Urban Eola

Men make better friends

Here's why:

A Friendship Between Women
A woman didn't come home one night. The next day she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend's house. The man called his wife's 10 best friends. None of them knew about it.

A Friendship Between Men
A man didn't come home one night. The next day he told his wife that he had slept over at a friend's house. The woman called her husband's 10 best friends. Eight of them confirmed that he had slept over, and two claimed that he was still there. [via ET]

I was here, I promise.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 7:00 PM | | links to this post

Are the $14.99 Starbury shoes the next big fashion trend?

The beginnings of fashion and pop culture trends always intrigue me. LiveStrong bracelets, iPods, Lacoste shirts are recent examples. Influencers usually begin the movement and others catch on quickly for an almost contagious-like movement.

Steve & Barry's + Stephon Marbury = Starbury Shoes
In August of 2006, I wrote that discount athletics clothing retailer Steve & Barry's (which in itself is a brand spreading like crazy) in collaboration with New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury, created the Starbury shoes. At the time, the company claimed that the shoes were just as well made as the most expensive basketball shoes (ie Nike, adidas) but at a absolute fraction of the price - $14.98.

Too cheap to be any good
Everyone, including myself, was skeptical that such a cheap shoe could actually be any good. Marbury was so confident that he pledged to wear the shoes in his NBA games. At the time, I was picturing his shoes coming apart mid game. I could just see a multi-million dollar NBA player with duck tape holding his shoes together. That would be old school.

Sales taking off
It turns out that the retailer can't keep the shoes on the shelf. SportsBiz reports that Steve & Barry's sold out a couple of months of shoes in three days and has sold at least 3 million pairs, mostly by word of mouth. And by all reports, the original Starburys have held up well, performing just as well as their high priced competitors.

First endorser signs on
Adding even more credibility to the apparel line, Bulls star Ben Wallace will become the company's first endorser (outside Marbury himself). The Wallace signature shoe will debut next season, but he will begin wearing the second generation Starbury shoes, Starbury II, when they launch on April 1. The Starbury II's will remain just $14.98. Amazing.

I'm definitely picking up a pair at a local Steve & Barry's.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:26 PM | | links to this post

Brilliant advertising

Only in new York City. *click to enlarge


posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:47 PM | | links to this post

Italy leads in soccer and the environment

Italy is not just a world soccer power. The Azzurri ("blue" in Italian referring to their national team colors) now plan to develop the world's first solar power plant in Sicily.

The project, named Archimedes, will combine solar power with energy created by gas. The plant is designed to produce 5 megawatts of electricity, the amount needed for about 4,500 families.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:13 PM | | links to this post

Yahoo Mail offers free unlimited email storage

I've always been curious to see who uses what when it comes to the free email accounts. Everyone has their preferences for one of the most popular three - Yahoo Mail, Google's Gmail, or Microsoft's Hotmail.

Yahoo Upping the Ante
It used to be that Google offered by far the most email storage space, but Yahoo today announced that they'll offer unlimited storage for their free email starting this May. Now you'll definitely never have to delete an email again. Check out this solid TechCrunch review/comparison of the three email giants.

Humble beginnings
I've used Yahoo Mail since 1999 (when the storage was 10 MB) and I was constantly deleting text emails to clear storage space. I remember the relief I felt when it was increased to 100 MB.

Note to AOL Users
If you're still using and paying for AOL you're stuck in the 1997 IM days and you're wasting your money. I expect UE readers to be more web savvy than that.

User Statistics (in millions) (from TechCrunch)
- Yahoo Mail -- 250 M
- Gmail -- 51 M
- Hotmail -- 228 M

Free Email Storage
- Yahoo Mail -- Unlimited
- Gmail -- 2.8 GB
- Hotmail -- 2 GB

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 5:55 PM | | links to this post

The Urban (R)evolution

Fast Company has a pretty solid interview with Jeff Staple, founder of the innovative urban company, Staple Design, which includes four major forms of business: 1) An independent clothing collection called STAPLE that is distributed all over the globe in top shops and boutiques. 2) A creative / consulting agency with some of the most influential clients in the world including Nike, Burton Snowboards and LVMH. 3) A retail experiment called Reed Space with locations in New York City and Tokyo. Plans for more Reed Spaces worldwide are in the works. 4) An art gallery that functions as a base for artist relations and management.

Pretty interesting read.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 8:23 PM | | links to this post

Best finish to a basketball game I've ever ever seen

Let me set the scene for you. But keep in mind that only watching the actual video will do it total justice.

