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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

PUT THAT KNIFE AWAY, DOC!


If you are interested in health, or if you or your near ones are potential surgical candidates, I strongly urge you to spend five minutes reading this article.
This article talks about avoiding surgery, when other, less invasive options, exist. I have previously mentioned how surgeries for weight loss, back pain and for suspected appendicitis are tilted in favor of the knife-wielder. Surgery has a great role to play in many of the cited instances, but the option should only be exercised as the best option, not the first option. As David Dent, a learned South African academic surgeon, once said, "The patient comes to the surgeon for an opinion, not for an operation".
Alas, most of us (surgeons) don't realise this!

Read more!

SECOND LIFE: DON’T WAGER ON IT!




I am sure most of the millions of my loyal readers across the Milky Way have not heard of Second Life. This, a creation of Linden Labs, is a virtual world (current strength: 8 million) where you become a resident by signing up. Just like in the real world, you then buy land (from a small house to an island), weapons to defend it, transport to visit other places, etc. You can create any object under the virtual sun and sell it to others.You meet other people and interact with them like you would choose to in real life. How anyone would want to risk making a new mother-in-law is beyond me, but I guess it takes all sorts….
To come back to the point, in Second Life, you kind of live a parallel life, and use the virtual Linden Dollar as the currency for trades. If you want to buy a pretty girl a diamond necklace hoping that you would give you online bed-space, you spend in Linden dollars. Where will these things come from? You have to buy them, with real US dollars! That is the brilliance of this business: it is no longer true that only a fool and his money are soon parted; this is now a general truism. Once you get passionate about your virtual world, with its neighbors, friends and other properties, you start spending real money to get pleasure or property.
So now, if you want to create a huge casino where other residents would be tempted to come in and blow away their money, you need to spend a few Linden dollars. But, hey, wait a bit, this has just become illegal!
In what could spell the death knell for Second Life, virtual gambling in Second Life has been banned by the US Government, parallel to the ban on all forms of online gambling in October last year. I go frog-eyed at the concept: the US, a bastion of individual freedom for three centuries, has banned a gaming activity, which is strictly speaking, none of its normal business. I mean, this is not about screwing pages, interns or Washington madams, or even firing at the wrong people, so why are they interested?
Turns out that people will always give a twist to good things and make things real!
Second Life is under a cloud because intelligence anticipates or fears that terrorists could transfer money across the globe through virtual transactions (after all, you have to buy Linden dollars with real money if you want to gift or buy things). Child sex abuse is also alleged to have happened in Germany. Of course, people suing one another for ‘copyright’ violation of their virtual products is also a reality.
Individual rights have to be balanced in relation to national security and law-and-order. But there are too many occasions for the State to squash individual rights in the name of national security or law. Take China, for example. I believe this is a similar instance. This is all very regrettable. As someone who has never lost money or time gambling, I feel the pain of those deprived of it. Virtually, actually!

Read more!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

WEAKLY HUMERUS NEWS 07-28-07

From Stan Kegel

TOP QUOTES OF THE WEEK

President Bush is having a bad week. Senate investigations, congressional hearings, a colonoscopy -- I'm telling you, it's just one probe after another (David Letterman)

President Bush had a colonoscopy over the weekend...Apparently there were concerns about another White House leak. (Jim Barach)

Homeland Security will now allow mothers to take breast milk on airplanes. Under previous Bush administration guidelines, it was allowed on board only if still in the original container. (Bob Mills)

The NFL’s Michael Vick is indicted for dog fighting, the NBA’s Tim Donaghy is accused of fixing games he refereed, the leading team in the Tour De France was caught blood doping, and Barry Bonds is under federal investigation for perjury. You know things are bad when the classiest act in pro sports is boxing’s Don King. (Alex Kaseberg)

One more scandal and Americans could actually start watching soccer. (Jay Leno)

In the battle of the train wreck stars, it seems to be Lindsay Lohan ahead of Andy Dick, Britney Spears, Paula Abdul and David Hasselhof . How far ahead? Due to the cocaine they found, Lindsay is leading by a nose. (Alex Kaseberg)

NBA referee Tim Donaghy agreed Sunday to testify against the mobsters for whom he fixed NBA games. A betting scandal could delay league expansion plans. There's now concern that an NBA team in Las Vegas could seriously erode the town's moral fiber. (Argus Hamilton)

The so-called Moore's Law says computer chips double in power every two years. Another Moore's law says that every two years Michael Moore will come out with a new movie containing twice the exaggerations of his previous film. (Scott Witt)

A 75 year old Swedish woman has been given the fastest residential Internet uplink in the world. The 40 gig per second Internet connection can download a full length movie in two seconds. If my wife had that kind of connection, I would own everything offered on eBay within five minutes. (Jim Barach)

Homeland Security honcho Chertoff claims to have a "gut feeling" a terrorist attack is imminent. And, as one would expect from such an unqualified nitwit, has raised the threat level from "Tagamet" to "Maalox." (Caboom)

CBS is launching a new music label, reviving the name of CBS Records. To which all people under 30 years old are saying "What's a record?" (Jim Barach)


THE CANDIDATES

C-Span viewers were surprised Wednesday afternnon to see Senator Hillary Clinton talking on the Senate floor wearing a black top and revealing some cleavage. This is not the first time a Senator showed that cleavage. Apparently Senator Ted Kennedy once flashed his man boobs when his shirt unbuttoned. (Pedro Bartes)

Democratic candidates tried to tout their national security credentials Monday in South Carolina. It's a hopeless venue for them. Rudy Giuliani's been unbeatable in South Carolina ever since it was discovered that his first wife is also his cousin. (Argus Hamilton)

Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the current crop of GOP presidential candidates "a pathetic bunch of pygmies." Three of the Seven Dwarfs immediately demanded an apology. (Bob Mills)

We're learning more about possible Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, the former U.S. senator who plays the DA on "Law & Order." Apparently, he decided his first marriage was illegal because nobody read him his rights first. (HaBlog)

John Edwards is continuing his poverty tour around America. Today, he visited a group of people who get their haircut in a place called a 'barber shop.' He was horrified to hear that story. (Jay Leno)

Hillary Clinton was in Miami Sunday to speak to the conference of the National Council of La Raza. During her speech, Hillary highlighted her close personal and professional relationships with prominent Hispanic leaders. She even married Don Juan. (Argus Hamilton)

Hillary Clinton is working hard to win the women's vote. They say her campaign has six full-time staffers just for women's outreach, and another six full-time staffers to keep women out of Bill's reach. (Jay Leno)

The Washington Post style section lectured Hillary Clinton Friday for showing cleavage during Wednesday's Senate debate. It was tough. She had to sprinkle glitter on her throat to distinguish herself from all the other boobs sitting in the chamber. (Argus Hamilton)

Fred Thompson fired his campaign manager Monday because he didn't get along with his trophy wife. She's forty years old and every article about her says she's too young and too sexy. Now every woman in America wants to marry a presidential candidate. (Argus Hamilton)

Rudy Giuliani is probably going to be the next president of the United States because it's all about image. He's got the big anti-terrorist image. On January 20, 2009, you may very well be welcoming to the White House Rudy Giuliani and his lovely wife, whoever that may be at the time. Giuliani's first wife was his cousin. I'm not making that up. I think that's a very cheap way to go after the Southern vote. (Bill Maher)

In a speech about foreign policy yesterday, Rudy Giuliani said that America needs to focus more on Pakistan. Giuliani says he knows more about Pakistan than the other candidates because he spent so much time in New York City cabs (Conan O'Brien)

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards went bicycle riding with Lance Armstrong at an Iowa event Wednesday. The personal injury attorney told reporters that he doesn't ride a bicycle very often. It's hard to catch an ambulance on a bicycle. (Argus Hamilton)

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is in the hospital for food poisoning. You ever see Kucinich? Doesn't he always look like he always has food poisoning? (Jay Leno)

THE DEBATES

Democratic Party presidential candidates debate tonight in Charleston. Internet users were invited to submit questions to the candidates over the Web. It could the first political debate in history to directly address the concerns of sexual predators. (Argus Hamilton)

It got a little testy at the debates the other night, where Barack Obama said he would be willing to meet with leaders of countries hostile to the United States. And then Hillary Clinton accused Barack of being 'naive.' Is this the same woman who thought Bill Clinton would forsake all others til death do you part? (Jay Leno)

When asked what he thought of Monday's YouTube presidential debate, President Bush said he liked their music but that lead singer Bono was Irish and thus ineligible to vote. (Janice Hough)

PRESIDENT BUSH

The White House announced that right after President Bush got his colonoscopy on Saturday, he immediately played with his dogs and then rode his bicycle. How old is he? Twelve? (Jay Leno)

Invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution Saturday morning, Mr. Bush transferred to Mr. Cheney all of his presidential responsibilities, which meant that Mr. Cheney spent Saturday jogging, going to the gym, and hitting a ball for Mr. Bush’s dog to retrieve. (Andy Borowitz)

This weekend, President Bush was unconscious -- even more so than usual. He was having five polyps removed. Initially, he didn't want them removed. He said that they were doing a heckuva job. They removed the polyps successfully, and they also found an impacted Scooter in the President's Libby (Stephen Colbert)

Democrats said today they will subpoena the five polyps discovered during President Bush's colonoscopy. "We just want to make sure," says Senator Harry Reid, "there were no polyps of mass destruction." (Joe Hickman)

US President George W. Bush underwent a successful colonoscopy Saturday. It was a simple procedure in which a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube was inserted through the anus to examine the colon. Unfortunately doctors could not retrieve the camera because they could not find an exit strategy. (Pedro Bartes)

Bush underwent a colonoscopy at Camp David. To explain the procedure in terms he could understand, doctors told him they were using a wand "just like the one Harry Potter uses." When they tried to explain their exit strategy, he had no idea what they were talking about. (Bob Mills)

On President George W. Bush's recent colonoscopy: White house spokesman Scott Stanzel said that during the procedure “President Bush was asleep but responsive”. So how is that different than any other day? (Jay Leno)

