December 16, 2007

Excellent to Filter Coffee, and Suitable Toy Army Parachute: review Coffee Filters 12 Cup

We stood looking downward from the garage roof. At no time were we ever supposed to be there, but there we were, my friend Brian and I, staring toward our mark, 12 feet down.

Our man was tied and secured. Red yarn pilfered from my mom's sewing basket cut into short pieces made the ropes connecting man to chute. In this case, one green plastic soldier was safely attached to one white Bunn filter. Brighter than most 10 year-olds, we used hole reinforcers to diminish the risk of tearing the delicate paper.

The testing of our Gerry-rigged parachute was foregone for the greater purpose of expedient fun. Our error. The soldier dropped quickly, with little resistance provided by the coffee filter, and bounced, all the while tethered.

Kuge, Kenny Tamayama's cat, happened to be passing by. Thought he saw a mouse, I guess, and afforded the plastic soldier an ignominious dismemberment. No blood was spilt, but our soldier did not survive.

To the end met by the soldier, I said farewell with a fast salute, but could not mourn his loss. I had a 100 more just like him, each willing to serve. I am haste to also say, the filter's parachute potential merely required more R&D, and worked nicely sans cat, thinner yarn, and more connections. And now, as a coffee drinker, have found it also useful for my office coffeemaker.


November 03, 2007

Brings Coffee to Extraordinary New Place: review Kuhn Rikon Balloon Wire Whisk 6-inch

Brings Coffee to Extraordinary New Place
Kuhn Rikon Balloon Wire Whisk 6-inch

A whisk has only one important function: the making of whipped cream. Go ahead, make souffles, cakes and glazes. It can handle that too. I will make a poor man's cappuccino, richer than any coffeeshop concoction.

Come, visit my home. Sit in my parlor, let me make you coffee. No ordinary milk will you be treated with, but the heaviest whipping cream found at my local creamery.

Whipped cream for two is easy. One tall cup. Sugar and vanilla. Think whipping cream. And, a Balloon Wire Whisk.

Pour 2-3 fingers of cream into the cup. Pour in 2-3 teaspoons of sugar and a half teaspoon of vanilla (to taste).

Palm the whisk with each hand, rolling it as you would clay, with the whisk in the cup, as quickly as you can. It is best to remove all rings.

Serve with ordinary coffee, or with a caramel-hinted one to create a creme brulee-like coffee confection.


August 24, 2007

A Sordid Tale of Pages Turned: How Ogden Nash Brought Two Together

A Sordid Tale of Pages Turned
How Ogden Nash Brought Two Together
by Brockeim

She stepped inside my library. She was no Marianne the Librarian, but a sleek-dressed poetess with more than iambs on her mind.

She glanced from book to book, tome to tome, as if she would explore each volume with her intoxicatingly invasive eyes. Peering into the glass case, the one where the dustless ancient classics lay in waiting, this mistress of many books seared through to her verbal quarry. She knew what she wanted. She knew why she entered this dark place of paper towers.

The moments of silent reading passed, as she fingered through spines of titles long forgotten by the lesser literati. I stood in anxious awe, knowing I was far from alone in my private glory, this collection of books gathered from borrowed dreams.

I adjusted my reading spectacles. This slight movement of my hand disturbed my reflection in the bookcase glass.

She smiled as she saw me grab a collection of Ogden Nash. No, not Voltaire, not Homer, not even Chaucer. Nash.

With light freedom in hand, I sat to read at an oblong table with a chipped off corner. The sun sprinkling through a dirty ceiling window served me what I need.

Moments, unlike Mr. Nash's poems, passed like clouds on a windless day. I read of liquor and celery until I no longer wanted either. She continued to walk from shelf to shelf, always in my sight, and, then, she found a book.

She sat. She spoke:

"My name is April."

August 23, 2007

Less Can Be Better: Enjoy the Last Spoonful of Ice Cream Thrice: Corningware Corelle Coordinates 3-Piece Bowl Set, Chutney reviewed

Corningware Corelle Coordinates 3-Piece Bowl Set, Chutney

With the smallest bowl, there are smaller portions. It is not the size that we so longingly seek, but the treat. Portions can be, and should be, replaced before handing the bowl over to the sink. These joyous, simple bowls provide in their brevity a bounty burgeoning from each mouthful of dairy pleasure.

Decide how much ice cream to have, after staring wantonly into the carton, and, with no deliberation, scoop up the precious sweet concoction. With a bowl a third the size of your usual serving, enjoy the same, but three times as often.

