Thursday, April 29, 2010


So I went in for my less than annual check up a few weeks ago and submitted to the indignity of the physical - including needle puncture, blood-letting, and the culminating abasement of having my man-parts man-handled while a twiggy Indian resident 'observed' in a state of mild chagrin. Despite the preteenish demeanor of his young accomplice, the excellent Dr. Dhond was all business and handled the man-handling professionally. I'm always impressed with the brusqueness of the doctors who have to perform this service to society.

The probing completed, I waited the interim days while the mysteries of the blood work were performed and wondered with increasing paranoia what unforeseen illness lurked in my veins. In past iterations of this routine, it's come up that I have off-the-charts cholesterol levels for my age, as well as peculiarly high counts of a liver enzyme called bilirubin. The cholesterol at least proved a red herring caused by my failing to fast by dint of a cream-cheese bagel in the run-up to my blood sampling. The bilirubin bit is a genetic gift from my lineage called 'Gilbert's (jheel-BAYR) Snydrome' which is largely asymptomatic, save for the occasional bout of jaundice. So if I ever seem a little yellow that's probably why.

This time around it turns out I've come down with a case of vitamin D deficiency thanks mostly to a dogmatic adherence to the ritual of sunscreen, which blocks the carcinogenic Ultraviolet B rays from the sun that are needed for synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Sunscreen usage is so pervasive, according to Dr. Dhond, that almost 50% of adults are borderline/outright vitamin D deficient. The collective plight is not helped by the fact that nobody over the age of 12 drinks much milk.

So, what's my risk? I'm too old for rickets, but not too young to start worrying about osteoporosis or the detrimental, yet poorly understood, effects that vitamin D deficiency may have on my immune system. Not leaving a thing to chance, I suggested that I just start getting sunburns again but this didn't amuse Dr. Dhond. 
He says I need supplementary vitamin D in pill form or before long I'll be as brittle as a gingerbread man.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's Ticketmaster's World...

So I'm lucky enough to be heading off for the second weekend of the justifiably famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, and am struggling with the unjust dilemma of ticket sales here in Ticketmaster's world (and we all just live in it).

Pre-paid ticket sales are $45 on the Jazz Fest website but go up to $60 if you're buying day-of at the gate. So the obvs move here is to pre-pay, right?

But then witness the Ticketmaster peripheral sales funnel of ultimate aggravation in action:

Exhibit A

Okay, so even though it's a weekend long festival, if I'd like to go to more than one day I have to buy individual tickets for each day. That's not very convenient.

Exhibit B

Oh, now I get it. You want to sell me individual tickets so you can double (or triple) me up on the infamous Ticketmaster service fees, which at over 18% are in the polite range of what you'd tip a waiter at a fancy restaurant.

I'm still saving $6.85 per day off the box office price. That's cents that makes sense. But wait...

Exhibit C

It's easy to look at this and say, quit complaining and go Will Call (and I probably will). But there are times when this matters. Witness Outside Lands Festival 2008 when the Will Call line was like an hour long and yours truly missed the Black Keys, Beck and a good chunk of Radiohead as a result. And then what is Ticketmaster really charging me for? The privilege of self-service? $2.50 to print it out my damn self?

I understand a company's got to make a buck, but there's also a difference between good profit, earned for delivering value, and bad profit, earned by pressing your position of power. Somehow Ticketmaster has all the tickets and to me this is no bueno.

Monday, April 26, 2010

41 Coors Lights

Draft Day Memories with Lawrence Taylor:

It looks like he's still feeling the effects of those Silver Bullets, the legendary amounts of sideline cocaine, or the collective cranial impact of thousands of tackles in the NFL. Whatever it is, there's something not right behind those eyes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Fix Healthcare: Robot Doctors

The new Star Wars films are pretty ridiculously bad movies, but they continue an important vein of thought from the original films that is especially relevant considering the direction we're headed as a socialized country: robot doctors.

