Archive for March 28th, 2004

Top Doc Backs Picking Your Nose – And Eating It!


your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according
to a top Austrian doctor.

Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people
who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably
better in tune with their bodies.

He says society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking and encourage
children to take it up.

Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just
can’t reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner.

"And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of
strengthening the body’s immune system."

From Ananova

Mums the Word


A transitory state of nerve excitation with an infinite number of causes
and textures. Can be overcome with certain advanced
mental techniques, or narcotics, or both. Preferably both.

We are almost
done with putting our stuff into storage. Most of the heavy lifting
is over, and that is the part we’re getting too old for. Decided to break
down and pay some gypsy illegal movers (their presence in the US is
illegal, let alone their moving business) to schlep the refrigerator,
washing machine, and two steamer trunks over to the storage shed. Feeding
the fringe….

Apropos to that, our lazy 19-year-old who is leaving tomorrow for Peru
to join his brother in the adventure tourism business, tells us that
the reason washing machines are so heavy is that they put BRICKS in their
bases so they don’t constantly flip over from centrifugal force getting
suds and soapy clothes all over the floor. He says he saw it on NOVA.
Can this possibly be true? How does one REMOVE the bricks?

Anyway, while we were in the crazy middle of the move, racing back to
the house to meet the cat lady, Mom called. Of course, she would take
them in herself, she has a beautiful house in the woods on a river in
Maine, but she was calling from northern California where she and Step-Dad
are visiting friends, as is their habit in the spring, avoiding "mud
season" in Maine. Won’t be home til the middle of next month.

But that’s beside the point.  More power to Mom. What was interesting
was her report on her ongoing Late-night Yahoo Bridge Maven Poll on the
presidential race. Mom likes to hang out in the "Advanced" room of Yahoo
Bridge until the wee hours of the morning, teaching the chumps and rubes
something about how the game should be played. She inherited a knack
for the game from HER mother, a feisty and terrible (as in Ivan the
Terrible) Jewish Matron from Cleveland whose life was primarily a 90-year
competition with her equally beautiful and manipulative sister, but who
somehow managed to find time to pick up scads of US Contract Bridge Association
Master Points at tournaments along the way.

The Dowbrigade himself enjoys a rousing game of bridge now and again,
and has been known to meet his Mom in the "Intermediate" area of Yahoo
Bridge, and incredibly popular hangout with 24 hour action and thousands
of players online at all times. We avoid the "Advanced" rooms like double
black diamonds at the ski areas, and for the same reason – we hate to
be exposed for the fool we are.

Our main handicap as a bridge player is an extremely unreliable memory.  Sometimes
it works great, and we can remember the 30-year old phone number of the
Hotel Roma in La Paz, Bolivia, a notorious hangout for fugitive Nazi’s
least the late 70’s, and yet sometimes we can’t remember Norma Yvonne’s
current cell number.How can we be expected to remember how may clubs
have been played so far?

Be that as it may, beside being an incredible Bridge player, Mom is
a political junkie like me, and for months now has been asking everyone
around the table who they are supporting.  So far the poll is running
about 65% for Kerry, 20% Bush and the rest for "Don’t know/Don’t
Go figure. Maybe all the Bush babies are in bed by that hour.

This afternoon, however, she told another story. Last night, at about
3 am, she was playing at a table and asked her customary poll question.
She was surprised to learn that East was from Indonesia, South was
from Argentina, and North was
Germany. Since she is only polling registered US voters, she apologized
and tried to change the subject.

"But who are you going to vote for?" They asked, almost at
the same instant. She could tell they really wanted to know by how quickly
slapped the question into the chat box and by the proliferation of capital

"Kerry, Kerry, Kerry," she answered, "As many times as I can get in
there and pull the lever."

And then, Mom reports, they all cheered and congratulated her! Thank
God, one said, do other Americans feel the same way?

