Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What will we do without those tacky coffee mugs?

Drug companies will no longer ply physicians with emblazoned pens, clocks, tchotckes, etc. Whatever. They still hire Big 10 cheerleaders as drug reps and buy lunches for doctor's office staff that cost more than our current rent payments.

The coffee mug set from the makers of Actos, one each in the shape of a stomach, pancreas, and liver, kidney, etc (see the character line up here), was what inspired us to become doctors. Kidding.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Only Tangentially Related to Christmas

While waiting for the flight back from Christmas "vacation," we searched the ATL airport for a River Street Sweets store we are 98% certain used to be at Concourse B. Can anyone else corroborate that? And what happened to that franchise? Savannah is the best thing about Georgia, and these are the only souvenir worth bringing back--all the other knick-knack shops in that airport should get on the bandwagon.

Santa was Good to Us

All we really wanted for Christmas came without ribbons or tags, but we're missing her right now (girls' night out's not so fun for us), so might as well brag about the stuff Santa brought in packages, boxes, and bags, particularly the little digital camera with its hoodie carrying case that will really spruce this website up with honest-to-god graphics.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bad jokes

A friend at work is trying to pick a name for her baby. We suggest any answer to the question, What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs? Matt, Russell, etc. Curt & Rod, if twins.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Competition in the Porn Marketplace

Just the other day, NYTimes was reporting falling demand for prostitution, and now this: 20% of teens say they've posted nude pics/videos of themselves online. Maybe there is too much competition for the pros?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Auto Bailout, Suckers

Picture credit.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Better than the Nutcracker for Christmas

The Slutcracker! From the website:

The Slutcracker is an original, over-the-top, “adults only” parody of E.T.A. Hoffman's classic holiday story, The Nutcracker. The story follows Clara, a virginal 20-something whose boyfriend Fritz becomes jealous of a special “toy” she receives for Christmas from an eccentric relative. Guided by a cast of new and intriguing friends, Clara embarks on a fantastic journey into her own sexual awakening that will leave the audience titillated, inspired, and amused.

Sounds like a must-see, if you ask me.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

How an iPhone can make holiday shopping better

Every store on earth just became an Amazon.com outlet: You go shopping, you click photos with iPhone, Amazon's bots match what is in front of you to what they have in stock, and you can decide to purchase from Amazon.com or the store right there. Instant price check on aisle 9!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time to Talk Turkey

Slide from Engage with Grace.

Can you answer those questions? Does someone else name you in their answers? Maybe life and death is worth 2 minutes of both your time while everyone is gathered together this holiday season.

Once upon a time, death was a binary thing; a man walked to work alive, but then he fell off a building and he was dead. A woman bled to death in child birth. A grandfather clutched his chest, took his pulse, and collapsed, dead. Modern medical science took this simple dichotomy and added a hundred and one shades of gray between breathing, laughing, crying, working, sweating life and cold, stiff death.

A wise doctor is fond of saying that the biggest shortcoming of American medicine is the failure to discern the difference between could and should, so you are largely on your own. "We could try chemo," the doctor will say. "We could stent that artery." "We could put in a feeding tube and help you breathe with a tube and a machine when you need it." No one will say, "Should we?" unless you do, and no one will know how to answer for you unless you talk about it with them now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Delivering the Beast Healthcare Avalaible

Seen at a Boston hospital:

Full report here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doctor Blogging

Stories from the front lines of medicine. Funny as hell.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shout out to Blogger Hackers Hans and Ramani

For their Super Peek-A-Boo posts hack.

via Beautiful Beta.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Republican Party's Over

Election art from Zina Saunders.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Michael Crichton, MD

Not the first graduate of the Best Medical School to be better suited to some career other than being a doctor (and not likely the last, either), he did a decent job writing for ER back in the day. Mainly, though, we were surprised to hear he was ill, let alone dead.

Where is Will.i.am?

Rumor has it Will.i.am was planning a new release, "It's a New Day," to follow-up on his viral hit, "Yes We Can." So far, DipDive is disappointing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Be a Real American

Go vote.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Update on Wine Blogging

Our thirst for wine knowledge continues. Highly recommended: Dr. Vino's wine blog. Passes muster, but nothing exciting: The Pour (yet another NYTimes-branded blog). And we're looking at WineAccess--maybe even their monthly plan--for real-world experience with some new wines.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Daily Beast

The news-websites we watch on a daily basis are essentially HTML-ified newspapers with slide shows and videos tucked in and around the news copy. This site actually makes an effort to be multi-media and may have the chops to replace the e-newspaper in our daily browsing. May.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Matt Taibbi Rocks

The intensity of this anti-Palin rant is awe-inspiring. Easily the best rant we've read this election cycle. And then he goes and does one better by knocking Byron York off his feet and nearly off a cliff!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall in New England

A shout out to Autumn Hills Orchard, an IPM orchard near Boston full of crisp apples, the occasional turkey, and a farmer who quipped that if global warming keeps pace, he'll soon rip out the apples and raise papayas and mangoes instead.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For those of you in Massachusetts

Should we cut education, healthcare, and infrastructure funding by 40-60% across the commonwealth?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Restaurants Are Sexist

So says Frank Bruni over at the Times:

A man is more likely to care about being greeted rapturously and treated like an insider, according to the restaurateurs and servers I interviewed.

