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2005
Quack doctor Oakley Frost, The Church of the F.S.M., Harriet Miers, salt water snorting for colds, Pure Foods, and vegan pizza.

Ribotomy, elephantoplasty
Working on the outer fringe of medicine, New England surgeon
If rib removal is medically necessary, surely elephant attachment might be, too.Dr. Oakley Frost testified in court about his controversial treatment for chronic pain: removing ribs. Despite having removed 68 ribs from 54 patients, the court record states, Dr. Frost still does not have operating privileges at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, where he sees his patients. He also admitted he recommends that 90 to 95% of his patients getting one rib removed undergo the procedure again to get more ribs removed. One of his patients, a worker's compensation beneficiary who has not worked since lifting a box of coat hangers in 1994, recently arrived in court in a back brace, shoulder splint, and wheelchair, claiming that "any movement causes her pain." Yet both doctor and patient testified they consider the surgery a success because "a small band at the level of the first surgery remains pain free." Not surprisingly, the court denied the medical necessity of Dr. Frost's surgery. Read the complete record here. What's next? Elephantoplasty?
posted December 24, 2005, 8:07 am

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
Not to be outdone by Christian proponents of I.D., or "intelligent design," who posit the literal creation of the species by an all-powerful Worshippers attend a Pastene manifestation.god, despite the mass of evidence to the contrary, followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or F.S.M., have asked the Kansas Board of Education to allow their alternative theory of creation to be taught alongside evolution in public schools. While their alternative view—that the species were created by a flying spaghetti monster—has been criticized for lacking credible scientific evidence and the endorsement of a single respected scientist, Pastafarians, as they prefer to be called, remind us that the Church of the F.S.M. is the world's fastest-growing religion, and vow, "They can't ignore us forever!" Alarmed conservative Christians like American University idealogue Nathan Hunerwadel, pointing out that a university is no place for controversial thought, complain that Church of the F.S.M. material, such as its depiction of Michaelangelo's "The Creation of Man," with Michaelangelo's image of God replaced by "a hideous spaghetti monster consisting of two holy meatballs and omnipotent noodly appendages," is "an attack on Christ." Visit the Church of the F.S.M. here, and read the Hammer of Truth's blog's take on all this here.
posted December 10, 2005, 7:23 am

The unhealthy potato
Potatoes, America's most popular "vegetable," are low-quality carbohydrates most people should eat less of. Packed with starch, potatoes, whether baked, mashed, orMr. Peripheral Neuropathy Potato Head. as French fries, inundate your body with calories you absorb all too quickly, leaving you hungry again. But none of that matters to the United States Potato Board. In yesterday's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a revamped Mr. Healthy Potato, outfitted with a water bottle, an MP3 player, and running shoes, sent a misleading message. According to well-established research, potatoes have a higher glycemic index than sugar iteself: the potato lobby should have outfitted Mr. Potato Head with insulin tabs, a finger-stick monitor, and diabetic foot ulcers instead. I advocate a healthier way of eating in my upcoming book—read excerpts here.
posted November 24, 2005, 7:23 am

There's no business like Negativland
The delightfully anti-corporate Negativland continues apace with antics the media struggles to describe as "experimental rock." In their latest campaign, in response to a controversial recent Supreme Court decision punishing file swapping ("secondary digital infringement"), Negativland has prepared a large and entertaining video, "No Business"—delivered through file-swapping—that you can view here. (Thanks to alert That There Paul visitor and fellow Negativland fan Mo for sending in this story.)
posted November 24, 2005, 7:22 am

Harriet Miers, #1 Best Withdrawn Nominee!!OMG!  I'm famous!
We all now know that Bush nominated his personal lawyer and former Texas lottery commissioner Harriet Miers to be the next Supreme Court justice, then, under withering opposition from his own party, forced her to withdraw. For the full story of a nominee who in all seriousness said George W. Bush was the most brilliant man she had ever met, read "Harriet Miers's Blog!!" The blog's author, writing under the pen name "Harriet Miers" and liberally using exclamation points,

