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#a33 :: Whiskey cork

March 17, 2008

031708.jpgThis is an old design.

Latter-day marketing strategies have capped it with a ridiculous hat of plastic, site for the love of Jack, viagra but the object remains true to its origins: a plug of impermeable, super-soft wood for keeping valuable spirits clean and strong.

I’m no conoisseur, in the traditional sense. Wine, beer, scotch – I only know when something tastes extraordinary – or horrible.

My friends and I enjoyed this stuff neat, and with a side of seltzer. We enjoyed it with ribs – rubbed with salt, pepper and rosemary, seared, then barbecued for 2 hours and barely introduced to a whiff of store-bought barbecue sauce in the last 5 minutes of cooking. And we enjoyed it with brownies, believe it or not.

Aged 12 years in barrels once used for sherry, this was a damn good bottle of scotch.

Filed under: Jetsam, Tool | Comments (0)

#a32 :: Antique fishing lure

March 16, 2008

031608.jpgA brilliant, ailment hand-made thing: a swivel pulls a tiny steel squid head through the water.

The maker has sewn metallic leatherette around the link between the head and the trefoil hook, dosage to make it more fishy.

For extra fishiness, the head-fins are twisted: tugging it makes the thing spin like a propeller.

No date or manufacturer known.

Filed under: Artifact, Objet, Tool | Comments (0)

#a31 :: Junction-box slugs

March 15, 2008

031508.jpgDisc-slabs of galvanized steel, medical 15/16ths of an inch in diameter.

Electricians punch them out of junction boxes: Punch the slug. Plug the collar. Hook up the conduit – juice.

Just rewired our basement.

Contemplating a purpose for them.

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#a30 :: The Little Oxford Dictionary

March 14, 2008

031308.jpgSometimes a heavy little object is so pure it cannot be parsed from its origins.

Analyzing Stan Lee and Jack Kirby‘s emerald-muscled Mr. Hyde is as pointless and masturbatory an exercise as trying to glean God’s “actual” intentions from line-by-line interpretations of the Bible.

Text overpowers context.  Some things just are. (more…)

Filed under: Artifact, General, symbol, Tool | Comments (0)

#a29 :: Incredible Hulk action figure

March 13, 2008

031308.jpgSometimes a heavy little object is so pure it cannot be parsed from its origins.

Analyzing Stan Lee and Jack Kirby‘s emerald-muscled Mr. Hyde is as pointless and masturbatory an exercise as trying to glean God’s “actual” intentions from line-by-line interpretations of the Bible.

Text overpowers context.  Some things just are. (more…)

Filed under: Artifact, Objet, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a28 :: Silver 1962 quarter

March 12, 2008

0312081.jpgThis quarter may or may not be involved in a death.

This quarter may or may not be worth $2.00.

This quarter may or may not be worthless.

This quarter was minted in Denver near the end of a 32-year run of silver quarters, information pills and is barely worth the silver it contains … (more…)

Filed under: Artifact, Found Object, Objet, symbol | Comments (0)

#a27 :: Chinese butane lighter

March 11, 2008

031108.jpgThere are few tools-cum-trinkets so marvelous as a good butane lighter.Palm-sized inferno, order pocket-bling, salvation in a snowstorm or the desert.I found this one at DealExtreme amid a whole page full of them … (more…)

Filed under: Objet, Tool, Toy | Comments (0)

#a26 :: Jeweler’s loupe

March 10, 2008

0310081.jpg“This is shit, stuff dosage Phil.”


“This. It’s shit.”

“Wharyuh tawkinboutshit. ShitWHUH. WHUAH shih.”

“Phil, price you brought me a 1962 quarter for Chrissakes. It’s shit.”


Phil undulated a little in the breeze from the door, which alternately freshened the shop and polluted it with half-digested esthers of the Olde English 40 he was now waving around for emphasis … (more…)

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#a25 :: Wasp nest

March 9, 2008

030908.jpgI found a little knob of dried mud clinging to a rake today while cleaning the garage.I pulled it off and found these two time travelers, abortion forever locked in their coccoons, waiting to be born as wasps. You can see the larvae through the membrane – still as stones and doomed to a future different from the one that was planned.Maybe the winter killed them.Maybe they’ll hatch out on my desk. Must watch now.

