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November 8, 2004

Hallowig

Hallowigbeauty

This sensational knitted creation by Megan Reardon comes a week too late for the Halloween just past, but that gives you plenty of time to prepare for next year.

Hallowigside

I'm wearing one fer shur when I go trick or treating.

Hallowigtop

Patterns and directions here.

[via knitty.com]

November 8, 2004 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hey - your sweat smells like... ginseng?

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It will if you wear Puma's new Active Cat workout wear.

Ellen Tien reported in yesterday's New York Times that the bike shorts, tank tops and T-shirts ($34-$70 for women's sizes, $49-$91 for men) are infused with a "bracing but not overpowering ginseng scent, intended to mask body odors while delivering aromatherapeutic benefits."

Ginseng

Ginseng is reputed to simultaneously calm and energize.

The gear comes in black or white and is made of a polyamide-Lycra blend that "breathes and wicks away moisture."

Puma says the fragrance should survive 30 washings.

It's available at the Shop at Equinox

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in New York (212-780-9300/212-871-0475).

bookofjoe doesn't stop just because the Times feels they've covered a story.

I put my crack research team on this, and they found much, much more: turns out that Active Cat ginseng wear is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

From the company's press release earlier this year:
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The Puma Bodywear collection consists of three segments:

• Daily - for everyday use

• Action - for performance

• Naughty - for nightlife

Daily features colorful Swarovski crystals.

Action is creatively scented with ginseng to improve performance and mask body odor. Key pieces include a sports bra with a built-in heart monitor.

Naughty is close-fitting and sexy. Perfect for lifestyle-oriented club wear.
Blurs the line between underwear and outerwear. Body conscious fit [in Japan, the term is "body con," which I just love].
___________________

Puma's designers must be taking acid or eating shrooms: since when did Swarovski crystals become part of the old 9 to 5?

Sheesh.

Wolford better watch their

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sinuous back, is all I have to say.

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Except for the fact that people working out should smell of sweat and effort, not ginseng.

November 8, 2004 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alain Ducasse goes to Mars

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His company, Alain Ducasse Formation, has teamed with the European Space Agency to explore ways to improve the food out there.

Here's the Ducasse site in English, for those like me who can't handle French.

Meals-in-a-bag and Tang just won't cut it for the six months - each way - journey to

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Mars that I think will take place around 2030.

Of course, Ducasse and his creations will not really be relevant, since the astronauts will be

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Chinese.

November 8, 2004 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: 'I have never read a more powerful editorial in a medical journal'

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Dr. Eric Topol, speaking about last week's blistering Lancet editorial about Vioxx.

The editorial accompanied a Lancet article which concluded that Vioxx should have been withdrawn from the market as early as 2000 because studies of the drug had clearly shown that it doubled the risk of heart attacks among users.

Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, wrote, "with Vioxx, Merck and the F.D.A. acted out of ruthless, short-sighted and irresponsible self-interest."

He described Vioxx's approval and subsequent popularity until its recent recall as "public health catastrophes" that led to over 27,000 heart attacks and sudden deaths.

That's a lot of corpses on Merck's corporate conscience.

Merck replied that it "was vigilant in monitoring and disclosing the cardiovascular safety of Vioxx, and we absolutely disagree with any implication to the contrary."

Dr. Sandra Kweder, the deputy director of the F.D.A.'s Office of New Drugs, said that many of Horton's assertions were "flat-out wrong."

Topol, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who was one of the first to call attention to the heart problems presented by Vioxx, said, "it is unquestionable that the risks of the drug were known some time ago and not duly acknowledged, and this study is the best yet to prove that."

bookfofjoe aside: Pfizer, the other maker of cox-2 inhibitors (Celebrex and Bextra), is claiming its drugs are different from Vioxx, and therefore safe.

Pfizer's even proposing to begin a study showing Celebrex protects against cardiovascular problems.

Don't believe it.

Read this article about the likelihood that all these drugs work the same way and are likely to have the same side effect profile.

I say to you: throw these drugs in the trash and use something else.

They all have the same mechanism of action

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and work via the same pathway.

