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September 2, 2007

Why your dying dog deserves a second opinion


Long story short: Because just like with people, the first one may be dead wrong.

Read the following piece by Lisa and Jared Genser that appears on the last page of today's Washington Post Opinion section for an eye-opening account of why it pays to trust — and verify — when it comes to what your vet tells you.

    Medical Error Is For the Dogs, Too

    It was an absolutely devastating moment when we learned from our veterinarian that our sweet brown and white greyhound Finnegan had two months to live.

    A few weeks earlier, he had collapsed and lost feeling in his back legs. Ultimately we found out that Finnegan had a blood clot between two of his vertebrae pressing against his spine. With surgery, we were told, he would recover. As a precaution, once the clot was removed, it was sent to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine for a biopsy. There was a greater than 90 percent chance that it was nothing, our vet said.

    But when we went to pick up our dog, our vet told us he had been surprised that the biopsy — whose results had been verified by two pathologists at Penn — revealed that Finnegan had osteosarcoma, a painful and aggressive form of bone cancer. We would need to put him down within days if we wanted to spare him the pain.

    The next few moments will be seared in our minds forever. As Finnegan was brought into the room, his face lit up as he saw us. Despite his slow hobble, his pace quickened as he came to both of us kneeling on the floor to greet him. We began to cry as we held Finnegan close and petted him, bathing his head in our tears. After a few terrible days, we decided to spare him the pain and scheduled an appointment to put him down.

    The day before he was to be put down, we were just not feeling comfortable with what our vet was telling us, because Finnegan seemed to be recovering. So we decided to get a second opinion.

    We reached out to Dr. Guillermo Couto, a leading expert on greyhound medicine at Ohio State University. After graciously reviewing Finnegan's file and meeting us, all of Couto's experts agreed that our dog's biopsy had been misread and he did not have osteosarcoma. Months later, instead of having cancer, Finnegan has made a full recovery. What is most shocking is that we almost euthanized him — and we would have never known the difference.

    According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, more than 63 percent of U.S. households have pets; this includes some 73 million dogs and 90 million cats. Americans spend a fortune on their pets, almost $40 billion in 2006 alone, of which more than $9 billion was for veterinary care. And yet, do people know what they are buying?

    We know that medical error is a serious problem for humans. In a 2005 survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 34 percent of patients with health problems in the United States reported experiencing various preventable errors. Almost 200,000 people a year die from likely in-hospital medical errors, according to a HealthGrades study. Thus, one can only imagine how serious a problem this is in veterinary medicine. But unlike people, who usually speak up for themselves if treatment is not working, our pets rely on us to take care of them. We almost let Finnegan down. People should remember that veterinarians and their laboratories can make mistakes. When in doubt, and especially if the diagnosis just doesn't feel right, get a second opinion.

September 2, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Sushi Playing Cards


From the website:

    Sushi Playing Cards

    Playing cards with a touch of wasabi!

    A poker-sized deck features 52 different pieces of sushi.

    Each piece is brilliantly photographed and printed in 4-color.

    Spice up your card games while learning the Japanese words and characters for each piece of sushi depicted.


September 2, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Adobe Labs, myFeedz and bookofjoe


I happened on this page a moment ago but haven't a clue as to what it's all about.

I know it's not MSM, that's for sure.

I like the list of "relevant topics":

    animal refuge league


    conversion kit


    dogs and puppies

    erasable highlighter

    last forever

    liver disorder


    seat restaurant


Now that's my kind of list.

Wait a minute, bonehead: it is your list.

What a peabrain.


Hey — who you calling peabrain...?

September 2, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunny Side Up Carpet


By Valentina Audrito, it was a


hit at this year's Milan Furniture Fair.

September 2, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quantum theory in a nutshell


September 2, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Custom Wall Clock Kit


From the website:

    Custom Wall Clock Kit

    This everything-included kit has supplies for two faces plus two sets of hands that are easy to switch out: one set with glow-in-the-dark tips, the other crayon-shaped to match a younger designer's artwork.

    Quartz movement requires one AA battery (not included).

    Plastic with Plexiglas snap-on face.

    11" diameter.


September 2, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Artempo: Where Time Becomes Art'


That's the title of an ongoing exhibition (through October 7, 2007) at the Fortuny Museum in in San Marco, Venice (Italy).


Roberta Smith's August 15, 2007 New York Times review follows, along with a number of exemplars from an accompanying slide show.

    Blurring Time and Place in Venice

    You know you’ve wandered into an unusual exhibition when what first appears to be a standing lead sculpture by Anselm Kiefer — an angel’s wing, perhaps, or possibly a shield? — turns out to be something else entirely: an actual elephant’s ear.


    “Artempo: Where Time Becomes Art” is a fabulously eclectic exhibition at the Fortuny Museum here that regularly blurs the line between art and nature. Among the most strange and powerful exhibitions I have seen, it stands at the pinnacle of a curatorial madness that seems to erupt here during the Biennale season.

    “Artempo” belongs to something of a trend: exhibitions that ignore all distinctions of time and place. Like this year’s Documenta art exhibition in Kassel, Germany, it blithely yet rewardingly ignores divisions between periods, styles, mediums and even cultures.


    But it goes further, creating a site-specific, wildly stimulating environment of all kinds of artifacts, functional objects and natural specimens. It has been insinuated into an artist’s house museum, that of the multitalented Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949), an innovator in fashion, textile and lighting who was also a painter, photographer and theatrical designer.

