Monday, February 26, 2007

Newest old original Star Trek episode!

Pardon the exclamation points, but tonight I saw the newest episode of old Star Trek!

It's free and available for download and worth the price.
Tech and media savy fans have pooled resources and made new episodes.
The most recent one even stars Chekov as Chekov and was written by D.C. Fontana!!

Think I'm kidding? Check it out!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

World's youngest person is born!

This time the news is more upbeat, at least on the surface.

A 21-week six-day old baby was born. Amillia Taylor, who weighed just 10 ounces, beat the previous record by more than a week.

Meanwhile there is a huge list of complications that can affect babies just born before 37 weeks. This miracle baby will undoubtedly will have some major problems.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

World's oldest person dies again!

This time it's a 130 year old woman from Malaysia !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(That's 130 !s for Safiah Yusof)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cheap Bullets

I feel so naive. Here I am, an avowed anti-gun guy, and I had no idea that one could just purchase ammunition online. And not only that, but one cheap bullet costs less than 3 cents.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Cows play

OK, here's a new experience. We finally got our snow. The Valentine's Day storm. 8 inches or so. 20 degrees. Not quite weather or snow good for snowmen. After a while, I'm itching to get outside. As I have no takers for company from my family, I prepare for cross country skiing. This is something I'm used to doing once or twice a winter over in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Here in Amherst, given normal weather, one could do it every week. But, alas, as we all know, the weather is not normal nowadays.

I head out to the fields of our farm neighbors. I check in with them to make sure the electric fence is turned off. Not only is it off, but I'm told that it doesn't work when snow is on the ground. Meanwhile I still duck extra low when I go under it. I've got the gear: snow pants, gloves, baklava (the hat, not the Greek pastry), boots, skis, poles.

In the fields, there are the cows. They are usually friendly and sometimes come up to the fence for a visit. But here I am on the 30 acres or so of white with ice falling from the sky within the fenced in stomping grounds of the 7 cows. I think they are ignoring me, so I start for a loop around the fields. After a little bit I turn back, and I see there is one cow way back headed my way. A little while later I turn around, and there are two cows and now they seem to be trotting. A few seconds later, I look back and they are running and now there are 4 cows. They are about to catch up with me. They look and act just like puppies running gleefully with their giant tongues wagging playfully and their usually sturdy, stiff bodies are now graceful. The drag of the snow and makes their approach look just like slow motion. But unfortunately, my motion is slower. So now they are upon me. They look cute, one licks my glove, there are 6 of them. They are big. Way bigger than me. I make a sudden motion and one jumps back like a labrador expecting me to throw a ball. This is too much for me. If one of them gets a bit too frisky, I might get knocked over by accident or worse. I head back for the fence. The second I turn back, they all turn around ahead of me and trot back to their shelter.

I wonder, were they just very bored out here in the snow? Did they need some exercise to warm up? Have I just been herded by cows?

A little while later, I enter the field again, but far from the cows. They eye me, but this time I'm too far away for them to make any effort.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Warts and all that duct tape

We have the cure for warts. Yuck! OK, for me the subject and discussion of warts is disgusting. Yes, I'm a father and as all parents do, I have dealt with many unappealing substances: diaper changing, vomit, blood, scabs, pus, baby food, you name it. But when it comes to warts, I'd rather not think about it.

Last summer my daughter got three huge warts on her feet. These were big, like pads. Yuck! We spent a lot of time putting over-the-counter acid drops (and the accompanying foul smelling solvent) on her feet nightly. When this failed to work, we visited her (now former) pediatrician who said it might go away itself within a year. But now that winter is here and we've been trying to squeeze into winter boots, ski boots, and skates, we needed a solution and a second opinion. This time her (current) pediatrician recommended duct tape.

