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The Spa, Boston radio, shoulder exercises, Iowa poetry, and Frau Farbissna.

The Spa
OK, OK, the real reason I went into physical therapy is I wanted to be in a place where everybody obsessed about their health and withering put-downs substituted for the performance of actual work. For a number of reasons, I've made only limited progress recreating such an atmosphere at the clinics I work at, but a recent "Will & Grace" re-run gives me new hope. Veteran character actor Christine Ebersole gives age-defying socialite Candace Pruitt a melodious, strident voice and a permafrost smile.)


CANDY: Karen, love. It's your voice I heard. I thought someone was strangling an old macaw.

KAREN: Candy! I can't believe you're up and around. I guess even a mad scientist has to hit a wall at some point.


KAREN: So, how they hangin', honey?

CANDY: Well, thanks to Dr. Kipper, three inches higher. Listen. As much as I'd love to stay here sweating with the oldies, I'm getting a little woozy from the booze-y seeping from your enlarged pores.

KAREN: Oh, honey, they're not enlarged. They're just in shock over that hair color of yours.


KAREN: Sweet gal.
Christine Ebersole as age-defying socialite Candy Pruitt.
posted Sunday, December 15, 2002 8:53 pm

Hear Boston radio
Boston has three kick-ass commercial-free radio stations, all of which you can listen to on the Internet for free:

  • WERS 88.9 FM: Critically acclaimed folk, jazz, world, rasta, and rap from Emerson College. And a deep-voiced Thursday morning jazz DJ auspiciously named "Johnson."
  • WBUR, 90.9 FM: Boston's home for NPR, America's verbal liberal heart. On hear any any show, from Motley Fool Radio to Car Talk, when YOU want.
  • WHRB 95.3 FM: A museum-like repository of fine music. With hushed curatorial tones, DJs present a tasteful —and original—selection of increasingly sumptuous music as the day progresses.
    posted Saturday, December 14, 2002 7:31 am

Shoulder rehab
I injured my shoulder: Here are five shoulder exercises that rehabilitate the shoulder's rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infrapsinatus, teres major, and subscapularis). The stronger muscles hold the humeral head in place so that it stops impinging on the edge of the joint. The one-gallon jug filled with water weighs just over 8 pounds. I didn't count the repetitions - that's boring - but just did reps until I was momentarily unable to lift it any more. (The exercises are from Alan Levy's Sports Injury Handbook., the wallpaper in my kitchen is from the 70's.)

Works the coracobrachialis..
reverse arm curl
..the anterior delt and teres minor..
front lift (palm down)
..the biceps and subscapularis..
front lift (palm up)
..the middle deltoid..
lateral lift
..the infraspinatus..
bent-over lateral lift
posted Saturday, November 23, 2002, 10:41am 

Gift giving and Jerri
With another holiday season lurching unsteadily into the foreground, it's only appropriate that we read an interview about gift giving with Strangers with Candy's Jerri Blank (played by Amy Sedaris), as published in the December 3, 1999 issue of NEXT. The interview turns out not to be so much about gift giving as about the Comedy Central cult television show Strangers with Candy. This interview comes to us courtesy of Tony's colossally brilliant Strangers With Candy Companion.
Click to read the Next magazine Amy Sedaris interview.
posted Tuesday, November 12, 2002, 12:26 pm, when I should be at the gym 

Curried Sweet Potato Roti
This isn't an original seitan recipe, in fact, it's from page 230 of Molly Katzen's very wonderful Moosewood Restaurant's Lowfat Favorites cookbook.  But I was so happy to find seitan in the Stop & Shop that I'm posting the recipe here:
Slow down and cook..

..vegan food.
posted Sunday, October 12, 2002 12:43 pm

FrangoTM chocolate crucifix
The upscale Chicago department store giant Marshall Fields, with its ongoing tradition of showcasing the unneccessary, has apparently combined two divine passions - Chrisitianity and their house brand of overpriced chocolate. So I gave my mother a gift certificate one year - will they stop sending me their catalogues already?
Show you have money to waste the scrumptious way!
Free insulin shots when you order a dozen.

posted Thursday, October 9, 2002, 1:24 pm

Fooling the Chinese
The Onion gained fame recently when Beijing's most prominent daily newspaper made itself a laughingstock by running a plagiarized Onion article as real news. Wired describes this incident in more detail here, while TechDirt highlights the Chinese reaction, which was to scold the Onion for making up silly stories. The article reported that America's Congress was threatening to relocate unless the Capitol was replaced by a more modern office building with a retractable dome.

