Here are the details as provided by ACW and edited for content by moi:
Who: ACW and Balto bloggers What: A happy hour to celebrate, venerate, and adulate ACW When: Friday, August 1st, let’s say 6pm (this content edited as NSFW by blog administrator) Where: Don’t Know Tavern 1453 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230 Why: Because ACW is so f@#$%n' awesome and he deserves it and you really really want to buy him a beer for providing so many pants-wettingly excellent laughs over the years.
Deaths from medication mistakes at home increased from 1,132 deaths in 1983 to 12,426 in 2004. Adjusted for population growth, that amounts to an increase of more than 700 percent during that time.
Too many drugs, too much pharmaceutical advertising, too much doctor shopping by patients, too much prescribing sleep aids and pain killers by physicians to enable people and keep them from facing their true pain (which they're already self medicating with alcohol), just too much....
The increase was steepest in death rates from mixing medicine with alcohol or street drugs at home; that death rate climbed from 0.04 per 100,000 people in 1983 to 1.29 per 100,000 people in 2004.
If you think illegal drugs are a problem - they're literally a loaded gun, and prescription and OTC drugs are the bullets.
I think it's sad that the Government has to bail out the housing crisis.
Maybe instead of bailing everyone out of situations they shouldn't have gone into in the first place, Congress will use this crisis to pass a bill to ensure personal and fiscal responsibility and accountability. Laws should be on the books regulating how much credit can be extended to someone and under what circumstances. Taking advantage of rubes who can't calculate simple interest should be a crime, and there should be limits in place for home buyers to keep them from getting in over their head.
It's sad that greed has caused this whole thing. From both sides of the table: buyers and lenders. The credit industry needs an overhaul. I think sliding interest rate loans should be outlawed. You get a fixed rate and manage it. If rates go down, you negotiate a lower fixed rate. Period.
And this bill is stuffed with pet provisions and bloat, including a nearly $4 million to lenders, but nothing to the homeowners it is designed to help.
"No matter what's wrong with it, most of the members of this Senate are going to come in and vote for it, and check the box and go home and say they did something about housing," (Represenative) DeMint said.
Well, way to go Government. Your tax dollars at work.
I saw a news report yesterday that some sleazy real estate agent helped to finance a $560,000 mortgage for a woman who made just $50,000 a year. She's now fighting foreclosure. Surprise!!! They should both be ashamed. How can something that stupid be allowed to happen in the first place?
In other news, one of the families from ABC's hit show, Extreme Home Makeover, are now fighting foreclosure on their dream home, despite the fact that the builder paid off the mortgage on the new home, and ABC gave them $100,000. How did that happen? They took out a loan on the equity of the house for $450,000 just 15 months ago and now they can't pay it back. Someone can't manage money. And if you can't manage your money - you SHOULD lose the house. Get something you can afford - like an apartment or a condo.
One of the truly neat things about working at a place like Johns Hopkins, is that depending on what building your office is in, you can end up sharing the same elevator for 10 years with people who literally changed the world. Dr. McKusick was one of them. He was a true pioneer in human genetics. I had textbooks in college written by him.
His research was responsible for discovering things like the genes that controlled and caused: hemophilia, color blindness, Down's Syndrome, Marfan's syndrome, and thousands of other inherited disorders. He was the first to propose the Mapping of the Human Genome back in the 60's (when I was born!), and testified before Congress to get it funded. He truly was the Father of Medical Genetics.
He never truly "retired". He came to the office every day. He almost always had his nose buried in a book as he got on the elevator in the morning. More times than one, I had to gently tug at his sleeve and whisper, "Not yet Dr. McKusick", when the lift stopped, and fully engaged in his book, he began to get off on the wrong floor.
He won the National Medal of Science, the Lasker Prize, and many other awards and accolades, but if ever there were someone who deserved to be a Nobel Laureate - it was Victor McKusick.
He was a giant of a man in science and in life, and Hopkins has lost a legend. I was honored to have known him.
Why hasn't this story received more coverage? It's truly inspiring.