Here's what you do. First, use an emory board to file down the top (dead skin) on the wart. You do this aggressively until the filing gets annoying. Discard the used emory board. Then apply any over-the-counter wart stuff. Then place a small square of duct tape (the grey stuff will do, although I did find clear duct tape) over this. You leave it on until it falls off. Several days if it possible. If it falls off, you repeat all this until the wart is gone. For us this took all of a week!

Apparently, a study showed that duct tape occlusion was more effective, safer, and cheaper than freezing the suckers as is commonly done.

A quick web search even shows that the wart-remover isn't even needed, but if you want to ue it, we found it is now available as a stick (looks just like lip balm). But as my daughter says, it's best not to get the two confused.

Friday, February 02, 2007

World's oldest person dies again!

When I read a story about the oldest woman in the world last month, I immediately pointed it out to my daughter Lily. The story was actually about how the oldest man in the world had just died. Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico was, at 115, the oldest man, and now the news said that right in the neighboring state of Connecticut was Emma Faust Tillman who was 114. She was born in 1892, a child of former slaves. One of 23 children (although many did not actually survive childhood), she had several centarian siblings. We were excited since 114 is a big almost unimaginable number, and to know that there was a child of slaves living nearby of course reminds us that this nasty part of our history is much more recent that we admit. To give Lily some perspective, I told her that Emma Tillman was 70 when I was a newborn.

Does this type of story get published every month or so? Is there basically a long line to be oldest where the title of oldest person, oldest man, or oldest woman can only be held for so long?

I remember in my youth, there were stories of how the president would call you up on the phone if you turned 100, but now they don't bother. Does the president now call you if you become a supercentarian (110)? I believe that presidents no longer do so, because they are not likely to get any press for recognizing the milestone. In their book Having Our Say, the Sadie and Bessie Delany who were each over 100 recount their lives. They only lived to be 109 and 104 respectively.

Now that Emma Faust Tillman has passed away, Yone Minagawa age 114 of Japan has taken the lead. Since Tillman recently brought the title home (of course Puerto Rico like Connecticut is also part of the United States), there has been a lot of buzz in this area. Elizabeth Stefan of Norwalk, CT is 111 and currently the oldest person in Connecticut and 26th oldest in the world. Nebraska's Helen Stetter, of Valentine, Nebraska turned 113 in November. Edna Parker of Indiana is a little older.

This is litterally like a marathon race? Where each year the achievement gets better? In the case of the oldest person the race never ends. People join every minute and the leader drops out every week or so. And the world record times get longer and longer.

I suppose there will always be someone who will live longer than someone else and of course everyone will eventually die. It's inevitable.

P.S. Here's an update from China Daily (sorry I lack the resources to verify this one) which is obviously trying to get on the oldest person bandwagon (or perhaps they've just been hiding their 132 year old citizen from the press until now).

Oldest person has a huge family

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-06 09:15

Slam Kurban, a resident living in Jiashi County in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Northwest China, has a big family.

The 132-year-old man has six sons, four daughters, 43 grandchildren, 91 great-grandchildren and 21 great-great-grandchildren.

Born in May 1875, Slam Kurban is still in good health with good memory, eyesight, hearing and appetite, and from 2005, parts of his white hair and beard have turned black.

CD Baby!

My wife just ordered a CD from CD Baby, and she had a most positive shopping experience.

CD Baby professes to be "a little online record store that sells CDs by independent musicians." And it appears to be just that. It's perfect for the current age where major record labels are easily irrelevant and the CD as a medium for playback (as opposed to long term storage) is quickly joining the ranks of cassette tapes and LPs.

This was not intended to be a review of CD Baby - I have not used their service enough. But I can share my enthusiasm for their invoices. See the comforting message below where a CD was purchased for just $10 with a reasonable $2.25 for shipping and arrived in the mail two days later. Take that Jeff Bezos!

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007 7:30 PM
Subject: Your CD Baby Order! (#XXXXXX)

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized
contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was
in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the
crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched
down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved
'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet
on this day, Monday, January 29th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all exhausted
but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music
phone: 1-800-448-6369 email: