Archive for December, 2006|Monthly archive page

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our loyal readers…

In Uncategorized on 12/31/2006 at 9:57 pm

…from all of us crazy gals (and Yass) at brainwashcafe. wishing you the very best of all YEARS ahead !~)))

do we need to know this…

In dr. joe on 12/31/2006 at 4:32 pm

Fraudulent Orange Juice :

Oh great. Just in time for the New Year of wonderful tidings comes this tidbit. OJ Simpson may not be the only bad OJ in town. It seems that fierce competition among the Juice Manufacturers is not engendering lower prices, but fake Orange Juice. nothing sacred.. Midst of confusion and how to differentiate the fake from real, here’s the definitive word on the subject from mcGill’s very own Dr. Joe;

“…The orange juice market is huge. Unfortunately, some processors try to cut corners by extending the juice with sugar, pulp wash and water; But the ruse can be detected by some clever science. Oxygen in nature occurs as two possible isotopes, O-16 and O-18, which differ slightly in mass. The natural abundance of O-18 is only about 0.2%, but it is more abundant in water in growing plants because the heavier isotope is less likely to evaporate. So a juice diluted with water from non-biological sources will have a different isotope distribution and this can be detected by an instrument called a mass spectrometer. The authorities have already used this method to put the squeeze on some OJ fraud artists.” (umm..right. just drop in to our brainwashcafe for your very own mass spectrometer available while quantities last;)

thanks doc 🙂

Joe Schwarcz is the director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. He is well known for his entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the Science of Aging to the Chemistry of Love. He has won numerous awards for education and for interpreting science for the public and is the only non-American to ever be honoured with the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award. He enjoys cooking, is a great fan of Sherlock Holmes and has been known to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

reasons to live in New York… # 11

In reasons to live in NYC on 12/28/2006 at 7:31 pm

Bed Bugs & Beyond or
Does Donald Trump know about this?
An outbreak of paranoia sweeps New York
(warning; this is very long…)

by Mara Altman, Village Voice

A woman in her mid-fifties walks through Jeff Eisenberg’s office door. She’s got a blond bob and cherry lipstick on. She’s out of breath; hyperventilating might be the better word for the way she’s respiring. Her mouth hangs slightly open, her face contorted in panic. She extracts two Ziploc sandwich bags hidden in the pocket of her black wool coat. She believes the media predictions of nightmarish bloodsucking creatures taking over New York City might be coming true in her bedsheets. She fumbles and trembles as she lays the contents on the desk of her neighborhood exterminator.
“These two black things,” she says, pointing. “See? Are they . . . are they . . . ?”

Eisenberg whips out a loupe, a tool of his trade, magnifying the tiny dots to eight times their size. An uneasy silence follows. She bites her lower lip in anticipation of his verdict. “Well, this one’s a piece of dry skin,” Eisenberg says, at last. She exhales at this news. He nudges the other fleck. She tenses again. “And this one,” he rules, “this is a carpet beetle.”

Her eyes roll back as she looks toward the dingy ceiling of Eisenberg’s Upper West Side office, the world headquarters of Pest Away. She raises her arms above her head and shakes them in exultation, as though she has completed a marathon. Her knees are weak at the wonderful news. She doesn’t have the scourge. She won’t have to bag all her possessions or be shunned by all her friends.

“They’re not bedbugs?” she asks, to be reminded of her good fortune, and presses her hands to her chest. “Thank God!” Eisenberg’s three-room office is cluttered with papers and canisters of chemicals. Books like Six-Legged Sex: The Erotic Lives of Bugs and The Handbook of Pest Control—the leather-bound bible of bug killing—line the shelves. Tacked-up receipts and yet-to-be-returned phone messages take the place of wallpaper, blanketing the area. Eisenberg, with a round face and round wire-rim glasses, settles back into his rolling chair as the woman—who refuses to be named, for fear that bedbugs may be reading this article and jotting down names—goes out the door.

After she leaves, Eisenberg explains her want for anonymity to me another way: You don’t talk about your bedbug problem, or possibility thereof, for the same reason you don’t go to a singles bar and say, “I have gonorrhea, want to buy me a drink?” In a city where people already depend on Ambien for a good night’s sleep, the thought of bedbugs has wreaked havoc on circadian rhythms from homeless shelters to $2 million loft apartments. The thought of them is making people itch—not the bedbugs themselves, whose numbers don’t even quite live up to the media hype. What has yet to be quantified—but what has become an urban infestation of its own—is the paranoia that the bedbug craze has produced. It turns out, perhaps no surprise in a city as neurotically obsessed as New York, that something as small as a bedbug can grow colossal in the minds of millions.