- March 24, 2007.
- Division II National Basketball Championship.
- Barton College vs. Winona State.
- Winona has a two-year, 57-game winning streak (an NCAA D-II record).
- Winona is defending National Champions.
- Winona State has a student population of 8,000.
- Barton has 925 full-time students.
- Barton won their previous two games (quarters and semis) on last second shots by star - Anthony Atkinson (remember the name).
- CBS Sports national television.
- The game is truly a David vs. Goliath matchup.
- Winona is winning 74-67 with 45 seconds left.

Words can't describe the rest - watch the video below.

Read the article. And to top it off, a celebrating Barton player throws his jersey in the air and it lands on a Winona player's head (can be seen with 1:05 left in the video and also in more detail on today's SportsCenter's top 10 plays).

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:32 PM | | links to this post

Bananas, the amazing fruit

Bananas are tasty, healthy, mobile (easy to carry), cheap, and great for smoothies. But that's not all, a professor at CCNY (my pop's alma mater) for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Read on:

After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Boost of energy
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Energy for a 90-minute workout
Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

Improve medical condition/illnesses
But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet. Here's a list of just the best ones.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of high-potassium banana snack.

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

Banana vs. Apple
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so
that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time.

One more: shoe shine
ant a quick shine on our shoes? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit. [via ET]

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:34 PM | | links to this post

Kitchen Diaries - human beat box

Recipes never sounded so good. Check out this British viral video of this creative way to beat box. Reminds me of this guy.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 9:32 AM | | links to this post

Racy commercials; stylish clothing

I've never heard of online clothing retailer Bluefly.com. I saw one of their racy commercials on TV today and now they're on my radar. It turns out that since 2005, they've been airing racy, yet classy, commercials (2007, 2006 - below, 2005) of well-dressed 30-somethings taking off Bluefly threads.

The site actually has some pretty nice looking fashion, including the men's section. But it'll cost you a pretty penny.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 6:35 PM | | links to this post

Marathon minute

Marathons, marathons, marathons. They're everywhere nowadays and they're no longer just for very fit Kenyans. 432,000 Americans ran marathons in 2005 and that number is growing. 80-year-olds, yuppies, pregnant women and mid-lifers are all using the marathon as their own personal physical challenge.

The best resources for all your marathon needs are:

- Marathon Guide // one-stop shop includes race calendars, tips, etc.
- Runner's World Magazine // the best running magazine out there.
- Hal Higdon // his training programs even got me through two 26.2 milers.

New marathon/half-marathon races are popping up all the time, for example the ING Georgia Marathon, which is set for its inaugural run this Sunday. Check out this very neatly done race course simulation video (with fresh beats in the background).

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 5:28 PM | | links to this post

10 internet businesses you can start with less than $100

The best part about the internet is that it is the great equalizer. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can compete with the biggest companies in the world. It's all about the idea and attracting the eyeballs of the masses.

Check out Kineda's post, 10 Internet Businesses You Can Start with as Little as $100.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 8:19 PM | | links to this post

UE laughs: Wal-Mart edition

One day, in line at the company cafeteria, Joe says to Mike behind him,"My elbow hurts like hell. I guess I'd better see a doctor."

"Listen, you don't have to spend that kind of money," Mike replies.

"There's a diagnostic computer down at Wal-Mart. Just give it a urine sample and the computer will tell you what's wrong and what to do about it.

It takes ten seconds and costs ten dollars . . . A lot cheaper than a doctor."

So, Joe deposits a urine sample in a small jar and takes it to Wal-Mart.

He deposits ten dollars, and the computer lights up and asks for the urine sample. He pours the sample into the slot and waits.

Ten seconds later, the computer ejects a printout:

"You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water and avoid heavy activity. It will improve in two weeks. Thank you for shopping @ Wal-Mart."

That evening, while thinking how amazing this new technology was, Joe began wondering if the computer could be fooled.

He mixed some tap water, a stool sample from his dog, urine samples from his wife and daughter, and a sperm sample for good measure.

Joe hurries back to Wal-Mart, eager to check the results. He deposits ten dollars, pours in his concoction, and awaits the results.

The computer prints the following:

1. Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. (Aisle 9)
2. Your dog has ringworm. Bathe him with anti-fungal shampoo. (Aisle 7)
3. Your daughter has a cocaine habit. Get her into rehab.
4. Your wife is pregnant. Twins. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer.
5. If you don't stop playing with yourself, your elbow will never get better!

Thank you for shopping @ Wal-Mart. [via FT]


posted by Michael Tavani @ 6:02 PM | | links to this post

Mizuno running ads

I've profiled various creative print ads of major companies on this site before.

