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November 30, 2008

White Truffle Brings $200,000 at Italian Auction


Clearly not everyone's hurting equally in the current downturn.

Here's Reuters' story about yesterday's bidding in an international auction held simultaneously in Rome, London, Abu Dhabi and Macau.

Pictured above is a white truffle (not the one featured in this post).

    Italian truffle fetches $200,000 at Macau auction

    Defying the economic downturn, an Italian white truffle weighing just over 1 kg (2.2 lb) sold at an international auction Saturday for $200,000.

    The prized tuber went for the second year running to Hong Kong-born casino mogul Stanley Ho after an auction held simultaneously in Rome, London, Abu Dhabi and Macau, auction organizers said.

    Last December, Ho bought a 1.5-kg specimen — one of the biggest truffles unearthed in half a century — for a record $330,000.

    The 1.08-kg truffle — the biggest found in Italy this year — was flown first class to Macau, with an Italian chef accompanying it, for Saturday's auction after it was picked on November 21 in the central Molise region.

    Truffles can vary considerably in size and are prized in Italian cooking for their flavor and aroma.

    Output of white truffles — which are not cultivated and only grow naturally in forests — has fallen in Italy over the past few years, largely because climate change has brought a damaging mix of drought and torrential rains.

    Scarce supply has pushed prices for normal-sized truffles above 4,000 euros ($5,176) for one kg and Italian restaurants have kept purchases to a minimum, although demand from foreign restaurants has remained stable, truffle associations say.

November 30, 2008 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

UroClub — 'The only club in your bag guaranteed to keep you out of the woods'


That's saying something.

Wrote Dave Barry, "This is a fake golf club


with a hollow shaft and an opening at the top. It comes with a towel that drapes over it, so the golfer appears to be toweling off the club when he is actually relieving himself into it."

From the website:


Three easy steps to keep you out of the woods:

1. Unscrew the UroClub’s triple-seal leakproof cap.


2. Clip the privacy towel to the UroClub and to your belt or waist band.


3. Discreetly relieve yourself and then get back into the game!


Barry continued, "Notice we say 'he.' Unfortunately, the UroClub is not designed for the female golfer.


We think somebody should invent a comparable product for women. We have an idea: Take a life-size mannequin, conceal a portable toilet inside it, dress it in shorts and a T-shirt, and voila: the UroCaddy!"


$24.95 (that's for the UroClub. I'm waiting for flowtist to bring word of success out back in her skunk works with the UroCaddy concept).

November 30, 2008 at 03:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Whatever happened to Sarah Palin?


If, like me, you never read blogs and don't do much web surfing but instead get your news from dead tree iterations of old media, you'd notice that Sarah Palin has vanished from print.

I haven't seen her name recently in any of the papers I read religiously on a daily basis (Charlottesville Daily Progress, Washington Post, Financial Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Times).

But it turns out that on the web she's still big — real big.

"Sarah Palin is one of most popular subjects for Internet searches, even after the decisive defeat of the Republican ticket, statistics show."

"Palin, the former GOP U.S. vice presidential nominee, is second only to President-elect Barack Obama among politicians who are the subjects of Internet queries on the Lycos search engine, Politico reported Sunday."

You could look it up.

November 30, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Frederic Fekkai Limited Edition Spray On Hair Crystals



Michelle Thomas took them for a spin in today's Washington Post Sunday Source "Test Drive" feature and reported back as follows.

    Frederic Fekkai Glitter Hair Spray

    I have a theory about the formula for creating a "holiday" beauty product:

    Step 1: Choose any existing product.

    Step 2: Add glitter.

    Frederic Fekkai's Spray On Hair Crystals does little to disprove my hypothesis. The grooming guru's limited-edition aerosol shine spray claims to deliver "instant glamour" by giving your hair a flexible, fine coat of shimmer in one of three hues (champagne, bronze or copper). In reality, it's a very light hair spray. With loads of colored glitter. Thus, your locks won't be the only thing shining: Those chunks of glitter will follow their manifest destiny to your hands, face, body, clothes, coat, shoes and apartment.

    So, will you love it? Well, I didn't. But your results may be different. It probably depends on how much your holiday parties resemble raves. Or how close you are to your high school graduation.


November 30, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Is it dangerous to use expired toothpaste?


File under "Things that keep us up at night."

Donald G. McNeil Jr. went deep to find the answer and reported his findings in the November 17, 2008 New York Times Science section "Q&A" feature, which follows.

    Timely Toothpaste

    Q. What happens if you use toothpaste that’s past its expiration date? Is it dangerous?

    A. No, it’s not dangerous, said Dr. Joel H. Berg, chairman of pediatric dentistry at the University of Washington in Seattle and a representative of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

    “But,” he said, “there is a potential loss of efficacy. It depends on how long past the expiration date it is.”

    All toothpastes containing fluoride are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which now requires expiration dates, said Veronica Sanchez, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, which makes Crest, the first fluoride toothpaste.

    Up to that date, normally two years after manufacture, all the fluoride must be available to bind to tooth enamel, hardening it against the acid that causes cavities.

    Once that date is past — and probably long past, Dr. Berg added — some of the fluoride ions may have bound with the caking agents into a salt or a crystal.

    And, he said, depending how long and at what temperatures the tube was stored, the goo inside could separate, meaning less or more fluoride in each squeeze, and less or more flavoring agent, which could be mintily disconcerting.

    Also, he added, “you might see viscosity changes, meaning you won’t be able to get it out of the tube, or it won’t foam in the mouth very well.”

November 30, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Power Snowboard


From the website:

    Gas-Powered Snowboard

    This gas-powered vehicle combines the thrill of riding a snowmobile and the freedom of a snowboard, enabling you to surf effortlessly over the deepest fresh powder or on packed granular snow.

    Its patented rubber track uses 1-3/4" snow lugs and flexes as you lean in the direction you wish to go for wide, graceful turns or aggressive slalom-like carvings.

    Powered by a 6-1/2-hp four-cycle gasoline engine that starts with a pull, it can accommodate riders up to 250 pounds and has a maximum speed of 18 mph, operating up to two hours on only 3/4 of a gallon of gasoline.

    The rugged frame is made of aluminum and high-density molded ABS plastic.

    Two cleated footpads provide secure footing while standing without requiring bindings, and its adjustable-height handlebar has a throttle control which enables easy stopping.

    Includes a tethered auto-off switch.

    65"L x 19"W x 21"H.

    Weighs 150 lbs.


Yellow or Black.


November 30, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



From Tim comes this entertaining Google mashup, which flummoxed me at first and then made me smile.

November 30, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

November 30, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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