With the final lingering of liquid, the last delicate dripping of ice cream, there is resident joy. It is in the eager sweeping of the spoon which captures the chocolate caught along the bottom. That is where it is, when gravity pulls the once frozen dessert to where the spoon finds it most attractive.

The weight and build of this bowl is sturdy and heavy, allowing daily use.

Let Corelle sweeten your bowl. Remember to add sprinkles.


July 26, 2007

Files Nails and Enhances Love Letters - Diamon Deb Nail File reviewed

Diamon Deb Nail Files 8"

Apologies and words of love should not rely on a nail file. Mine did, and for finding on the fly a Diamon Deb file, my love forever remains my love.

When in a desperate strait so many years ago, when the time to write to her something of bliss and beauty, my pencil tip broke.

Sitting in a New York park, I asked around. Not a pencil or pen to be found. With the postman in view, I knew what to do, and told my woe. An older woman with perfect nails heard my heart and my tale, and delivered romantic salvation with the Diamon Deb file.

James Dean StampWith Boy Scout resilience and pluck, I shaved and I trimmed. A little lead would be enough. My words were few, and my time was short. With a thank you to a patient postman, and a stamp with a picture of James Dean, my work was done.

May you always be on the ready to write your loved one by retaining a Diamon Deb file in your briefcase or bag.


July 20, 2007

Show Your Love With Toast Buttered by Oneida - Oneida Chateau Butter Knife reviewed

Oneida Chateau Butter Knife

Proper butter knives are not found in the layman's culinary set. Steak knives are not appropriate, and cannot elucidate the bread scratching required to alert your love that you are making her breakfast. Toast is not meant to eaten dry, but with butter or jelly, spread, not smeared. All will be accomplished with the Oneida Butter Knife.

Buttering toasted bread is like conducting a symphony of silky flavor onto the surface. A side-to-side motion, like drawing a smile in the air, with ample amounts of softened butter pressing down on the crispy brown outside. Flip the slice swiftly, placing the buttered side down on a still warm slice below, and repeat.

Like negligee against a rough exterior, any mood will be softened, even the harsh sense of awakening after a sweet sleep. She will hear that the sunrise will be met with romance, and will see the glimmer of the blade mirroring your heart, The subtle floral border will be noticed, followed by with a smile, as she recognizes you have remembered your anniversary. As you present the toast, be sure to offer a vased rose for display on the night stand.

Celebrate another year of love, buttered toast and sunrises with the Oneida Butter Knife.


July 17, 2007

Helps Bake Cakes and Solve Conflict - Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup reviewed

Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup, Blue

Mitigate battles by measuring quantities carefully with the Pyrex 2-cup.

"Blessed are the peacemakers," says the Book of Matthew. Another Matthew skipped church that day, and, that afternoon, riled when the offer of Kool-Aid came from inside the house. "Always," Matt stammered, "I get less than I should."

This was probably true. Matt never received all that he should. He'd yell and howl about injustice, making a problem of himself, and so he missed out. Grape Kool-Aid mid-July brings almost a tear to a child's eye, watching it deliciously lick quickly from its pitcher to the cup. No waterfall in Niagara held the same beauty to a six year-old who had spent the day chasing flyballs in right field of an unmarked field.

Pyrex became the peacemaker. We three... Matt, Billy and myself, stood in awe as the precious grape drink matriculated into its glorious holding area, a clear Pyrex 2-cup. Each portion was poured perfectly into cups with animals pictured, and so we found peace in the middle east side of our little town.

Matt, satisfied, grabbed his share abruptly, splattering the sugar-sticky-syrupy fluid on his clothes. He received his cup, precisely and entirely, as he should.

To measure Kool-Aid, flour, or sugar, try the Pyrex 2-cup. May life be more peaceful as a result.


July 16, 2007

Excellent Tool for Counting Confectionery Shop Visits - Canon LS82Z Calculator reviewed

Canon LS82Z Calculator
When counting the conceivable number of ice cream cones you could eat within a 365-day year, a calculator managing the basic functions should be all you need ... and that is all right here in this Canon.

Some days are like the one today. The summer swelts, as it is apt to do, but what about you? Worry not. Traipse onward to your favorite creamery. How often can you do this? That's where the calculator comes in.

Work in your figuring confectionery and coffee shop visits, stops by the corner hot dog vendor, and the lovely friend you might bring along to each celebration of taste. Consider taxes, tips, and extra chocolate sprinkles. This math will take a focused mind, and an accurate calculator.

