May 28, 2004

A Dog of a Site

OPO's First Semi-Annual Art Half Week wraps up with a cute site for which I wish I had the name! But, alas, this one is in Japanese. The place I found it referred to it as Cocktail Weiner Art, and since that's pretty apt, it works for me.

I have just enough knowledge of German that yesterday's site didn't make me run for the translator. Today's did. After you take a look and try to guess what some of those are, I suggest going to Babel Fish and entering the URL into the lower field to translate the whole page to English. It doesn't all come out, but enough does to make it worthwhile.

The very first one is my favorite, but I didn't really feel that way until I clicked on the picture and got to see it bigger...with instructions! I think I may just be inspired enough to attempt some of these babies at our little barbeque this holiday weekend. Anyone have any requests? I'd say I'll take pictures to share the results, but I haven't finished figuring out how to make the new Picassa/Hello feature from Blogger work in order to post them so I don't want to make any empty promises. We'll see how it goes.

Now if you don't mind, I'm off to Wienerschnitzel because I'm experiencing a terrible craving for hot dogs. Can't imagine why.

May 27, 2004

Gone to the Ducks

All of a sudden, it's art week here at One Ping Only! Well, art half-week at least...or art days if I can't find anything for tomorrow. But I digress.

Here is "The Duckomenta" for your viewing and exploring pleasure. Knowledge of German is not required to enjoy it -- just know that "Raum" means "Room" and you're good to go. (If you do understand German, though, and there's anything about the site you can share, I'd be grateful.)

I personally would not start at Room 1, because it's not actually the best one and you won't really see the whimsy of it from the start. I happened to start at Room 5 and it fell into place more quickly.

My favorite is a toss-up between the Degas and the Da Vinci. This makes the art appreciation class I took back in college pale in comparison! Though if I'd paid better attention I might recognize more of those works.

Bon Art!

May 26, 2004

Does Bad Art Imitate a Bad Life?

Well, would you look at this -- a short post! Yup, I'm having too much fun playing with my new TiVo to get into an in-depth commentary tonight. So instead, spend some of that "extra" time exploring The Museum of Bad Art. I recommend reading the story behind "Lucy In the Field With Flowers," the cornerstone painting of this very interesting and highly amusing site. If you just can't get enough of bad art, consider becoming a member; the benefits can't be beat! I think the Head from Hell might be my personal favorite.

May 25, 2004

November 2, 2004 - a.k.a. "Get Off Your Duff and Vote" Day

Since we are, as of today, exactly 23 weeks away from Election Day, maybe it's time to look at ways we can increase voter turnout in the U.S. It's widely acknowledged that the "undecideds" are going to be a key to this presidential election and I believe those are the people who are least likely to get out there and vote.

This article from Slate (with an admittedly anti-Bush slant -- what a shock) has some ideas about why people do and don't vote, and some unusual theories on making voting fun again to get the chronically apathetic to vote. (My favorite is the lotto one.)

If you're wondering why "The Governator" really won the CA recall election, read the article. If you haven't learned anything yet today and don't know who Cotton Mather is (I didn't), read the article. If you don't vote and don't plan to because the whole system is a sham, don't read the article, read this one. If you already vote come Hell or high water and think the millions of people who don't vote are fools who deserve what they get, don't read the article. Come back tomorrow and I'll try to find a different way to annoy you. :-)


...Well, I'm good and pissed. I just spent almost three hours working on a post and (in a moment of not taking my own advice, April) the whole thing got lost after hitting the "Publish Post" button. Damn, I hate when that happens. I could probably recreate the whole thing, but now it's really late and I'm too tired. We'll have to see if I can find the time to do it tomorrow. Otherwise, it's lost to the ages.

Update: I was able to re-draft the post and it now appears below, where it should have been in the first place. All those words to remember! :-)

May 24, 2004

Diamonds Aren't a Racecar's Best Friend

The most exciting thing I did this past weekend was watch the Monaco Grand Prix of Formula One. There really is no other race like it. At times I actually sat there with my jaw hanging open, and that doesn't often happen for me when watching cars go 'round and 'round. But this race was full of surprises right from the start.

They had to start the race twice, and the second time one driver had an amazing start that made the others look like they were standing still. Then a rookie driver crashed, not making it past the first turn. Later one car's engine blew out, smoke spewing out like crazy, with the resulting crash leaving a car upside-down after flying over another car.

