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October 7, 2005



joehead Richelle Brown told me about this site, which she said never fails to soothe her after even the most troubled day — or words to that effect, shoot me if I've misquoted you, OK?


[via Richelle Brown]


A note on a just–adopted bookofjoe policy: from now on whenever one of my beloved readers sends me a suggestion and I use it I am going to use your name rather than initials or no acknowledgment unless you tell me to do otherwise, in which case of course I'll do precisely and exactly as you request.

Also, if you have a blog or a website you'd like me to link your name/initials to just mention it and consider it done.


It's the least I can do for you in return for making bookofjoe better.

October 7, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mattress Genie™ — 'Turns any mattress into an adjustable bed in just seconds'


While we're waiting patiently for the perfect bedtime reading light to be invented there's no reason we shouldn't be perfectly comfortable in bed — is there?

Now comes Mattress Genie™ to do the Peter Frampton thing and show us the way.

From the website:

    Now you can have an adjustable bed without spending lots of money

    If you like to sleep with your shoulders and head raised, Mattress Genie™ is the perfect bedmate.


    At the push of a button it inflates in less than a minute, raising 40° (about 26") from your mattress, forming a cushy wedge that fully supports your body.

    It makes reading and watching TV more comfortable, and can help ease the symptoms of acid reflex, congestion, allergies and maternity discomfort.

    Made of double-seamed PVC vinyl, Mattress Genie™ comes with a motorized pump and tethered remote control with illuminated buttons.

    Works on any mattress up to 18" thick (excluding waterbeds) and deflates easily.

I really like the remote (below)


for two reasons:

1) It comes in my alma mater's (UCLA) colors, blue and gold.

2) It's simple enough that even I could use it without consulting the manual.

What a contrast to the remotes in the OR that operate the surgical table (below).


Those control boxes have all manner of lights, switches and buttons that have to be activated in a certain pre–determined sequence to perform any action; these decompletely befuddle me.

At the beginning of each case I try to put the remote within easy reach of the circulating nurse so that when the surgeon asks for Trendelenburg I don't put the head up instead like a clueless doofus.

Just because I am one doesn't mean I have to let everyone know, does it?

I mean, it's like that wonderful old saying: "Keep your mouth shut and people will think you're stupid — open it and they'll know."


I've always liked that one.

There's a reason why old sayings are old, isn't there?

It ain't random, that's fer shur.

$99.95 and up (depending on bed size) here.

[via AW]

October 7, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Alligator v Python: One beast enters — two beasts die


Look at the picture above.

What do you see?

Recently discovered in the Florida Everglades was the tableau above, a horror movie come to real life — and death.

A 13–foot–long Burmese python burst after it tried to swallow a live 6–foot–long alligator.

The snake was found with the gator's hindquarters protruding from its mid–section.

The latest alligator–python encounter is the fourth documented in the past three years.

The Burmese python, as its name might indicate, is not native to the Everglades but rather has established a foothold there as many pet owners have simply abandoned their growing, ever–more threatening snakes there.

University of Florida professor Frank Mazzotti says the alligator might have been clawing at the python's stomach as the snake tried to digest it.

An Associated Press story noted that "in previous incidents, the alligator won or the battle was an apparent draw."

Mazzotti continued, "There had been some hope that alligators can control Burmese pythons. This indicates to me it's going to be an even draw. Sometimes alligators are going to win and sometimes the pythons will win."

And sometimes both will lose big, as happened in the instance pictured up top.

October 7, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ziploc Big Bags


Ziploc bags have to be one of the best inventions of the 20th century.

Especially when you're traveling, you can never have enough of them.

Now comes Ziploc with its new Big Bags in your choice of two fun sizes:

• Xtra Large — 2 feet x 1.7 feet, 4/$5.99

• XXtra Large — 2.7 feet x 2 feet, 3/$5.99

From the website:

    The biggest, strongest, most versatile Ziploc bags ever!

    Designed to handle all kinds of loads — you can use them to store anything anywhere.

These new versions are heavy–duty and thicker than the kitchen versions.

I wonder what would happen if you tried to mail one of these giant Ziploc bags full of stuff to someone — would the post office clerk still ask you if there was anything flammable or breakable inside if she could see quite plainly that there wasn't?

My guess is yes.

I think it's time for a bookofjoe crack research team field trip to find out.

Let me go wake someone up and send her over to the post office.


You can find these cool new Ziplocs–on–steroids at Safeway, Giant, Target and other fine stores, wherever Ziploc bags are sold.

October 7, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Do redheads need more anesthesia?


joehead Brent Clemens asked me this question yesterday, noting that he'd just heard on NPR that redheads require 20% more anesthesia than "normal" [Brent's quotation marks] people.

I first learned of the association of red hair with an increased anesthesia requirement in 2002 when an abstract reporting the finding was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Then last year I heard from a redheaded joehead [joeheaded redhead?] who asked me whether or not it was true and if she should be concerned if she needed anesthesia.