The five polyps removed during President Bush’s colonoscopy were benign, which is a coincidence because Bush’s approval rating will soon be nine. (Alex Kaseberg)

President Bush transferred the powers of his office to Vice President Dick Cheney for two hours Saturday while under sedation for a colon-cancer screening. When Bush woke up we were at war with Iran, Syria and Venezuela. (Pedro Bartes)

THE ADMINISTRATION

Dick Cheney used his brief period as acting commander-in-chief to good advantage. While President Bush was under sedation for a colonoscopy, Cheney ordered his way to the head of a line to buy the latest Harry Potter book. Then, after Bush regained consciousness, Cheney did as he'd done with the previous Potter books -- he read it to him. (Scott Witt)

CRIME & PUNISHMENT

A New Jersey nurse has been sentenced to life in prison for killing and dismembering her husband and stuffing his body parts into a set of matched luggage that washed ashore in Chesapeake Bay. If she had just thought to check them at Delta, she'd be a free woman today. (Bob Mills)

SPACE & NASA

NASA says it's worried that two Mars Rovers could be knocked out of commission by severe Martian dust storms. Scientists say they never saw dust storms like this on the Red Planet. It just proves that even solar-powered cars can't save your climate. That's the least of their problems. When Michael Vick heard that there were two Rovers on Mars he tried to set up a fight between them. (Argus Hamilton)

At least twice, astronauts were allowed to fly after flight surgeons and other astronauts warned they were so drunk they posed a flight-safety risk. Be serious! Who are they going to hit? Heck, in outer space it's even safe to talk on your cellphone. I wouldn't want 'em docking with the space station while drunk and talking on their cellphones. (HaBlog)

"Aviation Week & Space Technology" magazine reported that they'd found out about two NASA astronauts who went up into space completely drunk. Apparently that was the only way NASA had to convince the astronauts to go to space in a space ship that was created in the 80's. (Pedro Bartes)

IRAQ

Thousands of jubilant Iraqis celebrated in the streets of Baghdad after their national soccer team beat Vietnam 2-0 in a quarterfinal match of the Asia Cup. President Bush was wondering if those two goals could be counted as two more accomplished benchmarks. (Pedro Bartes)

CHINA & THE FAR EAST

China executed the government administrator in charge of the nation's internationally condemned food and drug quality last week. The execution was grisly. A squad lined him up and gave him a choice between eating the catfish and using the toothpaste. (Argus Hamilton)

China continues to recall products that can be harmful to your health, but at least it's keeping consumers informed. This warning was found in a fortune cookie: "If you've eaten this cookie, it's too late." (Scott Witt)

India, on Saturday, elected their very first female president. And today, President Bush called India -- not to congratulate her, he had some questions about his computer. (Jay Leno)

MEXICO & LATIN AMERICA

A Mexican candy has been recalled after containing traces of lead, in a sign of Mexico’s ongoing effort to compete with China’s candy industry. (Andy Borowitz)

HEALTH

The New England Medical Journal said Tuesday obesity is a socially transmitted disease. It's more visible in some places than others. No hurricane or tornado will ever blow away the Las Vegas Airport because it's so weighed down with Americans. (Argus Hamilton)


ENTERTAINMENT

The seventh and final Harry Potter book comes out on Friday night at midnight. It’s supposed to be top secret, but apparently someone got a hold of the book and took pictures of every page and posted them on the Internet. The publishers are worried it could hurt sales, which is terrible news because now the author, J. K. Rowling, might not be able to buy Puerto Rico. (Jimmy Kimmel)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out Friday at midnight with hundreds of thousands of children lined up at the bookstores. It's not everyone's cup of tea. Michael Vick's favorite book as a kid was Old Yeller, because he loves a happy ending. (Argus Hamilton)

MTV has just announced they are creating a cartoon series starring Paris Hilton. Not surprisingly, in the cartoon, Paris uses SpongeBob as a contraceptive. (Conan O'Brien)

In the Emmy nominated HBO show "Entourage" they're making the movie "Medellin." To which an NBC exec asked HBO; "What the heck is that?" "Medellin is a drug cartel" HBO replied. "No", said the NBC exec; "What's an Emmy?" (Alex Kaseberg)

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is a hit about two straight men who pretend to be gay lovers to get health coverage. It's tricky. Sodomy is acceptable to the average American moviegoer only if it's performed by an experienced insurance company. (Argus Hamilton)

"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" was roundly "pronounced lousy" by critics. In fact, it's so bad, Adam Sandler reportedly asked Robin Williams, who plays a minister in the equally dreadful "License to Wed," for a dispensation. (Bob Mills)

"I Know Who Killed Me" is out in theaters this weekend. Lindsay Lohan’s character is a departure for her. In many of the scenes, she must act sober. (Alan Ray)

The producers of the hit show "24" have announced the production will be more environmentally friendly in the future, which means Jack Bauer will be only be blowing up oil companies from now on. (Jake Novak)



CELEBRITIES

Britney Spears and her mother got into a slap fight. It got so bad, the baby pulled over and stopped the car. (David Letterman)

Lindsay Lohan was arrested Tuesday on DUI charges and cocaine possession. The problems for Lindsay arose when the cops suspected she was drunk, decided to do a sobriety test and asked her how she would do on a straight line, and Lindsay said: "Let me show you, do you have a mirror?" (Pedro Bartes)

Just days after leaving rehab, Lindsay Lohan has been arrested and charged with drunk driving and cocaine possession in Santa Monica. After seeing what it did for Paris Hilton's image, Lohan obviously has decided she needs a few weeks in jail. (Jake Novak)

RELIGION

The Vatican says it may drop a prayer for the conversion of Jews from the Latin Mass. It will be replaced with a prayer for Catholic priests to convert to heterosexual. (Jim Barach)

The Los Angeles Diocese of the Catholic Church has settled more than five hundred priest molestation lawsuits for $660 million. The settlement was going to be $666 million but they thought that might give the church a bad image. Insurance companies are paying out $227 million of the settlement. The church bought sex abuse insurance. I'm just curious why a church would even think of carrying sex abuse insurance? How the church got sex abuse insurance is a mystery. Shouldn't they have been disqualified for having a pre-existing condition? (Jim Barach)


BUSINESS

Disney has banned tobacco products from all future movies carrying the Disney logo. Which explains why Snow White was recently spotted at a film premiere wearing a skin patch. (Bob Mills)

For only the second time in history, McDonald's is reporting a loss -- something people who eat its high calorie food have never done. (Scott Witt)

Purdue Pharma L.P., the maker of OxyContin, and three of its executives were ordered Friday to pay a 634.5 million fine for misleading the public about the painkiller's risk of addiction. Apparently they already recovered the money after Rush Limbaugh and Lindsay Lohan made their weekly OxyContin shopping last Saturday. (Pedro Bartes)

Virgin America announced service from San Francisco to Los Angeles Friday. The low-fare airline offers in-flight movie rentals. It's only a thirty-minute flight but planes now sit so long on the runway that Gone with the Wind will be complimentary. (Argus Hamilton)

Read more!

BEAUTIFUL GREECE

I have covered Greece in several posts before. This is my last one, and I will spare you my verbiage, letting my simple digi-cam speak for me.


That is the ugly Indian tourist sated at a nice restaurant.


Asleep in Athens.


Weary of tourists in Plaka, Athens.


A Bar in Plaka, Athens.


Santorini


Santorini


A typical Greek sunset.


Athens at night.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

The Third World




Indians have a few million Gods and Goddesses, and can’t get enough of them, it seems. An infant with both male and female genitalia is being showered unwanted attention in Ball-sore (Orissa), and being thought as a reincarnation of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
To expose the phallacy of this intro, read this news article.
Scientifically speaking, this is old hat. Ambiguous external genitalia is not very rare (may be seen in up to 1% of all births), but true hermaphroditism (where both testicular and ovarian tissue are present) is less common. Contrary to popular notion, the ‘main point’ of the male is not the penis, but the testicles. Similarly, the vagina or the clitoris in the female are not the determining female organs, but the ovary is. External genitalia can be confusing (ambiguous): if the baby’s testicles have not descended at birth, how can one say whether it has a large clitoris or a small penis? I hope you get this answer! If it a large clitoris, the urinary passage is separate, whereas in the male with a small penis, the urine goes through it. However, things become more muddled in the condition known as Hypospadias, where the urinary passage in male babies opens through the scrotum. Now imagine a tiny scrotum without any balls in them, and a small hole through which urine comes out: could it not be confused with the female anatomy?
This is one of several reasons why there is confusion in identifying the gender of some cases.
Apart from the morbid imaginations of the mind, there are some interesting issues here:
* What should the parents do? Surgical reassignment surgery (popularly called sex change operation) is an obvious option. However, whether to make the baby a boy or girl becomes a troublesome issue. Imagine that one (surgically) makes the baby physically a female, and when ‘she’ grows up, she wants to be a boy (because ‘she’ feels like one). What a disaster that would be! For this reason, many experts counsel that the sex change operation should be done when the child grows up and its sexual orientation is clear, along with its choice.
* Imagine again, that the parents of a baby of undetermined sex opt to wait for the child to grow up. How horrible would the child’s growing years be, without it having an idea of what gender it is, and having to cope up with brutal teasing and harassment at home and school!
* Should society officially declare three, and not two, genders: the third being the intersex? Makes you wonder whether these people (we should really coin a word similar to ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ for them) would visit, after watching a movie, the male toilet or the female!
India being such a reserved country, should we keep away 1% of Parliament seats and 5% of educational seats for the third sex? Should we ban sex determination by preventing doctors from telling the parents what the sex of the baby is? What if the upset parents, upon hearing that they have given birth to a girl, commit murder of the child? (you really have to click that link to understand the irony of this!)
The whole purpose of this article was to engender some discussion by testicling your imagination!

Read more!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Friends united by fat!



Here is some more weird news about obesity. According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, obesity tends to occur almost in synchrony within the same group of friends, even if they are in another country. Here is a news article on this.

