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March 29, 2019

How to tell a real Zippo lighter from a fake


Above, a real Zippo next to a counterfeit.

Which is which?*

A March 25, 2011 Wall Street Journal article by Barry Newman noted that many of the lighters that come into Zippo's repair facilities (the lighters are guaranteed for life) are, in fact, fakes, oftimes something not known by their owners until the unrepaired counterfeit is returned.

Wrote Newman, "It's getting to the point where Zippo itself has to look twice to tell the difference between counterfeits and its own product."

• The 12 letters "A" through "L" stand for the months on a Zippo date stamp; other letters flag a fake

• Zippo chimneys have 16 holes

• Zippo rivets are steel, not brass

• Zippo's flint eyelet is brass, not steel

• Zippo strikewheels are cut in a houndstooth pattern

• The edge of the flint-screw's head in a Zippo is knurled

*The lighter on the left is a fake.

March 29, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pre-positioning is not just for doomsday preppers

Back when I was an anesthesiology resident, I got into the habit of preparing my next day's anesthesia cart setup at the end of every working day, then securing it by placing an "X" made of tape across the top so the anesthesia techs in the workroom didn't mess with it.

[The videos above and below demonstrate my system. Note that Part 1 has over 111,000 views and Part 2 over 47,000.]

The next morning. when I entered the setup area where us anesthesiology residents prepared our carts, I was way ahead of the crowd as a result, and could proceed with the remainder of my preparations — drawing up drugs, pre-bending my intubation stylets to the perfect angle, etc. — in a leisurely fashion while bantering with my colleagues.

One thing I got into the habit of doing was having an emergency endotracheal tube — much smaller in diameter than the ones I'd be routinely using — with a pre-bent stylet molded into a "hockey stick" configuration.

In the event something happened in the OR during a case, I wouldn't have to scramble to assemble a tube and stylet and cuff syringe but rather could simply open the fourth drawer down in the cart and grab my pre-prepped tube, ready to intubate.

I was always struck by how almost all the other residents thought I was a catastrophizer and a "little old lady" with my fussing over things that most likely I'd never need — but that's how I'm wired.

I find now that I'm retired from the OR, I still use practices such as prepositioning that served me well over the decades in the OR.

Example: just now I noticed that my Citrus Magic powder — which I sprinkle over my cat's litter box after each tidying up — was almost empty. 

Rather than wait until it really is empty before preparing another container, instead I got a new one out, opened it, removed the styrofoam safety shield at the top, and prepositioned it behind the old one, ready to use when the current one is done.

And I always have spare light bulbs of every possible wattage: there is nothing* more annoying than having a bulb burn out and having to leave the lamp/room/fixture dark because you don't have the proper replacement bulb. 

You can see how I could be an annoying person to be around, much less live with....

Tell you what: my cat's down with it.

*OK, OK: few things

March 29, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rakotzbrücke Devil's Bridge


From Atlas Obscura:


Nestled among the verdant foliage in Kromlau, Germany's Kromlauer Park is a delicately arched bridge known as the Rakotzbrücke, which was intentionally built to create a circle when it is reflected in the waters beneath it.


Commissioned in 1860 by the knight of the local town, the thin arch stretching over the waters of the Rakotzsee is roughly built out of varied local stone.

Like many similarly precarious spans across Europe, the Rakotzbrücke is known as a "devil's bridge," due to the colloquialism that such bridges were so dangerous or miraculous that they must have been built by Satan.


While the bridge (as with all the others) was created by mortal hands, its builders did seem to hold the aesthetics of the bridge in higher regard than its utility.


Both ends of the Rakotzbrücke are decorated with thin rock spires created to look like natural basalt columns (above and below),

1 4.20.36 PM

which occur in many places in Germany.

In addition, the curvature of the bridge is designed to be one half of a perfect circle, so that when the waters are still and the light is right, it creates the illusion of a complete stone circle.


Today, the bridge can still be viewed in the park, but crossing the aging relic is prohibited in order to preserve it.

The bridge is best visited during the fall when the foliage adds an element of wonder to the already surreal view.


It is located in Kromlauer Park in Eastern Germany and is best accessed by driving.

While viewing the bridge is welcome, crossing the bridge is strictly prohibited.

As of June 2018, the bridge was reported as being under renovation.

March 29, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

World History Timeline


By time (above) or region (below).

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March 29, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Extra-Toasty Cheez-Its

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The other day I was in Kroger browsing the chips and snacks when I noticed this new — at least to me — variation on the Cheez-It theme, one of perhaps twenty Cheez-It permutations.

You really have to focus and concentrate if all you want is the original: oh, it's in there, all right, surrounded by a sea of newbie offshoots.

I love dark and overcooked and nearly burnt foods: witness my rave review in January of CB's Robust Roast Peanuts.

I took a flyer on a box of the Extra-Toasty and they are superb, much darker than regular Cheez-Its.


At grocery stores everywhere.

March 29, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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