With wall to wall coverage of Michael Phelps and his attempt to win more medals than any other Olympian in history, there is another record breaking story to watch. The Lopez family is sending all FOUR of their children to the Olympics in Beijing. Something that hasn't happened in over 100 years. Oldest brother Jean is the US National Taekwondo Team Coach, and brothers Steve (a two time Olympic gold medalist already), Mark, and their youngest sister, Diana, round of the rest of the family of Olympians. Children of Nicaraguan immigrants, it's a dream come true.
Even more remarkable? In an effort to cut down on the "giganticism" of the Olympics, and because Taekwondo has only been an Olympic sport since 2000 (Steve Lopez holds all the gold medals ever awarded thus far), each country is limited to just four athletes: two men, and two women (17 yr. old Charlotte Craig rounds out the women's spots). The Lopez family IS the US Taekwondo Team. Therefor, competition at the national level is often even more intense than the international level.
AP Photo/Mark Williams, USOC
"I think about the impact we could possibly make, what a great thing it would be for our country and our family and our sport," Mark Lopez said. "It's a combat sport, but it teaches discipline and good character. As a family, we cherish those values."
An actual email thread between one of my most technically savvy physicians, myself, and my assistant. The names have been changed to protect the idiots.
I've got nearly 200 docs to take care of. Imagine this type of thing times 200.
>>> "MD" 7/14/2008 10:09 AM >>> Broadsheet
Could you possibly get me a second computer monitor? I have a USB-based device that allows me to use two monitors simultaneously with extension of the desktop to the second monitor. It is necessary for my work.
If not, no problem.
Thanks so much.
I definitely do NOT need a new monitor - a used one like the one I have would be perfect.
>>> "Broadsheet" 07/14/08 10:37 AM >>> No problem - we'll send one up. E - please put a help desk ticket in to MIS and see if we can recycle one of the monitors we currently have.
>>> "MD" 7/23/2008 9:45 AM >>> E and Broadsheet -
Any news about this at all? E. mentioned I would have the monitor Tuesday. MD
>>> E 07/23/08 10:27 AM >>> I have already been in contact with the contact person on this matter. There was some confusion on their part. I will bring the monitor up today.
>>> "MD" 7/23/2008 3:15 PM >>> E -
Thanks so much. The monitor functions perfectly as a display, but it makes a loud humming racket that makes it impossible to use. Any chance you have another one? I have tried everything I can think of to stop the hum, but I can't and as is this is unusable.
Sorry to be such a pain. MD
>>> E 07/23/08 4:10 PM >>> MD -
It's no problem! I put in a help desk ticket so someone should be by in the next day or so to take a look at it. I will try to figure something else out in case it cannot be fixed.
Thank You, E
>>> "MD" 07/24/08 8:15 AM >>> E and Broadsheet -
I smacked the monitor on its top and the noise stopped. I forgot that basic self help manuver. So all is well. Nevermind.
I had my pre-op physical with my internist this morning, and after I had been questioned, poked, prodded, peed in a cup, stuck with needles, and suffered general humiliation, I headed to my car and to work at 11:00 AM.
I had the radio tuned to WYPR, our local NPR station, and the second half of the Diane Rehm show came on. Her guest was David Giffels, a journalist at the Akron, OH Beacon and former writer for Beavis and Butt Head. He was touting his new book: "All the Way Home", which is something of a coming of age book for a young father who took on the task of restoring a crumbling old mansion/money pit into a home. I had read a very positive blurb about the book in Vanity Fair, and apparently Oprah is a big fan too.
From his glowing description, it sounds like the house should have been torn down it was in such bad shape (55 aluminum turkey roasters in the attic, overflowing with stagnant rain water, to squirrels, and even the previous owner as a squatter - they thought the house was abandoned when they bought it - she obviously thought differently), that it should have been condemned and demolished.
I was instantly taken with his engaging storytelling style, his self deprication, and the utter naivete he displayed in taking on a project of this scope and magnitude. The interview was at times hilarious and heart breaking.
Thirty minutes later, I was sitting in the parking garage at work, listening to the last 10 minutes of the interview in rapt attention. I immediately went on line and purchased a copy of the book, and I urge you to do the same.
