Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Aftermath: Population Zero

"Aftermath: Population Zero" investigates what would happen if every single person on Earth simply disappeared. This is the astounding story of a world we will never see. Explore an interactive world without humans.

Is Life After Humans, a genre?

Because just last month the History Channel aired, Life After People.

I dig the date annotation in the preview: Month 10 A.H. I've marked my calendar (Sunday, March 9th, 8PM). I find nature's ability to recover and take over in relative short order very hopeful.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Off Season Drama


The New England Patriots are turning into the 2006 Cincinnati Bengals. I can't wait for free agency (FA opens 2/29) and the draft (4/26-4/27).

1) Belichick breaks silence on 'Spygate'

I really hate the name Spygate and the practice of adding the suffix gate to make anything sound scandalous. Yet another thing Tricky Dick has to answer for.

Coach Belichick faces more allegations of illegal videotaping. Senator Arlen Spector (R-PA) met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the matter.

With all due respect to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (and Philadelphia Eagles fan, the Eagles lost to the Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX) are you serious? The nation is at war, facing a possible recession, the education and health care systems are failing, Polar Bears are gonna be doing some serious swimming pretty soon and this is what you choose to spend time on?

2) Patriots' Willie Andrews charged with marijuana possession.
New England Patriots defensive back Willie Andrews pleaded not guilty to drug possession Tuesday, hours after authorities said they found him with a half-pound of marijuana.

Andrews was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and driving an unregistered motor vehicle, a black Crown Victoria. Prosecutors said he had $6,800 in cash, three bags of marijuana, and no means to smoke the drugs.

If you're gonna roll around with half a pound of pot in your Crown Vic, make sure the tags are up to date.

3) Faulk found with marijuana.
Patriots running back Kevin Faulk has been charged with marijuana possession after he was found with four hand-rolled cigars filled with the illegal substance while attending a concert (Lil' Wayne) in his home state of Louisiana, Capt. John Babin of the Lafayette (La.) Metro Narcotics Task Force said today.


Cute Titles Abound

Back Again, Grounded, Both Legs Hurt, A Matched Pair

Capt. Virgil "The Cooler King" Hilts, at it again.

I broke my left tibia on 2/9/08, while at work. For those keeping track, I previously broke my right leg on 10/28/05. The injury is nowhere near as serious as the original.

Here is a rundown of the events since the accident.

Columbia Hospital - Good Sam now occupies the site.

Sunday, 2/9/08, Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room (Bobby Kennedy was taken there after he was shot at the Ambassador Hotel)

I was taken by ambulance from the accident scene (Wilshire Blvd/MacArthur Park) to Good Samaritan Hospital in LA.

The ER doctor originally diagnosed my injury as a torn MCL, ACL and and/or Meniscus. After he reviewed the x-rays he changed his diagnosis to a broken tibia.

My leg was placed in an immobilizer, I was given crutches and told to stay off the leg, keep it elevated and to ice it down. I was given a prescription for vicodin and ibuprofen and told to return to Good Samaritan Health Center on Monday, 2/11/08.

Of Note: There was a vial of drawn blood (purple top) on the floor in the corner of my examination room. Definitely a violation of JCAHO standards.

Monday, 2/11/08, Good Samaritan Health Center
(Intercare Medical Group, Inc)

I was seen by a general practitioner who referred me to an orthopedic surgeon ASAP. I thought I would be going home in a cast. No such luck, apparently today's appointment was so that I could make an appointment. I have no idea, why I didn't go directly from the ER doctor to an orthopedist. I was sent home with more medication and told the office would call me with an appointment time, hopefully within a few days. The doctor said it would be a miracle if they could schedule me to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon that day.

Of Note:
GSHC seems to do a brisk business with workman's comp cases and pre-employment physicals for LA County. The lobby furniture was stained and the water cooler was empty. The office felt like a clearing house for workman's comp cases.

Tuesday, 2/12/08, L.A. Wilshire Orthopedic & Medical Associates
(Housed within an old section of Good Sam)

After I checked in I was sent for additional x-rays. Apparently, Saturday's did not make the trip from the Good Sam ER to LA Orthopedic.