If you are the snooty sort who likes to access the original research paper, here is how the authors say they did the study:
"We graphed the network with the use of the Kamada–Kawai algorithm in Pajek software. We generated videos of the network by means of the Social Network Image Animator (known as SoNIA). We examined whether our data conformed to theoretical network models such as the small-world,10 scale-free, and hierarchical types (see the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this article at www.nejm.org)."
Understood, na? Easy! SoNIA, and yet, SoFa!

Want more? Here, take this:

"The use of a time-lagged dependent variable (lagged to the previous examination) eliminated serial correlation in the errors (evaluated with a Lagrange multiplier test) and also substantially controlled for the ego's genetic endowment and any intrinsic, stable predisposition to obesity. The use of a lagged independent variable for an alter's weight status controlled for homophily. The key variable of interest was an alter's obesity at time t+1. A significant coefficient for this variable would suggest either that an alter's weight affected an ego's weight or that an ego and an alter experienced contemporaneous events affecting both their weights. We estimated these models in varied ego–alter pair types."

Capital, my dear chaps! I couldn't have put it better, myself! Nothing does the old noodle as much good as a good, invigorating read of the NEJM's original scientific papers! Of course, for those surgeons who are too lazy to read such articles, there is always this blog, or the wires!

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Another day in a surgeon's life


They say a surgeon is remembered only for his complications. One bad day, one stroke of bad luck, and all his good work is forgotten. Years of dedicated and successful work comes to nought. So, me thinks, if you get some sunshine on your head for some good work, you better feel you are one lucky dog you aren't in the news for the wrong reasons, right!?
Times of India, Kolkata, page 5 (free registration may be required).
(And, of course, the photo is grossly unjust to both patient and surgeon!)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

DOPED OR DUPED?


This year, another doping scandal has hit the famous cycling event, the Tour de France. Last year, the superstar Floyd Landis was disgraced when he was accused of doping with testosterone. He initially claimed to have the same problem faced by others like the notorious blogger, Dr. Urs Truly, namely, an un-naturally high level of testosterone that is considered impermissible by society.
Doping is, as all of us know, the taking of prohibited substances that can enhance performances in sports. These include blood, blood producing substance Erythropoietin, anabolic steroids, diuretics, and so many more.
The first recorded case of doping was in the eighth century BC when Ancient Greek Olympians ate Ram’s testicles (ouch!), thereby getting a fix of testosterone, presumably. Through the centuries, countless other cases took place, including the historic dethroning of Canadian Ben Johnson who won the 100m sprints in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Guilty of doping Stanazolol (an anabolic steroid), Johnson was disgraced and replaced by Carl Lewis. And let us not forget that Shane Warne, the legendary Aussie leg spinner lost one year, for doping diuretics.
Why the blog, you wonder?
Because, simply put, I think the world is wrong. I think there is nothing essentially wrong with taking performance-enhancing drugs. In a way, every athlete does try this when he eats loads of proteins and vitamins, which could enhance performance. Anyone can get stimulated by a cup of coffee, for another example. Or feel less pain with a painkiller or a shot of alcohol. There are many agents with potential adverse effects on the consumer’s health that are banned from use. Every sports agency in the world prohibits doping. And every year, great athletes test positive, get disgraced, and fade away, never to be seen or heard again.
What is essentially wrong if performance is enhanced? It may give an unfair advantage to the user, perhaps, though I am not aware of any scientifically conducted trials that prove this. It is, therefore, possible that these drugs are thought to be enhancers, but not actually so. In effect, this means that those great athletes who have been banished from the honor roll of history may not actually have committed any crime at all, beyond breaking a rule. Big effing deal!
Contrary to popular belief, drug intake may actually affect health negatively and cause weakness. Try taking a diuretic, and feel the difference! Left to themselves, once science disproves the notion that additives are of no use, athletes will not use them. Contrarily, once specific drugs are proven to be enhancers, everyone would use them.
There is, in my mind, no other moral locus standi to banning these drugs other than a cry for equal opportunity and egalitarianism, all catchwords for not allowing people to scale the heights possible to mankind. For an interesting article, look here. Look at countries that have sophisticated training centers, psychologists and sports physiologists: don’t their sportsmen do better than Indian and Bangladeshi athletes? Should we bring their preparation down to our level so that there be ‘fair’ competition? When they eat loads of meat and fruits, are the athletes not artificially pumping in iron, proteins, minerals and vitamins? Then why the hypocrisy of disallowing sportsmen from taking drugs that would (at least theoretically) take sports performances to a new level?
Do the top honchos of these Olympic Associations not take Viagra at a big night out (or in)? Why, is that not performance enhancement??
Update (26.07.07): Tour de France leader thrown out

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

PREMARITAL TESTING: SHOULD IT BE MANDATORY?



Sree of Sris’ Views poses a problem to us, while handling the divorce case of a couple that are both dentists. 'The wife is asking for divorce on the grounds that the husband did
not reveal the fact that he has 'tuberous sclerosis'. After she gave birth, finding white patches on the baby’s skin, she ran a long list of tests and it was then that the disease was diagnosed”, she says. This is the ground for their divorce case now, she says.
Sree wonders whether premarital screening of the partners for diseases should be mandatory.
So, here is an interesting poser: should we routinely screen for diseases (pre-nup), and if we do, which diseases should be screened, and what are the pros and cons of this?
First see what the world is doing: countries as diverse as China, Taiwan, Italy, Turkey and Brazil are among those states where premarital testing is warranted by law. Most of the rest of the world knows nothing about this, or isn’t too worked up.
You can read an interesting article on this subject here.
Among the tests that can be done are HIV, Hepatitis B, syphilis, other sexually transmitted diseases, German measles (rubella), and a load of others. Physical examination, including vaginal examination of the bride-to-be (and ball-squeezing of the groom to make this non-discriminatory), and urine tests are also done, apart from a detailed history-taking to rule out psychiatric and other problems.
Only if the couple is granted a clean chit of health are the Chinese allowed to marry. In modern days, detailed genetic screening can be done to screen for traits for genetically transmitted diseases (like tuberous sclerosis in Sree’s client), leading to the concern that creation of these designer babies will be a form of eugenics.
Sounds like a good thing, isn’t it? Screen couples for diseases, and thereby prevent new diseases like thalassemia and AIDS from affecting newborn babies. In addition, teach the couple some sex and health education, and parenting, too. Good for the couple, and profitable for the society, right? Wait just a bit there!

There are several glitches in making premarital medical screening mandatory. Like what?
1. The rights of the couple are violated, if the tests are done by fiat, without their consent. In the third world, this means more corruption.
2. The costs: who is going to pay for the tests? In China, the couple pays for the tests. For poor patients, imagine how painfully impossible it would be for them to comply.
3. Test results can sometimes lead to wrong conclusions. There are false positives and false negatives. Chasing more tests to confirm a test for TB, Hepatitis B or HIV, for examples, will cost a lost of money.
4. Privacy violation can stigmatise a person for life: for example, if someone spreads a rumor that a girl tested positive for thalassemia, she would be penalized by her society forever on that count alone, as if thalassemia were a contagious disease!
The solution to this, I think lies with society becoming more smart and enlightened. If people become aware of genetic and transmissible diseases that they want to avoid in a marriage, they must mutually agree to each undergo a battery of tests to that purpose. As genetic testing becomes more sophisticated, and society more aware and affluent, this will surely become more germane an issue in the coming years.

Read more!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Want to smoke? Go to hell!


India (and I mean the State) has now determined that tobacco is a vile evil that needs to be driven out of it. I am sure that Union Health Minister A Ramadoss has absolutely purely altruistic reasons for his decisions, and his getting awarded by the WHO for anti-tobacco activities has nothing to do with a desire for more of the same. Now the Minister wants 65% of his male population (the smokers) to come out on the roads, or go home, and smoke. If he had bothered asking the Public Works Minister he would have been warned that there are not that many roads and homes in India to accomodate these many guys. He wants the men to smoke at home, but only if the maidservant (as his employee) permits. Er, what happens if I defy your order, sir?
“All places of work in the country will be declared smoke -free and those found flouting the law will be strictly punished. This rule will apply wherever there are employees working”. Yeah, like how people wanting to smoke in trains walk till the coach where all the Railway Police chaps sit and smoke bidis.
Smoking in public is bad for others' health, as science says. However, smoking within one's private property has to be within one's individual rights, and if there are others within one's private space, their right to breathe clean air is secondary at that point of time to the right of the owner to allow smoking. The non-smokers have to put up with it, or go to a place which is smoke-free. It is a different thing in a public space. In other words, banning smoking in restaurants and pubs, which are the property of individuals, is violating their rights as individual property owners.
As always, smokers are milch cows for politicians, because women voters will support anti-smoking activities (at least in India, where ladies don’t normally smoke), and revenues from taxation will continue to pour in. It has been proposed to discriminate against smokers for elective surgery in Government hospitals under the NHS, which I have discussed in an article in The Telegraph.
I have no particular axe to grind for smokers, but I am opposed to social engineering by the State anywhere. This is now a holy cow the world over. I have a whacky thought: when man colonises the moon, will smoking be disallowed even in outer space? What about Hell? Hello??

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Back on Track!


