Ask The Doctor


Over the years, there has been much heated discussion and quite a bit of research about the health benefits of alcohol. It may have started back in the twenties when a British ad campaign, “Guinness is good for you,” led people to believe that the Irish stout had healing properties. Evidently, people told the company that they felt good after their pint, and the slogan—and the myth—was born.

Along with alcohol, echinacea, vitamin C, zinc, and chicken soup have all been touted as cures—or preventives—for the common cold. Unfortunately there is no strong evidence for any of them. For a cold you need rest, fluids, and a little time. What fluids? It basically comes down to whether you think beer or chicken soup is better for the soul.

No contest.

Does a bath including a tidal wave count as pushing liquids? I think SO!

Tidal Wave

I’m getting a cold and decided to take a bath this morning to soothe my aching joints.  I brought a book with me, the cat came in and got comfy on the rug next to the tub, and I settled down for a nice soak in the deep hot water.

I realized  that I’d forgotten the pumice stone I’d bought at Target yesterday.  It was sitting by the sink.  I hauled my self up and got the stone and was stepping back into the tub, when I thought, “Hey, that was strange, I didn’t slip getting in last time even though I put lotion on my heels last night!” whereupon I slipped into the tub and fell in hard and fast, causing a massive tidal wave to surge up and out over the cat and my book on the rug next to the tub.

The cat levitated up to the counter, (knocking my watch off into the water in the process) and screeched out.  Good thing the door was open a little or she would have been concussed.  And the damn book is soaked.

Frankly, it was all worth it to see the cat levitate.  She weighs about 90 pounds (okay, 15) and doesn’t generally move that fast.


Urban Word of the Day

April 29, 2007: hip replacement

The process of introducing a formerly [cool] person to a product or idea that attempts to make them cool again. Reinventing an individuals public persona through assocation or action.

Joe just had a hip replacement – he ditched his 20 year old CD Walkman for a new IPod.

Quentin Tarrantino gave John Travolta a ‘hip replacement’ with Pulp Fiction.


Good one.  I think my wardrobe is in dire need of a hip replacement.  Except for a couple of things my mother bought me recently I look a little like I time-warped from the 90’s.

Take my job, please

I’m in class this week. SQL Server Administration.  5 days.  It’s about to kill me.  There are 16 people in the class.  15 of them are DBAs and this is their whole job.  I’m not a DBA.  Working w/a database is about 1/20th of my job.  I’ve never had much exposure to  SQL Server 2005, and it looks like it could become my life’s work.  Right after TiMSS.  Right after Lyris.  Right after redoing the whole frakking website that is three years overdue.  Right after doing something about this error message on the email server and writing the laptop policy and fixing that frakking 820 Latitude with the schitzy NIC after troubleshooting one of the 16 Treos after after after … aaaccck!

Honey, I’m stressing big time here.   I’d tie one on if my stomach didn’t hurt so much.

April Showers

It is raining like hell here today. We needed it so I’m not complaining, but the gutters need to be cleaned out again, dammit. There’s a river running down the front of the house, no doubt forcing its way under the concrete pad so that the house can sink a little right there.

Bob’s son is waiting impatiently for his girlfriend to arrive. Many heavy sighs and much pacing going on. I expect she’s probably late due to the rain.

Being the progressive person that I am, I said she could come and stay with him for a few days while he’s here visiting us. He’s known her since high school. He’s 21, and getting his ashes hauled seems like a reasonable thing for him to do. Somehow, I doubt his mother lets him have overnighters.

Since both “kids” are deaf, I will no doubt need the super power ear plugs tonight. 🙂 I imagine it’s hard to tell how much noise you’re making when you’re doing the wild thing but can’t hear. AND … I doubt either of them will worry much about it. That’s a good thing.

UPDATE:  She can’t come, her sis got a DUI (stupid to drink and drive) and her mother wants her to stay home (don’t know why, but I don’t know their situation).   Poor Tim.

Steal This

Carnegie Mellon P2P System Could Speed Movie, Music Downloads
Carnegie Mellon News (04/10/07) Spice, Byron; Watzman, Anne

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a way to speed up P2P downloads by using not only identical files, but similar files as well. Having more possible sources to download from could decrease download times significantly. Using a process known as handprinting–taken from techniques used in clustering search results or identifying spam–to identify files with similarities to that being downloaded, Similarity-Enhanced Transfer (SET) has shown its ability to accelerate the downloading of MP3s by 71 percent. And SET downloaded a movie trailer 30 percent faster by using files that were only 47 percent similar.

“This is a technique that I would like people to steal,” says CMU computer science professor David G. Anderson. “In some sense, the promise of P2P has been greater than the reality,” as a result of both Internet service providers limiting the amount of bandwidth used for uploading and users that decrease their computers uploading capabilities to allow improved downloading. Analysis shows evidence that the files most commonly shared on P2P networks probably contain many of the same elements. Music files could be identical but have different artist-and-title headers, for example.

Theoretically, a user downloading a movie translated into German could be downloading the video portion from the English version and the audio from the German. SET works the same way as BitTorrent, by breaking a source file into many smaller pieces that are simultaneously downloaded from sources with the identical file, but unlike BitTorrent SET keeps looking for similar files and downloads matching pieces.

Sexual Intelligence

“Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, © Marty Klein, Ph.D. (”

I think Marty Klein makes *a lot* of sense. You can subscribe to his newsletter here.

1. City Collapses Over Sex-Change Operation
After 14 years, excellent performance ratings and another raise just last year, the Largo, FL city manager was fired for announcing his upcoming sex-change operation. The City Commission fired him because he had “violated their trust” and “caused a major disruption.”

