Updates from July, 2004 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ted Mann 11:02 am on July 30, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Hair Watch: The Mane Event 

    Wonderful as John Kerry’s acceptance speech was last night, the real star of the Democratic National Convention was perched atop his African mask of a face. The hair was, in a word, resplendent. As far as I could tell, Kerry followed the advice of the Washington barbers and trimmed the height of his coif. And boy, did it work! In the way his salt-and-pepper do held form, yet didn’t appear stiff or crunchy from hairspray, I felt America becoming more and more magnanimous with each rhetorical flourish. Even with sweat glistening on his face (he really should consider endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy surgery, by the way), Kerry still appeared radiant. His supporters seemed to bask in the reflected glow, and I could swear that for a second Michael Moore looked five or six pounds lighter. Much of the credit for all this must go to Olive Benson and Connie Sullivan, the two high-end stylists hired by the DNC to oversee convention hair care.

    Clearly, with them backstage, help is on the way. (Or wait, was it “hope is on the way”? Oh, I can’t keep the speeches straight anymore. Let’s just all agree that, above all, hair is on the way!)

    From an article in the Boston Globe, which came out right before the convention:

    Sullivan and Benson relate that they’re ladies of a certain age; they won’t give specifics. But they have more than 60 years of hairstyling experience between them. Both are accustomed to exacting clients with particular tastes. …

    “We will comb, gel, mousse, anything to calm that texture down, whatever it takes,” said Benson, who was voted ”Hairdresser Most Likely To Succeed” at her Cambridge high school.

    The two women were chosen for the convention job by a New York publicist who the convention committee tapped to handle all hair and makeup needs for podium speakers. …

    Avowed Democrats who will donate their time, the two women came close before to being stylists to the Democratic stars. …

    Both Kerry and Edwards have grappled with their appearances and how much to respond to critics’ arrows. Kerry has clipped his hair slightly shorter in recent months, but dismisses allegations that he underwent Botox treatment to eliminate wrinkles. Edwards has resisted change for the most part, keeping his hair in a far side-part, one that some say makes him look boyish.

    Sullivan and Benson have their own ideas for the men.

    ”They both have fabulous hair,” Sullivan said, before allowing that Kerry’s thick salt-and-pepper hair could be served by ”a certain amount of product, to hold it.”

    Benson said both men’s hair could stand to be neater and fuller.

    ”There is better,” she said. ”And then there is the best.”

    Bravo, ladies. You truly are best that America has to offer. Bravo, I say!

  • Ted Mann 10:24 pm on July 28, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Half-Price Honeymoon 

    Contrary to what you might have read in The Devil Wears Prada or Love Monkey, there are plenty of benefits to a low-level job in publishing. Even if my job as an Acquisitions Assistant at the Penn Press is essentially that of a glorified secretary, I still get my share of perks: dental insurance, unrestricted high-speed internet access, free Penn Press tote bags, a one-block walk to work, and of course, whole heap-loads of free books (albeit ones I’ll never readbut still, nice bookshelf filler). Some people might question the financial compensation, and whether a job that pays in the mid-twenties makes the late-night shift at McDonald’s attractive. And these smug bastards are dead right. But when a Penn Press book like Understanding Terror Networks is featured prominently in a New Yorker article on al-Qaeda, or Negro League Baseball gets the cover of the New York Times Book Review, I put all thoughts of McGriddle flipping out of mind. Call me a sucker for the passing interest of high-brow intellectuals.

    So, by and large, I’m proud of my job, of my honorable duty to bring recycled dissertations to the masses. But if there’s one thing I’m not proud of, it’s that the job has turned me into a compulsive coupon clipper.

    I used to recoil in disgust at the nincompoops who present $2-off Swiffer coupons in the check-out line. Now, I fear, I’ve joined their ranks. It all started with the successful purchase of our car, a Pontiac Vibe, which, through the use of umpteen rebates and discounts, I was able to get for $6,000 off the sticker price. Soon, deals that hadn’t seemed intriguing beforewhen I was living in New York, earning twice what I am nowsuddenly became irresistible. Furniture sales, free movie-ticket offers, obscure marinade discounts. These days, when marketing with Ana I’ll always reshelf the preferred brand in favor of the two-for-one option. I make the woman at the cash register wait in constipated agony while I rifle through my pockets for the latest Listerine voucher. In only a couple months, this practice has become something of an obsession. No, I haven’t just joined the nincompoops’ ranks; I’ve become the skipper of the S.S. Coupon Clipper.