Either this guy has been secretly filming my life, or his cat is a littermate to my cat, Pumpkin. I go through this exact same ritual every single evening when I try to relax for an hour or so - even down to the cell phone falling off the couch.
If this looks familiar, you might remember Cat Man Do, his outrageously funny sketch we all recognize from waking up in the morning to a persistent pet.
Or in the case of Mondawmin Mall - the demilitarized zone....
I'm off to sit with the unwashed masses and local gang members in 95 degree heat to replace my driver's license...wish me luck.
Oh - and don't forget - if you're at Artscape this weekend, drop by the Broadsheet Beer Garden for refreshments.
UPDATE: Going to the MVA on Saturday morning is like going to family visiting day at the State Penitentiary, right down to the metal detector and armed State Troopers. I had an absolutely CLASSIC visit this morning. I arrived promptly at 9:05 AM, only to discover a line that went the length of the building and snaked back in on itself halfway.
The line is so you can get a ticket, from there, you are sent to sit in row upon row of comfortable metal benches and wait to be called on the overhead LCD displays to one of 24 booths where a disgruntled state employee smacks their gum and looks dumbly at a screen running software from the 1980's.
I got my ticket A42 at 9:30 and took a seat. They had already call A36, so I was hopeful that it wouldn 't take too long.
That was my first mistake.
At 10:00 AM, A41 was called. At 10:01, they came on the loudspeaker and announced the following: "We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with the computer system statewide. All MVA services are affected. You can leave, or you can choose to stay and wait for the system to come back on line. We do not have any idea how long our systems will be down. Thank you for your patience."
A loud groan went up from the crowd. Mine included, although at this point, I just laughed, and settled in with the latest edition of Vanity Fair. I decided to give it a half hour and reassess the inconvenience factor. Had I not been the next one to be called - I would have tried again another day.
At 10:35 AM - the system went back up. During my down time, I called my sister to see how her vacation had gone.
"Where ARE you?" she asked. "It sounds like you're in a Mexican day care center".
"Oh, yeah, it seems everyone brings their kids to the MVA. They're running all over the place".
Perhaps the funniest (or saddest, depending on how you look at it) thing that happened is that when the system went down, there were still well over 100+ people in line waiting for tickets. The State Trooper asked them to please sit down and when the system went back up, they could reform the line, taking the place where they had been.
The line just stared at him like he was speaking in Klingon, and for most of the people in line, he probably was. There wasn't a chance in hell that anybody was going to risk a game of musical chairs for their precious spot in line. Uh, uh, no way, sorry. I've never seen such an exhibition of group mistrust and cynicism. So everyone stood their ground - for another hour or so until the system was up and the line began to move again.
Meanwhile, I tried to make polite conversation with the woman processing my license while we waited for the system to warm up and spit out my new one. That was a mistake. I got grunts and blank stares for my trouble.
While I was waiting, her supervisor came over and asked her to process a special kind of license. Without even letting her finish - as soon as she heard "special" - she immediately responded by saying - "I ain't never done one, I don't know how, I ain't been trained". Her supervisor calmly responded by saying, "It's exactly the same process, just use code C5". That fell on completely deaf ears, she just kept repeating "I cain't do it, I ain't been trained!".
After about two go rounds, the supervisor realized it was more trouble than it was worth, and that she was probably better off asking a dog to sit, than trying to get this woman to step out of her comfort zone and lend a friggin hand. Thankfully, the machine spit out my license at this point, and I headed for the door as fast as I could, only to have to walk through a phalanx of smokers blocking the door since the only shade from the heat was immediately in front of the doors, and they'd die like vampires if they stepped into the sun.
I wanted to take a picture of the lines of people and the waiting area with my cell phone, but with half of the people in line looking like their next stop was a meeting with their parole officer, and with the State Troopers watching everyone, I thought the best of it and moved on.
There is also some good footage of the camel caravan I rode out into the dunes when I was in Dunhuang last fall.
They talk about having to relocate entire cities to escape the advancing dunes. This is not at all unusual in the history of this region, or of the the Taklamakan Desert Basin. These dunes travel. Entire civilizations have been lost to them. It's no surprise that they might do that again.