The stigma alone is enough to make hardened city dwellers cringe and cry on Eisenberg’s shoulder. He begins each office visit by walking new clients over to a sliver of mirror around the corner from his desk. “Repeat after me,” he says as he forces the victims to study their reflection. “I’m not a dirty person.” Then he offers them a shot of scotch from a bottle he keeps in his filing cabinet. It’s an equal-opportunity bug, he explains. The bugs find a 40-year-old pediatric neurosurgeon on the Lower East Side equally appetizing as a 27-year-old comedian in midtown. In the world of bedbugs, a big-time entrepreneur on the Upper East Side has nothing on a twentysomething unemployed actor. A successful movie director on the Upper West Side shares equal ground with a 22-year-old starving grad student. All the bugs are looking for is a drop of blood, and each of us has about five liters. In a city of 8 million, that’s 10,566,882 gallons of bedbug food. Is it any wonder we’re terrified?


A bedbug—more formally referred to as a Cimex lectularius—at its biggest is smaller than a watermelon seed and is the thickness of a credit card. Though their bites don’t bring disease and we, outsize mammals that we are, could squash them using our thumbs, bedbugs have transformed the lives of thousands, if not millions, and not at all for the better—as would easily admit the victims, who spend much of their time spreading noxious chemicals on all their belongings and sporadically checking in with the Bedbugger blog to see if a new cure has been posted. Even the youngest of our species, accustomed to getting a good deal by furnishing their homes with free street-side wares, have given the practice a second thought.

Getting rid of bedbugs is quite a fight, but the fear that comes along with an infestation has grown even harder to exterminate. No spray exists to eradicate paranoia; no home-visit fee has yet been tailored to quell anxieties. The Yahoo Bedbug Support Group had 27 postings for the month of February; for October—only eight months later—the number went up by 55 times, to 1,494 postings. Out of Eisenberg’s 100 calls a day, at least 15 percent are wrongly self-diagnosed rashes or lint balls. Carmen Boon, the spokesperson for New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, reports that of 4,638 calls about bedbugs in fiscal year 2006, about a quarter—only 1,195—of those, upon inspection, were actual infestations. That’s up from two complaints in 2002. That’s an increase of 231,800 percent (not to mention a 25,000 percent increase in bedbug articles in newspapers and magazines). Fiscal year 2007’s count has already gotten off to a good start, Boon says. There were 2,133 complaints within the first three months, which resulted in 546 violations.

About a week ago, I met with a 58-year-old recovering bedbug sufferer from Long Island. Since April, a mere seven months ago, when the first bite appeared on her upper-left breast, her life has turned upside down. Or more accurately, she has turned her own life upside down in search of her elusive tormentor. Her new obsession—not ever getting bedbugs again—consumes all her time. Everything else—small matters like work, friends, and family—has been set aside. She spoke on the agreement that her name would be withheld. Let’s call her Diane, because remember, the bedbugs are taking notes.

She’s Caucasian and has light-brown hair and designer glasses. She walked into the Dunkin’ Donuts, the one just off the Hicksville LIRR stop, to meet me. She wouldn’t allow me to enter her home; any new person poses a threat and could lead to a new infestation. She yammered on her mobile phone as she got a Dunkin’ employee to swab the table and chair I had picked with a wet rag.

“You can never be too careful,” she said as the young man finished removing all traces of bedbugs from my seat. She sat down and continued talking into the phone.

“At least when you have cancer you’re dealing with doctors who are educated,” she said, “and not predatory, lowlife, uneducated exterminators.”

She was speaking to another bedbug sufferer—Bugz in the Hood is his member name on the blog, but we’ll get to him later. He’s someone in the middle of an infestation, whereas Diane has gone five months—closely monitoring each square inch of her epidermis—without detecting a bite. She was coaching him about the extermination process. Bedbug blog members do that for one another; it’s part of the experience.

After hanging up, she digs in her bag and pulls out a little brown vial. She pops a pill in her mouth and swallows. “See what they’ve done to me?” she says. “I never had to take anxiety medication before.”

Diane lived for 28 years in Melville, Long Island, until August 2005, when the market looked good and her husband decided to sell their home for $1.7 million. They put themselves up in a rental until they could find a new property. Diane had an overnight guest, and that’s how she thinks the bedbugs invaded. Within days she quit her job selling ads for a newspaper and gave up her hobby of dabbling in real estate, to wage outright war on the intruders. She sent her husband and son to a hotel for a couple weeks while she stayed at the house to battle the bugs alone. She slept on the dining-room table and blasted the house with chemical after chemical. She wrapped all her belongings in plastic and put them in a storage pod, hoping that if she left them there long enough the bugs would eventually die out. But she felt she had to toss some stuff out. Out went an antique secretary, tables, chairs, large area rugs (one was a $3,000 Persian) and $3,500 worth of mattresses—a Select Comfort and two Shifmans.

