Find Great Stuff

Art Collectibles Reflections by Kathy and Bill Lair

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Politically Incorrect Christmas Dictionary of 2008

December 9th, 2008 · Humor

The result of being raised by a word loving father, an impish joker, who was not only the king of his castle but also King of the Pun, was a house full of jousting siblings always attempting to knock his or her opponent to the ground in a fit of laughter. To make the King laugh was the highest reward. My brother Tom & I have kept the tradition alive over the years in our letters, cards, and email. The holidays have always been particulary inspiring to me… even the most obscure of them have often resulted in a long, hopefully amusing, story of one sort or another. So without further explanation, here is Your Long Awaited Politically Incorrect Christmas Dictionary of 2008:

  • Angel: our neighbor, Angel Santiago lives 3 houses down from us
  • Blitzen: how you feel after tee many martoonis
  • Chimney: an Asian taste treat
  • Dash away, dash away, dash away all: encouraging your drunken rowdy friends to leave the party quickly before your parents get home
  • Elves: a 50’s rock ‘n roll singer who sang Jailhouse Rock, Blue Suede Shoes, etc.
  • Frankincense: a unique fragrance worn by Frankenstein
  • Gravy: an unexpected Christmas bonus
  • Holly: the main character in Truman Capote’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s
  • Icicle: cold bicycle seat
  • Jingle Bells: Richard Belzer with a pocketful of change
  • Kringle: a Danish pastry
  • Lords-a-leaping: The Nutcracker, a fairy tale ballet
  • Mistletoe: an overuse injury affecting explosive weapons personnel
  • North Pole: someone living in the most Northern latitudes of Poland
  • Olive, the other reindeer: a mondegreen, not really Rudolph’s friend
  • Poinsettia: the guy in charge of setting the baseball scoreboard
  • Queue: a long line of kids waiting to tell Santa what they want for Christmas
  • Reindeer: a loved one into leather and bondage
  • Sandy Claus: what happens to your cat after visiting the kitty litter
  • Turkey: the guy who cleans up all those dirty dishes
  • Underwear: everyone’s least favorite present; or looking for Uncle Henry who always drinks too much… as in “He’s underwear?”
  • Vixen: a quarrelsome woman
  • Wreath: a circle of dead flowers
  • Xaviar: Santa’s little used middle name
  • Yule Tide: the stuff Yule Gibbons washes his clothes with
  • Zees: what you better catch some of on Christmas Eve or Santa will bring you zilch

Kathy’s words

Bonkers Loved Christmas

Bonkers Loved Christmas

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AB switch found for 2 displays out

September 21st, 2008 · HTPC

I found an AB switch that other Mac Mini folks are using to switch between two different DVI out monitors. It seems a KVM switch designed for 2 sources to one monitor can work in reverse on non powered switches. The information source can be found on the forums. The forum thread is How To Switch Between 2 Displays on your Mac Mini. The Ebay sellers ID is e-hdtv. I haven’t purchased the switch yet, I may just wait and put the $50 toward another Mac Mini.

Non Powered DVI Switch

Non Powered DVI Switch

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How to manage an online Antique Store? Part 1 of 4

September 14th, 2008 · Collectibles, HowTo

How to manage an online Antique Store? Part 1 of 4 from Bill Lair on Vimeo.

How to manage an online Antique Store? from Bill Lair on Vimeo.

HowTO part 1 of 4: There are two software programs that help use manage our internet antique store. They are  FileMaker Pro and WebMerge . This presentation is a brief overview of their use.


Click arrow to listen to 3 minute podcast ANSWER: same audio as YouTube video.

Bill’s words

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Top Ten Art Works

August 4th, 2008 · Art











Bill’s thoughts

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Mac Mini first generation with Front Row

July 28th, 2008 · HowTo, HTPC

Mac Mini first generation running Front Row

I finally got Front Row running on my 1st generation Mac Mini. I’m just letting folks know what worked for me, I’m not responsible if these suggestions don”t work for you.