In the screen capture above, a floating robot doctor explains to Obi Wan Kenobi that Princess Amidala is medically healthy but dying of a broken heart. It's a dramatic moment. You may remember from The Empire Strikes Back the closing scenes where a less-advanced bi-pedal robot doctor fixes Luke Skywalker up with a spiffy bionic hand.

The point remains the same: robot doctors.

Now, when I see those Coke Zero ads asking scientists where's all the futuristic shit they promised us back in the '50s, like flying cars, time machines and clones, I think, why not add robot doctors to that list? Sure the R&D expenditures would be heavy up front, but once the design is perfected it would be all profitable gravy on the back end. I bet when you compared it with the collective numbers it takes to get everyone through med school it starts looking a little better. Robot doctors don't need living expenses and wouldn't bitch and get tired during ridiculous residency hours, plus they're really good listeners.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Phillies' Worst Fan

Presenting the Phillies' worst fan, Matthew Clemmens of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Sadly proving that Philly's grimiest grit comes from across the Delaware. If you see this man-child at Citizen's Bank Park, run, don't walk, in the opposite direction, else you could end up like Easton Police Captain Michael Vangelo and his little daughter, upon whom he forcibly vomited at Wednesday night's baseball game.


And everybody knows it too:
These are the encapsulated 'Story Highlights' from Sports Illustrated's coverage of the incident, meant to highlight the most important details in 75 words or less.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dicks of a Feather

You know this had to be out there somewhere. Thanks to SI for digging it up. Tiger Woods and Ben Roethlisberger during happier times at 'Tiger Jam 2009' (which takes on a wildly different connotation given recent events) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Both beaming at the thought of all the chicks they'll sleaze after the press conference is over.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hey Big Ben, Where's the Beef?

The chips are starting to fall for the NFL's pre-eminent jackass, Ben Roethlisberger, who certainly seems capable of the churlish crimes he's been alleged of committing. Watching this guy win multiple Super Bowls has been a little aggravating, even as a fan with no particular beef against the Steelers (though I have some remnant Northwest sympathies for the Seahawks, who got jobbed in '06, jobbed I tell you!), because Ben Roethlisberger seems like such a stereotypical jock dickhead. And nobody really wants to see those guys win.

So, while hating to admit I'm prone to such pettiness, it's been awesome watching this clownshoes get shredded in the media after his rape case got dropped. (Watching the DA in Georgia make that announcement on ESPN, I could feel his pain that the evidence didn't make enough of a case. We all wanted it for you buddy!)

But Ben's still getting his comeuppance.

What a perfect storm of embarrassment. Starting with the timing of the textbook douchebag haircut to the public upbraiding by NFL founding father Terry Bradshaw and moving right down to the loss of his one major sponshorship deal - PLB, a Pittsburgh food product marketing company , and former geniuses behind 'Big Ben's Beef Jerky', the coincidence of abandonment has confirmed what I've suspected for some time - nobody but Ben Roethlisberger takes Ben Roethlisberger seriously. Good luck with the civil suit a**hole.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sights & Sounds from the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Show at the TLA

Last night at the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) show at the Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA) I finally figured out how to disable the ineffectual little flash on my Blackberry and get improved (though not good, on the standard of iPhone or Android cameras) cameraphone shots of a rock concert. My results are posted below to enrich the growing meme of this kind of photography which are fantasmagoric abstractions that can be best described as various sorts of fireballs or pyrotechnic sorcery. Thank god for smoke machines and laser light shows. (For the full effect, I'd suggest playing the BRMC video below and you'll have a scant notion of what it was like having your face melted by this throwback rock band.)

As powerful as this experience must have been, you'll never understand what it was really like to stand behind the mid-Atlantic's tallest BRMC fan:

Or to meet a banging, tatted-up pixie in the crowd who reveals herself through a series of cryptic answers to be an FBI field officer under cover on the tail of a dangerous underworld kingpin, both huntress and hunted BRMC fans. Last night was rock and roll!