A woman is more likely to take offense if the restrooms are cramped, ugly and messy. She’s also more likely to appreciate color and playfulness in a restaurant’s design, while there’s more risk that a man will be cool to that.
We've noticed this, of course. We were not aware funding was available for crappy writing about an inane phenomenon, though.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Philadelphia Murals

from NYTimes.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Awesome Coffee

Over brunch at Church this weekend, we liberally imbibed the best coffee ever. We're told it is Kahve brand, although they didn't tell us which of these selections they brew.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Banned Books Week

Was this week. Read a banned book.

Tunes from Urban Outfitters

We always like the idea of free music. BUT, we're having trouble playing these in FireFox.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Karin Rosenthal, Photographer

Saw some of Karin Rosenthal's work on display in a doctor's office, of all places. Good stuff, though:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Palin Grants Exclusive Interview

Bummed that Sarah Palin won't talk to the media? Ask her a question yourself.

You know, earlier we joked that SNL's writers had it too easy with Palin. After seeing this, we realized something scarier: Sarah Palin fails the Turing test.

What's Tina Fey Worth?

A heckuva lotta hits on this blog! Seriously, ever since she started protraying Sarah Palin, the random pics of her posted over the years have generated hundreds-thousands of hits a day around here. Portfolio's got it dead-on: Sign this woman to a movie deal!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Beautiful photos of antique bikes, industrial equipment, and what-nots. Especially like this iron umbrella stand for no particular reason.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Statler and Waldorf on Politics

These curmudgeons were our first role models.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Burn After Reading

This movie is comic genius. Also, Brad Pitt gets shot in the face.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Apple + Nike DRM

We're suckers for the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field. We have no problem going into hock for a new iMac and we're drooling for one of those new candybar iPod nanos. But we draw the line at this: Nike+iPod Sport Kit will be electronically tied to Nike-branded clothes. To explain, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit is a kind of pedometer for your iPod that uses a little chip you can drop into a pair of shoes--Nike of course makes shoes with a hiding place for the chip. Sounds fine, since your iPod is with you anyway when you work out/go for a run, but now Apple plans to link your iPod to your Nike shoes to an RFID in your Nike pants or jacket, ostensibly so that no one can steal your iPod or Sport Kit. But also so that you can only run in Nike brand pants. Wtf?

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Wired blog about the process of writing a story about Charlie Kaufmann.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Best Place to Get Crabs

Not that kind, dirty minds. This is the best little seafood place on the East coast, possibly the world.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blood from a Petri Dish

This is hot. Transfusions are risky propositions, and synthetic blood just isn't working for anyone. So maybe stem cells can grow us enough blood to transfuse a pint of lab-produced, clean, safe blood when we need it. Now we can all bleed a little easier.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ice Snobbery? wtf?

For the record: If we invite you over for a drink and you bring your own ice, you'll have to wait till it melts if you want to drink anything.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What is YOUR favorite flavor?

Of ice cream?

Shout out to Chez Nous

One of our favorite things about traveling is finding great food. This weekend, a little place in the Berkshires blew our socks off: Chez Nous Bistro in Lee, MA. Aside from the over-use of what we imagine were locally grow organic red potatoes, this was some of the best food we've ever eaten. And the white sangria to wash it down was perfect for a summer evening on the porch.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Obama Calls a Spade a Spade

Play-by-play of Obama's Berea, OH, townhall meeting, is at Daily Kos, including my favorite line of the campaign so far:

I don't know how they could be making fun of something that experts agree is a good idea. I mean it's like these guys take pride in ignorance! It's like they like being ignorant.

Update: "I'm John McCain, and I approve my ignorance."

Let's Say I Don't Have Enough Money to Buy Something. Should I Buy It Anyway?

IOUSA: The Movie.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tag/Label Cloud

from phydeaux3.

Photoblog Update

Boston.com's Big Picture (not to be confused with the financial blog of the same name) has some spectacular photos, not just the previously mentioned Large Hadron Collider. See also Notions' Oceans new sidebar.

Large Hadron Collider Set To Create a Black Hole

Right here on Earth. Well, not right here, but in Europe. The USA doesn't do bleeding-edge science like this anymore. The machinery looks friggin' awesome, too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Q: New Cuil the Next Google?

A: No.

We Cuiled Notions' Oceans and got diddly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cool Online Games

Pandemic lets you build a virus that will destroy the world. More at CrazyMonkeyGames.com.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's gonna take more than that

NBC is primping Jimmy Fallon to replace Conan O'Brien by giving him a series of webisodes to try out his chops. Memo to NBC: It will take more than a webiseries to make Jimmy Fallon funny.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Most Wanted Paintings

The Dia Center for Art did surveys of people in 18 countries, and based on their tastes, compiled universally likable and universally unlikable paintings for each country. Both extremes look pretty bland.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I don't know if it's art, but I like it

Hot stuff from Meera Thompson, BU alumna:

*Actually, we do know. We just love the way Jack Nicholson delivered the line in Batman.