    If you need proof, look no further than the recent purchase of my honeymoon trip to Belize. In my post about Trip Advisor, I mentioned the destination we’d settled upon, but I consciously omitted the part about how we we’re paying for it. It probably comes as no surprise that I immediately hit up my sister, Stacey, for 60,000 airline miles to get free tickets on American. (Even in my pre-coupon days, I was this kind of mooch.) But it was in purchasing a package to two Francis Ford Coppola resorts that I really exposed my inner cheapskate. On the advice of wedding guru MelDave (aka Melody Kellenberger), I went to a website called LuxuryLink.com, which happened to have the exact same Belize package I was planning onexcept it was being auctioned for half price. There’s probably some rule in the wedding handbooks that says you shouldn’t buy your honeymoon on clearance or chance your future on an Internet auction. And if there is, that person never worked in publishing, and they better not show their ass face at a university press anytime soon. I bid on the package, and God help me, we won!
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    • Gabe 10:56 am on July 29, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations. Now you just need to skip the cake knife.

  • Ted Mann 4:57 pm on July 27, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Hair Watch: Makeover Madness 

    From the Washington Times:

    Image is everything

    “Nobody asked us, but we felt it was our civic duty to help these [presidential] candidates look their best,” explains Pirooz Sarshar, co-founder of the Grooming Lounge barbershop in downtown Washington.

    “I guarantee the ticket that follows our advice will be sitting pretty in the White House this time next year,” he says, echoing this column’s observations that more attention is being paid to the candidates’ looks than their stance on issues.

    Without further ado, the Grooming Lounge’s tips:

    President Bush: Cut your hair closer to eliminate excess puffiness and flyaways, which make you look less refined.

    Vice President Dick Cheney: Shave your head or crop your hair ultra close to give you a younger, stronger look.

    Sen. John Kerry: Bring down the height of your hair to create a closely cropped style more in line with your face shape. And trim your eyebrows.

    Sen. John Edwards: Add some texture to your hair to eliminate “helmet head” and make you seem less boyish and more sophisticated.

    • Gwynne 1:28 pm on July 28, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Why is City of God sitting atop your DVD player and why aren’t you watching it, now? It’s one of the best films of the year. Watch it.

      P.S. There is no “open forum” on TurkeyMonkey. Obviously this post has nothing to do with John Kerry’s hair, but where else can I post this? Please advise.

      P.P.S. Speaking of John Kerry’s hair, did you hear Obama’s speech last night? I want to vote for him for President. How can put his name on the ticket by November?

    • Gwynne 1:29 pm on July 28, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Another usage comment…I have a typo in my above post. Is there a way for me to correct it or am I now forever on the record as being an idiot?

    • Ted 2:53 pm on July 28, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Gwynne,
      1. City of God is sitting atop my DVD player — has been for over two weeks — because I’m a big ol’ chicken when it comes to subtitles, pure and simple.

      2. We here at TurkeyMonkey don’t believe in open forums. They are the devil’s work.

      3. I heard part of Obama’s speech on the news, and yes, indeed, he’s quite the charmer. But he also has a completely lackluster head of hair. Kind of a sloppy military buzz-cut. And his smile was a little amorphous, too. As eager as the Democratic party is to make this guy into the Next Big Thing! I’m always a little skeptical of the future of politicians who are market-tested and launched at conventions. Remember JC Watts?

      4. I think I’ve corrected the mistake in your post. The only way that I know of to fiddle with comments is by going into the Movable Type editing screen. I’ll send you a password and login so that you can monkey to your heart’s content.

      And by the way, you already put yourself on the record as an idot when you slandered the South Beach Diet book.

    • Gabe 10:59 am on July 29, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Gwynne, your typing is so careless! I can’t believe you misspelled Osama!

  • Ted Mann 2:10 pm on July 26, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Toys for Putty-Tats 

    A month ago our adorable kitten, Fuzzy, undermined his adorability when he started peeing on our expensive leather couches. These acts of madness seemed to coincide with Ana’s decision to let Fuzzy roam in the gardens outside our apartment. “It makes him so happy, so fulfilled,” she said. It also turned him into a peeing fool, I responded. I was sure that the West Philly woods (and hoods) had reverted him to his worst animalistic self.