(Another article described Celine Dione feverishly working in a laboratory herself to develop a new scent, which for some reason, struck me as very funny. Although the article no longer is in The Onion's archives, I dredged it up from other places on the Internet and put it up here if you want to read it.)
posted Thursday, October 9, 2002, 1:21 pm

Quiet, please!
John Cage produced the famous "4'33", which consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. Often, as Ben Greenman explained in this week's New Yorker explained, a piano lid is raised and lowered to signify the beginning and end of the "movement". Not to be outdone, classical populizer king Mike Batt came up with his own composition, "One Minutes of Silence", which led to a showdown. Both versions of silence were performed recently in London at a rented concert hall. Read the New Yorker piece here, and more about the out-of-court settlement here. You can hear a clip here from "Quiet, Please" from Negativland's landmark 1987 album Escape from Noise.
posted Thursday, October 3, 2002, 4:07 pm

Adrian Lyne's 1983 Paramount Pictures film "Flashdance" stars Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, and a horde of stand-in dancers. Keep busy until the schmaltz police arrive with 80's movie resource Fast Rewind's Flashdance trivia site, which tells you where the footsie dinner scene was filmed (in Pittsburgh's Grand Concourse Restaurant). Get tips on copying the iconic Flashdance costume with the Like Totally 80's' Flashdance Costume Page. Lucy Lee Flippin, who plays the dance academy secretary also appears in another icon-making 80's phenomenon, the surpassingly witty television sitcom "The Golden Girls", as a delightfully annoying hotel lobby receptionist—"I'm afraid I've just given those two rooms away," she says, smiling quietly to herself—on the famous "Grab That Dough" episode. The most suitable repository of hopes and dreams that the 80's produced is, of course, neither "Flashdance" nor "The Golden Girls", but "Diva", a 1981 French movie in which a young guy seems to throws everything away for his ideals.
posted Monday, September 30, 2002, 3:22 pm

R.P. Dana, poet
Hidden within the wide hills and prairie of Iowa is an underground literary circuit. As a lifelong English major, I still read poetry (somewhat secretively, as if waiting for the orderlies to escort me to the asylum). The poetry of Robert Dana, with its sturdily constructed ideas and images, has always seemed to me an ideal of what our language can be in the hands of an artist. Of course that may well be because he was my favorite professor in the late 80's, when, striving to seem avante-garde, I made sure to be wearing sunglasses with Mickey Mouse or Mr. T frames while conducting serious conversations about aesthetics, a practice I plan on resuming once I've funded my retirement plan... where were we? Oh, Robert Dana. Read "Little Story", an idyll made of a backyard, cats, and trees in August, and then buy his book Summer. It will refresh your soul.
One of the most important of the many demands I make on you, the That There Paul visitor, is that you go to Amazon and buy this book.
posted Friday, September 27, 2002, 6:22 pm

You've got to take some time to visit Spamradio, for its wonderfully understated and mellow one-page website design and the way it has taken junk e-mail, fed it into a hollow-sounding synthetic text-to-speech software application, with compelling results: listening to a computer voice advise you on how you can become a priest by mail is, at least here at That There Paul, a pleasing sound to have in the background.
posted Friday, September 27, 2002, 12:44 pm

The word poetry means "made up", and comes to us from the Greek poiema, while "fiction" originates from the Latin fictio, which also means "making". Since poetry is more elemental, concrete, and primal than fiction, this etymologic duality is fitting, and reflects our language's origin as a "shotgun wedding", as poetry expert Jerome Judson puts it, in his wondrously brief, thorough, and fun-to-read Poet's Handbook, between earthy, blunt German Anglo-Saxon and ecclesiastical, ornate French-Latin. Peek at what I'm reading here on my rarely updated reading page.
posted Saturday, September 28, 2002, 2:37 am

The Frau lives in the now.
Good for her! I love powerful women.
posted Friday, September 27, 2002, 11:45 am

That There Paul debuts!
Welcome to That There Paul, the website that promises to meet all your That There Paul needs. This photo shows essential details of my life: warm-hued light, a photo of a barn, and a refigerator.
Under this cap, I am completely bald.  Or am I?
posted Thursday, September 26, 2002, 9:04 am

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