BU Successfully Recruits World's Most Pre-Eminent Profiteer to Faculty

From the BU Daily Free Press: Lawyer who defended Sudan investments to take teaching job

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wal-Mart Infection

Sadly, there is no War of the Worlds-type ending. The invader just destroys us.

Jhumpa Lahiri Watch

Interview in Bostonia, the BU Alumni mag.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dr Michael E DeBakey, heart surgeon and ambassador to the world, dead at 99

Dr Debakey, the surgeon who invented a technique to repair a ruptured thoracic aorta with Dacron, as well as performing the first carotid endarterectomy, the first coronary artery bypass graft (there is some debate about that one), the first heart transplant, and designing the first artificial heart--the man was the heart surgeon of heart surgeons to the point that you can't diagnose an aortic aneurysm without describing its DeBakey classification or operate on the heart or aorta without asking for a DeBakey clamp--died Friday night at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. The number of lives this man touched is truly, simply humbling: he operated on 60,000 patients himself, and every heart surgeon in the world trained with him or with someone he trained, a family tree of surgical training.

Last spring, Esquire interviewed him for a "What I've Learned" column. His wisdom, in his own words, is the most eloquent obituary.


Feed it a band you like, it plays similar music, for free. Based on the Music Genome Project.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hot Canadian Photo Blog

J R Photoblog, Montreal.

If you like, check out Cool Photoblogs, where voting for the 2008 awards is underway. We'd also like to plug Kathleen Connally's photoblog, A Walk Through Durham Township, again.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How do you expect to die?

Geriatrician Joanne Lynn to an assembly of health policy makers:

“How many of you expect to die?” she asked. The audience fell silent, laughed nervously and only then, looking one to the other, slowly raised their hands. “Would you prefer to be old when it happens?” she then asked. This time the response was swift and sure, given the alternative. Then Dr. Lynn, who describes herself as an “old person in training,” offered three options to the room. Who would choose cancer as the way to go? Just a few. Chronic heart failure, or emphysema? A few more. “So all the rest of you are up for frailty and dementia?” Dr. Lynn asked.
The answer of most Americans, by default, is of course Yes, I'll take the slow decline and a feeding tube with as little dignity as possible, please. Disturbing, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

MacBook Air is Best Notebook Out There.

Computerworld agrees, just in case you were wondering. 

Christopher Hitchens gets a taste of his own medicine.

And it don't taste too good. Believe Me, It’s Torture:

What more can be added to the debate over U.S. interrogation methods, and whether waterboarding is torture? Try firsthand experience.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Shell

Every Wednesday night this summer, starting July 9. 

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No Women Allowed Among Arizona's Elite

Or, John McCain and the Phoenix Country Club. A nice little analogy to George Bush and Bob Jones University. 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

NYTimes Headline: Justices Rule for Individual Gun Rights.

Our Question: If everyone has the right to carry a gun and shoot someone with it for self-defense in the home or otherwise, how is it a crime to shoot someone?

Follow-up Question: How can we put someone to death for exercising said right?


EverNote--scrapbook/notebook/external brain. Like OneNote, but available over the web, on your desktop, and on your iPhone (as soon as we get one, that is).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Firefox 3 Available, Too!

Probably matters more than the game--esp. since the game didn't load up on our machine--but Firefox 3 is up and running. If you still use IE, STOP!

Spore demo available

This new game looks really cool--you play as a creature that evolves out of a single-celled thing in a primordial puddle and, if you play well, end up ruling the universe.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dumbest Money-Saving Tip Ever

Put your credit card in a block of ice. Anybody out there who does this is an idiot.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Not entirely sure how to describe this. Nor are we sure what to do with it. But it is worth seeing, because, well, what else should you do with the Internet? via Fimoculous.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert, RIP

Blogging the untimely death of the last American journalist worth watching on network TV at NYTimes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Antique Science Books at Auction

Slide show of the hot stuff from NYTimes.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Phone Sex Operators

from The Morning News. The vegan fetish story on page 6 is hella funny.

Font Fetish

For people with way too much time on your hands: FontStruct.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ana Marie Cox on Hillary Clinton

Divided She Fell:

Hillary Clinton’s 1998 invocation of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” put her squarely among those Richard Hofstadter classified as practitioners of the “paranoid style of American politics,” those for whom “what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.”

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Why Obama is Cool

Small-town reporter takes a young lady to an Obama press rally, where Obama makes innocent fun of the guy's babyface. Young lady laughs at the joke, which Small-town thinks is why she left him (the babyface might have something to do with it, or maybe she wisened up about the world, but if that is what he wants to tell himself, fine). Small-town demands apology. MoJo has mp3 of the Obama's on-radio phone call: "I'm sorry for messing up your game."*

*If you can't tell, we have doubts that reporters in McDonough, GA, hitting on "sweet young" newspaper interns have game.

On Drinking.

An alcoholic, as we understand the term, is a person who drinks more than their doctor.

