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December 18, 2008

The envelope please


Yesterday at this time I asked if you could name the two movies besides "Memento" that "... portray amnesia with anything approximating accuracy," according to clinical neuropsychologist Sallie Baxendale's 2004 British Medical Journal article entitled "Memories aren't made of this: amnesia at the movies."

The answers: "Sé Quién Eres" (2000) and — are you ready for this? — "Finding Nemo."

Anybody get both?

Or even one?

I sure didn't.


Good on you if you did.

December 18, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Purple LED Chrome Exhaust Tip — Because it's never to late to be back in high school


Jeez, I didn't even dream of having a car back in the day....

From websites:

    Purple LED Chrome Exhaust Tip

    Changes the look of your car at night with a brilliant blast of purple LED light — just think how cool you'll look from behind.

    Car LED chrome exhaust tip accepts exhaust up to 2.5"Ø.

    Polished steel housing.

    Easy to install.




December 18, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'Drip Music' — by George Brecht

The hugely influential artist, a core member of Fluxus, died December 5, 2008 in Cologne, Germany.

Above, his performance of "Drip Music," in which "a source of of water and an empty vessel are arranged so that the water falls into the vessel."

Ken Johnson's December 15, 2008 New York Times obituary follows.

    George Brecht, 82, Fluxus Conceptual Artist, Is Dead

    George Brecht, a core member of Fluxus, the loosely affiliated international group of playful Conceptual artists that emerged in the early 1960s, died on Dec. 5 in Cologne, Germany. He was 82 and lived in Cologne.

    He died in his sleep, said Geoffrey Hendricks, a friend, who was also a Fluxus member. He had been in failing health for several years.

    Mr. Brecht came of age as an artist in the late 1950s, when Abstract Expressionism and the cult of the heroic creative genius were ascendant. Inspired by the Conceptual art of Marcel Duchamp and the experimental music of John Cage, he began to imagine a more modest, slyly provocative kind of art that would focus attention on the perceptual and cognitive experience of the viewer.

    American, European and Asian artists who were thinking along similar lines included Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Ben Vautier, Nam June Paik and George Maciunas, who in 1962 came up with the name Fluxus for this confederation of like-minded Conceptualists.

    Like many other Fluxus artists, Mr. Brecht created assemblages consisting of ordinary objects in boxes and cabinets, as well as arrangements that often included chairs. He also made paintings and sculptures that played with language, like a piece with white plastic letters spelling “sign of the times.”

    His most important and original contribution was a form he called the “event score,” which typically was printed on a small white card that he would mail to friends. The event score consisted of a title followed by eccentric instructions. The directive for “String Quartet,” for example, read simply, “Shaking hands.” The musicians would perform it by doing just that.

    One of his most famous pieces was “Drip Music,” in which “a source of water and an empty vessel are arranged so that the water falls into the vessel.” Performances of “Drip Music” can be seen on Youtube.com.

    He created event scores for sculptures as well. Instructions for “Three Arrangements,” for example, read, “on a shelf/on a clothes tree/black object white chair.”

    Mr. Brecht said that he did not care if any of his event scores were realized and that he did not think that there was a correct way to perform one. He once wrote that his events were “like little enlightenments I wanted to communicate to my friends who would know what to do with them.”

    Mr. Brecht was born George MacDiarmid on Aug. 27, 1926, in New York. His father, a flutist who played in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the NBC Radio Orchestra, died when his son was 8. Mr. Brecht changed his last name to Brecht — not in reference to Bertolt Brecht, but because he liked the sound of the name — around 1945 while serving in the United States Army in Germany.

    After the war Mr. Brecht studied chemistry at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in Philadelphia, and he supported himself as a research chemist from 1950 to 1965.

    In the mid-1950s, following the lead of Jackson Pollock, Mr. Brecht produced paintings using chance operations and materials like bed sheets, ink and marbles. In 1958-59, he attended a class in experimental music composition taught by John Cage at what was then the New School for Social Research in New York. Soon he was producing compositions even more radical than those of Mr. Cage.