Previously I installed Remote Buddy, a Keyspan IR remote receiver and a Harmony remote Harman/Kardon TC-30 which all worked fine although my system lacked the grace of the front end integration of Apples Front Row.

The Mac OS Tiger system install disk has front row on the disk, but since my system doesn”t have an IR remote receiver in it like the Imacs have, Front Row will not install on my Mini from the disk. A step by step work around can be found on Andrew Escobat’s blog. My first few attempts didn’t work, but some followup comments on his post led me to a solution. The first thing you have to do is find a copy of Front Row 1.3. and not FR 1.3.1. Apple was offering this free download, but now only offers newer version of Front Row which doesn’t work with Escobar’s Enabler 1.5. It’s not real easy to locate 1.3, but I finally found this older version at After decompressing the installer for Front Row 1.3 and leaving my installer on my desktop, I ran enabler 1.5. All seemed to go as planned, but Front Row would not load.

The trick that pressed the magic work button was to install 2 more files that are located on the Mac OS X 10.4.19 combo update for PowerPC from Apple. This suggestion can be found toward the bottom of Andrew Escobat”s blog. With the slick shareware program called Pacifist I can open the Apple update and Pacifist will search for “BezelServices”. Then Pacifist will install the two specific file folders you select:



After a restart, I had a working Front Row on my old Mini. Thank you Andrew Escobat and the folks who commented and added suggestions to his blog.

Bill”s words

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Back to Life with Epson R1800

July 24th, 2008 · Art, Photography

Epson R1800


The Epson R1800 allows me to complete my art work in-house, which is no small chore. To give you a little background, I’ve been trying to print digital images since 1994. My main image criterion were durability, larger than 8×10, color accuracy, and continuous tone. Back then I settled for a Fargo PrimeraPro dye sublimation printer although the image size was limited to 8×10. A lot has changed in the last few years. The evolution of pigment inks with color accuracy has allowed your local photo stop or chain store to print you a large durable image. My experiences with these 3rd party sources has mostly been disappointing. Some of the problems have been scratches, over bleeds, changing a tiff file to an over compressed jpeg, and color tone shifting. I needed my own in-house printing solution. Thank you Epson for coming to my rescue. The experiences with my newly purchased refurbished R1800 has exceeded my expectations. The 10 mil thick premium luster paper comes in an 11.7 by 16.5 sheet size, which allows me to print my favorite image size of 11×14 and still have a white border to ease framing. The pigment inks match my monitor view and the icing on the cake is a clear cover coat over the image for durability.  These prints need to be seen in person; the details in the print go beyond your monitor view. Art work in-house is now the best. I may just stay in-house.

Bill”s words

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My Favorite Cameras

July 21st, 2008 · Art, Ebay, Photography

Our Nikon Coolpix 800 for sell on Ebay

My Favorite Cameras

While helping folks to sell items on the web, I’ve had the opportunity to use a group of cameras. Since most of my photos are taken in a studio environment with lighting, most cameras will do a good job. We sell jewelry which requires the camera to have macro close-up ability. In the early days, Nikon’s Coolpix series allowed sharp photos taken up close enough to see jewelry marks. A camera that satisfied this need was the Nikon Coolpix 800. This camera was great for product photos and was large enough to feel good in my hands. Some of the items we sell are animated. With the point and shoot cameras adding movie capabilities at a reasonable price, I took the leap to the Nikon Coolpix 4600. This camera gave me what the Coolpix 800 gave plus the added function of Quicktime movies. One drawback that became more apparent was the small size of the 4600. I got used to using this size camera but it was always a little awkward. My wife Kathy liked the size of the 800 but wanted more telephoto ability for nature shots than the 800 provided. The search was on for a new camera.