Kingsley Amis has some less medical thoughts on the benefits of alcohol, pointing out that wherever there is spoken language, there is drink.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Musopen: Public Domain Classics

Musopen is both a library of classical sheet music and user-supported recordings/performances of classics. If there is something you want them to add, contribute a couple bucks to the cause and, when site users have raised the dough, they'll hire someone to record it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ars Technica Bought by Conde Nast

Score one for the Ars guys--or 25 million! Hot damn.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Optical Illusions

Illusion Sciences: optical illusions based on research in visual perception.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things Younger Than John McCain

Everything from LSD to chocolate chip cookies, it turns out. The artist's rendition at Defibrillator is especially funny.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Apple's Seventh Inning Stretch

Apple's new Boston store is rounding the bases, looking for a grand opening on May 16. Seems like that would be a party worth crashing, so if you know anybody... According to the web rumors, it will be the largest Apple store yet. More pics at Gizmodo.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Last Word on Microsoft v. Yahoo!

So Ballmer and friends did a poor job of wooing Yang and friends. Both should probably be fired for failing to serve their shareholders and looking like idiots while wasting money. But they won't be.

Ritholtz mocks the whole thing:

Why doesn't the Fed kick in the additional $8 billion or so to make this happen? I mean, isn't that the role of the central bank?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Enchantress of Florence

Salman Rushdie is the greatest writer of our time. This statement was easier to defend after his masterpiece, Midnight’s Children, was made a Booker among Bookers, and before the steaming pile of shit, Shalimar the Clown, made the rounds (at least the title sounded good, even if reading the thing felt like getting a wedgie), but it is true, all the same, whether you like him or not. And let’s be clear: he is the world’s most unlikable man. Four women have divorced him, the ayatollah wants him dead, and no one who has ever invited him to a dinner party has asked him back. But none of that has anything to do with writing, because you don’t read a book out of awe and respect for the author’s life-long marriage. You read to read, and Rushdie writes to write.

This time, Rushdie’s mix of magical and real involves a mind meld between the Mughals of Hindoostan and the Machiavellis and Medicis of medieval Italy. Yes, this puts the work in the category of historical fiction, and it includes a bibliography that reveals, I suspect, his new alliance with Emory, where more than a few English grad students are clamoring for an opportunity to map the line between Rushdie’s magic and the real. But ignore that. There’s a story to tell.

A young man lost in the world, with great talents and charms, not all of them legal, seeks to tell the fairy tale of his origins to the Mughal Emperor. He is descended, it would seem, from an offshoot of the line of Amerigo Vespucci untouched by the famous cousin’s wanderlust, for whom Niccolo Machiavelli, a failed Florentine politician, was a matchmaker when their friend, Arcalia, or Argalia, a great warrior who carried enchanted weapons and in whose retinue four Swedish giants traveled, died defending his true love, an enchantingly beautiful woman from the Mughal Court.

Of course, a no-account wanderer cannot walk into the Mughal Emperor’s palace and announce himself, so there is a story to be told just to bring the man to The Man. Like Satanic Verses, which includes a brothel in the image of the prophet’s harem, this man’s journey, supposedly enchanted by his mother, needs a whore’s blessing to safely enter the throne room. His prostitute protectress is something else herself:

She was so thin that her name among the other whores was Skeleton, and those clients who could afford it often hired her together with her antithesis, the obese whore called Mattress, in order to enjoy the two extremes of what the female form had to offer, first the unyielding dominance of bone and then the flesh that engulfed. The Skeleton ate like a wolf, greedily and fast, and the more she ate the fatter Mattress became, until it was suspected that the two whores had made a pact with the Devil, and in Hell it would be Skeleton who was grotesquely overweight for all eternity while Mattress rattled bonily around with the nipples on her flat chest looking like little wooden plugs.
The imperial city, in those days, was swarming with “poets and artists, those preening egoists who claimed for themselves the power of language and image to conjure beautiful somethings from empty nothings, and yet neither poet nor painter, musician nor sculptor had come close to what the emperor, the Perfect Man, had achieved,” for you see, he had willed the woman of his dreams to life and she now walked the halls of his palace as his favorite queen. And so it was not altogether surprising that this emperor, an artist among artists, was rapt by the wayfaring stranger’s tale. Of course, the outsider who becomes an insider incites jealousy and even treason, described here in pre-school rhymes, among the courtiers and courtesans, and ultimately, for political reasons, of course, the emperor cannot believe the stranger’s tale.

No, we didn’t just give away the ending—there is more—but yes, the entire plot could be summed up in just a few grafs. In fact, the plot itself isn’t exactly a page turner. The real show is the language, the story telling, and that is what keeps you coming back. If we call it literary porn, you will understand that this is not an insult.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

World's Most Likeable Song

The Most Wanted Song--designed from a web survey so that 12% of people will instantly like it. Also a track that fewer than 200 people on earth are estimated to like. Thanks Samuel!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hi-Res Wallpapers/Desktop Pics

At InterfaceLIFT. Some very good photography there.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Slainte was (is?) a phenomenal Celtic band from the late 90s, whose heyday was on the original mp3.com, where they were essentially international best-sellers, with over a million downloads. Our college roommates are probably still annoyed we played them so much. Their 2 full albums, Slainte and Cup of Tea, are available for free download at archive.org.

To pronounce the Celtic toast "Slainte," say, "It's a lawn chair," and you'll be close. Ironically, this works better after a few pints.

