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January 16, 2013



"X-Tape is a series of printed adhesive tapes giving the illusion


that your package is sealed with (top down)


hinges, leather straps, O-rings, or tower bolts.

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 8.13.21 PM

9 foot roll: $19.

Right now I'm visualizing my friend Mike Anderson reaching for his wallet just when he thought I'd helped him drain it as much as was gonna happen today — WRONG!

January 16, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Why PCA (Patient-Controlled Analgesia) is a failed technology

Long story short: It kills people.

No medical advance — no matter how much relief and improvement in overall well-being it brings to the many — is worth subjecting a healthy person to the risk of death as collateral damage to benefitting a far larger cohort.

PCA pumps fail.

They malfunction.

They are computer-driven.

Software glitches occur.

Not to mention mechanical breakdowns and health-care practitioners — doctors and nurses — ignoring or overriding limits as well as the routine practice of disabling alarms and fail-safes.

I've reviewed too many medical records in the course of seven- and eight-figure lawsuits to remain silent any longer.

So let me say it again: PCA (patient-controlled analgesia) is a failed technology.

I wouldn't use it or let a loved one have it if it were my call.

I don't care much HOW MUCH it hurts: morphine worked fine for the Greeks and Romans and 10mg IM will still work perfectly well on Mars.

Caveat doctor.

January 16, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Smoked olive oil becomes a pantry essential" — Who knew?


I can't speak for you but me, I never knew smoked olive oil existed til I read Jim Shahin's story (below) in today's Washington Post.

When I asked Curtis M. Cord, executive editor of the Olive Oil Times, about smoked olive oil, he didn't mince words. "It doesn’t really appeal to me, to tell you the truth," he said. "Most foodies aren't crazy about flavored olive oils."

That includes me. You want thyme, garlic or lemon in your dish? Add it directly. Don't debase a nice olive oil with it. As the grandson of Lebanese immigrants, I grew up around the good stuff; I've seen it produced in Tuscany, and my office is decorated with drained bottles of particular favorites. None of them are flavored.

Still, when I first came across smoked olive oil over the holidays, I was intrigued, for one reason: Given my barbecue obsession, smoke beguiles me as much as olive oil does. Smoke and olive oil might not be as natural a pairing as, say, peanut butter and jelly (or perhaps the Kardashians and the debasement of American civilization), but there was only one way to find out whether the combination works. I bought a bottle.

The California company that makes it, The Smoked Olive, is a dream come true — literally — of Al Hartman, a longtime backyard pitman in Sonoma who designs and builds his own grills. "One morning he woke up, looked at me, said he had a dream, and said to me, 'What about smoked olive oil?'" said his wife, Brenda Chatelain. "And I thought, 'That sounds horrible.' But I didn’t want to crush his dreams, so I said, 'I'm not feeling it, but okay.'"

Hartman, 63, tinkered for three years. In 2008, he hit upon a method for gently smoking the oil with a combination of woods without exposing it to heat, light or air, any one of which can degrade olive oil. The couple took the smoked oil to a farmers market in Sonoma, where it sold out in a single day. Soon thereafter, the Smoked Olive went retail.

The Smoked Olive, which uses oil from two nearby Northern California estates, might be the best-known player in an admittedly little-known market. California, where the olive oil business is burgeoning, produces much of the country's smoked oils. Other producers include enFuso, which uses oils from the Capay Valley, in the northern end of the state, and Temecula, which has its own orchards in the south. But I've also tried a hickory-and-pecan-smoked oil from a South Carolina company called Holy Smoke, which gets its oil from California, and a mesquite-smoked oil from Texas Olive Ranch, which uses olives grown on its South Texas land.

All use extra-virgin olive oil and, in their own manner, cold-smoke the liquid. Flavors vary considerably. As expected, given the strong flavor of the wood, the green-tinged, golden-hued mesquite olive oil has an aggressive, immediate smoke that went directly up my nostrils. The smoke flavor of Holy Smoke's clear yellow oil is not as strong but is pungent nonetheless.