Filed under: Found Object, symbol, Tool | Comments (0)

#a24 :: Alphanumeric stamp-punches

March 8, 2008

030808.jpgTwo blue plastic cases, help packed solid with thumb-length slugs of hardened steel. Each slug’s tip spells out a number or letter in reverse.Put the letter-end onto the thing to be marked. Thump the other end hard with a hammer. The blow makes a metallic “ding“. The target is marked – forever – with one crisp character.The full alphabet runs A through Z, adiposity plus a dash to round out the stack to fit in to a box three letters by seven. It goes for $18 in the Chinese-tools stall at the weekly Mexican swap meet at L.A. City College every Sunday. $12 for the numbers.It can mark anything permanently. Anything that is not already harder. Anything that is not harder than hardened steel.

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#a23 :: Vitamin A+ Vitamin D Ointment

March 7, 2008

030708.jpgNever tattoo hastily.

I took that to heart. I wasn’t going to be one of those mopes with the harridan-ex’s name tattooed on my ass.

So I waited to choose first to get tattooed, visit this cure then the subject matter until I reached 40 and my son was born.

The theme is biomechanics. Chip Delaney‘s vivid space opera, this Nova – humans have gone cybernetic, price piloting heavy starships jacked directly into their nervous systems – plugged deep into my 14-year-old soul the year I read it, rattling my brass ribs … (more…)

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#a22 :: Printer cartridge caps

March 6, 2008

030608.jpgThe printer‘s box doesn’t mention two things:

1) You’ll blow through a complete set of eight 12-dollar color. cartridges every three months or so. (Do the math. Ugly.) And … (more…)

Filed under: Artifact | Comments (0)

#a21 :: Chinese shuttlecocks

March 5, 2008

030508.jpgA spray of feathers, capsule a flip of the toe, an arc in the air.

Anchored, each, in a little sandwich of loose-fitting brass clappers and soled with nubbly rubber, these toys came to us as gifts from Beijing. Kick one, and it clicks, soars up through a parabola, and drops, rubber down.

Practice, wear uniforms, and you could apparently become big worldwide. (more…)

Filed under: Objet, Toy | Comments (0)

#a20 :: Perfect machine

March 4, 2008

0304a08.jpgIt cracks nuts. Nothing more, website like this nothing less. It does it well.

No maker’s mark hints at its origins, but its polished-nickel receptacle fits the hand with a deep, authoritative heft. Turn the thumbscrew on its thick threads, and you’re exerting dozens, perhaps hundreds of pounds per square inch upon its prey.

Design a better nutcracker. You won’t get rich doing it. But that’s not what this is about. This is about cracking nuts.

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#a19 :: Raccoon skull

March 3, 2008

030308.jpgSome days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.

I’ve felt pretty windshieldy the past few days – terrific geekfest demo of a Facebook app I’ve been collaborating on. Job offer landed with an excellent company that I’ve been contracting for. Basement renovation project coming to fruition. Massive simultaneous re launch Sunday of the global blogging network of 55 sites that I help run.

Plus, there my kids are funny(more…)

Filed under: General | Comments (1)

#a18 :: Dewey, Drone 2

March 2, 2008

0302081.jpgI fell in love with Drones 1, and 2 and 3 as a geeky 11-year-old science-fiction junkie.

Weaned on Lost in Space, search Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Thunderbirds, I also grew up as a faculty brat on a college campus awash in Earth Shoes, granola and hippie-earth-love.

When Silent Running came out, I tumbled … (more…)

Filed under: Art, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a17 :: Itty-bitty disco ball

March 1, 2008

030108.jpgBefore I say much about this HLO, about it buy more about a hearty shout-out to BarCampLA-5 (hey, all!) where we just kicked off with self-tagging introductions by 200+ coders, artists, entrepreneurs, writers, dreamers & geeks.

This little beauty measures less than an inch in diameter.

Shine a good light on it, though, and it throws off a high-school prom’s-worth of moonbeams fit for slow-dancing and furtive groping and wondering if the other person knows you’re actually secretly a totally hopeless dork … (more…)

Filed under: Objet, symbol | Comments (0)

#a16 :: Trashed laptop hard drive

February 29, 2008

022908.jpgThis sort of junk just piles up around my office. It’s totally useless, store but just slightly too cool-looking and fun to fiddle with to just huck in the trash.