She exterminated the rental home four times—another $4,000 gone—and moved. She’d only seen two actual bedbugs but had suffered multiple bites. Her husband was supportive, but her son left for college in California worried that perhaps his mother had lost her mind. But is there anything wrong with devoting every action of one’s life to knocking bedbugs into oblivion?

At this moment in the story, Diane looks down at her shoes—nondescript blue slip-ons from DSW. Her eyes begin to fill with tears.

“I used to have beautiful shoes,” she snivels.

Now Diane doesn’t invest in nice things for fear she’ll have to throw everything away again. She’s wearing brown cords, a gray sweatshirt, and socks that go up to her knees—extra coverage to make sure there is less surface area for bugs to crawl on her skin. She bought air mattresses for $90, in case the pests return. Her image has changed too; when she first got the bugs she couldn’t eat, and now, she says, she eats too much and has gained weight. For five months she picked up smoking for the first time. “It was disgusting!” she says. Bedbugs have also begun to stress her marriage. She’s had trouble sleeping, perhaps due to the 100-watt bulbs that remain lit all night to protect her from the nocturnal nuisances. Her husband has taken to sleeping in another room with the light off. She doesn’t attend or have dinner parties anymore, and a night out on the town is “inconceivable,” she says. Diane will only fraternize with contributors to the blog. No one else can begin to comprehend her troubles. She hasn’t told her friends about the infestation for fear of the stigma. Because of her absence, her friends think she’s either getting a divorce or having a nervous breakdown—she agrees that the latter might be close. “I don’t care if people think I’m crazy,” she says. “I just want to kill them.” She is referring, of course, to the bedbugs, not her friends.

Three young women walk into Dunkin’ Donuts, each wearing sleeveless shirts and jeans. Diane scans them. “I look on the arms and earlobes for bites,” she says. “I look at everyone that way now.” The three, now ordering coffee at the counter, are clean. Diane looks over her shoulder and then back toward me. She reaches into a bag on the table—she won’t put anything near the floor, where a bedbug could be lurking. She leans forward and whispers, “Have you seen them before?”

She pulls out a jar; inside is a Q-tip and three dead rust-colored bugs. A friend gave her the bugs to conduct executioner-type experiments. She’s trying to find her own best method of mass slaughter. She, along with many others on the blog, believes New York’s pesticide laws are too strict. DDT has been off U.S. shelves for more than 30 years—not even exterminators can use it. But if this woman has one thing besides bedbugs on the brain, it’s the will to kill them, and in the jar is DDT. She procured the substance from a retired-scientist friend. The stuff works wonders. She said the little bastards died within seconds. Many bedbug victims from the blog believe the government should legalize the use of DDT for indoor use only. “I used to run behind DDT spray trucks,” Diane says. “I’m still here. It’s these bedbugs that are going to kill me.” She says if the government doesn’t help with the growing epidemic, she might have to seek help from higher-ups. “I’m ready to call Oprah,” she says.

She puts the jar back in the bag; she pushes the top down tight so she can kill the bugs twice over, this time with asphyxiation. “Do you think anyone saw them?” she asks. The interview is over. I have to catch a train back to the city and she has work to do. Her husband just came home from a business trip to California and she has to go spray his luggage. For someone so anxious, I would’ve expected her to edge back in fear of even touching me. But she shakes my hand goodbye, heartily. It’s not germs she’s afraid of getting; it’s the bugs. As we part—I toward the escalator and she toward her car—she yells out some advice. “Don’t sit!” she said. “Never. Don’t do it. Don’t sit down!”


Naturally, there’s a group of New Yorkers who’ve found a way to profit from the growing paranoia about bedbugs. At the New York Pest Expo, organized and sponsored by Bug Off Pest Control Center, 325 professional exterminators from the tristate area convened in November to discuss, among other things, how the bedbug brouhaha has given the profession a fresh wave of business.

The convention took place at the seemingly bug-free armory off of Fort Washington Avenue in Washington Heights. Company-sponsored booths hawking pesticides and an array of spraying tools ringed the red-rubber racetrack. When I stepped inside and saw all the exterminators lounging on bleachers, gazing at a PowerPoint demonstration, I couldn’t help but wonder how many creatures they had collectively killed, but I tried not to hold that against them—not even the guy wearing suspenders with skull-and-crossbones designs.

