30 October 2008

Compare and Contrast

In one corner we have earth-loving peaceniks in their hybrid cars sharing bumper-sticker hugs (this one spotted at the Art Museum):

And in the other corner we have ignorant, racist fuckheads who probably couldn't find their own assholes if it weren't for the stink (do I need to add they're not at an art museum?):


28 October 2008

Clark Street Gets Goosed

Clark St. won't take them very far south but I guess this means that winter is just 'round the corner...

And geese don't belong here anyway because Cincinnati is...

27 October 2008

Lunch at Flo's Plate Full of Soul

I stopped in at Flo's last week for lunch. I can't remember the address but it's across the BMV on Court Street.

They have some tables outside (or at least they did when it was warmer) but there is no seating inside so it is essentially a carry-out operation.

I walked in around 11:30 and there were a few people waiting for their orders but no line. I had looked at the menu on the outside window so I knew what I wanted. I had to wait a couple minutes for "Mr. Flo" to get off the phone first, though. He was taking an order but it was obviously from someone he knew because he was also chatting a bit. I was mildly miffed at this because it reflected a bit of ignorance (or lack or concern) about customers' need to get lunch quickly and get back to work.

When he was ready, I ordered the chicken leg quarter, which is one of four items on the lunch menu. Catfish, whiting, and wings are the other three. He told me that they recently eliminated the leg quarter because nobody ordered it.


Now I was in a quandary. I usually don't like to order food that I make at home, but I went ahead and ordered the catfish sandwich with a side of mac & cheese.

I was told that if I got the side dish I would not get the bread. In other words, I could get a catfish sandwich only or I could get catfish with a side item. Whatever. Intercourse the bread and give me the mac & cheese. I asked to make sure I still get tartar sauce with the fish.

My order took about ten minutes to complete. While waiting, I contemplated their strange decision to curtain off the view of the food prep area. It's behind glass windows, but they put up curtains to keep it out of view. I couldn't get past the fact that this decision is 180 degrees opposite of what one would do to give customers confidence in food preparation. I don't know... maybe Mr. Flo was talking on the phone while this decision was being made.

I got my food, checked it, and took it back to the office. It came with a piece of cornbread which was nothing special. No pieces of corn or jalapenos or anything else. The mac & cheese was disappointing, partly because it was cold. I should have reheated it.

The catfish was very good. It was perfectly cooked (not at all greasy) and well-seasoned. Their dredge is good. I was disappointed to find that they don't make their own tartar sauce. They toss in one pre-packaged packet which is not enough for the two fillets.

Summation: The fish was good but everything else was disappointing. It was basically what I would expect from a decent cafeteria. My recommendation is to try the cobblers, which I suspect is Flo's real focus. Then write your own review so I know if there's a reason to go back.

26 October 2008


25 October 2008

Dale Mallory Courting Squatter Vote?

The irony was overwhelming... I had to stop and take this shot of the streetfront across from the site of the proposed CityLink development.

Dale Mallory was unceremoniously dispatched from the West End community council because he backed CityLink (among other reasons). Residents feared that establishing CityLink would bring OTR problems to the West End residents in proximity to CityLink. And now there are Mallory signs on the buildings closest to CityLink.

Moreover, these buildings are abandoned, boarded up and basically waiting for "blight" designation. Strange place to put campaign signs, it seems to me. I suppose there's no such thing as bad visibility in politics.

22 October 2008

Disco Infarct-o

You're out on a weekend. You're having fun. Suddenly, someone nearby collapses clutching their chest. You think, "Hey, I was CPR certified back in college, I should do something!"

So you start CPR. How many chest compression per minute should you do?

If you said 60, you're just like the rest of us who need to download the update. The current recommendation is 100. And the Bee Gees can help:

In a small but intriguing study from the University of Illinois medical school, doctors and students maintained close to the ideal number of chest compressions doing CPR while listening to the catchy, sung-in-falsetto tune from the 1977 movie "Saturday Night Fever."

The American Heart Association recommends 100 chest compressions per minute, far more than most people realize, study author Dr. David Matlock of the school's Peoria, Illinois, campus said Thursday.

He found that "Stayin' Alive," which has a way of getting stuck in your head anyway, can help with that.

His study involved 15 students and doctors and had two parts. First they did CPR on mannequins while listening to the song on iPods. They were asked to time chest compressions with the song's beat.

It gets better:

It turns out the American Heart Association has been using the song as a training tip for CPR instructors for about two years.

They learned of it from a physician "who sort of hit upon this as a training tool," said association spokesman Dr. Vinay Nadkarni of the University of Pennsylvania.

And even better, still:

Dr. Matthew Gilbert, a 28-year-old medical resident, was among participants in the University of Illinois study this past spring. Since then, he said, he has revived real patients by keeping the song in his head while doing CPR.