Large numbers, visible digits, and extra buttons for those with the mathematical acumen to enjoy them, the Canon calculator sits snugly on any desk or cafe counter. It will suffice most dining needs, powered by sunny days and ice cream desires.

Ensure the goodness of a year filled with flavor, well-paced through each week by knowing the cost and averages of chocolate, cappuccino and gelato. Be prepared for hot fudge sundaes, mochas and nougat bars. When December comes, as the year has passed, you will be able to tell the one you love, "This one's on me," with confidence, as you will have studied the numbers on your Canon calculator.


July 10, 2007

Invigorates Ordinary Coffee Into A New Aromatic Flavor - McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract reviewed

McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, 1 fl ozWhen your everyday coffee has lost its fidelity, and the marriage of sugar and cream no longer excites, introducing a new partner of flavor may be the solution.

Vanilla extract has for its history been drawn into relationship with bakers, chefs and cooks. In my home, it has all the usual uses in cake and cookie making, but also, as a more daily use as a coffee additive. McCormick is the brand I use most, and always the purest.

A few drops dosing my cup just as I pour a cup of freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee, in addition to slightly warmed and whipped cream, with a spooning of sugar, and my day begins with more than a 'cuppa joe.'

This threesome of sugar, cream and vanilla tosses an aroma around the room, down the hall strong enough to entice curiosity from neighbors and neighbor's cats alike. If no one is there to share, feel free to drink alone. May your love of the cupped elixir find new vigor.


July 09, 2007

Carries Romance and Freedom - IGLOO Maxcold 60-qt. Wheeled Cooler reviewed

IGLOO Maxcold 60-qt. Wheeled Cooler

Prepare your picnic thoughtfully, and the location becomes moot. It begins with the time you park your car, meeting hers, for a long lunch rendevouz.

Between the car and the picnic setting remains a distance short, and replete with romance. By rolling the Igloo Wheeled Cooler, you will have one hand free for holding hers.

Bundle your cooler with all the needs of food and love. Pack within it a bag of ice, of course, and white wine wrapped in a wet, cold cloth. Add candlesticks and cheese, if you please. Be sure to bring glasses for two, not three. Fold in a tablecloth to fit over the cooler, and napkins just for show. There is more than room enough for a picnic for two.

Close it well, holding the handle with your left hand, while she walks on your right. The rest is up to you.

July 01, 2007

Welcome ‘Offense of the New’… While Invoking the Old - Ratatouille reviewed


All great recipes, whether the provincial peasant dish ratatouille (a vegetable stew), or the greatest and newest dish by Charlie Trotter, draw from the ordinary. Such is the romance of eating. It is the combining of the known to create something previously unknown. Salt, tomatoes, sugar, and butter are not unusual, but, in the hands of a master chef, they are ingredients for art.

Such is the movie Ratatouille. Its history is the simple, oft-told childhood tale of the elves and the shoemaker. A shoemaker is down on his luck, with one piece of leather left, and, to his great delight, a fine pair of shoes are miraculously made with that leather when he awakes. Can he make those shoes again? Who was the mysterious maker of these fantastic shoes?

Ratatouille takes us to a similar difficulty: Linguini, a hapless mid-20s guy who has failed at every job. At the great Gusteau's Restaurant, he becomes a garbage boy. He causes an accident with a pot of soup, and, in trying to fix the problem, makes the soup offensive to even the most plebeian of taste buds. Remy, a rat with culinary sensitivities, secretly adds the ingredients necessary to save the soup.

Instead of being fired, Linguini is promoted to cook. Without Remy's help, he cannot cook. With Remy's help, he shows, as the late Chef Gusteau claimed, anyone can cook. Even the garbage boy.

Remy's story, though, is the tension between his passion for cooking, and his large family. They are satisfied eating garbage, living on the run, and avoiding kitchens, as that's where the greatest dangers prevails. Reminiscent of Richard Bach's fable "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," Remy wants more than to be what rats have always been. He wants to taste, to smell, to combine two flavors into a new ecstatic sensation. Torn between these two loves, he tries to balance their expectations with his dreams.

As Remy's influence through Linguini in the kitchen grows, so does the renewal of Gusteau's Restaurant. It had fallen into the hands of Skinner, the ambitious and evil sous chef, when Gusteau passed away, and he was making it into a tourist locale, and branding frozen burritos with Gusteau's imprimatur. Now, Linguini as the new Gusteau, its reputation was flourishing.