The conference was a whole-day affair—9 a.m. to 6 p.m.—and covered everything from overcoming roach bait aversion to understanding foggers, subsoil tools, borate sprayers, and foaming equipment. Andy Linares, the coordinator of the event, saved the bedbug update for last—he knew people would stick around for that. At 4:30 p.m. he introduced a pretty, blonde, curly-haired entomologist, Deanna Branscome, to discuss the pest that seems to have exterminators baffled, but also in awe. Some see the bug as the perfect plight to help them climb the ladder in their careers. “They don’t cause disease,” says Jose Colon, an exterminator from K.E.B. Pest Control, “but there’s a lot of money in it.” Linares says any exterminator charging less than $400 a room doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.

The American Museum of Natural History’s resident entomologist, who’s also a licensed pest-control technician, Louis Sorkin, also pulled up a swath of bleacher. He’s become a mini-celebrity because of the resurgence of bedbugs—a server at a café even recognized him from a New York Times article on bedbugs when he came in to buy a muffin and coffee. He’s been quoted in at least a dozen other publications. Though he’s got a head of graying hair, when he was talking about bugs, he reminded me of a pre-teen who loves nothing more than to go outside, scrounge up some insects, and scare his family members by tacking them to a bulletin board.

The day before the convention, I had visited him in his office. He used to concentrate mostly on preserving and labeling spiders, but since the bedbug craze, it has fallen to him to become the pest’s official media contact. His office is on the sixth floor of the museum, away from the elephants and blue whales, and crammed with boxes, bags, and paperwork. By his desk, there’s a plastic bag containing a Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal box that’s infested with some kind of bug, waiting to be identified. He logs on to the Yahoo bedbug group every morning to share advice he’s picked up thus far. He told me that lately there has been confusion between bedbugs and other little bugs: carpet beetles, bird and rodent mites, shiny spider beetles, and parasitic wasps. That confusion has fed the fears of many, he explained.

He wanted to show me the difference. He brought out a Grey Poupon–sized jar filled with squirming bedbugs. He said he keeps them in his office specifically so that he can show bedbug reporters what they look like. There is a screen over the top. To keep the bugs alive, Sorkin holds his wrist to the screen for five minutes, letting them feed on him.

Sorkin went to the Bug Off convention the next day as part of his ongoing efforts to ensure that his information is the latest. As Branscome strode up, the male exterminators whistled and clapped as if she were their favorite comic-book hero come to life. The first issue she addressed is one that has mystified us all: Is it bedbugs, or bed bugs? According to this expert, it’s two words in the United States and one word in Europe (in direct opposition to Village Voice style). With information like that, the $100 entrance fee has already paid for itself.

Branscome points to a slide of a multitude of bugs magnified to the size of a cockroach.
“They have a smell,” she says. “Has anyone here ever smelled it?” Hands pop up all around. Some don’t wait to be picked and just shout out: Yucky! Stinky! Sweet! Like raspberries!
So many exterminators in the crowd have had experiences with the pests, and yet most still don’t know how to deal them a knockout dose. Is it a coincidence or a conspiracy?

Branscome explains that bedbugs don’t only feed at night, although it is their favorite time to eat. That’s when their prey is easy to attack, already still and unconscious. They puncture the skin and use an anesthetic so they can take their time eating—bedbugs are posh, like guests at a five-star restaurant, and they want to enjoy every molecule of the chef’s daily special. They attach for five to 10 minutes, until they are fully engorged. As they scamper off, the bite starts to itch. Less than half of those whose blood gets sucked have a reaction to the bite, which makes matters even more complicated and dangerous. If you don’t know you have bedbugs, then you can innocently spread them around.

Exterminators usually have to make one to two visits—at $400 per room—though it is not uncommon for them to return. After all, exterminators explain, there must be continuous inspections to ensure complete eradication. Bedbugs are so itty-bitty that hundreds of eggs can fit on the head of a screw, and they can hole up in the smallest spaces—the crease of a lampshade, the hinge of a cupboard. And what makes them even more terrible is that they are obscenely durable—an adult bedbug can live more than one year without a meal. The chemicals, such as DDT, that formerly worked are now off the market for the role they played in causing silent springs, so exterminators are still lacking an answer to the problem.The best they can do is integrate many techniques: eliminate clutter, vacuum everything, inspect, monitor, and douse the place with chemicals. Meanwhile, they happily accept their fees.

Just as the attendees began fidgeting, Branscome brought up a popular topic: bed- bug mating. Everyone perked up; that’s when I found out that exterminators giggle. You might assume that bedbugs have good sex lives, given the amount of time they spend in the sack, but the name given to their mating habits debunks that theory. It’s called traumatic insemination. The male punctures the female’s abdomen with his appendage; too many punctures and mating can be fatal.