- "Lance Armstrong" by Nike
- European print ads
- "Think Different" by Apple
- "My card" by American Express

But, Mizuno Running (a much smaller company) produced this equally creative series of ads. The ads, profiling passionate runners in otherwise normal daily activities, got my attention. My favorite is below (pay close attention to subtle detail).


posted by Michael Tavani @ 3:31 PM | | links to this post

Trademarking the smiley face

The famous yellow smiley face that we all know represents more than just happiness and good times. It represents lawsuits. Just like the Wave, there are disputes as to who first designed and trademarked the symbol. And there are big money implications.

The smiley face was supposedly created by Harvey Wall in 1965 (with no credit to Forrest Gump). However, Wall didn't trademark it. A London-based company, SmileyWorld, owned by the Loufrani family trademarked the smiley face in France in 1971 and also own over 100 worldwide smiley trademarks. Total sales of products with a SmileyWorld license is roughly $100 million a year.

In the U.S., SmileyWorld began the effort to assert the company's trademark in 1997 which led to a showdown with Wal-Mart, who has reportedly been using the face since 1996. Smiley Face is Serious To Company - New York Times.

SmileyWorld intends to inject new vigor into the face, formerly associated with the 1970's and acid-rock music, by linking the smiley to high-end products sold in exclusive smiley shops in Paris, Los Angeles and New York within the next couple years.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:09 PM | | links to this post

The funniest knife block of all time and a beer throwin' fridge

Get a traditional knife block and no one's paying attention. Get "The Ex" knife block, and your guests will be loving your humor (except for your ex). It doesn't just look cool, the knives are well-made and magnetically held in place. You can get one for $59.99. [via ET]

While we're on th subject of cool stuff, check out the video of this beer throwin' refrigerator designed by a Duke grad. [via RW]


posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:45 AM | | links to this post

Sporting goods stats

Saw some interesting stats on sporting goods in an old edition of Men's Health magazine.

* Percentage of men who always have sporting goods in their cars: 72

* Dream setup the average guy would have in his fantasy mansion:
1) a fully equipped gym
2) an indoor basketball court
3) a batting cage

* amount of money spent on athletic shoes every year: $7.8 billion

* number of guys who recall which player's name was on the first baseball glove they owned: 1 in 2

* number of men who actually own a pair of cleats: 2 in 3

* sports apparel the average guy finds sexiest on a woman:
1) sports bra
2) running shorts


posted by Michael Tavani @ 1:10 PM | | links to this post

Nike basketball's System of Dress

I'm all about almost everything Nike (examples here, here, here, here, here, here). They have the freshest apparel and are flat-out the best at creating a buzz in the sports fashion world. And their ads are no doubt the finest in the biz.

However, Nike's new line of college basketball uniforms labeled "System of Dress" is not some of their best work. The site claims that basketball uniforms haven't changed much in the last 15 years since Michigan's Fab 5 first rocked baggy shorts, black shoes and no-show socks.

The new line was designed to include even baggier shorts with tight, form-fitting jerseys and skintight undershirts with designs matching the uni. Syracuse, Ohio State, Florida, and Arizona are the first to sport the unis with the rest of the "Nike schools" picking them up next season. I agree with Uni Watch that athletic apparel trends should be organic, not manufactured by a billion dollar company. Read this Uni Watch writeup on the subject.

I still love you Nike.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:45 AM | | links to this post

Entrepreneurial office spaces

Back in May, I posted about how young, creative start-up companies were doing away with traditional offices and setting up shop in coffee shops. It's a great idea. Many new age companies can thrive on a computer and some creativity. No need to blow $2,000/ month in rent on that. Plus, coffee shops usually offer a free internet connection and a solid atmosphere.

Now, there's a new trend in entrepreneurial workspaces - community office spaces. These co-working offices are popping up in a bunch of urban areas. They're unique work and office space for a wide variety of entrepreneurs, writers, and small businesses. (see Where the Coffee Shop Meets the Cubicle) Look at these photos.

Creative co-working offices
* 116 W. Houston - SoHo (NYC)
* ActivSpace - Seattle, Portland, Berkeley, San Fran
* Indoor Playground - Toronto
* Sunshine - TriBeCa, NoHo, Flat Iron (NYC)

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 7:38 PM | | links to this post

Busiest airports in the world

There's always debate as to what's the busiest airport in the world. This list will put an end to that. Although this is one list where it's not necessarily good to be #1.

10 Busiest Airports in the World - passengers per year

1) Hartsfield-Jackson — 84.8 million
2) Chicago O'Hare — 76.2 million
3) London Heathrow —- 67.5 million
4) Tokyo Haneda — 65.2 million
5) Los Angeles Int'l — 61 million
6) Dallas-Fort Worth Int'l — 60 million
7) Paris Charles d Gaulle — 56.8 million
8) Frankfurt Int'l — 52.8 million
9) Beijing Int'l — 48.5 million
10) Denver Int'l — 47.3 million

UE take // Although Orlando is #21 at 34.1 million passengers/year, it is the nicest, best kept, most pleasant big city airport I've been to.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 9:27 PM | | links to this post

New urbanism

Everyone out there looking to become an urbanite (hopefully everyone reading this), here's a good site. New Urbanism is a website promoting good urbanism, smart transportation, transit oriented development, and sustainability.