The Smoked Olive produces a greenish-gold oil called Napa that's mildly smoky and a vibrant green oil called Sonoma that has a buttery, rich roundness up front and finishes with a soft, full, smoky flavor. Protective of their methods, Chatelain declined to answer my questions about the woods they use. Shed say only that they don't use Liquid Smoke, they do use a blend of woods, and grapevines are involved. Whatever they are doing, the result is luscious.

As with any new discovery, the tendency to overuse smoked oil is ever present. I've drizzled it on grilled trout, added it to a mayonnaise dip with lemon and black pepper for raw vegetables, used it in a vinaigrette. One of my favorites was as a dressing on grilled mandarin oranges with Gorgonzola. The smoke complemented the fruit's sweetness, concentrated by grilling. Plus, I liked the seasonality of the dish, and it looked great on a plate.

Another favorite was hummus. I regard the creamy chickpea dip as perfect and am loath to deform its lemony tahini character with hot peppers and whatever else they're adding to it these days. Yet something told me smoked oil would work, and it does. The smoke doesn't change the nature of hummus; it just makes it more seductive.

I also especially enjoy adding smoked olive oil to — what else? — olives. It gives tangy tapenade an alluring sassiness.

Am I the only one who feels this way? I wondered whether maybe I am biased — if I like the oil simply because I want to, because I’m so enamored of its two components. That's why I called Cord, but although he had harsh words for the idea, he admitted that he hadn't actually tasted any smoked olive oil, including my favorite.

Plenty of other people have. Since launching in 2009, the Smoked Olive products have been picked up by specialty stores nationwide, including Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table. Tyler Florence included the oil by name as an ingredient in two of his cookbooks. Health magazine named it a "pantry essential."

I called Ah Love Oil & Vinegar, a specialty store in Arlington, to ask about sales of smoked oil. "It's very popular," owner Cary Kelly told me, noting that she sold out of her stock of eight cases during the holidays. "People can't get over the taste."

Just because it's popular, of course, doesn't mean it's good. Other flavored olive oils sell plenty well, too. So I wanted to try one more test. On my New Year's Eve table, I set a bowl of the Smoked Olive's Sonoma brand for dipping crusty Italian bread during a multi-course Italian meal. I didn't tell my guests that it was smoked. When passed around, the oil was met with spontaneous outbursts of delight.

Hmm, I thought. Maybe oil and smoke is a natural pairing, after all.

$24 for a 6.75 oz. (200 ml) bottle.

January 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

At Procrastinus.com you can actually measure your procrastination


It's finally come to this: a scientist — Piers Steel, a psychologist at the University of Calgary —  has created a website where you can spend time procrastinating while actually quantifying just how bad your particular problem is.

From the website:

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 7.53.10 AM

I'm sure there's nothing you're supposed to be doing or getting done right now so it won't actually be procrastination, what you're gonna be doing there for the next whatever length of time you spend taking the test to find out how you score on an objective scale of Now vs. Later.

Then, to prolong things just a tad more, you can go to Amazon and ruminate about whether or not to get a copy of Steel's 2011 book, "The Procrastination Equation."


And of course there's last year's "The Art of Procrastination," a masterful summing up of "Structured procrastination," the preferred term of Stanford philosophy professor John Perry, "not a long book (92 quite small pages)... done... only 17 years after he identified the concept."


[via John Tierney writing in the New York Times. Illustration up top by Ron Barrett for the New York Times.]

January 16, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Illuminated Umbrella


From The Green Head :


"Whether you're out walking your dog in the dark of night or just aimlessly on the street, this umbrella will come in handy. This lightweight futuristic rain deflector has a built-in high-intensity light that illuminates your path 360° and high-intensity 3M reflective material on 4 of 8 canopy panels so you'll highly visible. It's also engineered to withstand up winds up to 40 mph."


Wait a sec... what's that book you're reading?

January 16, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bible Emergency Numbers


[via Janna Flory's Pinterest]

January 16, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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