  • tackles the socially sensitive issue of abortion: "No I never talked to the president about it... he's MARRIED, people!! There's no way there ever would've been a need, EVER... the rumors are a load of BS (Baloney Sandwich)!"
  • conducts a straw poll asking "only senators to vote": ("Its Non Binding and it just takes a second. If your not a Senator, I'll know because I'll get more than 100 votes!!")
  • tells the real story behind the questionnaire that Harriet Miers famously had to do over: "I TURNED IN THE WRONG THING!! I'm not sure what was in those envelopes, maybe my taxes or something (yes, double extension and I'm still late, I've been busy OK!!)...but I was checking the blogs and I saw this and my heart went through the floor, the questionnaire's sitting on my desk. How could I be so dumb. Did Warren Burger ever do this?!! GRHRGGGG"

Good stuff. For more, read The New Yorker's two pieces here.
posted November 15, 2005, 12:19 pm

Snorting salt water
Gentle readers, out of yogic antiquity comes a new cold remedy. Far be it from me to advise you to snort anything, Salt water in Argentina.especially given Carrie Fisher's delightful Postcards from the Edge, a story of a Hollywood star's comeback from cocaine addiction, which begins memorably, "Maybe I shouldn't have given the guy who pumped my stomach my phone number, but who cares?" Researchers now advise you to place salt water (or saline solution) in the cup of your hand, and snort it up each nostril as frequently as once daily during cold season. It kind of makes sense, given that life originated in the sea. Listen more to this, uh, interesting advice here on NPR.
posted October 12, 2005, 9:00 am

Crossing
I'm making some exciting changes in my life now, and feel the need to post a symbolic picture of a mountain pass.

posted October 5, 2005, 12:07 pm

Photogenic 'phews
OK, I'm done bitching about the Bush administration for now, because it's just a bottomless subject. Fortunately, my photogenic nephews have been featured here on children photographer website elizabethadams.com. (Sam's feet appear to be pressing on a window: perhaps to accurately portray them, it was necessary to seal them in a glass cube. Probably some new trend in child raising.) They're so cute! Happy b-day Sam! You rock! Rock!
posted October 2, 2005, 7:12 am

Bush disaster #47
Seven months after 146 other nations agreed to the Kyoto protocols, a virtually unregulated American induThe oceans are warming.stry mindlessly dumps millions of tons of pollutants into the environment, causing ocean temperatures to climb and spawning two gigantic "once in a lifetime" Category 5 hurricanes in the space of a month. Presiding over this degraded world, Bush now rushes around like a pom-pom-waving male cheerleader to make up for his failure to do anything while New Orleans flooded, but nobody mentions cutting carbon emissions. And why did he appoint a former horse commissioner director of FEMA? Meanwhile, Barbara Bush, commenting about the victims who had survived the scenes of rape and murder in the Superdome, said, "so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." Read The New Yorker's take on the Bush Administration's handling of Katrina here, or see what The Daily Show had to say here, or The Onion's viewpoint here.
posted September 7, 2005, 3:18 pm

Watching you watching me
"I've been/ Watching you/ Watching me/ Watching you/ The webalizer sees all.Watching me," goes the lyric to "Club le Narcisse" on Malcolm McLaren's album Paris (an album featured on my April listening list). In keeping with powerful companies like Netflix that use software to track visitors' paths through their websites, here at That There Paul I have inaugurated the all-powerful Webalizer, which tells me I've had some 407 unique visits this month alone, including 0.04% of them from the Seychelles—"ˇHóla!"—and somebody looking for the lyrics to "Clan, clang, clang goes the trolley" (they're over here). While the Webalizer, like so much on this site, exists for the benefit of nobody else whatsoever, don't you worry, because for this month only, you can read my Webalizer report here! What, that's not enough? Well, just for you, I've installed a fresh counter at the bottom of every page, from Bush Sucks! (my most popular page), to That There Paul Photo Number 10 (my most obscure). Today I've re-set every counter to zero, except for this page, which the Webalizer tells me to set at "2192."
posted August 19, 2005, 5:17 pm

Mr. Housing Bubble
Although ready to buy in Boston, I stay in my rented place, because my rent is now only 35% of what a Bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble.  mortgage would be for an equivalent apartment, so high have housing prices soared. I have, at least, lots of company. We are living in a national housing bubble of historic size, and Boston tops the list, analysts say on a recent NPR broadcast featuring Pam Woodall, economic editor of The Economist, brazen real estate hawker Elizabeth Razzi, and Marco Van Akkeren, economist for the PMI Group. Woodall direly predicts collapse in American real estate and Van Akkeren's study puts Boston atop the list of the fifty riskiest housing markets, but Razzi blithely advises a hapless first-time buyer in San Francisco to either pay a flipper his inflated asking price or move to Sacramento. I agree with Woodall and Van Akkeren's cautionary outlook, as do others, who you can read here, here and here, and, in a lively ongoing discussion, here. When the bubble does burst, t-shirts like "Mr. Housing Bubble," available in all sizes for $19, will meet the need for inexpensive clothes. What to do? Hire a competent financial planner, and diversify by investing in mutual funds and stocks.
posted August 17, 2005, 2:06 pm

Plant kingdom come
Researchers at John Hopkins like Dr. Paul TalaEat your broccoli sprouts.lay have identified broccoli sprouts as having exceptionally high levels of sulforaphane, a naturally occurring phytochemical shown to measurably reduce the risk of several kinds of cancer. BroccoSprouts now appear in my grocery store's produce aisle as a refreshing example of honest enterpreneurs bringing science-proven foods to market. The unprocessed plant-derived foods like beans, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains that make up a vegan diet have been shown by real research to measurably help your health. The honesty of Dr. Talalay's work contrasts markedly with the hucksterism and scams of infomercial marketer Kevin Trudeau, who has served time in prison for credit card fraud.
posted August 1, 2005, 7:36 pm

Remembering "South Park"
Going to BU for graduate school was a strange experience for me—my favorite pasttime was watching "South Park," a Predictably, I recommend getting Netflix to watch South Park episodes.television show about profane 8-year-olds. While Shelly, the classmate who advised me to watch the show, mysteriously disappeared after filming a video for our class skit, "South Park," funny, crude, and disarmingly simple, has not. The show's most engaging character is Cartman, an unsinkably self-indulgent overweight kid who pushes his way to the front of the best episodes, like the one where Cartman appears on the Maury Povich show: "Maury, I am out of control." See a clip of that here.
posted July 31, 2005, 4:50 pm

A reason to visit BostonWalk this way.
Penetrate the provincialism and stalk our staid streets with Aerosmith front man Steve Tyler's surprisingly good cell-phone walking tour of Boston. As reported by Arielle Greenleaf in this month's Boston magazine, the self-paced tour "keeps guests out of your hair" for about two hours, costs $5.95 (and 44 minutes of cell phone time), and includes a stop at the Public Garden's monument to ether. Visitors to Boston will benefit most from the Lonely Planet's guide here.
posted June 12, 2005, 7:05 am

Favorite "Star Trek TNG" episodes
I've plumbed the depths of nerdiness, and brought up this list of my favorite fourteen Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes out of the five-year, 178-episode series, which aired from 1987 to 1994. I'm watching them these days on Netflix. See the list here. Or learn about the gay-themed Star Trek series, "Star Trek: Hidden Frontier," and their upcoming July 4th convention at the nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts Hyatt, here.
posted April 30, 2005 8:04 am

