Friday, February 25, 2011
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
I have no idea. I do know it's not funny and I think humor was what the marketing geniuses were after. But we're all talking about it, so I suppose some goal has been achieved, Satanic as it is. No such thing as bad publicity.
If you want a Thomistic theological dissection of the ad, see Christopher. As for me, I'll defer to Bill Hicks; while he may not have spent his life co-opting Greek philosophy, he seems to understand the component of the Buddhist Eightfold Path known as Right Intention:
Monday, February 07, 2011
Don’t use WebMD for medical advice. Use MayoClinic.com. The New York Times Magazine (paywall) says of WebMD: “not only a waste of time, but it’s also a disorder in and of itself — one that preys on the fear and vulnerability of of its users to sell them half-truths and, eventually, pills."Where WebMD is a corporation that started as an ad-supported health-alarmism site with revenues of $504 million in 2010, the Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit medical-practice-and-research group that started as a clinic. … Mayo’s storied past as the country’s premier research hospital, in Rochester, Minn., and its storied present as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” surface in the integrity of the site itself, which — though not ad-free — is spare and neatly organized, with the measured, learned voice of the best doctors. The byline for most entries is “Mayo Clinic staff.” The integrity of the whole institution is on the line with this site, and the Mayo Clinic has every motivation to keep its information authoritative and up to date. Contrast this with WebMD, which — with every reason to amp up page views, impress advertisers and drive traffic to commercial sites — has the junky, attic-y look of your standard ad-chocked Web site. Amid so-called information about cancer and depression are banner ads for brands like Crest, L’Oreal, Bounce and Clorox.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
As an aside, is Gupta's voice getting deeper?
Excellent evening of their greatest hits. Usually when artists come through on tour it's to promote a new disc, so it was a departure to have such established songsters provide the acoustic treat of their most prodigious hits from the past few decades.
I've seen Lyle Lovett several times before and he never disappoints. His quirky house rules require that nobody can enter or leave in the middle of a song, and he closes the bar after the music starts. I'll admit that I was taken aback the first time I saw him-- "Whaddya mean I can't get another beer!"-- but, you know, it does show a certain self-respect that he doesn't want everyone stumbling around screaming drunk epithets throughout the concert. Lovett is a clean and sober artist, and he demands reverence for his art. Nothing wrong with that. I can say that I knew every precious lyric of his set, which included "North Dakota", "My Fiona", "LA County" and others.
We're all familiar with John Hiatt's songs, but I didn't know that he was such a prolific writer of such genuine lyrics. "Thing Called Love", popularized by Bonnie Raitt, has a different feel when sung by Hiatt. His other biggies: "Drive South" and "Have a Little Faith in Me" were nothing short of outstanding in this setting. Surprising gems were "Lipstick Sunset", "Master of Disaster" and "Memphis in the Meantime." His skill with the guitar and war stories of the old days filled in the crevices. They played for a full two-and-a-half hours.
The structure of the concert was unique, with the two guys in chairs as if sitting in your living room. They would alternate playing their songs, occasionally accompanying the other with guitar or vocal harmony. Between songs they'd engage in friendly conversation, stories and memories, as if we were invited to their home (at $55 a ticket!). A mention should be made of the venue: the State Theatre. This old horse of a hundred year old theatre is top-notch, and I'm sure a major reason Lovett keeps coming back to Kalamazoo. The acoustics, seats and concessions are unmatched.
Friday, February 04, 2011
Thursday, February 03, 2011
These crows are the only animals known to make tools from stuff they haven’t previously encountered in nature. Here’s crow Betty extracting a plug from a tube. At about 22 seconds she realizes that she isn’t going to get the object with a straight wire, and bends it into a hook around the tube. Amazing!
And I can’t resist adding this David Attenborough video of Japanese crows dropping nuts on the street to crack them, using the cars to do the job. He claims (and this is unbelievable) that the crows actually drop the nuts at pedestrian crossings, so that they can retrieve the cracked nuts when the light turns red! (Just click on the “Watch on YouTube” line.)
I know he's being facetious, but point made:
Okay, it's a bit of an awkward slogan. But reader RC is right. A universal health-care insurance program is the logical endpoint of the bill Ronald Reagan signed into law mandating (pretty much) universal emergency hospital care:
If the Republican Party is serious about decreasing government control of health care, they should start by introducing a bill that would repeal the law signed by President Ronald Reagan that mandates free health care for all who seek it. That law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), was the largest expansion of government mandated health care since Medicare. Remember George Bush stating that all Americans had access to health care? That all they had to do was present to their local emergency department? That is EMTALA. If we are going to mandate that hospitals treat and stabilize patients with emergency medical conditions, we should mandate that individuals purchase insurance to pay for that care. If we don't, then we truly have a health care system where the few pay for the many. I bet that many hospitals in DC collect less than 50% of their emergency department billings right now. The government has been mandating health care coverage for more than 25 years -- only now President Obama wants those who utilize the system to pay for it.