It was at this point in her story that the Dowbrigade interrupted and
reminded her that in US politics foreign support is a very sharp two
edged sword. We mentioned the fallout from Kerry’s "foreign leaders"
gaffe. She countered that that incident open up a whole area of discussion
and engendered visible manifestations of support for Kerry outside the

We concede the point, and Kerry seems to be soft-pedaling the foreign
stuff to just the right degree, not denying it but not drawing attention
to it either. But it could backfire at any moment. One thing almost all
Americans HATE is having furriners mess in our affairs, and having the
support of the French, in particular, can be the kiss of death in American

It’s kind of like the delicate disassociation Kerry is developing with
Al Gore.  Talk about the Kiss of Death.  Although the Dems
let him take the stage at major events, like that Party Jamboree last
week, Kerry has avoided personal contact as though Gore were Typhoid
Mary. And yet, we are sure that in his true personal feelings, Kerry
appreciates the support of the Gore wing of the party, and even of the
French. But if he says so, he’s a dead man walking.

Anyway, here’s hoping Mom gets her own Blog soon, so we can all read
the results of the Late-night Yahoo Bridge Maven Poll and other similar
gems. Keep up the good work, Mum.

St. Jean of East Cambridge


Church of Days Later Savings
has a new saint. Saint Jean of East Cambridge
has appeared out of nowhere to offer sanctuary to the Dowbrigade
cats for the duration of the Great Experiment. We DO believe in miracles.

Jean is a lawyer who was a student of Spanish with Norma Yvonne because
she defends many Spanish speakers, largely on drug charges.  Thrice

As Marmonidies wrote in his Eight
Degrees of Charity
, one of the highest forms
of giving is when one knows not to whom the gift is given and receives
no credit for it. We are not sure this qualifies exactly, but its right
up there.

When we return Jean will have an extended series of free Spanish lessons
as well as four new friends for life (two human and two feline). Thanks
to all who expressed concern and interest.

On with the move.  Beds next.



U-Haul Sucks


Despite having a “confirmed” reservation for YESTERDAY U-Haul STILL doesn’t have a truck for us (turns out “confirmed” means “depending on availability” and is basically a scam so you don’t go rent somewhere else), so we are busily moving an entire two bedroom apartment in our trusty ten-year-old Toyota wagon. Is that low-rent, or what? Blogging during breaks, delaying breaking down the desktop station and moving over to the laptop once and for all. Next trip – the exercise machine.

Would Have Been Easier to Use Photoshop


finished product of Chilean-born Danish artist Marco Evaristti’s "Ice
Cube Project" is seen in Ilullissat, Greenland, Thursday, March
24, 2004. Evaristti used 3,000 liters (780 gallons) of dye used to highlight
meat diluted with sea water, three fire hoses, two icebreakers and a
20-man crew to spray the chunk of ice for his artwork.

(from AP
Lars Nyboell)


Moving On Out


moving day, for better or worse. Already emotional and physical wrecks
over the preliminaries, today we are supposed to
get the bulk of our stuff out of 396 Salem St. in Malden just a few block
down from Malden High School, and into an empty room graciously lent
by a friend and neighbor even closer to the school, until we return from
Ecuador and find a new place to live.  The
14-foot U-Haul promised for yesterday never appeared, so we
are hoping
they make
on our
and fix us up this morning.

By the time we get on the flight to the conference Tuesday afternoon
we should be a blubbering, blabbering bruise, but at that point it will
be too late to do anything but husband our resources and try to muster
the energy to give decent presentations Wednesday and Friday. Oy vey,
we’re getting too old for this.

Kitty lovers, keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer, because our
supposed cat savior is expected to stop by at one to meet the little
critters, and if all goes well, take them to a better place.

Of course, the Dowbrigade, habitually broke and with the cultured cheapness
of an unrepentant academic, eschews professional movers, preferring to
bite the bullet and carry out the move ourself. Anyone who is at loose
ends, feels like lending a hand, or just wants to see
of declass