To my bitter colleagues

I can understand your bitterness that the nutritional and herbal remedy industry is not regulated nearly as closely as the pharmaceutical industry. However, I can’t buy your arguments that the FDA(Food and Drug Administration) process is based entirely on scientific and clinical evidence and that alternative remedies haven’t been proven to be safe and effective at all. David Graham and Vioxx™ point to one example of the former, and here’s another example.

Freakin music meme

I’ll follow “Brian’s”: lead on this, mainly because I’m avoiding work. These are the top 25 hits from 1990, the year I graduated high school. “Source”: For the record, 1973 (my birth year) was _way_ better. Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Allman Brothers, Temptations, David Bowie, and on and on. These songs I’ve bolded and even underlined below I can live without for the rest of my life. I’m not sure I can live without some from ’73 and surrounding years…

* Bold – still like
* Italics – hate
* Underscore – favorite in this list
* Boring, roman type – don’t care or know

1. Hold On, Wilson Phillips
2. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
3. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor
4. Poison, Bell Biv Devoe
5. Vogue, Madonna
6. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey
7. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins
8. Hold On, En Vogue
9. Cradle Of Love, Billy Idol
10. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi
11. Do Me!, Bell Biv Devoe
12. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Michael Bolton
13. Pump Up The Jam, Technotronic
14. Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul (Yeah, yeah, shaddup!)
15. Escapade, Janet Jackson
16. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You, Heart
17. Close To You, Maxi Priest
18. Black Velvet, Alannah Myles
19. Release Me, Wilson Phillips
20. Don’t Know Much, Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
21. All Around The World, Lisa Stansfield
22. l Wanna Be Rich, Calloway
23. I Remember You, Skid Row
24. Rub You The Right Way, Johnny Gill
25. She Ain’t Worth It, Glenn Medeiros Featuring Bobby Brown

_Update:_ Ooh, I just looked at 1985, and I still like 85% of the songs on the whole 100 list. Wow! I really like 80’s music for some reason.

30 cents overnight! Sheesh.

DFL was right. We will be wishing for yesterday’s gas prices.

Snake oil and drugs

If you’ve ever dealt with Kevin Trudeau, chances are you were scammed. Trudeau is known for pushing the bounds of legality and decency, even a few times landing on the wrong side of the law. He spent time in prison for faking credit card applications and charging over $122K. And now he’s back to obliterate the infomercial airwaves with his book ??Natural Cures??. In fact, he’s so successful at selling the book it ranks right below ??Harry Potter?? on the ??New York Times?? bestseller list.

There’s a lot to Kevin Trudeau that’s admirable. He’s got guts and marketing savvy that rival the best. He started a mail order operation when he was _15_, yes that’s sophomore in high school age, that he says brought in over a million dollars. Not bad for the young entrepreneur. This guy could do a lot of good.

Except I don’t think he is. He’s on the airwaves against the will of the FTC(Federal Trade Commission), apparently by a loophole in the law. He’s known to exaggerate to the point of stretching the truth until it pops. Past clients of his infomercial production business were unhappy with his claims because they themselves had to answer to the FTC also.

So, why do I care about this? Anyone who’s read my blog entries knows that while I work for the pharma industry, I also believe that alternative and complementary medicines are very effective in relieving illnesses. (For the record, I’m not in the school of thought that believes that everybody in big pharma knows the cure to all diseases and is keeping them from us just to scam us for money. If I did, I wouldn’t be in the job I am now.) I’m also acutely aware that a lot of my colleagues would disagree. And some of the biggest pharma sharks now have yet another rich, slick marketing genius to point to and claim “snake oil!” He certainly makes a lot of alternative medicine practicioners look bad, even if those practicioners agree with the core principles of ??Natural Cures?? but think the details are way blown out of proportion.

Rather than shedding light on the subject, it really confuses the whole debate, all to promote someone’s business. Argh.


My heart goes out to everybody directly affected by Katrina. The coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana are disasters in progress. Most of the people still in the storm had essentially no way out. They are the homeless, the poor, those without transportation. They are men, women, fathers, mothers, children. And they need your help. Right now, much of New Orleans is experiencing structural failure, and one wing is under several feet of water. And this is in the _city_, not to mention the utter disaster that either has happen or awaits the rural areas.


For the rest of the world, it looks like Katrina will “affect our wallets”:, as DrFrankLives points out. I’m not sure how much storm speculation is already built into current prices. I do know that Katrina’s winds will be felt around the world.