Funniest Book Review Ever

On The Bush Boom, Alice writes:

Finally! A book that proves the existence of an alternate universe. Obviously, a rip in the space/time continuum between this universe and the other universe where Bush is presiding over a 'boom economy opened up and this book fell through. Can there be ANY other explanation?
Wow. Just wow. via Big Picture.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's the word?

The last event in Pope Benedict's itinerary for his US visit:

Sunday, April 20, 8 p.m.
Shepherd One lifts off from John F. Kennedy airport in the Brooklyn Diocese, heading east to the Eternal City.
Who talks like that?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Aggregator

Alltop.com. Mainly to find new blogs--news aggregators = info overload.

Be a Little Greener

We're highly skeptical of "green" products. Most have some hidden downside for the environment. (Slate covers this well in Green Lantern and Green Room.) Many do not have the quality we'd like--maybe their producers think the "green" cachet will compensate for poor performance. Nearly all cost more at the point of purchase, and although we'd love to rationalize spending more money up front by thinking it makes the world a little greener for our kids, the budget is tight now.

Seventh Generation gets props for dish soap that works and costs no more than petrochemical soap. The company web site offers coupons and proselytizes cheerfully. Be careful, though: their dish washer detergents, both gel and powder, are worthless. Pls leave recs for dish washer detergent and/or feedback on other Seventh Generation products in comments.

The Way Home from Iraq

Everyone should read this: The Things That Carried Him. And then read it again, 4035 times.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spectrum Arts Festival

Spectrum Arts. Brought to you by BU, of all people.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Wal*Mart Candidate

Wal*Mart makes a handshake contract with some guy to record video of corporate meetings. 20 years later, Wal*Mart director Hillary Clinton praises the company's efforts [to eradicate small businesses and run Mom and Pop out of town while turning most of middle America into a parking lot]. 30 years later, deal with the guy goes bad and corporate videos leak onto the web. Also, Hillary Clinton is running for president. Talk about your chickens coming home to roost.

Best Dustjacket Ever

Jordan Crane's four-layer creation for Michael Chabon's Maps and Legends. via BoingBoing.

Egalitarianism in the Early Days of the Web

was an artifact of the lack of organization on the Internet in the late 90s and early 00s. And it tricked webheads into thinking that the Internet was some kind of egalitarian utopia. Now that organization has come to the web, so has The Man. From the dustjacket of Access Denied:

The Web provides everybody with access to information. That makes those in power nervous. Transparency is the best defense against further narrowing of information access and the starting point for rolling back existing barriers. Access Denied provides the definitive analysis of government justifications for denying their own people access to some information and also documents global Internet filtering practices on a country-by-country basis. This is timely and important.

--Jonathan Aronson, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Easy File Conversion

Dorky, but it scratches what itches: Zamzar. What it does is this: You send it a file. It sends your file back in any format you want. Lets you turn that weird guy's Word Perfect into Word files, etc. Also does every audio and image format we've heard of. Way more flexible than Adobe's pdf to text service. via Cool Tools.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

W. on the Big Screen

Oliver Stone's biopic of W's life leaked the other day. Slate has highlights from the screenplay.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jhumpa Lahiri: Unaccustomed Earth

Jhumpa Lahiri is one hot writer. Her new collection of short stories--her stories have been consistently better than that novel was--went on sale last week.

PS: Brookline Booksmith: We missed her talk at The Coolidge because you did such a poor job advertising it and then, when we stop by your place this weekend, you have piles of her book but not one signed copy? We can think of two things you could do to turn around your failing little store right there.

We Want One, Too!

From Cult of Mac: a Mac Tablet.

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare 10p?

The new British coins, designed by a 26 year old by breaking up the image of the Royal Arms of England--very cool. Compare with the new $5 bill, which pushes the familiar greenback imagery aside to make room for a big purple 5--very dumb.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Why We De-regulated the Banks in the First Place

From Andrew Leonard's archives at How the World Works:

The next time we have a Black Monday... Congress can stand around and wring its hands and give speeches about how awful it is that these bankers violated the spirit of the law, but once again, the money will be gone, the bill will have come due, and taxpayers will again be required to cough it up.
--Stephen Pizzo, in 1995. Why, it is like he saw the future!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Apple's 32nd Anniversary

April Fools' is also Apple Day. We were Mac kids before it was cool, and as soon as we're grown up, it'll be an iMac on the desk and a MacBook on the road for us. Nice roundup of Apple's high points at Ars, and for those who remember pre-OS X Macs, here's a shout-out to Clarus the Dogcow. Moof!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Poop Monkey

George Clooney recommends:

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Negative Seigniorage"

According to The New Yorker, "Breaking stride to pick up a penny, if it takes more than 6.15 seconds, pays less than the federal minimum wage."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

For Easter

We went to Church. They do brunch now. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

National Magazine Awards

Links to the finalists in each category at HuffPo.

Remember Phonebooks?

Like the Yellow Pages (Let your fingers do the walking)? They say if you interleave the tissue thin pages of two phone books, you can't pull 'em apart again. These guys proved it, with a Ford Thunderbird and a Range Rover Defender. from Slate.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How the Fed is like FEMA

Off-the-cuff interview with Barry Ritholtz at Esquire.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Finest Political Speech of Our Lifetimes

Barack Obama: "It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins."