I was examined by Dr. MS, who said I would need surgery and recommended I see a specialist (Dr. TS). Looking at the X-ray, Dr. S said, "I'd say 100% of Orthopedists would operate. I'm a sports guy, you want someone who does these all the time." He said from a prognosis/recovery standpoint it would have been better if I had torn something rather than a broken my tibia as I did.

Surgery, ouch.

I was sent home with the immobilizer and crutches and given an appointment for a CAT scan later that day.

Of Note: The x-ray tech said that he often has people complain of knee pain but that he had never seen such a visible crack in the bone.


Tuesday, 2/9/08, Western Imaging (In Culver City, adjacent to Brotman Medical Center.)

CT of the right tibia and fibula, without IV contrast. The fissure in the middle and the depressed right side are the problems.

Dr. P's "Findings: The digital radiograph demonstrates extensive traumatic deformity of the distal tibia and fibula on the right. There is extensive comminution . . .
I had to look comminution up.

1. The act of reducing to a fine powder or to small particles; pulverization; the state of being comminuted.
2. (Surg.) Fracture (of a bone) into a number of pieces.

The second definition is only slightly better than the first.
. . . of the left lateral tibial plate. There is approximately 10 mm depression of the posterior lateral tibial plate. There is a large joint effusion. Axial scans demonstrate a fat fluid level, consistent with the tibial plate fracture."


Of Note: At first glance the WI building looks like an addition put onto a house for a jacuzzi or sun room. There is ample parking but no handicapped button on the door. While I was waiting to be seen an elderly couple staggered in. The husband spoke with the receptionist while the wife panted heavily. After 15 minutes they got up and left.

Friday, 2/15/08, L.A. Wilshire Orthopedic & Medical Associates

Dr. TS's Prognosis: Surgery, followed by 12 weeks of no weight bearing, followed by a month of walking with crutches, followed by 2-4 months of rehab. 25% chance of needing a knee replacement, possibly within as little as two years.

Estimated recovery time: 6-8 months

I was given a prescription for more vicodine and sent home with the immobilizer and crutches.

Of Note:

Lego: "Do you do a lot of these surgeries?"
Dr. TS: "I do a lot of the tibial fractures we see at Good Sam, but we don't see that many. At county they see a lot more of these."

I was not bowled over by the doctor's confidence or his prognosis. The paperwork he gave me said, "Orthopaedic Spine Surgery" underneath his name. I had already asked to be seen by a doctor that was closer to my home. After thinking it over for the weekend, I decided that I should go see Dr. G, the Orthopedist who fixed my right leg. Luckily, Dr. G accepts workman's comp cases. He was initially booked but my nurse case manager played the "two time looser card" and was able to get me an appointment.

Thursday, 2/21/08, Orthopedic Institute, Torrance

Dr. G's prognosis: Provided the surgery goes as planned, I'll be bearing weight in 6 weeks and although there is still the possibility of a knee replacement it would most likely be at least decade down the road.

Estimated recovery time: 3-6 months

Quotables from Dr. Gold:

"There are easier ways to see me."

"We know you're a good healer. Not everybody would have healed like that (motioned to my right leg)."

"I have a simple grading system for the fractures I deal with; B, RB & RFB; bad, real bad and . . . you're real bad."

Surgery Overview:

The depressed part of my tibia will be propped up and filled in. He mentioned using coral (yes, swim in the sea coral) for the fill. An "L" shaped plate will be screwed to the top of of my tibia to hold it together. I will be able to bend my knee right away.


Where do things stand now (ha, ha):

My leg was wrapped in an ace bandage to help prevent a blood clot and I was sent home with the immobilizer and crutches to await surgery.

The moral of the story is, always get a second opinion. While I think the first doctor I saw was trying to give me the worst case scenario, I feel much more comfortable with Dr. G, knowing that he sees a lot of tibia fractures and has previously fixed me.

BTW: I'm proud of the right side rebuild. It's been carrying all the weight since the accident and holding up fine.

I feel a bit like Dengar in the immobilizer.

Look closely, what's that innovation? Ace bandages now have built in velcro attachments.

Tuesday, 2/26/08 (Rolling Hills)

Pre-surgery screening. A doctor will draw blood samples and make sure I am healthy enough for surgery.

Wednesday, 2/27/08, Little Company of Mary Hospital (Torrance)

Surgery scheduled at 1:30PM. Dr. G will do the cutting and mending. I will be in the hospital overnight.