Cost or bang for the buck was important, so I started reading the forums. The forum that helped the most was Digital Photo Review¬†( They have a buyer”s guide that allows you to list your needs. We listed the following needs: close-up, large telephoto, 700,000 pixels, stabilizer, and manual focus. The best bang for the buck was the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 and it came with a Leica lens, so it was a buy. It is said that the Lumix camera is almost identical to same featured Leica cameras. Well, Kathy has been tickled pink. The Lumix has been all she needed and more. We have been romping around Burlington county on photo expeditions and I was getting jealous of the great photos she was getting… her with her 12x stabilized zoom and me with my with 3x physically small Coolpix 4600. The real killer was a movie she took of a blue Heron slipping across the ice… what a great movie capture. I must have started sulking because a few weeks later Kathy gave me a present… yes, my own Lumix. This is a great camera. The feature I missed the most on a point and shoot was the manual focus. To shoot through glass or tree limbs, you need the manual focus in order to bypass the close objects to get the more distant object focused sharply. This camera has gotten me out the the studio and on the hunt.

List of reasons why the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 is my favorite camera:

  1. The feel of the camera in my hand.
  2. The option for manual focus
  3. The sharp photos
  4. The cost
  5. The color adjustment graph for my studio fluorescent lamps.   
  6. The image stabilizer.
  7. The 12x zoom
  8. The ability to shoot RAW images 

The more I would ask for, but can’t afford:

  1. Inter-changable lens
  2. Large individual color light sensors

  Bill’s words

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The Object as Art

July 17th, 2008 · Art, Collectibles

Tractor Photo

Our collectible business has been a great resource for found objects that we see as art. Some of these objects we can bring home for inspiration, while others we can only bring home in the form of a photo. Many of the objects we acquire are used in arrangements to tickle our minds. But when it comes to an old tractor sitting in a field, the photo of the tractor just begs me to create the minds eye view I see inside my head. Then the play begins. The “McCormick Deering West” photo is the result of one of these play sessions. This particular tractor spoke with the streamlined optimism of the 1939 World’s Fair, but now speaks of a rusted machine age bone yard. As I age I see that bone yard more in focus. The art play that I took for granted is now being grabbed with a less cavalier attitude. The hunt is on. The object is the tool. The tool pries open the mind. The mind sees. The fun is alive. Please enjoy the photo.

Bill’s words

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Right Brained Right Eyed “OH MY”

July 14th, 2008 · Inspiration

Eye to Eye

I’m right brained and right eyed, “OH MY”. How can you tell which side is dominant, your right brain or your left brain, your right eye or your left eye? Yes, one of our eyes is more dominant. The side of the brain that is dominant is the easiest to identify. Are you left handed or right handed? If you’re right handed, you’re left brained. Yes, the left side of your brain operates the right hand and right side of the body. If you use your right hand the most, then you are left brained. I use my left hand the most which means I”m right brained. To tell which of your eyes is most dominant you need to take a little test. The test is best done with two people. Get a large piece of paper and cut a small 1/2 inch circle in the middle of the sheet. The person being tested holds the sheet of paper up at arms length and sights through the hole. The other person stands about 3 feet away on the opposite side of the paper and holds a finger up in front of their face. The tested person lines up the sight hole so they can see the finger of the other person. Next the tested person closes one eye at a time. The eye that can still see the finger is the dominant one. When I close my left eye, I can still see the finger. If I close my right eye, without moving the paper, I can no longer see the finger. This makes me right eyed. Now for the “OH MY” part. The right side of the brain which controls the left hand and the left side the body also controls the left eye. Most folks are right handed and right eyed which makes the left brain dominant. Most left hander”s are also left eyed making the right brain dominant. Since I’m left handed (right brained) and right eyed (left brained) neither brain side is dominant. The “OH MY” is cross brain dominance which equals dyslexia. In some following post I’ll get into this dyslexic life a little more. 

