June 24, 2005
Petra Haden Speaks
Some of us find that past our bedtimes, especially those of us on the East Coast of the U.S. and many other places in the world.
You're in luck: The station offers the show in its archives right here so if you're at all interested in learning more about this singular woman and her great album, "Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out," just click on the link and you're there.
During the show you'll hear a number of tracks from the album, if you haven't had the good fortune to do so up to now.
One fascinating thing about hearing Petra Haden speak is that you would never in a million years believe she is the same person who voiced the album with such sublimity.
I found her amazingly critical of herself and her self–perceived failings.
She was very unhappy by what she felt was her poor rendering of the song "Sunrise"; I find it surpassingly beautiful and my favorite track on the album, from the first time I heard it.
Thomas Carlyle's epigram, "Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains," rings ever so true here.
Don't forget, if you're in the LA area, that Petra performs her album live in its world premiere there on Friday, July 1.
Make your own cool fridge magnets
Megan Reardon knows how and she will share the recipe here.
The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
Which is kind of scary, now that I think about it.
But then I realize it's your imagination, not mine so it's your problem, not mine.
Like you're taught early on during your internship: "The patient is the one with the disease."
But I digress.
No end of fun and stuff to do and make on Megan's great site, notmartha.org.
BehindTheMedspeak: Swallowed toothpick perforates heart
No, not the Enquirer but, rather, the subject of a report in the May 26, 2005 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
It seems a 67–year–old Italian woman swallowed a toothpick at a barbeque.
OK, stuff happens: most of the time these things pass right through, such that most physicians take a watch and wait approach to such events.
Well, time passed and the woman developed chest pain so she went to her local ER.
They checked her out and before you know it, she was in the operating room for open heart surgery to remove the toothpick (above) from her right coronary artery.
It seems the little bugger had pierced her stomach wall and then passed through her diaphragm, subsequently perforating her pericardial sac before ending its journey lodged in her heart.
Matt McMillen, reporting on the case in this past Tuesday's Washington Post Health section, noted that one four–year study documented 8,176 toothpick–related injuries in the U.S. alone.
He wrote, "In 5% of the cases, swallowed toothpicks injured the bladder, small intestine and other internal organs."
However, cases of toothpicks piercing major blood vessels are rare.
Note: the scale in the photo up top is cm; the toothpick measured 3.6 cm = 1.4 inches.
Tell you what: they'll get me to stop running with a
Tootsie Roll Pop (preferably chocolate) in my mouth when they pry it out from between my cold dead clenched jaws.
No, not a second mom– or dad–type piece of furniture but, rather, a very cool invention in which to throw all the stuff that finds its way onto your stairs and then lurks there, just waiting to send someone to the hospital.
"Books, accessories and miscellaneous objects seem to collect at the base of a stairway."
"Save trips up by gathering these items in this handy basket, then toting them all at once."
Sounds good to me.
"The 'L' shape allows it to fit snugly on a step yet provide plenty of space for taller items."
Red pebbled leather on the sides; faux leather on the base and interior.
Love the hand–hold.
Great price, too: originally $98, now reduced to move at $29.99 here — and I guarantee you they won't last long at that price.
Wireless iPod Headphones: Close — but no cigar
This past Wednesday marked the unveiling of the world's first dedicated wireless iPod headphones from a major brand (above).
Logitech's headphones have a Bluetooth connection to a dock–connected Bluetooth transmitter included as part of the overall system.
Walt Mossberg reviewed the new kit in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal; the verdict of the world's most credible tech reporter: not ready for prime time.
Let us explore the reasons why not:
• They're expensive — $150
• Only iPods with a dock connector will work: that eliminates the shuffle
• They're bulky and uncomfortable and seem very heavy because of their "behind–the–head" design. Mossberg pointed out that if the plastic band had been designed to go over the top of your head, it would have balanced the weight on each ear
• The headset can't be adjusted to become smaller or larger and tends to slide off when walking briskly or jogging — where wireless headphones should be most advantageous
It's a minor mystery to me why Apple doesn't simply introduce a wireless headset incorporating the almost weightless iPod shuffle into the headphone design.
No need for a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver or second charger as required by the Logitech system: you'd simply charge your iPod and be good to go.
If Apple doesn't do it look for Harmon Kardon or JBL to come out with such a device very soon.
Keychain Digital Camera
"I said 'be careful his bowtie is really a camera'" — but no one said anything about his key chain.
Amazingly, this tiny camera (2.25" x 1.75" x 0.5") takes pictures that are 640 x 480 pixels — the same resolution that my first Sony Mavica had, with its floppy disc drive.
8MB of flash memory = 26 pictures at the highest resolution or 104 at lower resolution.
Uses one AAA battery (included).
Includes USB 1.1 cable to connect to a PC or Mac.
Includes software CD for PC; Mac software available by download.
BehindTheMedspeak: 'Meat From Clones Is Safe To Eat'
I'm telling you, bag the Enquirer 'cause I've gone tabloid in a major way.
The headline of this post comes, oddly enough, not from the trash–talking London dailies but, rather, the august Financial Times.
I am not making this up.
Yesterday's FT front page headline read, in full, "FDA Set To Rule Meat From Clones Is Safe To Eat" (below).
Clive Cookson's story said that the FDA's decision is to be published "any day," according to John Matheson, senior regulatory scientist at the FDA.
Cookson wrote, "Irina Polejaeva, chief scientist for ViaGen, a leading animal cloning company, said meat from cloned animals could be on sale next year."
"Larisa Rudenko, FDA senior biotechnology adviser, said that although cloned animals were more likely to suffer birth defects and health problems when very young, after about 50 days old they were as healthy as animals conceived conventionally."
For some reason I'm not all that reassured by Ms. Rudenko's statement.
For sure the FDA's decision is nicely timed, what with the U.S. beef industry poised to crash and burn after the recent announcement of a second case of Mad Cow in a U.S.-raised animal, this one — unlike the first, which you may recall was pooh–poohed as a case of a sick Canadian cow that somehow snuck into the U.S. herd — born and raised right here in the States.
Still, I don't envision billboards that say, "Eat More Clones!"
PETA's gonna have some fun with this — wait and see.
I love this table.
So Japanese in its simplicity and unfolding.
I'm fascinated that it didn't sell and so has to be severely marked down to clear out the stock.
Made from maple veneer.
In birch (light) or wenge (dark).
Two cutout handles on the sides.
Weighs 5 pounds.
Lap clearance of 7.75".
25.4"W x 15.75"D x 8.9"H.
Slatted wood surface lets you roll it up for long–term storage or transport.
Aluminum frame gives it shape and easily comes apart.
Includes black canvas storage case for both table and frame.
Was $128; now $39.95 here.