Dunhuang is truly an oasis town. The dunes tower around it, and the city abruptly ends at the end of the street when it hits sand:
This is the first of many, many summer tomatoes from my garden. I planted plum tomatoes - seen here - and yellow cherry tomatoes.
I regret that I haven't posted any photos of my strawberry bonanza. They were obscene in their sweetness and perfection. I'm still getting them off the plants in Mid July. Unfortunately, they tend to get eaten in the garden before a camera ever gets close to them.
I promptly sliced this bad boy up with a bunch of other tomatoes and some English cucumber, and arranged it on a bed of baby spinach around a Parmesan Flan, which I then sprinkled with lots of fresh basil, more shredded Parmesan, and good balsamic vinegar....Great summer supper.
Artscape is upon us, and I am about to become a prisoner in my own neighborhood again for a week or so. Already the streets are blocked off, I have to detour around everything to get to work, and Mt. Royal Ave. is closed while they put up all the tents, stages, electrical wiring, etc... to turn the Cultural Center of Baltimore into, well, the Cultural Center of Baltimore.
With a bum knee (surgery is scheduled in three weeks), I'm not going to be able to get out and walk all over the place and endure the crowds this year, so the crowds can come to me.
If you're heading to Artscape this weekend, swing by Broadsheet's Bier Garten! If you want some shade, a beer, ice tea, cold water, clean bathroom, or even just a little AC for a few minutes and a place to rest up in between concerts - the Bier Garten will be open all weekend. There is NO parking available. Don't even think about driving here - there are too many people, and not nearly enough parking. Take the Light Rail.
Drop me a note off line for directions and hours. I might impose upon someone to bring me some festival food - you'll be well rewarded!
I wanted to make something healthy for lunch for the rest of the week, and needed to use up a few things in the fridge, so here's what I ended up with:
Chick Pea and Pumpkin Tagine over Coconut Couscous with Figs and Pistachios
Tagine 1 onion - chopped 1 red pepper 2 large cloves of garlic - minced 1 inch knob of ginger - grated 2 TB olive oil 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp garam masala 1 chili (I use a TB of fresh chilies in a tube) Can of Garbanzo Beans - drained and rinsed 1 c of cubed pumpkin or butternut squash 2 lg tomatoes - chopped and seeded, or a pint of grape tomatoes on the verge of getting wrinkly cut in halves (you can guess which one I had) juice from one lemon 2 TB soy sauce salt and pepper to taste
Couscous 1 c veg. broth 1 c lite coconut milk 1 1/4 c couscous handful of dried mission figs chopped handful of pistachio nuts (unsalted)
Saute the onion, ginger, chilies, garlic and spices in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add red peppers and saute for 3 more. Add Chick Peas, Pumpkin, tomatoes, lemon juice and soy sauce and simmer for ten minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and tomatoes have created sauce.
While Tagine is simmering, heat broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add couscous, remove from heat and let sit till Tagine is done.
Fluff couscous with a fork, mix in figs and pistachios.
Spoon Tagine over couscous, sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy.
Note: You could use rice instead of couscous, and dried apricots instead of figs, and you can always add different veg. Sweet potato / yam would have been fine instead of pumpkin. If you wanted to add meat - toss in some cubed chicken or shrimp.
The crunchiness of the pistachios were nice, and the tangy taste of the tomato / curry with the sweetness of the pumpkin, coconut and figs were really nice. I think it will be better for lunch tomorrow.
No - really - you can! My brother is gonna absolutely DIE when he sees what the geniuses at Google have done. Using Google Maps street view, you can literally ride the entire 21 stages of the Tour on your computer. It's freaky. Check it out:
New cultural sites inscribed during the 32nd session:
* Preah Vihear Temple (Cambodia) * Fujian Tulou (China) * Stari Grad Plain (Croatia) * Historic Centre of Camagüey (Cuba) * Fortifications of Vauban (France) * Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (Germany) * Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran (Iran) * Baha’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee (Israel) * Mantua and Sabbioneta (Italy) * The Mijikenda Kaya Forests (Kenya) * Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia) * Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús de Nazareno de Atotonilco (Mexico) * Le Morne Cultural Landscape (Mauritius) * Kuk Early Agricultural Site (Papua New Guinea) * San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano (San Marino) * Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr (Madâin Sâlih) (Saudi Arabia) * The Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area (Slovakia) * Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Cultural Landscape (Switzerland and Italy) * Chief Roi Mata's Domain (Vanuatu)
Natural properties inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the 32nd session:
* Joggins Fossil Cliffs (Canada) * Mount Sanqingshan National Park (China) * Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France) * Surtsey (Iceland) * Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan) * Monarch Butterfly biosphere Reserve (Mexico) * Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona (Switzerland) * Socotra Archipelago (Yemen)
This is a rosy lipped batfish from Costa Rica. It's appearance has not been altered in any way. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.com It walks around on its fins looking annoyed. Stop by and check out the other mind blowing creatures on their site.
