How to choose an alternative therapy

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This week, Andrew Ian Dodge names the Carnival of the Vanities for WERU radio in Blue Hill, Maine, an admirable little community station — I gave it a listen during the easternmost progress of World Tour ’05.

I really don’t have a 397-related item for the radio station, or for Blue Hill Mountain, from which it broadcasts, except to note that some of the earliest settlements in Maine were in place by 1613 (which is 397 years ago), and that this is the contemporary view of the mountain from one of them.

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O Webvan, where art thou?

Hard to argue with this:

[A]s soon as fresh-food delivery via internet order becomes a reality in my city, I will never set foot in a grocery store again.

I thought about this for a moment, wondered how easily I could give up my tendency to give every piece of fruit the Grasp Test before dropping it into my bag, and finally decided to throw the question open.

And you remember Webvan, don’t you?

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On being unobservant

For some reason, I have a reputation for effortless multitasking, which is wholly undeserved: there are occasions when I can barely focus on one task at a time. I do apparently possess mad time-management skillz, which presumably contributes to that particular illusion, but often as not I’m utterly oblivious of my surroundings.

Example: I had to run an errand to another office yesterday, and one of the denizens therein was seated in that classic gawky-twelve-year-old position: moderately slouchy, legs double-crossed. Not what I’d generally expect from someone pushing five times that age, but no big deal.

It wasn’t until a couple of minutes later that this information actually got processed. Not everyone, after all, is capable of the double-cross; that’s a pretty severe bending operation, requiring a substantial degree of svelteness, and — “Are you getting smaller?” I blurted out.

Indeed. Somewhere between then and the last time I was paying attention, she’d lost 67 pounds. “Twenty-five to go,” she said.

The Flummox Meter deflected to near full-scale; I’m trying to decide whether the major factor was embarrassment over having admitted to paying insufficient attention, or sadness at knowing the official beginning of shorts season is several months away.

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Stern accounting

Kurt Badenhausen at isn’t buying NBA Commissioner David Stern’s poor-us numbers:

You had buyers agree to pay record prices for two under-performing, dysfunctional franchises in the Wizards ($550 million) and Warriors ($450 million) over the past 6 months, but no one can make money owning an NBA team. Really? That is $1 billion for 2 teams that have lost 70% of their games the past two seasons. Really!

And furthermore:

NBA revenues last season topped $3.8 billion and player salaries are capped at 57% of revenues. Really? The 57% is based on basketball-related income which excludes 60% of arena signage and luxury suite revenues as well as 50% of naming rights revenue. So the NBA actually pays out around 54% of revenues to players. For the NBA to collectively lose money teams must spend more than $1.75 billion (or $59 million per team) on non-player costs. Really? Are trainers rubbing liquid gold on players?

Were I representing the Players’ Association, I’d be wanting to look at some books right about now.

(Via TrueHoop.)

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From the Department of Brain Freezes

Once again, a desirable outcome is thwarted by the laws of physics:

I had an idea for a carb-neutral ice cream. All you need is to freeze a pint of ice cream to -3706 F. The energy it will take your system to bring the ice cream up to a digestible temperature is roughly 1,000 calories, neatly burning away all those carbohydrates from the fat and sugar. The only snag is the Third Law of Thermodynamics, which says it’s impossible to go below -459 F. Bummer.

If I ever wanted to experience absolute zero in person, I suppose I could try to get myself booked on The View.

(Via Fark.)

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Dehorn concerto

One item in the press this week was the friendship between Chicago point guard Derrick Rose and Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook, about which Rose smiled and said: ”We’re friends off the court, but on the court, I’m trying to kill you.”

Rose and Westbrook were on pretty much even terms all night — both finished with 28 points — but the Bulls, who were on pretty much even terms with the Thunder through three quarters, were sent to the packing house, 106-95, to the delight of an opening-night crowd at the Unaffordable Center. And here’s the hard part: Rose put up 31 shots, including four treys, but was able to sink only twelve, none from beyond the arc. In the second half, the Thunder basically just suffocated him.

Part of the asphyxiation effort was the industrial-strength deployment of Serge Ibaka, who played 31 minutes, reeled in nine boards and blocked four shots. Jeff Green was good for 21 points; Kevin Durant, despite not shooting any better than Derrick Rose, rolled up 30. Bonus: Eric Maynor, who’d probably be the starting point guard on any of a dozen NBA teams, didn’t miss a shot all night and finished with 10.

Chicago was slightly hampered by the absence of Carlos “Who Put That There?” Boozer, but I have to wonder if even Boozer could have saved the Bulls during that ferocious fourth quarter.

Upcoming: Friday night, at the Palace to take on the Pistons, and then back home Sunday against Utah.

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Dr. Undatable

Anomaly — or is it? — discovered at online dating site:

About a month ago, I was browsing … and saw five girls who were pretty attractive yet the system said she had not been contacted in over a week. I’m thinking this is strange…

What did they all have in common? Looking through their profiles they were all attractive, they didn’t write anything weird, they didn’t have kids, they looked pretty normal … except here is what all five listed for ‘Education Level.’

  • Graduated from Medical/Dental School.
  • Graduated from Medical/Dental School.
  • Graduated from J.D. Program.
  • Graduated from PHD Program.
  • Graduated from PHD Program.

OMG, doctorates! Apparently this scares off the guys:

Most men instinctually realize that unless they are Doctors, or PHDs themselves it’s just a moronic decision to get into a relationship with these women. No matter how much she claims to love you now eventually the power will go to her head and she’ll become controlling.