    In the early 1960s, Mr. Brecht taught in what was then the unusually progressive art department of Rutgers University, along with Mr. Hendricks, Allan Kaprow (who became known as an inventor of the “happening”) and Robert Watts, who also became a Fluxus artist.

    Mr. Brecht’s first solo exhibition, “Toward Events: An Arrangement,” was at Reuben Gallery in New York in 1959. During the next five years, he participated in many group exhibitions and performances in New York. His work “Repository” (1961), a wall cabinet containing a pocket watch, a thermometer, rubber balls, toothbrushes and other objects, was included in “The Art of Assemblage,” the famous 1961 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and the museum later bought it. Nine years later, Mr. Brecht was included in “Information,” another landmark show at the Modern.

    In 1965, Mr. Brecht left New York. He lived in Rome, the South of France, London and Düsseldorf, Germany, before settling in Cologne in 1972.

    He is survived by his wife, Hertha, and a son, Eric, who lives in Southern California.

    Mr. Brecht’s work was especially appreciated in Europe. He was included in Documenta, the giant exhibition in Kassel, Germany, in 1972 and 1977. In 2005 the Museum Ludwig in Cologne organized a comprehensive career retrospective, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona.

    Mr. Brecht once described his art as a way of “ensuring that the details of everyday life, the random constellations of objects that surround us, stop going unnoticed.”



Above, Brecht performing his "Incidental Music" in Amsterdam in 1961.

December 18, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mini Surge Protector USB Charger


What's not to like?

3 outlets plus 2 USB charging ports in a device that fits in your pocket.

Surge protection through all outlets.

Green indicator light.


360° rotating plug with 4 locking positions.

Includes mini-USB cable.

Put me down for one.



Great way to make friends at the airport.

December 18, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

bookofjoe can make you rich

Good thing 'cause it's not doing squat in that arena for me.

But I digress.

Yesterday I received an email from one Joe Massa which made my day.

Bonus: I get to use his email as a post, so less work for me.

That's what it's all about.

The email:

    A long awaited thanks

    Dear Joe,

    I've been meaning to write you this message for some time and as I've just finished up my finals this week, I actually have some time to do so. I really just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to do your blog. Besides it being an interesting read more often than not, your time and effort indirectly helped me get a $20,000 scholarship 3 years ago (that is not a misstype either). The way this happened is as follows. I came across your blog sometime in 2005 (my junior year of high school) and I rather quickly became a daily reader and even got my sister to become an avid reader. As I moved into my senior year I had two particularly great teachers, one was a Calculus AP teacher and the other was a Chemistry AP teacher. Every now and then I would send articles or odd things that I figured they would enjoy and probably 95% of the time those articles were ones that you had posted. Oftentimes I would just send your permalink because your commentary added to the topic. At the time I did this because I figured they would enjoy the articles, I never in any way expected to see any kind of return and I was already doing well in the classes so that wasn't my aim either. As I rolled into senior year I began the whole process of applying to colleges and applying for scholarships. Naturally I chose them to write my recommendations because I had become fairly good friends with them. In the spring of '06 I had a final round interview for a scholarship that was intended for students interested in science and math. During the interview, one of the questions I was asked (which was actually asked by the man whose money directly paid for the scholarship) was to elaborate on something my calculus teacher had mentioned in her recommendation. The man was referring to the Leonardo da Vinci bridge which I had first seen on bookofjoe and had passed on to my teacher. I ended up being awarded the scholarship and when I met my benefactor one of the things he said that impressed him the most was that I had sent that to my teacher and ultimately that she had mentioned it. I honestly do believe that I would not have been considered for the scholarship had that random sequence of events not occurred which started with your blog. So for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope that you have a wonderful holiday.


    Joe Massa


I emailed Joe back and asked if I could put up his communication; he replied as follows: "You can definitely put it up. If I had to guess, I'd say your posts have raised a number of SAT scores in too many ways to count."

Hey, it's cheaper than Kaplan or the Princeton Review and you can do it from the privacy of your computer — or toilet seat.

What's not to like?

December 18, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Remote Control Beer Pager


Calling Dr. Adams, Dr. Samuel Adams.

From websites:

Remote Control Beer Pager

Where is my beer?

