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May 27, 2008

Reflections while cleaning Humphrey's litter box

As I was freshening it up yesterday it occurred to me that a person who really, really loved their cat and didn't have another person or living thing they cared for anywhere near as much might, upon the death of their kitty, be plunged into a depression so severe that it seemed nothing could ever make it lift.

In such a case I could see how leaving the result of the cat's last visit to its litter box intact rather than tossing it out would be a reasonable response to the grief and that keeping it for as long as it took for things to start to brighten up would be potentially a very helpful bridge back to the world.

Though I've never heard of anyone doing this, I'm certain that many people have but they don't dare mention it to anyone for fear of being thought strange or worse.

To me, whatever works is reasonable.

But then, I've always been accused of being far too practical.

This was oftimes demonstrated back in the ivory tower of academic anesthesia, teaching residents how not to kill people.

During induction — especially in children — premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are quite common even when everything's done correctly.

And PVCs sometimes herald the imminent onset of far worse: ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest.

The resident, struggling mightily to maintain a mask airway, oftimes isn't aware that the EKG monitor's showing cardiac dysrhythmias, so focused is she on trying to keep gas from leaking around the sides of the mask.

So when I'd casually mention that the kid's got some PVCs as I took over masking for a minute to let the resident's hand muscles unspasm, she'd usually open the top drawer of the anesthesia cart and rummage around for a prefilled 100mg lidocaine syringe.

As she turned back to the patient to find an IV port I'd say, "You won't be needing that."

Because while lidocaine is the right thing to give for PVCs, in this situation it's not the best thing.

Instead, turning up the anesthesia concentration while continuing to mask ventilate almost always makes the PVCs disappear.

There is a huge difference — both in the OR and in the world outside it — between what's right and what works best.

Me, I'm always with what works, even if it's not the "right" thing.

As I said, I'm far too practical for most people's tastes.

Which has caused me endless grief interpersonally through the years.

And you know what?

I wouldn't have it any other way.

May 27, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Dog Bone Pill Carrier — Organize your 'pet's' meds


Takes "hiding in plain sight" to the next level.

"Of course, those are my dog's pills," you say when someone spots your goofy bone.

"Who'd keep their meds in something that stupid looking?"

As if.

    Dog Bone Pill Carrier

    Organize your pet's meds in this easy to "spot" pillbox

    With this large visual reminder, you’re less likely to miss your pet’s daily dose of medications.

    Lids on this pet pillbox snap tight for a sure-fitting seal — and there’s no mistaking this pill box for anyone else’s.

    Spotted like a Dalmatian, this plastic dog bone has a compartment for every day of the week.

    Great for travel, or to leave with the dog sitter or kennel while you’re away.

    And when they’re organized this way, you won’t miss a dose.

    You pet’s pills stay secure under snap-tight lids.

    Even includes Braille markings.




May 27, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who wants to be a movie star?

For many years, as long as I can remember, I've mused about how actors seem to fall into two categories: the few who really are different from the rest of us (they have talent) and the great majority who have nothing special to offer but were, for one reason or another, anointed and thereafter pointed at fame and fortune.

In the former category — real actors — I'd put Cate Blanchett (her stunning turn as Bob Dylan [above] in "I'm Not There" ought to silence any doubters — if there were any remaining), Tommy Lee Jones, Russell Crowe, Sean Connery, Ian Holm, Michael Caine, Robert DeNiro and Naomi Watts.

Among the latter group (civilians who somehow found themselves on magazine covers and whatnot, fleeing from paparazzi) you'd find Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Alec Baldwin, Leonardo diCaprio, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Spacey, John Cusack, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner and Julia Roberts, among countless others.

What brought these musings from vague thoughts into words was Rob Walker's entry on Calvert DeForest in the 2007 edition of his annual compendium, "Where Were You?"

Excerpts follow.

    Calvert DeForest

    ... Larry "Bud" Melman [below] had died.... Melman was absolutely critical to my experience with Letterman, and my experience with Letterman is critical to my life. I believe I was maybe 13 when I first saw the Letterman show, and however old I was, I am certain that it was the show's second week on the air. I was just blown away by it, I thought it was one of the funniest things ever. And Melman, doing bizarre "Toast on a Stick" spots and the like, was a key reason. I assumed he was not a professional performer, but now I'm not sure. The somewhat imprecise obit says: "Mr. DeForest's late-blossoming television career began with a New York University student film project called 'King of the Zs,' by future Letterman writers Stephen Winer and Karl Tiedemann, who brought him along when they joined the Late Night staff. At the time, Mr. DeForest was working as a file clerk at a drug rehabilitation center. He was picked up by a black limousine, given his stage name, and became the first image of 'Late Night With David Letterman,' before the opening credits on the debut episode."