The fun continued as a race frontrunner crashed in the tunnel, emerging with a tire almost parallel to the ground and a single-finger salute for the driver behind him. Then the best driver in the world crashed in the same tunnel in almost the same spot, emerging with a tire almost parallel to the ground and a chance at history lost. The winner was a driver who had never taken the checkered flag before, after more than a hundred starts, and fewer than half the cars and drivers in the field even finished the race.

But the story that made the biggest news was one that I missed entirely. Because I taped the race and watched it much later Sunday night, I fast-forwarded through almost the entire half-hour pre-race portion. So if they mentioned that there was a huge, valuable diamond embedded in the nose of each of the two Jaguar cars as part of a publicity stunt, I missed it. Remember the rookie driver mentioned above? Well, he was in one of those cars. And between when he crashed and when the car made it back to the garage, the diamond took a powder and made a "Klien" getaway. (Maybe two of you will actually find that funny.)

I went looking for more details and found many articles including this story, which has the best picture of the diamond in the nose of the car (click on the bottom image) and the most Hollywood angle with a "hunky" picture. As I read more, though, I noticed something interesting: The value of rock in question rose with each article. From the previous article, to this story and then this story, its worth increases by almost fifty percent! I'm sure that the owners of the stone, which was not insured (and that's just nuts because these cars crash all the time and the other cars can zip by at 160+ mph), would rather have it be on the lower end, while the person who walked away with it would rather have it be on the upper end.

I hope they plan to hold on to it as the souvenir to end all souvenirs, though, because where the heck would you pawn that thing?

May 21, 2004

Oh, I'm a blogger and I'm okay...

The number of times that I actually click on a banner ad on any given day while I'm hopping around the Web can usually be counted on fewer than one hand. Like almost never. While that's not good for the advertisers that support some worthwhile sites, it's good for me because though I am often easily distracted while trying to do tasks, I find I can focus on what I'm doing online, ignore the ads and not go off on (too many) tangents.

So the fact that my link for the day is from, you guessed it, a banner ad is surprising. This one didn't really play fair, though, because it was so big and in such an appealing and familiar shade of purple (my favorite color) that I couldn't help but be drawn to it. The pointer on the screen drifted upward almost against my will and an irrevocable click occurred before it had even registered in my brain.

And, voila, I stood at the brink of fame. While the phrase "15 minutes of fame" has, in my opinion, become hackneyed, it still holds that allure of "What if...?" The My Engine series of ads from Yahoo! is pretty eye-catching and I've enjoyed those that I've seen, but I just can't feature myself in any of them. Who the hell would they put on the other side of the screen?

"I'm Maura and I'm a blogger."

"I'm Mike and I'm a logger."

"I live in the heart of Silicon Valley and work for a big corporation, using lots of paper each day."

"I live in the heart of Maple Valley and work for a big corporation, cutting down lots of trees for paper each day."

"I'm single, no kids, and I have the luxury of spending my discretionary income on myself."

"I'm single, no kids, and I have no discretionary income."

"I spend a lot of my time groovin' online looking for just the right link to post."

"I spend a lot of my time on a line looking for just the right groove to cut."

"When I'm searching for something life-affirming to post about, I turn to Yahoo!"

"When I make it through a week without life-threatening injury, I say Yahoo!"

You know, actually, I have seen worse commercials. Where's that link again?

May 20, 2004

Coulda, shoulda, woulda

After a very frustrating night of computer problems and a workday filled with zero free time, I'm happily back. I was all excited last night to post about today being "Save a Carb" day, as I learned on Inner Bitch, but as I was preparing to do so everything went kaput. I celebrated in my own way, though, with a big ol' grilled cheese and bacon sandwich with a side of fries for lunch. Go Team Carbs!

So, since it's a day for regrets (on more than just missing the chance to once again slam the low-carb trend -- I'm sorry, Sean), I'll share another one. I learned today that, if I were a more mercenary type, I could now be the proud owner of: a full pound of the finest candy in the state (See's rocks); a 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card (wasn't that the last season he was actually healthy?); the gratitude of a bona fide reality TV personality (An "Average Joe" participant); or an all-expenses-paid trip to Vancouver (a city I'd really like to visit again).

Yes, there's an entire site devoted to people wanting to swap all sorts of stuff for the highly sought-after Gmail invites that some current account owners are allowed to share. Some of the "offers" are pretty funny, some are pretty lame; some are pretty desperate; and some are really sweet.

