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April 19, 2012

Trail marker trees — Indian ghosts


From Wikipedia:


Large trees exhibiting deformed growth and obtaining distinctive symmetrical forms bent through a vertical plane are sometimes labeled "Trail Marker Trees" as well as "Marker Trees" by amateur historians.


Distinctively bent trees [pictured above and below] have long been noted in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States. The extent to which Native Americans used such trees as navigational aids, and whether such trees were formed by cultural or natural means, is controversial.


At the beginning of the 1900s, articles, books, special events, and the installation of bronze plaques at known Trail Marker Tree sites began to appear.


Oak and maple trees were most commonly used for shaping due to their flexibility while young, followed by their permanence and ability to retain their shape well into the future, creating a marker that would last for centuries. The trees were bent over, forming an arch, and held in place by securing them to a stake in the ground or tying them to a large stone with a leather strap or vine.


During this process a new branch would be allowed to grow skyward on the top of the arch forming a new trunk. The old trunk would then be removed, creating a knob, one of the distinctive characteristics of the Trail Marker Trees.


The shape itself was not only made to stand out horizontally in a vertical world at approximately the height of game, but also to be visible above the height of snowfall in the Great Lakes region.

From Boston.com:


The Jasper, Ga.-based nonprofit Mountain Stewards has been compiling a database of the trees since 2007, documenting about 1,850 Indian marker trees in 39 states.


Dennis Downes, an Antioch, Illinois-based artist and sculptor who founded the Great Lakes Trail Marker Tree Society, released a book last fall called "Native American Trail Marker Trees," which chronicles more than 30 years of documenting and photographing the trees across the United States.


He drove several hundred thousands of miles over the years, pored over books that might give clues as to where to find the trees, talked to locals and researched the locations of old American Indian trails.


"Mystery of the Trees," published by Mountain Stewards, covers six years of work by Don and Diane Wells documenting Indian Trail Trees.

[via The Illinois Steward]

April 19, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ball Claw


Where was this when I was a kid?

Back then it would've been a must-have.

From $9.99 (ball not included).

[via CSYCB]

April 19, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Google Art Project — Growing like Topsy


Long story by Roberta Smith in the April 11 New York Times short: "The expanded second iteration of the Google Art Project was unveiled last week."

Version 1 made its debut early last year, featuring 17 museums and just over 1,000 works in a single medium — painting.

The latest update "makes available images of more than 32,000 works in 31 mediums and materials, from the collections of 151 museums and art organizations worldwide."

There's lots of room to grow: "Although there are now more than 6,500 names on the list of artists, the site still does not include a single work by Picasso."

Fair warning: should you visit, there goes the day.

April 19, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One-Handed Water Bottle

Screen Shot 2012-04-18 at 7.34.48 PM

From the Stanley website:




Single-wall stainless-steel construction
Car cup & bike cage compatible
One-handed push-button spout
360° drink-through spout
2.9" x 3.5" x 10.2"
Lifetime warranty
24-oz. capacity




[via NOTCOT]

April 19, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quantations — A Guide to Quantum Living in the 21st Century


You may have noticed this book's appearance in the upper right hand corner of boj for the past week or so.

Long story short: I wrote the book in 2001, finally bringing together a lifetime of favorite quotations and my own observations on this, that, and the other. 

Especially the other.

The book came out in both paperback and hardcover in early 2002 and slept on Amazon, ranked way out on the long tail of slim sales, with a sales rank of 1 or 2 million — give or take a million.

Below, yesterday's rank.

Screen Shot 2012-04-17 at 6.03.44 PM

Last year, after numerous false starts, I finally pulled myself together and began the process of making it available in a Kindle version, to which the photo of the cover links directly.

Let me tell you, that was no easy task, moving it from paper to eBook format.

In fact, it was insanely difficult.

But having done it, I can say that it's much better on an iPhone than it was on paper, besides being a whole lot cheaper (99 cents v $10.95 for the paperback).

The nature of the text, a progressive series of brief quotations each linked to its source, is such that moving back and forth via direct electronic links is faster, easier, and a lot less annoying than flipping pages.

Of course, you don't have to look at the sources, you could instead do the equivalent of Calvin Klein's "just feel the fabric" and move through the text any way you like.

Reality, like Gray Cat,


has a texture all its own.