Anton Ego, a food critic who despises Gusteau's, is forced to reconsider the restaurant after he thought he had written its death knell years back. With fearful awe, his declaration to return to Gusteau's causes trembling among the cooks and staff.

  • Can Ego's pretentious palate be satiated?

  • Will the conflict with Linguini and Colette, his lover and cook, force bad decisions in the kitchen?

  • Can a restaurant survive if people learn a rat has been running the show?

In all, Ratatouille's a remarkable movie that relies on storytelling, not on celebrity voicings, special effects, pop-culture references or cheap humor. It tells an old story a new way, bringing a fresh flavor into a familiar meal, and is soon to be a staple in family DVD collections. See it in the theater, and enjoy the magnificent animation on a large screen while you can.


June 10, 2007

Tomorrow's Kona Captured by Today's Bag Clip - Bag Clip (Chip Clip) reviewed

Tomorrow's Kona Captured by Today's Bag Clip - Bag Clip (Chip Clip) reviewedBag Clips - Set of 4 - (White)
For all the uses found in the clasping grip of the bag clip, standing alone in its magnificence is the closing of coffee bags.

When at the finest of coffee sellers, sniffing the sweet, strong scent of Hawaiian Royal Kona, I smell tomorrow's brown elixir. Thoughts, for the few settled days the pound will last, will move more swiftly, urging action more freely, all with complete sobriety. My investment is not subtle, equal to my desire.

For the price, such lucidity is luxurious, scarce and perfect. This is not found in vacuum sealed preground grocery store coffee. The caffeine is there, completely, but not the tension of bitter and smooth, for a few gracious moments, making amends. This brief d├ętente is tasted quickly as if its purity diminishes by my noticing.

With each morning's mild welcome, there also must be closure. The firm teeth of the bag clip tersely speaks to each still unground remaining bean to hold their flavor. Folding the opening once, then once again, and shutting in all the peace of the next day's cup, the bag clip seals in it all without negotiation.

Enjoy tomorrow's coffee by buying bag clips today.

$12.99Books Are Good Food Large Coffee Mug by Brockeim

June 06, 2007

Great Start for Budding Soap Carvers - Aveeno Fragrance Free Moisturizing Bar for Dry Skin reviewed

Aveeno SoapAveeno Fragrance Free Moisturizing Bar for Dry Skin, 3.5-Ounce Bar (Pack of 8)

The eight bars work perfectly for carving the Seven Dwarfs, allowing for inclusion, the gentle Snow White. The soap is soft, almost malleable, and does not flake off the same way Dial, Zest and Irish Spring so often would. Aveeno is the proper choice for creating figurines of favorite characters.

The cool flesh-tone of the soap translates well, and contrasts nicely with the fabric overlay I gave them to provide as dress.

To Bashful's face, though, I gave a mild pinkish color to appropriate his shy nature. He is seen looking blissfully at fair maiden Snow White.

Sleepy's beard was troublesome, as the detail required extended beyond my ability. It is long, but not nearly as sharp at the end as I intended.

Happy's great smile smoothly lifts right and left, while Sleepy's eyelids lilt low, almost covering his eyes.

Sneezy is seen sniffing a flower. The flower is not from the soap. Instead, Sneezy's nose is leaning into his shoulder, where I add a paper cut-out daisy.

Doc's glasses came out nicely, in a classic bookworm-off-the-nose style, to provide that distinguished look.

Grumpy's big nose broke in my first effort, but it was early into the process, and a second, more secure nose was supplied.

Dopey might have been the most difficult, as he has no special, visible features. Silence is not as obvious in soap carvings.

Finally, the beautiful Snow White was carved oblong up, to give her the extra height. Her smile tilts upward, gracefully, unaware of Bashful's unspoken affection, with her eyes showing is thinking amorously of some yet unmet lover. Dressed in rags, as she is still not known as a princess, she stands regally.

A second set can finish the scene with the huntsman, the prince, the wicked queen, and of course, the apple and mirror.

Aveeno's a great start for you budding soap carvers, and scraps work in their usual way... to clean what's dirty.

May 23, 2007

Assists Turtle Tank Cleaners to Grab the Right Toothbrush - Band-Aids reviewed

Band-Aid Assorted Sizes Adhesive Bandages, Sport Strip, 45-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)

To clean a fish-cum-turtle tank, at age eight, delicate devices were required. A quick hot sponge, even with a coarse cleanser, was not enough. A toothbrush, preferably one with hard bristles, flat across, could clear all corners of the vilest of turtle vestiges. I recommend wrapping the handle of the one used on the tank with one of these bandages.