    When we went to the vet, though, this theory was quickly discardedas was Ana’s smarty-pants med-school idea, that Fuzzy had a urinary tract infection. No, all test came back negative, and Dr. Andeer, DVM, said that in all likelihood, Fuzzy was just bored. The prescription was simple: toys, games, and more toys.

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    • andy 8:28 pm on July 26, 2004 Permalink | Reply

    • Gwynne 1:21 pm on July 28, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Ethel had a urinary tract infection last week. After $300 in vet bills, frankly I’d have rathered a “boredom” prognosis.

      Have you tried the “cat dancer”? It’s a little wire with rolled brown paper on the end. It’s $3.99 worth of genius…and you don’t really need to move your butt.

    • emidy 11:55 pm on February 7, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      She seems to be the most adorable cat and a lucky one, if i may say so, with all the “gadgets” you’ve been giving..i’m more of a dog person but i can truly relate on how much effort to put so that your pet will not make a mess in the house.

  • Ted Mann 3:55 pm on July 23, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Endorsement: TripAdvisor.com 

    Just about every aspect of planning my weddingour wedding, I mean our weddinghas been marred by Hamlet-like indecision. Portugal or Philly? Catholic communion service or Episcopal animal sacrafice? Reception at the wacky, fetuses-in-jars Mϋtter Museum or the stately gentelman’s hangout, The Racquet Club? But over the course of the last year, we’ve sorted through the various landmines and come to some kind of group-think consensus on each item. Each item, that is, except the honeymoonarguably the most important one.

    It was only when we found tripadvisor.com that things came into focus. The website’s basically a vacation research portalbut one of the best I’ve seen, hands down. Some of the key features are: links to published reviews of vacation destinations and hotels(Conde Naste Traveler, Travel and Leisure, etc.), guidebook reviews, and web comments (from the tripadvisor site and other trustworthy boards). They also combine all the reports in a funky Netflix-like matrix to generate rankings (e.g. 5 articles, 2 guidebooks, and 3 web comments = #4 hotel in area).

    Ana and I had been juggling a bunch of honeymoon options for the past six months, but Trip Advisor basically sold us on Belize within an hour on the site. We decided to split our time between the jungle and the beach, and ultimately settled on two resorts run by Francis Ford CoppolaBlancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn. Between the coral reef (2nd largest in the world, next to Australia’s), the Mayan Ruins, and the hybrid-mascot-name wildlife (howler monkeys, whale sharks, Coppola Cages), it should be every bit as cool as a scene from “Apocalypse Now.” Way more than a honeymoon! Let’s get out there!

    Okay, I’ll stop imitating the Royal Caribbean ads here. Do you have the theme music in your head yet? Can you siren call of Iggy Pop, luring you to Central America?

  • Ted Mann 10:09 am on July 22, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Maltitol: A Sweetener and a Laxative in One! 

    One of the curious recent developments in the Atkins diet craze is the overwhelming abundance of low-carb and no-carb sweets and pastries at supermarkets. lowcarb.jpgWhen I last did the diet, back in 2000, this was basically a cottage industry, with two hard-to-find brands. Now it’s a full-blown aisle in the supermarket. Just about every candy manufacturer has replicated their product in sugar-free form; all the bread makers have concocted low-carb loaves; and there are umpteen mixes and powders to make your own Atkins approved baked goods at home.

    All of this perfectly logical. Atkins is a bitch of a diet to get the hang of, and given its rising popularity, naturally there are plenty of people wanting to join the craze but not wanting to abandon their favorite foods. (After all, I’m one of these weak-willed types.) But if there’s one thing I just don’t get about all this, its the quick ascension of maltitol to the top of the artificial sweetener heap.

    You see it in just about every product on the market: from Carbolite sour patch kids, to Russell Stover sugar-free chocolates, to Atkins chocolate chip cookie mix. But, as far as I’m concerned, matitol has got to be one of the worst inventions in chemical engineering history. Say what you will about aspartame, saccharine, Splenda, and sucralose, but none of them have the unholy side effects of maltitol. Among the many that I’ve been blessed with are abdominal cramping, massive diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and general indigestion.
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    • Matt 11:59 am on July 22, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      The game is under construction!? Where’s the fun in that?

      And Maltitol doesn’t kill me in small doses, but it gets ugly in moderate amounts. I recommend avoiding sweet stuff in general, or only eat it in small, infrequent amounts. The latter works for me.