Daniel Loeb, Wall Street crusader
It's nice when overpaid executives get flack. This week, the New Yorker magazine bestowed its highest honor, coverage in "The Talk of the Town," on Wall Street firebrand Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund manager who writes wonderfully vitriolic letters "dedicated to puncturing the social habits and pretensions of powerful executives." One such letter, recently dispatched to profligate Star Gas chairman Irik Sevin, asks, "Under what theory of corporate governance does one's mom sit on a Company board?" "A few weeks ago," the column notes, "Irik Sevin, and his mother, quietly resigned." Read Ben McGrath's cool, funny, and impeccably written article here. Read some of Loeb's letters here, here, and here.
posted April 16, 2005 10:16 am

Film, film, filmMy favorite films, and why.
Upon learning that non-Netflix members can't access
my Netflix profile, I put a list of my favorite films here, and why I like them. But I didn't stop there. My revamped film page, here, gives you all the resources you'll ever need to find the films you'll like. Or at least the films I think you should like. Or read here why I like that film of films, Black Robe. Or contemplate here a map of the Saguenay River, where Black Robe was filmed, if for no other reason than to enjoy the beauty of simple maps.
posted February 14, 2005 1:59 pm

Le quatuor calienteThis quartet, the Parisian press correctly informs us, "inflames and seduces."
I will turn forty this year, and with that in mind I have to confess a certain weariness with the Top Forty. After listening to, say, Destiny's Child's recent offering, "Say My Name," with lyrics like this: "Say my name/ Say my name/ Say my na-ame/ Say my name," it is a distinct pleasure to turn to the higher standards of classical music. I recommend the work of my pianist friend Cédric Lorel, who, in conjunction with a violinist, a double-bass player, and a bandeonist—What is a bandeon? I don't know either, but it sounds like an accordion and oh-so-French-like—and a guest vibrophone player, has formed the Paris-based Quatuor Caliente. They've recorded a stellar CD, "Astor Piazzolla: Libertango." I've been listening to it in my walkman, in the kitchen, in my car, everywhere! Read more here. (In the fittingly French spirit of est moins plus, the CD is rarely available in America, but you may purchase it here.

posted February 11, 2005 9:46 am

Samantha Bee takes on Social SecurityWho needs social security?
As before, I recommend the viewing of Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Today, Samantha Bee has outdone herself by making Star Parker, leader of a neoconservative think tank, look like an idiot in a sketch entitled "Social Insecurity." (Postscript: while Comedy Central later yanked this video, perhaps at the behest of Ms. Parker's lawyers, it has recently popped up again here.
posted February 3, 2005 8:19 am

I go to Noo Yawk
During my recent visit to New York, as advised by the New The edgy art of 1980s East Village ran fabulously on adrenaline and other chemicals.Yorker, I dined at Pure (54 Irving Place in Gramercy Park, 212 477-1010), where all food is splendidly vegan, raw, and exceeds all conceivable standards. Samosas made from cauliflower and tamarind sauce, ravioli made from red beets and yellow peppers, green Market apple pie with ice cream rendered mysteriously from cashew nuts, and a sublime glass of wine from the Bonny Doon vineyard of Santa Cruz, California, where they strew fields with a witches' brew of ingredients like valerian flower and oak bark, and harvest the grapes in tune with the tides and the phases of the moon: I don't know if it's necessary to fertilize vineyard soil with yarrow fermented in a stag's bladder, but the meal and the wine were astoundingly good. Earlier in the day, I dropped in on the East Village USA exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art (temporarily located at the Chelsea Art Museum 556 W 22nd St, 212 219-1222), a picture of which I bring you below:
posted January 30, 2005 8:57 pm

My pizza
Working tirelessly in my lab, I've developed a healthy, hearty whole-grain, vegan pizza . At least I think it's delicious. "Why don't we go really high-fiber, and order ketchup on cardboard? Pizza, dammit. Order pizza," Bea Arthur's Dorothy would say. OK, my crust looks like something you'd throw on the field at halftime, but that's just the camera angle! Try making my pizza by following the recipe I've posted here.
posted January 29, 2005 7:28 am

While you wait
While you breathlessly wait for That There Paul updates, consider instead the much more frequently updated blog by New Yorker Mike Toole, "Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before."
posted January 14, 2005 9:07 pm

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