Monday, November 30, 2009

Joel, not Mike

There was a time when I would watch television every chance I got. I found it just delightful. Then I started only watching for special occasions, if there was something I really wanted to see. Now I'm actually averse to it – not the programming – the very act of sitting in front of the screen makes me antsy and uncomfortable. It parallels my experience with marijuana. Tell you what I would watch, though: If there was a show where a fellow and his two robot friends sat in front of a screen making fun of MST3K reruns. Yum. Meta.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hook, line, and sinker

Back in the middle ages, alchemists were searching for something called the Philosopher's Stone, an imaginary material that would turn lead into gold. Who paid these guys to do this? I suspect the whole thing was a clever hoax by speculators conspiring to drive up the value of lead. Right now gold is going for nearly $1,200 an ounce, while you can get the same weight in lead for around seven cents. Now, what I don't understand about high finance could empty a checkbook, but shouldn't today's bargain hunting investor take a closer look at worm weights and split shot?

Monday, November 16, 2009

I love the smell of DEHP in the morning

A research team at the University of Rochester (I'm pretty sure their school motto is “I'll bring the Maxwell around, Mr. Benny.”) have found that women who are exposed to vinyl flooring and plastic shower curtains while pregnant will give birth to boys who are less likely than other boys to play with cars, trains and guns or engage in rougher games like playfighting. It seems that certain volatile plasticizers mimic the action of estrogen and repress the action of the male hormone testosterone. I'll just say again what I've been saying for years. They're not dolls. They're action figures.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How ya like dem ersters?

Every year in the United States, an estimated 15 people are killed by Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria picked up from eating raw oysters. Most folks, Vibrio won't hurt you; these fatalities are pretty much restricted to those with compromised immune systems. And there are warnings posted in restaurants, so actually the fatalities are further restricted to those who can't or won't read. The Food and Drug Administration, staffed entirely by former hall monitors and eraser clappers, has a simple solution. They intend to ban the sale of raw Gulf oysters. Since when are immuno-compromised illiterates such a powerful lobbying block?

Monday, November 2, 2009

I didn't see any Angela Merkels

On Halloween night on the corner of Esplanade and Decatur in New Orleans, the street was a human river of outlandishly garbed maniacs in various states of expectation, inebriation, and exaltation. Some of them even dressed up for the holiday. Which brings up the topic of women's costumes. There is a whole genre of commercially available costumes based on taking any female character from fiction or real life, and adding the modifier “slutty” to it. So, “Slutty Bo Peep,” “Slutty Nun,” even “Slutty Olive Oyl.” The profit margin on these must be tremendous; certainly materials costs are held pretty low.