    • Matt 11:16 am on July 23, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      I just looked at your netflix history – “Chasing Liberty?” “CHASING LIBERTY!” That’s cruel and unusual. Netflix needs to let you give movies 0 stars.

    • Ted 2:37 pm on July 23, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      “Chasing Liberty” is precisely the reason I spent a whole evening setting up that star-rating thing. Just so that nobody else would be subjected to such an evil hour-and-a-half of celluloid.

    • Marty 12:00 pm on November 18, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      I can’t believe this is the only site I can find when I search for anything negative about maltitol! Surely other people have experienced similar reactions…flatulence so disgusting I can’t live with myself after eating an ice cream bar with 7g of the stuff. It took a while to weed out just what was causing this anti social reaction. Suspected it was one of the ‘fat replacers’ and tried different products one at a time. Whew. Either something died in there or it’s maltitol!! How bad? Had to burn incense all night to hide the odour from my room mate.

    • Marlyn Stewart 7:47 pm on March 13, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      This stuff has made my heart area seem to cramp along with a weird taste in my mouth. I just went through a full physical and it’s not me. I work out everyday, so all these bad side-effects are from the Think Thin bars. The company changed their formula to make the bars contain less active carbs and I end up sick…. They suck. Thanks for your info. I couldn’t figure out what was making me sick until now.

    • Marlyn Stewart 8:40 pm on March 13, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      This stuff has made my heart area seem to cramp along with a weird taste in my mouth. I just went through a full physical and it’s not me. I work out everyday, so all these bad side-effects are from the Think Thin bars. The company changed their formula to make the bars contain less active carbs and I end up sick…. They suck. Thanks for your info. I couldn’t figure out what was making me sick until now.

    • Jax 12:33 am on March 21, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for info regarding maltitol. wish I had known before I ate bag of Russel Stovers Low Carb jelly beans. total of about 50 grams of maltitol. I feel like I am dying.

    • Kate Eaton 1:35 pm on September 14, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! Good to know I’m not going crazy. Spent first day of vacation in Colorado visiting convenience store and truck stop restrooms after eating about 20 sugar-free Jelly Bellies. Didn’t make the connection to Maltitol until after eating sugar-free banana pudding at a buffet restaurant earlier this week and spending next 24 hours with horrendous diarrhea and cramping. Thanks for the info.

    • thorgal 11:49 am on February 5, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      juste ate 50g of chocolate containing some maltitol as a sweetener. Didn’t know about it before and wanted to be informed about it. I read good stuff, but what you say here must be put in the “cons” category I guess. Now, after having read you, I am expecting some cramps (I am not feeling bad right now). I will report anything wrong if it happens so. SInce it is my first time with maltitol (by accident I must say, I am not following any special diet), it should have a striking effect 😉

    • thorgal 2:08 pm on February 5, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      ok, I can confirm … start farting some hell of a fart …

    • Adam 1:30 pm on February 12, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      Once in awhile i buy a pack of Redvines which have 68g of maltitol per pack. I havent experienced any seriously bad side effect unless i eat at least half a pack at once.

    • Mary 11:24 am on February 18, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      This stuff robbed me of 8 hours of my life. I was doubled over in pain. YIKES

    • Karla 6:06 pm on March 10, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      OH MY GOSH…

      Thank you for this article! This has totally pieced the puzzle together for me. This morning I ate a half a pack of Red Vines. I did not at all get the laxative effect. Instead I got a VERY gurgly stomach, out-of-control gas, a stomach that bloated to the size of a watermelon (yes… my students were actually asking me if I was pregnant!!!), painful cramping, chills, and the need to vomit (but I could not get that out). It was HORRIBLE! It lasted for about 6 hours. I will always check for sugar alcohols now and will NEVER eat Red Vines again!


    • My Poor Girlfreind 4:29 am on March 11, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      At approximately 10:00pm my girlfreind and I got some candy from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The chocolate said sugar free on the tabs. I asked the guy behind the counter what substitute they use and he said malitol. Then he gave us a breif disclaimer not to each too much or diarrhea may follow. Right now I am fine but my girlf friend had the worst gas. She ate a toffee crunch and half a peanut butter bucket. She is in the bathroom with her reading material and has not come out for the past hour. After reading the feedback from everyone, I am assuming she wont be comming out for another 5-7 hours. Thank you for the info. Atleast we know it is not the Indian food!

