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October 14, 2005

Merck Lawyer Impersonators


In what appears to be one of the great pranks of the still–dawning century it appears that Merck has been persuaded to retain yet another set of legal imposters to act as lead counsel in its defense in the latest Vioxx lawsuit, this time in New Jersey.


Above, photos of the new lead (top) and co–counsels for the pharmaceutical giant.

Things didn't go too well down in Texas in August when the company's lead litigator spent hours in a withering, painful cross–examination of the bereaved widow who was suing the company over her husband's death from a heart attack following his Vioxx use.

The jury was out only a short time before returning a verdict of $253 million in favor of the widow.

Merck put on the usual and customary corporate brave face and said that happened only because of a sympathetic Texas jury and that things would be different next time, up in New Jersey where its corporate headquarters reside.

The company went even further and said it had full faith and confidence in its trial team.

Nevertheless, they quietly canned them and brought in a whole new crew.

But last Friday afternoon, lead Merck attorney Diane P. Sullivan got into a shouting match with presiding Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee that escalated into repeated demands by Judge Higbee that Sullivan sit down and shut up, with Sullivan continuing to stand and scream back at the judge.

The judge threatened to have Sullivan forcibly removed from the courtroom by the bailiff if she didn't immediately cease and desist.

Sullivan was enraged by the judge's decision to strike in its entirety the testimony of Merck's star witness, company physician Briggs Morrison.

The judge barred his testimony on the grounds that it went beyond his expertise and she also said Merck had misled the court and the plaintiff by not properly informing them of the evidence used by the defense team.

Said Judge Higbee to Merck's attorneys, "I felt sick last night and I realized how I got sucked into this. I feel that the court was misled repeatedly by his testimony."

Sullivan was muzzled by Merck after her in–court meltdown and was chained to the defense table this week with a colleague, Stephen Raber, handling the witness questioning.

Now, I'm just a brain–dead anesthesiologist but I've been an expert medical witness and testified in court and even I know that you do not tug on Superman's cape by antagonizing the judge.

Where does Merck find these clowns?

I mean, this company can afford the very best legal defense money can buy and its very existence is threatened by the potential for damages in over 5,000 Vioxx–related lawsuits.

Even worse for Merck after attorney Sullivan's implosion: All 2,475 New Jersey cases have been consolidated under none other than... Judge Carol E. Higbee.


Don't they get it?

October 14, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



They call it a "Video Pole" but that's bit too racy for Version 2.0 so I thought I'd create a more Disney–friendly name.

From the website:

    Add a Television To Any Room

    Here’s a quick way to make space for a TV in any room without claiming any floor space.

    The Video Pole holds 13" to 20" TVs weighing up to 50 lbs.

    The ingenious adjustable height design can be mounted from floor to ceiling, or on top of a counter — great for the kitchen.

    Solid steel construction.

    Clamps in place — secures with a single screw.

    Works in rooms with up to 8 1/2' high ceilings.

In black or white.

I was wondering if this might be an alternative to my still–in–my–dreams treadmill desk: I could put my laptop on the platform in place of a TV.

But it really would clash a bit with the overall feng shui, so I guess I'll pass.

$129 here.

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



This most interesting hybrid of an online store, streaming video and a .tv domain name — essential for the aspiring internet TV broadcaster — is an avatar of the virtual future.

Laura Petrecca, who wrote about it in yesterday's USA Today, quoted BuyCostume.com CEO Jalem Getz, who said, "It's e–commerce meets QVC."

In other words, a mashup (without the hyphen, I might add).

The site offers five hours of video available 24/7, featuring all manner of its costumes in 15 segments such as kids' costumes, sexy garb and superheroes.


Marshal Cohen, an analyst at the NPD Group, said, "An easy–to–to–use website also appeals to those who sneak in Halloween shopping at work."

But that's just plain wrong — no one does stuff online during working hours that's isn't job–related.

That guy is so last century.

But I digress.

BuyCostumes.com had revenues of $18 million last year and expects 2005 sales of $25 million to $28 million, in part driven by its new interactive website, up since August of this year.


