So much for the cult of wine!

Malcolm Gluck has done us all a great service by revealing much of the chicanery, obfuscation and downright lying that goes on in the wine industry. He’s writing for the English market, but just about everything he says can be applied to what we encounter here in the USA. Just whisper the word ‘wine’ and most of us will start dreaming about a glass of full-bodied red or a chilled, crisp white. In goes the corkscrew, and out, slowly, comes the cork with a deeply satisfying ‘pop’. Well, stop dreaming right now. We’ll come to the details of why you’ve

Continue reading

The Corpus Clock

I’m fascinated by the new “Corpus Clock” unveiled a short time ago by Stephen Hawking in Britain. Lisa Jardine reports for the BBC: A week ago I was invited to attend the inauguration of a modern marvel of chronological invention, which was officially dedicated to the memory of the largely forgotten John Harrison. On a bright, sunlit autumnal evening, a sizeable crowd gathered on the corner of King’s Parade and Benet Street in Cambridge to watch Stephen Hawking – appropriately, our greatest living theoretical exponent of time – unveil the “Corpus Clock”, the brainchild of an Honorary Fellow of Corpus

Continue reading

How to derail competitive marketing

I’m amused to read a Swedish report of how one store’s attempt to undercut a rival store’s opening sale backfired. A daring public relations stunt by a newly opened electronics store in Malmö left its long established competitor with empty shelves and its CEO seething. “I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry,” said Anders Nilsen, CEO of the Elgiganten electronics chain, to the Dagens Media newspaper. Nilsen was standing in front of a Malmö Elgiganten outlet to welcome customers interested in taking up the store’s offer of low priced flat screen televisions. The sale was designed to coincide

Continue reading

Let’s hear it for Dad!

I’m delighted to read the following report. INDIANAPOLIS — A man who police said broke into a home with the intention of sexually assault a 17-year-old girl in her bedroom died early Sunday morning after a struggle with the girl’s father. David Meyers (pictured), 52, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after officers arrived following a report of a home invasion in the 3500 block of West 79th Street at about 3:20 a.m. Officers said they found Robert McNally, 64, on the floor with his arm around the neck of Meyers, struggling to hold him down. When officers told

Continue reading

Another word about The High Road controversy

I wrote at some length about the controversy surrounding The High Road forum (THR) in an earlier post. Many of you have commented on that post, and I’ve had a number of e-mails about it. I’ve also noted a number of reactions on other forums and blogs. I’d like to say that a great many comments that are being made are not relevant to the central issue here. Whether or not someone said good (or bad) things about someone else; whether or not dissent is a good thing, and its silencing on THR at present a bad thing; whether or

Continue reading

Behold a master of bee destruction!

I had a small swarm of bees buzzing around my back door recently, and did a bit of research on the Internet to figure out why they were there, what they were doing, and what I could do to move them along. As it happened, they moved along anyway: but my research led me to this wonderfully inspiring story of enterprise, effort and sheer manic determination. According to “Flannel Bob”, posting on the Something Awful forums, he and his brother-in-law encountered a swarm of bees on a child’s swing set in the latter’s back yard . . . and started

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #72 and #73

Our first Doofus Of The Day comes from Gold Beach, Oregon. He or she is a hospital worker who appears to be illiterate – at least, they can’t recognize a man’s name and figure out that their diagnosis is impossible! A patient treated for agonizing abdominal pain received this surprising news in the hospital’s paperwork: “Based on your visit today, we know you are pregnant.” Surprising indeed for 71-year-old John Grady Pippen. The staff at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach gave the retired mechanic and logger the ridiculously happy news this month, along with some pain pills. Hospital administrator

Continue reading

Health warning: Talcum powder linked to ovarian cancer?

A very interesting article from Australia describes a newly-discovered link between the use of talcum powder on/in the groin, and ovarian cancer in women. Women have been warned to immediately stop using talcum powder around their genitals in the wake of research which suggests particles may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish. Although previous studies have raised concerns over talc, the latest findings from the United States suggest women who use it are 40 per cent more likely to get ovarian cancer – a much greater risk than first thought

Continue reading

I wish I could have been there!

Earlier this week, Reuters reported on an unique concert held in Jerusalem. Sixteen violins used by Jewish Holocaust victims — including an instrument whose case was used to smuggle explosives that blew up a Nazi base — were played on Wednesday in a concert in Jerusalem. “Each violin has its own story,” said Amnon Weinstein, 69, who together with his son has spent more than a decade restoring the violins collected from across Europe. Weinstein, a violin maker, said he received the instruments in various states of disrepair, many of them decorated with stars of David, a testimony to their

Continue reading

Alternatives to the unkindest cut of all?

I’m hugely amused to read an Australian report of various alternatives to vasectomy. It’s great to find a reporter with a sense of humor. While men taking on responsibility for contraception is admirable, vasectomies are not always easy to reverse, and young men’s scrotums being punctured left, right and centre like party balloons is not an ideal state of affairs. A solution may be around the corner in the form of an Australian-designed system that switches a man’s sperm flow on and off by remote control, operating a tiny valve injected into the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm

Continue reading