Monthly Archives: April 2006

I just love this tank cozy!

MAKE: Blog
Lone Koefoed writes, “A knitted, pink tank from the Danish Army (related to the knitted pink motorcycle in Georgia). Part of an art exhibition and created by Marianne Joergensen plus appr 1000 volunteers (knitters) from around the world who knitted the squares 15*15 cm which MJ then stitched onto the tank.”

Dr. Charles takes us back to a saner time…

Must be getting old. There are indeed things I miss from the past – even things I never experienced…

The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

“Indulge an old woman and just write that prescription out for me, will you doctor?”

I thought for a moment. “How about I call this in to Walter, that way you don’t have to drop it off. Smith’s Pharmacy delivers you said, right?”

This pleased her immensely, as I knew it would. It was a little bit of shameless grandstanding on my part. “Bless you,” she said. If there’s an easier way to get into the good graces of an elderly woman than calling in her medications for her, then I haven’t yet found it. Or maybe I’m just unwilling to find it, since I suspect it might involve massaging bunions while watching General Hospital before a midday nap.

“So I’ll call it in,” I said. I picked up line six, got the outside line, and punched the digital tones to get me Smith’s Pharmacy on Mill Road. I secretly wished I had a rotary phone. Maybe an old-fashioned cherry cola, too.

“Smith’s Pharmacy, this is Walter speaking, how can I help you,” came the polite baritone voice from the other end of the telephone wire.

“Hello, this is Aidan Charles, how are you today, sir?”

“I’m quite well today, doctor. And how are you?”

I caught the automaton in me becoming uncomfortable talking to a real, live pharmacist instead of an asexual female voice messaging system with twelve options. I was used to: Thank you for calling Big Chain Pharmacy. At Big Chain Pharmacy we’re committed to serving you and your healthcare needs with pride. Did you know that we now offer drive-thru service? Please choose from one of the twelve following options, and have a great day…

“I’m doing alright myself, thank you,” I replied to Walter. “I’m calling today because I have Mrs. O’Brien here in the office. We need to renew her medicines.”

“Mrs. O’Brien,” Walter said with satisfaction. “She’s been coming here since I first opened up. Let me see… any changes to her regimen, or will it still be furosemide 40, metoprolol 50, alendronate weekly, and warfarin 5 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays alternating with warfarin 4 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays?”

I was amazed. “That sounds right. Let’s refill them all for three months, and I’ll see her back then. Would it be any trouble to deliver them to her house?”

“No trouble at all, doctor. Is there anything else we can help you with today?”

Yes, Walter, there is. How about you lead us back into a time and place that respects community, one that doesn’t aim to primarily serve corporations, one that isn’t trying to foist health savings accounts, prescription costs, and the burden of health risk onto the already aching backs of individuals; one in which I can worry more about whether I’ve made the right diagnosis to help my patients than about whether they and their mad dog lawyers are frothing at the mouth ready to sue me if I haven’t; can you bring back F.D.R or Truman or Eisenhower? Can you do that, Walter? Can you also make me a cherry cola like they used to make in the mom and pop pharmacies before I was around?

“No thanks, sir,” I spoke softly into the phone. “It was a pleasure talking with you today. I’ll try to recommend more patients to your pharmacy.”

I hung up the phone and turned to Mrs. O’Brien. She had gathered all her things together and was ready to leave. “I appreciate you calling my pills in. I’m sorry you couldn’t use your fancy computer thing-a-ma-jig. I’m not sure all these gadgets make things easier for us older folks. We’re getting left behind I’m afraid.”

She cautiously stepped through the office on her way out, always one misstep away from falling and breaking a hip. Yet hers was a stronger world in many ways. I was sure of it.

Whaddaya know, females like controlling their own lives…

Whodda thunk it. Females want time to themselves and to feel more in charge of their own sex lives. Pssst, guys, big hint: quit trying to run women’s lives! Espeically the ones you’re not personally involved with. Bill Napoli, I’m talkin’ to YOU.

Via Pharyngula

From The Observer:

The funny thing is, it appears there’s a certain humanlike subjectiveness to the sex life of lab animals as well. When Jim Pfaus tested PT-141 on his female rats, he based his experimental design partly on the work of Raul Paredes, a fellow rat sexologist testing the effects of something more elusive: personal autonomy. That’s a tricky thing to measure, but it can be done. Paredes did it like this: first, he looked at rat couples living in standard, box-shaped cages and recorded the details of their sexual behaviour. Then, he altered the cages in only one particular: he divided them into two chambers with a clear wall broken only by one opening, too small for the males to get through but just right for the females. Architecturally it was a minor change, but what it did for the females was huge. It let them get away from the males whenever they chose to, and thereby made it entirely their choice whether to have sex. Paredes then observed the rats’ behaviour in this altered setting. Here’s what he found: the effects of giving a female rat greater personal control over her sex life are essentially the same as those of giving her PT-141. Autonomy, in other words, is as real an aphrodisiac as any substance known to science.