But I found my perfect offer all on my own: Fat Dude and BytchInNY have promised to name either their first child or the next pet they smuggle into their apartment (whichever comes first) after me. I hope it's a pet, really, so I won't be cursing a child to a life of, "No, it's Maura, M-a-u-r-a, like 'Laura' with an 'M'...That's close enough, thanks." :sighs:

May 18, 2004

The First Rule of Dodgeball Club Is...

Well, enough with that brevity crap -- it's highly overrated. Trying to edit myself to something that short all the time would stress me out. But how's this for a stress-buster: adult dodgeball clubs. It's really happening out there, and not just in Portland and at universities.

There's at least one league in San Francisco. And while driving up there on a regular basis to participate would cause me even more stress, the idea of it is pretty appealing. I especially like the "drinking and other mayhem" part. What a way to dispel the power of our grade school memories of that game! When you were either at the mercy (or lack thereof) of the big and mean, or you were the big and mean and you enjoyed PE way too much on those days when weather kept us inside. And look, there are even rules to keep those vestigial bullies in line. (Though I like this version better. Dodgeball and playing doctor, all at the same time? Your inner child will wet its pants with excitement.)

Now, you can start your own team, never be the last one to get picked, take out your aggression and tension on like-minded people, then go out to drink with them afterwards. Not to mention the very coolest part of all -- picking the team name. Notice the almost radical difference in the approach to the names between the adult and teen teams in this tournament. "Dream Team," "Schaumburg Stinkers," and "Tenacious Teens" versus "Dicky Donkers, "Lambs to The Slaughter," and "Got Milf?" You tell me who was having the better time.

Anyone want to head to Schaumburg, Illinois, this July for the 2004 tournament and join the "BlogPimp Daddies," "Links R Us," and "Bloggin' Bytches" teams as we show them how it's done? After we hit the bars for celebration, toting our trophies, we can always descend on the Motorola headquarters and make fun of them for their dumb HelloMoto ad campaign. Or just throw a bunch of red rubber balls at their building and run like hell.

May 17, 2004

Two hundred words - Short enough for you?

Bowing to the pressure in my head from a headache that dogged me all day and complaints from certain quarters that I use "too many words,” this will be short.

This article, and all it represents, makes me very happy. In short (see, a theme), I think we've got a lot of nerve to claim to be "the land of the free" when not all consenting adults are free to enjoy something as basic as a governmentally recognized union -- debate over the semantics of "marriage" isn't worth it to me -- due to religion-based objections in a country where religion doesn't have a place in government. The last time this topic came up here, someone pointed out that not all objections to same-sex marriage are based on religion. I would argue that "moral" objections are grounded in religious ones that have become cultural, whether or not someone identifies with a religion or a faith.

And, on a related note, this article and this article together highlight (almost all) the reasons why I am no longer part of the Catholic Church, and reaffirm that decision for me. That's as brief as it gets on topics that are important to me!

May 14, 2004

All Over Coffee for your weekend brunch

I'd like to share with you what has become one of my favorite comic strips of late. The phrase "comic strip" doesn't really do it justice in my mind. It's actually more "artwork with social commentary" to me. Check it out to see what I mean. I chose this particular strip to link to because it so perfectly captures the prevailing attitude I observe around here: The World Does Revolve Around Me, Right?

I had a chance to hear the artist talk about his strip on the local morning radio show I listen to, and it got me interested enough to take a look. I've just kept going back. Some of them seem like complete non sequiturs, but they definitely make you think. And if it's one of those days where thinking isn't desirable, just admire and appreciate the detail he infuses into the illustrations of San Francisco from unusual perspectives.

May 13, 2004

The Best Thing I Make: Reservations

First things first: Rupert won the million dollars! Much thanks to those of you who went and voted for him. And my brother is grateful to all of you who agreed with him and voted Amber as Hottest Survivor Babe. Too bad she actually won her own million or we might have seen her eventually in Playboy like Jenna M., Heidi and Jerri.

And since I'm in a USA Today kind of mood, let's continue on with another article I found there that interested me. Everybody has a favorite restaurant. (And if you don't, we probably don't want to know each other.) But have you found the restaurant for you? Your "Holy Grail" eatery? The one where every experience is a good one, the waitstaff is totally professional without being stuffy, where you can wear pretty much whatever and not feel under- or over-dressed, where the menu changes often enough for each visit to be different and with deserts to die for? Last year, I found mine: Parcel 104 here in Santa Clara, CA. And the man behind my epicurean Eden is the most recent winner of the James Beard award for best new restaurant.

