Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vitamin D deficiency

Doing some client work earlier today gave me a reminder about why I'm taking 4,000 iu of Vitamin D-3 today. It's been an ongoing battle to increase my vitamin d levels due to my lifestyle (sedentary and indoors) and my doctor has been on my case about it for about a year now.
Anyway, these is the clip that gave me the reminder. (click here about kids and vitamin D) This is more pertinent for adults.
My doctor is recommending far more more than what the video suggests. The Mayo Clinic goes into the breakdown of the difference of Vitamin D-3 and D-2 and their benefits.
Have a healthy holiday season!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Chris Christie won...

In a nutshell, this is why Chris Christie defeated N.J. Gov. Jon S. Corzine:
  • Taxes -- Jon Corzine didn't address the property tax burden during his tenure, even after raising sales and income taxes. New Jersey manages to have high sales, income and property taxes. This is sending the middle class to the exits and has stifled job creation in the state.
  • Corruption -- If Attorney General Anne Milgram made a significant arrest for municipal corruption outside Atlantic City, Chris Christie's big advantage would have been blunted. Arrests in Atlantic City don't count in this category. Mr. Magoo can spot municipal corruption there. You can set your calendar by elected Atlantic City officials being indicted.
Jon Corzine's a decent man with good intentions. I'd like to have him as an uncle. However, the Star Ledger precisely summed up his role in NJ politics and the state's Democratic Party: "Corzine is the chaplain on a pirate ship, not really its captain." He wasn't beholden to the power brokers in state government, since he paid for his own campaigns. However, the party bosses -- at least the ones out of legal trouble -- still hold a lot of power. Corzine ceded a lot of authority to them.

Chris Christie won a tarnished trophy in this election. He's going into the Governor's office in January with a projected $8 billion budget deficit, a rotten business climate, and Democrats controlling the legislature. Most NJ resident's disagree with Christie's conservative social views (anti-abortion), but this was an electon primarily about pocketbook issues. He's pledged to lower taxes, but has been scant on details about how to pay for tax cuts. The legislature holds the purse strings and I don't see them crafting budgets that will cut urban aid, education or health care. I'm expecting a standoff in the next budget cycle and would not be surprised if there is a government shutdown. Corzine had a standoff against the legislature in 2006 and they're in the same party. Christie has much more different budget priorities that appeal to his suburban backers than the Democrats. His interests might be best served if he provoked a budget fight and shut down state offices. The public might realize that the world won't end just because Trenton is idled for a few weeks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trauma Redux, Oct. 26 episode

It's nice to see "Trauma" share some of the truisms about EMS. My favorite was the scene with "Rabbit" and Marisa, the EMT who was carrying all of the gear, heading to a cardiac call. Marisa had the temerity to ask why her partner, a paramedic, wasn't carrying anything. "ALS stands for 'Aint Lifting Stuff," Rabbit replied. I've heard it phrased with a profanity, but what can you expect from network TV? I thought the interplay between Rabbit and the patient's agitated wife was authentic and very much in line with what EMTs deal with. I thought how he asked for her to hold the door (a subtle way to keep her occupied) is a very good tactic to deal with frantic family members. Make them helpful and then they can focus and not get in the way.
Overall, the Halloween episode was pretty good. It also had shown Rabbit's limits to being a "cowboy" and trouncing on standing orders. He had refrained from administering morphine to a child trauma patient. Other emergencies seemed to be handled well (paramedics or more experienced EMTs may take issue with that assessment).
The preview of an ambulance accident for next week's episode should be interesting, because there are too many ambulance accidents. Some have killed EMTs in the line of duty. My training and experience tell me that most other people on the road are too stupid to watch for ambulances. Assume the worst -- especially in New Jersey -- and don't just think the lights and sirens will keep you safe in the rig.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The TV Show 'Trauma'

I enjoy watching the show "Trauma," not for its portrayal of EMTs. It falls into that realm of entertainment with James Bond movies, disaster films, and "Die Hard." Shut the brain off and enjoy the ride.

As an EMT, many of the things that I see on the show make me chuckle. A lot of these guys forget about scene safety among other basic tasks. One of the first lessons in EMT class is to stay safe so you don't become a patient and burden other first responders. What sometimes passes itself off as emergency medicine on this show would get EMT cards yanked. A paramedic would not fill an IV with ice water to intentionally induce hypothermia on a patient with a spinal injury. There are plenty of other examples cited by people better qualified than me. If you want to learn about EMS, there are plenty of emergency medicine sites and this one is one of my favorites, The EMT Spot. Or even better, get some first aid classes, join a squad and work toward an EMT certificate.