“That’s why they’re tearing us up,” said one exterminator in the front row. “Those girls are mad!” Anti-Viagra: That’s what Linares calls one of his most promising bedbug-fighting pesticides. The pesticide was originally used for cockroaches; it freezes them in an adolescent phase so they never could mate. But Linares found the substance does something different to bedbugs. It shrinks their appendages, making them unable to harden up and penetrate. I didn’t ask what the substance does to bipedal mammals.


Bugz in the Hood is his moniker, but let’s call him Paul because he’s the Paul Revere of this battle, warning the public with his alarm: The bedbugs are coming, the bedbugs are coming! Because of their red color, bedbugs were referred to as “redcoats” by an earlier generation of neurotics. If there’s no action to minimize their numbers, Paul envisions these little creatures as the cause of the next economic meltdown, causing multi-million-dollar lawsuits and the closure of five-star hotels. Even air travel would come to a standstill (planes are, after all, one of the likely explanations of how these bugs travel so fast from place to place). He refuses to be named, for fear of stigma and out of concern that contractors will use his bedbug problem as a reason to condemn his apartment, which is in the heart of the swanky neighborhood around Columbus Circle. Because much of his time is consumed by bedbugs, I wonder if he’s given them a nickname: motherfucking sons of bitches? “It’s longer,” he says, “but easier to get out.”

Paul wouldn’t stick out in a group of middle-aged men on their way to golf 18 holes. He wears a blue polo shirt and jeans with a brown leather belt. He has more pepper than salt in his hair, but both seasonings are receding. Just three months ago, Paul’s life was mundane. He’d lived in this doorman apartment building for 20 years and was actually in the midst of a remodel. The 57-year-old worked eight-hour days at home, editing court transcripts for a living. His girlfriend would come to spend the night. He’d visit his mother at her senior home in New Jersey on the weekends. Now he devotes his day primarily to bedbug matters. He researches the science, writes to new victims, always responds to posts on the blog, and checks his favorite Google alerts: “DDT” and “bedbug.” He’s even tried inventing bedbug jokes:


Q: Why can’t two bedbug victims have an affair?
A: Because they’re too busy searching for bugs.

Don’t blame him for that one; he’s tired from waking up every 20 minutes during the night to shine a flashlight on his body, looking for bugs mid-bite. When I visited him, he was prepared to tell me about life on the front lines. But first I had to reach the front lines. Big plastic bags and Rubbermaid bins blocked my path at every turn as I crossed his apartment. A layer of white powder coated everything in sight; there was even a bit of it smudged into his jeans, as if he’d just had some giant bake-off in his living room. It’s NIC 325 or desiccant dust, and it’s supposed to dehydrate the bugs, leading to their deaths. I peeked into his bedroom: He had disassembled his bed frame and stacked it against the wall in pieces.

While the infestation continues, Paul sleeps on a massage table in the middle of his living room. Six-inch risers hold up each leg; the risers get coated in Vaseline. What he doesn’t know and I don’t tell him—I learned it at the conference—is that bedbugs have something akin to a GPS system set to blood as their destination. When facing a roadblock, they’ve been known to reroute, crawling up walls and dropping from the ceiling onto their victim. He keeps the weapons he uses to fight the war alongside his “bed.” They include a loupe, a flashlight, a jar, Saran Wrap, D-Force HPX pesticide spray, a razor, and a cleaver to hack infested furniture apart.

For the most part, Paul has quarantined himself. He doesn’t go to Starbucks anymore to do his work, for fear he’ll start an infestation in their chairs. At home, he works in a Herman Miller chair that’s covered with black garbage bags because he doesn’t want to lose it to the bugs like he did his green leather Italian designer sofa and 1920s Persian heirloom rug. When he does go out, he only takes plastic bags with him. He brings along his razor blade so that if he finds a stray curbside mattress, he can demolish it before any passersby unsuspectingly take the Trojan horse into their home. The practice of picking up secondhand goods, Paul believes, should be seriously questioned. He fantasizes about creating stickers, free to the public. They will say: “This is infested with bedbugs.” Boston already uses the stickers, he reports; why can’t we? People would use them to put on their thrown-out goods to warn street-side scavengers. Paul suggests to anyone who is planning to visit a hotel to bring a magnifying glass, put clothes in plastic bags, and keep your suitcase in the bathtub.

“I’d have myself locked up for saying that a year ago,” he says. Paul further demonstrates that among obsessed victims, exposing oneself to toxins and risking having a two-headed-monster child suddenly seems to become a good idea, if it means keeping the bugs at bay.

