Friday, July 25, 2008


Ok, so here's the deal. I went on a camping trip this weekend, and as a result, received a slew of Facebook friend requests. Which got me to comparison Facebooking. i.e., how many friends do I have, versus how many friends to they have. And guess what - the grass is greener. They have more friends. Or at least more Facebook friends. So I decide I have to up my Facebook quotient. I poke around for friends. "Search" to be more specific. Not terribly productive. I maybe added five people. But here's the deal: Is it that I don't have that many friends, or that my friends are not on Facebook? And for that matter, why would I, an adult, want to be on Facebook in the first place? Well, I can tell you what initiated it. My Israeli journalist cousin told me (around January of this year) that whenever he needs someone's contact info, he looks the person up on Facebook. If you're not on Facebook, so he claims, you do not exist. But guess what. I know a lot of people that don't exist according to that definition. The question is just why so many people know other people who do exist per that definition, and I don't... (do you follow my thread???).

Not sure.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Seize the Day

I loved this article. And most of all the title ("Seizing the Day in Tel Aviv") and the cover picture. I was in that same place - Neve Tsedek - in January, went to the beach, rode a Vespa, had a wonderful time. Yes, there's something more vibrant and fun in Israel perhaps because of that feeling that tomorrow is not a certainty. Sometimes that's worth remembering.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about giving my cat Clomicalm, a drug prescribed for OCD in cats and separation anxiety in dogs. Well, turns out I was just ahead of the NYTimes Magazine article titled Pill Popping Pets about marketing of behavior modification and "lifestyle" drugs for pets.

The article claims, and I agree - that part of the problem is that pets have to adjust to our hectic, urban, work-centered lifestyles. And often, the only way to make that work in pets (and in humans) is to give them psychoactive drugs.

In the specific case of my cat, however, this was not the case. She was living in a beautiful house near the beach, could go in and out as she pleased, and had humans (and another cat) around most of the time. Still, something snapped in her, and unfortunately Clomicalm didn't do the trick. My cat didn't make it. Surprisingly, since I didn't feel particularly attached to her (I was much more attached to her spunky partner) the thought still brings tears to my eyes.

But there you go...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Something that Really Aggravates me

In fact, it aggravates me so much that I've probably already written about it.

The house and senate have come to terms on a bill that mandates that mental health coverage will be given reimbursed in the same way that other medical care is reimbursed. Meaning, for example, that if you go to a psychologist, and your insurance has a co-pay, you will have the same co-pay for a psychologist.

So does this aggravate me? No! What has me seeing red is the fine print on this newly enlightened clause. The coverage will only be for employers with 50 employees or more. Meaning it doesn't apply to independent contractors or people will individual insurance policies?

It's one of the great ironies of the American healthcare system. You're less of a person if you don't work for a large corporation. The U.S. is the land of entrepreneurship and independent businesses, yet the benefits, the government sponsored benefits, the government mandated protections, go only to the corporate guys.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Google Daycare

It's been a long time since my kids were in daycare, and I guess I didn't realize that the price of daycare has been going up at least as fast (and probably faster) than the price of a college education. At Google, company sponsored (and subsidized) daycare is soon going up to about $27,000 per year. See here. It's a good story all around.

The Wonders of Santa Monica

Most of you may already know this, but for me it was new. The city of Santa Monica offers free valet parking for your bicycles at major events such as the Sunday Ocean Park farmer's market, and the Thursday evening free concerts at the pier. I'm loving Santa Monica.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Salmonella in Tomatoes!!!!????!!!!

Finally today - an article in the WSJ titled Anger Rises Over Salmonella Probe". It's about time.

It's been at least weeks (maybe months) that I've been wondering how the FDA gets away with saying that tomatoes from 36 states are suspected with being contaminated with the Salmonella virus.

How can they cast such a broad suspicion? Tomatoes, unlike humans, do not travel from state to state, sneezing on airplanes to distribute their bacterial load. If there's salmonella poisoning of a batch of tomatoes in Utah, it does not travel off to Arizona. That's just not the way it works. They way it does work is that (maybe) someone in Utah (or somewhere else) watered their tomatoes with salmonella-infested liquid. So those tomatoes got dirty with salmonella bacteria, and whoever ate those tomatoes risked having a bad case of upset stomach.

Apparently about 850 people got ill, which is the equivalent of about one field of tomatoes. In one state. Not in 36.

But the FDA, in its great sagacity, and in its understandable inability to figure out what field those tomatoes came from, decided to write off the tomato harvests of 36 states in the union. Which the WSJ claims will translate to about $100M in lost revenues for tomato growers, and tomatoes left rotting on the vines.

So you'll ask, what do I suggest the FDA do?

Well, you know, some things just cannot be solved aposteriori. It happened. Some tomatoes were contaminated. FYI, if you travel to India, virtually all the tomatoes will be contaminated. Not great, but mostly people survive. So 850 people in the vast U.S. got the stomach flu from eating contaminated tomatoes. It shouldn't have happened, and the industry should police its hygiene practices. But mass hysteria over tomatoes doesn't help. My sympathies go to the tomato growers whose tomatoes are rotting on the vines, and to tomato lovers who were conned by the FDA into forgoing their daily tomato fix in favor of some obscure idea that great danger is lurking in those luscious red things. Things of danger. Pomme d'amour. Pomodoro.

Another Comment About My OCD Cat

Just an FYI - she drinks water with her paw. Meaning that she doesn't stick her head down and lap up the water. No, no, no. She dips her paw in the water like a true lady, and licks the water off her paw.

OCD or not OCD?