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September 24, 2010

"P-3 Advanced Submarine Warfare training program revealed to the public for the first time"

Just in from a secure, undisclosed location in Georgia (the U.S. state, not the country) comes the video up top, along with the following message: "Got this YouTube link from my brother today with only the following explanation: 'P-3 Advanced Submarine Warfare training program revealed to the public for the first time.' I found it appealingly ridiculous, whatever it is, & thought you might enjoy it too."

Good call.

A YouTube commenter wrote, "This is an actual Japanese anti-submarine warfare training video."

If I'm Japanese and watching this, why doesn't it make me feel more secure about my country's undersea defense capability?

September 24, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Phat Knit Couch & Mat


By Dutch designer Bauke Knottnerus.


A series of giant threads made from polyurethane foam and cotton, used to create couches, mats, or whatever strikes your fantasy.


Or fancy.


Apply within.

September 24, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Leonard Skinner, 77, gym teacher and namesake of Lynyrd Skynyrd, is dead

T. Rees Shapiro's wonderful September 21, 2010 Washington Post obituary just goes to show that you never know; it follows.


Strict teacher inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd's name

Leonard Skinner, 77, a high school physical education teacher who was the improbable namesake of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died Sept. 20 at a nursing home in Jacksonville, Fla. He had Alzheimer's disease.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Skinner was the by-the-books basketball coach and gym teacher at his alma mater, Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville. He had a reputation as a disciplinarian and was a stickler for personal appearance.

One day, Mr. Skinner sent a smart-aleck student named Ronnie Van Zant to the principal's office because his hair was touching his collar — a flagrant violation of the school's dress code.

"It was against the school rules," Mr. Skinner — who had a flattop haircut for most of his life — told the Florida Times-Union in 2009. "I don't particularly like long hair on men, but again, it wasn't my rule."

Mr. Skinner left the high school in 1969 to become a real estate broker and bar owner and had completely forgotten about the brush with Van Zant until he got a phone call from an out-of-town friend.

Van Zant, who was later suspended from the school for other rules violations, decided to get back at his physical education teacher by renaming "One Percent," his fledgling rock band "Lynyrd Skynyrd."

Shortly after the release of their 1973 album, "(pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd)," Lynyrd Skynyrd became one of the most in-demand acts of the 1970s, playing such signature hits as "Sweet Home Alabama" [top] and "Free Bird" [below].

They played to sprawling crowds at concerts with the Confederate flag as a backdrop — an homage to their Southern roots.

At first, Mr. Skinner later said, he was peeved at Van Zant for mangling his name and repurposing it for his band's moniker.

Mr. Skinner eventually warmed up to the rockers, and even introduced them at a homecoming concert in Jacksonville. For the group's third album, Mr. Skinner let the band print a picture of his real-estate sign on the inside cover.

For many years, he would get voice mails on his business line from curious Lynyrd Skynyrd fans seeking to speak to the real Leonard Skinner.

"He embraced it," Mr. Skinner's daughter, Susie Moore said in an interview. "As he got older, he mellowed and then he was able to embrace all types of music, really, even country."

Still, in the 2009 interview with the Times-Union, Mr. Skinner said he never developed a taste for Lynyrd Skynyrd's repertoire.

Instead, he made his musical tastes absolutely clear: "I don't like rock 'n' roll music."

He was born Forby Leonard Skinner in Jacksonville on Jan. 11, 1933.

After graduating from Robert E. Lee High School in 1951, Mr. Skinner attended Florida State University, where he was a fraternity brother of Burt Reynolds and a 1957 physical education graduate.

He spent two years in the Army but hated it, his daughter said, because he had to wait in line to get food in the mess hall.

He owned and operated a bar called The Still in Jacksonville, to which he later added his name after the band's surge in popularity. He sold it in the mid-1980s. It is now a topless bar.

On Oct. 20, 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd's private plane crashed near McComb, Miss. Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and four others were killed, and other band members were severely injured.

