2 quick ones

--While standing in line at the post office this week, I saw a FedEx guy come in with a delivery. For the post office. It took a while for that one to sink in.

--Queen guitarist Brian May is finishing his PhD in astrophysics, some 35 years after starting. I hope for the sake of other people working on their dissertations right now (I know of a few) that their advisors don't hear about this.


it ends with harry putting journey on the juke box

M and I drove by a bookstore last night around 7:30 and there was already a line forming for the last Harry Potter book, which went on sale at midnight.

It occurred to me that if I were someone really into the series (I'm not--I can't even stay awake through the movies) that I would be very annoyed with the level of hype. Because if you are really wanting to know how the story ends, and you want to have the pleasure of reading it for yourself, the only thing you could have done is buy the book last night, shut yourself up for all of today, and read it cover-to-cover.

No doubt, this is what the die-hard fans were planning to do anyway, (and indeed, are doing so even as I type this), but I would really hate feeling like I had to rush through the book as quickly as possible, just to avoid having the ending spoiled. Especially since this is it.


maybe they will find his head (zing!)

The Prez is getting his drain snaked tomorrow. I'm so glad to live in a world where I know this.

In all seriousness, I wish him a speedy recovery from a procedure which, though routine, I am sure is no picnic.

Mostly because the notion of Cheney being in charge for even a few hours frankly scares the shit out of me.


think happy thoughts

There's a study out this week delving into a possible neural substrate of the placebo effect. Brian's quick and dirty summary for neurobiologists: the greatest placebo (analgesic, in this case) response correlates with the greatest anticipated benefit AND greater dopaminergic activity in the left nucleus accumbens. Which is to say, the more you think it will work, the more it probably will, and the NA probably has something to do with it.

It's worth pointing out that in this study, everyone got the placebo.

The paper is in Neuron, for those with interest and access.

(Via Ron Bailey)


what balko said

I agree with every word of this, rendering further comment unneccessary.



--I have a feeling that food and drug products from China just got a hell of a lot safer. (Yikes!)

--Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona says that "...anything that doesn't fit into the [Bush administration's] political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried" and that he was routinely censored and/or explicitly told what to say while in office. Clearly, Richard Carmona hates America.

--Ron Paul. That is all.

--I sincerely think (and hope) that there is no truth to this, because it strikes me as a supremely uptight move for a pizza chain that is essentially one big drug joke. That said, I do find the Indy cover in question personally offensive. (Not because of the guy in a bra, but because of the condescending subtitle.)


you can't go home, v. 37

It appears that the Atlanta's once-great Buckhead bar district has finally succumbed to the fatal blow dealt it by Ray Lewis in 2000.

I went "clubbing" in Buckhead exactly twice: on my 21st birthday, and on the night I graduated from college. (I'm not counting the many, many nights I went to the long-gone Atlanta Beer Garden for trivia, frequently winning bar cash and underage for nearly all of it.) So I guess I can't really claim a huge deal of personal nostalgia for what once was, but still--back in the day, Buckhead was a hell of a lot of fun. It was about as close as you could get to Bourbon Street without going to New Orleans--last call wasn't until 4, and you had to be doing something really stupid to get in any trouble with the police.

The next time I'm in town, I'll have to make it a point to drive by the shiny condos rising at the corner of Peachtree and Pharr, and try to remember what it looked like there that fateful Sunday afternoon when Vikings kicker Gary Anderson sent the Falcons to the Superbowl and every bar emptied into the street, pitchers and pints still in hand, and the APD showed up...

...to divert the traffic around us.