I'm not sure if my room will come complete with a recently expanded family or not.


the old man's friend

Study suggests antibiotics are overused
Carla K. Johnson, AP, 2/25/08

CHICAGO - A woman dying of Alzheimer's has a fever. Should she be given antibiotics? Many people would say yes. But a provocative new study suggests that antibiotics are overused in people dying of dementia diseases and should be considered more carefully because of the growing problem of drug-resistant superbugs.

The study raises ethical questions about when it's acceptable to withhold perhaps futile treatment and let people die, and whether public health issues should ever be considered.

In the study, more than 200 people with advanced dementia from Boston-area nursing homes were followed for 18 months or until their deaths. Almost half died during that time. All the patients failed to recognize loved ones, had stopped speaking, were unable to walk or feed themselves and were incontinent.

Antibiotic overuse contributes to the rise of superbugs, so experts have been calling on doctors to curb the liberal prescribing of antibiotics in many types of patients, including children with earaches and adults with sore throats.

Once called "the old man's friend," pneumonia can be an acceptable end when a patient's quality of life is extremely low and everyone agrees the patient would want a dignified death, said another expert not involved in the study.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

plug in smart


TH!NK GLOBAL is the new owner of the electric car producer TH!NK. Formerly part of the Ford Motor Company, TH!NK was taken over by a group of Norwegian investors in March 2006. Our goal is to make TH!NK the leading electric car producer in the world.

Energy storage nears its day in the sun

Gerard Wynn, Reuters, 2/22/08

The economic opportunities are highlighted by a third company, U.S.-based EnerDel, which aims to supply batteries for the "Th!nk City" electric vehicle, manufactured by Norway's Think Global.

In the case of electric cars, cheap, lightweight batteries are needed to power motors, and will eliminate carbon emissions if the batteries are charged using renewable power sources.

EnerDel has patented a lithium-ion battery which it says is lighter and cheaper than the nickel metal hydride batteries currently used in hybrid electric cars such as the Toyota Prius.

"I think energy storage is the next frontier," said Charles Gassenheimer, chairman of EnerDel's owners Ener1 Inc.

The "Th!nk" car could be the world's first mass production electric vehicle, starting in earnest in 2009. It will go from 0 to 60 miles an hour in about 8 seconds and have a range of up to 100 miles, said Gassenheimer.

Investors have given their thumbs up to Ener1, which now has a market capitalization of around $700 million, a ten-fold increase over two years ago.

Unparalleled Parking
Janice O'Leary, Boston Globe, 2/24/08

Auto dealer Herb Chambers gets us up to speed on the diminutive Smart car, which arrived in the area last month.

Is it true that there's a waiting list that stretches into next year?

Yes, but some customers have not been able to take the car they ordered because of some change in their situation, so there are a few available for purchase right now. We have about 800 on our list now in Mass. One of the first cars we delivered went to Beacon Hill.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


El Fornio Brand Dolphin Meat ~ More Than Beauty

Last month I posted a quote regarding the dolphin drive in Taiji, Japan. Here's an update.

Mercury Taint Divides a Japanese Whaling Town
Martin Fackler, NY Times, 2/28/08

TAIJI, Japan — For years, Western activists have traveled to this remote port to protest the annual dolphin drive. And for years, local fishermen have ignored them, herding the animals into a small cove and slashing them until the tide flows red.

But now, a new menace may succeed where the activists have failed: mercury.

According to the local whaling museum, the people of Taiji have hunted coastal whales for 400 years. Whaling is a mainstay of the economy, and every year Taiji sends off young men as harpooners and sailors aboard Japan’s whaling fleet. “We are a whaling community, and we don’t want to lose that,” said Katsutoshi Mihara, chairman of the town council. “Here, all boys grew up dreaming of hunting whales.”

Professor Endo participated in the studies that first brought mercury risks in dolphin to light. Since 2000, he has tested hundreds of samples of dolphin and whale meat throughout the country. In dolphin and pilot whale, he said he has typically found mercury levels ranging from 10 to 100 parts a million, far above the Japanese government’s advisory level of 0.4 part a million.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sorry, that's not our department


Huge beef recall issued
Victoria Kim & Mitchell Landsberg, LA Times, 2/18/08
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the largest beef recall in its history Sunday, calling for the destruction of 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef produced by a Chino slaughterhouse that has been accused of inhumane practices.

