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March 14, 2005

Rosendale International Pickle Festival


Like the website says, "'Tossing your pickles' is given new meaning at the Rosendale International Pickle Festival."


The 8th annual festival starts Sunday, November 20, 2005 in Rosendale, New York.


If you love pickles, better make sure to keep that weekend free.

Last year's event featured a


Pickle Juice Drinking Contest (above),

Pickle Toss (below),


lots and lots of food, "music from many different groups," and the awarding of prizes for best home pickles in a variety of categories,


chosen by a distinguished panel of judges.

Calvin Trillin, call your travel agent and book this trip.

March 14, 2005 at 04:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Gastroenterologists create new disease


Going through my mail this morning I came upon a sealed hinged card with the orange balloonman above on one side.

Underneath him it said:

    Pain, bloating, or discomfort in your stomach?

    See if you can be part of a new medical research study for functional dyspepsia.

Functional dyspepsia?

I don't recall that from med school, nor the years since.

So I went to FDstudy.com, the website on the card.

There I learned after cutting through the verbal fog that functional dyspepsia (FD) is a fancy word for indigestion.

But there's no money in indigestion.

Insurance companies aren't going to reimburse your doctor for an indigestion workup.

But if you can get functional dyspepsia recognized as a disease, with its own Medicare diagnostic code number and all, you're in the money if you're a drug company with a tricked-out version of Alka-Seltzer waiting in the wings.

The mailing and the website are just the camel's nose under the tent: the body will follow in time.

I do find the balloonman kind of goofily endearing, I must say.

Much easier on the eyes than Cayce Pollard's nemesis,


Bibendum the Michelin Man.

March 14, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ask Metafilter — Where to go when Google shrugs


That's how Kevin Kelly described this site in a previous issue of Cool Tools.

Here's what else he had to say:

    This is where you go when Google shrugs.

    A community of 20,000 of the smartest people you know will answer your question.

    I use Ask Metafilter when I have a question that can't be reduced to a key word search.

    Say you want to know the name of that song that was played during the closing credits in a science fiction film that begins in a boy's bedroom, or you've been curious what that bumper sticker you keep seeing is, or maybe you need advice about whether you should see a therapist, or a psychologist, or a psychiatrist?

    You need a human for these inquiries.

    Ask Metafilter is not great for questions requiring detailed and heavily researched answers.

    For that use Google Answers for a small fee.

    What Ask Metafilter is great for are things that a smart friend could easily answer if only you knew which friend to ask.


    The Metafilter community is your all-purpose smartest friend.

    There is a one-time fee of $5 to join the community in order to post a question (but its free to read).

    To keep the frantic rate of new questions under control you are limited to asking no more than one a week. (You can answer all you want, and please do.)

    The quality of answers varies, but in general the tips, referrals and advice are pretty good, and often astoundingly on the mark.

    For example, here are some fairly typical questions I've asked (with fairly typical answers): http://ask.metafilter.com/search_threads.mefi?user_ID=17555

    I've tried a couple of other "ask your question" sites on the web and generally their answer–to–question ratio is so low I've found them worthless.

    Ask Metafilter has managed to retain its intelligence while scaling up sufficiently to cover all subjects; that's a magical balance.

    In fact, even when I don't have a question I find myself reading Ask Metafilter everyday because people will ask questions that I didn't even know I wanted to know until they asked it, and then I realize I've been dying to ask that.

    It's a true hive mind and it really works.


    [Ask Metafilter is one service of the Metafilter community blog. Reading is free. Registration allows you to post questions and answers as well as posts to the other parts of the blog.]

March 14, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



No more tears.

Keeps shampoo out of your or your child's eyes while showering or bathing.

"Great when coloring hair or after eye surgery." [!]


Child and Adult sizes, each $14.98 here (item # 22754).

Nominated for a bookofjoe 2005 Design Award — no moving parts.

March 14, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Nothing can be predicted, but everything, as soon as it happens, will seem to fit'


The above sentence, from Ian McEwan's superb story, "The Diagnosis," which appeared in the December 20 & 27 New Yorker, stopped me in my tracks.

In retrospect, everything seems inevitable.

That's why history is so seductive - and so wrong.

Because in creating a narrative, by definition the things that don't fit or make sense in the larger context of the historian's point of view get discarded.

But those things that were cast aside are as relevant as what made the final cut.

So while I disagree with the overall thrust of Henry Ford's famous declaration, "History is bunk," I do concur with the sentiment that received accounts of the past are - at their very best - incomplete.

March 14, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If Elmer Fudd ran Google


Above, the home page.

And then you could use Wanguage Toows to explore other cultures and countries.

March 14, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sweater Dryer


OK, you carefully hand wash your beautiful cashmere sweater, but then what?

Like the website says, "Never hang a wet sweater on a hanger!"

Hey, it's OK, I know, I've done it too, but I don't talk out of school.

I mean, I'm a doctor... right?


You unfold this clever device ($12.99) and voila, there you are: a nice flat surface of nylon mesh, 29" x 29", to lay your beautiful Loro Piana sweater down flat on and let dry the way God intended, with air circulating over, under, around and through.

The folded frame hangs on a closet rod, out of your way, when you're not using it.

Bonus: they're stackable, so buy two or more and dry several items at the same time.

You could even invite friends over to hand wash their delicates and then dry them with you: a drying party.

That'd be different.

Probably better than what you did last Friday night, anyway; that is, if you can even remember it.

Or care to.

March 14, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bathsheba Grossman — 'Sculpting Geometry'


She's a California-based artist exploring the boundary between art and mathematics.


She states on her website, "I'm a digital sculptor, combining prototyping technology with metal crafting skills to create abstract geometries in space. My work explores order in 3D."


Originally trained as a mathematician (B.A. from Yale), she did post-graduate work in sculpture (M.F.A. from Penn), then worked for years as, among other things, a programmer for a number of mathematicians, physicists, and biologists; an adjunct professor of computer graphics and interactive multimedia at Pratt Institute; a laboratory assistant at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; and a database programmer.

Now she's emerged with a collection of intricate, thought-provoking sculptures, puzzles and designs created by laser etching.


Does the name Escher come to mind as you look at her work?


'Cause it does for me.


She considers her works to be "3D meditations."


How do you spell "MacArthur Fellowship?"


[via 8128.org]

March 14, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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