If this man fails to win the election, it is because this country is full of morons.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Google Sky. But why are there so many blocks with "no imagery available at this level of zoom?"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

How to Cook Varmints and Vermin

Gourmet Magazine recipes for roast beaver, creamed woodchuck, squirrel in cider, etc, from the 50s and 60s.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shameless Plug for an Art Store

Or, Get Rid of Your Posters. PaintingsDIRECT.com.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Happy Hour

Harpoon, right here in Boston, has free tastings. Go my children, go.

McCain Courts the Anti-Catholic Vote

McCain spent most of the week courting John Hagee and the rest of the week gloating of his endorsement. Greenwald at Salon has video of Hagee explaining how Hitler was the perfection of the Catholic apostasy. The Catholic League response here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Original Infinity Pool

Rock pools at the beaches in Sydney, Australia. Sounds like a dream vacation to us.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tina Fey Update

TF will host SNL this week to celebrate the end of the WGA strike. Awesome.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Vintage TV Station Signoffs

TV-signoffs.com. We're old enough to remember the Star Spangled Banner at TV station sign-on before early morning cartoons. from BoingBoing.

The History of Evil

via Slate V.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Remember When Lindsay Lohan Was Hot?

Homage to Marilyn Monroe in NY Mag. nsfw.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wine on the Web

Vinography (blog)

OpenBottles (log wines you've liked)

Boston Wine Buzz (blog)

In Vino Veritas (blog)

Any wine sites you like? Add links in the comments.

Rilly, Rilly Expensive Wine

1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc reviewed at Slate.com

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Handmade Bonbons

Made in a converted diner.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


So infectious, it's already been parodied on The Simpsons. We love the soundtrack, by Carly Comando. Just beautiful.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Singles Night at the Opera

Not exactly, but close--the way they scheduled it right before Valentine's makes it less a singles event this time. Soiree with the Boston Lyric Opera.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Yes We Can

www.dipdive.com. Like TS said to me, "Just watch it."

Imbibe Magazine

Or, for cheap-0s like us, Imbibe Unfiltered. Watch for us to mine their blogroll for a return of Friday Happy Hour.

Mark Bittman Blogs

The Gray Lady continues attempts to be cool: Bitten. (Soon NYTimes.com will be nothing more than a blog aggregator. Hmmm...)

Monday, February 04, 2008

US (Junk) Bonds

In a follow-up to an earlier post about Bush's fiscal policy, the WSJ (in one of their rare free articles) projects that the Bush legacy may be exactly what you'd expect from the first MBA-in-chief: Moody's may soon downgrade US bond status from triple-A to whatever junk bonds are called.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ludwig von Mises on Bush's Fiscal Policy

Rumor has it Bush crudely ordered Bernanke to lower interest rates ("Some people call it cussin'. In Texas, we call it talkin'.") last week.

About a hundred years ago, Ludwig von Mises anticipated this:

No emergency can justify a return to inflation. Inflation can provide neither the weapons a nation needs to defend its independence nor the capital goods required for any project. It does not cure unsatisfactory conditions. It merely helps the rulers whose policies brought about the catastrophe to exculpate themselves.
From The Big Picture.

Physicians and the Death Penalty

Physician-ethicists discuss the death penalty, especially physicians' possible role in killing inmates in light of arguments before the Supreme Court in Baze v. Rees. (New England Journal of Medicine.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saddest Little Video Game Ever

Passage. Be warned: It is heavy on the sentimentality.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Were Once A Great Nation

Back in '04, when Shrub was maintaining that only a few insurgents were preventing our armies from establishing a beacon of democracy in Iraq, we wanted nothing more than to hear John Kerry say to him, "Mr President, in 2000, America's armies were the most powerful in the world. After four years of your leadership, her armies are now obstructed by 'only a few insurgents.' Can America have her army back now, or is there more waste and ruin to come?" Kerry didn't speak, but the voters did: They wanted more isolationism, more protectionism, and more fear-mongering. So that's what we got.

Parag Khanna has a forthcoming book, excerpted in this week's NYTimes Mag, which describes this state of affairs pretty well:

Twenty-first-century geopolitics will resemble nothing more than Orwell’s 1984, but instead of three world powers (Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia), we have three hemispheric pan-regions, longitudinal zones dominated by America, Europe and China.
(If you want the Bush legacy in a nutshell, that's it.) On an optimistic day, Caroline Kennedy could have convinced us a young, charismatic Obama could do something about this, but more likely, we'll just end up throwing him on the flames of our Pyrrhic fire.

On an admistrative/meta-blogging note, we're also trying to branch out from getting all our education from the NYTimes Mag. Informed Reader at WSJ is becoming a key supplement.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

QotD: Hey, It Worked for Hoover, So It Will Work for Me!

Keith Olbermann took Bush to task for the current recession but did the usual pundits one better by suggesting some real ways to restore economic prosperity.