Here's last Friday's New York Times story by Gardiner Harris about the growing controversy.
____________________


Study Says Drug's Dangers Were Apparent Years Ago


Merck and federal officials should have withdrawn the painkiller Vioxx from the market as early as 2000 because studies of the drug had clearly shown that it doubled the risk of heart attacks among users, according to a study released yesterday by The Lancet, a British medical journal.

Authors of the study pooled data from 25,273 patients who participated in 18 clinical trials conducted before 2001.

They found that patients given Vioxx had 2.3 times the risk of heart attacks as those given placebos or other pain medications.

Merck withdrew Vioxx on September 30 of this year after a company-sponsored trial found a doubling of the risks for heart attack or stroke among those who took the medicine for 18 months or more.

An editorial accompanying the study criticized both Merck and the Food and Drug Administration, and described Vioxx's approval and its popularity as "public health catastrophes" that led to over 27,000 heart attacks and sudden deaths.

"For with Vioxx, Merck and the F.D.A. acted out of ruthless, short-sighted and irresponsible self-interest," wrote Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet.

In a statement, Merck said that the Lancet study was not comprehensive or new. "Merck was vigilant in monitoring and disclosing the cardiovascular safety of Vioxx, and we absolutely disagree with any implication to the contrary," the company said.

The Lancet study increases pressure on the F.D.A., which is dealing with allegations that it tried to squelch prescient warnings by its own drug-safety reviewers about the dangers of Vioxx and about the hazards of antidepressant use by children and teenagers.

Committees in the House and Senate are investigating the F.D.A.'s handling of those issues. More hearings are expected.

In his editorial, Mr. Horton wrote that the F.D.A. failed to act after a 2001 analysis demonstrated the risks of Vioxx. He called for a thorough revamping of the agency's process for reviewing drug safety.

Dr. Sandra Kweder, the deputy director of the F.D.A.'s Office of New Drugs, said that many of Mr. Horton's assertions were "flat-out wrong."

She noted that the entire heart attack risk found when pooling data of the 18 Vioxx studies came from a single study.

The F.D.A. examined the results of that trial closely, Dr. Kweder said, and the agency made sure Merck was conducting more studies on the matter.

"We knew we were getting more data as well as ongoing studies and ongoing placebo-controlled studies that could be extremely useful in answering the question" of whether Vioxx caused heart attacks, she said.

Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and one of the first to call attention to the heart problems presented by Vioxx, said in an interview that he had never read a more powerful editorial in a medical journal.

"It is unquestionable that the risks of the drug were known some time ago and not duly acknowledged, and this study is the best yet to prove that," Dr. Topol said.

Tony Butler, an analyst for Lehman Brothers, said that the recent slide in Merck's share price - down 40% since September 29 - suggested that investors believe that Merck's liability for Vioxx is about $20 billion.

Mr. Butler said that projection is highly inflated, because very few drug withdrawals result in such a huge legal bill.

"The fears expressed by so many others seem exaggerated with the information that we know today," Mr. Butler said.

Vioxx is a member of a class of painkillers called cox-2 inhibitors, which also includes the Celebrex and Bextra drugs made by Pfizer.

Studies in patients undergoing cardiac surgery have found that Bextra increased risks to the heart.

In rare cases, Bextra can also cause a fatal skin reaction.

Pfizer has said that Celebrex had not been found to pose cardiac risks.

But Pfizer shares tumbled Thursday after The National Post in Toronto reported that Celebrex may have contributed to at least 14 deaths, according to incidents reported to Canada's health regulator.

Pfizer called the article "misleading" and Maria Valois, a top official at Health Canada, noted that the data cited by the newspaper was difficult to interpret.

"The crude number of events cannot be used to estimate the risk" of Celebrex or any other drug, Dr. Valois said in a telephone conference with reporters.

Health Canada has asked Pfizer for more safety data, Dr. Valois said.

Earlier in the day, Pfizer shares fell to $27.20, a 52-week low.

But by the end of trading on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, Pfizer's stock had largely recovered, closing at $29.06, down 39 cents.