Bill”s words

PS: When we talk to each other, we only look at one eye. Most people, being right eyed, look at the other person’s right eye. Did you ever talk to someone and feel they weren’t looking you in the eye? that they weren’t listening? that you weren”t connecting?  Maybe they were looking at your non-dominant eye… and therefore you were not seeing “eye to eye”.

PS 2: In the early 70”s, a friend recommended Carl Sagan”s book “The Dragons of Eden” which began my investigations into the workings of the right and left sides of the brain. If you find the subject of right and left brain interesting, you might enjoy this book.’

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Watch for Swatch Watch

July 10th, 2008 · Collectibles

Collection of Swatch Watches

A few years ago Kathy and I started collecting Swatch Watches. The visual diversity that artists and designers displayed in these plastic jewels was captivating. To discover the artistic variety within the limitations of a wrist watch has been inspiring. For the next few months we will be offering some of our Swatch gems for sale. We have always enjoyed the process of assemblage. After we learn what we can from the accumulation we like to resell the gathering and start putting together another collection. We”ve done this in the past with acquisitions of flamingos, masks, perfume bottles and dig ups just to name a few. This is why it’s great to be in the collectibles business …buy, collect, have fun, and sell.

PS. A valuable information resource is the Catalog for Swatch Watches “Swatch-Clopedia“. 

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My Love Affair With Bakelite

July 7th, 2008 · Collectibles

3 bakelite jewels strawberry charm exotic green and red flower pendant and carved black flower pin

I’ve had the hots for Bakelite for as long as I can remember… before books… before boys… before art… there was Bakelite! I was too young to put a name on those objects of my desire… but I knew I was in love with that pair of translucent sea green fish swimming through my mother’s jewelry box… and the big picture hat that looked as if it were made of butterscotch candy. I wanted to see it again and again, feel it, taste it… I begged her to let me see them at every opportunity. Twenty years later while foraging through a flea market, I found the most wonderful red heart hanging from a sensual arrow pin. It was big, marbled, shiny and lucious. The memory of my childhood attractions returned. I was was in love all over again! I began hunting. I found more and more of these beautiful objects. They were little works of art, hand carved treasures.

In the early days, cleaning my treasures in warm water released an old familiar smell… another childhood memory of family outings, day trips, picnic lunches, and the smell I got when drinking milk from those old green cups in the family picnic basket. They must have been Bakelite too! Since then, I’ve bought (and kept) and sold hundreds of Bakelite items. Buyers often want to know if I’ve tested the piece to be sure that it”s Bakelite or they ask me What is the test for Bakelite?

Before I explain the tests, I’d like to point out that Bakelite is just one of the brand names for a class of plastics known as phenolic resins. Most phenolics are thermosetting plastics which means they need heat to make them harden (not like Lucite and Acrylics which harden on their own chemically… Thermoplastics.). Thermosetting plastics can never be melted and reshaped. All phenolics, depending on the company making them, had slightly different formulas. Some are more stable than others. Some, like Bakelite, will test positive with the liquid applied tests because it was made from a less stable formula and the surface oxidized (changed with exposure to air) more easily than others. Catalin (another brand name) was a more stable phenolic and as such doesn”t respond to the surface tests used on Bakelite.

Bakelite responds to various cleaners, Scrubbing Bubbles, Windex, 409 and others, by leaving a yellow deposit on a paper towel when wiped with one of these substances. The more it has oxidized (changed color) the more intense the yellow will be. If you are planning to sell something you’ve tested like this, do it on an unobtrusive spot so that you won”t change the look of it. Don’t clean the whole piece so that the buyer will still have a place to check it themselves.

