Monday, September 29, 2008

Death May Not Be Death As We, The Living, Know It...


How do you determine if someone is dead? No pulse, no brain activity, no muscle response and a smattering of other bodily functions lacking in, well, function.

But those are all physical or medical terms to describe death. What about emotionally? I'm not talking about expressing death in an interpretive dance or in an Edgar Allan Poe poem. What I mean is how does the mind die? Or does it?

There's a distinct difference between the mind and the brain when we're alive so can your mind live on after the brain has shut down? We don't know, but someone is researching it.

In a somewhat heavy edition of Discovery's Friday News Feedbag radio show, the guys interviewed Dr. Sam Parnia, the head of the Intensive Car Unit and director of the "Human Consciousness Project" at the University of South Hampton Hospital in England. They're studying people who have had "out of body" experiences while on the operating table.

The Feedbag guys don't get to the facinating interview until about nine and a half minutes into the show, but the whole thing is an incredible listen. It gave me goosebumps.

You can get it online HERE.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And Of Course Something About Sarah Palin....

Sarah Palin Speaks on Foreign Policy.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Let's break this down by the numbers:

The capital of Russia, Moscow, is 4365 air miles away from Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage's population is 359,180 people in a 1,961.1 sq. mi. area. They have a large moose population too.

Moscow is 4,858 air miles away from Washington, D.C., but has a population of 588,292 people in a 10 sq. mi. area. Plus the president, Supreme Court and Congress live there.

Which is Putin going to go the extra mile for? The nucleus of his biggest super power rival? Or a moose habitat. It would be nice if she could just drop this already and move on.

And On The Obama Front...

In keeping the comedic commentary going, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have recreated the controversial Barack/Michelle New Yorker cover for this month's issue of Entertainment Weekly.

I can't get the photo to upload but you can check out the full story HERE.

McCain Didn't Just Suspend His Campaign...

He also suspended his appearance last night on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

McCain was supposed to be the guest on Letterman last night, but called Dave right before the show to tell him he was rushing off to Washington to (direct quote) "save the country" and couldn't be on.

Which is fine, Dave said we should admire him for his persistance... until Dave caught McCain cheating on him.

The Late Show is hosted by CBS, the same network as CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, where McCain sat down for a long interview during the same time slot as when he should have been taping The Late Show. What he meant to say was that he was rushing back uptown.

As it turns out, canceling on Dave was a horrible idea because Dave was PISSED. And Dave is a quick-witted comedian. You get the idea of what happened. And EVERYONE is talking about it.

Watch the Letterman clip here. It's nine minutes long but the whole thing is hilarious.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Make More Money Than A Playboy Bunny

On lazy weekends when there's nothing better to do but sit in front of the TV, Tad and I sometimes find ourselves shamelessly watching "The Girls Next Door." It's hard to tear away from the lavish trips to Monte Carlo, the annoying laughter, the gorgeous wardrobes, the love poured over strange dogs that look like cats and the deranged cats that look like dogs...well those are my reasons anyway.

Also - their marathons are on ALL the time.

But seriously, Hef's three girlfriends - Holly, Bridget and Kendra - have it all: smoking hot looks (they are bunnies after all), a super rich, older boyfriend (that they "share" - ew, but the sky's the limit with stuff he can give them if you like stuff), a gorgeous mansion, multiple copies of blonde BFFs... and on it goes...and all they have to do is look good all the time.

Morals aside -on the surface, it looks like an amazing way to live. After the second episode, I sighed...

Me: "Maybe I should dye my hair blonde."
Tad: "You can do whatever you want, honey."
Me: "What! They're hot!"
Tad: "Yeah"
Me: "I'm not going to be that hot though."
Tad: "No, you're just not slutty... but anyway I'm making it a life goal to be invited to the Playboy mansion someday."
Me: "How do you get invited?"

We looked it up - girls send in photos of themselves to Hef and if Hef likes them, then he sends them an invite. Or you have friends on the inside sneak you in. You can bring guys if they're related to you - like your brother, obviously Hef doesn't want married women at his parties.

Interesting. So let's take this one step further, just because I like fishing for stories. What's the application process?

After many searches, I came up with no forms or addresses or contacts, but I did find out that Playboy is looking to hire a Sr. legal assistant and a project cordinator in New York City, in case anyone is interested.

