn't


David Kay yesterday over at audiojunkies.com had this to say about my July 13, 2008 post's claim:

    Nordost Whitelight Optical Cable Doesn't Cost $32,865

    This erroneous bit of information that has been parroted around many of the gadget focused blogs lately is completely untrue. Apparently first printed in Jonathan Margolis's "Technopolis" column in the July 12, 2008 Financial Times "How To Spend It" magazine, the claim is that Nordost's Whitelight optical digital cable [top] costs $32,865 a pair. While I'd normally be more than happy to ridicule anyone's $30K toslink cable, "three-layers of very low loss wadding along with an internal humid apparatus" or no, the phrase "a pair" immediately raised a giant red flag for me.

    No digital cable, whether the format is optical, coaxial, AES/EBU, HDMI, etc. is sold by the pair. A simple Google search revealed that the Whitelight actually starts at $217. Considering a toslink cable made with glass fibers can be had for less than $20, the Whitelight is definitely overpriced, but not psychotically so. For that, see the $14,000/pr Nordost Odin interconnects and $20,000/pr Odin speaker cables.


I guess I'll just have to do a better job of fact checking in the future.

My apologies for having imbibed the Financial Times Kool-Aid.

July 22, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

South Park Chess Set


That's different.

I didn't know they played chess there.

Learn something new every day around here.

From the website:

    South Park Chess Set

    Now the long-running animated series adds the venerable game of chess to its attack list with this unique and collectible South Park Chess Set.

    Playing pieces include:

    • Chef — King

    • Big Gay Al — Queen

    • Kyle — Bishop

    • Cartman — Knight

    • Stan — Castle

    • Kenny — Pawn

    Set includes durable hand-painted vinyl playing pieces and folding chessboard.




July 22, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New York Times Travel Section Has 'The Dwindles'


That's the term we use in-house for someone who's slowly dying.

I mention it here because this past Sunday's Travel section was almost imperceptible: I counted and it was only 12 pages long.

Not that long ago the Sunday Times Travel section was a monster, 30,40, sometimes 50 or more pages chock full of articles and ads.

Times (no pun intended but I'll take all the help I can get) are really getting tough in Gray Lady Land.

For the matter the Sunday paper itself, once a leviathan that could easily be used as a log if rolled up, is now but a shadow of its former beefy self.

Look for that trend to continue, alas.


Too bad for MSM types like me but hey, what can you do?

July 22, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

July 22, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

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