April is turtle season. Not for hunting, but for pet catching. Come around later, and it was clear May was tank cleaning season. All turtles were returned to their homes by then, but they left behind more than memories.

Solving the problem of toothbrushes, however, was unknown to me in these younger years. As it happened, the sale at the Ben Franklin one Saturday brought home two matched brushes in one packet, each blue.

Suited for the bathroom, in the tub, cleaning the tank took only an hour, with rinsing. Church the next morning, rushed as usual with eyes half-closed, had me searching blindly for a toothbrush, for its marketed use. I grabbed the wrong one.

When buying like-colored toothbrushes, take measures such as the one I suggest to identify which is meant for your mouth. The taste will make all the difference.

May 01, 2007

Shelters Treasures from Pencils to Bracelets - Cherrywood Bracelet Box reviewed

Contained within this box, protected now for a generation, is a white number two pencil. It is ordinary in form in every way. Half-sized, worn from drawing on schoolbook covers until graphite covered them with my singular rumination of love, Marcella, it will never write again. Imprinted with the name of a local insurance agency, it now exists to please me, to remind me of the days that were.

Its previous owner, the ever-so-kind and ever-so-shy Marcella, gave it to me as we sat in the library quietly. There, together, we wrote poems no one else would read, laughing until class began. When eighth grade ended, she moved, and the pencil stayed.

The box itself is a rich cherry, dark and soft, with a smooth French custard beige lining. Oblong, there is room for two pencils, or a thick bracelet.

Sheltered from the storms of disorganization, I keep it here, in this box, latticed by two strips of cloth. Daily, I look, and my day begins, wondering where Marcella writes poems today.

Protect your treasures with this bracelet box.

April 23, 2007

Signals Whiffle Ball Games Are Over and Dinner Begins - review, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, 15 fl oz

My name never carried well across the neighborhood to the yard where I most often struck out at the plate. Sound, as is the case with many a young boy, was only one way to call me.

Misty evenings, just as the sun committed to drop westward, an hour after my father would drive up in his Buick Special, I smelled Worcestershire sauce from our charcoal Webber. This meant the Whiffle ball game ended, and, win or lose, I had a different plate to step up to.

The scent created a state of emergency. Bats, balls, and, if we used any, bases were gathered by their respective owners, and we all ran home like lovers impassioned in lustful want.

His recipe for steak was simple. Get it from Jerry, a butcher he knew for years, dazzle it with ground pepper and the smallest sprinkle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. Like smoke signals, the air became the messenger, or, for me, a siren seducing me homeward. No other sauce would do. His reasons had no merit for me at six years old, but I never had cause to question.

Such as it will be for you. Big bottles of Worcestershire sauce will be what you need, but a small bottle will be inspiration enough.

April 18, 2007

With Tragedy, We Need Hope

What happened? Better still, what happens next? Collective disgust, collective mourning, and collective moving on?

There is little that can be said that is not obvious, and little that can be done that isn't being done. Everyone has their part, apolitically, and, then, sadly, we move on, forget about this, and it gets cited as a footnote the next time we endure such a travesty of violence.

I wish there was a way to stop this, but men like Cho Seung-Hui will be born, lose their sense of right and wrong, and rampage again. There must be a better way.

What we need is hope. The easy path will be to try to figure Cho Seung-Hui, examine why it happened, and think something was done. Cho Seung-Hui had no hope, and became a killer.


April 12, 2007

Perfect for Photos of Family Dogs, Ansel Adams and Future Lovers - review: 11x14 / 11 x 14 Picture/Photo Frame, Round Walnut Molding with Gold Leaf

At the top of my stairs hang three of these frames, above a shelf of books I intend to read and a canister of potpourri which has lost its scent.

To the right is an Ansel Adams photo of a desert. The lines are sweetly paralleled earthen grooves made of sand shifted in dry wind, diagonal to the perpendicularly structured frame.

To the left is a faded sketch of my dog, Bruno. I was nine, and Bruno was 12. Age and hard playing took him, or so I am told. It is nice to see him here, drawn in pleasant colored pencils by my parent's neighbor.

In the center, the wooden brown frame is simple, concise, and empty. The paint on the wall is dark beige, complimenting the frame with elegance. The logo is unattractive, and I meant to replace it long ago. Every year, I think I have met someone who will pose with me, but every month after we meet, she moves on.

Now, this year, there is Rachel. This year will be different. I am hoping when we are next out, a friend will take a snapshot. I will frame us, happy and together. We will look wonderful next to Ansel Adams' desert and my dog, Bruno.