In the same segment, Rachel Maddow praises John Edwards:

…Not only was he the first on talking about the stimulus package, as you mentioned, but he’s also been the populist guy on economics. He’s the guy whose been most willing from the very beginning to actually identify bad guys in the economy. To say, let’s be patriotic about something other than war, let’s be moralistic about something other than sex, let’s talk about corporate irresponsibility and corporations that don’t serve the people who work for them, or the consumers. Let’s actually identify un-American bad behavior in the economy and, that kind of, I think, real forceful approach to the issue, is going to place him in good stead right now.

The State of the Union, According to Colby Buzzell

From the February 2008 edition of Esquire, not yet online:

[In California], I met a Jesuit priest who works as a chaplain at San Quentin. We were standing outside the prison. It was painted beige. Birds were chirping, you could hear the water, it was all very peaceful. We talked a bit about what he does--he basically goes around and if the inmates want to talk to him, cool, if not, that's cool too. But he also told me that inside the prison there are about fifty or so houses where the guards and staff can live. "You saw those schoolchildren?" he asked. "They were going home inside. The school bus drops them off at school outside, but their moms and dads and families live on the grounds. It's a great deal.... They're safe, secure, it's Marin County, for six hundred bucks a month. That's a good deal. Mom and Dad walk to work, not bad."

No, not bad at all. But I got to thinking that it was kind of sad that for most Americans, the only way they could afford to live in Marin County was behind the fence at San Quentin. I wondered if I was looking too deep, so I asked him what he thought of this.

"Enclaves," he said. Then he pointed out to me an an old brick house that's directly across the street and told me that it's the same vintage as the prison, 1855 or so. "So we've come from that"--the old brick building with an inviting porch outside of it so that people could socialize--and then he pointed over to the condos, which to me looked very similar to the prison, rooms like boxes, stacked one right on top of the other, but with perhaps a good Internet connection--"to that."
Note to Mr Buzzell: That is the worst writing we've quoted on this site. The sentiment gets you one free pass only.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Best Review from Sundance '08

Andrew O'Hehir, blogging for Beyond the Multiplex at Salon, reports on Trouble the Water:

I shouldn't spoil this movie for you, because I simply can't believe it won't come out of Sundance with a head of steam and a distribution deal in place. Let's just say that Kim Roberts' raw footage from the Ninth Ward captures a tale of thrilling human drama, terrible tragedy and unbelievable heroism among some of merica's most stigmatized and downtrodden people -- and that Kim and Scott's post-Katrina story, as captured by Tessin and Deal, is even more amazing than that. No human being I can imagine could watch "Trouble the Water" and not be overwhelmed by grief and joy, and humbled by one's sudden awareness of one's own prejudices about the lives, passions and dreams of poor people. George W. Bush would weep buckets at this movie. (Maybe Dick Cheney wouldn't, but notice that I limited my target audience to human beings.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Hebrew Hippocrates

So we were taking care of a man who happens to be a patient of one of the few original House doctors. The man has a heart condition for which he needs blood thinners, lest he eventually suffer a stroke. He just went to surgery, which usually means bleeding, at least until everything heals. We duly weighed the pros and cons of stopping the blood thinners, temporarily; some said the risk of bleeding after surgery was greater than the risk of stroke in the perioperative period.

The House Doctor, in reply to these concerns about the dangers of blood thinners, pulled out an index card from his pocket, where it was written (in Hebrew, which he had to then translate for us Gentiles), "The art is long but life short; the crisis fleeting, the experience perilous, and the decision difficult." And so we have to thin the guy's blood, q.e.d., even if that means he bleeds to death.

That was yesterday. Today, CODE BLUE sounds out from the man's room, where blood is literally erupting from the surgical wound like a volcano.

This Hebrew Hippocrates will one day retire, a terrible shame for posterity and a tremendous blessing for patient safety.

Ed.: The man did pull through, but I think that takes away from the story, don't you?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pushing Daisies

Or, We Love Anna Friel.

We had only begun to warm up to this cutesy new show last fall when the Writer's Guild strike set in, and Anna Friel's perky character (or maybe just her pretty face) Chuck is what we miss most about new TV production. May all writers rot in hell for taking her off the air.

Also, we figure adding pics of more attractive women will get us even more hits from Google Image Search.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


LibraryThing is a place where you can catalog your books (a preview of ours lives in the right-hand margin), compare your library to other readers' libraries, display them on a virtual shelf, and generally take your bookishness to a new dimension. Recently, they have come into a small supply of advance copies from a handful of publishers to share with members, and so we snagged a copy of Hillary Jordan's debut, Mudbound.

Jordan's novel does evoke To Kill A Mockingbird in its themes of racism and intolerance, both of which are portrayed with an uncomfortable honesty; there isn't a single white character who doesn't speak differently about blacks when there are no blacks around to hear. The sexism is similarly evident; would-be farmer Henry feels as if he owns his wife, Laura, while he has a healthier (and more impassioned) give-and-take relationship with his land than he does with her.

The story, which centers on the collision of Laura, a nice city girl forced by a number of circumstances to start a family on a mud-bound farm, with a black sharecropping family, is narrated in first person, but from every character's perspective in turn. Think Bram Stoker's Dracula, told in a series of journal excerpts. Jordan makes an attempt to capture the individual narrators' dialects with varying success; the effect was unfortunately distracting, especially early on, although the artistic appeal of this approach is obvious. The plot itself starts thin but builds to an intense and gruesome climax. With a tougher editor, Hillary Jordan will grow into a force to be reckoned with.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dennis Gartman's Rules of Trading

True of the Stock Market, also applicable to Dating.