If you are in an Indian train and want to smoke but are too scared to, just walk till the coach where all the Railway Police chaps sit and smoke bidis. That is the written smoking zone, because they stand right beneath the stern signs promising eternal damnation in jail for even thinking of cigarettes. If law makers think the Law is in the toilet, just can it, yaar! At this rate, the Railways cops will get so bribe-rich that they will be able to afford my surgery, I can't help thinking. Now it is another matter that I am mostly unable to travel in trains these days, though I absolutely love the combination of the exotoxin-demo-model food packet and the gas chamber that they quaintly call a toilet. Lots of people also feel get free exotoxin demos, and the resultant Kumbh Mela to the toilets makes it look very cultural (bacterial culture, presumably, though no studies have assessed this), very La-loo. As I said, I love this pottic justice. Before I dig further in this toil yet, I must stop these lateral excretions of the mind. Reminds me that there is a smart bowler in the England cricket team called Sidebottom. How he manages, I don't know. If he comes into one of these Waterlaloos (say when going from Kolkata to the Keenan Stadium, Jamshedpur for a match), he would find it so easy. Like those delightful guys from the Western states of India who squirt 168 ml of paan juice a clear six meters away in one visually appealing parabolic curve, and just like those fountains in Disneylands that suddenly squirt water six meters up from the ground in a short epileptic jerk. 'Spity! Disney could employ these guys instead. Imagine the awe with which fat kids from all over the world will go to Disneyland (ice creams melting in lingual neglect) just to watch the Patels, Jaiswals and Jhanjharias play rallies with paan juice. And for an additional dollar-forty, you can even see how they can do this, both of them, while talking simultaneously on the cell phone and driving their long cars. If your head is periodically used as a replacement when superstitious people want to touch something for luck, the import of the above is to wonder that if these guys can put two fingers on their lips and squirt like a cobra of the genus Naja, it spans the imagination as to how they will manage the exotoxin-induced diarrhea in an Indian train journey. There should a video of this in You Tube.
Let us, however, get back on track to Side Bottom. Now, this is getting assinine, and before the bottom drops out, and the pungent odors of my wordsmith-ry with moreass words reek, let me plug the verbal diarrhea, just like when I travel in an Indian train. Screw Side Bottom, I got sidetracked!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

WEAKLY HUMERUS NEWS 07-21-07

From Stan Kegel

TOP QUOTES OF THE WEEK

President Bush's approval rating is so low, the only thing he's still above is the law. (Jay Leno)

Last night, down in Washington, DC, they had the all-night Senate session. The senators were there all night. It was the DC madam's slowest night ever. (David Letterman)

The Republicans were saying, "Pulling out the troops in 120 days would lead to chaos in Iraq." And I'm thinking, "Well hell, chaos would be an improvement." (David Letterman)

During an interview Senator Hillary Clinton said that few times would she say something that she would regret because she thinks twice before opening her mouth, and Bill just nodded. (Pedro Bartes)

Pope Benedict XVI approved a statement issued by the Vatican reaffirming the Roman Catholic Church as the only true path to salvation, especially if you are one of the people that got $1.2 million in the latest settlement for clergy abuse. (Pedro Bartes)

Fox News is now reporting that there are people in the CIA who are working against President Bush's policy by using incompetence. So apparently, they are fighting fire with fire. (Jay Leno)

The State of California is considering an 8% tax on pornography. 8%? That sounds a little stiff. Typical politicians. They can’t stand to see someone get screwed without cashing in on it. (Alex Kaseberg)

According to the latest reports, al Qaeda is increasing efforts to sneak into the United States. And they are getting pretty serious about it. I understand now they're learning Spanish. (Jay Leno)

The Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese has paid $660 million to settle these sexual abuse claims. Plus, they also have to release all the priests' confidential, personal files. I think those are called pedo-philes. (Jay Leno)

A protestor in front of the White House was grabbed by Home Land Security guys. He was carrying a sign that said "President Bush is a Fool!" He was criminally charged with insulting the president and he was placed in the Guantanamo detention center for an undetermined period of time for revealing a state secret. (Grady Lacy)

Tonight, down in Washington, DC, Congress is working around the clock to try and solve the problem in Iraq. And I was thinking, "Gee, maybe they should have done that before we went in." (David Letterman)

That's right, Congress is working all night. At least Senator Vitter's wife will know where he is. (David Letterman)

MICHAEL VICK

Michael Vick was indicted Tuesday on charges of running a dog fighting operation including gruesome allegations of executing poor-performing animals by hanging and electrocution. Some people say his football career might be over, others say his friendship with Dick Cheney might have just started. (Pedro Bartes)

It is impossible to measure the damage Michael Vick has caused himself in the American public’s eye. Vick could have been caught wearing a diaper so he could drive all night and smoke crack to have sex with a mentally challenged transvestite and he could have recovered. (Alex Kaseberg)

Atlanta Falcons star Michael Vick has been indicted for being an alleged ringleader in a massive dog fighting operation. This is a devastating development for millions of Americans as it comes just days before the fantasy football draft. (Jake Novak)

Atlanta Falcon quarterback Michael Vick has been charged with breeding pit bulls and executing those that failed to pass muster by gunshot, strangulation or electrocution. On a brighter note, Bob Barker's season box at Atlanta Stadium is up for sale----cheap. (Bob Mills)

The indictment against Vick includes charges he executed poor-performing dogs in vicious ways, something most Falcon fans have wanted to do to Vick ever since they missed the 2005 playoffs. (Jake Novak)

Michael Vick's federal indictment on dog fighting charges will surely cost him millions of dollars in product endorsements. But he did just win the job to plug a new line of imported poison Chinese dog food. (Jake Novak)

DAVID VIDOR

Louisiana Senator David Vitter returned to work today, fighting for his political life after his phone number turned up in the records of alleged DC madam Jane Pauley. Vitter's asked for forgiveness from God and his wife. But, of course, the Democrats have no respect for God or wives. So they made a political issue out if it. (Stephen Colbert)

Louisiana Senator David Vitter has admitted he was a client of the DC madam. She made public a list of all her clients' phone numbers. Here's my question: If you're so stupid to go to a prostitute and give her your real name and your Senate office phone number, how did you get elected in the first place?" (Jay Leno)

Here's just the creepiest part of the story: there are now reports that the senator paid prostitutes to dress him up in a diaper. He's not denying these allegations. He did poo-poo them though. (Jay Leno)

Last week, Vitter became the highest profile John implicated in the DC madam scandal. It kinda reminds me of the old saying, "The only thing I trust less than a Louisiana senator sleeping with a hooker, is one that isn't." (Jon Stewart)

At his press conference yesterday, where he admitted being involved with prostitutes, Louisiana Senator David Vitter apologized to his longtime supporters -- the working men and the working girls of Louisiana. (Jay Leno)

He appeared at the press conference with his wife. Did you see the look on her face? I haven't seen a woman that happy since New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey gave his famous "I'm a gay American" speech. (Jay Leno)

U. S. Senator David Vitter held a press conference in New Orleans Monday to admit he was a client of the Washington D. C. madam. He was very defensive. Every time the reporters asked him about money for Katrina, he said he wouldn't give in to blackmail. (Argus Hamilton)

Louisiana Senator David Vitter apologized to his constituency for using an escort service. He claimed that he did it for the people of New Orleans, and that he was wearing diapers to research on how to prevent leaks in the levees. (Pedro Bartes)

Sen. Vitter's wife promised she'd do a Lorena Bobbitt.... Is EVERY Republican a liar, including their spouses?

Sen Vitter then flew back to Washington in a diaper to continue the hard work of punishing gay people because they want to be married.

GOP Senator David "Family Values" Vitter apologized after admitting that he frequented hookers. Shocking, isn't it? A Republican getting laid by an adult heterosexual, I mean. (Bob Mills)

A lot of conservatives on radio and TV are now claiming Republican Senator David Vitter is not a hypocrite for talking about the sanctity of marriage while cheating on his wife with prostitutes. So exactly what would you have to do -- have sex with the hooker while apologizing to your wife on TV? (Jay Leno)

Louisiana Senator David Vitter held a press conference this week, where he admitted yes, he was a client of the DC madam, but he said those stories of hookers dressing him in diapers were not true. Boy, what do you do there? Are you supposed to take the word of a politician over a hooker? It's a tough decision for people. (Jay Leno)

Vitter's wife was by his side when he made the announcement. She called the senator her "best friend." Unfortunately, his best friend is someone named Thumper. (Jay Leno)

THE CANDIDATES

John McCain's communications director has quit. McCain did not have an immediate comment, because his communications director quit. (Jay Leno)

According to a new AP poll, the most popular presidential candidate among registered Republicans is "none of the above." At the moment, Rudy Giuliani is running third, just behind "Good Lord, not him." (Conan O'Brien)

Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. He said he dropped out because "I don't have the star power of a Tom Tancredo or a Mike Huckabee." (Conan O'Brien)

The wives of some of the Presidential candidates are having a more important role in their husband's campaigns. Apparently political strategists realized that a fight between Fred Thompson and Dennis Kucinich over oil is not as interesting as oil wrestling match between Thompson's gorgeous blonde wife, Jeri Thompson, and Kucinich's hot wife. (Pedro Bartes)

So, despite great name recognition, and good initial funding, John McCain's presidential campaign is fading fast. Who knew that his "Straight Talk Express" would go the way of Amtrak? (Janice Hough)

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows that most Americans think Hillary Clinton is a good role model for women, especially women who can't tell the truth. (Jake Novak)

CNN found out which celebrities are donating money to which presidential campaigns. See if you notice any kind of a pattern here. Hillary Clinton's campaign got money from Paul Newman, Tobey Macguire, Tom Hanks, and Ben Stiller. Barack Obama got donations from Will Smith, Cedric the Entertainer, Isaiah Washington, and Jamie Foxx. And Dennis Kucinich, he actually got some celebrity money. He got checks from Verne Troyer, Emmanuel Lewis, Dr. Ruth, and Papa Smurf. They say as goes Papa Smurf, so goes the South. (Jimmy Kimmel)

The most important question, though, is who does Oprah support? It was revealed today that Oprah is backing Barack Obama. He joins Dreyer's frozen fruit bars as one of Oprah's favorite things. I guess their names are so similar, she got confused and thought she was supporting herself for president. (Jimmy Kimmel)

John McCain has a new campaign slogan, "An Army Of One." I don't want to say McCain's campaign is broke, but today he held a rally at the 99-cent store. (Jay Leno)

John McCain isn't the only candidate out there who is suffering. Over the weekend, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore announced he was dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination for president. His departure strikes a severe blow to his party's diversity. Of the nine white Christian men running, Gilmore was the only one with a wife named Roxanne. We no longer have that choice. (Stephen Colbert)

Hopeless Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich was hospitalized for food poisoning on Sunday night. He's fine now. He was released from the Cleveland Children's Hospital yesterday. He's now back home, resting comfortably in a hollow tree. I guess he ate out of the wrong bird feeder (Jimmy Kimmel)

PRESIDENT BUSH

The president's approval rating just keeps getting lower and lower. Right now President Bush is ranked somewhere between former President Richard Nixon and the hunter who shot Bambi. (Jimmy Kimmel)