Catalin is more stable, doesn’t oxidize in air or react to these tests but it is still a phenolic resin. Lots of the jewelry made in the late 30’s and early 40’s was actually made from Catalin. Catalin has the same look as Bakelite and is just as collectible. Many folks consider the two to be the same… which they really are… but since Catalin doesn’t respond to these tests, some people overlook it. Catalin can be tested with the hot water test. I prefer to cite the Scrubbing Bubbles test on eBay because that”s what most buyers want to know… but pick a piece you know is Bakelite and run it under hot water. You can smell it. It’s a very distinctive smell once you are aware of it. Catalin smells like that too. I’m not sure if it”s the phenol or the formaldehyde or a combination of both. But just a caution… don”t use it on anything blue or purple. I did that once on a great little laminated chevron rainbow piece and the blue and purple changed to gray which ruined it.

Then there is always the red hot pin test. If you must test this way… do it in as unobtrusive a spot as possible so as not to ruin the piece in the event that it is not Bakelite (back of pins, inside bead hole). Thermosetting plastics can never be melted and reshaped. They are heat resistant and have been used for products where resistance to heat is important… pot handles, toaster handles, insulators, radio cases, etc. These pieces will resist your attempt to push a red hot pin into them while other plastics will melt. Hold a pin in a flame until the tip glows red hot. Use a pair of pliers to hold the pin or push the head end into a big cork before heating or use a pin in a wooden handle (the type potters use) so that you don’t burn yourself. Try to push the pin into the piece in question. If it won’t go in or only leaves a tiny pin point dot, it is a thermosetting plastic. Be careful when you do this as celluloid and any thin walled plastic will melt quickly. The pin could go through the entire piece and ruin it. Any piece that allows the pin to pierce it is made of some other type of plastic.

Be careful doing the hot pin test. Keep pieces away from open flames and from your face when you are testing them. Cellulose nitrate will ignite instantly near an open flame. Polyurethane and other foams should not be tested this way as they are highly flamable and have an awful smoke when burning. All plastics have their own individual odors and can be identified by them. More information about these tests, the nature of plastics, a chart of plastics with their individual characteristics and smells can be found in the book Art Plastics Designed for Living by Andrea DiNoto. This is just a great book, not only for this technical information but also for history, design information, and some really great photos of fantastic objects.

Kathy’s words

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Goebel Red Dog Perfume Lamp with glass eyes

July 3rd, 2008 · Collectibles

Goebel Bulldog perfumer lamp

Fantastic Early Goebel Orange Dog Perfume Lamp is made of translucent porcelain and has wonderful glass eyes. Both the dog and his eyes have a warm, magical glow when the light is turned on. He has a circle of holes in the top of his head for the heat of the bulb to escape so that he won’t crack. There is a small reservoir on the back of his neck where perfume was placed. The heat of the lamp warmed the perfume and gently spread the desired fragrance into the air. Perfume lamps were popular in the 20’s and 30’s and came in many shapes and sizes… a forerunner of the air freshener, but infinitely more romantic! This little creature measures 4-1/2″ high, 4″ at the widest point and 5-1/4″ from front to back. The marks on one foot are the broad incised crown, ST256 is incised under the crown and the letter B. is handwritten in black underglaze stain. Dep. is incised on the other foot. Germany is stamped in black stain near that, on the edge. All of the marks can be seen in the photos. The light works. The socket is held in place inside with a little metal arm that goes through the body and is fastened on the outside with a little white knob. The cord has an old style, blimp shaped, in-line bakelite switch. There are a few little flakes in the orange glaze on his right hind thigh (these can be seen in the photos – bottom area is the flakes, top area is reflected light in the photo), one at the base near that and a tiny one at his front right elbow. There is a manufacturing flaw, a little rough spot on the top center of his back where something (a bit of brick) fell into the molten glaze during the firing. There are a couple of little pin holes in the glaze that also occurred in the manufacturing process. These don’t take away… just want to let you know they are there. He is a little treasure that could be the perfect highlight in a romantic or exotic boudoir!