What the City Commission members mean is, “Wow, you’re confusing me! Making me uncomfortable! Making it impossible to ignore my own sexual beliefs! If you don’t stop, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll send you away so we can zip our existential terror right back up.”

These five men and women actually think they have the right to vote on Steven Stanton’s gender. They’re demanding protection from their discomfort with his personal choices. Of course, if they weren’t so obsessed with his personal choices, they wouldn’t need quite so much protection from their terror.

And these people are actually willing to sacrifice Stanton’s high-quality managerial services just so they can pretend the world is never going to change. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent city manager?

Well, Commissioners, you can ditch Stanton. But you really blew it–Stanton was your chance to develop a little tolerance and self-soothing before being challenged by someone you really care about: your son coming out as bisexual. Your wife saying she’s been faking orgasms. Your fantasies about being spanked by both Barack Obama and Condi Rice. It will be great sport to watch you squirm when it’s your grandkids or nieces or best friends challenging the dominant paradigm about sexuality instead of a guy you can just send away to Fire Island.

Sexually, the world isn’t really divided into gay and straight. It’s divided between people who can tolerate others’ sexuality, and people who can’t. People who may think about others’ sexuality, and people who judge others’ sexuality. That second group seems obsessed with others’ sexuality. Who else spends every waking moment thinking about homosexuality, sex-change operations, prostitution, orgies, premarital sex, and porn, porn, porn, porn, and porn?

You want a city manager you can “trust”? Try drug addict Rush Limbaugh, extortionist Jack Abramoff, attempted child molester Tom Foley, compulsive gambler Bill Bennett, or the unemployed Tom DeLay–all eligible by virtue of keeping the gender they were born with. Ann Coulter has no managerial experience, but she obviously loves being a woman, so she’s safe, too.

Oh, the Largo city motto? “To provide superior services that enhance the quality of life and community pride.” Well, In one gesture, the city has

  • gotten rid of the guy who coordinated the superior services,
  • undermined the quality of life for all tolerant people, and
  • smeared the community’s pride with shame

Hate and fear–undoubtedly the two strongest forces on earth. Besides sexuality, that is.

2. Gay Or Irish? Parade Organizers Force Choice

“Buy some corned beef,” my local butcher smiled on March 17. “Today, everybody’s Irish.”

Well, apparently not everybody. In New York City–home to 2 million Irish-Americans, half as many as in all of Ireland–organizers of the huge Fifth Avenue parade have once again banned Irish-American gay groups from marching. And so the city’s most powerful Irish-American politician, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, is boycotting the parade.

As every Irish person, gay and straight, should. Unless, of course, hatred, exclusion, and obsession with others’ private lives is truly what it means to be Irish.

How anti-Irish is being gay? Last year, John Dunleavy, a leader of the Roman Catholic group behind the parade, actually compared the exclusion of gays to barring the Ku Klux Klan from marching in Harlem, or Nazis from joining an Israeli parade. I guess he forgot to add, ‘like inviting child molesters to a cub scout camp.’

In one sentence Dunleavy managed to insult every living person. He should be barred from singing or hearing Danny Boy for the rest of his pathetic, frightened life.

Today, if anyone tells you they’re proud to be Irish, ask them why. People typically say it’s the culture–the music, food, lust for life, melancholy attachment to a rugged land, an old-world spirituality, a tradition of surviving. Throw in some red hair and a couple of pints.

My butcher told me that even though I’m Jewish and have never set foot on the Emerald Isle, today I’m Irish. Well, no thanks. I’m with Christine Quinn. Who, by the way, is marching as a lesbian in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, sporting a shamrock and pink triangle.

3. Newt: Hypocrite, or Opportunistic Hypocrite?

Newt Gingrich now admits he was having an extramarital affair while he led Congress in impeaching President Clinton for getting a few blowjobs from a consenting adult.

Ho hum, another “family values” hypocrite. Ted Haggard, Ralph Reed, Mark Foley, Lou Sheldon, Bill O’Reilly, Paul Crouch, Rush Limbaugh, Randall Terry, Robert Livingston (who was supposed to succeed Gingrich as Speaker of the House)–the list of “family values” leaders whose family values include divorce, infidelity, gambling, and embezzlement is getting so big, they could form their own political party. Oh wait–they already have.

Republicans really face a dilemma this Presidential season: three of their four most prominent candidates are divorced. The fourth is–gasp–Mormon. And you know how wild and liberal those desert swingers are.

Serendipitously, Arizona Senator John (‘Jerry Falwell is intolerant except when he’s considering supporting me’) McCain pleaded that “gossip–‘family issues’–should not enter into this campaign.” That was in response to Rudy Giuliani asking for privacy as he apparently deals with estrangement from his children.

In a better, more civilized world, of course our leaders’ private lives would be private. We wouldn’t even know that Gingrich had had extramarital sex with an employee 20 years his junior. And except for a bit of schadenfreude, we wouldn’t care.

But the “family values” crowd has relentlessly shrunk everyone’s zone of privacy. Your sex toy–illegal in 6 states. Your prescription contraceptives–subject to a pharmacist’s “moral refusal rights.” Your private, adults-only strip club, swing club, erotic bookstore–crippled or closed in every state. And so this crowd deserves no privacy whatsoever.

I personally don’t care if a politician is divorced, bisexual, or unfaithful–can any President cause more “immorality” than our current non-drinking, monogamous, Church-going fool who brags about not reading the newspaper? But these people have earned our complete contempt for their private lives, their human struggles, their family dramas.

You know that cliché, live by the sword, die by the sword. Well, you get votes by trashing others’ private choices, you lose votes because of your own.

And Newt? Now that he’s acknowledged “There’s certainly times when I’ve fallen short of God’s standards,” will he do the Godly thing and stop bashing other people’s sexuality and lifestyle?