The New York City Fire Department rushed to the site of a massive steam pipe explosion in lower Manhattan. With them was George Bush who rolled up his sleeves, donned a fireman's hat and declared, "major combat with the steam was over" and that the US had prevailed. While he spoke, a "Mission Accomplished" banner was being unfurled across the entrance to the Chrysler Building. (Bob Mills)

President Bush on Wednesday reiterated his threat to veto Senate legislation that would substantially increase funds for children's health insurance by levying a 61-cent-a-pack increase in cigarette taxes. Republicans don't worry about protecting children from cigarette smoking because Republicans don't have children. Most Republicans weren't even children themselves. They were born grown up. Unlike Democrats, who will always be children. (Joe Hickman)

Imagine my surprise when I come back to work and find out that the president of the United States commuted Scooter Libby's sentence. How little does the president care what you think about that? [on screen: Bush saying it was a "fair and balanced" decision]. He's literally just using Fox News' slogan now. Here's the thing about the phrase "fair and balanced" -- the president means it just as much as Fox does. (Jon Stewart)

THE DEMOCRATS

Did you hear what happened in Iowa the other day? Two women see Bill Clinton at a parade and they thought he was Bob Barker from "The Price is Right." They're going, "Bob. Bob." You can understand why. When Clinton saw the girls, he was saying, "Come on down." (Jay Leno)

Senator Ted Kennedy reported to jury duty this week, but they refused to take him. The judge said Kennedy's huge head would block the view of the other 11 jurors. (Jay Leno)

Congratulations to former Vice President Al Gore. His youngest daughter Sarah got married over the weekend. Very happy for them, although Al couldn't enjoy the reception. He was so obsessed with how fast the ice sculpture was melting (Jay Leno)

Al Gore's lovely daughter Sarah got married over the weekend. Critics are now bashing Al Gore for serving Chilean sea bass at his daughter's wedding, because it is an endangered species. In his defense, whenever Al Gore picks up a knife and fork, any species is endangered. (Jay Leno)

THE REPUBLICANS

It seems that a member of the Florida House of Representatives and the co-chairman of John McCain's Florida campaign, a man named Bob Allen, has just been arrested for soliciting an undercover male police officer for sex. He offered to perform a sex act on the police officer for $20. Remember the good old days during a campaign, when you only had to kiss babies? It is so competitive now for what you have to do to get elected. (Jay Leno)

The latest sex scandal concerns Florida Republican state Representative Bob Allen, who was arrested for offering to perform a sex act on an undercover police officer in exchange for $20. $20? Finally, a politician who's not afraid to put his money where his mouth is. (Jay Leno)

THE CONGRESS

The U. S. Senate debated the Iraq war Tuesday in an all-night session. It's not clear if the senators were trying to stand up to President Bush or just prove to their wives that they weren't using an escort service. (Jake Novak)

Last night, the Senate held an all-night session, and Senator Hillary Clinton gave a speech at four in the morning. Apparently, it was the first time Hillary gave a speech at four in the morning that didn't start with, "Where the hell have you been?" (Conan O'Brien)

The U.S. Senate held an all-night session last night, trying to get the votes needed to begin troop withdrawal from Iraq. They lost. They stayed in the Senate chamber all night long, with some of them sleeping on cots. In fact, Hillary stayed up so late, she actually saw Bill sneaking in. (Jay Leno)

Despite an all-night session, Senate Democrats failed to overcome a GOP filibuster on Iraq. Of course, trying all night without enjoying any success is something Majority Leader Harry Reid and his wife are very familiar with. (Jake Novak)

After the all-night session at the senate, the only thing left were the cots and Senator John McCain going through every empty box of pizza to see if there were some leftovers to feed his staffers (Pedro Bartes)

The Senate postponed voting on a bill that would put tobacco under FDA jurisdiction. One of the senators accidentally sat on the tobacco executive in his back pocket and the putrid smell quickly cleared the room.

THE COURTS

The Supreme Court has ruled that medicinal marijuana use is illegal. That ought to teach those people to come down with cancer! (Jay Leno)

THE STATES

Louisiana has become the last state to ban cockfighting. Well, there goes Michael Vick's plan to move there. (Bob Mills)

Wisconsin is the first state to consider a law regarding custody of pets in a divorce. Couples may have to start signing "pre-pup" agreements when they get married. It could result in the first "kitty litter support" payments. (Jim Barach)

Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison said he erred when he compared 9/11 to the Reichtag fire in Nazi Germany. He's right. Hitler ordered the latter and Bush hasn't got the brains to have masterminded the former. (Bob Mills)

LOCAL NEWS

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating complaints that Paris Hilton got special treatment while in jail. During a press conference Hilton said that it wasn't her fault she received several cavity searches. (Pedro Bartes)

New York cabs will sprout fins to promote the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week." Much like they flashed red lights during "Hooker Week." (Bob Mills)

Midtown Manhattan cleans up from a steam explosion. It’s altered traffic in the area. Cab drivers are now restricted to just one middle finger. (Alan Ray)

CRIME & PUNISHMENT

In Washington, D.C., a gun-wielding thief broke into a dinner party. After he was served wine, he put the gun away, gave everyone a hug and left without incident. Needless to say, the wine was French. (Alex Kaseberg)

The National Rifle Association successfully defeated a bill that would have granted cities access to federal gun-owner data. Whew, let this one slip by and pretty soon you've got mental defectives with nothing to hunt with. (Bob Mills)

TERRORISM

The US has raised the reward for the capture of Osama bin Laden to $50 million. Even more enticing, Howie Mandel has agreed to inflate a condom on his head before handing over the dough. (Bob Mills)

A top government intelligence report says that al Qaeda is desperately trying to sneak into the United States. But it's not clear if they want to attack us, or just get some of those good dishwashing jobs at Denny's. (Jake Novak)

Osama bin Laden has released another new video. See, that shows how dumb this guy is. He releases it the same week as 'Harry Potter.' On this latest tape, bin Laden says, "a happy man is one who dies for his religion." Do you ever notice the one who is giving the advice is never the one blowing himself up? (Jay Leno)


IRAQ

A report card on Iraq shows progress on only eight of 18 areas. Eight out of 18. And, of course, President Bush is thrilled. That's the best report card he's ever got in his life (Jay Leno)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki boldly announced today that American soldiers "can leave Iraq anytime they like," as long as they take him with them. (Jake Novak)


ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST

This week, President Bush announced he's launching a new campaign to solve the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. When asked why, Bush said, "It's fun to finally be working on a problem that I didn't cause." (Conan O'Brien)

President Bush is demanding that the Palestinian government arrest terrorists. The only problem is that all of the terrorists are in the Palestinian government. (Jake Novak)

THE ECONOMY

The dollar dropped to an all time low last week. The dollar is so low that Illegals are bribing border patrol officers with pesos now. (Pedro Bartes)

SCIENCE

Researchers at U. C. Davis are training sheep to weed vineyards without eating the grapes. Apparently the sheep are willing to take on jobs that illegal immigrants won't do. (Jim Barach)

HEALTH

So-called "TB Traveller" Andrew Speaker underwent surgery for his tuberculosis in Atlanta today. Speaker wanted to get the surgery done before Michael Moore tried to take him to Cuba. (Jake Novak)

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are predicting that 75% of Americans will be overweight by the year 2015. But my fellow Americans, with a little team work, I think we can do it by 2010. USA! USA! (Conan O'Brien)




RELIGION

Pope Benedict XVI will travel to New York to address the UN. Mayor Bloomberg has already ordered extra security around all the city's boy's clubs. (Bob Mills)

LA's Cardinal Roger "Stonewall" Mahoney said of the $660 million last-minute priest pedophile settlement: "My own testifying would not have been a problem." Then he licked himself to make sure he hadn't turned into a pillar of salt. That's rare, isn't it? A pedophile enabler licking himself. (Bob Mills)

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has reached a $660 million settlement agreement with more than 500 sexual abuse plaintiffs. The Church plans to pay for the settlement by hiring super-cheap illegal immigrant priests from now on. (Jake Novak)

The L.A. Catholic archdiocese has agreed to pay a $660 million settlement in a sexual lawsuit against Catholic priests. $660 million? Yet, nobody goes to jail and they just get to write a check. Who do these priests think they are -- Scooter Libby? (Jay Leno)

EDUCATION

A study shows that fewer and fewer kids are walking to school. That makes sense since fewer and fewer kids are going to school these days. Kids don't feel a need to walk to school to get exercise. Apparently they feel having sex with their teacher is enough to keep them in shape. (Jim Barach)



POLLS & STUDIES

According to a new Zogby poll, the new Congress has hit another historic low. Only 14% of people approve of Congress. 14%! And that's just the hookers that work for the DC madam. (Jay Leno)

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Friday, July 20, 2007

TAG-A-MET

When brilliant Madrasi blogger Krish Ashok tagged me in his list of the blogs he thinks think, I had no idea this tagging thing was a contagious disease. Apart from my pestilential patients (pests, still essential, geddit?), here was one man who thought I thought. 'Snot a rotten thought, 'sit not? Incidentally, my PPs (pestilential patients) think I am always thoughtful and carefully listening to their detailed descriptions of their last week's bowel movements and an unblinded comparative study with yesterday's downloaded contents (more like they think it is a national treasure or something) , while I am mentally holidaying in Peru with a pretty Indian girl with a sharp nose, thick lips and big hips...aaah, the tragedies of life!
Anyway, let me cut to the chase again. Another brilliant man, Mahendra, has done something very un-brilliant: he has tagged me. I have to speak at random about myself, and tag some others. Ok, let me be merciful and quick.

Eight random things about myself:

1. I am not judgmental: in other words, I never manage to hide a lack of judgment.

2. I am unkind: I prefer cash.

3. Physical anomaly: Head down, I am really hot. Head up, the view is cooler.

4. I love kids: mostly as kebabs, but with gravy, this veal be even better! Just getting the goat of the veggie thayir vadai brigade!