Then, out of nowhere, I stumbled across the bunny salary.

Playboy bunnies make a whopping $25,000/year unless you're "Bunny of the Year" then it's a salary boost up to $100,000/year. Does that include dental?

I smailed at Tad and felt fully satisfied in knowing my brain brings in the bacon much more than posing naked ever would - if I had the moral-less courage to do it to begin with, which I DO NOT. But still, it's nice to know I have more things going for me just being a conservatively-dressed person.

Another thing that made me feel good... apparently the three hosts of Girls Next Door aren't so hot anymore - in the opening for the new season, a reporter asks the girls, "Will you ever pose for the magazine again?" and Holly responds, "Well, we'd like to, but no one will ask us."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quote of the Work Day

(I promise to actually blog about stuff soon.)

"Puzzles won't save us!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quote of the Work Day

"We have to grab the bull by the balls and make do with what we do have and just do it... we are going to rattle some chains and I don't fucking care!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Today is Best Cat Video Wars at Work Day

Here's what my co-workers, who both hate cats by the way, have been sending around...

The Initiator:


The Challenger:

It was only a matter of time...

Before McCain got BarackRoll'd...

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Mink Wedding


(photo credit: pouya dianat. I know. I want him to do my wedding photos too.)

Instead of launching into a detailed story, I'll just highlight a few play-by-plays of my favorite moments from the wedding of my good college buddy Ryan Mink to his new bride Kristen Hoven. As Ashley put it, the wedding was totally them - bubbly, different and a hell of a lot of fun. Here's what was touching, interesting, and/or bit unorthodox as far as weddings go:

*Just so there's no confusion... most of us went by last names when we worked together at The Diamondback so I call Ryan "Mink," he calls me "Effron," etc.*

- It was hot. And sticky. Especially for September.

- The bride looked GORGEOUS in her off-white, long, strap-less, beaded gown.

- LOVED her colors: Hot pink and white.

- Mink looked dashing in gold and black.

- Barnett, part of the wedding party, should up at the alter with his hands in his pockets. The whole time. Very relaxed. (Later, I would introduce myself to Barnett's parents by saying 'Hi, I'm Lauren, I used to work with Barnett at the Diamondback.' His dad was jokingly like 'which one?' because Mike is one of three brothers. Smooth.)

- A brass quartet played a Beatles song as Kristen walked down the aisle - very cool and nice change from the traditional string quartet playing the wedding march.

- Mink's father read the famous Corinthians verse about love ("Love is patient. Love is kind...") and it brought me to tears.

- Mink and Kristen wrote their own vows. Too sweet and beautiful for words here.

- There were mic problems during the ceremony. I don't care how old grandma is and how bad her hearing is, I don't think I'll mess with mics at my wedding.

- The brass quartet played a roughly two minute song in between Mink and Kristen's personal vows and the traditional Catholic vows so we got a great chance to watch the couple stare lovingly into each others eyes. For roughly two minutes.

- TWO OPEN BARS!!! and I taught Smur what a Dirty Shirley was. She enjoyed.

- We made it inside the reception tent right before it poured. Sat at table 13 and caught up with some of the old DBackers.

- Dinner was three stations, each with a different kind of food from around the world.

- Centerpieces on the tables were columns or bowls of water filled with hot pink orchids and a beta fish with a white light underneath clear peebles.
(An aside: When someone commented on how cool the fish were, Mink's comment was, "Take one if you want it. I saved the receipt so we're taking those suckers back tomorrow.")

- At each of the place setting were fortune cookies which had facts about Mink and Kristen's relationship inside. Mine said "Ryan and Kristen's first date was a 10-hour motorcycle ride." Others included, "When the couple told the Hovens about the engagement, Mrs. Hoven said, 'she's your problem now."; "The couples parents have a combined 68 years of marriage. Thanks for the great example!"

- Kristen is half Chinese and as a Chinese tradition, they had a festival lion head dance through all the dinner tables and you were supposed to feed it money. It's called the Lion Dance and it's supposed to bring the couple good luck.

- The bride and groom danced to a very sweet, upbeat Jason Mraz song, "I'm Yours"...again, different than at normal weddings. I liked it!