Though I can never actually remember whether his name is Bradley Ogden or Ogden Bradley, I've had the good fortune to go to two of his restaurants (his Yankee Pier is also in the area and, while good, is a completely different kettle of fish than Parcel 104) but I'm contemplating a trip to Las Vegas just to try out this new one, the food of which sounds a lot like the fare at Parcel 104. Bon appetit!

May 12, 2004

Would you like some tasty veggie spread on that burger?

On a day that will get a little gold star in my personal calendar, One Ping Only had bestowed upon it three, count 'em three, highly coveted tasty burgers by the Fat Dude at Fat Eye for the Skinny Guy. I am both honored and humbled by his review and I hope that if you've found this site through his link, you'll stay awhile and leave a comment or two to share your thoughts.

As a possible condiment for those burgers, I'm considering this new product. I see only two problems -- I have no idea how to pronounce the darned thing, and nowhere does it say how it tastes! Frankly, "shelf-stable, easy to prepare and convenient to eat" has me thinking "Vitameatavegemin." The real question isn't how it tastes, of course. The real question is: Is it low-carb??

May 11, 2004

Jack Sprat - Poster Boy for Good Health?

In the comments to Friday's post, Ann cited an article today (though the time stamp is tomorrow for some reason!) on the globalization of obesity, which is interesting because it is a polar opposite to an article I found earlier today and had planned to post about tonight. Both articles are pretty long, so unless you are really interested in them and have more time and are less ADD-prone than most people, I'm going to trim the fat for you and get to the sizzle.

The globalization article is pretty comprehensive and it has the standard language and statistics that are de rigeur for articles and TV news stories on the subject. To cut to the chase for our purposes, use the Find function (CTRL + F) to search for "grave" - the next dozen-plus paragraphs have the meat of the scary "being fat is very bad for you" message. It does focus on the trend of weight gain around the world, but the spin is: America is getting really obese, but look, there are at least a dozen other places where it's even worse!

The other article is entitled "The big fat con story" and takes the stance that being fat doesn't necessarily equal being unhealthy, nor is being thin an accurate indicator of good health or longer life. He focuses on the reliance by health authorities on the body mass index (BMI) chart as a measure for obesity, which he feels is an insufficient and misleading benchmark for the alarmist messages of "the war on fat." To skip to the part I found interesting, use Find to search for "pageant" - the four paragraphs that follow are the crux of his argument and strike me as having a real ring of truth to them. (Note: 14 stone = 196 lbs. This site was an helpful find.)

Personally, I think that no one can deny that excessive weight can contribute to health problems, but Mr. Campos makes some really insightful observations on how the obsession with obesity is as much myth based on cultural bias as it is a health- and economic-based concern. The only thing he didn't touch on that I think would have bolstered his argument on the economic front is the recent focus on the "cost of obesity" to employers and insurers. Doesn't it seem convenient that being fat is now a focus of attention at the same time that U.S. businesses are trying to cut costs everywhere they can? According to the MSNBC article, however, India is increasing its girth and its working population has a high percentage of deaths from heart attack and strokes. So perhaps those businesses should take a long, hard look at the offshoring of jobs to India or they may have to wage this war there, too.

May 10, 2004

Vote Your Heart Out

It seems to me that voting has taken on a weird nuance lately. On the one hand, it's such an important action when it comes to the complexion of our country, our states, and our cities. Whether or not you take it seriously, whether or not you vote, whether or not you agree with those who are elected or the policies and laws they enact, it affects your life. In an election year, that's something more people might want to take a moment to ponder.

On the other hand, voting has become almost like a hobby for us as a country. The "controversy" over phone voting on American Idol this year and last, and the enormous attention paid to the show and the winning contestants. Voting in countless polls online, everywhere from national news to local news (registration required), from entertainment to sports Web sites (or all of them if it's ESPN) on topics of the day. Add in the fun polls on blogs that I'm beginning to see more frequently.

It all takes on a casualness that I suspect caters to people wanting to feel important by weighing in on something without their vote having a lot of importance behind it, even if the subject is serious. It's a lot less mental stress to anonymously express your opinion on the current debacle in Iraq than figuring out if you want the bonehead you know versus an unknown quantity becoming the "Leader of the Free World" later this year, the results of which we all have to live with for four years or the next impeachment proceedings.