Gilbert said he was surprised the song worked as well as it did.

"I was a little worried because I've been told that I have a complete lack of rhythm," he said. Also, Gilbert said he's not really a disco fan.

He does happen to like a certain Queen song with a similar beat.

"I heard a rumor that 'Another One Bites the Dust' works also, but it didn't seem quite as appropriate," Gilbert said.

21 October 2008

Seen this Week Around Town

Stickers/signs seen on cars:


That was Zen... this is Tao

Jan. 20, 2009: End of an Error

20 October 2008

Mural on McMicken

Detail of a mural in a playground on McMicken, just around the corner from Findlay Market.

14 October 2008

The Health Care Issue Nobody Talks About


To be honest, it is more than a health care issue. R&D is an economic issue that is relevant across the economic spectrum. Anyone who is familiar with DARPA knows how R&D in one area can have significant outcomes in a totally different area. The space program is another example.

There are two ways to use tax dollars: expenditure and investment. The "Bridge to Nowhere" was expenditure. The Iraq war is expenditure. Medical research, DARPA and NASA are investments. Their work is characterized by long-term gains. If more "Joe six-packs" understood this basic concept they might be able to resist swooning every time a pseudoconservative rockhead promises less taxes and less spending as the cornerstone of a pseudoeconomic plan.

Yeah, I'm not holding my breath, either.

For a good essay on the importance of funding basic research, I point you to Nobel laureate Roger Kornberg's* piece in the latest issue of Stanford Medicine Magazine:

The major medical advances — X-rays, antibiotics, magnetic resonance imaging, genetic engineering, to name a few — have one thing in common: They resulted from discoveries made in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, not prevention or cure of disease. The lesson of this experience is counterintuitive. To solve a difficult problem in medicine, do not study it directly, but rather pursue a curiosity about nature and the rest will follow. Seek knowledge and understanding in all fields, from physics to biology. Do basic research.

But almost as soon as this lesson of the past is learned, it’s forgotten.

The problem is not only scientific but also political. The support of basic research has traditionally come from government rather than the private sector, and for good reason. The time line is very long — basic problems take decades to solve. Only the public, with a lifelong interest, will support such an undertaking. Industry, with a short-term interest and eye on the bottom line, can hardly be expected to do so... Government clearly has a special responsibility and a unique role to play.

Some 50 years ago, in perhaps the most farsighted action of any legislative body in history, the United States Congress established the National Institutes of Health to fund basic biomedical research. The genius of the NIH lay in its funding mechanism. In contrast with the time-honored system in Europe, where support flows from governments to universities to departments to professors and finally to researchers, the NIH provides support directly to researchers. Proposals are submitted by individuals, young and old alike, and are judged by panels of peers. The NIH is a form of scientific free enterprise, a marketplace of ideas, with selection on the basis of merit.

The return on this investment by the government has been huge... The annual budget for cancer research today is only $5 billion, less than 10 percent of our annual expenditure on soft drinks, less than a week of the war in Iraq.

So far, neither of the leading presidential contenders has taken a position or even responded to invitations from scientific organizations to be informed about the problem. The public has to understand, and to convey to Congress and the candidates, the importance of science and the NIH. Life-saving discoveries hang in the balance, and we must, especially in economic hard times, protect the basis for future prosperity.

(* Roger Kornberg's father, Arthur Kornberg, was also a Nobel laureate)

13 October 2008

Homegrown Tomatoes!

They may not look delicious, but they are!

10 October 2008

The Best of All Possible Scooter Worlds

From the Pulse-Downtowner:

A pilot program to be set in motion before fall ends will create five sets of 10-hour, reduced-rate parking meters Downtown for those who two-wheel with motorcycles, motor scooters and mopeds. And the city wants to know the best spots for parking these vehicles.

The deadline to do so is Sunday, Oct. 12, at www.cincinnati-oh.gov/twowheeler.

"We'll install new spots at the top five vote-getters this fall!"

"The City is responding to our customers living and working Downtown who have asked for more parking for two-wheeled vehicles," said Eileen Enabnit, director of Transportation and Engineering, in a statement about the program. "Additionally, accommodating scooters and motorcycles helps the city become greener."

Little known fact: motorcycles emit 80 times the pollutants that cars do. So no, they're not greener. But scooters are, which is a big reason why me and several people I know are considering buying one. And greater availability of parking makes it an even better option.

07 October 2008

Busken Cookie Presidential Poll: Obama

I saw the poll numbers posted on the wall when I stopped in last week:

Busken, during every presidential election, makes batches of iced cookies that each sport the face of one of the two candidates.

Busken Bakery’s candidate cookie poll, a local election staple since 1992, is tracking 1,996 Obama cookies sold, compared with 1,159 John McCain cookies... putting Barack Obama ahead this presidential election, by about 70 percent [63% to 37%, to be precise].