I told her not to worry and that it wasn't an issue assuming her anesthesiologist was competent.

If he wasn't her red hair would be among the least of her problems. But I digress.

Having now been asked a second time about the association it becomes apparent that there are probably hundreds, perhaps thousands, maybe even millions of people asking the same question but not having the energy or wherewithal to pursue it.

So let's take a closer look.

I was going to have my crack research team handle it but as is all too often the case lately they're all flaked out so I'll take this one myself.

The original 2002 study that showed an increased requirement for anesthesia in redheads was presented in abstract form in October 2002 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists by Dr. Edwin B. Liem of the University of Louisville School of Medicine's Outcomes Research Institute.

Liem noted that neither he nor anyone else had a clue as to why the association might exist.

In August of last year Liem and his colleagues published a formal scientific paper in the journal Anesthesiology reporting on their results as briefly presented in the abstract two years earlier.

Long story short: redheaded women required almost 20% more inhaled desflurane anesthesia than dark–haired women (below).


The scientists then studied another commonly used intravenous anesthetic drug called propofol to see if redheads required more: the answer was no.

Those findings were presented in October of last year in abstract form at the American Society of Anesthesiologists' annual meeting.

So what should you conclude?

Here's what I conclude — you can take this for what it's worth:

1) In one study of 20 women the inhaled anesthetic requirement for one particular agent — desflurane — was 20% greater if you were among the 10 redheads as opposed to those having dark hair.

2) In a second study of 20 women the injected anesthesia requirement for propofol was no different for redheads.

Now let's take these findings into the mind and operating room of a practicing anesthesiologist.

For example, me.

When I give anesthesia I don't give the dose in the textbooks or product brochures: I give the dose you need based on doing it tens of thousands of times and your individual, idiosyncratic, particular response to the drug.

Each patient is her or his own control.

I don't and never would compare you to a typical patient because there is no such thing.

Every individual reacts differently to every drug and even the same person will react differently on two consecutive days.

So it's not a cookbook approach: if it was, hey, a koala bear could give anesthesia.

Each particular person — redhaired, dark–haired, blonde, bald, whatever — is a scientific study of one.

If you need more desflurane, as judged by your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and a million other things, then I'll give it to you.

If you need more propofol, same deal.

It's not your hair color that determines what you need — it's you.

If you have red hair you might need more of something and if that's the case you'll get it — it's not a problem, I've got plenty of anesthetic, believe me.

But guess what: the variation within any group, redheads included, is tremendous, way larger than the variation within a subgroup such as those with a particular hair color.

So there are redheads who require much less anesthesia than dark–haired people.

You give that redhead the average requirement and you'll be doing CPR before you can say "Bob's your uncle."

You find out she needs less by noting how she responds to a small dose before increasing the anesthetic level.

That's how it's done in the real world.

So the answer to Brent's question is yes, redheads can require 20% more anesthesia than dark–haired people.

But they can also require 20%, 40%, even 75% less.

The trick is knowing which.


Koala bears don't know that trick — but I do.

October 7, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Light Switch Thermometer


You know how, whenever you pass a light switch, you wish you knew exactly what the temperature was right at that spot?

Well, guess what?

Now you can.

This nifty Light Switch Plate Thermometer gives you a precise digital readout, accurate within 1°F, of the ambient temperature.

Why sweat without knowing exactly why?

No nail holes.

No wires.

Just remove the old wall plate and attach this one and you're good to go.

In white (pictured above) or ivory.

Button–cell battery included.

$12.99 here.

Finally, you'll be able to prove that's it's unbearably hot or cold, as the case may be, in your office.

Who knows — they might even get you a window unit.

But wait: there's more.

Maybe you've got old–fashioned toggle switches.

No problema.


Same price and easy installation, once again in white or ivory.

October 7, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Microsoft to Introduce New Security Software for Windows'


Say what?

In quotes above is the headline over John Markoff's story in yesterday's New York Times about the latest from the most successful clueless company in the information industry.

Microsoft plans to offer "a subscription antivirus and antispyware service called Windows OneCare."

Gee — wouldn't you think that the company wouldn't charge you to fix its own inadequacies?


Next thing you know America's beleaguered automakers will be making seat belts and air bags optional.

Hey, why stop there?

Why not make brakes an accessory?


Of course, my colleagues aren't exactly without some fault in this sense: after all, you get the same bill for your operation regardless of whether it succeeds or fails.


Come to think of it, we're even worse: if your wound gets infected because of poor surgical technique or whatever and you become septic and go into shock and have to be intubated and ventilated and spend a month in the ICU, hey — we're happy to add another $100,000 to your bill, no problema.

I guess that old saying is true after all.

You know the one: "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stale scones."


Wait a minute — that's not right....

October 7, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bottega Veneta Woven Calfskin Knee Boot


Fridays should always start with something beautiful, don't you think?

The definition of elegance in classic Italian style.

Brown woven leather with smooth shaft.

2.5" stacked leather heel.

Res ipsa loquitur.

$1,120 here.

October 7, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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