(photo credit: pouya dianat)

- A few members of the wedding party and guests used to belong to an a cappella group on campus called the Faux Pax. They performed Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know".

- Two of the bride and groom's friends sang a rhyming limerick about the couple that they had written themselves. It was adorable.

- Later, Mink and Kristen had the ceremonial Sumo-wrestling match. She won. Of course.

(photo credit: pouya dianat)

- I learned a new line dance after going from the Electric Slide, to the Cha-Cha Booty Call, and then finally, the Cupid Shuffle. Ashley went nuts for this and she's much better at it than I am.

- We all got down and dirty to all the great wedding songs, "Shout," "Respect," etc.

- The DBK guys almost got the groom into a mosh pit but it turned into a big group hug.

- Pouya showed off his crazy Russian dance moves (a la Will Ferrill in Elf when he's drunk in the mail room) - how he was able to hop up on his heels and spread out his arms soaring eagle fashion without falling I'll never know.

- Barnett danced on a chair.

- At 11 o'clock exactly, the DJ said, "Alright everyone, last song, last song. Then we're out."

- The last song was "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" - yes, the Lion King version not the Elton John version.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'M A CARTOON!!!!

One of our listeners from the Discovery News podcast - Friday News Feedbag - made a cartoon of Will, James, Jorge and I (I'm a fill-in when one of them goes on vacation).

It's a bit primitive but certainly more impressive than any animated cartoon I could ever do.

Watch it here!

Also, now the Friday News Feedbag is a family affair because not only do we showcase emails Will gets from his mother, but also MY DAD was a guest on the show last week to talk about earwax (he's an otorhinolaryngologist aka ear, nose, throat doctor or as my coworkers say Trigechtasourus because they can't pronounce otorhinolaryngologist.) Anyway, dad was FANTASTIC and certainly schooled those Feedbag boys.

To listen to it, go here, and click Listen Now under Discovery News: Friday, Sept. 5.

Ike From Space

Snapping back to reality for a sec, check out these photos astronauts on the space station took of Hurricane Ike.

The National Weather Service has issued this warning along with it: "Those living in single-family one-story or 2-story homes should evacuate or 'FACE CERTAIN DEATH.'"

I don't think I have ever heard that associated with a storm.

Stats: Clouds and wind extend out over 245 miles beyond the eye and land could experience 10+ hours of weather before the eye gets there.

Palin's Interview

It's as if my thoughts were taken right out of my head and put into a more eloquently fashioned article than I could ever produce.

The ABCs of Sarah Palin

By far, my favorite...

New Republic's Eve Fairbanks: "I have no doubt Palin is intelligent, but she sounded like someone who had simply never had to think about many of the things Gibson asked and had just crammed for a test."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why Obama Is Dropping In The Polls

This stems from a conversation my co-workers and I had this afternoon, so while I contributed I can't take full credit for all of the opinions that sprung this urge to post.

Since Gov. Sarah Palin blasted everyone away with her Veep acceptance speech - more obvious, her lipstick line that is sure to appear on bumper stickers - all attention (and mostly positive) has been buzzing around her and a shadow has been cast over the Obama campaign. That shadow grows darker as reports surfaced that Obama presumably called Sarah Palin "a pig with lipstick."

Obama of course denies this, saying the Republicans are trying to twist his words and in Virginia today said, "Millions of Americans are struggling with health care, we have two wars going on, and this is what they want to talk about?"

Well...yeah. It's what we all rather talk about.

Where the Obama camp is faltering is they're fighting a wildfire with one hose. The McCain campaign has jumped all over him, accusing Obama of saying Palin is incompetent because she's a woman and Obama continues to play mr. nice guy by adding, "well whatever, what's their position on health care?" What sounds more enticing? Sexist pig or health care?

Obama's mistake was not standing up for himself and standing up to his word - regardless of what he meant. What he should have said was, "yes, she is a pig and you know why? Because she believes that abortion should be outlawed to the point where if a 14 year-old girl gets raped and then pregnant, she should be forced to have that child. You know what else? She says she's against community organizers. Well MLK, Jr. was a community organizer. Does Sarah Palin hate black people? She has to be a racist!!!" No instead of matching the Repubs at the amazing mental leap game, he gives the stump and it's making him seem weak and tired.

