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Updated: 06/15/04

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Tuesday, 15 June, 2004

My friend Mark sent me a link to - of all things - a $9.99 Henckels Birch Cutting Board for sale at Amazon.com. At first I couldn't figure out what he wanted me to see, and then I started reading the user reviews. Apparently a group of people have sort of hijacked the comments section and are using it as a creative writing playground. A couple of my favorites:

I really have tried, but no matter how hard I strike or what angle of attack I use, I've been consistently unable to use this board to cut down the birch tree in my back garden. Indeed, I do think that the lack of a sharp edge on the board may render this operation completely impossible.

I'm not sure if the problem is one of species - does anyone know how to tell a Henckels Birch from other varieties?

And . . .

I thought this should get back on topic, seeing as how many people, like myself, come here to see reviews, not shenanigans. I wish I was here only to read reviews, rather than write one. I was very disappointed with J.A. Henckels' effort here. I know it says "birch" on the webpage but I thought that meant "marble" and a marble board is what I was looking for. When I excitedly tore open the box all I could think was "uh-oh, splinters!" I know you're saying who gets splinters from a cutting board, but I lost my Nanna to an infection from a cutting board splinter and while I don't think it was birch, it's a cautionary tale just the same. I'm going to try and return it for a marble one, but can't say I expect much from J.A.'s sloppy customer service. We'll see!

And . . .

The board is the wrong scale. When it arrived, on the back of a military truck, there was major subsidance in the street, leading to the whole area being closed to road traffic.

Why can't they give you some indication of the size of the thing? I mean, if they'd only state that it is so immensly huge you could make an informed decision.

At the moment the board is leaning against the house's side gable, held in place by a mobile scaffolding rig. Most of the garden is cast in shade and even the hosta is dying. It has lead to friction with the neigbours who have complained about the lack of light leading to vitamin deficiencies and killed our pet spaniel with weedkiller.

At night it vibrates and emits a low hum. The radiation has improved my wife's orgasm, (only not when I'm around, unfortunately). This is maybe the only genuine advantage of the forty-one-foot Henckel.

It is looking at me now so I'd better st


The U.S. Army has unveiled its new uniform design.

Army Runway Model


The pattern for the new camouflage coat and trousers is a mix of light green, tan and gray. Moran said it was designed to allow soldiers to blend into urban, desert and forest environments; it is similar to the Marines' digital camouflage uniform except that it has no black in the pattern.

Soldiers also will get a new, no-shine, tan combat boot, and the current black boots will be discontinued.

The new uniform makes more use of Velcro, and the coat fastens in front with a zipper instead of buttons. Cuffs and pockets are fastened with Velcro, and the coat collar can be turned up and fastened Mandarin-style. The uniform is roomier and made with a no-wrinkle fabric.

The new uniform was designed in part to accommodate the new Interceptor body armor that soldiers are getting in Iraq and Afghanistan for partial protection from bullets as large as 7.62mm. The Mandarin-style collar, for example, shields the neck from the Interceptor vest collar.

OK, so protection should be the first order of business, and if these little numbers mean that our soldiers will be better protected, then by all means. But seriously . . . dang. And Velcro? Yes, it is useful in many ways but:

1. Tough to keep velcro clean - and therefore working - when crawling around on the ground.
2. Easy to snag a patch on something and rip it off.
3. Noisy as heck, especially when one is trying to be quiet.

But, once again the Army forgot to ask my opinion about things.

[I hate when that happens.]

An update on last week's vocabulary test. John K has scored 165. Anyone else?

Quote du jour:

"I am a great friend to public amusements, for they keep people from vice."

-- Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784) English lexicographer, critic

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