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June 21, 2006

BehindTheMedspeak: How to choose your medical specialty


Pretty much right on.

Bonus: here's 99% of a dermatology residency, as related by a senior dermatology resident back when I was rotating through derm in med school:

"Wet on the dry, dry on the wet, if that doesn't work, steroids."

I suspect it's still good 95% of the time.

[via Pete Wright, The Huffington Post, Kevin, MD and Scienceblogs.com.

June 21, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tackiest Boot of the Year


No contest.

Gucci's celebrating its 85th anniversary by putting the fact on the outside of a limited edition boot (above).


June 21, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sale of Goods Act


During the recent kerfuffle over the eggshell-like fragility of Bodum's pricey double-wall glassware (above), the irrepressible Guy King across the pond asked, innocently enough, if we had anything like the U.K.'s Sale of Goods Act.

Say what?

I'd never heard of it so he kindly provided a link.

After reading it and then thinking about it for a zeptosecond or so I realized that the U.S. does indeed have something serving as an equivalent consumer protective measure — though ours is in Latin: "caveat emptor."

As if.

June 21, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Half Hour Glass


Because who's got the time to wait around for an hour these days?

6" high.


June 21, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Seattle is the smartest city in America


San Francisco is second and Austin, Texas third.

Those are the results of a study conducted by Bizjournals.com, which analyzed the educational levels of adults in the 53 largest cities in the U.S.

Turns out 47% of Seattle's adults hold bachelor's degrees, nearly double the U.S. average of 24.4%.

21% of Seattle adults have advanced graduate or professional degrees, compared to a national average of 8.9%.

The remainder of the top 10:

4. Colorado Springs

5. Minneapolis

6. Charlotte

7. San Diego

8. Washington, D.C.

9. Portland, Oregon

10. Albuquerque

June 21, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cake Strips — 'End domed tops'


From the website:

    Aggravated by cake layers that wobble when you stack 'em?

    Domed, uneven tops make wobbly layer cakes — solve the problem with cake strips.

    • Fasten strips around the outside of your round cake pans.

    • Keeps crust tender and prevents over-baking, too.

    • Bake cake and it'll rise evenly — no big dome!

    • Perfect for 8", 9", or 10" round pans.

    • Velcro fasteners.

    • Yes, these really work!

Two for $9.95.

June 21, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The economics of time and money — and how confusing their values can wreak havoc with your life


Jeanne Marie Laskas (above, with her children) is an author who writes the "Significant Others" column for the Sunday Washington Post Magazine.

I rarely even bother with the Post magazine, so dismal and boring is it, but for some reason I paged through it a couple weekends ago and happened to read Laskas's June 11 column.

I was fascinated by her tale of car trouble — not so much for what she intended it to say as for what it showed about her: namely, how a very smart, savvy woman can apply such awful judgement in her everyday life.

Long story short: she'd recently had her oil changed at a garage near a mall about an hour from her house.

When she got home she found that her car was leaking oil all over the place.

She called the garage and they told her to "just bring the car back in."


1) The last thing you should dream of doing is taking your car back to the bozos who screwed it up the first time.

2) Especially if doing so requires you to call a tow truck to have your now-malfunctioning vehicle towed back to that place an hour away.

But Laskas somehow didn't twig — all she saw was that the oil change screw-ups were going to make it right for her.

So she

1) Waited forever for a tow truck to show up at her house

2) Endured an hour-long monologue from the driver (though she did get a column out of it) as she sat beside him during the journey to the garage

3) Apparently waited at the garage while they fixed what never should've required her presence that second time

4) Made the hour-long drive home

What was she thinking?

Why didn't she simply have a garage she trusted — near her home — fix whatever wasn't right?

Was wasting the better part of a day worth more than whatever that would've cost?

I think not.

People make the mistake of valuing money over time.

It's no contest: time is far more valuable than money starting the moment you're born.

And the differential only increases as years pass and you grow older.

Until, near the end, you'd give everything you have for just a little more time.

Too late — you lose.

Or, as they say in my country: game over.

The column follows.

    Tow-Truck Driving Man

    A jaw-dropping journey inside a guy's head

    The tow truck is finally pulling up the driveway, thank God, so, really, the only thing I'm concerned about now is making pleasant conversation.