Of course mother's milk is good for you!

And people wondered why I breastfed my kids. Hardly been sick in their lives other than a few colds.

New penicillin found in wallaby milk – Breaking News – National – Breaking News

Scientists have discovered a bacteria-fighting compound 100 times more effective than penicillin – in wallaby milk.

Researchers found the highly-potent compound, tagged AGG01, was active against a wide variety of fungi and bacteria including antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Research team leader Dr Ben Cocks said the discovery could have a profound impact on both human and animal health.

“This compound has the potential to be commercially synthesised and may prove vital in the war against increasingly resistant human and animal diseases,” Dr Cocks said.

He said researchers from the Victorian government’s Department of Primary Industries made the discovery while investigating the chemical properties of Tammar wallabies’ breast milk to determine how their immune-deficient newborns built up resistance to bacteria while in the pouch.

Using online biological information, they searched the wallaby’s genome to identify more than 30 factors in the breast milk that contribute to fighting bugs.

Compound AGG01 was found to be effective against a relative of the hospital superbug MRSA, or golden staph, as well as ecoli, Streptococci, Salmonella, Bacillus subtilus, Pseudomonas spp, Proteus vulgaris, and Staphylococcus aureus.

Aw, Danny's giving away the SEKRIT!!

By Danny Gregory

Think about it: we all, even Brad Pitt or George Bush, occupy a tiny percentage of any other given person’s interest, That’s why some of us are interested in achieving fame: because it takes all those tiny percentages and multiplies them across millions of people. Eventually that adds up to something.

And because we are all, at best, living in our own self-reflecting bubbles, you should relax and do what you want. Stop caring so much about externals. Make what you like in the way that you do. Sure, maybe you’ll manage to be a blip on someone else’s radar, but that’s not why you bother. Live and make art for the only person that matters or truly cares.



America seems to be waking up to the fact that stolen elections, bogus recalls, movie stars and guys you want to have a beer with don’t actually add up to leadership. If they can be wised up to the fact that tax cuts for billionaires don’t actually benefit them, then we might be getting someplace.


Does this help?

Arrested Development

Woman arrested for speaking freely right after Bush call for “freedom…to speak freely” — and CNN calls it “a blemish” on Hu visit

Woman arrested for speaking freely right after Bush call for “freedom…to speak freely” — and CNN calls it “a blemish” on Hu visit

Usually watching CNN with one eye as we blog from our undisclosed location doesn’t give us much new fodder, except for the occasional “stuck landing gear” crisis. But today we are aghast at the coverage of Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House.

At an outdoor ceremony, Bush told Hu:

China has become successful because the Chinese people are experience the freedom to buy, and to sell, and to produce — and China can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely, and to worship.

Seconds later, one of the people assembled on the White House south lawn actually tried to speak freely right here in America — about both the lack of free speech and religious freedom in China.

That free-speaking woman was promptly hauled off and arrested:

She shouted in heavily accented English, “President Bush: Stop him from killing” and, “President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong.”

Bush, standing next to Hu, leaned over and whispered a comment to the Chinese leader, who paused briefly when the shouting began and then resumed his remarks.

The protester was waving a banner with the red and yellow colors used by Falun Gong, a banned religious movement in China. She kept shouting for several minutes before Secret Service uniformed agents were able to make their way to her position at the top of the camera stand. They dragged her off the stand.

A photographer who was standing next to the protester tried momentarily to quiet her by putting his hand in front of her mouth.

Watching the scene unfold, we felt like we were living on a different planet from the folks at CNN. Any enemy of free speech is an enemy of ours, and we have long loathed the totalitarian regime in Beijing. Like millions of other, we still see the picture of the lone man standing up to a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square as the iconic picture of our times.

Why do we get the impression that President Bush, his Secret Service — and CNN — were rooting for the tanks.

Friday Garden Tao

Amaryllis bloom – there are four of these, about 6″ across.

Climbing Angel Face Rose – this rose blooms right behind our spa, and the scent is as heavenly as its name implies.

Pride of Madera – blooms on the hill behind our house. Somewhere in this picture are two hummingbirds fighting over the blooms.

Unfortunately the dogs and I were chased out of the garden by another sign of spring – a swarm of bees looking for a new home. Had to alert the neighbor’s babysitter to close their garage door – there are two little boys in their family who were probably not all that happy to be forced inside, either.

And our weather is being moody again – after a beautiful week of sunshine and heat, we’re getting a preview of May Gray today. Oh well, at least it was nice for the spring break tourists.