April 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Hold Chair — Stop banging the vacuum cleaner against chair legs


Who hasn't been irritated while doing a power vac to have to maneuver around and between chair legs?


Full disclosure: That's true, actually.

For the same reason I've never once used my built-in dishwasher and had my in-sink disposal disconnected (I hate noise), I never ever use my vacuum cleaner, much preferring a broom.

But others may not be of this ilk.


From LikeCool: "Malaysia-based designer Poh Liang Hock's Hold Chair has a seat and back that slide up [and down] the backrest frame. The chair can then be attached to a table."

From red dot online: "Cleaning the floor is a regular routine at home or at closing time in a restaurant. Typically, the cleaner will turn the chair upside down and put it on the table in order to clean the floor below. Dirt on or near the bottom of the chair legs may stick to the cleaner's hands or fall onto the table."


"Hold Chair has been designed to overcome this unsanitary situation. The chair is suitable for any dining room. Its plastic seat and back can slide up the backrest frame. This separates the seat from the frame below it. The chair can then be slid onto the table and cantilevered by its plastic seat. The chair's feet are not touched and any attached dirt will fall to the floor rather than onto the table."

[via swissmiss and Shoebox Dwelling]

April 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How to be a better flosser — Episode 2: Anesthesiologist goes rogue and disputes dental expert

9-5-09 398

In yesterday's Episode 1 I featured flossing tips from Dr. Denis F. Kinane, professor of pathology and periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Dental Medicine.

Even as I was preparing that post, I was mentally arguing with some of Dr. Kinane's advice but I decided not to sully his points with my twaddle.

I figured I'd wait till today to take the stage and make a fool of myself.

Without further ado, then, here's my own two cents worth of commentary.

1. I say floss before brushing — that's the oppposite of the good Dr. Kinane's advice. In a Wall Street Journal interview he told the paper's Heidi Mitchell, "The typical regime would be brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Flossing cleans out places where the toothbrush can't reach."

I can only speak for myself but the thing that keeps me coming back to my dental floss every night — OK, OK, I'll be honest, almost every night, sometimes I'm just too tired to bother or I get a flashback to when I was a boy and would fake brushing my teeth, only to realize I don't even have to fake it nowadays, I can just blow it off — right before bed is the promise of the bits and pieces of the day's food (TMI? I couldn't agree more but it's too late now) that flossing removes, much to my amazement and disgust.

When I brush my teeth first, most of those bits and pieces get dislodged and subsequent flossing reveals little in the way of macroscopic detritus.

I need that feedback to keep flossing.

Dr. Kinane's contention that "Flossing cleans out places where the toothbrush can't reach" may be spot-on but even he would agree, I suspect, that it also cleans out places the toothbrush has already visited and scoured.

2. Dr. Kinane said, "You should always introduce the floss at the top of the tooth, in the gum line, and bring it down, then remove it and find an unused length for the next tooth. The old piece of floss is fully laden with plaque. You wouldn't want to use it again and spread those germs."

Respectfully, I disagree. I tried this last night for the first time and it took so much concentration and time to do that I realized I simply wouldn't bother flossing at all if it took that kind of focus.

It's all I can do to floss at all, much less be conscientious about finding a fresh foot of floss for each tooth. I suspect most people are more like me than not in this respect.

Once again, as with the order of attack discussed in 1. above, perfect is the enemy of good. Yes, as Dr. Kinane noted, "The old piece of floss is fully laden with plaque. You wouldn't want to use it again and spread those germs." — but jeez, it's my plaque, so how bad can it be if some gets on my other teeth?

Besides which, if you think about it for a sec, flossing only gets the surfaces between teeth: what about the lingual and buccal aspects, both of which are laden with plaque under the gum line that neither floss nor toothbrush will likely ever reach?

No, I say just be satisfied that you flossed at all — move the goalposts, declare victory, and go to bed.

It occurs to me that Dr. Kinane's kind of been a straw man throughout this whole post, in that he doesn't even know it exists.

I'm gonna remedy that once it goes up, and hope he'll have a moment or two to offer a rebuttal I'll be honored to share here.

Bacon floss?

You say you want some?

No problema.


April 19, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kitty Keychain Can Bite


From LikeCool: "These cute cat keychains are not toys, but are in fact serious defense weapons.  They are made of an ultra-tough plastic material that is very hard to break."


$5.99 ("You must be 18 or older to order").

April 19, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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