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March 8, 2012

Bentley SUV concept could be world's most expensive sport-utility vehicle

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It's only a concept at present but appears to be on track for the real world, according to Christoph Rauwald's March 5 Wall Street Journal article, from which come the following excerpts.

Volkswagen AG is showcasing what could be the world's most expensive sport-utility vehicle when its Bentley brand lifts the veil on a new concept car [above and below] at the Geneva International Motor Show this week.

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Annual sales volume is expected to be roughly between 3,500 and 5,000 vehicles.

The concept car features a large 12-cylinder engine, which delivers 610 horsepower, and a high-seating position similar to Tata Motors Co.'s luxury Range Rover brand, which would be one of the Bentley vehicle's main potential rivals. The Bentley SUV would sell for a higher price than any other SUV currently available.

March 8, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mantyhose — Pantyhose for real men

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Reader Kay sent me news of this 

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new entry

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in the male fashion derby.

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Looks like it's working for this dude:

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If he plays his cards right and avoids ladders, no telling what might happen....

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What do you think?

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Does it... have legs?

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Available worldwide.

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Note added at 7:18 p.m. tonight: What's that music Joe Peach is hearing?

March 8, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: The dirty little secret of hernia repair surgeons don't want you to know

Anesthesiologists who care for patients undergoing hernia repair have known for decades that laparoscopic techniques are inferior to the old-fashioned open approach (above) in several respects.

The Wall Street Journal's Laura Landro brought this news to the great world in a February 28 article, from which excerpts follow.

Hernia repair, one of the most common surgical procedures, carries a risk many patients don't consider: chronic pain after surgery.

More than 30% of patients may suffer from long-term chronic pain and restricted movement after surgery to fix a hernia, a bulge of the intestine or body fat through a weak area in the abdomen, studies show. New synthetic mesh devices, though better than traditional sutures at reinforcing the abdominal wall, can irritate nerves and carry a slightly higher risk of infection.

More than a million patients a year undergo surgery for some kind of hernia. About 80% are so-called inguinal hernias in the groin area. There isn't always an obvious cause. Some are hereditary or linked to weakness in the abdominal wall that may happen at birth when the abdomen lining doesn't close properly. Hernias can affect both adults and children, and men are most at risk.

There are two main approaches to repairing a hernia: an open repair that requires a large incision, or a minimally invasive laparoscopic technique, which uses a camera to guide instruments through a tiny incision.

Studies show that patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery have a quicker recovery and less short-term pain than with open repair. But in either surgery, small nerves can be irritated by the procedure or the repair mesh as well as by sutures or tacks used to hold the mesh against the abdominal wall.

Serious complications can occur if the surgical mesh or other devices break or become twisted or dislodged; a commonly used mesh product was recalled in 2006 by its manufacturer because of the potential for breakage inside patients, and a number of class-action suits have been brought by patients who experienced complications like bowel perforation and infection.

Not only do modern laparoscopic techniques take longer than open repairs — oftimes three or four times longer — but they also always employ placement of surgical mesh over the defect.

Thus, a foreign body — with its accompanying risks of infection and post-operative discomfort and/or pain due to mechanical factors, in addition to the possibility of an inflammatory reaction to the mesh — is part and parcel of the procedure, which requires inflation of the abdomen with carbon dioxide under pressure to enable the surgeon to visualize the herniated intestine.

An open repair by an experienced surgeon — something that will grow increasingly uncommon as older surgeons who trained doing open repairs give way over time to younger surgeons for whom the default procedure is laparascopic — is very quick, on the order of 15-30 minutes, without the need for placement of mesh.

In addition, complications are much less likely to occur because the approach under direct vision is unambiguous and relatively uncomplicated, as opposed to the limited field of view and restricted access via the laparoscope.

I have watched laparoscopic surgeons struggle with closing hernia defects and mesh placement for many more frustrated hours than I care to recall, and one of the things that has most impressed me is how arbitrary the technique is, as opposed to open visualization and closure of the hernia.

One other thing: a competent surgeon can perform an open repair using local anesthesia with conscious sedation; laparascopy requires general anesthesia including endotracheal intubation, total muscle paralysis, and machine ventilation.

I'll opt for an open repair — hold the mesh — 100% of the time, if it's my hernia.

March 8, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Chromatherapy Cushion

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From the website:

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Light-up cushion gently shifts colors to create mood lighting.