The action came nearly three weeks after the Humane Society of the United States released a video showing workers at the plant using forklifts and water hoses, among other methods, to rouse cattle too weak to walk. In addition to issues of animal cruelty, the video raised questions about whether so-called downer cattle were entering the food chain in violation of federal regulations.

The recall was initiated voluntarily by the company, because the federal government does not have the authority to take such action.
Um, who would have the authority?

Monday, February 18, 2008

smart review


ForTwo fits urban drivers
Passenger space a plus, but cargo a squeeze in Smart compact coupe
Kelsey Mays, Cars.Com, 2/18/08 via

There is nothing else on the market quite like the Smart ForTwo, which just hit showrooms in the United States. It's nearly one-third shorter than the next smallest car around, the Mini Cooper, and it comes nicely equipped for around $13,500.

But before you rush out to buy one, consider some inherent limitations. The ForTwo is no substitute for a subcompact Toyota or Hyundai - it's a two-seat runabout that's groomed for urban driving. US testing agencies haven't yet conducted crash tests on it, and the mid-30s gas mileage estimate carries an asterisk: Smart recommends premium fuel. Still want one? Get in line - the waiting list is months long. Its maker, Smart, is a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz.

There's nothing smart about premium.

I would have to agree with Mays' assessment of the brakes:

"Standard antilock brakes use discs up front and drums in back. I found the pedal rock-hard, imprecise, and not all that powerful."

I thought that the abruptness/stiffness/sensitivity in braking was due in part to my leg being a rebuild or from me being so used to driving the Camry.

Other bummers:

The steering wheel is in a fix position and cruise control is unavailable.

Friday, February 15, 2008

To Be Avoided

The Knight Industries 3000

Thank gooodness the writers are back at work. They better not similarly sully the Magnum P.I. movie.

In case you need to wash to the taste of the KI3K out of your mouth.

I'll probably watch the movie unless I can find some episodes of Hardcastle & McCormick or Riptide.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Obama's victory speech from 2/12/08.

The punchline comes at the 2:10 mark. I like the developing swagger.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Hassle Free Commenting


I removed the comment restrictions in order to facilitate dialogue because though a blog is largely an outlet for one's self sometimes I feel like I'm talking to the wind, which for a man that often shakes an angry fist at the sea is not that odd but let me know if you find something amusing, interesting, have something related or even if you are offended (being offended will not necessarily generate an apology but who knows maybe I'll see what a lout I am and issue a retraction or amendment).

I can already see the Free Viagra and Best Website Ever offers I'm going to have to cull.


Yes, that was me on all four talking into an air vent on 52nd & Broadway.

This Valentine's Day . . .

make it an Ipod, because nothing says I love you like high-end personal electronics.

~Gagets for Valentine's Day


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Aerosol Pig Brain


**Bacon eaters be warned, the following may knock you off the swine for a while.

A Medical Mystery Unfolds in Minnesota
Denise Grady, NY Times, 2/5/08

And the disease that confronted doctors at the Austin Medical Center here last fall was strange indeed. Three patients had the same highly unusual set of symptoms: fatigue, pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the legs and feet.

The patients had something else in common, too: all worked at Quality Pork Processors, a local meatpacking plant.

A survey of the workers confirmed what the plant’s nurses had suspected: those who got sick were employed at or near the “head table,” where workers cut the meat off severed hog heads.

On Nov. 28, Dr. DeVries’s boss, Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the state epidemiologist, toured the plant. She and the owner, Kelly Wadding, paid special attention to the head table. Dr. Lynfield became transfixed by one procedure in particular, called “blowing brains.”

As each head reached the end of the table, a worker would insert a metal hose into the foramen magnum, the opening that the spinal cord passes through. High-pressure blasts of compressed air then turned the brain into a slurry that squirted out through the same hole in the skull, often spraying brain tissue around and splattering the hose operator in the process.

The brains were pooled, poured into 10-pound containers and shipped to be sold as food — mostly in China and Korea, where cooks stir-fry them, but also in some parts of the American South, where people like them scrambled up with eggs.

The person blowing brains was separated from the other workers by a plexiglass shield that had enough space under it to allow the heads to ride through on a conveyor belt. There was also enough space for brain tissue to splatter nearby employees.