    • Worth It 2:32 pm on March 14, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      This morning i had about 10 sugar-free peppermint patties and just about 2 hours later the gurgling started. I’ve had to get to the bathroom about once every 10-20 minutes for the past 2 hours but havn’t had any pain or cramping – just a lot of gurgling and, pardon the graphic description, liquid poo. Its not diahrrea – its clear like water. This stuff is freakin crazy! Whatever – the peppermint patties were good and im on my period and cant have the sugar, so the trips to the bathroom are worth it – and i feel like im cleansing my bowels.

    • Poor Wife 11:36 pm on March 15, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      Maltitol has robbed me of my wife for 5 hours so far and not showing any signs of releasing her from the toilet jail yet. She was sucked into the terrorist plot by good tasting sugar free candy. She is proclaiming from her thrown that the warning should read :**Caution may cause Gremlins to form and try to escape from their home**: The pain is almost unbearable she stated. Everytime she tries to leave her cell she can’t because the cramping hits and the diarea. This stuff should be banned from the market.

    • The Optimist 1:20 pm on March 16, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      Is there anything (fruit, veggies, crackers??) that you can eat when eating something with maltitol that will reduce/eliminate the smelly side affect?
      I just bought 100 bars of Balance nutrition bars from eBay that has 19g of “sugar alcohol”. Looking at the ingredients reveals that its maltitol syrup.
      I like the taste and the convenience (not to mention the vitamins and protein).
      What about claims that your gut gets used to using maltitol? Anybody become “immune”. How long did it take?
      Eternal Optimist

    • Sally Suffered Too! 2:10 pm on March 21, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      A “friend” bought me a box of sugar free mixed flavour chocolate truffles for my birthday recently. These it transpires had Maltitol as the main ingredient.

      Being a real choccy addict and knowing they were sugar free I greedily scoffed half the box whilst watching a DVD at home. Lucky I was home!

      Just before the end of the film (romantic climax) my stomach started to gurgle and cramp with the most awful gas! You really don’t want to know what followed, nor the indignity I suffered. Suffice to say I’m very pleased that I was at home and alone. If not, then severe embarrassment would have been suffered.

      Never again!

    • Crampy I mean Carole 2:18 pm on April 5, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      I ate some Russell Stover sugar free jelly beans – it had to be the most excrutiating pain I have ever experienced! I thought I was going to have to go to the nearest E.R. I had the gurgling, cramping in my chest – the worst part is that I only ate about 10 jelly beans – I think I would have died if I would have eaten more than that! This stuff is poison!

    • mynyadventure 7:06 pm on June 5, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      Oh my gosh! A well-meaning co-worker brought me a bag of fat-free, sugar free candy from a candy store, and although I don’t have the ingredient list, I can tell you this stuff must have Malitol in it! I have never heard such sounds from my digestive tract! I’m in New York City, and it’s time for me to leave work, but I’m afraid to get on the subway for fear of my offensive odors! I have a funky taste in my mouth too. The irony in this is… i would eat this stuff for the purpose of losing, or not gaining weight, but on a normal day, I would also be heading to the gym right now – but I CAN’T go to the gym because of effects of the sugar-free candy! So, a cautionary tale for those of you choosing Malitol -laden candy for weight control … NOT a good trade-off!

    • Weezie 2:23 pm on June 15, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      Optimist, sorry…it just gets worse. I have had many nasty bouts with Maltitol, each time hoping I could go the sugar-free way and live. Not so! This last time, it was some umimpressive sugarr-free cookies that took me down. It’s been two weeks! That’s a high price to pay for 10 minutes of stuffing your face. Yeah, I’m not kidding. I’ve had diarrhea for two weeks and counting. The violence of this attack and the longevity of it suggest that further indulgence could kill me. Do you know what two weeks of diarrhea does to a person? I’ve been on clear liquids for two days and it still hasn’t stopped. I can’t make it to bathroom in time..is that graphic enough? And no one to be mad at except myself. That sucks! You only get my sensitive and more reactive. That’s my experience. It’s a poison!!!

    • wildsissy 5:07 pm on June 19, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      Yeah, I had the same gremilin effect as well. I had 10 sugar free Jelly Belly’s on Sat night read the warning and waited 24 hours. Had no effects so finished off the 2 serving bag (probably about 50 more beans) and within the next couple hours was in major pain. Unfortunately I was at my husband grandparents house, an hour drive from home that wound up taking an hour and half because I had to stop so many times. I was describing my experience as the scene in Dumb and Dumber when the guy gives the other guy a laxative and he BLOWS up the girls “broken bathroom”. The sounds were very similar, it was really bad.

