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October 25, 2012

How to Spot a Psychopath


I'd never heard of this website till a few minutes ago when I happened on it on my statistics page (below)


showing referring websites.

With a name like that, worth a look, I thought.

Besides which, I was wondering what post of mine caused the site to link to me.

Anyhoo, the site is run by Daniel Rutter whose "day job, such as it is, is the operation of Dan's Data."

All manner of interesting stuff.

October 25, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Finest Paperware Disposable Cups


From the website:



Designer Rebecca Wilson not only makes a comment on "throwaway culture," but she has also created the finest disposable paper cups we've ever seen.

Finest Paperware Disp 1

Made from cast sheets of handmade paper, these cups emulate Wedgwood's iconic range using stained dyed paper and embossed relief details in white.

Made from sustainable materials and fully recyclable.

4.75"H x 3.15"Ø.


Set of 12: $29.

October 25, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The price of everything and the value of nothing


Yesterday, removing leaves and pine needles from the engine compartment of my car, I got to thinking about how much I like it.

It's a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL, purchased new in June of 1988 with my personal check for $58,000.

Full disclosure: I got my first car in 1976, when I was 28 years old and had lived in L.A. since the age of 18 without a car and done just fine.

Nevertheless, life demanded that I be able to drive places to practice medicine — I worked as a locum tenens family practitioner and G.P. for practices large (Kaiser) and small (one doc who wanted to take a vacation). 

These jobs were located all over the L.A. basin and there was simply no way to get to and from them on a daily basis without a car.

I found a used Buick Skylark convertible in West Hollywood via the L.A. Times Car Classifieds, back then a treasure trove of vehicles.

I paid $500 cash money and drove away from the guy's house thrilled as can be.

It was white, huge, long and wide, very much like an aircraft carrier on wheels.

My girlfriend called it "The Thrasher" — apt.

That car lasted a couple years, till a little old lady not in Pasadena but Santa Monica t-boned me after running a stop sign on San Vicente.

I drove the car with a smashed-in driver's side door for another year or so — it's amazing how much space other drivers gave me when they saw me coming, heh — and then got tired of climbing into the car over the fused-shut door.

So I got another $500 car, and that was followed by another, and another, and finally by 1988 I was driving a black 1969 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors that cost me around $500 when I bought it used in 1985-86.

It weighed over 5,000 pounds and drank gas so thirstily that when you were driving really fast you could almost see the gas gauge going down.

Gradually all the little motors that back in the late 60s made the car the flagship of the world's automobiles stopped working, and I ended up sitting in a very weird driving position, where the many moving seat parts were when the last little motor stopped working.

Then pieces started falling off the car.

Though it still ran fine, I figured that there must have been a reason they were there in the first place.

And so I went from the outhouse to the penthouse and opted for the big Benz, a 4.2 liter V-8 powerhouse.

A wonderful car, now well into its 25th year of service with moi with just over 160,000 miles on it.

Drives like buttah.

It's like wearing your favorite old ratty bathrobe and soft slippers, sitting in it and cruising the highways and byways of my Podunk town and the U.S. of A.

It does 100mph without blinking — not a shake, shimmy or shiver.

But I don't do that very often.

Just often enough to see that I still can.

The car weighs over 4,000 pounds, serious steel and German overbuilding.


Last week I happened to look at the side of the driver's door frame and saw the array of plates and signs pictured up top.

Somehow I'd never once looked at them in a quarter century of getting in and out of the car.

The one in the middle (below)


got my attention is a serious way.

SRS stands for Supplemental Restraint System and is Mercedes' bespoke system of integrated sensors/seat belt tensioners/air bag. 

FunFact: When I bought my car in 1988 only Volvo and Mercedes offered air bags — no American car did.

And Mercedes only offered it on the driver's side, not putting one on the passenger side till 1989.

But I digress.

Did the SRS notice mean that if I'd had a head-on collision since 1998 — 14 years! — my airbag wouldn't have worked and I'd be dead?

I called the local Mercedes dealership and scheduled a visit to have things checked out.

Turns out when they sold the car in 1988 no one knew how long the SRS would work so they arbitrarily said to replace it in 10 years.

In the decades since, it's turned out that if the system has never been used in a crash and the sensors check out, it's good pretty much indefinitely.

My electronics and sensors checked out perfectly.

I thought maybe I'd replace it anyway but blanched at the cost: $1,800 installed.

I'd rather spend the money somewhere else and take my chances with the original equipment.

Famous last words?

I sure hope not.

October 25, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

FlexViewer — The shape of things to come?


I fell into a wormhole and when I came out the other end I was holding one of these nifty flexible screens.


Then I woke up.

Or did I?

[via Jana Ferreira, who created this device during 2001-2002 in the course of obtaining her Masters degree in Industrial Design at the Scuola Politecnica Di Design SPD (Milan, Italy) and Microsoft Italia. She wrote, "The screen is flexible and deformable and can be rolled up like a papyrus scroll. The product combines physical and functional flexibility: different FlexViewer strips can be attached to give an extended view of up to 360°, which is very rewarding in gaming, for example."] 

October 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Little Eva — "The Locomotion" (video)

Res ipsa loquitur.

An early 1960s Shindig blast from the past.

Ooh, she was good.

October 25, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tissue Box Cover

Screen Shot 2012-10-24 at 9.26.52 PM

Yves Klein Blue.


October 25, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

reddit has always been good to me

Screen Shot 2012-10-24 at 8.44.52 AM

Witness its latest taking of one of my posts — Eudora Welty's New Yorker job application letter — viral (above).

Last week it was the Buddhism reddit crowd who glommed on to me,


via Wislawa Szymborska's poem "Maybe All This."

What next?

October 25, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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