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January 27, 2005

RentMyForehead.com - at $37,375 a month, it's cheap at twice the price


A huge bookofjoe salute to 20-year-old Andrew Fischer of Omaha, Nebraska, who put his forehead up for an eBay auction.

Bidding ended last week Friday, with Melody de Rivel and her family-run business, SnoreStop, offered $37,375, beating out hundreds of other bidders for the right to place an ad on Fischer's forehead for one month.

Let's see, if he can parlay his fame from this first for[ehead]ay into a 12-month gig, that'll be a cool $448,500 for his first year, even if he doesn't raise his rate (unlikely, wouldn't you say?).

Not bad for a kid who can't even buy a drink.

There are limitless opportunities in this world if only one can look with fresh eyes.


But then, Marcel Proust already said that, didn't he....

January 27, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The narrowest house in the U.S.A.


It's the blue one above.

The house was awarded this title by "Ripley's Believe it or Not."

It's in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.

The tiny dwelling is seven feet wide.

It consists of a total of 350 square feet, and has two stories.

The inside walls are the exterior brick walls of the two adjacent houses.

The owner, Jack Sammis, bought it on impulse in 1990 on the very same day he saw a classified ad for it in the paper announcing it was for sale.

Here's Brigid Schulte's article about the wee home, from this past Monday's Washington Post.

January 27, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

America's Greatest Hamburger Joints


Answer me this: how is it possible that I, who love hamburgers nearly as much as Wimpy, have never even heard of - much less eaten at - Solly's in Milwaukee, whose trademark "butter burger" - a hamburger served in a pool of melted butter (above and below) - is the feature attraction at one of the eight classic burger joints featured in George Motz's new documentary, "Hamburger America"?

Solly's has been in the same spot in my hometown for over 40 years, run by the same family.

It was one of eight places that made the cut out of an initial pool of 50 restaurants chosen for evaluation by the filmmaker and his wife and co-producer, Casey Benjamin (who herself is a vegetarian).

Melena Ryzik wrote a nice story for yesterday's New York Times Dining In section about the new movie, which will be shown in New York City next Tuesday, February 1, in two screenings at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater. (155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B; 212-591-0434)

Admission is $9, and includes beer and a slice of pizza from the pizza parlor above the theater.

The pizzeria owner has promised to offer hamburger as a topping for all attendees.

If you can't make it to Gotham, not to fret; the movie comes out on DVD the very same day, February 1.

It's $19.99 from Amazon or the filmmaker's website, hamburgeramerica.com.


Bon appetit.

January 27, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Pediatric MRIs will never be the same - thank God almighty!


Few things in anesthesiology are more unsettling than doing pediatric anesthesia in the MRI suite.

One of them is working with an anesthesiology resident who's doing his or her first one.

Because they're so ignorant, they have no idea how scared they should be.

Ignorance really is bliss when you're an anesthesia resident.

You want to take the chief resident down there with you, or at least someone senior who's done them before.

But then, how will people who haven't done one learn unless they at some point do their first?

Doing these kinds of cases is one of the things that finally drove me out of academic anesthesiology.

I got tired of fighting to get at least a minimally experienced resident assigned to do the case with me.

Why is peds anesthesia in the MRI suite so dicey?


1) Pediatric anesthesia is far more demanding and intolerant of mistakes than the adult version: kids have much less reserve in terms of lung capacity, etc., and can go south in a hurry.

2) Because the MRI suite is ferrous metal-averse, taking anything ferromagnetic into the room risks creating a guided missile that can - and does - kill. These kinds of events, unhappily, continue to occur, always making headlines.

3) The nature of the heavy shielding required results in your watching the patient through a thick, dark window while you're on the outside of the actual MRI room, where the child lies intubated, paralyzed, on a ventilator, surrounded by all your monitors.

Anytime you have to give anesthesia outside the OR - what we call in the business "Third-World Anesthesia" - you're just asking for complications.

You've got no back-up: no spare parts, machines, monitors, or personnel in case the kid crashes.

You're on your own.

Which is OK - up to a point.

But when you've got some first-year resident with you who barely has a clue, and even finds the case "interesting," or "fun," it's just plain scary.

So I was delighted to read, in the January 18 New York Times Science section, that a clever bioengineer in Arizona has created an algorithm to correct for patient movement, thus making sedation or anesthesia, usually necessary for children undergoing an MRI, far less likely to be required.

The MRIs leading this post show, in the top half, a scan from a coughing patient and below, the same scan corrected with the new technology.

I was quite dismayed when I read on and learned that, though the software and hardware upgrades required for MRI machines to create acceptable images with a moving patient have been available for a year, "they are not used in all hospitals and clinics."

It is inconceivable that any institution doing MRIs wouldn't immediately buy these upgrades.

The cost of a medical negligence suit resulting from a dead or brain-damaged child is astronomical, running into the millions of dollars; it dwarfs whatever G.E.'s charging for Version 2.0.

Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish....

Here's Nicholas Bakalar's story from the Times.

    A Sharp Brain Scan, Even With a Squirming Youngster

    When Lisa Pelzer's 5-year-old son, Claude Jr., needed a brain scan to rule out a medical reason for his hyperactivity, the boy's pediatric neurologist wrote a prescription for a magnetic resonance imaging scan "with sedation" - the usual way of keeping children still enough to get readable images.