    • Nicole 8:58 pm on June 19, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      Over 24 hours. The pain only ended when I took Immodium. Sugar Free Jelly Belly’s: they were the first food I ate that day (and the last), so at least I figured it out before eating another package. Stomach making demonic noises, bloated out to —> there, and at the toilet every 20 minutes. The sound effects were horrific. I had to leave class 6 times in 3 hours, and am now confined to my apt.
      Needless to say, I am NEVER taking that devil substance again. I am also no longer going to make fun of scenes in movies with diarrhea, or laugh at anti-diarrheal commercials: it is a pain, not funny at all, that I wish on nobody.
      Immodium is working wonders, and also drinking water all day.

    • spriggy 1:56 am on July 16, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      I gave my boss some of the Russell Stover jelly beans and she spent the entire evening in the bathroom. I hadn’t associated maltitol with the symptoms until then. So I’ve been very careful to read the ingredients on sugar free candy, cookies and ice cream since then. However, I was fooled by some that showed they were sweetened with Splenda on the front of the package (such as the Russell Stove mint patties). When the volcanic reaction began, I went back to the small print and found that, sure enough, maltitol was also one of the ingredients. I feel like they purposely tricked me my putting Splenda on the front of the package. I don’t know if it builds up in your system, but I feel like I’m more sensitive to its effects now than I was the first few times I used it.

    • John 6:54 pm on November 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Well it’s years late, but I’ve had the same effect as Weezie. Bought these Voortman sugar free cookies, ate 8/10 of them within the night, and ended up having diarrhea for the next couple weeks. After the first few days, it got better, but it was loose stool for over two weeks. Read the ingredients: Maltitol, Sorbitol & Something else. I’d avoid these cookies like the black plague!

    • Elva Jean 11:14 am on July 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Recently tried a thinkThin Protein Bar, thinking that they might make for a good snack to have on hand while traveling. I’m usually a pro at reading labels due to my issues with non-nutritive sweeteners. This bar was free of the usual suspects (aspartame, sucralose) but did contain maltitol (11g in the bar I tried), which I somehow overlooked. Thankfully my reaction to consuming sugar alcohols isn’t violent (no diarrhea or vomiting) but I did have a fair amount of cramping and gas. I will not be trying these bars again and will certainly be more diligent when reading labels.

  • Ted Mann 12:10 am on July 19, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Hair Watch: NPR Weighs In 

    I don’t know how I missed this one! On July 13’s Talk of the Nation, there was a fabulous episode called “The Politics of Hair,” with guest Peter Sagal, the follicly-challenged host of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me. Most of the discussion was from the perspective of the bald voterhow he must weigh the Sophie’s choice of having to vote for one full head of hair or another. Seeing as how the chance of people actually listening to the RealAudio of the episode is slim, I’ll recap the high points in the extended entry, below. Among the issues tackled: How did Ike get elected with his barren scalp? Is Cheney the bald man’s candidate? The fake baldness of Jesse Ventura. And the real tragedy of Jack Ryan.
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  • Ted Mann 3:46 pm on July 18, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Hair Watch: The Wussy Part 

    One of the best articles about hair politics I’ve read was a New Yorker Talk of the Town piece, “Al Gore’s Hair Problem,” which came out shortly after the 2000 election. In short, the article claimed that men who part their hair on the right are seen as wussies”right-brain, guy-sensitive, talkative, and soft.” A left sided part, on the other hand, makes a man appear “left-brain, guy-forceful, logical, and gruff.” In other words, “Right part, zero; left part, hero.” Therefore, the article posits, Gore lost the election because he parts his hair on the right, while Bush is a strong, alfa-male left-sider. Similarly, Clinton, a lefty, was widely popular, and Carter, a righty while in office, only began to rehabilitate his legacy when switched his part to the left in 1979.

    So, what does this mean for the current election? Kerry and Bush both part on the lefta wash. Cheney also favors the left, in as much as he can part that tiny tuft of gray in the back. Edwards, alas, parts on the rightwhich may negate whatever advantage he has over Cue Ball Cheney. One possible solution, as mentioned in the article, is a True Mirror, which produces an actual, not a flipped, image of anyone who looks into it. If only these mirrors didn’t cost $200 a pop, I’d buy one for Edwards myself.