Then there are those popular feel-good voting opportunities where there's an outcome to the process, not just percentages posted on a site or read on the evening news like they're gospel, but it's in the spirit of being a philanthropist-by-proxy. It's a stroke to the ego to be able to think, "I'm doing this and someone deserving will benefit." Fairy godparent status with the click of a mouse! Who wouldn't like that?

Along those lines, I'd like to ask you make like a moral compass and point your Lord and Lady Bountiful selves to this opportunity to vote for someone to get a million dollars. Now, before you scoff about it being for some dumb reality show -- because if you haven't already voted, you're probably not a viewer and you're scoffing -- I would ask you to consider the power of that Robin Hood click. Whether or not you're a fan, you will be helping take a million dollars away from rich CBS (which has earned millions upon millions from the Survivor franchise) and giving it to someone deserving of their money. All at no cost, no jail time, and no tights for you!

Even if you didn't actually watch the show, you've probably heard of Rupert, the tie-dye wearing bear of a man who did back-to-back stints on Survivor. This is a man who not only deserved to win but if he'd been less of a nice person and more of a strategist, he would likely have his million already. So even if you really don't care one way or another, I'd like to ask you to go vote for him to get the second million-dollar check CBS will be handing out to one of the 18 players from the All-Star season this Thursday. You don't have to supply any personal information, you just point and click. It will offer you the opportunity to vote for some other things next, but it's not necessary if you're not interested. (Though it might be fun to skew the numbers by voting things without knowing anything about them!)

Go on, do it -- help a good guy and make a little notch on your karma belt.

May 07, 2004

How Sweet It Isn't

An article on Krispy Kreme caught my eye because, as I've learned, mentioning ye old Krispy Kreme seems to catch my readers' eyes! But also because I'd been told that the company cut its earnings forecast and their stock took a hit, so I was intrigued as to why. In checking on that I saw another, far more shocking article that has me shaking my head with wonder at what the country is coming to these days. You can't go anywhere around here without a restaurant announcing that they've jumped on the "low-carb" bandwagon! Today alone I found that Quiznos has begun selling low-carb "Toasty Flatbread" versions of all their sandwiches and a Japanese restaurant in the same plaza where I ate dinner had a huge banner out front touting their "Lovin' Low Carb" offerings, like sashimi -- gee, really? No carbs there, huh? That must be new.

This whole thing is getting out of hand, in my opinion. I've already expressed my views on how nuts I think the Atkins diet is, but the way the food and restaurant industry has latched onto the idea is just phenomenal, and phenomenally frustrating. There are so many real issues with food and the way we eat that need to be addressed, and catering to a fad like this --one that has not been proven to have real benefit and could, in fact, end up contributing even further to the nation's obesity trend -- gives it far too much credence. While people with a serious and life-threatening disease like diabetes have to search high and low for products that address their dietary concerns. And while, of course, people with diabetes need to limit their carb intake as a part of a balanced diet, not all these new products will help to that end. The reason for that is on the label, something I think a lot of people either don't read or don't really know enough about to get benefit from it. For instance, in the grocery store today I also saw for the first time this new offering from Hershey's that is their Atkins-friendly gimmick. I looked at the label and sure enough, there is one gram of sugar in the three flavors of bars. But right below it is "Sugar Alcohols - 10 g." While sugar alcohols cause blood sugar to rise less than sugar, they still have an effect. I didn't see which sugar alcohol(s) it contained, but that means anywhere from about 20 to 40 calories derived from them. That's certainly not diabetes-friendly. Does it have to be? No, but with the millions of people who truly have a need for foods that will help them, as opposed to people who are on a diet to lose vanity pounds, creating confusion over what foods are actually "good for you" is somewhat of a disservice. To give credit to Hershey's, they do also have a sugar-free product that they recently introduced, and it is intended to be an alternative to people with diabetes. But...what do you want to make a bet that the "One Gram" product gets a huge promotional push and rakes in a lot of cash, where the sugar-free product came in with a whimper and was difficult to find until recently?

May 06, 2004

A Clean Toilet is a Happy Toilet!

This article just cracked me up. Anybody want one of these for major US or European cities you visit? I'm sure it's terribly bleeding-heart liberal Democrat of me to have the thought that starting a program to create something like that could be a good job-creating proposition for people without jobs living in those cities. Not to mention providing something amazing for tourists in places like San Francisco, where finding a bathroom you can use is as hard as finding a parking space that won't either blow your budget or end up in a ticket. Since it'll never happen here, I'll settle for simply getting people to actually turn the hell around in public restrooms and make sure that the damned toilet has actually flushed! With these low-flow toilets, one little push on the handle doesn't get the job done and people are too lazyor too dense, apparently, to take a second to make sure they're not leaving a mess for the next person. It drives me nuts on a daily basis.