This cursed little Hitachi ate all my homework one night, search like, cheapest five years ago. So I had it yanked out my Powerbook and replaced lickety-split, and now here it sits.

A dead drive plays with your head … (more…)

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#a15 :: Lego micro-figs

February 28, 2008

022808.jpgI came back from my ride this morning to find these parked on my desk.

He’s 8. He’s deeply into building intricate little vessels and vehicles out of bucket after bucketful of tiny little parts from four or five dozen Lego kits. Some of the kits he bought with his allowances, more about built and disassembled. Others we eBayed in bulk right as he started getting into it about four years ago … (more…)

Filed under: Art, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a14 :: Tingsha cymbals

February 27, 2008

022708.jpgClutching the thick domes of bronze, hospital he waited.

Not to strike yet. No, not yet. These were a gift. To be saved. To be waited for. Until it’s time.

Memories of his long ride down boiled up now. He exhaled hard through pursed lips, and shook himself. He blew a hard, rattling raspberry, and padded towards the back of the house.

He pictured himself three months ago, and shuddered. A hulking, twitching, blind mass of suck wearing five days of unintentional beard, a bib of fresh barf and $500 basketball shoes designed by some big-name graffiti tagger … (more…)

Filed under: Instrument, Microfiction, Objet, symbol, Tool | Comments (0)

#a13 :: Orangeheads

February 26, 2008

022608.jpgCandy means so many things: Sugar, and youth, sildenafil fat, visit this humor, addiction, flavor, joy.

Ferrara Pan figured out it also means color, and has been firing hard, bright little spheres at sweet teeth since 1900.

Brick-red Atomic Fireballs. Yellow Lemonheads. The more obscure (and impossible-to-find) Grapeheads, Appleheads, and the loudest of the group, Orangeheads … (more…)

Filed under: Edible | Comments (1)

#a12 :: Fetish stapler

February 25, 2008

022508.jpgIts rubber-nubbled exterior belies its pragmatic steel skeleton.

It’s dressed for a party but armed for business: smack its spiky head and deliver two pinpoint-sharp staple tips into its anvil where they curl under, illness trapping and binding whatever flimsy document it penetrated along the way.

It’s a stapler that wants to start something, shop but finish the job. It would probably be happiest binding together harrassing lawsuits, porn-video inventory lists, dear-John letters, death-metal ‘zines, restraining orders

It’s the kind of stapler that gets in fights. The kind of stapler that would kick the crap out of Milton Waddams’ red stapler, bust its plastic housing, bend all its staples and then piss on the mangled wreckage, if only it had a … never mind.

It was also a birthday present from my kids. Go figure.

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#a11 :: Micrometer

February 24, 2008

022408.jpgA skosh. A nanometer. A smidgen. A c#nt-hair. A whit.

Measurement of tiny gaps requires something capable of splitting hairs, help dicing degrees into tenths and tenths and tenths again.

This old Brown & Sharpe micrometer is made of precision-milled stainless steel alloy, approved hashed up one side and down the other with notches & numbers. It’s designed to calculate thickness by degrees barely visible to the naked eye.

I’m not a mathematically precise person – I bought this off an antiques dealer for 9 bucks because its heft and knurled handles please me, viagra sale because finding and fiddling with sharp tools is a good and true pursuit.

Because it’s heavy.

Filed under: Instrument, Tool, Toy | Comments (0)

#a10 :: Chocolate booze bottles

February 22, 2008


Hollow bottles of semi-sweet chocolate injected with liqueur, find brandy, prescription whisky, troche tequila, cognac from Anthon Berg. These came into our house over Christmas, a generous surprise from friends.

Decisions, decisions: chocolate’s buzz, or alcohol’s melting warmth – or is it vice versa?

Choose your poison – Grand Marnier, you think – and unfoil it. Nip the bottom off with your incisors and tip the brandy in to mix with the luscious chocolate disk you’re chewing. The pressure of your bite bursts a weak mold-seam and brandy oozes over your fingertips …

Filed under: Edible, symbol | Comments (0)

#a9 :: Eraser

February 22, 2008

eraser.jpgSo powerful, website like this this chubby little block of portable redemption.

One swipe removes all sins, leaving behind a trail of pure potential littered with filthy little crumbs. Sweep them away. Begin again.

A new future, an alternate reality, another chance – await the pencil’s reinvigorated stroke. Begin again.

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