Even when the bedbugs get completely wiped out from his living space (not that he’s seen one in weeks), Paul says he’s going to continue to aid his fellow citizenry—he sees himself as a permanent avenger of bedbug sufferers everywhere. Thus far, however, his plans have been stymied. He recently tried to give a bedbug-awareness lecture at his mother’s retirement facility, but she wouldn’t let him—in fact, mother and son haven’t seen each other since he became a diagnosed carrier. She refuses contact. “She has a son with the bugs,” John says. “She doesn’t want her friends to know.”

As I go down the elevator, I feel itchy all over. I regret not doing snow angels in his death powder.

Andrea Mitrovich, a 27-year-old bedbug victim, doesn’t use an alias because she doesn’t know how the stigma works yet; she just got diagnosed with bedbugs the day before we met for coffee last month. She’s a former American Ballet Theatre dancer, thin with big blue eyes. The layer of makeup she wears shimmers in the sunlight. She towers over me; with her three-inch boots, she reached at least six feet. But when she came into Eisenberg’s office, she looked less like a Swan Lake ballerina and more like a rare red-spotted leopard. The welts had “bedbugs” written all over them—round and lifted with no little dot in the middle. Eisenberg told her how to prepare for the first extermination and sold her a vacuum—a $150 Oreck that can suck up a 15-pound bowling ball (he’ll show you if you ask him)—to remove bugs from nooks and crannies before a big flush of chemicals.

The prospect of a bedbug infestation enveloped Mitrovich in shock. She’d assumed she just had spider bites. Eisenberg offered her some initial recommendations: He suggested that she go nude around the house so as not to spread the infestation and advised a bedtime cocktail to help avoid a sleepless night. Eisenberg’s advice appeared sound; as Mitrovich and I finished our coffee and walked to Staples to buy preparations to prevent more widespread attacks, she seemed perfectly well rested.

We entered Staples but found no end display labeled “Bedbug Prep.” Mitrovich, who otherwise seemed quite benign and even-tempered, took on an air of malicious glee as she selected a roll of duct tape and a box of plastic bags. “Clear,” she said, of her bag choice. “I want to be able to see them when they die.” Her mom bought an emergency red-eye ticket from California to help with the effort. She would arrive the next morning. They needed to bag and wash all her clothes in hot water. Mitrovich worried that her wardrobe might shrink; her jeans barely reach her ankles as it is.

Luckily Mitrovich’s landlord has lived up to Article 4, “Extermination and Rodent Eradication,” Section 27-2018 in Chapter 2 of the Housing Maintenance Code. In other words, he has agreed to pay for the extermination fee, which by New York housing law, he’s responsible for—even though many try to squirm out of the duty. So that’s one load off, but I kept asking her questions: Will you change how you live from now on? Will you ever have people over again? Do you feel itchy even when nothing is there? Are you going to tell your friends?—and the questions helped the realization finally sink in: She has New York City’s nightmarish bloodsucking creatures living with her.

Mitrovich began to freak out, and so did I, because her sweater just brushed up against my purse, which is made of natural fibers. Bedbugs love natural fibers. I wished Mitrovich luck, and we parted ways, quickly.

meaning of xmas…

In Uncategorized on 12/25/2006 at 12:30 pm

and a time for giving…

..except… most economists agree, however, that Christmas produces a deadweight loss under orthodox microeconomic theory, due to the surge in gift-giving. This loss is calculated as the difference between what the gift giver spent on the item and what the gift receiver would have paid for the item. It is estimated that in Christmas results in a $4 billion annual deadweight loss in the U.S. alone. Because of complicating factors, this analysis is sometimes used to discuss possible flaws in current microeconomic theory.

In economics, a deadweight loss (also known as excess burden) is a loss of economic efficiency that can occur when equilibrium for a good or service is not Pareto optimal. In other words, either people who would have more marginal benefit than marginal cost are not buying the good or service or people who would have more marginal cost than marginal benefit are buying the product.

Other deadweight losses include the effects of Christmas on the environment and the fact that material gifts are often perceived as white elephants, imposing cost for upkeep and storage and contributing to clutter. This is mitigated by white elephant gift exchanges in which participants make the best of their white elephants, and by alternative giving. Some people have taken to selling their unwanted gifts shortly after Christmas on online auction sites. So best load up on those ebay shares actually we have no clue why we’re talking about white elephants all we know is nobody better give us one this year!~)

thanx for pic vince 😉

sexy brain in action…

In kacs, sexy brain on 12/21/2006 at 9:33 am

A short segment in which Chess Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk Plays Blitz Chess at a very fast pace and demolishes a Male Ego in just about the same timespan it takes for a typical male to reach an orgasm, but of course infinitely more uhm..satisfying to us gals;~)

