Monday, February 06, 2006

And the winner is......YOU!!

In the latest issue of Chance magazine.....wait, you forgot to pick up Chance this month? Chance, the magazine devoted to statistics and all things Gaussian?? Errrr.....I bet your face is red right now! Chance??!

ANYHOW, Oscar fever is afoot and temperatures are rising, at least in the elite ranks of Chance magazine. Chance (I will assume you have said magazine at hand now) published a statistical analysis that predicts Oscar winners! With data culled from the show's entire history, Iain Pardoe from the University of E! Entertainment uses a 'discrete-choice model' to predict past and future winners. The results are lame: only 69% accuracy. And I really doubt that Best Fim Editing will go to Star Jones. The problem, I beleive, is that Pardoe uses only two predictors for his analysis: previous Academy Award nominations and current Golden Globe wins. This might explain his less-than- awesome predictive powers (God has at least an overall prediction accuracy of 80%).

There are, of course, other methods of Oscar devination. The Carpetbagger's method employs Ven diagrams and the fabulous!-ness of the nominated role (gay, lesbain, nancy boys, post-ops, etc) and is notable for its use of circles. I prefer, alternatively, to gauge the level of retardation. Think I am being...ummm...retarded? I respectfully and tastefully submit to you previous winners/nominees:

Dustin Hoffman -- Rain Man
Joan Cusack -- Working Girl (for actor, not role)
Leonardo DiCaprio -- What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Tom Hanks -- Forrest Gump
Jodie Foster -- Nell
Brad Pitt -- 12 Monkeys
Mira Sorvino -- Mighty Aphrodite
Billy Bob Thornton -- Sling Blade
Sean Penn -- I Am Sam
Jamie Foxx -- Ray (R. Charles was way too happy)


Still going to place your money with 69% boy? I warned you! Come Oscar-time, don't come running to me all teary-eyed and bicycle helmeted!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The New Pusher-Man: Gwen Ifill

PBS demonstrated the other nite that there are no irrefutible arguments, no apparent truths to which no sane person can legitimitely object. I disagree. Child molestation is never wholesome. Green always means go, unless it means unstable angina. The earth was created 6,000 years ago, and so forth.

"Au contraire!", retorts Gwen Ifill.

Her recent NewsHour segment examined the gee-duh question, "Should drug companies give doctors gifts?" Apparently there is a burning debate. Thinking the producers must have shored up some drunk behind the studio to defend this practice, it was with shock (and, in hindsight, expectation) that I later learned that the guest, Daniel Troy, used to be Chief Council for the FDA under President Bush.





GWEN IFILL: What if your patient is low income elderly and as often happens, the doctor provides some of these samples as a way of taking the burden of the cost of prescription drugs --





DR. DAVID BLUMENTHAL: I think it would be terrific if pharmaceutical companies donated the value of their prescription samples to physicians and to institutions...to purchase the indicated medications; I think that would be terrific...we're not just talking about pens and pads of paper. We're talking about meals that are usually at the best restaurants in town. I don't have to get a luxurious meal in order to learn about the medicines I ought to prescribe. We're talking about substantial honoraria that are often provided repetitively to opinion leaders over time, and we're talking about consulting relationships...I don't think we're just talking about things that everyone would consider trivial.




GWEN IFILL: And I might add, Mr. Troy, we're also talking about medical devices as well. Say you're a doctor who replaces knees or replaces hips, and you have a relationship with the company that makes the knee replacement or the hip replacement. Aren't you more likely -- and why would the patients ever know to use that particular perhaps more expensive item?




DANIEL TROY: Many of the issues that have been raised here, again, have been dealt with...The meals especially it's not supposed to be at the NICEST restaurant in town. I think this is a problem that may have existed in the '90s and the '80s but it is not a current issue...to say if a person who's an expert...has any kind of relationship with the drug company, they can no longer educate doctors about this, there would be a HUGE SUCKING SOUND of expertise flowing away from the ability to inform patients about drugs and needed treatments.





ROSS PEROT: You are a douche.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pass the Lime Rickey

"Who wants to live forever?"
-Brian May, from Queen

"Me."
-Brian Tucker, from Queens

Have you ever wondered why homo sapiens live so long? In relation to other animals our size, it is unexpected. Even if other apes are taken by comparison, say chimps or gorillas or Scarlett Johansson, maximum life spans reach, at most, into the 50's.

