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March 7, 2012

Derek Kinzett – Wire Sculptures


From Colossal: "UK artist Derek Kinzett crafts these amazing figurative sculptures by cutting and forming different kinds of wire."


Above, "The Lady and the Bicycle."

"Spirit of the Road:






"The Wood Cutters Sprite":


"Spirit of Reflection":


"Kinzett closed a solo exhibition yesterday for The National Trust, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England but you can see much more in his portfolio."

March 7, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Diet A&W Root Beer — Almost indistinguishable from the real deal


Above, my new favorite soda.

I'm not sure if I could tell it apart from the non-diet version, it's that good.

Bonus: no caffeine so I can drink it right up to bedtime.

March 7, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Steamballers of Rego Park

As if

Long story by Sarah Maslin Nir in Monday's New York Times short: When the weather gets cold, devoted handball players with no indoor courts to play on choose to play on outside regardless of the temperature.

Handballs do not do well in the cold.

So players cook them.

Above and below, handballs being cooked for play. 


Excerpts from the Times piece follow.

A steady ribbon of steam rose from a stainless steel pot at a park in Queens, a small flame licking at its underside. Every so often, Washington Giovanni Cardenas lifted the lid to pluck a round morsel from the roiling water.

Timing was important: undercooked, the objects would be flat; overcooked, the casing could melt. Two minutes was the magic number.

Mr. Cardenas was not tending stove at a cookout on that Wednesday in late February: inside his pot were bright-blue rubber balls [top].

Mr. Cardenas, 39, is a self-described religious devotee of the sport of handball, and like many of his peers, he is committed to playing the game year-round. But the cold weather is not hospitable to players, and even less so to the handballs.

"On a winter day the ball is cold, which makes the rubber harder, the air in the ball denser, so the ball doesn't really expand and contract off the bounce," said Ruben Acosta, 32, a hotel concierge who is known on the court as Superstar. Boiling the balls, he said, gives them back their zing.

"When you play with the steam ball, it makes everything a lot more interesting," Mr. Acosta said. "Your reflexes have to be faster, your instinct has to be faster. It changes the game."

That is why in the trunks of their cars, next to the usual gear of water bottles, gym shorts, gloves and plastic tubs of balls, the handball players tuck in some unconventional equipment: a canister of propane, a lighter and a pot. ("My mom doesn’t know this is missing," Mr. Cardenas said.)


March 7, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: Will fit inside most — not all — bread boxes (but you will first have to remove the bread. And even then, it'll be a tight squeeze.).

Flautist will note with delight and relief, I'm sure, that I have restored the bookofjoe Bread Box Test®™© to its proper place in the "What is it?" feature after my recent lopse.

Yes, lopse — as in "Me lopse."

File under "Taste of Kingston."

Abstruse enough for you?


Go away.

March 7, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Oxford Comma


No, not a Ludlum x O.E.D. mashup but, rather, the name given to a comma that should be deployed in certain situations (see illustration above) where its use is otherwise optional.

Also called the "serial comma."

Thanks to thelizabeff, one of my team of crack Chicago correspondents, for the instructive graphic that splains it better than I ever could.

Note to self: double her salary.

March 7, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Mini USB Camera


"A tiny 2MP camera which uses a micro SD card and plugs directly into your computer's USB slot."

Windows or Mac. 


[via CSYCB]

March 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Thank you for voting! Please Exit through the Cemetery"


Above and below, details of a photo of my TV screen, taken last night around 8:30 p.m.


CNN political correspondent Dana Bash was interviewing the Hamilton County, Ohio registrar of voters (in red) in her office as the first returns came in from greater Cincinnati.

As she did so, the camera pulled back and took in the registrar's office and I saw the sign on her desk.

I did a double take, then grabbed my iPhone to take a picture but by then the cameraman had zoomed in on the reporter and registrar.

I waited and hoped and sure enough, the closing shot pulled back enough to let me get a picture of the sign.


March 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

"My safety whistle: Worth its weight in gold" — Jodi Ettenberg


Wrote the intrepid traveler on LegalNomads.com:

In Australia, I settled upon a Tatonka backpack that came with a... bonus safety whistle on the chest strap. While not a factor in my purchase, that whistle proved invaluable in the coming months. Here's how:

Middle of the Ayeyarwady, Burma

When our boat died in the middle of the Ayeyarwady River, sputtering its last, diesel-fueled breath somewhere between Sinbo and Bhamo, we were (so to speak) up a creek without a paddle.

For hours, we drifted in inky silence without a clue about what to do next, the captain sitting and glaring at the motor in disgust. I heard the motor of a boat in the distance and warned everyone to cover their ears. Inhaling deeply, I sounded the whistle like there was no tomorrow.

It worked — the boat came toward us; the two captains conversed, we were towed to shore. Another boat picked us up and took us to Bhamo itself, where we checked into the one hotel licensed to house foreigners and fell into a deep sleep.

Climbing Mount Zwegabin, Burma's Mon State

In my post about climbing Mount Zwegabin, I mentioned that I was chased by a pack of wild monkeys. After a wrestling match over my rolled up blanket... I frantically ran up... stairs before realizing that resistance was futile. A short person with short legs cannot outrun a pack of monkeys up innumerable crumbling stairs on a Burmese mountain.

Gasping for breath and watching several of the bolder monkeys creep toward me, teeth bared, my eye caught the bright orange whistle of my safety whistle. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I inhaled deeply and pushed out the air as hard as I could, scaring those monkeys with a sound they’d likely never heard before. I kept moving as quickly as possible, looking behind me in a bit of a panic. But the monkeys had all disappeared.

Train to Chiang Mai, Thailand

I opted to take a night train to Chiang Mai, thinking it would be a new experience from my customary overnight bus ride. What I didn't think was that I would get stuck in the bathroom in the middle of the night, with nothing but my daypack to keep me company. After a good amount of time dedicated to tugging on the door, banging on the door, and sitting and staring at the door, I realized that my safety whistle could make far more of a ruckus. Sure enough, it did. Within no time, someone came to open the door, already unlocked but completely wedged on the wrong sliding track.

Summing up

What's the lesson in all this? You can agonize about what to pack and what gear to bring, but don't forget to add one tiny but powerful whistle to your list. Worth its weight in gold.

March 7, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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