5. I am a habitual leg-shaker. Pity the disease doesn't spread.

6. My favorite watch brand is Tag Hore, whichever way you spell it.

7. If I were an Indian batsman of Sunny Days, I would be caught not, bald old.

8. I never use a driver. I screw up (driving) in my car, all by myself. Actually, Indian drivers stink, and I like going solow.

As far as tagging three others, I think there is nobody left. Let us, therefore, re-tag Sree, Mel, and Bernard Chan

Incidentally, Tagamet is a drug for heartburn.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hullah over Bariatric Surgery Deaths


The Times of India, I was told in hushed whispers, has run a story on some deaths that have occured in Indian patients who had undergone bariatric surgery. As I said in my last post, WTF? I mean "Why The Fuss?"
Bariatric surgery is a science that causes massive weight loss in severely obese patients. There are a few types of these, which work by reducing the amount of food that the person can eat, and by preventing full digestion and absorption of ingested food. The commonest operations are the Gastric Bypass and the Lap Band.
Now, these operations, done by the popular keyhole (laparoscopic) method, are rather painless and allow rapid return to home and the workplace. Plus there IS weight loss: big time (70% of excess body weight)!
Now this boring medical, technical-kinda blogpost takes an interesting twist: bariatric surgery does cause fatality. There is a known complication rate. But why should it hit the papers? I have known of this happening in virtually every city in the world where bariatric surgeries are done, and there is always a big ruckus, and then things go back to normal again. Why?
Bariatric Surgery has been hyped up by the surgical industry. It's the truth, and there's no trying to escape that. The media is always fed stories on the positive aspects of the story, but since there is little point in dampening the enthusiasm of prospective patients, the complications are rarely dealt with. And WE, the surgeons, are guilty of this. I, too, have written about this, and not just once.There has been brand-selling in the name of awareness-building. And, of course, the surgical products industry is solidly behind the initiative. These are truths. You may argue over the ethics of it, but good work does get done because of the awareness building, patients do lose weight and get cured of their diabetes and high blood pressure, and surgeons do get their next big car or mistress, and their children do go to elite schools that wipe your bank accounts clean like Coke does to toilets. But, among the positives, there is a stain of the ugly, and the faint stench of death. Surgeons may underplay the issue of complications of bariatric surgery, resulting in a high level of expectations on the side of the patients. So, whenever a death occurs, there is a jolt, a jhatka. The ensuing agitation reaches the media, and there is hullah. After a while, things become normal when the positive spin starts the next cycle. After all, obesity is always a hot topic.
And, you know what, I do bariatric surgery. I make it a point to balance the hype of the positive endpoints (weight loss, improved outlook in life, etc.) with the possible complications and the mortality risks. Because I speak candidly ("Of course, one can die after this surgery, being in a special high risk group"), I don't get too many of these onto the operating table. But then, my fat is not on the fire, neither! That is, at least, one good thing to say about being a poor surgeon!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

STRAY GREEK EXPERIENCES

In the three feet wide lanes of Mykonos, the haunt of the party-going young crowd and the gay-lesbian cohort, I am startled to find, proudly displayed in a shop, Indian bags with pictures and text that basically belong to the ads of Indian low-level tobacco products (I don’t apologise for this bit of snobbery).



I went to the owner, a Greek, and greeted him with the civil, touristy equivalent of the famed, universal exclamation ‘WTF’. “Hello, nice store you have here. Where did you get these beautiful bags from?” Now, I normally look like a less Frantic Harrison Ford in glasses, with a slight tan, so he must have thought I was an Italiano or something. “Thanks youz, Sir, they are from Indiyaa!” Probed further, he said, “I don’t know what these pictures and words are about, but the bags cost 25 euros each.” I reeled at the impact of it. A coarse, faltu Indian bag that my maid wouldn’t carry if I gifted her one, is being sold for 25 euros? India Shining! Now, I felt a sudden give-way, a relief, and let loose what was jerking up and down my stomach all the while: “WTF!”



In Mykonos, all you see around you in terms of human environment are young couples (as I have remarked before) all shaped like 2B Apsara pencils, snogging (kissing) and feeling each other as if they were on a plane that was going to crash into the Ionean Sea in exactly two minutes and eleventifive secs, so do what you want till then. I mean, I have seen a fair bit of this myself, and even fancied doing this some Christmas in London or somewhere similar, but never really found a consenting partner of the opposite sex. Never mind. In spite of what I said above, I was shocked. “WTF”, I thought. People were digitally exploring each other in boats and buses, as if they all worked for Google or something.



Of course, I had heard of the famous nudist beaches of Greece, and would have tolerated a piece of it, in the sense that I would not have minded just looking, push comes to shove and all that. Well, it so happened that my hotel was right on one such beach, and guess what? No luck! The young nude girls were totally invisible as they were wrapped around their mates. And the only chests on display belonged to girls of my late grandmother’s generation. I assumed that they didn’t have bikini tops that could stretch down to the knees, so they must have thought “WTF, hang it!”



Met an Indian guy while searching a way out of a small village called Ano Mera. This guy was so friendly that he outlined his life story in five minutes, while standing outside a bus stop. He then insisted on a lift to town, whence I chanced upon his car, one more messy than mine. You can surely see the broomstick, but probably are missing out on the last six months’ groceries, stationary and sundry mess that was knee deep on the floor of the car. I kid you not.




Oh, and in case you thought he was a bum, he was just the owner of a yatch, three helicopters and four jets. He does tourism for the world. He is India, export-quality!
Oh, and for me, WTF means 'Where's The Food?'

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Monday, July 16, 2007

GREEK FOOD: OVER-OVERVIEW


Greek food: you realise there is something to it when you see how fit these chaps and chapnis are, compared to the rest of us Indians.
Even the local Indians look fit and trim.
Medically speaking, there is a bulk
provided by complex carbs (like the mandatory salad and whole grain breads), proteins (as in meats and fish), and fats (in the olive oil, desserts and cheeses).
As the meal is leisurely and proceeds in stages, from the mezes (starters, usually with the wine or the local ouzo), the salads (with Feta cheese) and by the time you wait for the main course (all the while chomping hard bread soaked in olive oil and balsamic vinegar), you are no longer able to wolf down obscene amounts of meat and rice.
In the pictures on the left, you see a typical Greek salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, lettuce and feta cheese on top), and the second picture below that is the delicious Santorini salad (small, lobulated Santorini tomatoes, caper leaves, and the rest is the same as the Greek).

A disappointing but highly touted starter (meze) was 'Santorini pancakes' ( in the picture), which I ordered in a nice restaurant in Fira called Archipelagos. It turned out to be a flatter cousin of our own South Indian bondas which were never a favorite of mine, unless stuffed with spicy potatoes (the Mumbai batata vada or aloo bonda).

A dessert will effectively kill your hunger for around 12 hours: not for them the lightness of sandesh and rasgullas. The baclava or the Ekmek are favorites here, and, by the time you finish it all, your stomach is ready to disown you and migrate to India. If you can see, the Ekmek has a very smooth and heavy sweet cream stuffing inside the pastry, and will take you close to the Devil himself. Many tavernas have fresh seafood on display (as seen in the picture here), and mussels, swordfish, salmon and octopus are favorites in most island menus. Oh, another new dish I tried was a pie with date stuffing (see picture). Rather surprisingly, this is called a halwa.
All in all, magnificent. Indian food, of course, is far more diverse and rich, but if you talk of overall balance and nutrition, Mediterranean food is way up there!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

FEVERED IMAGINATION?

India is once again going through the cycle of deaths and misery from tropical bugs that cause fever in a huge sprawl of urban and rural population. There are some old bugs like malaria and typhoid fever. Others, like Chikunganya, Dengue and Leptospirosis are also old diseases, but less known in India. There are some important issues why these disease lead to such a huge cost on India's health and wealth:

1. Fever is universally treated by GPs with antibiotics. In the instant era, people don't have the patience to wait for five to seven days for the fever to subside. GPs feel it is better to treat with antibiotics just in case. This, of course, is absolutely regressive and unjustifiable, as antibiotics are not exactly harmless, and can cause drug resistance (which is a major problem in hospitals across the globe). As a doc, you do what is right and scientific. If the patient can't be with you in this, let the patient go. However, my experience tells me the reality is different. It is not so much the patient who puts a gun on the doctor's head and extorts a prescription for kill-all antibiotics. It is the weakness of the physician who does not know how to tackle an obscure or atypical fever. Of course, in India, most fevers are probably treated by non-physicians, like quacks or pharmacist-oids.

2. There are no easily available tests that detect viruses, which would make life for the febrile patient (and his doctor) easy.
So one has to rely on clinical patterns, including the flavors of the season. Many docs don't have the time or mindset to sniff out diagnoses that don't hit them between the eyeballs, so they give empirical antibiotics.

3. The bulk of the fault lies with State policies, where civic infrastructure is so pathetic that it fosters all these diseases. It is now known that the bulk of tropical killer diseases like malaria are a direct indicator of poverty and development. In fact, the countries (mainly in Africa and Asia) where people are slaughtered by these germs are morbid examples of State-sponsored massacre. People die because of misguided and corrupt policies. For a simple example, look at the state of drainage in the cities. If that is attended to, one source is taken care of. Do you see that happening? It would take a fevered imagination to imagine the State changing anytime soon, is it not?
UPDATE (16th July 2007): Read about 'Tomato fever' in Kerala

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GREECED LIGHTENING 

A few days in sunny Greece, and I go ‘AWE’ in shock. I attended the EAES 2007 conference in Athens, which I have hinted at before. The majority of people were so different from what we see here in India (and, doubtless, in the US), that I have to draw a few stereotypes. 
Disclaimer: All pictures have been selected and censored so as to have minimum erotic or vulgar content, as consistent with modern as well as traditional high-thinking Indian culture.

THE  HUNKS AND BABES:

These creatures look like they were created from the residual sperm of Apollo.
The guys look like they play Popeye in street theaters, or are training for the decathlon in the next Olympics.  Facial profiles that remind you of the sculptures of old Greek gods, or sexed-up versions of the Clooneys, Cruises and Pitts of modern times. And hair, my god, hair! Each cranium meticulously clad in jet black hair that seems to suck in the olive oil from their stomachs, and visibly growing by the minute, so to speak.