Internal light source illuminates the whole cushion with a gently changing light that shimmers between different colors.

Powered by an internal battery pack that sits tucked away inside a zip-up compartment.

Low-energy LEDs ensure that the cushion is both bright and safe.

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Ideal for use as a reassuring nightlight in a child's bedroom.

A tap to the pillow's center brings it to life or switches it off.

14" x 14" x 7".

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Still not sure?

Watch the video,

maybe it'll get you off the fence.

$39.95.

March 8, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Elizabeth Sterzinger on the "Oxford comma" — Episode 2: Always, not maybe

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Yesterday's Episode 1 post featuring Ms. Sterzinger's witty visual demonstration of the so-called "Oxford comma" (above) elicited a passionate follow-up email from her, pointing out that to her way of thinking I still didn't get it.

She was right.

Read her email (below) and you will understand why it instantly overturned my lifelong practice of omitting the second comma from a series of three items, resulting in my new policy of always employing it unless it interferes with the meaning intended.

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Thank you!

However.

We disagree, sharply, as to usage — unless I misunderstand your post (which is possible, because I read it fast).

The serial (Oxford) comma, according to people who understand language the best* (e.g., the MLA, NOT the AP), should ALWAYS be used to separate the last and second to last items (before the conjunction) in ANY list of parallel items, be those items nouns, verbs, or modifiers.** This includes those instances even when excluding it would *not* cause confusion. The goal is consistency and clarity, not "preference." 

*I say that not to sound snobbish, merely matter-of-fact.

**Had I excluded the serial comma from this sentence, someone who didn't know that I clearly understand that only adjectives and adverbs function as modifiers in English could have assumed that "verbs or modifiers" qualify as "nouns" in my book.

The serial or Oxford comma should only be excluded when its absence intentionally suggests a significant connection or relation between the last two items — that is, when the items are NOT syntactically parallel.

For example:

Correct: The American flag is red, white, and blue.

Incorrect: The American flag is red, white and blue.

Syntactically, the incorrect example above could suggest that white and blue parenthetically clarify or "flesh out" what is meant by "red." Common sense tells us that this is not true. However, "common sense" did not tell Robert Frost's editor what he meant when he wrote:

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

    But I have promises to keep

    And miles to go before I sleep

This editor jammed a serial comma into the first line of this stanza, so it read:

    The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

which is a different (and less interesting) line entirely. The line, as Frost (eeeek!) intended it, suggested that the woods are lovely IN THAT they are dark and deep — or — the woods are lovely, but that loveliness has to do with darkness and depth. The line with the serial comma suggests that the woods are three things — and that is that.

What all of the above suggests is that the serial comma SHOULD ALWAYS be used before the conjunction in a parallel list. That way, when an author excludes it, the reader (or, in Frost's case, editor) knows, and doesn't have to guess or gather from context, that there is a significant connection between the last two items, and that, for example, "lovely," "dark," and "deep" are not intended to be used in parallel construction.

That is a very poor explanation of one of my most dearly-held principles, not clarified further because my computer battery is dying. In short, usage guides often suggest that the serial comma can be excluded according to taste and preference, and included only when necessary to preserve clarity. Legal writing experts, academic writing experts, and others who prioritize clarity and consistency disagree. I'm passionate about it!

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What an asset is thelizabeff to bookofjoe.

I'm really considering bumping her salary yet again, just a day after I doubled it.

That should bring her into minimum wage territory.

Oops — TMI?

No matter, she's got a thick skin, she'll get over it.

thelizabeff? 

Bueller?

Anyone?

March 8, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Psycho Ducky Shower Curtain

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"Quack."

Be very afraid.

Gray and white; 76" x 76"; polyester.

$19.95.

March 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to make your hanko stamp

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ze frank offers three methods, each with its own pros and cons along with step-by-step photographic instructions.

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More on hanko stamps here.

[via Gentlemint]

March 8, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cantaloupe Bowl — Episode 2: Dead Ringer

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The iteration in 2010's Episode 1 was OK but this one trumps it by a mile.

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From The Green Head: "These unique earthenware bowls from artist Melanie McKenney are cast from molds made from actual cantaloupes to realistically capture the distinctive texture of the rind, then finished with a non-toxic, food-safe glaze. Hand made in Tonawanda, New York."

Set of two: $44.

March 8, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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