In an interview after the crash, Mr. Skinner expressed remorse about the death of onetime troublemaker Van Zant.

"They were good, talented, hardworking boys," Mr. Skinner said in 1977. "They worked hard, lived hard, and boozed hard."

Besides his daughter, of Jacksonville, survivors include his wife of 54 years, Rosemary Jones Skinner of Jacksonville; a son, Leonard S. Skinner of Jacksonville; and two grandsons.



Above, Leonard Skinner holds a Lynyrd Skynyrd album in 1977 outside the Still, his bar in Jacksonville, Florida.

September 24, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Shower Curtain Savers — Episode 3: Call for a new source


I received two requests in three days for a place to buy these underrated devices.

Using the rule of 100, I figure there are 200 people who'd like to know but can't be bothered to ask.

So in a nod to the silent majority, here are your savers.

Bonus: price break.


When featured in 2005's Episode 1 and 2007's Episode 2 they cost $7.95/dozen.

Now they're $2.99 for 12.

Full disclosure: I carry these in my wallet, and when I'm at someone's house and use the bathroom I always look at their shower curtain (and liner) hook holes.

If I see one that's torn, I whip out my savers and fix it on the spot (one on each side works best).

I never, ever mention it.


That pretty much sums me up.

September 24, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"The September Issue"

What a wonderful film for us dedicated followers of fashion.

The cameras take you inside the rarified hidden world of the movers and shakers at Vogue, with the focus on editor Anna Wintour and her long-time right hand, creative director Grace Coddington, as they begin preparation for the September 2007 flagship issue of the magazine five months in advance, driving toward the closing.

I was mesmerized by Wintour's mastery of every aspect of her craft, and the sheer force of her personality. 

As I watched I marveled at how quickly she absorbed material and then decided yes or no.

Toward the end of the film, an interviewer asks her what she feels is her best quality and she unhesitatingly replies, "Decisiveness."

A wonderful counterpoint to Wintour's crispness is Coddington's artistic, philosophical yet practical take on things.

She's kind of a couture hippie if such a thing is possible, her 60s-style long red hair and flats belying an exquisite sense of mise-en-scène.

Nor is she reticent about her annoyance when Wintour repeatedly whittles down features she feels are perfect, rolling her eyes and remarking in no uncertain terms how good the edited-out material is.

And yet she is the first to give Wintour credit for consistently being bold and going where no one else dared in terms of taking the magazine in new directions.

September 24, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Business Card Scanner


From the website:


Scan a business card as an image in next to no time and keep up to two thousand files.

All you do is slide the card through the slot and a mini camera with a OCR scanner reads the card, also recording the date of the scan.

You can even add keywords to act as tags when searching through your files.

Ideal for the business person on the move who meets a lot of people, the scanner looks good and can be slipped into a briefcase or bag with ease.


• Weight: 85g

• Resolution: 400 x 240

• Power: lithium battery

• Memory: 2GB microSD card

• Interface: 3.5" WQYGA LCD

• Size: 120 x 60 x 13mm (4.7 x 2.4 x 0.5")

• Includes case, battery, adapter, microSD card/SD card adapter



$395 (business cards not included).


Note added at 12:51 p.m. today: joehead clifyt just commented that there are a number of apps for both iPhone and Android devices which will do the same thing without the need for 1) carrying yet another dedicated device and 2) paying $395 for it.

Yesterday's New York Times had an item about three of the apps, each priced between $6 and $15, with Bob Tedeschi favorably reviewing them all.


Above (left), CamCard's iPhone app showing its card holder feature; and the WorldCard mobile app scanning a business card.

September 24, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Google new — "The one place to find everything new from Google"


Fair warning: there goes the day.

[via Rex Hammock]

September 24, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Foot Thong


Inventor Capezio calls them "the next innovation in dance."


They started as a joke, so-called "foot lingerie,"


but as oftimes happens the joke turned serious


when customers asked for more.


Think outside the dance space.



September 24, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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