Hi folks! Late next week I should have another one of my semester end roundups, but for now, enjoy some freshly dismembered Shorties for Valentines Day.
Speaking of St Valentine: He was beheaded on this day around 270 AD.
Like Sand Though the Hourglass: A picture of sand under a microscope. Pretty cool, huh? Here’s the source.
Hillaryvision:Hillary had a pretty bad week by most measures. Even things that were supposed to help her — Kissingeradvised her! Albright not patronized us but matronized us! — weren’t helpful. But at least she realizes that people on Social Security won’t vote for her unless she promises not to slash their benefits.
In Other Research, Water is Wet: “Hospitals with more registered nurses and doctors per bed can reduce patient death by as much as 20 percent….”
News from Harvard: The United States can’t control encryption.
News from Princeton: He who counts the votes controls the election.
Bundy: Would the whole thing in Oregon have gone on as long as it did if the Koch brothers weren’t involved?
Recently, I received two ads for two different hospitals, and of course their emergency departments.
The first hospital’s ad arrived in the mail. It included a map, labeled “You’re only 6 miles from EXPERT ER CARE,” and the actual route I would need marked with a nice bold, blue line. Oh thank goodness, otherwise I might have had no idea how to get to that big hospital building clearly visible just off the freeway.
The second hospital left a card hanging on the door hyping how close they were. It included a refrigerator magnet with “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY,” the address (including which freeway exit to take), a phone number, and even a web address. Because when you are having a medical emergency, you really want to check their website before going to the hospital. Right?
Now here’s the problem: to get to either hospital, I have to drive by a third hospital that is probably within walking distance of my home. Well, maybe not walking distance if I am having a medical emergency. Heck, the kids who hung the magnet on my door probably drove past the third hospital as well. Why on earth would I go to a hospital that is further away if I actually need the services of an emergency department? In a medical emergency, I need help now, not 6 miles from now.
The point is that both hospitals completely wasted money printing and delivering advertising to me. That money didn’t help a single patient. That money didn’t pay for a single doctor, nurse, medical assistant, or even janitor. That money didn’t buy any medical equipment or medications. That money didn’t keep the lights on in an operating room. That money didn’t even line the pockets of a hospital executive… unless his wife owns a printing company.
Cutting worthless ads won’t solve the issue of health care costs, but it’s a painless first step.
I’ve been getting more than my fair share of comment spam recently (not quite enough that I’m ready to use one of those “prove you’re human” things). Lately, one of the topics is HCG diets.
Let me make one thing perfectly crystal clear about HCG: it is the only diet drug required by the FDA to have a black box warning saying it does not work! Really, that’s the only thing you need to know about HCG. Just say no. It’s a waste of your money and potentially dangerous.
As for the new “safer” homeopathic HCG drops, they’re still sugar water. Further, even if homeopathy did work, the “Law of Similars” — “a substance that when taken in crude form causes a set of symptoms or disease in a healthy person can cure similar symptoms occurring during an illness when treated with small, often infinitesimal, potentised doses of the same substance” — would suggest that diluting a weight loss “drug” for homeopathic use would make the user gain weight, wouldn’t it?
It is at this point that I will point out that I’m not a doctor, nor a dietician. I’m only pointing out two things: HCG is FDA proven to not work for weight loss, and mixing it with a bunch of water isn’t likely to make it more effective.
While we are on the topic, here’s some tips for not letting the holidays ruin your diet.
In Closing: tricorder; oops; The Jungle returns; doing good work; what??; free markets won’t fix health care; which reality will win, not enough money to retire or not enough health to keep working?; couples and money; the near poor; I’ve always thought it would be a great idea to have a “third party debate,” and apparently there was; and who needs MacGyver when DolphLundgren really exists??
The Sadness of Aurora: I’m not going to dwell on this sickening mess but I will say it’s a tragedy; here’s a professional opinion on how to cope. They’re still setting off bombs in the guy’s apartment. Can anybody reasonably argue that a guy who was improvising explosive devices in the kitchen would have been stopped by stricter gun control laws? “Huh, I guess if I can’t buy the assault rifle legally, I’ll just have to call off the massacre!” Maybe the solution is to ban unnatural hair colors. Here’s the money quote from Brilliant Jill:
The other aspect of this evolving story that leaped out at me is that a guy who is described by everyone who knew him as being ferociously intelligent ended up working at a McDonald’s after getting this honors degree in neuroscience. With all the talk we hear from Barack Obama on the stump about education, and about science education, we are still a nation in which an honors science graduate can’t find a job and ends up slinging hamburgers. There aren’t any reports about how much, if any, college debt Holmes ended up with, but when you live in a society where the president preaches about excellence in science but where science has no value in the job market, it’s easy to imagine someone deciding to pursue a Ph.D. and then deciding it’s all bullshit and might as well go out in a blaze of glory.