April 02, 2007

Fills Young Bellies While Mending Broken Hearts - Kraft Macaroni and Cheese reviewed

Maraconi and CheeseKraft Macaroni and Cheese beckons back to lonely days running home at lunchtime. As I lay heart-strewn and crying about the harsh rejection meted upon me by the fairest of the playground beauties, soft noodles in a cheese cream sauce would ease my ache.

Daily, at morning recess, I would smile weakly and say hello to Heidi, who, in return would grimace. There stood I, in a pile of sadness, swings and slides all around, alone, and she, having moved on, would toil no longer in my presence.

Today, all so many years beyond, I do not remember if it was her kickball skills, or the way she whispered, "Green Eggs and Ham," ever so flirtatiously, just within earshot. Her gentle words were never meant for me no matter how I thought her eyes caught mine, and with clarity, at recess, I was reminded of her tease.

Recess would pass into lunchtime, and as the bell rang, I blew out the door and ran the quarter mile home. Anger, grief, all inside boiling, looking to be purged, pushed me homeward. Second grade happiness would be found where my mom made lunch.

Resting on our kitchen table, steaming with freshly ground pepper, was the golden orange macaroni and cheese. A bit of butter and a few drops of milk converged with the cheese for the smooth-sweet-salty taste with which I could indulge my insatiated heart.

My mother, forever smiling, and me, upset at Heidi who was forever guiling, until soon, I, with my belly full, was no longer riling. Fair maiden was never won by macaroni and cheese, but my broken heart was oft-mended by its flavor.

March 27, 2007

For Reading Books and Drinking Wine in Parks: Coleman All Outdoors 3-In-1 Blanket Roadtrip reviewed

As winter sleeks away with spring rains, thoughts of reading in parks and beaches burble forth. There are tools required to make the action right. Start with the Coleman blanket.

With wine or ice tea, armed with Twain, Cervantes, Wharton or Bronte, packing pens and notebooks, there you have most of what you need. Needed more, and especially, though, is a blanket. Bring at least the book and the blanket, and you are geared and ready for reading.

Bring, too, your kindest friend or sweetest lover, and find room enough for two for leisured reading and wine sipping.

Find a tree big enough for shade, small enough to let light flicker through, and unfurl the blanket. Watch where the sun is going, and position your blanket accordingly. Let the shade follow you. A bright glare on Huck Finn will not do him, nor you, any good.

The blanket is also a poncho and stadium seat cushion, but, properly folded or wrapped, all blankets show the same versatility.

What matters is that under a budding tree in March through September, on sunny mornings and overcast afternoons, this blanket connects you with a friend, and your book.

March 19, 2007

Champ of Office and Playground Alike - Office Depot(R) Vinyl-Coated Paper Clips, No. 1 Regular, Black And White, Box Of 500 reviewed

paperclips Be charmed by the humble paper clip's simplicity, for its ingenuity extends far past the doors of Corporate Megaco International. While abiding by the laws of personal management, the ever-useful paper clip ranks high. All that matters is size, quantity and cost. These are an amazingly inexpensive value for your office. The No. 1 Regulars are a fair size for most desk use.

For me, I see something different, I see that day I was wrested of my folded airplane laurels. Ignorance forsook my title when I let Roslyn, the effervescent Rosie of my heart's garden, attain my long-standing position as Plane Champ of the Third Grade.

The story is short. The contest counted distance only, though style mattered during playground bragging. I always tossed farthest, using the right-wristed side hand whip technique. Ever since anyone could remember, I had won. My reign went back at least two years.

But then Rosie appeared. New to the neighborhood and new to the sandlot, no one knew what beauty stood buttressed against the slide. Ready she was to fling her soon airlofted plane. The rest of us made of planes, but she crafted hers of careful cuts, with origami-quality folds. Shining at the nose of this art was one paper clip, jutting out less that a centimeter. Still, distance counted, and I would take no prisoners.

Rosie threw first. The angle she leaned as she aimed skyward danced with grace in the school yard light. No whoosh or swoosh, only flight on one plane, silent and worthy of the air it breathed. Rosie's follow-through called up a vision of Rollie Fingers pitching for the Padres, but the plane's speed was more like a Nolan Ryan flung fastball.

It landed near the softball field, behind right field, twice or more the distance I ever threw. I tried not to cry as I pushed my plane meekly into a twisted, crashing smash into the grass.

