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June 12, 2012

"California Girls" — Beach Boys x Jack Benny & Bob Hope (1965)

American masters, all.

June 12, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Yosegi Parquet Ruler

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From the website:

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Midori has been a leading stationery brand in Japan since 1950.

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Their new Japan Works collection of rulers showcases the traditional crafts of various areas of Japan, using ancient materials and techniques in a modern form.

Even if metric isn't your standard, the ruler is still great for drawing straight lines and for relative measurements.

Comes in a handsome presentation sleeve with information on the craft behind the ruler.

"Yosegi" is the traditional craft of parquetry, dating back to the Edo period.

The pattern highlights each type of wood used in the design.

The ruler has a notched edge, making it easier to pick up.

Details:

• Satin-finish aluminum ruler with various woods

• Made in Hakone, Japan

• Metric — up to 15 cm

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$52.

June 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to have the Apple Store Genius Bar all to yourself*

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Free, the way we like it, too.

It's simple and obvious and yet I bet few people ever do it.

All right, all right, joe — spit it out already.

Oh, yeah, sorry.

All you have to do is wait till there's a powerful thunderstorm, preferably with high winds and serious lightning, then get in your car and head for the Apple Store.

It'll be just you and the store's employees, bored beyond belief and happy to give you an hour-long tutorial that'll move you to the head of the TechnoDolt©™® class.

For extra-special treatment, mention I sent you.

As if.

*To the reader who emailed me with a suggestion for obtaining the same result in any conditions, not just during bad weather: Eewwwww!!!!

June 12, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Clad's Disher — World's first mechanical ice cream server

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It was invented in 1876 by William Clewell, a confectionary story owner in Reading, Pennsylvania, in order to let soda fountain operators "measure out consistent portions of ice cream and deposit them 'on a plate or saucer in a molded and attractive condition.'"

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More, from the July & August issue of Cooks' Illustrated: "The server spooned ice cream into the bell-like mold and then inverted it over a dish. A few turns of the heart-shaped key on top rotated two scraper blades around the inside, releasing the frozen dessert. When we tried out this quaint dipper, we were struck by the novelty of the cone-shaped scoops that it produced — but its two-handed operation was clunky and awkward compared with modern-day scoops."

Methinks Cooks' Illustrated is being far too hard on Clewell's breakthrough, whose patented design was manufactured by Mr. Valentine Clad, a Philadelphia tinsmith.

Does the fact the Wright Brothers' first successful flyer looked like a bunch of oversized toothpicks glued together and on its first flight on December 17, 1903 flew just 120 feet, staying aloft for only 12 seconds, make it "clunky and awkward" compared to a modern day jumbo jet or fighter?

To me, that first plane (below, taking wing on December 17, 1903)

is a thing of great beauty, an incredible achievement embodying all that's best of the human animal.

Let's not be too judgmental when we cast an eye back at our ancestors.

Hindsight is always 50-50.

Wait a sec, that's not right....

I found about 10 Clads' Dishers on eBay (below, an exemplar),

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starting at around $30, if you're in the mood for a bit of Americana in your own kitchen.

June 12, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

"Safe House" — Is there anyone who doesn't like Denzel Washington?

He lifts every film he's in, no matter how dismal it might be in every respect — but this movie does him justice by giving him a nuanced role as an ex-CIA agent gone (apparently) rogue....

I won't give away the plot by offering any more details.

I rate it (watched this past weekend in hi-def on Apple TV) one of my top three so far this year.

OK, I hear you: "Yo joe — what's the denominator?"

I've seen perhaps 20 movies so far in 2012, give or take five or ten.

Bonus: "Safe House" takes place in Cape Town, and visits a wide spectrum of places therein.

Road trip on the cheap.

June 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Extreme wide-angle Nikkor lens

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Sorry but I just can't help myself when I see some stupendous piece of kit like this.

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From Espikes09.blogspot.com:

First introduced in 1970 at the Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany, the Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 lens offers an angle of view of 220º, making it — at the time — the world's most extreme wide-angle lens to cover an image area of 24 x 36 mm.

Lens production started in March 1972 and was only made available by special order, said Gray Levett, a co-founder of Grays of Westminster in London.

He and Tony Hurst spent six months on the trail of this lens and finally located it overseas.

"We were fortunate in securing it and it is now [April 2012] on sale for £100,000."

The lens is in mint condition.

It uses 12 glass elements in nine groups and weighs 5.2 kg.

It has a minimum focusing distance of 25 cm and features a slip-on front lens cap and is delivered in a rugged metal case.

June 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Instalanche on Instapundit

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One of my crack Pittsburgh correspondents coined the neologism above to describe what happened after my book appeared on Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit last Friday (top).

Long story short: Its sales rank on Amazon increased a 100-fold from 3 million+ to 21,000+ (below)

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in a Podunk town minute.

True, it was only a passing thing — but it was great fun while it lasted.

You could say the same about life.

Next stop: Oprah.

June 12, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Octopus Head Massager

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"Soothing and sensational. Reduces tension by stimulating sensitive nerves in scalp. Instantly invigorating."

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If it does half of what it says, cheap at twice the $4.99 price.

June 12, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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