    But Ms. Pelzer, who lives in Edison, N.J., was delighted to learn from the radiologist that an advance in M.R.I. technology would make sedation unnecessary.

    Damage to the brain can leave a lesion the size of a pencil point, and to find it on an M.R.I. scan, a radiologist needs an extremely high-quality image.

    But the procedure requires a patient to remain immobile for as long as 45 minutes.

    Even cooperative adult patients can blur a scan by slight movement; as little as a millimeter of movement can be enough to hide important details and make the scan useless as a diagnostic tool.

    The problem becomes even more acute in scanning children, elderly patients and people with movement disorders like Parkinson's disease.

    The new technique uses an M.R.I. scanner enhanced with new hardware and powerful new software to virtually eliminate the problem of movement, at least for brain scans.

    Called Propeller (short for periodically rotated overlapping parallel lines with enhanced reconstruction), the method produces "Rembrandt-quality images" even with a squirming 5-year-old, according to Dr. Lawrence Tanenbaum, a radiologist and professor in the neuroscience department at Seton Hall's Graduate School of Medical Education.

    Dr. Tanenbaum has no financial interest in the technology, but gives talks on behalf of General Electric, which makes and markets the scanners.

    An M.R.I. machine normally collects a little data every few seconds, eventually gathering enough to create an image.

    Propeller works by collecting the data in a new way, creating a blurry image from each set of data.

    After the scan is completed, these blurry images are used to track the movement and position of the head from second to second between each data collection.

    Then the software corrects for that movement, creating a clear picture of the brain.

    Propeller produces huge amounts of information, so more time is required to produce the pictures, but the data can be processed using an ordinary PC.

    The scanning method was originally developed by Dr. James Pipe, a bioengineer at the Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

    Dr. Pipe said he held no stock in General Electric, but the company provides research money for his hospital.

    The software and hardware upgrades required for M.R.I. machines have been available for about a year, but they are not used in all hospitals and clinics.

    "We've had a lot of people ask for help in setting it up," Dr. Pipe said in a telephone interview.

    "It's early enough that people are still trying to figure out which situations it is best suited for."

    The technique does not work as well for body scans, experts say.

    The brain is a single organ that can be moved in only one direction at a time.

    In scanning other parts of the body, muscle movement or breathing causes organs and soft tissues to move simultaneously in different directions.

    The technique does not yet compensate for that.

    Dr. Pipe said he expected that technologies like Propeller would soon be used much more widely in M.R.I.

    "We're now getting to the point where computers are fast enough that we can have scanners that are much better than they used to be," Dr. Pipe said.

    "For example, a scanner can now detect in the middle of a scan that it has to adjust itself to get a better image. For me, as a researcher, it's a fantastic time."

January 27, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dr. Joe's - official soda of bookofjoe


Yes, it's here.

But it's one of those "good news, bad news" deals.

The good news is that it exists; Trader Joe's invented it and sells it in all their stores.


The bad news is that a reviewer wrote about it, "My palate was already turned off before I took the first sip. Not surprisingly, Dr. Joe's was rather difficult to get down."


I wouldn't go near that comment with - you know, I'm not even going to go there.

Try it for yourself, then decide.

That's what I say.


And that's all I have to say about that.


Except that I don't lend my name lightly for endorsement purposes.


Few - if any - products or services could even begin to think about paying the kind of money I require for me to deign - yes, I use the word advisedly - to associate myself with them.

Which is why you never see such advertisements.

Except in Japan, where money is no object when it comes to getting my smiling visage


in the same frame as their whiskey or camera or whatever.

Donald Trump, by contrast, is a cheap trick.

January 27, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'On Duty in Iraq'


Last month in the Washington Post I saw a notice that the paper was soliciting photographic submissions from U.S. soldiers and their families and friends about life in Iraq.

Huh, I thought; what a clever way to get great material for free: others do the work, submit stuff you'd never in a thousand years be able to get, and you publish it.


Is that a good deal for the Post, or not?

The paper's just put up on the web the first group of photos.


There's an essay explaining the project and 34 pictures.


There were two full pages of color photos in the first section of Sunday's paper.

January 27, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



"Dating to Save People from Hell" is its tagline.

From the homepage:

    Hello my name is Tamara! As you can probably tell, I'm a Christian who loves Jesus and cares for all humans, even the wicked. What you probably don't know is that I'm hot. My picture below


    isn't really that good. I want to use my beauty for GOD, and want to encourage my sisters in Christ to do the same, according to the Great Commission.

Well, girls - you heard her.

Tamara goes on to say, "I created this web page for information regarding the calling of Missionary Dating."

"I've outlined a few tips to help you date cute heathen guys, step-by-step."

So what's keeping you?

I love the term "Missionary Dating," I must say: definitely one for the permanent file.

January 27, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thermometer Whisk


Williams-Sonoma sells this tricked-out stainless steel whisk for $25.

From the website:

    Cooking custards or tempering chocolate can be tricky.

    If heated too quickly, they can curdle or scorch.

    Juggling both a whisk and a thermometer is awkward.

    This stainless-steel whisk solves the problem.

    As you stir, an LCD display on the handle gives an ongoing temperature reading in your choice of Fahrenheit (40°-400°) or Celsius.

Uses one LR44 battery (supplied).

Temperature guidelines are printed on the handle for easy reference.

What's not to like, say I?

I wonder if there's a disclaimer that says "Not to be used for clinical purposes"?


Better not go there.

January 27, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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