Rosie's smile never left me, but she did. She left, off to another school, having found no competition at mine. With my heart and plane tossing record both broken, I slumped sadly until the next recess.

Whether you need to coordinate papers at work, or require help flying a paper airplane, these No. 1 Regular paper clips are the one to buy.

March 15, 2007

Restores Fresh Scent to Homes Expecting Romance - Plink Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer reviewed

Plink Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer

Gone for a weekend, I found my decision to send chicken skin down the garbage disposal poor. The hallway to my apartment filled with the egregious odor as quickly as I opened the door. Inside, the matter multiplied.

My date was coming over in an hour and the waft of wretchedness wore upon my home.

Fresh, confined, deteriorating: Unlike the city dump, no birds came to eat the refuse and no wind blew a dissipated scent. Sea gulls were unavailable. The wind, with the assistance of two fans and windows opened at the east and west sides, made good work of the air. Hot water in the drain, followed by the dropping in of Plink cleaners, began the new journey to a date-worthy home.

Each is the size of a marble... one is usually enough. No chances taken here. I used three.

Plink, with its cleansing action, erased and covered the awful aroma. What became of the date, I cannot say, but know that I am a pleased Plink customer.

The next time your sink reeks of chicken gone bad, and company's on its way, try Plink.

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March 12, 2007

Browns Bagels and Reflects Love - Black & Decker T4029 Classic Chrome 4-Slice Toaster reviewed

Shining with a spectacular silver chrome sheen, I found in my neighbor's Black & Decker 4-slice toaster a smile and a bagel.

The morning rang with geese flying over my apartment. Coffee brought, with sugar and cream, a welcome voice to my night-long silence, but only this. My toaster, thin and unuseful for anything but the most meager bread, could not meet my need for substance, for the crunch of a bagel.

A knock on the door finished the waking begun by the hazelnut coffee in my mug. I answered. It was Nancy, from across the hall. She spoke with sadness. No coffee. She smelled mine. I lamented. No bagels. She had bagels. And she had a toaster for bagels, the Black & Decker 4-slice.

Simpler than stone soup, we sat at her table all morning, considering the mellow crust and warm raisins in her bagels, and the question of hazelnut or vanilla beans as the choice flavor. While she went for more butter, I saw her newly, reflected in the toaster. More gentle, more delicate than at any other moment, Nancy's beauty was now not unnoticed. She saw that I saw that she was watching and smiled.

More mornings are now filled with the quiet freshness of cinnamon coming from bagels browning, and of hazelnut coffee wisping from my carafe, with two lovers smiling in the face of a shining toaster. When geese flock past my home in formation, I wake quickly, ready for breakfast.

No toaster can promise love. The Black & Decker 4-slice only reflects it, but this should be enough.

Black & Decker T4029 Classic Chrome 4-Slice Toaster, Chrome and Black

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March 05, 2007

Sophisticated Practicality: Burberry Cashmere Classic Plaid Scarf Reviewed

Burberry Cashmere Classic Plaid Scarf
Never have I worn a more comforting scarf. In the cool of an early November evening, just after dusk, when the breeze blows inward, flirtatiously, willing, and yet tentatively, the secure warmth of a classic plaid scarf is like a hearth-bound fire, all girded in goodness, all gentle and sure.

The plaid pattern, of course, brings a sophisticated though pleasantly masculine presence to whatever you might wear. It has an afternoon tea-like class to it, but a brisk morning practicality. Whether tossed on as an accessory on your way to see "Don Giovanni," or part of a snow-shoveling ensemble, you'll find these scarves meeting the intended need without compromise.

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buy the DVD: Mozart - Don Giovanni / Maazel, Raimondi, Te Kanawa, Paris Opera

January 30, 2007

Not Good Enough For My Home - reviewing "Two Sisters (On the Terrace)" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The days I sat in longing on a bench in Chicago's Art Institute with my mother, staring with fascination at this portrait are behind me. Time and age and death have stolen this pleasure. My appreciation of "Two Sisters (On the Terrace)" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir is still there. My visits to the two sisters continue with every passing through the esteemed art museum, but I never sit as long.

I was eight, and Renoir was 55 years gone. His message of romance: naive, pure and welcoming still spoke and still speaks to me now, 30 years later. Whether is was the beautiful young girl in the front, or her equally delicate sister, I cannot say, but asphyxiated with their demure smiles far outshone any subtle smirk portrayed on Mona Lisa. Smothered by their grace and gentle, innocent sophistication, I yearned to be where they were, and to find what emotive elixer put them at such ease.