    Fortuny lived, worked and experimented in his 16th-century Venetian-Gothic palazzo for the last 49 years of his life, creating a universe that remains very much intact today. The most ostentatiously Fortunian space is the grand middle floor of the palazzo, draped with the designer’s textiles and lighted by his ornate parasol-like painted silk lamps, which served as a studio-salon-showroom.


    The organizers of “Artempo” have used this setting to create a reverie in three acts, skimming across human and geological history, ruminating on the nature and effects of time. It dramatizes art’s ability to encapsulate time, and time’s ability to turn just about anything, man-made or natural, into art.

    The exhibition was conceived by Mattijs Visser, head of exhibitions at the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, Germany, inspired by the vision and collection of Axel Vervoordt, a Belgian connoisseur, designer and antiques dealer. His many loans here suggest a preoccupation with decay. (Among his pieces are flaking table tops, displayed as paintings.) The show was organized by Jean-Hubert Martin, former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; Mr. Visser; and Giandomenico Romanelli, general director of the city museums of Venice. Daniela Ferretti was exhibition designer.


    “Artempo” moves along the fluctuating line of demarcation “where time becomes art,” where an object’s age and beauty acquire their own value. Beauty may be outright decay, or its speedier cousin, accident. Near the elephant’s ear, for example, are three dark abstract paintings. Two are by Alberto Burri, a precursor of the Arte Povera movement. The third is a 16th-century canvas from the school of Tintoretto, scorched into blackness by fire, on loan from Venice’s famed Galleria dell’Accademia.

    The show’s three acts can be characterized in various ways — as the Marxist thesis, antithesis and synthesis; as a religious journey from earth, through purgatory to heaven; or as a continual back and forth between Mannerism and Modernism.


    On the ground floor, the display is closest to that of a conventional museum — albeit one with very dark walls — and the works center on the human body. It is an object of obsession and distortion for Francis Bacon and Hans Bellmer; a serene classical form in an ancient Roman male torso; and a container for the soul in a small Jain sculpture of a beatific figure that is nothing but a silhouette of air, cut into a small copper plaque. In a video we watch Kimsooja as she watches the River Ganges flow past. We see our own bodies change shape in an immense S-curve of mirrored metal by Anish Kapoor.

    On the second level, ego, death and opulence enter the picture. Things turn mannered and oppressive. Fortuny’s textiles recycle Moorish and Gothic styles into something new; his many paintings are academic-modern, like late Picabia but played straight. The body begins to come apart. There are the flayed figures used to study human musculature; a severely weathered wood figure from 12th-century Japan; two full-size anatomical models from 19th-century France; one of Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings of mute manikins; and several of Lucio Fontana’s slashed abstract paintings, suggesting pierced skin. High above, a skull covered with jewel-like scarabs holds a dead rat it its mouth — not the work of some long-dead Venetian craftsman but of the contemporary Belgian artist Jan Fabre.


    Heads, skulls and masks start to proliferate and the bodies cease to be exclusively human. A stuffed python here, an armadillo there, some petrified dinosaur eggs elsewhere. Disparate things are grouped in wood cupboards: a Hopi mask, a Cycladic goddess, a Yemeni goddess that looks Cycladic and a chunk of coral that is eerily skull-like.

    Just as you’re beginning to grasp the show as a kind of walk-in, large-scale wonder cabinet, a real and quite spectacular one comes into view — about 90 objects displayed in tall glass cabinets stretching across a wall. This is an exhibition in itself: turned ivory objects, chunks of malachite, African fetishes, the head of an 18th-century doge in wax and one of an eighth-century B.C. Egyptian priest in basalt, a sexy photograph by Man Ray. The genius of nature and man vie for attention.


    On the palazzo’s top floor the mood lightens and turns more resolutely contemporary. The walls are pale, beautiful centuries-old patchworks of brick, textured plaster, decorative painting, repairs and partial renovations — a kind of architectural diary. The prevailing motif is less bodies than skin itself — the walls; the surfaces of ceramic vessels both ancient and modern; the gouged and punctured abstract paintings of the 1950s, both European and Japanese. There are burned paintings by Cai Guo-Qiang and Yves Klein, more works by Burri and Fontana, and a mysterious piece of detritus the size of a small car but thickly covered with fine dust, a work from 2006 by the Belgian artist Peter Buggenhout.

    Ultimately, “Artempo” brings art and the display of art full circle by connecting the Renaissance wonder cabinet, a starting point of museums, with modern art, which has done so much to open museums to the outside world. The cabinets were inspired by a fascination with the marvels of both man and nature. Modernism taught us that anything can be considered art. This show marches exultant between those two attitudes.

September 2, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wobble Glasses — Episode 2: Cognac


When it rains, it pours: Episode 1's rocking wine glasses appeared on August 10, 2007 and lo and behold three short weeks later here comes a spiritual partner.

From the website:

    Wobble Cognac Glasses

    A beautiful combination of function and whimsy, this glass was designed with bouquet, temperature and volume in mind.

    The graceful wobble shape of the glass increases the pleasure, deep color and movement of the liquid.

    Made of hand-blown glass in Turkey.

    Designed by Rikke Hagen.

    1.25 cup capacity.

    5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5".



Two for $50.

September 2, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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