Kathy’s words

Some other different perfume dispensers

Other types of perfume dispensers

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The Depth of the Well

June 30th, 2008 · Art, Inspiration

Green Face

Green Face

Our Western culture likes the analogies of self discovery that usually involve descriptions of the light at the top of the mountain, the climbing towards, the pushing of the rock. When we were potters we were always striving to make the perfect pot, the masterful pot. A gift that most potters eventually stumble upon is the Japanese tea cup. Strangely enough, this innocent little tea cup can lead one to the paradox of simplicity wrapped around a deep understanding for life. For me, this attempt to understand life, is what art is all about. The Japanese tea cup broke me away from trying to make the bigger more perfect pot. This break also led me to look at Eastern culture for a deeper insight into our humanness than the mountain climb. So when I heard the Eastern analogy describing all people as wells, I was intrigued. The story goes that all people are like wells. We put barriers around our wells for protection. We decorate our wells to fit into a community or to stand out of a community. The tops of our wells display the values we have. We work very hard to keep our well heads beautiful and in agreement with the well heads around us. We work so hard that we have little time to enjoy the water in the well. If we only slowed down and stopped swimming we could relax. We could relax enough to sink more deeply into the well. Could we stay relaxed as we sank deeper and the water got colder? If we could relax enough and sink deep enough, we would eventually discover the deep springs that feed all the wells, the water springs that nourish us all. Whether you are making art or enjoying a found object, just relax and enjoy the springs of life. The peak at the mountain top can only hold one of us, but the springs of the well can nourish us all.

Bill’s word

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Our Quote Wall

June 26th, 2008 · Art, Inspiration

Photo of quote wall

Our quote wall and cat path to the attic.

  • Creativity is a fresh pair of eyes. —Woodrow Wilson
  • Almost all really new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are first produced.¬†–Alfred North Whithead
  • Thoughts have no sex. —Claire Booth Luce
  • Question Authority. —Timothy Leary
  • The life of art is the life of combat in which the “enemy” is the easy solution and the comfortable retreat, and “victory” is won in the face of all temptations to settle for what is already known, admired, and accepted. —Hilton Kramer
  • Curiosity is the mark of a creative spirit.
  • Good art is always, at least in part, a commentary on art. —Michael Crichton
  • Ask Why.
  • Challenge the status quo.
  • Painting is not for me either decorative amusement or plastic invention of felt reality, it must be every time: Invention, discovery, revelation. —Max Ernst
  • Confront yourself.
  • Art is a game for the mind that explains the feelings.
  • We see what we know. —Virchow”s Dictum
  • Art is a reflection of values.
  • Art is Life.
  • Art is about thinking.
  • Art, like Haiku, is a pebble.
  • Art is not beauty.
  • Art is in process.
  • Art is not skill or physical effort.
  • If you repeat something many times, it becomes a style. —Bob Fossi
  • Art is paradox. Paradox is truth.
  • We can understand what is by what is not.
  • Art should pick you up out your chair and move you to another seat. —Bob Dylan
  • The only way to find yourself is to deny your teachers. —Isamu Noguchi
  • Art is not the known, but the unknown.
  • The artist is more important then the art. —James Baldwin
  • The individual is a minority. —Ralph Ellis
  • A good spectator also creates. –Swiss Proverb
  • Art is a mirror into which the artist looks in order to see something about himself that he hasn”t known before.
  • Art is continuous…only seeing is intermittent. —Marcel Duchamp
  • Art is self-discovery. —Jackson Pollock
  • Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. —Aldus Huxley
  • Think sideways. —Edward De Bono
  • Chance favors the prepared mind. —Louis Pasteur
  • Your chance is not the same as mine. —Marcel Duchamp

Cat clawed away.