Your Moment of Literary Zen #13

In Uncategorized on 12/20/2006 at 5:54 pm

We passed a little kid who was throwing stones at the cars in the road. “Think of it,” said Dean. “One day he’ll put a stone through a man’s windshield and the man will crash and die—all on account of that little kid. You see what I mean? God exists without qualms. As we roll along this way I am positive beyond a doubt that everything will be taken care of for us—that even you, as you drive, fearful of the wheel” (I hated to drive and drove carefully)—“the thing will go along of itself and you won’t go off the road and I can sleep. Furthermore we know America, we’re at home; I can go anywhere in America and get what I want because it’s the same in every corner, I know the people, I know what they do. We give and take and go in the incredibly complicated sweetness zigzagging every side.” There was nothing clear about the things he said, but what he meant to say was somehow made pure and clear. He used the word “pure” a great deal. I had never dreamed Dean would become a mystic. These were the first days of his mysticism, which would lead to the strange, ragged W.C. Fields saintliness of his later days.

~Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Photo: Toward Los Angeles by Dorthea Lange

slut-chic strikes again…

In Uncategorized on 12/19/2006 at 9:17 pm

or ‘How I saw the Leopard Change Spots Before My Very Own Eyes’…

Alright before all of youse go off the deep end, no we did NOT invent the words “slut-chic”, hell we didn’t even SAY it, particularly apropos our fav-gal of the moment Tara Conner who is as you all well know in spite of having your heads buried in killer final exams and xmas stress, the reigning Miss USA-who-almost-lost-it 2006.

“The term I use is ‘slut chic,’ ” says Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist at McLean Hospital at Harvard Medical School near Boston. “The sad thing about hearing about Miss USA is that she had a title with real power, and what happened to her happens to many girls and women growing up today. They get this message that, despite everything else that’s wonderful and uniquely ‘you,’ power … is still defined by raunchy behavior that’s disrespectful to yourself. And it’s a false sense of power.”

We have no problems with the Donald’s decision to give Conner a second chance, or to say with a straight face that he believes in “second chances,” or that he found Conner to be remorseful and willing to go into rehabilitation. “She left a small town in Kentucky, and she was telling me that she got caught up in the whirlwind of New York,” Trump said. “It’s a story that has happened many times before to many women and many men who came to the Big Apple. They wanted their slice of the Big Apple, and they found out it wasn’t so easy.”

What we do have a problem with, is the concept that theDonald is doing all this out of compassion, blissfully unaware of the biggest marketing opportunity since… well since Miss America 1983’s nude photos turned up. That little scandal stripped(oh stop it:) Vanessa William of her Miss America title and launched her career. You can’t buy publicity like this even if you could afford it, and let’s face it compared to Tara, the 27yr old runner up Tamiko Nash would play like an old soggy bowl of corn flakes.

No doubt about it this is a win-win ending for everyone with possible exception of poor Tamiko, the only loser in the potentially the greatest comeback kid story of the year, with zillions in tv profits for theDonald’s Miss Universe franchise.

But just in case you doubt his sincerity in all of this, here is more of theDonald on the NEW Tara Conner…

“I believe that she will be a great example for troubled people.”

HUH??? Oh Donald, say it ain’t so, you can’t be that naive, just look at her nail polish… This gal ain’t changing her spots anytime soon… Send all your bets, chocolates and get well cards for sick Yasser to c/o :)))

life in the fast lane: tales of true love…… #13

In Uncategorized on 12/18/2006 at 7:01 pm

Winnipeg’s Adam Anhang was a savvy businessman, but unlucky in love. His first marriage was brief. His second marriage lasted only a few months, and ended with his murder in Puerto Rico.

Mr. Anhang, 32, was stabbed more than a dozen times and suffered a skull fracture when a man attacked him on the narrow cobblestone streets of Old San Juan on Sept. 23, 2005. His estranged wife, 26-year-old Aurea Vasquez, suffered minor injuries in the attack. Earlier that night, the two met at the Pink Skirt –a restaurant and bar Mr. Anhang had purchased for his wife — allegedly to discuss the terms of their impending divorce. Mr. Anhang, a slight, awkward man with a distinctive laugh, was worth millions: He was an ambitious real estate developer and chief executive of a successful online gambling software company.

Police in San Juan soon arrested Jonathan Roman, a 23-year-old dishwasher at the Pink Skirt. Investigators initially speculated the suspect had an affair with Ms. Vasquez before the murder.

At a court hearing in Puerto Rico today, more than a year later, lawyers are expected to discuss the results of DNA tests on material found beneath Mr. Anhang’s fingernails and possibly set a date for the murder trial.
But Mr. Anhang’s parents in Winnipeg are convinced there is more to the story. In court documents filed in Puerto Rico disputing Ms. Vasquez’s claim to their son’s estate, they allege his wife “and others conspired to assassinate” their son.