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

??I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression??

Terry Real’s ??I Don’t Want to Talk About It?? discusses how men cope with the unique pressure of manhood in our society. Depression has emerged as a seemingly feminine trait, perhaps to the detriment of all. Men are supposed to swallow their emotions and perform. This suppression of emotion (which, by the way, also suppresses important information) is the basis of a covert depression. This situation manifests in grouchiness, snappiness, inflexibility, inability to separate stresses from work from family, and other similar undesirable traits often found in men. The way to overcome this condition, says Real, is to bring the depression to the surface (overt depression), grieve, and let it go.

Whether you are depressed or not, an awareness of this condition is invaluable in handling people (especially men) who are and may not know it (or want to know it). Knowing how covert depression is caused, perpetuated, and cured is invaluable in maintaining mental health. Real covers the issue thoroughly and clearly from every conceivable angle, from psychology to religion to literature. Not only is the information interesting from an intellectual point of view, it’s application is clearly shown.

This book is heartily recommended.

(reprinted from “my old blog”: because something awful happened to the book reviews section)

George Bush does yoga

See George Bush in Virabhadrasana I, Virabhadrasana III, Utthita Trikonasana, Salamba Sirsana I, Upavista Konasana, and more! (Link to site’s home page.)

There’s also the Bush Yoga store, but I don’t think I’m going to be buying the Bush Yoga thong.

I need to get out and get a life. It’s Friday night fercryinoutloud.

High runner’s lunge in beginning classes

Don poses a question
in his yoga journal. The question, as I read it, is

Is it appropriate to direct beginning yoga students to do high runner’s lunge?

As he notes, sometimes the abdomen gets in the way, and it may be a problem to perform the pose with correct alignment. And, sometimes, someone is just so new to yoga they will have problems aligning properly anyway. So, at this point, I would rather direct them to do a runner’s lunge with a knee on the floor and focus more on alignment than hitting a lunge. And the transition in the animation seems fine, just take off the last step.

For a beginner, I would do this a couple of times and then go for the high lunge. High lunge, aligned properly, isn’t as easy as it looks and I still have a lot of problems with it, and probably will for a few more years.

Financial advice I won’t be taking

We’ll set aside for a moment the fact that I don’t invest in the major drug producers nor biotechs. But even without that, this is a bit of “advice”: that I _won’t_ be taking:

bq. You’re clearly taking a chance when investing in Pfizer — legal exposure, public complaints about Big Pharma profits, potential government regulations — but if you have some contrarian tendencies, this might be the time to swallow the pill and buy.

Let’s recall what Pfizer makes:

bq. New York-based Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, could also face legal problems, since its competing drug, Bextra, was withdrawn from the market in April, and another similar drug, Celebrex, though still on the market, now comes with warnings about potential heart problems.

Miraculously, with all the tumult that Merck is facing, Pfizer’s stock hasn’t wavered too much. Let me back up a little bit, in case you aren’t following:

  • Merck makes a compound known as a COX-2 inhibitor. The trade name is Vioxx™.
  • The compound was withdrawn from market last fall because of a heightened risk of heart problems. To make matters worse, studies are starting to show the mechanism of its heart activity (not good) and other studies show that Vioxx™ was overprescribed. Overprescribed means that a patient was prescribed Vioxx™ when an older, cheaper drug such as aspirin would have worked just as well and wouldn’t have had the serious side effects such as ulcers.
  • Merck is facing serious legal problems over the compound, where complaintants claim they knew this vital safety information and didn’t disclose it.
  • Pfizer makes two competing compounds, Bextra™ and Celebrex™. Bextra was withdrawn earlier this year for the same reasons as Vioxx™, but Celebrex™ is still on the market.

This smells like a recipe for disaster, if you ask me. (Boring full disclosure: I have never worked on a project involving any of these compounds.)

If you read my other entries on the drug industry, you might know that I predict a shakedown. Being in the drug industry is going to hurt _bad_ in a few years. Other related industries, such as the CRO(Clinical Research Organization) industry (which I am in), are going to hurt, too, though they may not feel it as badly.

If you’re a gambling day trader, Pfizer may be a field of opportunity for you. If you are looking for long-term stability, take my amateur advice and be very careful of pharmaceuticals.

Thanks Brian for this image

It’s so funny I have to repost it:

Regular LOL 9/10, Mid-Grade OMG 9/10, Premium WTF 9/10