May 05, 2004

Furnulum pani nolo

The above is the answer to "Which Weird Latin Phrase Are You?" It, apparently, means, "I don't want a toaster." This is the most accurate quiz I've ever taken! That's absolutely true -- I don't want a toaster because I have a perfectly serviceable toaster oven that does a much better job than any regular toaster I've ever had. That's probably more (and, surprisingly, less) than you really wanted to know.

It goes on to say, "Generally, things (like this quiz) tend to tick you off. You have contemplated doing grievous bodily harm to door-to-door salesmen." Okay, now this is getting eerie. Apart from the fact that the quiz itself didn't actually tick me off, this is a dead-on assessment of my personality. Well, the ticked-off part of it, at least.

I'm tired so I didn't check out the other possible answers. So, if you take the quiz, I'd love to hear what result you get...if you're not afraid to face up to the insight it might provide!

Now, lay off the doorbell, step away from my door -- NOW -- and take your spiel with you. I've got toast waiting for me.

May 04, 2004

A Cornucopia of Competitive Eating

After coming across a number of articles in the last few weeks about competitive eating and its participants, I decided to do a little looking into this burgeoning phenomenon. Some of the articles are a little older, but the guy at the top of the heap in the oldest article, Takeru Kobayashi, is still at number one so it all seemed pretty relevant and the article is a good place to start before reading any of the others as it's fairly comprehensive.

I think we've probably all heard of the Nathan's Famous world hot dog eating contest held at Coney Island each year on the Fourth of July, which is where Mr. Kobayashi set the current record of 50 1/2 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes in 2002. And since I watch a lot of shows on the Food Network, I often see segments on various pie-eating and chicken wing-eating competitions, many at festivals devoted to certain food. But I had no idea that there was such a range of foods that were eaten competitively! (Check out the list of records and see if there aren't more there than you expected.)

Now to the faces that are seeking fame and fortune by stuffing themselves. Some are big. Some are really big. Some are small. Some (though few) are women. Some have had movies made about them and their mothers get interviewed and asked some really insightful questions! Some are small-town folk trying to live up to their reputations. Some are famous faces from the past who are in it either for fun or for a shot at seeing their name in print again.

Is it a sport? Since ESPN covers it, it could be either sport or entertainment. Is it rigged or are people cheating? Who knows. But then, given the state of sport today, the kind of controversy it sparks almost gives it more credibility. All I know is that after reading so much about it and trying to imagine myself competing in any of these events, even for foods I love, I'm torn between admiration and revulsion. But I bet I could take on the cops if it were eating Krispy Kremes!

May 03, 2004

Why you won't see me on the evening news for ripping off old people

I just don't think I have a devious enough mind! When I read about this auction mini-frenzy I was almost completely blown away. I mentioned in an earlier post that I took advantage of an opportunity from Blogger to open a Gmail account in its beta version. I have started using it for limited purposes -- I forward to it e-mail that I don't want to "time out" on my AOL account and send links there that I plan to use here at some point -- but I haven't spent a whole lot of time with my inbox. So I never noticed the "Invite a Friend!" link there and had no idea that: a.) I could invite two people to open an account; b.) Anyone would actually pay for that opportunity; or c.) Anyone would think to auction off the opportunity!

In checking out some of the auctions, I came across this blog, whose owner claims to have set up the first such auction. (His blog started out being focused on, the new search engine from that is also in its beta stage, but he has broadened the focus to include "other search technologies.") I think his doing so was more of an experiment than anything, but the speed and rapacity with which other people jumped on board is somewhat astonishing, though I suppose it really shouldn't be -- people will do most anything to earn a buck, by hook or by crook. What I'm not clear on is how people find out about these auctions so quickly -- between this and The Wedding Dress Guy, I've spent more time checking out eBay this week than I have in the last year. What I am clear on is how the blog world is spreading the word on these auctions like wildfire. After I posted about The Wedding Dress Guy on Hope Springs A Leak, I saw it mentioned on more than half a dozen other blogs within a day. Considering how many blogs there are and how relatively few I check out on a daily basis (though it seems like a lot to me!), that really speaks to the way in which ideas bounce or, dare I say it, hopscotch around.