1. Never, Ever, Ever, Under Any Circumstance, Add to a Losing Position... not ever, not never! Adding to losing positions is trading's carcinogen; it is trading's driving while intoxicated. It will lead to ruin. Count on it!

2. Trade Like a Wizened Mercenary Soldier: We must fight on the winning side, not on the side we may believe to be correct economically.

3. Mental Capital Trumps Real Capital: Capital comes in two types, mental and real, and the former is far more valuable than the latter. Holding losing positions costs measurable real capital, but it costs immeasurable mental capital.

4. This Is Not a Business of Buying Low and Selling High; it is, however, a business of buying high and selling higher. Strength tends to beget strength, and weakness, weakness.

5. In Bull Markets One Can Only Be Long or Neutral, and in bear markets, one can only be short or neutral. This may seem self-evident; few understand it however, and fewer still embrace it.

6. "Markets Can Remain Illogical Far Longer Than You or I Can Remain Solvent." These are Keynes' words, and illogic does often reign, despite what the academics would have us believe.

7. Buy Markets That Show the Greatest Strength; Sell Markets That Show the Greatest Weakness: Metaphorically, when bearish we need to throw rocks into the wettest paper sacks, for they break most easily. When bullish we need to sail the strongest winds, for they carry the farthest.

8. Think Like a Fundamentalist; Trade Like a Simple Technician: The fundamentals may drive a market and we need to understand them, but if the chart is not bullish, why be bullish? Be bullish when the technicals and fundamentals, as you understand them, run in tandem.

9. Trading Runs in Cycles, Some Good, Most Bad: Trade large and aggressively when trading well; trade small and ever smaller when trading poorly. In "good times," even errors turn to profits; in "bad times," the most well-researched trade will go awry. This is the nature of trading; accept it and move on.

10. Keep Your Technical Systems Simple: Complicated systems breed confusion; simplicity breeds elegance. The great traders we've known have the simplest methods of trading. There is a correlation here!

11. In Trading/Investing, An Understanding of Mass Psychology Is Often More Important Than an Understanding of Economics: Simply put, "When they are cryin', you should be buyin'! And when they are yellin', you should be sellin'!"

12. Bear Market Corrections Are More Violent and Far Swifter Than Bull Market Corrections: Why they are is still a mystery to us, but they are; we accept it as fact and we move on.

13. There Is Never Just One Cockroach: The lesson of bad news on most stocks is that more shall follow... usually hard upon and always with detrimental effect upon price, until such time as panic prevails and the weakest hands finally exit their positions.

14. Be Patient with Winning Trades; Be Enormously Impatient with Losing Trades: The older we get, the more small losses we take each year... and our profits grow accordingly.

15. Do More of That Which Is Working and Less of That Which Is Not: This works in life as well as trading. Do the things that have been proven of merit. Add to winning trades; cut back or eliminate losing ones. If there is a "secret" to trading (and of life), this is it.

16. All Rules Are Meant To Be Broken.... but only very, very infrequently. Genius comes in knowing how truly infrequently one can do so and still prosper.

from The Big Picture

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Secret to Healthy Eating

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Isn't it possible that NH likes Clinton?

Possible explanation of Clinton's surprise victory over Obama yesterday in NH: Obama leads the polls because people indicate a preference for a black candidate over a white one when talking to the pollster, so they can seem progressive. But when they cast a ballot, they use a different standard for choosing their candidate, and so someone else wins and the black candidate, leading in the polls, gets left at the altar.

Mickey Kaus is keeping tabs on as many theories to explain the Clinton-Obama overturn as you can find. They need catchier names.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Shout Out

The Instaputz review of Liberal Fascism has made it #4 on Google, but just as important, it has forced "author" Jonah Goldberg, on his blog at NRO, to print f**kwad. Hats off to you, TS!

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Paradigm shift. Web 2.0. Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. MBAs generally annoy us, but they do make money, and money isn't annoying when you have it. Josh Kaufman's Personal MBA, essentially an annotated reading list of management and business books, caught our eye if just to see a little of how MBA types think the game should be played. It reminded us that skimming all the way through technical writing is usually yields more than reading it linearly, so even if we only take that one idea away from it, it's already done something for us today. From Cool Tools.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Based on a True Story

Chekhov rushed home from a business trip to feed his cat. The cat, too hungry and impatient to wait for her self-sacrificing master to spoon the Fancy Feast into her dish, bites Chekhov on the hand.

Chekhov pets her. "Hungry, aren't you, girl?" he says, petting her before going to wash his wounded hand.

The bite doesn't heal and four days later, Chekhov is admitted to the hospital, where the surgeons amputate his thumb and fingers. Eight agonizing weeks of recovery later, he is finally able to grasp a cup with his claw-like thumb, and the doctors send him home. "You'll never play piano," they say, "but considering, it is a remarkable recovery."

Stepping back into the house, Chekhov finds the cat dead, having starved to death.

2007 Lists

At Fimoculous.