  • When you”re green you”re growing, when you”re ripe you rot. —Ray Kroc
  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. —Albert Einstein
  • I”ve never done good things, I”ve never done bad things, I”ve never done anything out of the blue. —David Bowie
  • Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don”t like – then cultivate it. That”s the only part of your work that”s individual and worth keeping. –-Jean Cocteau
  • Only that in you which is me can hear what I”m saying. —Baba Ram Dass

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Harmony remote controls first Mac Mini

June 23rd, 2008 · HowTo, HTPC

Remote for Mac Mini

Sadly, my Mac Mini, being the first configuration, doesn’t have a remote control. I don”t want to purchase a new Mac mini which has a remote, but I would like to remotely control my old Mini. There is a solution that is even better than the Apple remote that comes with the new Minis. The folks over at IOspirit designed a super software package called Remote Buddy. This program, when combined with a remote control, works great. The early Minis didn’t come with an infrared receiver so for a remote control I went for a Keyspan Rf Remote which comes with a USB infrared receiver. I found the Keyspan remote for Macs on eBay for only $12. There wasn’t a lot to do to get the remote working to control my Mini. Don”t install the Keyspan drivers, just install Remote Buddy and let Buddy do the set up. Remote Buddy has a small learning curve, but IOspirit has flash video instructions on site and an active forum if more help is needed. Why do you need to control your Mini with a remote? Well playing a movie or a music play list on your TV from the Mini is just too cooool. The remote controlled Mini hooked up to your TV is a fun collaboration. And there is another WOW tool you can add to this setup. A year ago on eBay Harman/Kardon was selling a reconditioned universal remote control (TR 30) for $120. This remote is a version of a Harmony remote series. I picked one up to control my home entertainment systems. It works like a charm… hook the remote to your computer with the provided USB cable, go to Harmony’s web site and enter your entertainment system info and your controller gets all the codes downloaded to computer up to your remote. It works. Yes you guessed it, the Harmony Remote also controls my Mac Mini, TV, and Receiver in harmony with each other. Maybe that”s how the name Harmony Remote came about? Now my old Mac Mini is new again. I hope I can find the time to get back to work on my listings for eBay. Ebay needs my money. Actually I’m the one who needs the money, better get back to listing more treasures.

Bill”s words

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WHERE oh WHERE is a simple AB monitor switch?

June 19th, 2008 · HowTo, HTPC

Mac Mini to HDTV home entertainment

My main computer is a first generation Mac Mini. I have the Mini set up next to my TV lounge chair, which allows me to work while watching TV. I wanted to hook up the Mini to my HDTV to share some of my web video content. So I bought an 18 foot HDMI DVI cable to hook up my Mini to the TV. I plugged the DVI end into my Mini and the HDMI into the TV. The Mini automatically reset to the resolution of the TV and I was browsing the internet and playing videos with my TV as a monitor. So now I just have to plug in which display I want, TV or monitor. The next step seemed like the simplest, but the next step turned out to be impossible, a small step for engineer kind, but a giant step for my kind. This next step was to purchase an AB switch for 2 DVI monitors, nothing complicated or amplified, just a simple toggle switch from one monitor to another monitor. I couldn”t find a simple AB switch so I tried the least expensive experiment with a video splitter. (DVI-D Male to 2 DVI-D Females). My Mini didn”t know which resolution to read and so I got no image on either monitor. Next I tried an expensive experiment. I purchased a Gefen powered splitter. This would let the Mac Mini”s one DVI out feed 2 different monitors. Both my DVI monitor and my HDMI TV displayed an image, but the resolution being different causes either my monitor to be pinched in or my display TV to be stretched out. Using the splitter from my Mac Mini to my monitor and my wife”s monitor worked fine… our monitors are the same resolution. Conclusion: the monitors need to be the same resolution. Another failed experiment.  I’m still left with a need for a simple AB switch, maybe I can make one, or maybe Makezine has the plans for constructing one. Until then I”ll just keep plugging and unplugging along.

Bill”s words

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Bakelite Story Rockets Demand

June 16th, 2008 · Collectibles

Kathy''s Bakelite Large Heart Pin

Do you know the name of this piece?