But just take the TV show with a grain of salt and enjoy it for what it's worth: an hour of drama with great production values. Roy and Johnny from "Emergency!" did it better and captured more of the flavor of being an EMT. However, the name of the show is "Trauma" not "80 Year Olds with General Illness." Neither is pretty, but bowel troubles of the elderly don't make good television.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The latest cool stuff...

This is an adolescent thing to do, but I thought it would be fun to share some things that I like right now. Some of this probably already appeared on my facebook profile. Apologies to those who have seen some of this before. I even liked some TV this week, a rarity:
-- Mad Men's episode "A Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency" shook up some of the listlessness from the first few episodes this season. Matt Weiner shows off his Soprano roots by placing unusually violent action into a plot. The show worked well on an acting and literary level. The title was a nice play on words. The symbol of snakes figured prominently. (Guy being a snake in the grass, Don speaking with Connie Hilton, Pryce's gift) A bit of foreshadowing of the JFK assassination (the tractor ride with the woman riding through the office and Joan looking like Jackie Kennedy) and Vietnam (the boys who never saw combat at sterling cooper covered with blood). Roger Sterling (played by John Slattery) had some great lines in the episode. "It looks like Iwo Jima here" ... "He was just getting his foot in the door."

-- House's premier was exceptional. It was nice to see Hugh Laurie working someone that could dish out as well as him, Andre Braugher (a favorite from Homocide: Life on the Street).

-- The EMT Spot -- I ride for Metuchen EMS. We are not a busy first aid squad. I consider myself fortunate, but it is important to refresh skills or keep certain things in mind when responding to calls. This page and the yahoo bulletin boards for NJ EMTs are very useful. On a related note, Congratulations are in store for Travis Hendon, who delivered a baby on a call at a gas station earlier this week when he was riding for Edison. I managed to get some ambulance driver training in this weekend!
-- Joe Perri, my colleague at Coyne PR, attempted to eat half a sheet cake in 10 minutes. I salute you for the effort! Nice work by Coyne's graphics department with the video footage.
-- Yo La Tengo came out with a new album, Popular Songs.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A workable solution to America's health care troubles...

Politicians of all stripes have been bickering over health care. Who's going to get health care and how are we going to pay for it? We're already spending $2.3 trillion on health care in this country. That's greater than all the goods and services produced in the United Kingdom, not exactly an economic lightweight.

So what does this spending -- about $7,000 every year -- for each man, woman and child in the United States get? Sub par health care quality with a ranking of 37th worldwide. Woo Hoo! We're number 37!

So we don't do health care very well. As a country, we need to focus on our competitive advantage. At least, that's what Adam Smith tells us to do in "The Wealth of Nations."

As a country, we don't make much of anything anymore. So it is incumbent on our policy makers to focus America's competitive advantage.

We need to abandon health care. We do a crappy job at it. It's a financial sinkhole and we all die in the end anyway. So why bother?

We need to channel our resources where we excel -- entertainment. We don't know the names of the eight chambers of the heart or how the larynx helps us digest our food, but we do know what "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" are having for dinner or Britney Spears' favorite coffee. It's a matter of our priorities.

Policy makers should allocate our resources accordingly. So here's my solution to health care reform: We spend nothing on the sick. We take all that money and dedicate it to fun.

This is how we solve this dilemma:

-- Force every man, woman and child to spend $7,000 a year on entertainment. It can be devoted to consumer electronics, movie tickets, circuses, sporting events, video games, theme park admissions, the theater, and time shares. Not one cent can be spent on health, since it is not economical and doesn't fit with America's competitive advantage.

-- Hospitals will be turned into resorts to reflect our nation's drive to be a fun economy. Hospitals kill more people than theme parks, so theme parks must be better for our nation's health. Society can swap out go the machines that "go ping" in the hospital and replace them with video games. Amusement parks are a better investment than the lousy profit margins offered at health care facilities.

-- This reform will require us to dramatically reshape our workforce. We'll need to retrain our nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other clinicians for new jobs. Our government will have to build a national chain of clown colleges to meet the demands of our new "fun economy." Instead of learning about anatomy & physiology, our clinicians will have to learn how to juggle. Administering an IV becomes a passe' skill, while trapeze work becomes a valued art.

So that leaves us with a dilemma about what do do with the sick. In our new fun economy, sick people won't go the the hospital. They can behave like Super Bowl winners:
They can go to Disney World!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tom Cruise's greatest role!

Profane, but hysterical!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A day when I wished I was in journalism again...