Every horrendous such creature, a living shame to middle age-hood, skin glowing out of near-fatal high levels of testosterone, should be banned.

As far as the females are concerned, they all seem to be in their twenties or teens. Forget about just pretty faces, fair complexions and sharp noses (I have a weak point here), they have abs that inspired some hot fantasies in me. Namely as follows. When I looked at their exposed midriffs, you know what I felt like doing?

Lay my shirt on one such midriff and iron it. Really, I kid you not. Flat abs that have been just made to write on or place your laptop, or just iron.
It is a different affair when it comes to the thoracic region. Every one of the ladies I saw had mammary protuberances that explored the x axis in space. There was not a single specimen that betrayed the slightest interest in gravity. Add to it the freedom from the oppression of human cultural hang-ups like clothes, and you can guess what went through my mind! You got it: ironing my clothes!  

THE SHOP-KEEPER:

Each store keeper seemed to be a combination of Franco, insurance salesman and your uncle in Greece. Some of them would merely bark at you, while others would look like they would reach for the nearest bottle of ouzo to test on your head. Still others would be coyingly, cloyingly pleasant, like an old unemployed cousin come to visit you for a job. 

THE SHOP-KEEPERESS:

She, too, was a chimeric woman. Part Cleopatra, part Aphrodite, and part Gaia.  

THE WAITER: 

He would be your old uncle who would roll his eyes at every dish you named (as a question for a recommendation), and say it was the greatest dish made since mother’s milk. If you didn’t like it, he would change the dish, of course, but charge you for both!  

THE ORIENTAL TOURISTS:



Always seen as a young pair, keen on milking out every yen from the sophisticated cameras they carry, as seen on this picture. They tried five self-pics with the sunset behind them. Till I put them out of their misery.

THE INDIAN TOURIST:


Glaringly visible for the extreme lack of immodesty, resplendent in clothes that should never see the light of an Ionean summer. Enough said, I think.

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

HUMERUS NEWS for 07-07-07

From Stan Kegel

TOP QUOTES OF THE DAY

Healthcare reform is emerging as the top issue of the 2008
presidential campaign. That's because it's not even 2008 yet and
we're all already sick of all the candidates.(Jake Novak)

Researchers at Harvard and McGill Universities claim to have found an
amnesia drug that may help people discard bad memories, while leaving
the rest of their memories intact. The drug was tested successfully
on mice and Alberto Gonzales. (Pedro Bartes)

Robin Williams is under fire from Catholics for making a joke about
priests and pedophiles. A Catholic spokesperson actually argued that
many priests charged are not technically pedophiles as they molested
young teenagers, not children. Is everyone else as relived as I am?
(Alex Kaseberg)

NBA finals MVP, Tony Parker is marrying “Desperate Housewives” co-
star Eva Longoria in France tomorrow. It will be a traditional French
wedding including a French cake, French wine, and after the ceremony,
the couple surrenders to the German army!(Alex Kaseberg)

The U. S. Senate buried amnesty for illegal aliens by defeating the
immigration reform bill Thursday. The same day, the Supreme Court
struck down affirmative action on school admissions. It only took
twenty-four hours for Paris Hilton to drop to number three on the
list of reasons why Los Angeles could burst into flames any minute
now. (Argus Hamilton)

Congress voted itself a $4,400 a year pay raise. Apparently now that
they can't harass the Pages anymore, they need some extra spending
money to go to the local strip clubs. (Jim Barach)

The Fourth of July was celebrated in America all day Wednesday with
fireworks made in China. They're not so dangerous. Chinese fireworks
may blow off your hand or put out your eye but they're still safer
than their pet food, tires and toothpaste. (Argus Hamilton)

The heatwave continues. It was so hot yesterday Ann Coulter didn't
have the energy to put her foot in her mouth. (HaBlog)

After her 23 day stay in jail, Paris Hilton has flown off to a luxury
resort in Hawaii. This will bring a whole new meaning to going to
Hawaii and getting lei’d.`(Alex Kaseberg)



SCOOTER LIBBY & THE PARDON

President Bush commuted the sentence of Dick Cheney's former chief of
staff, Scooter Libby, who now won't have to serve any prison time.
The president wanted to prove everyone wrong: you know, the ones who
said, "He couldn't get any more unpopular!"(WackyWeek)

President Bush commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby, who was
President Bush's aide and Dick Cheney's chief of staff. He won't
serve any jail time. Paris Hilton is officially twenty-three days
more criminal than the guys who got us into the Iraq war. (Argus
Hamilton)

After commuting Liddy's prison sentence, Bush says he hasn't ruled
out a full pardon. And not just for Liddy----he may include Ann
Coulter, too. (Bob Mills)

President Bush has commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby so he
doesn't have to go to jail. Scooter won't be able to work for the
federal government anymore but he may be able to play for the
Cincinnati Bengals. (Gorsefeathers, RadioOnline.com)

Scooter probably has a strong phobia about being in prison and let it
be known that if he ever was in prison he would start squealing and
leaking like a dog strapped to the roof of a station wagon going
60mph....

This from Thursday's W. H. Press Briefing pretty much says it all: Q:
Scott, is Scooter Libby getting more than equal justice under the
law? Is he getting special treatment? Scott Stanzel: Well, I guess I
don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." ...

President Bush has commuted Scooter Libby's 2 1/2-year sentence. The
White House it needs to keep the jails clear for Paris Hilton's
inevitable return. (Jake Novak)

President Bush pardoned 'Scooter' Libby, who will not go to prison.
How does that make Paris Hilton feel? A guy who leaked CIA spy
secrets during a war skates and nobody cares, but when they let Paris
out of jail early, the screams of objections could be heard in outer
space. (Alex Kaseberg)

Scooter Libby used his "Get Out Of Jail Free" card - reminding the
big "Dick" that he knows it was him who set the outing of a CIA
undercover agent in motion, something that used to be known as
TREASON.... My, but aren't those Republicans getting soft on crime
all of a sudden.

THE CANDIDATES

Barack Obama on Sunday reported his campaign raised thirty-two
million dollars in the second quarter. He beat Hillary Clinton by ten
million dollars. His donations come from Democrats who are exhausted
by the whole Clinton psychodrama, while her donations come from
comedians who only want to work half-days for the next eight years.
(Argus Hamilton)

Hillary Clinton's head strategist, Mark Penn, was accused in a
lawsuit Wednesday of illegally wiretapping a former business partner.
It shocked many people. Bill Clinton just made up his mind he will
only speak to women on the phone in Navajo Code. (Argus Hamilton)

Bill Clinton was an hour late to a campaign rally in Des Moines
Monday where he was supposed to introduce his wife to a crowd that
was waiting irritably. It was carefully planned. Her poll numbers are
never better than when he is embarrassing her. (Argus Hamilton)

John McCain took drastic measures to save money on his faltering
presidential campaign Monday and cut all his staffers' pay. It's a
break that his immigration reform bill went down to defeat. Otherwise
he'd have to pay these people minimum wage. (Argus Hamilton)

Another presidential debate last night. One of 90 scheduled before
the election in November next year. Democrats gathered at Howard
University in Washington, DC. Joe Biden talked about AIDS in the
black community. He's against it and he had some interesting things
to say [on screen: Biden saying he and Barack Obama have been tested
for AIDS]. It looks like Joe Biden has the African American vote
wrapped up ( Jimmy Kimmel)

PRESIDENT BUSH

President Bush is hosting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the
Bush family compound in Maine this week. They're going fishing and
boating. The press is calling it the 'Lobster Summit.' Now, don't
confuse that with Paris Hilton's upcoming weekend in Maui. That's
called 'Crabfest.' (Jay Leno)

The White House says President Bush misspoke when he said the
proposed Immigration Bill offers amnesty to illegal aliens. The White
House knows that is the one excuse that everyone will always
believe.. (Jim Barach)

President Bush is relying in the Good Lord to take Castro away. Is he
getting advice from Pat Robertson again? (Jim Barach)

THE ADMINISTRATION

In a bold new strategy to avoid a congressional subpoena, Vice
President Dick Cheney today declared himself a national monument.
(Andy Borowitz)

THE DEMOCRATS

Bill Clinton told a conference in Yalta Friday the proposed U. S.
missile defense system in Europe is a colossal waste of money and is
creating an unnecessary crisis with the Russians. The major
television networks didn't report a word he said. There is no such
thing as an unnecessary crisis when you are owned by a defense
contractor. (Argus Hamilton)


SECURITY

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that everyone in
the U.S. should go about their normal activities, “except you
terrorists." (Andy Borowitz)

An aerial survey shows that a 2-mile fence along the US-Mexican
border is ten feet into Mexico----will take $3.5 million to correct.
On the plus side, the project will employ 750,000 illegal immigrants.
(Bob Mills)

IMMIGRATION

President Bush's immigration bill failed to pass. To be fair, this is
not the first time in his life George Bush has heard the term 'failed
to pass". (Jay Leno)

It was voted down by the Senate. You know, I wondered why the help
at Wal-Mart seemed so testy today. In fact, some illegal immigrants
are so angry, they are threatening to leave the country. (Jay Leno)

NASA & SPACE

The chairman of the House Science Committee says NASA is headed for a
train wreck if it is not funded better. Apparently he means that
astronauts will be forced to take Amtrak instead. (Jim Barach)

IRAQ

Civilian contractors now outnumber US troops in Iraq. Kind of gives a
whole new meaning to the term "can't buy a victory" doesn't it? If
you can't support our troops, will you at least support our
contractors? (Bob Mills)

McCain visits in Iraq, meets with Iraqi prime minister and coalition
military leaders. But despite the senator's best efforts, they still
think the war was a mistake. (Bob Mills)

IRAN

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faced a revolt Friday over gas
rationing. The country is the second-biggest oil producer in the
world, but they can't make enough gas for their citizens. You can
always tell when Jimmy Carter is advising a dictator. (Argus Hamilton)

MEXICO & LATIN AMERICA

Fidel Castro said Sunday he's angry the CIA tried to poison him fifty
years ago with a hooker and a milkshake. He's never been the same. To
this day, whenever he goes to the drive-through he orders the kid
behind to window to test the hooker first. (Argus Hamilton)

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon blasted the U. S. Senate Thursday
for failing to pass the bill that would have given amnesty to illegal
aliens. He's upset that people might begin returning to Mexico. He
really enjoys having the place to himself. (Argus Hamilton)

ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST

In a clear rebuke of US policy toward Israel, a Palestinian TV
children's show killed off a Mickey Mouse lookalike. Worse, the deed
was done by a Phil Spector lookalike. (Bob Mills)

CHINA & THE FAR EAST

The Chinese government has passed strict laws allowing Chinese
factory workers to join unions. Executives at WalMart had no comment.
(Bob Mills)

The Chinese government now admits that 20% of its products do not
meet the country's own quality standards. And that's even after
raising the minimum wage to 4 cents an hour. .(Jake Novak)

GREAT BRITIAN

Earlier this morning in London, police defused a potentially massive
car bomb parked in front of famed Piccadilly Circus. President Bush
got a little confused. He called the new prime minister and made sure
all the animals and clowns were safe. (Jay Leno)

Authorities said the terrorist planned to detonate the bomb with his
cell phone. Luckily, the guy had Cingular so he couldn't get a
signal. (Jay Leno)

Britain rounded up terror suspects Tuesday following last week's
attacks. Five doctors have been implicated in deploying the car bombs
that failed to go off. It warns Americans, if nothing else, about the
gross inefficiency of socialized medicine. (Argus Hamilton)

Those terrorist plots in London and Glasgow involved doctors and
medical students. Authorities now believe they may have been in
training for employment with HMO's. (Bob Mills)

In response to Saturday's unsuccessful terrorist attack in Glasgow,
all air travellers to and from the U.K. will no longer be allowed to
enter the airport while they or their cars are on fire. .(Jake Novak)

Dublin police announced Tuesday they found bales and bales of cocaine
washing up on the shores of County Cork. Inspectors say it must have
spilled off a passing boat. The Irish Tourism Bureau isn't above
using a little blarney to attract Los Angeles tourists to Ireland if
they're afraid to fly to London or Glasgow this summer. (Argus Hamilton)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the British government will not
yield to terrorist attacks and threats... it's going to keep on
admitting immigrants with no regard for anyone's safety just like it
has for the last 40 years. .(Jake Novak)

Prince William and Prince Harry held a star-studded rock concert in
tribute to Princess Diana Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London. Kiefer
Sutherland was one of the concert's emcees. He rents himself out as a
scarecrow to keep away the terrorists. (Argus Hamilton)

Scotland Yard announced that eight Muslim terror suspects arrested
Monday in the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow included
three medical doctors from Iraq and Jordan. Everybody was shocked.
They were the good guys in Sicko. (Argus Hamilton)

FRANCE & WESTERN EUROPE

Barbra Streisand gave here first-ever concert in Germany Saturday
night. I guess we can say the Jews have finally gotten even for the
Holocaust..(Jake Novak)

THE UN & INTERNATIONAL

Anybody here from New Zealand? They have a big, new attraction. It's
a live sex show in New Zealand. They have actual bulls mounting a
simulated cow. Good to see Ann Coulter getting some work. (David
Letterman)

THE ECONOMY

Experts say the price of milk could rise to as much as $4 a gallon.
$4 a gallon for milk? I didn't know Dick Cheney was involved with the
dairy industry (Jay Leno)

TAXES

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee asked
Americans Tuesday to register their protest against the Iraq war by
requesting pay cuts so they don't make enough money to pay taxes.
These people will go to jail if they don't pay their taxes. Any
illegal alien will tell them that low pay is not enough to get you
amnesty. (Argus Hamilton)

HEALTH

The World Health Organization said Thursday that air travelers should
exercise their legs to avoid deadly blood clots in the air. They are
preventable. The X-ray machines would pick them up if the screeners
weren't so busy looking at the breasts. (Argus Hamilton)

THE WEATHER

It may get as hot as 116 degrees in Las Vegas today. which would be a
problem if anyone ever went outdoors in Las Vegas..(Jake Novak)

SPORTS

A “Sports Illustrated” article lists all the sports stars who have
landmarks named after them. Green Bay has a Ray Nitschke Memorial
Bridge, Miami has a Don Shula Expressway and coming soon to Atlanta,
the Michael Vick Pet Cemetery.`(Alex Kaseberg)

Today Federal authorities investigated property of Atlanta Falcon
Michael Vick for dog fighting evidence. This is not good for Vick.
Vick could become a prisoner who never plays on a professional
football team again. You heard me, Vick could get traded to the
Cincinnati Bengals. `(Alex Kaseberg)

Sports agent Scott Boras wants the World Series extended to nine
games, with the first two games to be played at a neutral site. That
means Wrigley Field.. (Jim Barach)

ENTERTAINMENT

George Lucas has announced a three-movie cycle covering the George W.
Bush presidency. It will be called "The Starts Wars Saga". (Harry
Farkas)

Michael Moore's "Sicko" turns up the heat on the sorry state of
medical care in the US. No surprisingly, Mike's HMO just notified him
that his coverage isn't as permanent as he thought it was. (Bob Mills)

Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein," opening on Broadway in November,
will top out at $450 a ticket. But in all fairness to Mel, that
includes a tank of gas to help you get to the Helen Hayes. (Bob Mills)

The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday a four-part movie about Saddam
Hussein's life will air on HBO. It makes perfect sense that the cable
network would buy a mini-series about Iraq. There's nothing HBO likes
better than a shoot-'em-up with no ending. (Argus Hamilton)

Tom Cruise will play Claus von Stauffenberg in the new movie
Valkyrie. He was a German aristocrat who tried to kill Hitler with a
briefcase bomb. When Tom Cruise fails to kill the Fuhrer, Homeland
Security calls a press briefing and takes credit for foiling the
plot. (Argus Hamilton)

CELEBRITIES

The wife of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez attended Sunday's game at
Yankee Stadium wearing a white tank top with "F--k You" written on
the back. Luckily for Mrs. Rodriguez, "F--k You" is the greeting of
choice for all fans at Yankee Stadium. .(Jake Novak)

Paris Hilton flew to Hawaii in disguise Thursday after her appearance
on Larry King. It's sad. She didn't plan to be in disguise, but after
she told Larry King she never does drugs and seldom drinks, her nose
grew to three times its normal length. (Argus Hamilton)

Al Gore's son, Al Gore III, was arrested early this morning for
driving his Toyota Prius 100 MPH and having marijuana and
prescription drugs in his possession. The younger Gore explained he
needs the drugs to have any hope of understanding what the Hell his
father is talking about. .(Jake Novak)

Al Gore's son was pulled over by cops in Southern California Tuesday
going one hundred miles an hour in his Prius. He had marijuana,
Valium, Xanax and Vicodin in the car. The Los Angeles Times headline
read, Prius Goes One Hundred Miles an Hour. (Argus Hamilton)

Michael Jackson is shopping for a vacation home on Maryland's posh
Eastern Shores. Preferably near a school, day care center, Boy Scout
clubhouse or Little League ballfield. (Bob Mills)

Barbra Streisand was awarded France's Legion of Honor for her work in
entertainment. Her husband, James Brolin had already won the award,
for showing courage in being married to Barbra Streisand.. (Jim Barach)

Paris Hilton flew to Hawaii Wednesday after tripling the ratings of
the Larry King show, where she gave the most boring interview in
history. It was a new low in journalism. She went blank every time
Larry King asked her if she likes older men. (Argus Hamilton)

World Wrestling Federation star Chris Benoit's doctor was arrested
Monday. The wrestler strangled his entire family and then hung
himself during a steroid rage. The next day, Barry Bonds's teenage
son didn't have to be told twice to take out the trash. (Argus Hamilton)

Former astronaut Lisa Nowak's attorney says she was not wearing a
diaper when she was arrested in Florida. He says she simply drove 900
miles to kidnap a romantic rival while wearing a disguise and still
being married. Her attorney says the diaper rumor makes her sound
like some kind of nut case.. (Jim Barach)

Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss opened a coin-operated laundromat
Tuesday in Nevada, sixty miles from Las Vegas. There's something
really fishy about the place. The powdered soap in the vending
machines sells for three hundred dollars a box. CBS Radio was
reported Monday to be considering giving Don Imus back his radio show
after firing him. It's only right. If everybody lost their livelihood
over one unfunny joke, half the U. S. Senate would be voted out of
office over immigration reform. (Argus Hamilton)

CULTURE

The iPhone came out today. People were camping out all night in front
of the store. These people are pathetic, really... Oh, come on? get a
life. Especially the people behind me in line. They were noisy.
(Craig Ferguson)

American Joey Chestnut has won the Nathan's Fourth of July hot dog
eating contest with a new world record 66 dogs eaten in 12 minutes.
The event is always a great promotion for Nathan's, because nothing
makes you want to eat hot dogs more than watching a guy shove five
and half dozen of them down his throat. .(Jake Novak)

American Joey Chestnut beat five-straight winner, Takeru Kobayahi, in
Nathan’s hot dog eating contest by eating 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
Chestnut received a mustard yellow belt, a $10,000 dollar prize, a
carton of toilet paper, a case of Lysol, ten candles and a sign for
the bathroom door that reads “Do not come in here.”`(Alex Kaseberg)

HISTORY

Little Rock, Arkansas is marking the 50th anniversary of public
school desegregation. The good news is that black and white kids now
get a truly equal education, the bad news is that now neither of them
can read. .(Jake Novak)

BUSINESS

Apple's new cell phone came out Friday featuring a hand-held wireless
Internet connection. Anything you do on it can be picked up by U. S.
spy satellites. As soon as this gets around, there will be a five-
block line to buy two tin cans and a string. (Argus Hamilton)

The iPhone requires using AT&T phone service. In other words, it is
great, as long as you don't use it as a phone.. (Jim Barach)

June auto sales for General Motors fell 21.7% while Nissan's were up
22%. The USS Missouri is being taken out of mothballs for the formal
surrender ceremony. (Bob Mills)

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