The answer may shock you. OK...interest you? What about provoke mild intrigue?? Slow the glazing of the eyes??? The answer is... sitting right next to you, reclined and in decline, smelling of funk and balking at The Bold and the Beautiful. That's right, ol' wrinkle head.

Evolutionary theorists reference the 'Grandmother Effect' when discussing human longevity. The Grandmother Effect attributes the delay of human mortality to post-reproductive nurturing. The idea is that while ma is busy spitting 'em out, grandma helps take care of them, feeding them grapes and whatnot (see figure 1). Consequently, the fitness of the children would increase and, therefore, make for better contenders in this crazy ol' evolutionary world of ours. This theory would also seek to explain the occurence of menopause, which is rare in the animal kingdom (guppies, notwithstanding), and why Joan Rivers looks so fabulous (see figure 2).




Figure 2

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pet Care Tip #001- Your Cat and the Glad Hand

I have had my cat for almost two years now. I guess I love her. I mean, I would be really sad if she died, you know? I make sure she is fed everyday and I lovingly stroke her kitty fur. And I play games with her, ridiculous games, involving large mouse costumes and animatronic tails. Sometimes I pretend I am her Purina and let her feast on my face. Silly stuff like that...

But now our bond is being tested. Its her anal sacs, you see. They are clogged and need sweet release. Let me explain...

Dogs and cats have around their assholes these things charmingly referred to as "anal sacs" (see figures). Upon pooping, these sacs "express" their contents, a thick and smelly fluid, which serves to mark their territory. Domestic animals frequently have problems because commercial animal food yields softer loads than those typically experienced in the wild. But the sacs need more pressure to release! Sometimes they get clogged resulting in strange ass-scooting behaivor. Oh, what am I trying to say? To make a long story short, I need to finger my cat until the rank juices spill forth.

Tonite is the fateful night. Pray for me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

OH, THE HORROR!

I was somewhat taken aback that Troma recently released a 25th Anniversary Edition of the 1980 horror movie, The Children. Why? Cause this movie is putred. I understand the archival utility of digitizing films of the past, but really. REALLY. Was such a loving homage necessary? "Behind-the-scenes"? "Interviews"? "Original Theatrical Art"? "More"?!


I remember really wanting to see this movie. The premise was too perfect: A busload of children drive unknowningly through a nuclear fall-out. Ostensibly, the kids are unscathed. EXCEPT now they are sorta goth and have really long black fingernails. And what else....oh, yeah, if they hug you, you explode into flames. Whats more, to stop them, you have to chop off their hands.

With the exception of a couple of transcedent moments (the undelicately-handled butchering of little kids, etc), the film falls flat. Completely and surpsrisingly boring given such a high and promising concept.

Not that Troma is known for their thoughtful collection of films, but if the Criterion Collection can regurgitate elaborate versions of every Wes Anderson film, I do not see the harm in re-releasing some of these shitty (shitty as in good) classics:

Blood Diner (1987): Two brothers open a vegan diner in Los Angeles. It becomes really successful, in part from their use of "secret" ingredients. The secret ingredients are ground-up human sacrifices, therein creating ironic tension in the film. I should mention that the brothers worship a goddess, Shitar, whom they try to resurrect through the stitching together of virgin body-parts (hence all the excess ground chuck). I wont give any more away in fear of revealing too many of the subtle nuances.







Humongous (1990): Jason likes this movie so I figured I would include it. I just like the title. It makes me blush.












Night of the Creeps (1986): A comedic classic. Alien slugs that gestate within a bunch of college students and turns them into zombies. Hilarity ensues. Great use of a cripple as comic relief.











The Pit (1981): I cannot say enough about this film. Supposedly the main character, Jamie, is an autistic child, but that really isn't true. He is autistic in the sense that Al Gore is autistic. He is very intense and strangely earnest about everything. ANYWAYS, he happens upon a pit in the woods near his house. Incidently this pit is filled with pre-historic beasts that are trapped at the bottom. Jamie takes it upon himself to feed these creatures (which of course an autistic kid would NEVER do) first candy bars and then deli meat and finally people he doesnt really care for. And there are MANY people he doesnt care for. That bully in school? Thrown into the pit. What about that girl who calls him a "funny person"?? The pit. And that granny in the wheelchair? Do I really need to tell you?