It occurs to me that if she’s really the “controlling” type, it won’t matter whether he has a postgraduate education or not. But suppose there’s another factor at work here:

[A] woman’s high-status career is bringing nothing to the table that is of any use to a man. It’s not like he can think “well she’s making $X so I can slack off”. (Or, he can think that, but be beta.) So her career does not relieve him of any responsibilities. It doesn’t help him. All it does is take her attention and focus out of the home for extended periods of time. But his attention and focus has to be out of the home for extended periods of the time (because he’s a man — unless he wants to be thought of as not one).

Of course, I was beta when VHS was cool, and that was, like, last century, you know?

Early in this century, I came up with my own version of the story:

[W]hen there is a perceived socioeconomic gulf, the ability to communicate becomes even more critical; the lack of common experience means that more often than not they’ll be scratching around for conversational topics. According to the standard stereotype, men don’t really want to talk about things, and maybe there’s some truth to that, but the man who can’t talk, I suspect, is no real improvement over the man who won’t talk.

Different gap, same results.

The one advantage I have here is that I’m pushing sixty and therefore can declare myself too old for this sort of thing without (much) fear of contradiction. Am I intimidated by super-bright women? Probably. But it’s because they’re women, not because they’re super-bright.

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Edifice wrecks

A teacher explains why she’s not voting for her district’s bond issue this fall:

I have lived in this district for over twenty years. And in that time, I have seen four bond issues passed that promised all of these things before. What almost always happens is that the big-ticket items come first in priority, they go massively over-budget, and then the little things get swept under the rug. After all, what the public will be looking for is the Natatorium and the Stadium-o-dreams. Most people who actually go into a school don’t always notice the holes in the wall along the thirty-year-old vinyl floorboards which are exactly the color of baby poop. Or the mismatched tiles on the floor which enterprising teachers have covered over with twenty-year-old rickety furniture through which twenty years of butts have rotated.

It gets worse.

And no, she’s not in one of those districts, either:

We are a nice, diverse, middle class, suburban part of town. But this school district is run based on abstract expressionism when it comes to appearances: from a distance, it looks hazy and beautiful, but get up close and it’s a blotchy mess. And the supervisors of this district from the superintendent on down like it that way. As long as we have that new swimming pool and flashy stadium, people will assume that this is a well-run, affluent place.

The public isn’t quite as easily gulled as it used to be, I suspect. Bond issues this year in several districts in Oklahoma have been voted down, perhaps because of questions like this: “Are we building an educational facility or are we building a sports center with a school attached?”

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One word too many?

The new slogan at Chevrolet is “Chevy Runs Deep.” I’m betting there are some disgruntled owners, or former owners, who’d dispute even “Chevy Runs.”

Me, I’m just surprised they’re saying “Chevy” at all.

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On not being one of Them

I have watched absolutely no political ads this fall. In fact, I haven’t turned on the TV at all in the better part of a week, and when I did, it was to get the weather. So there’s no way I would have noticed this:

I’ve seen numerous ads on TV, and I’ve noticed a distinct lack of something: mention of party affiliation.

In Oklahoma, I can understand the reluctance of any candidate to label himself or herself a Democrat. Everybody’s a conservative at election time. Rachel Maddow would call herself a conservative if she were running for office in Oklahoma. But what of Republicans? Why are they resolved to not mention a party affiliation in TV ads?

Democrats still outnumber Republicans in this state; affiliation with the GOP is not necessarily a selling point. But I suspect the truth is closer to this:

The fact of the matter is, people have lost faith in both parties. And the candidates of both parties are announcing that fact — quite loudly — in their TV ads.

We keep hearing from various pundits that one party or the other is on the brink of extinction. One can only hope.

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Gummier than thou

To the seventh power, in fact:

(Via the Consumerist.)

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No, really, he’s not

We’ve all heard the phrase “He’s just not into you.” (For that matter, I get about 15-20 hits a week with some variation of same from Googlers and Bingers and such.)

Up to now, I had assumed this description was purely metaphorical.

[Expect some grumbling from your workplace filters.]

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Retrench mouth

No, you can’t have a Skydance Bridge. Not yours:

The Skydance Bridge, designed by Butzer SXL, was supposed to cost $3.3 million, which was great because the total amount the city was able to spend was $6.8 million. Then it went up to $5.22 million, eh … that’s okay, but hope the city didn’t count on the savings it looked like there might be on the project. And then the cost ballooned to $12.8 million and that is the most recent cost estimate.

There are, we are told, reasons for the cost overrun, apart from the fact that it was going to be downtown and everything seems to cost a whole lot more downtown. (Think “Crosstown Expressway,” which is now starting to look like, or at least cost like, Boston’s Big Dig.) What is going to bother most of us, though, is that this design is apparently dead in the water:

Proposal for Skydance Bridge

And it didn’t have to be.

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Conceal of approval

We’ve all seen models in almost exactly this pose; it’s popular, I suspect, because it’s a simple matter to create the illusion that said model is wearing nothing but a facial expression. (Think Jennifer Aniston in this bottled-water ad, only more so.)

So I had to snag this shot, in which it’s perfectly obvious that the model is (somewhat) dressed, nicely subverting that particular photographic convention.

Paola Oliveira

The demure young lady here is Brazilian actress Paola Oliveira.

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A voice made for magazines

Just the same, I’ll be grilled by Patrick of The Lost Ogle on their radio show on The Spy this weekend. I’m guessing that Non-Cardboard Jim Traber turned them down flat.

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