    Come to think of it, I could use one, too. This wussy right-side part that I’ve been sportin’ for 20-odd years has always seemed so boss (in my misleading, un-true mirrors). But clearly, upon re-reading this story, I realize how much it’s been holding me back.

    Click “continue reading” to see the New Yorker story, below.
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    • Matt 11:45 am on July 22, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      There’s a true mirror in the lobby of the theater where The Royal We is performing these days, and it is really disconcerting. You look in the mirror and think, “hey, that freak looks almost exactly like me!”

  • Ted Mann 3:59 pm on July 16, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    How to Cure Sweating 

    Over the July 4th weekend, I leaned an ugly truth about myself. In the course of walking about West Philly with my brother’s family, I realized how disgusting my sweat truly is. Thanks to massive salt stains circling my man tits and underarms, I now see that, with three months until the wedding, drastic measures are necessary. Surgery, as I’ll explain below, might be an option.

    On the recommendation of my friends Pete and Kim, I downloaded the audiobook of Dr. Atul Gawande’s Complications last month, and have been listening to it on my iPod ever since. Gawande is one of the New Yorker’s two nonpareil medical correspondents (the other being Dr. Jerome Groopman), and the book is basically a collection of his essays from the magazinemost of which are drawn from his days as a medical resident. You get a peek into gastric bypass operations, Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) conferences, and the ever-so-pleasant discovery of Necrotizing Fasciitis (aka “flesh eating bacteria”) in a 23-year-old woman. But what fascinated me most was the story of a female TV news anchor who had a case of chronic blushing. Because the embarrassing redness was interfering with her career, she sought out an experimental Swedish surgery to sever the nerve that controls facial blushing. But, as luck would have it, cutting this fiber had an unintended, if convenient, side effect. It eliminated almost all of her upper body sweating!

    (You can read the New Yorker incarnation of this particular story, “Crimson Tide,” here. Definitely the best part of the book, in my opinion.)
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    • Gabe 2:10 pm on July 17, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Ted, I never thought I’d say this, but: please go back to talking about the presidential candidates’ hair.

    • Ted 3:52 pm on July 18, 2004 Permalink | Reply

    • andy 9:00 am on July 21, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Uhh, before you go down that road, try some botox.


    • Carole 11:23 pm on August 31, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      This “experimental Swedish surgery” that is mentioned in the article has been stopped in Sweden over a year ago. Websites are going up from many countries around the world trying to warn people of the potential severe side effects. I hope you have not had the surgery yet because although your hands may be dry at your wedding, you risk having your groin and lower body from the nipple line down soaked in sweat.


  • Ted Mann 1:22 am on July 15, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Rodents of Unusual Size 

    It’s been three years since I returned to Philly, but I still haven’t gotten used to this city’s inexplicable abundance of ‘possums. When Ana and I were living in the Art Museum area, the critters would routinely traverse the concrete wall in our backyard. It was always during our barbeques that one of the monsters (which bear a striking resemblance to the ROUSRodents of Unusual Sizefrom the Princess Bride) would trot along, oblivious to our company. “Oh, don’t mind him,” we’d say, as guests recoiled in fear and disgust. “He’s just passing through.”

    When we moved to West Philly last year, I figured we’d moved out of ‘possum territory. I figured wrong. According to Penn’s pest management specialist, the beasts are “very native to West Philadelphia.” And the Inquirer says they’re completely harmless: “Opossums rarely carry rabies, they hardly ever knock over garbage cans, they love to eat rodents and insects, and they are not aggressive (when threatened, they just play possum). So why would a man chase a nursing opossum into a neighbor’s yard on Mother’s Day, beating it with a pipe, and leave it for dead with 10 tiny babies in its pouch?”

    Um, I can think of at least on reason. When you go onto the porch at 1am to have a smokey treat, there’s nothing more freaky than having those evil green eyes staring down at you from a tree limb overheard.

    Petey the Clark Park 'Possum
    Petey, one of the many ‘possums that have been kind enough to grace our front porch.

    After three years of being terrorized, I finally took it upon myself to visit the ‘Possum Network, a robust site filled with information on possums in poetry, literature, and music. It hasn’t exactly made me a fan, but it’s nice to know that, if nothing else, I can sing away my blues with “Possum, the Latest Craze”, by G.A. Scofield.
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