I especially like their benefits to urban living, including (among tons of others):

Higher quality of life; Better places to live, work, & play; Higher, more stable property values; Less traffic congestion & less driving; Healthier lifestyle with more walking, and less stress; Close proximity to main street retail & services; Close proximity to bike trails, parks, and nature; Pedestrian friendly communities offer more opportunities to get to know others in the neighborhood and town, resulting in meaningful relationships with more people, and a friendlier town; More freedom and independence to children, elderly, and the poor in being able to get to jobs, recreation, and services without the need for a car or someone to drive them; Great savings to residents and school boards in reduced busing costs from children being able to walk or bicycle to neighborhood schools; More diversity and smaller, unique shops and services with local owners who are involved in community; Big savings by driving less, and owning less cars; Less ugly, congested sprawl to deal with daily; Better sense of place and community identity with more unique architecture; More open space to enjoy that will remain open space; More efficient use of tax money with less spent on spread out utilities and roads

Also, check out the New Urbanism principles:

1) Walkability
2) Connectivity
3) Mixed-Use & Diversity
4) Mixed Housing
5) Quality architecture & Urban design
6) Traditional neighborhood structure
7) Increased density
8) Smart transportation
9) Sustainability
10) Quality of life


posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:03 PM | | links to this post

Badass watches

Check these things out. The Philip Stein Teslar watch is a high-end watch for men and women featuring dual analog faces that keep track of different times around the world. The Teslar technology emits unique signals and repels negative electronic energy directed towards people everyday from cell phones, blackberries, computers, PDAs, etc. Those who wear the quartz watch supposedly sleep better, experience less headaches and stress, have improvements in well-being, along with more energy, productivity and creativity.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 9:36 PM | | links to this post

Thought of the day

For about 3-4 years now, I've been receiving daily Thoughts of the Day emails from a lady named Carol in Washington state. You can sign up for her daily email here. She's a kind, older lady and sends the Thoughts from her personal email account and even lets you know when she can't send one due to vacation. Usually the quotes are pretty solid, including today's:
My future starts when I wake up every morning....
Every day I find something creative to do with my life

Miles Davis

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:46 PM | | links to this post

Top movies ever

Who doesn't like a good movie? Everyone has their preferences. Mine are comedies, documentaries and movies based on true stories. Here's my list (in no particular order):

- The Fugitive
- Caddyshack
- Old School
- Rocky I and IV
- Ocean's 11
- Rudy
- Through the Fire
- Life is Beautiful
- Hoosiers
- Terminator 2
- Honorable mention: Bowling for Columbine, Once in a Lifetime, Super Size Me

Also, here's two good lists: IMDb's Top 250 movies voted by users and 50 Best Guy Movies of All Time.

Props on the inspiration for this post go to loyal reader JB. His top movies are below.

1. Jaws
2. Shawshank Redemption
3. Oceans 11
4. National Lampoon's Vacation
5. Caddyshack
6. Hoosiers
7. Se7en
8. Escape from Alcatraz
9. A River Runs Through It
10. Suicide Kings

On the Bubble... National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Little Miss Sunshine,
What Lies Beneath

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 6:43 PM | | links to this post

How companies got their names

Company names are more important than you think. Pick a bad one and no one remembers it. I like short names or random, catchy names. Check out this interesting list of how companies were named.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:42 PM | | links to this post

Great startup quote

I saw this great quote on Particletree's 5 Reasons to Create Your First Startup post.

"The only way to train for a marathon is by running,
and the only way to train for a startup is by starting."

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:23 PM | | links to this post

Professional sports' first billionaire

This story is pretty amazing. Los Angeles Dodgers journeyman pitcher Matt White has only appeared in seven big league games in nine professional seasons, yet he could become baseball's first billionaire player.

It has nothing to do with his arm. He owns a rock quarry in western Massachusetts.

White paid $50,000 three years ago to buy 50 acres of land from an elderly aunt who needed the money to pay for a nursing home.

While clearing out a couple acres to build a home, he discovered stone ledges in the ground, prompting him to have the property surveyed.

A geologist estimated there were 24 million tons of the stone on his land. The stone is being sold for upward of $100 per ton, meaning there's well over $2 billion worth of material used for sidewalks, patios and the like.
" Read the full story.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:46 PM | | links to this post

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