    The driver hops out, smiles, says his name is Mike. He's tall, muscular, with a goatee. "What's the matter with your car, and why do we have to take it so far?" he asks, bluntly.

    I explain about the garage I recently used when I was multitasking at the outlet mall, which is about an hour from my home. I had just wanted an oil change, but what I got was a car that regurgitates oil in a most violent and overt manner. "They said to just bring the car back in," I say.

    "Let's do it," he says.

    Well, I'm sort of disappointed we got through that story so fast, seeing as that was my main topic of pleasant conversation. What are we going to talk about for an hour? Riding in a tow truck is nothing like riding on a bus or a train, where there are expectations of silence and anonymity. Or even in a taxi, where the seating arrangement gives everybody an excuse to zone out. No, in a tow truck you sit in the front, right there next to the driver, the two of you on a shared journey.

    Mike hands me a clipboard, asks me to sign. All at once he winces, says, "Awww!"

    "You okay?"

    "I banged my knee the other day climbing into the other truck," he says. "Now that I'm 30, the injuries don't heal as fast." He says he has a girlfriend, 18, who's making fun of his limp. "I say to her, 'Someday you're going to be hobbling around, too,' and she says, 'If you're still with me when I'm all gimpy, just do me a favor and shoot me.'"

    He laughs, shakes his head.

    "I have pre-arthritic knees," I say, meekly.

    "My mother does not like my girlfriend," he says. "But she didn't much like my wife, either."

    And so we begin our journey, zooming several million miles an hour on back roads I've never been on before. I learn a lot about Mike's mother, who married a man 17 years older than she is, and so, really, she has no room to criticize Mike. That's the way I see it. Mike is not asking me about the way I see it. He says his friends tell him constantly how lucky he is to have a job that allows him to just drive all day. He says he does feel lucky, but no one realizes how much goes into it. "Alone all day with your thoughts," he says, "there's a lot that goes into that right there.

    "Whew, I'd get in trouble if I lived in this town," he says, referring to some attractive women walking down the street. Then, "Whoa, sweetie, you were a lot prettier before you got so close."

    I get the feeling I'm not really here. Or, that the place where I am is in a man's head. This truck is Mike's mind, and I happen to be riding in it while his thoughts swirl.

    "Yeah, I met my girlfriend when she first started working at the convenience store," he says. "But I was still married then. I don't know why I got married. One day you're dating, and pretty soon you're married with kids. It happens to everybody. Why should I be any different? I love my kids. My mom says I should get custody. But I don't want to do that to my girlfriend because she should have time to be a kid herself. On Monday the wife picked the kids up; an hour later she's calling me to come get them: 'I can't do this! I need space!' I was at work, so I told her I'd send someone over. I called my mom, but she wasn't home. Finally, I called my girlfriend, and she went over. That was a bad idea. They got into it. Later, I said to my girlfriend, 'Why did you beat her up on the porch like that?' She said, 'Where should I beat her up?' It wasn't funny then, but it's funny now."

    He's thinking about getting his girlfriend a puppy, to get her used to the idea of possibly raising kids. He really wants to marry her but doesn't want to ruin her life, like his mom says he might. He wonders what to do with the engagement ring he got for her, if it's fair to lure her with a diamond.

    "I can't believe I think this way about a girl; I used to just be normal, but something about her has me all messed up."

    I want to . . . speak. I want to say, "Give love a chance!" I want to put up a little red flag about the situation on the porch. But I'm not really here. This is like a reality TV show, only this isn't TV, and there will be no further episodes, and now here we are at the garage.

    He opens the door for me, all chivalric. I thank him for the journey. I consider asking for his card, or for the location of the convenience store where the girlfriend works so I can find out what happens next. But I know the boundaries. He's a tow truck diver. I'm a customer. Nothing personal.

June 21, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Super Bright Halogen Map Light


From the website:

    Super Bright Halogen Map Light

    Most vehicles have lousy map lights.

    Barely bright enough to find your dropped donut, much less read a map.

    This halogen light is bright enough to find Bum Rucke, Egypt on any map.

    Plug the 7" long adjustable gooseneck into your cigarette lighter and you'll be able to locate the road you should have taken sixty miles back.

    12V/5w halogen bulb with an optically-patterned lens for clear, bright illumination.

    Built-in on/off switch in the lamp head.

    Made from high-quality molded plastic and a metal arm in Germany.


June 21, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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