Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A pile of sand with a stick?...From Paris

I appreciate and value art of various varieties. Traditional. Mid century modern. I am moved. Jackson Pollack. Yves Klein. All welcome a thought pause. Recently, I visited an incredible home with what was taughted as "blow your mind art". It blew my mind alright. It was RIDICULOUS! The 'fantastic' art? A box full of sand with a stick poking out of it. The owner smiled and nodded smug. She only paid ten grand for this new young artist's work. Although I agree art is a very personal journey, don't you think that some degree of talent should surface? Shouldn't art hold up over time?
You've never heard of Yves Klein? The 'blue' work at the top is his. Tomorrow, I will tell you about my friend Kerry Brougher and his connection to Yves Klein, the Hirshorn, and holding up over time.

With a $3.8T budget, pork is hardly the problem

The practice of constantly blaming your predecessor is really getting old

The nasty political atmosphere in Washington is about to get toxic. In testimony before Congress today, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called on Republicans to help the Obama administration tame the budget deficit, expected to hit a record $1.56 trillion. The gap is still slated to top $1 trillion even with the spending freeze proposed by Obama. But then Geithner promptly blamed the Bush administration for leaving a trail of unpaid bills that created the current fiscal mess.

CORRECTION: What that college education is worth

The dollars are part of a 'million-dollar misunderstanding'
CS - Diploma

High-school students are typically told that a college degree will earn them $800,000 extra in their lifetime. But new analysis shows that that information is not accurate, and that a college degree may not be as valuable as it was once hailed to be. Mark Schneider, a vice president of the American Institutes for Research, said the calculation is "a million-dollar misunderstanding." He pointed out that account deductions and student-loan debt are not taken into consideration, and that the income used for the Census estimates were from 1999, when tuition was more than $10,000 less per year. In his own estimates, Dr. Schneider calculated a lifetime-earnings average for college graduates of $279,893, a far cry from the $800,000 figure that the College Board puts on its Web site. "Averages don't tell the whole story," said president of the Institute for College Access & Success Lauren Asher. "The truth is that no one can predict for you exactly what you're going to earn," she says.

Tawdry and titillating

Please excuse me a moment while I go wash my hands after typing this on the keyboard

It's just not Groundhog Day without Bill Murray

Wow! That novel is smokin' hot ...

Maybe, it's just me but this seems like a silly way to sell books


Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, and other smoking hot authors are coming to a cigarette pack near you. But these literary lights won't need a Surgeon General's warning.

As the rest of the world debates price points for digital books, Tank Books is wrapping print editions of classic stories in some innovative packaging--a cigarette pack that fits easily inside your pocket or purse.

Here's more from the site: "The flip-top cigarette pack is one of the most successful pieces of packaging design in history. TankBooks pay homage to this iconic form by employing it in the service of great literature. We have launched a series of books designed to mimic cigarette packs--the same size, packaged in flip-top cartons with silver foil wrapping and sealed in cellophane. The titles are by authors of great stature--classic stories presented in classic packaging; objects desirable for both their literary merit and their unique design. The complete set comes in a stunning tin--perfect as a really original gift." (Via AgencySpy)

Update: Macmillan vs. Amazon vs. Readers

When a capitulation is not a capitulation

11gEvSNO43L._SL150_.jpgSunday night Amazon wrote that they would "capitulate" to Macmillan's eBook pricing model last night, but the online retailer has still not resumed directly selling books by the publisher (as of this 4:07 pm EST update). In addition, Amazon stock slipped at closing time for the second day in a row.

In addition, the Authors Guild defended Macmillan and criticized Amazon (AMZN) and its "bullying tactics" in an email alert to members entitled "The Right Battle at the Right Time." Meanwhile, some Amazon customers continue to boycott Kindle books priced higher than $9.99. As of this writing, 1,435 different comments have been posted in response to Amazon's note to customers about the price war.

Stay tuned ...

Bookstores around the world


A bookshop in Bhaktapur, Nepal.

Another reason to stay away from cats.

Oscar, a hospice cat : Cat predicts 50 deaths in RI nursing home

The tortoiseshell and white cat spends its days pacing from room to room, rarely spending any time with patients except those with just hours to live

Cat predicts 50 deaths in RI nursing home

A cat with an uncanny ability to detect when nursing home patients are about to die has proven itself in around 50 cases by curling up with them in their final hours, according to a new book.


Major Study. Important given the growing consensus of impact of multiple partners and Hepatitis B and C.

Onset of Sexual Activity in Tweens Delayed by Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Program

ScienceDaily (Feb. 2, 2010) — A new study weighs in on the controversy over sex education, finding that an abstinence-only intervention for pre-teens was more successful in delaying the onset of sexual activity than a health-promotion control intervention. After two years, one-third of the abstinence-only group reported having sex, compared to one-half of the control group. The study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania appears in the February 1 edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

A total of 662 African American students in grades 6 and 7 participated in this randomized controlled trial, which was held on Saturdays in classrooms at four public schools participating in the study. The students were randomly assigned to an 8-hour abstinence-only intervention, an 8-hour safer sex-only intervention, an 8- or 12-hour combined abstinence and safer-sex intervention, or an 8-hour health-promotion control group. Participants in the comprehensive intervention had reduced reports of multiple sexual partners compared with the control group (8.8 percent vs. 14.1 percent).

Magnesium Supplement Helps Boost Brainpower

Increasing magnesium intake may be a valid strategy to enhance cognitive abilities

New research finds that an increase in brain magnesium improves learning and memory in young and old rats.

Because it is difficult to boost brain magnesium levels with traditional oral supplements, Dr. Liu and colleagues developed a new magnesium compound, magnesium-L-threonate (MgT) that could significantly increase magnesium in the brain via dietary supplementation. They used MgT to increase magnesium in rats of different ages and then looked for behavioral and cellular changes associated with memory.

All You Need to Know: Canadian Premier Comes to US for Surgery

HEALTHCARE NEWS: Canadian Premier comes to U.S. for surgery. From the comments: “Seems to me that when our Premier goes to the US for heart surgery, the analogy that comes to mind would be if the President of General Motors said ‘Our GM cars are fantastic, but myself — I own a Ford.’”

UPDATE: Reader Geoff Coghlin writes:

I’m a Canadian in Australia, and a great fan of your blog.

The premier heading south is not new. The Canadian political elite has long headed to the US for medical services while – with straight faces – extolling the virtues of socialized medicine for everyone else. And US hospitals are always used to back up a system in Canada that can’t meet demand.

It prompts the question: If the US adopts Obamacare, how will the Canadian health care system survive?

Spending, Spending and More Spending

Obama budget: Record spending, record deficit...
Plan Would Raise Tax Rates on Wealthy...

TOP DEM ARGUES: 'We've got to spend our way out of this recession'...
War spending slightly less than last two years of Bush...


Virgins:Day by Day Cartoon