Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

1. Lose weight.
2. Do well in school.
3. Be more patient.
4. Don't procrastinate.
5. Have fun.
6. Get a job.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men

Apparently those reports of peace in Bethlehem for the first time in years were premature. I don't know what to say other than it is so wrong of me to have laughed so heartily while reading this story.

Priests Scuffle Inside Bethlehem Church

The Associated Press
Thursday, December 27, 2007; 7:27 AM

BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- Robed Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests went at each other with brooms and stones inside the Church of the Nativity on Thursday as long-standing rivalries erupted in violence during holiday cleaning.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I'm sure this isn't for everyone, but it makes me so envious. To have the money, the stamina, the organization, the energy, the familial stability, and time to do this is just amazing. I hope there's a book coming out about it.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bloggers I Read, But Don't Like


Smart, funny, and cynical. What's not to love? He's a Republican when any decent person should have left the party by now. (What can you say about a party where the majority likes torture and doesn't believe in evolution except that it deserves to fail.) He's a little too wrapped up in his schtick that people don't care about the big picture and only care about local issues. One other thing that both makes me love and hate him is that he is the only blogger who has cared enough to ban me.


He is spot on when he is talking about alternative medicine, the dysfunctional hospital beauracracy, or the process of becoming a doctor. He's an ass when he's talking politics, malpractice, or about his patients.


Actually I used to read her more often, but now she is such a self-parody that I just cruise by to see the wrecks.


Again, this is another site that I've lost a lot of interest in. Only Orin Kerr is worthwhile at this point and he's still a Republican.


The opposite of volokh. I actually like this site and the bloggers a lot, but they are a little bit too willing to believe the good in others for my taste. That would be ok as it goes (Brad Delong has the same issue) but what makes it hard to forgive is that too often they will attack people they perceive as being too extreme (Duncan Black) and defend people who should be shunned (Eugene Volokh).

Five's enough for now. Maybe some day I'll get a real blogroll to put the sites that I truly love. The one that would be at the top of the list though would be This site is a little raw at times, but written by a person who you can tell is just lovely in real life.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cholesterol Numbers Going the Right Way

The CDC reports that average cholesterol levels are down to below 200 for the first time in 50 years. The power of drugs; we're talking statins here. At the same time Merck, on behalf of Glaxo (and their negotiated licensing milestone payments), is going before an FDA panel today to try to get Mevacor approved for OTC. My feeling is that this is probably not the best OTC drug in the world even with the relatively few side effects, but the prospect of a BTC (Behind The Counter) drug is great for pharmacists. It sorta would have the profession coming full circle to its roots when people would think of the pharmacist as the primary healthcare provider. In many countries, that's still true.

UPDATE: The panel nixed the idea of an OTC cholesterol pill.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Last night of Hanukah and Son #1 got the big gift. It's not intentional that the big gift comes on the last night (like some kind of climax to the holiday). It's just that he's been behind on his homework and it seemed unfair to give such a cool toy and say you can't play. But it seemed like irresponsible parenting to let him play with a cool toy and ignore his homework. It worked out that the day he was all caught up and the last night coincided. He LOVES it.

Monday, December 10, 2007


5 Reasons I love running

1. It makes me feel healthy.
2. It allows me to freak out my younger and stronger classmates when I mention that I think I'll go workout by running 6-8 miles.
3. I can eat anything I want when I'm running regularly and never gain weight ( generally I'll lose weight).
4. It's time to myself to vegetate mentally.
5. I generally enjoy the sights along the way. My regular running route has a great view of SF across the Bay.

5 Reasons I hate running

1. Since I can't seem to rouse myself at 5 am, it always means I have to find time during the day.
2. I sweat. I sweat a lot. I continue to sweat for 1/2 hour after stopping (even if I've taken a shower).
3. I sometimes con myself into thinking I'm going running so that I can overeat and then I don't go running. I can gain 5 pounds in 10 days if I stop running regularly, but continue to eat as if I am.
4. Running does not build any upper body strength.
5. Minor aches and pains. Sometimes a twinge in the knees or some muscle fatigue.

Overall, the plusses outweigh the minusses.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga

Was looking on youtube for something funny with Barney, but the only thing that was there was too profane, not funny, or the original Barney. So I decided to go with the Wiggles since this song can stick in your head for days.

Hey! I now know how to embed.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Trutech sucks

Add me to the list of those 29 others who have that to say. In my case, it was DVD player that went bad three times in 18 months. The first two times, it was the minor inconvenience of running to Target and exchanging the player, but this time that's not an option. Luckily, a name brand player can be had for under $50 without the guarantee of failure that Trutech provides.

Advanced Search
Web Results 1 - 10 of about 29 for "trutech sucks". (0.13 seconds)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Medicare Part D

The Medicare Part D outreach run by UCSF raises a whole host of contradictory thoughts. The first one is confirmatory of my initial thoughts about Part D which is that it was a Republican boondoggle designed to maximize corporate welfare and political hype. On the other hand, something is better than nothing and many/most of these seniors are certainly better off than they were before the program started. On the other hand (that's three for those counting at home) the program is so complicated that very smart, very engaged pharmacy students do not fully comprehend the ins and outs at times so how can you expect seniors to. Bottom line, Part D basically gets the job done but at a cost in terms of actual dollars and administrative complexity out of proportion to the benefit. A well-designed universal access system could easily do better.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Jewish Story

As long as we seem to be stuck in a Judaica rut likely brought on by an overindulgence in latkas, I'll share one of my favorite stories. It is vague since I only remember the high points and couldn't find a link on the web so here goes:

A famous rebbe is lost in the woods while traveling. He had hoped to make it to the next town, his destination and the place he is to be the new rabbi, before nightfall since it was Friday and he feared violating the Shabbat. He is found by a rude peasant with thick beard, a stocky frame and few words. This peasant has little use for rebbes, famous or otherwise, but invites him back to his cabin. The rebbe accompanies the man back to his hovel. Despite the fact that the peasant is obviously uneducated, the rebbe thinks he might stop to light candles, or say kiddush, or something to acknolwedge the Shabbat. Instead, darkness falls, the peasant lights a lamp without a blessing, he sits down for his meal and opens a bottle of whiskey. He proceeds to finish the bottle of whiskey and fall into a drunken sleep. He has done nothing for the rebbe except offer him a roof and some meager portion of his meal of black bread and potato soup. In the morning, rather than refraining from working, the peasant gets up and returns to the forest to cut wood. The rebbe spends Shabbas in the peasant's hut in prayer and contemplation. Saturday evening is a repeat of Friday; certainly there is no havdalah service. On Sunday morning, the rebbe thanks the peasant for rescuing him and offers him some money. The peasant refuses, but is not especially gracious suggesting the rebbe was something of a fool for getting lost and then doing nothing for an entire day. The rebbe has to ask his host why, if he is a Jew, he is so insensible to all religious precepts, perhaps he does not believe in God. The peasant replies that he certainly believes in the Almighty, but he sees no reason to follow all these rules that seem arbitrary and capricious (although he uses much different language). The rebbe asks him if there is a God, then why would you ignore his commandments? The peasant tells the story of his brother who was killed by the Cossacks at prayer during a pogrom when the shtetl's shul was burned. He says the fire was fast and nothing remained. This peasant rose to his full height and thrust out his enormous gut. He said when the Cossacks come for him and ask him to curse God or spit on the Torah, he will be martyered - kiddush ha-shem. He will first take his axe and inflict as much pain on them as possible; something he practices every day. Then when he can no longer fight, he will bolt himself in the cabin and wait for them to light it on fire, but he wanted to make sure that his enormous girth would add fuel to the fire and cause it to burn long and hot. When the rebbe got to the his destination, he was given a great welcome. All the town was relieved since he had not arrived before Shabbat, but he told them that he was not worthy to be their rebbe and that there was one far more holy in the forest through which he had traveled.

Sorry for the errors in retelling and some may not like the story's concept even if it had been told with skill. I don't know what it means that I love this story, but I do. Happy third night of Hanukah.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hanukkah Rocks

Ok. So yesterday KFOG played the Leevee's Channukkah Rocks. Here's the video. I went to Amazon just to see what was on there for this album. Now the Amazon gurus have made a marketing faux pas. See if you can spot it:

Hanukkah Rocks
The Leevees (Artist)

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews (17 customer reviews)| More about this product

List Price: $13.98
Price: $12.99 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
You Save: $0.99 (7%)
Availability: In Stock.
To ensure delivery by December 24, choose FREE Super Saver Shipping. Read more about holiday shipping. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mitzvah Time

Ok. I ate a pound of latkes and probably destroyed any chance I had of achieving my weight loss goal for December. Judaism really has some of the most perverse religious obligations. On Chanukah, you should eat fried food and on Purim you should get drunk as a skunk. My favorite is you should have sex every day if you are a scholar. And people wonder why I went back to school.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What do you say? How to explain?

So as I am dropping my son off at school today, NPR is on the radio and a quick blurb on the story of the teacher in Sudan who was sentenced to 15 days jail for blasphemy (of Islam) is broadcast. Part of the blurb is how some people were calling for her death. He asks why? I cannot come up with a coherent explanation so sputter sentences with the words "stupid", "ugly", "hateful", "prejudiced", and "intolerant" in different order. Wouldn't the world would be a whole lot better off if this kind of stupidity disappeared, but that's not ever going to happen as long as there are humans.