Top F.D.A. officials have said that the agency had no data indicating that Celebrex or Bextra resulted in elevated risks to the heart.

Vioxx

Early next year the agency will convene a panel of outside experts to review the evidence regarding the entire cox-2 class of medicines.

November 8, 2004 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Burton Leather-Covered Snowboard

B5040307

WWPU?

That stands for "What Would Paris Use?"

And you just know she's gonna be packing this board at Jackson Hole come winter.

It's called the Dominant, and costs $379.95.

Burton spokeswoman Sandy Yusen said in Friday's USA Today that "we've tested the leather extensively and treated it for waterproofing, stickerability and straight up durability."

The brown leather is accented with a gold tip and tail for, as Burton says on its website, "the pimpest ride, period."

November 8, 2004 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Freecycle.org

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How come I only learned of this cool website via The Financial Times?

Is it an eBay conspiracy, that no U.S paper has covered it?

Freecycle helps you get rid of unwanted stuff in cyberspace.

It's just like eBay - except everything is free.

Yes, free.

No catches.

No conditions.

When I wrote this a week ago there were 1,665 cities freecycling, and 570,516 members.

The movement gained critical mass just this past June, when the number of members multiplied ten-fold, from 50,000 to more than half a million.

The Freecycle network was founded in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson, Arizona, and "has grown a bit to encompass 30 countries."

I'm reminded of Steve Wozniak's great remark about Apple Computer: "It was a science project that got out of control."

Fast, cheap and out of control

B00003cx9z01lzzzzzzz

sounds like a perfect description of Freecycle.

And not everything available is rubbish, as some members thought would be the case when they started their local groups.

Rachelle Strauss, founder of the Gloucestershire (U.K.) Freecycle Group, was quoted in the Times story as saying, "We've had a car offered, a Sony television and plenty of other good stuff. People could sell these kinds of things on eBay, but then there is always a wait while the auction takes place, and the risk that it goes wrong and the buyer doesn't pay. Perhaps people also just like giving things away."

Most interesting, what's going on here.

Andre Agassi was asked, back when he ruled the tennis world, what it was like.

He replied, "It's the same as before, except now everything's free."

I've always liked that.

November 8, 2004 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Veg Out Vegetarian Guides

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I wrote about the Washington, D.C. version a couple weeks ago.

It arrived last week, and I paged through it and checked out the places I've been to to see how they were rated.

I think the book's quite accurate, spot-on.

Of interest: there are also guides for

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San Francisco,

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Seattle & Portland,

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Southern California, and New York.

Coming in the spring of 2005 are Chicago and Denver & Salt Lake City.

Each guide has a $12.95 list price; most are available at amazon for $10.36.

I find it striking that the same cities that are considered gay-friendly are also the first to get vegetarian guidebooks.

The two Venn diagrams overlap quite a bit, I would bet.

These are also the cities most people would say are the most happening in the U.S.

That's another certain overlap.

November 8, 2004 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Robert Hickey, world's first internet-kidney recipient, writes bookofjoe

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I wrote here on October 21 and again on October 27 about the explosive impact of matchingdonors.com, an internet organ matching service for people needing organ transplants.

Last week I was delighted to read a comment here from Robert Hickey (below on the left) himself.

Bob

Who's Robert Hickey?

Only the man who singlehandedly, by his determination not to quietly die while waiting for a donated kidney, brought down the established order of organ transplantation.

Here's his comment, which appeared here last Friday, November 5 (exactly 16 days after he received a kidney as a result of his online ad):
____________________

Thank God for matchingdonors.com.

I have a new lease on life!

The transplant surgeon in Denver is not pleased to have me in his lifespace, neither is the post-transplant nephrologist, Alan Cooper.

Along with UNOS, medical establishment physicians like Kam the surgeon and Cooper the nephrologist are causing unnecessary pain and suffering.

Thanks to Rob Smitty and matchingdonors.com, I am now able to fight for others who find themselves in a similar position to me on 10/18/04 when the surgeon originally cancelled my transplant.

Public pressure made the hospital change that and allowed the transplant to proceed on 10/20/04.

Robert Hickey

November 8, 2004 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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