Vivian Darkbloom at PA’s Lounge

Last night bookdwarf was out at a bachelorette party so I went over to PA’s Lounge to see a couple bands. I don’t get over there much but when I do, I kick myself for not going more often. It’s got an atmosphere that’s been ably described as “VFW Hall” — complete with sassy bartender who insists on showing “The Notebook” on one TV to balance out the baseball on the other, and a crusty old guy who’s been there drinking away his pension check since midafternoon, repeating himself and clumsily trying to chat with the opening band members. No attitude at all. I like that kind of vibe.

And I definitely like $3 generic beer.

The event was billed as a CD release party for The Sunsets Quick, and they were pretty good. The first band, Forsythe, have a lead singer who sounds like Cat Power, and a great drummer. Plus, they actually use a marimba for a few songs, instead of just setting the synth to marimba mode. That’s pretty nifty.

The highlight, though, was the middle of the three performers, Vivian Darkbloom. Their track “Cold War,” if there were any justice in the music biz, would be on heavy rotation. Lines like “I loved our cold war, we never had to mean what we said, we spoke like our governments” and “you list me as a friend, but it’s complicated, I guess the whole world knows now” are just brilliantly clever. And then there’s the fact that the lead has attached a Wii remote to his guitar, and wired it in some way so as to have the motion sensor affect the tones coming out of the instrument.

Who Knew Rabies Would Be Such A Hot Topic?

I found a bat in my home last week, and accidentally touched it. That was the biggest thing that happened on this blog ever: Nine comments so far, and only two from me! One guy has been encouraging me to seek medical attention in case the bat I touched had rabies, and it scratched me without me knowing it, and the scratch gave me rabies. Hey, MA residents are required to have insurance, so why not use it?

Yes, I have insurance. But to be honest, I’m so sick of dealing with them that I would rather die of rabies than fight with them over a hospital visit. I know that’s incredibly stupid, and that it’s giving in to the primary way insurance companies reduce costs. (They make it too much of a hassle to deal with the medical establishment, so people skip care they think might not be absolutely necessary. Some people die because they make uninformed decisions and defer necessary care, but in aggregate it saves a few bucks for the insurance companies. Sick and evil, but economically logical.)

I don’t want to go into my own medical problems because they’re pretty minor. And yes, I’m lucky to have insurance at all, and incredibly lucky to be able to afford the occasional surprise on the bill. Nonetheless, I’m really determined not to go to the doctor again this year, and I’ve spent all I care to on medicine this year, and if that means I get rabies and die, fine. At least then someone else will have to deal with the insurance paperwork.

Autism/Vaccination link was a scam

The story fits too easily into the trope of unscrupulous trial lawyers, but it looks like the researcher who made the autism/vaccination claims was paid big bucks by lawyers who hoped to cash out on lawsuits.

Now, the whole conspiracy theory about vaccines causing autism is surrounded by melodramatic wailing and junk science, but on the other hand it’s awfully hard to give complete faith to the paternalism of the medical establishment.

That won’t be the last we hear of this story, or of others like it.

Hope in Dope

Mmmm, EPO-licious:

To this day, she blames Armstrong for what she said was pressure on teammates to use drugs. Her husband, she said, “didn’t use EPO for himself, because as a domestique, he was never going to win that race.”

“It was for Lance,” she said.

Liquids, gels, and aerosols on a plane

Last week I was sitting around with some people in a bar in San Francsico and we were trying to figure out the TSA’s regulations on things on planes.

Snakes are OK, as we know. Solid foods are OK. Laptops are OK, except Dell and Apple laptops on Quantas and Virgin (this because of the Sony batteries that some, but not all, models use).

But what about sort of intermediate things? What about gummi worms or avant-garde culinary foams? I can’t take a can of shaving cream with me, but could I squirt it into a bag and take that? What about oranges? If I take an orange into the screening area, and then juice it, does it suddenly become prohibited? It’s manifestly the same thing, but it’s changed phase to a prohibited phase. Same with ice, really. Since solids are OK but liquids are not, could I bring a bottle of ice onto the plane and let it melt so I could drink it? Would an icee or slurpee be acceptable, or does that count as a liquid?

Crucial issues here, folks.