The irony in that - When the Republicans called Hillary a "pig in a pant suit" there was no talk of sexism. It was passed over because she was a woman running for the presidency, a Clinton, a hardass and therefore fair game. There was talk of, "well if she's crying, she could never handle being the president." Oh the double standard. Does Sarah Palin come off as more human than Hillary, or are the dems too divided to support one another and come roaring back?

Americans care about the issues, but they're tired of learning about them. In Discovery terms, there's a reason why an Animal Planet soap opera about meerkats was one of the biggest money makers in the history of the company and not the sighting of a rare white rhino. Americans want the scandal, not the schooling.

Between now and the VP debates on Oct. 9th, if Obama wants any hope of getting back into the people's spotlight, he's going to have to get off the stump and start rolling in the mud with the rest of them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Don't Snoop In My Trash Can

I still bring little fruit cups to work with my lunch because a) it's a healthy snack that actually has little nutritional value outside of making me pretend I'm snacking healthy and b) I'm five.

For those who know me understand that ballet was my weakest sport because I'm impulsive, clumsy and awkward, but in my defense, Dole should not fill-up their fruit cups with so much fake juice corn syrup. The result is a sticky desk.

To solve this problem, I have resorted to cracking the lid on the fruit cup, leaning over and dumping the juice in my trash can before I eat. Today, I have pineapple. I hope the cleaning ladies don't think I use my trash can as a toilet.

In other news...

Yesterday I received a frightening gchat message from a friend:
"woman! you're blog is too biased!!! if you ever want to work in politics again, add the Republicans!!!"

To which I replied: "but I'm registered Republican. Isn't that enough to balance it out?"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Anderson Cooper to Triumph: "I poop on you!"

I know posting videos is a sort of cheap and lazy way to blog, but this clip from Late Night With Conan O'Brien where Triumph the Insult Dog goes to the Republican National Convention speaks for itself.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fresh off the Blogs - Palin Had An Affair

From Mudflats:

"It’s hopeless. Just when you think you’ll get a few minutes to eat, or work, or have a life, more cars on the train wreck that is the McCain-Palin ticket derail.

The latest story the National Enquirer is working on is that Palin had an affair with Todd’s ex-business partner in an Anchorage Car Wash venture. This was an interesting twist because it was also rumored that Todd Palin had an “Edwards problem”. Maybe he has an Elizabeth Edwards problem. I generally try to resist getting too caught up in the smarminess, unless it becomes impossible. It just did.

Two days ago, Todd’s ex-business partner filed an emergency motion to have his divorce papers sealed. Yesterday the motion was DENIED.

Buckle up. I’ll post updates and links…unless the entire intertube network collapses first."

quoth my WSJ friend, "this election is going to be the death of me!!!"

McCain's Speech Recap

No offense, McCain supporters, this was all in fun, but hey, you're the ones with the giant "Biden Gaffe Clock" front and center on your website so it's only fair that my house took our own tally last night...

Longest word John McCain used in his speech last night: transportation

Second longest: technologies

Most complicated/impressive word: technologies

Most impressive vocab word: rancor

Longest vocab word: ambitious

The green screen was actually: a zoomed-in shot of a massive green lawn in front of the Walter Reed MIDDLE SCHOOL in North Hollywood, California. Top interns you have there, McCain campaign.

Number of times the word "experience" was used: 3

And for more on that, we go to Jon Stewart:



The New York Times just came through again with another one of their amazing "word cloud" articles. Here's a recap of which speakers used which and how many words in their speeches during the conventions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Recap - New York City Style

Please don't judge me for what I'm about to say because what I'm about to say is going to make me sound like a spoiled brat. A little bit.

My family loves New York City. LOVES it. We go often - say two, three times a year or so, usually as birthday gift trips - and I'm very fortunate to be able to do that. The problem with going to the Big Apple with my loving family is that typically when we go, we don't stray from the three block radius around our hotel.

Here's our usual schedule: Friday, we get in to the hotel in midtown, we go out for a nice dinner in midtown. Saturday, we shop in midtown, we go see a show in midtown. Sunday, we have a nice breakfast in midtown, we leave by 11 a.m. from midtown. That's usually about it. Do you see why I warned you about my spoiled brat-ness? I love going, but after a while it's hard to remember where we've had dinner or what show we saw when, you get the idea. Again, I know. I'm a spoiled brat.