Busken has been selling the Obama/McCain cookies for about three weeks, so the poll has a way to go. But it should be watched closely.

“We’ve never been wrong,” Busken said.

05 October 2008

18 and Life to Go

UC deals with the sad reality:

...the University of Cincinnati Police Department is scheduled to offer active shooter training beginning Fall Quarter.

Active shooter training will show students, faculty and staff some of the different options they have if there is a gunman on campus...

The training is set to be hands-on and participants will be able to react to simulation gunshots heard in the building or a gunman in the room. By practicing different options when gunshots are fired, you may be able to better gauge how much reaction time you have.

“The whole situation just happens so fast,” Barge said. “It used to be we would wait for SWAT, or wait for a negotiator. Columbine was over in seven minutes and Virginia Tech was over in eight. We can’t wait anymore.”

In the event of an on-campus emergency, the fire alarm system is able to make an announcement to a single building, a group of buildings or make a campus-wide announcement. Members of the UC community can also be notified through public safety e-mail alerts, text message alerts, Blackboard and through Advanced Regional Traffic Interactive Management & Information System (ARTIMIS), electronic signs on Interstates 71 and 75.

Utilizing the existing help phones on campus, UCPD is working to develop a reverse 9-1-1 system. In an emergency situation, the blue lights on help phones would turn on and students would be able to pick up the phone to hear a recorded message alerting them of the situation...

In a completely unrelated and not at all relevant story, here are NRA contributions to local members of Congress for the current election cycle:

Boehner: 3500
Chabot: 5950 (54,000 career)
Schmidt: 2000

Voinovich: 0
Brown: 0

02 October 2008

The Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding

As if being a mother isn't tough enough, here's more to think about from the latest issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. But first, an interesting factoid to share at happy hour:

Breastfeeding infants are technically the highest members of the food chain. Strictly speaking I suppose this would apply not just to infants but to anyone feeding off breast milk. In any case, humans are at the top of the food chain because we eat everything else. But since the food source for breastfeeding infants is a human at the top of the food chain, the infants are considered to be above adult humans. Strange but true.

And now the crux:

The health benefits to the infant of breastfeeding have been amply documented; numerous studies strongly indicate significantly decreased risks of infection, allergy, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and various cancers in both childhood and adulthood.

Nevertheless, given the tendency for persistent organic pollutants (POPs), pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants to accumulate in human milk, researchers and parents alike are asking whether the nursling's exposure to these pollutants might reduce or even override the health benefits.

The POPs, which include polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and certain organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, all tend to become magnified in the food chain over time. Breastfeeding infants are thus the final target of POPs.

In recent years, additional chemicals have been detected in human milk, among them bisphenol A, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexachlorobenzene, and the cyclodiene pesticides, which include dieldrin, heptachlor, and chlordane. Residues of many banned POPs persist in women's milk.

Yet, the literature to date supports the idea that the benefits of breastfeeding generally outweigh the hazards posed by infant exposure to POPs in human milk.

...documented adverse effects on breastfeeding infants—such as impairment of psychomotor development and other neurodevelopmental outcomes—have been seen primarily in cases of high-dose poisonings in which the mother became clinically ill.

...up to 90% of human exposure to the persistent and lipid-soluble dioxin-like chemicals, including certain PCBs, PCDDs, and PCDFs, is attributed to dietary intake... Meat eaters in general tend to harbor more POPs than people eating predominantly vegetarian diets.

Nursing mothers can also reduce the level of POPs in their milk by maintaining their weight to avoid mobilizing fat stores, says Jenny Pronczuk, a WHO medical officer ... who adds that reducing emissions of POPs into the environment is the long-term solution to this problem...

Because of human milk's nutritional, immunologic, anticancer, and detoxifying effects, Wang, Rogan, and other environmental scientists encourage women to continue the practice of breastfeeding even in the context of widespread pollution. "At the same time," says Pronczuk, "breastfeeding mothers should be helped and advised on how to avoid alcohol and drugs and remove themselves from polluted environments, while also creating healthier, safer, and cleaner environments for themselves and their children."

01 October 2008

Food Allergies and Food Labeling

I've read ingredient labels but never really noticed this. The following eight foods account for 90% of food allergies so the FDA requires that they be labeled in any foods which contain them:

Crustacean shellfish
Tree nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts)

People can be allergic to practically anything; I knew a kid in middle school who was allergic to a few dozen things. Just a few weeks ago I thought I was developing allergies to black dudes from the west side but it turned out I was just allergic to his dog (and apparently, only his dog).

My father has shellfish allergies. I am allergic to cats but not as a food item. I am not allergic to cashews but I don't like them.