Clicking the Beer Pager's remote


unleashes a satisfying burp and flashing lights so you can easily locate your beer can up to 60 feet away and even through walls — holder keeps your beverage cold, too.

Requires 4 AA batteries (not included).

Batteries for remote included.


Party like it's $19.98.

December 18, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Micturition and its discontents. Or, real men sit to pee.

A pet peeve of mine since med school, when I happened on an article in some medical journal which employed an agent which reacts with constituents of urine (the stuff they don't put in pools so that when people pee in them, the urine turns red and spots them out, hahaha, sorry to burst your bubble) to highlight that on bathroom surfaces and found that the entire floors and walls up to about 18 inches high were covered in urine which had been deposited there as a result of microdropules in the bouncing-off-the-toilet-bowl-water-surface mist in men's bathrooms —€” where the intensity of urine traces was many times that in women's rest rooms, where it was present in the same distribution though less concentrated, in this case the result of dispersal during flushing, which simply adds to the major standing-and-deliver mess resulting from men's insistence that "only women squat to pee," a worn-out axiom if I've ever heard one but I'm not here to comment on language usage, instead using this as a bully pulpit from which to argue that, at least in my house, if you are a man you will please sit down before using my toilets, since I have zero interest in using bathrooms I keep meticulously clean only to have them sullied by your ignorant , crude habit, and if you don't like it, well, guess what, there's an acre and a half out back where you can commune with the squirrels and deer and the solitary red fox that trots by every now and then, prancing ever so lightly and beautifully on her/his delicate feet and whizz to your heart's content anywhere you like —€” standing up, sitting down, lying down, I really don't care, though I'm reminded of how hard it is to pee while you're inline skating at 20 mph in rural Georgia, as I did about 10 years ago during the Athens-to-Atlanta Inline Marathon (87 miles) when I found myself 1) with an overpowering urge to go and 2) in the midst of a superb peloton that I knew I'd never catch if I let it go, so I dropped back to the last position (told you I was a nice person) and after a mile or so finally was able to overcome decades of training and imprinting and just let it happen, urine saturating my Lycra shorts and running down my legs into my socks and skates, not that it mattered since they were already sweat-soaked, but I digress, back to my main subject, oh, yes, how about this quotation from British journalist Rose George's new book, "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters": "Aiming a stream of urine at a toilet bowl sends a fine spray around the room (as does every toilet flushed without the lid closed). Spray becomes vapor, which leaves a chemical deposit on anything surrounding the urinal. It can also change the color of wallpaper," well, guess what, I don't have wallpaper so that's not an issue but that oughta make my point clear if I haven't done so already, I should think, though Dwight Garner, reviewing George's book in the December 12, 2008 New York Times, asked, "Is it time for American men to engage in a different kind of sit-in?", I second that emotion and I just had a great idea, maybe I'll get some disclosing solution and spray it all over the floors and walls after I clean my bathrooms, then check after each use to make certain there's no telltale red, and that goes for women too, who have to give up their habit (I know who you are, don't pretend ignorance) of watching as the toilet flushes but just assume modern indoor plumbing's doing what it's paid to do, and finally let me point out that I don't necessarily have to write in my usual clipped manner with short sentences and all but do so simply to make things easier for everyone, what with kids from age three up occasionally tuning in here, and I do apologize to that wee crew for this post but promise it won't happen again for at least five years, OK?, but wait, there's more —€” from Garner's review, this about what he remembers about Nicholson Baker's 2003 novel "A Box of Matches": "His male narrator, when he uses the toilet at night, sits down to urinate. Why? Well, men sometimes miss, especially when sleepy or in the dark. 'Just because during the day you stand, does that mean you must stand during the night as well?' Mr. Baker's narrator asks. In a bit of post-macho sloganeering, he adds: 'There's no shame in sitting down.'", well, duh, I was there a long time before Baker and with a much more encompassing policy, as noted above, "All sitting —€” all the time," yes, that's we way like and yes, not that you asked but I am indeed listening to K.C. & The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" as I type and you can enjoy it right now yourself, just click here and you're there, you don't even need red shoes or anything.

December 18, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

December 18, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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