The original painting is by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, painted in 1881. It is an oil on canvas, and in French is called "Deux soeurs (sur la terasse)." Although 100 x 80 cm from Renoir's brush, this one is 71.12 x 55.88 cm. Almost proportionately correct, the astute artisan may still find himself bothered by the green frame with the title and artist. In creating a pop-art variation of a classic work, the publisher removes a portion of the artist's intention.

Purchasing the original is out of reach, but owning a better quality print is quite possible. Fall in love, as I have, with two sisters waiting in peace on a cool spring day, but do not compromise by buying a print not worthy of their charm.

January 24, 2007

Suitable For Recording Every Adventure - Wire-O Basics Chile Pepper Red Ribbed Lined 5x7 reviewed

How notable is a blank notebook? How much can be said, other than the paper is taut, the spine is sure, and the cover is attractive?

It is not the purchase of a blank notebook that clamors for a review. It is the use.

Mine, now tattered and shorn of its original color, and its spine, now feeble and loose, has known value. The years will take their toll on any notebook. This one will do just fine.

The pages held well the ink of many years, chronicling the names and stories of loves lost, found and lost again. It did not buckle under tears, or tear under the angry scraping of my pen after the ending of what should've been. The spine did not bend or break when she left, and I threw the notebook across the room. The pages did not leave their shelter when I slipped the book quickly into my bag when I met her best friend, whose name was later written with a punctuated smile.

The spiral binding will suit most needs.

January 04, 2007

Easily Stains with Lost Love - Hand-Embroidered Handkerchiefs reviewed

Hand-Embroidered HandkerchiefsHand-Embroidered Handkerchiefs

When I touched the fabric, I felt it close and kind, wrapping around my fingers as do clouds around summer rain. Knowing she, too, touched these thin but supple threads has caused not less than a few moments of happiness.

The handkerchief I have is colored in one corner, slightly off-pink, almost salmon, but still red in it essence. It will not be on the one you purchase. On mine, it is the shape of soft lips with the scent of sweet wine. May you not be so lucky as I as to be haunted by owning one as beautiful as this. The opposite corner is delicately embroidered, and only half as angelic as the other.

We met quickly on the train, commuting one Friday night, later than either of us should have worked. "Dinner?" said she, after a shared discussion of truffles and morels, and which champagne suited each. "Yes, dinner," said I, hoping to talk of chocolate and caviar, and to learn her name.

The train stopped. We stepped off the platform and into a bistro, and ordered a bottle of recent vintage Zinfandel. The sommelier said our choice was perfectly matched to conversation between two entranced lovers. I smiled, she smiled, realizing we needed no wine. We sipped just the same.

The sommelier moved on, and her cell phone rang. She stood up, "I'm sorry," dabbing the wine on her lips with a handkerchief, and left. The handkerchief fell from her purse. I leant to lift it from her chair, but she was gone, nameless and reachless.

Never had I realized a handkerchief could be so heavy. I carry it now, exhausting my heart as I bear its cotton fabric daily. It is washable, but I will leave it as it is.

If you buy this selection of handkerchiefs, be careful not to drop them when your cell phone rings. The mark it may make where it lands could be indelible.

January 03, 2007

A Lovely Cookie Worth Sharing -- Betty Crocker Cookie Mix

These cookies are nothing like the ones I ate when I was 11, at the lunch table while sitting next to Nancy. These Double Chocolate Chunk cookies are exquisitely kind to the senses, but bring no memory of my fifth grade dream girl. Her pleasant eyes would assuage a long morning's pain in Miss Charminker's class, but it was the meting of her chocolate chip cookies that met my heart.

Betty Crocker's cookies are worth sharing too, all of these years later. Made in the oven, they are almost like homemade, almost like the ones Nancy's mom made. Twelve come in the bag if you bake them right. The subtle, bright sweet aroma tinctured with the bold, yet faint milk chocolate scent, captured in a classic cookie enraptured my senses, as they will yours. But, still, the crusty stale, brown-white cookies Nancy shared with me in my youth caused me to smile far more, with a deeper gladdening. She'd lift them gingerly from her brown bag, place one precisely in front of me, on the table, and one in from of her, on the table. She would then proceed to excavate the treasures within, and side-by-side we would eat our lunches until the bell rang.

If you don't know Nancy or her equal, then I suggest you buy the Betty Crocker cookies. They'll taste better than most of the cookies you'll've eaten, and maybe you'll sit next to someone nice at lunch to share them with. Be sure to share. If you do, she might sit next to you tomorrow.