• Americans will spend $1.15 billion on Halloween costumes this year

• 53% of Americans will buy a costume, spending an average of $31.88

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot — how about the splendid complexion on the witch up top?

October 14, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sprinkle — The ultimate 'throw' rug


From Julie Mathias and Michael Cross, partners in the UK design studio Wok Media, comes this rug (above) made of hundreds of silicone–backed wool tufts that you fling onto the floor by the handful, just like a child having a temper tantrum.

Or you can form little islands that remind of your favorite ink blots — whatever.

Throw them in the wash whenever company's expected.

When it's time to move, no problema: just sweep up the bits and off you go.

Endless fun for the quickly bored and easily amused — the vast majority of my readers.


Welcome, campers!

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

Final Gunn — Angela says 'good–bye'


Above, her proposed final statement.

I like it.

I may take her on board joeTV's gathering bandwagon, beginning to pick up steam now.

That'll be me bringing up the rear, with the broom and the dustpan....

But I digress.

Who, you ask, is Angela Gunn (below)


and why all of a sudden is she commanding a prime slot here at bookofjoe?

Res ipsa loquitur.

Full disclosure: I have never met nor spoken with Angela Gunn. I have, however, exchanged email with her. So what — since when is that a crime?

October 14, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Talking Animal Dish


Where was stuff like this when I was little?

I would've turned out so much better had I had access to such things.

Oh, well.

From the website:

    Easy-grip spoon activates these adorable talking critters.

    When the spoon comes near the bowl the animals make a delightful moo, bark or oink.


    Suction cup keeps removable, dishwasher-safe bowl on the table (and off the floor).

Uses three AA batteries (included).

The best news of all?

Recommended for ages 10 months+.



$18 here.

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

Pop speech is 'Air guitar for the lips' — so bogus


A rather nice turn of phrase by Leslie Savan, author of "Slam Dunks and No–Brainers," a new book about the rise of argot.

William Grimes wrote a most entertaining review which appeared in Wednesday's New York Times.

Choice examples of pop speech:

• don't go there

• get over it

• whoa!

• duh

• I don't think so

• that is so last year

• too much information

• whatever

• you da man

• bring it on

• glitterati

• fashionista

• I hate it when that happens

• in your dreams

• put a cork in it

• tell me about it

• you've got that right

• don't even think about it

• bling

• it's all good

• yesss!

Grimes produced a gem in the second last paragraph of his review, to wit: "We all need some stupid time in our day."


But when that describes every waking moment I think some rethinking is in order.

Believe me, I'm doing just that.

October 14, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Oven Rack Guard


Is there anyone in the world who hasn't, at one time or another, reached into an oven and brushed their forearm against an unused — but very hot — rack, incurring what can be a fairly extensive and painful burn?

Never again.

From the website:


    Our Cool–Touch Oven Rack Guard protects against injury from accidentally touching hot racks.

    Made from the same fabric that protects firefighters, this neat washable guard snaps easily over the ends of racks.

    Safe for up to 500° and fits all standard oven racks.

What took them so long?


Two for $32.98 here.


Just for a hypothetical, let's say you choose not to add this nifty accessory to your oven racks.

Let's say you incur a burn.

What do you do?

Immediately — and I mean now, the sooner the better, drop it like it's hot (as it were) — put your burn under the coldest running water you can for five minutes by the clock.

Guess what?

You've just treated your burn with the most advanced and effective technique known to modern medicine.

Note: no ice, no soaking it in a sink full of cold water, no butter, no grease, no ointment, no aerosol spray, no nothing.

Just cold running water.

The physiology?

The running water absorbs heat and cools subdermal skin layers faster and better than anything else in the world.

The subcutaneous tissue continues to be overheated even when the skin is cold —that's why you keep the cold water running over the area, to chill the subsurface layers to as great an extent as possible.

This is the treatment of choice for any burn, by the way: if it's large or on your face or neck or trunk or legs, get undressed and jump into an ice–cold shower for five minutes.

Do it.

You'll thank me later.

Or your money cheerfully refunded.

October 14, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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