New Jersey's air just got a bit cleaner after the FBI's corruption sweep led to 44 arrests two weeks ago. The stench of corruption is a part of life here. Prior the busts, more than 100 elected officials in the state have been arrested since 2001. Unfortunately, nobody is surprised about the arrests, the question is usually a matter of "Who'd they get this time?" The angle about the rabbi charged with selling kidneys on the black market, however, adds a unique twist to the usual garden variety shakedowns and bribery in municipal corruption cases. It was a day that I wished I was in journalism. A newsroom can be an electrifying place when there's a big story to pursue. You always want to know what happens next.

Here are some of the thoughts that I had about the arrests:

-- Kudos to any reporters who worked the organ selling angle into the lede of their stories. Bribery in New Jersey is not too shocking, but black market organ selling is sensational and needed to be high in the story. Yes, 44 people being arrested is a big deal. Yes, the Hudson County political establishment and the Syrian Jews in Monmouth County took a big blow here over these allegations of scuzzy behavior. You have to figure that more than 100 officials have been arrested in recent years. A rabbi dealing kidneys and marking them up by 1500 percent is a shocking charge. The writers of The Sopranos would have been hard pressed to come up with that twist.
-- A lot of the coverage was chasing NJ 101.5 at first, and they were first with the detail about human organ trafficking. Some other news sites were hesitant to run with that detail until after Thursday's press conference when the indictments were made public. I think the station's friendliness to Chris Christie helped their reporters here.
-- It was disconcerting to see that the Asbury Park Press, the hometown paper for Deal, resorting to using the AP to cover "the insular Syrian Jewish community at the New Jersey Shore." Alesha Williams Boyd's article captured the reaction at the temple where Rabbi Edmund Nahum, a rabbi accused of money laundering, worked. It was a missed opportunity for the paper to send a few people from the Neptune office to talk to people at the temples or even the coffee shops on Norwood Ave to provide additional coverage. I used to work in the town, when I was a floor layer. In my observation of Deal, people flashed a lot of money around, drove expensive cars, and put a lot of stock in social status, but I wouldn't call the Syrian Jews insular. It's also one of the most picturesque communities in Monmouth County and probably one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. Where was the color to really illustrate what happened here? Alesha had two bylines on the web today, so she doesn't deserve any of the blame. Couldn't an editor have picked up the phone or left the office to help out? Could the paper have pulled someone from the other Monmouth bureaus? Why not send the reporters out to gather the information and have a sharp rewrite guy take their notes to make the stories sing? To the Asbury Park Press' credit, they identified Dwek very early in the proceedings as the cooperating witness.
-- Dwek! If this guy was damaged goods to begin with, why were people so eager to do business with him?! Would you want to do business with a guy who tried to pass off a $25 million bad check? There really aren't many IQ tests in politics or wealthy communities?
-- Joe Doria stepped down from Corzine's cabinet after his house was raided. This guy was a long time Democratic staple in state politics-- a former Assembly Speaker! No charges have been filed. Media reports are saying he met with Dwek.
-- "Political Consultant' Jack Shaw died shortly after criminal charges were filed in this case. Authorities haven't made a final determination on the cause of death but they are not ruling out suicide. That definitely will leave many wondering what secrets he kept with him or what secrets he told the authorities. He was also not in good health, according to media reports.
I really hope justice is served here. New Jersey's political culture is a swamp that needs to be drained. We're all paying for it with politicians handing off sweetheart deals to their friends. Sadly, the 44 arrested is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Let's hope the guilty do some real time and wake up the rest of the political establishment to mend their ways.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

technorati stuff...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Kennedy gives tips about winning friends in politics

When a Kennedy gives advice about politics, you have to take notice.

Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., the son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and president of Marwood Group, gave a primer on how to be a lobbyist/advocate at a health care industry conference in Orlando in mid-May.

Despite the influence of money and high powered lobbyists in today’s politics, Kennedy said a commitment to an issue dispels the need to costly lobbyists to make your case to legislators. That should not be confused with eschewing politics, since any organization should have a political strategy.

“What really matters is authenticity. You can hire a slick consultant, but there is no substitute on being able to speak on your own behalf or for members of your group,” Kennedy said.

A simple letter to your local legislators or an invitation for coffee at your office could be all that is needed to get the ball rolling.

“Politicians love to look like they are doing something,” Kennedy said half in jest. “They love to be seen and they love to have things to do.”

“Having a coffee session with voters or helping them (the official) get a picture in the paper is another way you can be helpful without writing a big check,” added Kennedy, whose brother is a Congressman from Rhode Island.

Ideally, Kennedy said you want to be in the position of becoming your legislator’s unofficial “cabinet” to comment on issues that are of particular interest. Kennedy said it is impossible for legislative offices to become experts on every single issue and it is important to become part of your local office’s rolodex so they call you for input, making it important to become friendly with your local legislators’ staff.

One word of advice Kennedy provided was that you should not be insulted if your legislator has arranged for a bright, 23-year-old legislative aide to listen to your concerns.

“They are the ones really running our government.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I got schooled...

I'm down 13 lbs now from my January weight. Last night's martial arts class was a tough one. The last 25 minutes were spent grappling and my final bout was with my instructor, a third degree purple belt (higher than blue and my beginner's belt--white). Needless to say, I ended up tapping out three times in five minutes. He had a counter for every move I made. It's a humbling experience. I feel like I did when I started wrestling in 7th grade. I lost a lot and was tired after every class. It's still fun and eventually I'll get it right. I'm looking forward to the summer tournament:

The New Jersey Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Federation's next event is the Summer Tournament, August 8th, 2009! I believe it is in Bayville (south of Toms River), but I'll need further confirmation. I have about 15 lbs to cut to get to 170, the lightest weight for the over 40 group.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Down 5 lbs!

I'm making progress! I'm finally seeing some weight loss after three months of martial arts. Darcie noticed that I don't have a gut on my anymore and the scale is starting to show it. I'm beaten up a bit from my martial arts classes (3 hours saturday and an hour and a half on Monday). One half hour was spent treating a classmate with a turned ankle. An EMT's work is never done. I even had to snap into duty with a Jameson's buzz one night at the Pogue's show after a guy fell down some steps and cut his eyebrow. I kept him still and waited for a medic with a kit to help.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Santelli Bailed Out on Daily Show, Stewart Destroys CNBC

The Daily Show launches a devastating broadside against the cheerleaders on CNBC. Jon Stewart's comedy writers are the best and sharpest in the business!

read more | digg story

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Martial arts classes are leaving me a bit achy! Had jiu jistsu class and learned choke holds and counters.

Also had dicey first aid call last night. Lesson to smokers: Quit now! COPD is a bitch. Patient was unresponsive and lung sounds were absent when I first listened even though she was breathing (accessory muscles were working to inhale). We brought her to the hospital alive. It was my scariest call so far as an EMT and I couldn't sleep until 3:30.

Now to leave you with some cool stuff:

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mexico drug gangs threaten cops on radio, kill them

A real tragedy that reflects a breakdown of law and order in Mexico's border cities. It's affecting not just Tijuana, but cities where drugs are being trafficked into the U.S. Even EMTs in Mexico are not safe (gangsters shooting them while treating patients or threatening them for failing to save patients). It's a sad plight for a country whose people deserve much better. This Reuters story spells out the threats to police.

read more | digg story

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Cultural Treasure -- WWE's Vince McMahon sings

Sometimes you come across cultural treasures on Youtube that rival anything Donny and Marie had done on their variety show in the 1970s. This is Vince McMahon doing a musical number at the 1987 Slammy pro wrestling awards. I love how the wrestlers are "playing" the instruments. Hulk Hogan is a real bass player, but the other guys?? Honky Tonk Man, Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Junkyard Dog, et al. playing backup. Vince needs a musical special on prime time network television. The only thing that could improve this is if Rowdy Roddy Piper came out to do a mid-song rap.

This was amended (7-22-10) after you tube pulled down the prior version of the video.

Michael Lewis (Author of Liar's Poker, Moneyball, The New New Thing, and Panic) offers some conventional wisdom about our culture's obsession with investing. I wish a lot of the bank executives had followed his advice. We'd be a lot richer for it. Some of his advice follows the Warren Buffett adage about investing in only what you understand.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Assessing the Bush Years

A synopsis of Bush's time in office - what went wrong and why. I love The Economist's headline here: The frat boy ships out ...

read more | digg story

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nationalizing the Banks -- Adopting Sweden's Bailout Plan

Barry Ritholtz says the banking system may need to be nationalized to save it. It would clear the decks and could help depositors. I disagree. Depositors are insured and the banks could also be converted to mutual banks owned by depositors. It would be a modified form of receivership. Nationalizing the big banks introduces politics and the gov't picking winners and losers. Why should Citigroup or Bank of America get rewarded for mismanagement when the local thrift that prudently managed its business does not get help?

read more | digg story

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why news coverage stinks ...

