Friday, September 25, 2009

Pastrami Sandwich

I read this short article in today's New York Times:
In a debate over an amendment that would have extracted billions of dollars from major drug manufacturers, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, decided Thursday to share his personal experience in fighting high cholesterol.
Mr. Schumer said his doctor had directed him to take Lipitor, which is manufactured by Pfizer, and then, after his cholesterol levels had dropped, suggested that he try a less expensive, generic medication instead. But he switched back after his cholesterol levels went back up. “I’m taking Lipitor even though it’s more expensive,” Mr. Schumer said.
Mr. Schumer also hastened to add that Pfizer has its headquarters in New York -– a local shop, in other words.
That prompted Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, to suggest that Mr. Schumer try a more natural remedy: red yeast rice. “I’ll bring the pills for you tomorrow,” he told Mr. Schumer.
Red yeast rice contains cholesterol-lowering compounds, called monacolins, and has been a dietary staple in China for more than 1,000 years. It is made from yeast, grown on rice, and is the ingredient used to give the popular dish Peking duck its trademark red tint.
Presumably, Mr. Grassley who hails from a state famous for corn, had no geographic interest in promoting a rice product. (The federal Food and Drug Administration has also banned some versions of red yeast rice supplements because of concerns that they can cause kidney and muscle problems).
The exchange between Mr. Schumer and Mr. Grassley inspired Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, who was the sponsor of the amendment under debate, to make a pitch for his own locally grown remedy for high cholesterol. “Grapefruit might do the same thing for you,” Mr. Nelson said.
“How about a pastrami sandwich?” Mr.Schumer replied. “How would that do?”
It’s unclear if any senators will be changing their breakfast habits, but Mr. Nelson’s other pitch, for his amendment, failed by a vote of 13 to 10.
I have been on cholesterol medication for about ten years. Recently my blood cholesterol spiked up, and my doctor was concerned that I wasn't taking my medication, in this case Zocor, made by Merck. It turns out that I had been taking a generic version, which was obviously not as effective, so he doubled my dose, which brought my cholesterol levels down. I was taking the generic because my Health Insurance Company wouldn't pay for Zocor, but would pay for a crappy weakened generic. 

Here's my opinion on pastrami sandwiches: how about instead of me taking 80mg of shitty simvastin daily, Big Pharma and the Health Insurance Companies go fuck themselves, along with Senators like Chuck Grassley. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I love my kids. Having two teenagers has many challenges and rewards. One of the great rewards, for me, is being exposed to a lot of new music. Both my kids are musical- they play music and listen to music all the time.
I've always tried to keep up with the newest trends in pop/rock/indie music, even at my ripening old age. Now I have a built in music recommendation machine, in my kids. This last year they have introduced me to the amazing Bay-area (originally form Cincinnati) based Why? Why?'s music defies description: folk/punk/hip-hop/confessional/indie/jazz, it's eminently listenable, with beautiful poetic lyrics and poppy hooks. I haven't seen Why? live, but they are all muti-instrumentalists, and the two Wolf brothers share drumming duties by physically splitting up the drum-kit and playing it while playing keyboards, bass and vibraphone. They are truly a band worth seeking out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Usual Suspects

A lot of the photos here are taken on my daily commute, so I'll often pass by places and objects that I've already shot. As I walk by,  the scenes look like clues, and I feel like a detective hunting down my subconscious.

It reminds me of the final scene in The Usual Suspects, when the cop realizes that Verbal Kint has made up his entire story by looking at the objects in the office where he is being questioned.