    I would like a better explanation of how he ended up in the student film. Was he an aspiring performer, or what? Because to me, one of the great insights of what Letterman did was turn non-professional performers into stars. Whether it was his writers, or stage hands, or merchants in the neighborhood, anybody could become a successful Late Night... regular. And in a way, every time a stage hand did a bit, it made a mockery of the entire process of show business. Or so it seems to me. Even Letterman's habit of getting people to host his show without any prior experience in such things, or without any warning (he's done this before) lines up, I think, with my theory that his show has always been a critique of shows like his.


Just so.

In a similar vein, newspapers and TV create news where none really exists simply because they have to fill space.

Something has to be the main headline even if nothing of significance happened, and thus "important" stories are brought into existence and given their gravitas — whether or not they really possess any — by dint of placement above the fold.

Sentence first, verdict afterwards, you might say.

Well, maybe you wouldn't — but I would.

Go ask Alice, she'll tell you how it is.

May 27, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Miracle Mini Pump — 'Moves 200 gallons an hour without electricity or moving parts'


I must admit that I really tried to understand how this device works but my TechnoDolt™ brain just wasn't up to the task.

Over to you.

From the website:

    Miracle Mini Pump™

    Here's an inexpensive way to clear out over 200 gallons per hour without electricity, batteries or moving parts — it always works.

    Drain anything using 300-year-old laws of physics.

    Ideal for draining pool covers, inflatable wading pools, garden ponds and fountains, hot tubs, aquariums, boat bilges, even stopped-up sinks.

    Rugged polypropylene is maintenance-free and nearly indestructible.




May 27, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Click to Drive


Seems obvious enough now that I've thought of it but if that's the case how come no one else has?

The penny dropped last evening as I was looking back over the day's posts and once again was struck by the superb Western Australia ad campaign promoting seat belt use.

Then I happened on one of those full page ads that've been running recently in the New York Times, heaping scorn on the idea of mandatory breath test ignition interlock systems being promoted by MADD and its allies.

The ads show mug shots of famous people who've been booked for drunk driving and tell us it's a good idea for them but not for hoi polloi, who won't be able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a beer at the ball game should the new technology be adopted.

You know what?

Zero-tolerance for alcohol when driving is an idea whose time arrived long ago but for some reason — except in Sweden, where any blood alcohol detected in a driver means mandatory jail time — has been relegated to the quackery department everywhere else.

I was for it when I was young and I'm still for it and I'll always be for it.

Who wouldn't want to be certain that the idiot coming toward you in the wee small hours of the evening, weaving back and forth across the center line, isn't seeing triple?


This isn't about alcohol, it's about seat belts.

Why not simply build an ignition interlock into the driver's seat belt such that if it's not closed, the car won't start?

Sure, you could always click the belt shut and then start the car and either unclick or sit on the closed belt but who'd bother?

Genius, if I do say so myself.

But clearly I'm missing something big 'cause it would have been done a long time ago if I weren't.



May 27, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Spaghetti Bench


By Pablo Reinoso.

May 27, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

OpenStreetMap — 'Free editable map of the whole world'


"OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you."

"OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth."

May 27, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ladder/Hand Truck


What is it all of a sudden with these ladder mashups?

Last week we had a ladder/ironing board and now this.

Can a ladder computer be imminent?

How about a ladder parachute?

What color is your ladder?

Catchy, what?

The possibilities are endless.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

2-in-1 Ladder/Hand Truck


Unlike traditional step ladders, this unit easily converts to a heavy-duty hand truck, combining two indispensable household tools in one while taking up half the usual storage space to keep both items at hand.

The strong, durable aluminum frame supports 300 lbs. as a ladder and 250 lbs. as a truck and the oversized polypropylene steps provide sure footing.

Rated for "Industrial-Heavy" use, the ladder-truck has a padded foam handle and 4" rubber wheels.

Its light overall weight make transport more comfortable and its
folded depth (6-1/2") ensures simple, compact storage.

49-1/2"H x 14-1/2"W x 6-1/2"D.

14 lbs.



May 27, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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