Alisa Miller, the head of Public Radio International, shows the shortcomings of U.S. media coverage and how it fails to give a balanced view of the world. By the way, we're coming up on the two-year anniversary of the loss of America's Princess, Anna Nicole Smith. Radio geniuses Ron & Fez set the appropriate tone for coverage here at the time of her death. Part Two can be found at this link. Both are sound files that can be downloaded.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Calvin & Hobbes comic strip captures the truth

This link says so much about the current business climate. I get more truth from a Calvin & Hobbes strip than an entire month of The Wall Street Journal. This is courtesy of Barry Ritholtz' "The Big Picture" blog.

read more | digg story Click "Read More" to see the strip.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Age, lack of conditioning catch up with me...

I went to my first martial arts class today at Satori Academy. It's not a good sign when you are sucking wind after the warm-up calisthenics. I had a good time, however. The soreness will be with me a few days after stretching back, shoulder, leg and stomach muscles that are way too accustomed to sitting at a desk all day. The lesson focused on striking combinations, a bit of grappling and some self-defense. I felt comfortable grappling, but I haven't wrestled seriously since coaching the young kids in the town program. The lesson closed out with some conditioning calisthenics that were a challenge. It's nice to shake off some of the rust and struggle a bit.
I'm not doing this class to become a tough guy. I'm way too old for that and I haven't been in a fight since I was 13. I simply need to exercise in a way that interests me. Moving weights around doesn't hold my interest, although it is an effective way to get into shape. It's a fun way to work out with my son.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 1970s' Little Depression

A Forbes columnist points out how some great companies were born, despite an awful political and economic climate in the 1970s. I find articles like this encouraging, despite dour sentiment.

read more | digg story

Friday, January 2, 2009

Gaza campaign exposes Middle East policy vacuum

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israel's week-old offensive in the Gaza Strip is a violent sequel to a drive led by the United States, with much European and Arab support, to punish Hamas for resisting a largely... Another tale analyzing an endless cycle of violence. Neither side knows when to quit nor has any inclination to. The Israelis and Palestinians are going to need to solve this on their own and no pressure from the international community will get either side to stop.

read more | digg story

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Laundry List of What I Love Right Now

This is sort of like the laundry list of things or people that I'm thankful for as I start a new year. My family and health are stock answers, but the family keeps my head on straight (especially Darcie). The line from the Beach Boys song definitely applies: "God only knows what I'd be without you." My daughter reminds me of all of youth's possibilities and my son is like having a younger and much more wry version of me around. After seeing my folks and sister on Christmas Eve and my in-laws Christmas weekend, it really helps one take stock of what's important.

During these times, I'm glad I'm gainfully employed. Not just at any job, but I'm employed at Coyne Public Relations, one of the best places to work anywhere. My colleagues are creative, fun, smart and a pleasure to see every day. It's a virtuous cycle of good people creating good work that keeps clients happy and coming back for more. I hope the cycle continues into the new year despite a crappy economy.

Facebook and online media get a bad reputation for being time wasters. However, I've been able to reconnect with a lot of people I haven't seen since 1985. It's a blessing to at least talk online with people. It's not even one of those score keeping exercises that high school reunions can be (who got fat, bald, lost their looks, got rich, got their lives together after a shaky high school experience ... yada yada yada). Sometimes you build connections to people who knew you only peripherally through high school. I've had interesting chats about politics with some classmates and status updates are great conversation starters.

I'm a bit of a media and entertainment omnivore. The Apple TV has gotten a lot of use lately. My daughter and her friends are watching "The Shining" now.
Music I've been listening to lately: Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, and Prince. The embedded video is Yo La Tengo doing Cherry Chapstick -- a playful, noisy tune. Yo La Tengo is really the successor to the Velvet Underground. REM wanted to be the Velvet Underground in their early days and the Feelies came close, but I think Yo La Tengo captures the range and depth of the Velvet Underground's sound. They can sound extremely dissonant and another song can create a soothing aural landscape. I'm also happy with WRXP 101.9. The station really does a nice job of mixing new and old music. It captures a lot of the vibe of 106.3 when it was a good station.

I'm looking forward to taking my EMT state test so I could finish "Homocide: A Year on the Killing Streets" and then start Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers." (Thanks Linda!)

I've been evangelizing about The Wire's brilliance all year. It's sort of like "Pulp Fiction" and "Homicide: Life on the Street" rolled into a 60 episode series. I haven't been terribly excited about TV. "Mad Men" was extremely literate and well acted in its second season. My Name is Earl and 30 Rock continue to entertain me. I have really grown to care less and less about television. is a great site to catch up on shows that I used to enjoy.

Anyway Happy New Year! I have a lot to be thankful for.