Once upon a time, there was a divine, weaving princess. She spent much time weaving, and was sad that it left her no time for love. So her father arranged for her to meet the cow-herder of the stars. They immediately fell in love and spent all their time together. However, this meant the divine clothes for the stars went unwoven, and the cows roamed all over the heavens as each of the lovers neglected their jobs. Her father had no choice but to separate them with the Milky Way. They are only allowed to meet one day a year — the seventh day of the seventh month — and then only if she’s done with her work.
In closing: can we just admit that the TSA’s job is to make us do what we’re told?; let’s ignore the fact that most of us choose a hospital based on what our insurance will cover or what’s closest to the accident; recycling; Bond, James Bond; ha; careful when you write a resume; fat; “could” is the important word; just what I don’t need; maybe if people would read; good luck explaining that to your insurance agent; and Cowboys and Indians.
Does anybody else think it’s odd that not that long after a demonstration of how a Bad Guy could get stuff through one of those nudie-scanners, the CIA foils an airplane bomb plot using a “non metallic” bomb carried by a doubleagent?
Gotta hand it to the CIA for learning from the FBI playbook.
In Closing: but they’re organicblobs of sugar and wax!; Microbial Armageddon; be one of the lucky 10000 outside, please; more job killing in the name of free trade; warmest year on record; I wonder how long until the first death by “non-lethal” weapon; get rid of pink slime, and all of a sudden we’re whining about lost jobs. Maybe if they weren’t making something disgusting?
I will be honest. Stuff tends to pile up on my desk. Thankfully, my brokerage has a really great digital document storage system to help me keep that stuff organized properly.
File folders are great things. Heck, folders in general are great things. It makes it a lot easier to keep related items together: bills to be paid, receipts, tax documents, Christmas cards, appliance manuals, whatever. When you’re done, it goes into a filing cabinet where it’s easy to find right up until the day you don’t need it any more and can shred it. Pro-tip: label folders with a fine point marker or permanent ink pen and do your best to make it easy to read.
This still leaves a pile on the corner of my desk that I must go through and ruthlessly prune about once a month.
I organize email with folders too. A folder called “Receipts 2012” contains exactly what you think it does. Maybe there’s one called “Smith” that has all my correspondence with a client named Mr. Smith. It also contains scans of his documents and emails back and forth to the title company. And once my transaction with Mr. Smith is done, the whole folder gets archived.
I’d like to say my hard drive is that well organized. Thank goodness OSX does a lot of this stuff automatically: apps end up in the “Applications” folder without too much effort on my part. “Downloads” go into the right folder unless I specifically save it elsewhere — and yes I periodically have to purge that folder.
So that’s my tip. No fancy organizers beyond a vertical file holder on my desk and a filing cabinet in my home office. Cheap and easy to implement.
Once again, we have a post inspired by the BlogHer Life Well Lived campaign. The current topic? Getting Organized. And the question I have been asked to answer:
What is your best tip for hosting a gathering, get-together or party that is enjoyable and stress-free for both the host and guests?
Wow. They almost could not have asked a question I am less qualified to answer.
The last party I hosted was roughly a decade ago: a tea party for stay-at-home-moms and their mostly preschool children. The cat hid. Sure, I’ve been to plenty of parties in the meantime, but never in charge of planning and never waiting nervously for guests to arrive.
So regrettably, my tips are pathetically simplistic. If you can’t just make reservations, you’ll have to make do:
If catering (or pot luck) is out of the question, keep the food simple. This isn’t the time to try and impress everybody with that great new recipe from Food Network that looked so much easier than it was. Just be sure to serve enough variety that there’s something everyone can eat. There’s a lot to be said for stuff that is almost ready to go straight from the store. I’ll never forget the sorority party where we suggested to our alumni hostess that a big Stouffer’s Lasagne was just fine, and she decided that she simply had to make the real deal from scratch. She was frazzled long before any of us arrived!
Less is more when it comes to activities. This is true whether the guests are 4 or 40 years old. Sure, have some stuff planned — including a way for people to get to know one another if the guests aren’t already all friends — but let people have their own conversations. When your guests are kids, understand that some unstructured playtime is a great way for them to blow off extra energy (say, from cake, ice cream, and sugary fruit punch?).
Do as much as possible before hand, so you can relax and enjoy your own party. If possible, enlist someone to help you out. Delegate authority! Put somebody else in charge of a few things. Nobody says you have to be a super-hero.
Remember Tay Zonday? He’s back, and he understands economics.
In Closing:Autopsy; Castro; Google thinks I’m a dude too (clearly I need to search more for shoes and makeup); Just for fun, read the first paragraph to somebody before telling them it’s Bob Dole; Because surely her hair is more important than anything else; Okay, maybe that’s a problem; and have a great weekend.