This weekend was the greatest family trip to NYC ever because we did none of those things mentioned above. Well, we did see a show but how can you not if you're able? Really.

Friday, I worked a half day and met my family at the hotel after taking the train from D.C. to NY's Penn Station. Note to self...the Acela is NOT worth it. The obnoxious "BIINNNGGG-BOOONNGGG: Attention passengers, the cafe car is now open there is no line, etc." occurs every 20 minutes right as you're about to drift off or finish a paragraph from Jane Eyre. I dropped my bag off and out we went to the subway station - for those of you who know my mother, yes, mom went on the subway. I know, I was surprised too but she put up with it and I think she rather enjoyed herself. Oh, yay for adventures!

We were bound for Queens - the one borough I hadn't frequented yet - to see the U.S. Open, another first for all of us. After fighting through crowds to find my sister a hoodie and having a mini "TOO MANY PEOPLE, CAN'T BREATHE" attack, the four of us - Mom, Dad, Leslie and I - settled down to a lovely meal at the Champions Restaurant on the grounds. Mom and I bickered about Palin vs. Biden vs. Obama until finally I said, "Mom," my hand swinging wide open over the table, palm out, "Here, you take the final word. Go on. Take it." Having zoned in an out, careful not to participate in the heated conversation, Dad just causally commented on how beautiful the ceiling was as my sister tried to inject her opinion: "Stop it! Both of you! I'm not voting because of messy stuff like this!"

After dinner, we saw the most amazing tennis I had ever seen in my life - Davenport lost, but Roddick beat Gulbis in four sets - barely. I swear, it was like watching Roddick play Roddick - each with serves over 110 mph continuously.

We saw Roddick's fiance (the rock on her finger was as big as my fist) who looked utterly bored as she spent most of the time chatting with Roddick's brother.

Highlight for my sister and I: we got on the Jumbo Tron by making huge asses out of ourselves. Twice.

Time we got back to the hotel - 2:45 am. Time I got up the next morning: 9:50 am. Record for latest my parents have ever slept-in in 20+ years: 9:30 am.

My sister and I are four years and four days apart - both of our birthdays are always on or almost on Labor Day - so we were here celebrating our birthdays together as we typically do and Saturday was her day to choose our activities. So we went to a museum - The Natural History Museum was having a special exhibit on the horse and my sister used to ride.

We hadn't been to a museum as a family in years. It was awesome! We weren't allowed to take photos inside the horse exhibit - but at the end was this enormous horse sculpture made out of driftwood, then bronzed. Absolutely beautiful.

Much later, we saw South Pacific with my brother Zach and his wife Lauren (yes, there are two Lauren Effrons. No. It does not make family gatherings more fun) who live in the city - FABULOUS, FABULOUS, FABULOUS show!!! And it wasn't even in midtown!!! It was a show my sister decided on and what a choice! I had never seen a play where I knew every song, had no idea all of South Pacific was inflitraited into my inner pop culture scene.

Afterwards, we went to our favorite deli - The Stage on 54th and 7th - where we dined on fancy things like Matza ball soup, the Cindy Adams sandwich (half pastami, half corned beef - four inches high), and blueberry cheese cake (four inches high). That's New York, man - my favorite place to eat.

Sunday morning, we awoke barely able to move and dragged ourselves out to 6th Ave. where the city had shut down the street for a Bazilian festival.

So much color! Everywhere!

Finally, it was time to catch the train home. The Regional this time. "BING-BONG"-free, I got through 80 more pages of Jane Eyre and even slept a little.

Another way to look at it...

Sorry to kick back into the blogging mode with a negative, because I had an absolutely fabulous Labor Day weekend which I'll recap later...but a co-worker sent this to me and I just thought it was interesting.

The truth is though is that the majority of people who do read my blog are Democrats so what you're about to watch probably won't shock or surprise any of you about John McCain.

This is a video about McCain's physical and mental health as it has been affected by his time as a P.O.W. Growing up in a family of physicians, health has always stirred something inside my brain - as this did. It's just yet another way to look at this election.