You could see aerosolization of brain tissue,” Dr. Lynfield said.

The workers wore hard hats, gloves, lab coats and safety glasses, but many had bare arms, and none had masks or face shields to prevent swallowing or inhaling the mist of brain tissue.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Directed by Otto Preminger
Gene Tierney
Dana Andrews
Clifton Webb
Vincent Price


Waldo Lydecker: Have you ever been in love?

Det. Lt. Mark McPherson: A doll in Washington Heights once got a fox fur out of me.

Waldo Lydecker: Ever know a woman who wasn't a doll or a dame?

Det. Lt. Mark McPherson: Yeah one but she kept walking me by furniture windows to look at the parlor suites.


Det. Lt. Mark McPherson: "When a dame gets killed she doesn't care how she looks."


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Zero Confidence


I just returned from voting well, sort of.

I went to the polling place stated on my sample ballot which was:


I have voted at the Veteran's Building since moving to Culver City four years ago.

I was informed at the Veteran's Bldg, that there had been a mix up and that my polling place was now at the Culver City Library.

When I arrived at the library to vote, I was told that I wasn't on their list either.

The poll workers gave me the option of voting provisionally or calling the Registrar of Voters to confirm my polling place. Wanting my vote to be counted tonight, I called the Registrar's office and they listed my polling place as the Veteran's Memorial Building.

Out of options, I was forced to vote provisionally or not vote at all despite having been registered to vote for years and not having moved since the last election.

When I returned home I double checked the Registrar of Voters website, which listed my polling place as:


Note the website (room D) and sample ballot (room B) had different room numbers. Room D was closed and empty. The poll workers in room B sent me to the library.

Adding to the confusion, I received notification on 11/6/07, stating that my polling place had changed to:


Since my sample ballot came after the above notice and listed the Veteran's Bldg, I headed there.

At this point I have no confidence that my vote will be counted. I imagine that some people who are told to go to another polling place simply give up and go home especially if they've already fought rush hour traffic to get to the polls. The entire experience left me with serious doubts as to the fairness of elections.

According to my provisional voter receipt:

"Your ballot will be counted if the Registrar's Office establishes your eligibility ti vote."

"If you would like to know if your ballot was counted, please call . . . no sooner than 40 days after the election."

Immortal Sergeant


Henry Fonda
Maureen O'Hara
Thomas Mitchell
Reginald Gardiner

Cpl Colin Spence (Henry Fonda): Look you want my story don't you

Benedict (Reginald Gardiner): Rather

Cpl Colin Spence: Then you do something for me first. I want to send a cable.

Benedict: OK

Cpl Colin Spence: It's to Valentine (Maureen O'Hara). You know her address.

Benedict: Yes.

Cpl Colin Spence: Say: I wanna marry you. Will send engagement ring. Love, Colin

Benedict: What is this some kind of a joke?

Cpl Colin Spence: I don't expect she'll think so.

Benedict: Well I'm afraid it's against regulations for me to send this but um an orderly might take it or a nurse.

Cpl Colin Spence: No it might wait about for days. That won't do. You're a corespondent. You've got priorities. Send it to your paper if you want, tell 'em to forward it.

Benedict: Well I'm afraid you don't know what the censors here are like.

Cpl Colin Spence: I don't care either. They're gonna turn me into a tinpot hero, I'm gonna cash in on it. You see I'm no longer the fellow you knew in London as Colin Spence. I'm another man altogether and a very good one. I had to come all the way out here to meet a tough sargent named Kelly who was born in a slum and educated in an army camp before I was fit for a woman like Valentine.

He's dead now but he taught me one thing, if I want Valentine or anything else worthwhile in life I gotta fight for it. That's not a bad thing for a man to find out is it Benedict? Or for a nation either for that matter. To fight

Benedict: You're delirious

Cpl Colin Spence: Never mind what I am go get that cable off.

fff, I'll murder ya if you don't. I've killed men you know. Men'd make a meal of you. You think I'm joking but you're not quite sure are ya? I'll remove that doubt, I'm not.


A Matched Pair



If they are going to put coffee shops in grocery stores, the carts should have cup holders. Pushing a cart, picking up the week's bacon and sipping one's coffee is quite a ballet in the absence of a cup holder.