3. Friday-Sunday we'll be at the wine conference, which was held here in Baltimore just two years ago. My friend is hoping to add to her medal collection for her own award winning wines. This year, she's entering some sparkling wines.
San Francisco, Napa, wines, spas, and best friends....sounds like the perfect vacation. Or at the very least, the perfect chick vacation.
Premiering 8 p.m. ET Wednesday (check local listings) on PBS, the show follows Click and Clack's exploits co-hosting a nationally syndicated radio show and running a car repair shop that mirrors their real-life Good News Garage in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show will air in two-episode blocks for five weeks.
I was lucky enough to visit this cultural treasure on my trip to China last year, although I have to admit, I had never heard of them prior to my visit. Having now seen them, I realize that I may have been lucky enough to have seen one of the great wonders of the world in person for the last time.
It was hard for me to document my visit to the caves since you cannot take photos, there are only 10-12 caves open to the public at any given time, they have no lighting, everything is done by flashlight, and often you can't even enter the cave completely. Despite all these conservation tactics, they are still deteriorating.
This article describes the caves in marvelous detail, and the slide show is magnificent. I bought the Getty Museum coffee table book describing the caves and their history just after I learned we were going to get to see them, and I was not disappointed.
I'm not sure why this cultural heritage sight has not gained more universal renown outside of China, but believe me, it's one of the most spectacular records of religious significance on earth and deserves preservation and academic study.
There are now talks of providing virtual museum access to the caves from a remote location using a multi media approach, which, in many ways would be visually superior to what I actually saw, and frankly, our docent's thick, Chinese accent made it hard to understand the narrative at each cave.
While virtual reality may resolve or delay the deterioration issue, there is no virtual reality for awe when you see something this magnificent in situ......
I was up at 5:15 this morning to get to the airport by 7:00 AM for an 8:30 AM flight to Cleveland for our family reunion in North Madison, OH this weekend. Packed, at the airport, and in the security line by 7:10 looking forward to grabbing a Starbuck's and reading my book before the flight.
That was the plan. In the security line, I discovered that I had left my driver's license in my other bag from my trip to Portland. With no photo ID, I wasn't going to get very far. I turned around and came home....
I'm now booked on the 5:55 PM flight (and Southwest didn't charge me a penny for the change!), and while I may still get to have dinner at Lola's, I'll miss dinner with my family, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will have to wait another day.
Bummer. It's OK really - there are a lot of things I need to get done here, and it will be time well spent....
UPDATE: Good news / bad news.
Bad: It would appear that I have managed to thoroughly misplace or lose my driver's license, and the MVA sure as hell isn't open today. I think I might have accidentally tossed it out with some receipts that were with my luggage tag and boarding pass leftovers from my Portland trip. Good: I can fly with my passport. Bad: I need a driver's license to rent a car. Good: My cousin Andre's flight from Miami arrives about 15 minutes after I do. Good: My parents are picking us both up at the airport Good: Made reservations at a fab new restaurant in Cleveland for all of us: Light Bistro
I think most everyone's seen this little video by now, but if you haven't - it's the best 4 and a half minutes you'll spend all week, and I defy you not to well up a little somewhere about halfway through.
Matt Harding spent 14 months visiting 42 countries and did a stupid little dance in each and every one which his friend recorded. Every now and then, the locals joined in. This is the result. The music is the Indian poem "The Stream of Life" set to music.
I think my favorite are the Papua New Guinea warriors.