Yes bakelite (catalin)is beautiful… looks like candy… was mostly made between 1939 and 1946… can be tested to validate material, but does your beautiful bakelite have THE STORY? Stories like… The Philadelphia BraceletThe Life Magazine HeartThe Bullet RadioThe Noguchi Monitor. These are just a few of the pieces that have that added value of THE STORY. THE STORY promotes conversation, helps memory, and identifies uniqueness. Add this all together and you create a demand that is greater than the supply. Does supply and demand have an effect on price? The red heart is Kathy’s and it”s not for sale, but if you know THE STORY of this beauty… please, pretty please let us know.

Bill’s words

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Duchamp got me into the flea market business

June 11th, 2008 · Art, Collectibles, FleaMarket, Inspiration

Duchamp as priest with quote

Working as potters for years our ideas about art were strongly tied up with skill and with hard work. So when I saw Marcel Duchamp’s urinal, a found object that he had submitted to a salon show, I couldn”t believe it. Duchamp found this urinal and called it his sculpture? He had to be kidding. He didn”t skillfully make it. He didn’t work hard. He thought the object was art; did that make it art? This idea has caused a shift that turned my life upside down. Up was down and down was somewhere, I was just too tipsy to say. A quote I found of Duchamp’s helped me get my head around the idea. Quote: “I have forced myself to contradict myself to avoid conforming to my own taste”. I began feeling my potter’s life was wrong. I knew that a found object could change your life. It happened to me when I started bringing medical objects home. Pottery was never the same for me after that. I started adding found objects to my clay forms, but the clay didn”t like it. The tubular forms of clay turned into telescope tubes.

Stretching It sculpture by W. Lair

It was then that I knew my days as a potter would end. The found object became the art object for me. The next step was a short step. I would find objects, enjoy them as art and pass them on. I found myself in the flea market business.

Bill’s words

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Virchow’s dictum

June 9th, 2008 · Art, Collectibles, Inspiration

Kathy''s Art Rrrrose Homage to Duchamp

Have you ever noticed someone buying something worthless? Has anyone ever thought that you bought something worthless? The different experiences we have shape our opinions about whether an object is a treasure or a piece of junk. Virchow’s dictum simply put is “you see what you know, what you don’t know you can”t see”. Rudolf Virchow lived in the late 18th century. He wore many hats… scientist, pathologist, philosopher, and educator. An exercise he would perform with his anatomic pathology students involved distinguishing normal lung tissue from diseased lung tissue. New students all thought the lung tissue looked the same; they needed to be educated to see the difference. Michael Crichton’s book “Jasper Johns” (most exciting book about art I ever read) first introduced me to this thought. It’s a fun way to think about what you know and what you see. We live next to water with a large duck population. Many folks who drive through finding ducks on the road start beeping their horns. Surprise… ducks don”t have knowledge about what a horn beep means. So the next time you bring that exciting new art purchase home and the family says “you paid what for that piece of sh!!” just smile and say Virchow’s dictum made you do it.

Bill”s words

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Ugly Lamp Contest

June 4th, 2008 · Art, Collectibles, Humor


Ugly Lamp Contest Winner

The Ugly Lamp Contest is back and ready for your votes again. After a mention in Yahoo! Internet Life magazine 1997 the old contest of 97 and 98 got so popular that my traffic bandwidth was costing more then I could afford. Two weeks ago I moved my hosting site over to GoDaddy. GoDaddy’s hosting plan gives me lots more bandwidth then my findgreatstuff site needs. So I have room to play with beautiful ugliness again. With a little help from GentleSource’s voting script, I won’t have to hand count, hand tally, and hand post the results like I had to in the olden days. 

To enter just Email ( a description of the lamp and attach a photo to the email message. The attached photo should be in the file format of .jpg (Joint Photographic Experts Group). The size should be no bigger than 72 dpi and not more the 8 inches.

Bill’s words

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