Saturday, July 25, 2009

Medical Rant....

It's the 21st century. Truly and indisputably. Don't try to tell the doctors that.

They still give me multiple forms to fill out that require me to enter my name and address. Even better than that, they ask me to tell them who they are.

Then they ask broad questions with only the most tenuous relationship to the case that are particularly burdensome on those of us who feel compelled (I have no idea why) to answer honestly. "Are there steps in your house?" OK, I can see why that might matter when it comes to counseling me about my behavior after a procedure that might leave me woozy. "How many?"


Maybe they are trying to catch the person that has just a single step down into the kitchen or something, but how useful can that count really be? (There are 26 steps, by the way, including the stairs to the second floor, the stairs to the basement, and single steps down to the family room from both the breakfast room and the dining room) It must make a pretty big difference whether I live in a tiny 4-story house with ladders or a sprawling mansion that has twelve places with shallow single steps....

Then I am supposed to give my height, in feet/inches and in centimeters, and my weight, in pounds and kilograms. They can't do their own effing conversions?

Don't even get me started on the "recreational" questions. Do I smoke cigarettes? Yes, approximately one puff every decade or so.

I write software forms that allows users to enter information using the fewest steps possible. User friendliness is the first thing we think about. If I decided to make a hobby out of doing tonsillectomies on my friends without bothering to get a medical degree first they would have the law down on my butt so fast my head (or tail) would spin. But they haven't the slightest compunction about having rank amateurs designing their user interfaces.

Get with the program.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some advertisements are a bit hard to swallow....

This one for Gaviscon must have been a bit embarrassing.

The video here does not have the badly phrased tag line, but the coloring is still a bit out there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


always has insight.

And my wife always complains....

...that we only have a toilet on the ground floor and the basement. For four (or right now, three) people. It could be worse.


It's not easy moving from Germany to the United States. When I grew up in Germany, World War II was occasionally mentioned -- as a really bad time -- but nobody really dwelled on it. In America, on the other hand, popular comics still included the World War II comics like Sergeant Rock. Even Captain America was still battling mostly Nazi villains. It was considered very humorous to make gestures in my direction ("A German! Let us machine gun him!") Popular culture had Germans always ready to kill and torture innocent people. I so did not want to be a villain - there weren't, to my knowledge, even S&M clubs around where that sort of rep would make us popular.

Imagine my dismay when America came out in favor of torture - or at least winking at it. As long as our side was doing it, it was just "enhanced interrogation techniques." Orwell really knew his stuff.

One of the things that made me prefer Obama to Bush was that he didn't seem to want us to be the villains. Greenwald points out nothing has changed.

American Dream

Guy: That's the new American dream--fuck up your life so much that you get your own tv show.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spotlight personality

Not only was Carl Michael Bellman a great composer of drinking songs, he had a whole genre of jokes named after him. One from my youth, before I knew it was a Bellman joke:
An Englishman, a Frenchman, and a German all died in the war and were sent to hell. The devil greeted them and said that he admired them for their bravery and wished to give each of them a chance to escape damnation. If any one of them could set him a task he could not perform, that one would be sent up to heaven.

The Englishman made the first attempt: one of His Majesty's greatest warships was sunk at Scapa Flow....can you restore it to its former glory? A hundred demons were set to the task, and it took them only 5 minutes to raise and repair the ship.

The Frenchman tried next: in the bombing of our cities, ten of our finest artworks were destroyed - can you bring them back and enrich our culture? A thousand efreets were dispatched, and the art was resurrected in 15 minutes.

As the Englishman and the Frenchman toddled off to eternal damnation, still pleased they had done something for their fatherlands, the German made his request: I'm going to fart now - can you paint it green?

Satan was baffled and the German was saved.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Flynn effect....

This not only has some interesting information about IQ, and how it seems to keep getting better (The Flynn Effect) - how do the curmudgeons who think the world keeps dumbing down deal with that? - it has one of the funniest corrections ever.

Of course.....

some of my friends are already doing this.