The Anhangs have also filed a US$50-million lawsuit against Mr. Roman, Ms. Vasquez, her siblings and several unnamed defendants for their son’s wrongful death. The lawsuit alleges Ms. Vasquez has refused to co-operate with police investigating her husband’s murder, even after being served with three subpoenas. The Anhangs believe Ms. Vasquez fled to Italy after the murder. “You expect that if your husband or your wife gets killed, that you would be leading all the efforts to find out who killed your husband or your wife. “That would be the logical thing,” said Luis. G. Rullan, the lawyer representing Mr. Anhang’s parents. “What she did was exactly the opposite. She fled.” Their lawsuit also claims Mr. Anhang was “misled” about the terms of the couple’s prenuptial agreement. The document overestimated Mr. Anhang’s worth at close to US$25-million, said Mr. Rullan, who declined to provide further details about Mr. Anhang’s finances. The allegations against Ms. Vasquez have not been proven in court and she is not facing criminal charges. Luis R. Rivera, the lawyer representing Ms. Vasquez in her claim against the Anhangs, says she was not involved in her husband’s murder. “She almost got killed herself,” Mr. Rivera said. Mr. Anhang’s parents are trying to prevent her from inheriting a share of his estate. “It’s all about money, really.” The tourist district of Old San Juan is so closely monitored by police that it would not be a good place to stage a murde,Mr. Rivera added.

Mr. Anhang’s career took him around the world. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and went on an exotic scuba diving trip nearly every year. After graduating from the prestigious Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania, he worked for real estate firms in New York, then struck out on his own, acting as a consultant to turn around companies in trouble. “Adam was born to be a businessman. He brought a briefcase with him to kindergarten,” his younger sister, Becky Anhang Price, said during her eulogy. “He ran his own business selling greeting cards out of his university dorm room.” While living in New York in 1997, he married a classmate, but the union was short-lived because his first wife was unfaithful, said Roberto M. Cacho, the young entrepreneur’s friend and business partner in Puerto Rico.

Mr. Anhang moved to Puerto Rico in 2004 to be closer to his multimillion-dollar real estate dealings there. He met Ms. Vasquez while he was in a bar with Mr. Cacho. Ms. Vasquez had lived in San Juan’s projects and was once a contestant in the Miss Puerto Rico Petite competition. Mr. Cacho said Mr. Anhang “desperately wanted to be loved” and did not know what he was getting himself into. “She was definitely looking for someone like Adam to take over her problems, which were all financial in nature,” Mr. Cacho said. “He accepted that role from the very beginning.” The couple were married in front of a judge in March, 2005.

But according to court documents filed by Mr. Anhang’s family, their relationship soured within a month because he learned his wife had been unfaithful and that he had been misled about the prenuptial agreement. Indeed, Mr. Anhang did not reveal his marriage to some of his close friends, said Yoav Leeran, a Wharton classmate living in Tel Aviv. “I did not know that they were married until he was murdered. He kept it to himself, even though we spoke after he married her, apparently,” Mr. Leeran said. “My explanation is I guess he understood the mistake he made the minute he made it.” Mr. Anhang spent six months trying to negotiate the terms of their divorce. Ms. Vasquez demanded her husband purchase the US$1.3-million home they rented in an exclusive San Juan neighbourhood and give it to her, Mr. Anhang’s parents claim.

For her part, Ms. Vasquez alleges she is entitled to 50% of Mr. Anhang’s capital. She is also demanding US$3,500 a month in support payments, as well as US$3,000 a month for medical expenses. Ms. Vasquez claims she was so committed to her husband that she was studying Judaism in order to convert to his family’s religion. His parents, however, dispute that claim.

The victim’s friend, Mr. Leeran, says he hopes justice will prevail. “In a very unique way, he affected the lives of people who knew him,” Mr. Leeran said. “He was a pretty young guy who hung around powerful, talented, significant people, and still proved to the people around him that being humane and very professional could coexist.”

Maria Vallis is a reporter with the National Post in Canada.
Published Thursday, December 14, 2006
© National Post 2006

proof god exists

In proof god exists on 12/16/2006 at 9:45 pm

self defense plea for Murder..

In Uncategorized on 12/16/2006 at 9:07 pm

Death of shot clerk on video, killer pleads self-defence.

Court views shooting of convenience store clerk. In a move that cost him his life, a North End convenience store clerk attacked his killer with a bat before he was shot twice in the head. Edwin Yue’s graphic death was captured on a security video played in court yesterday at the trial of accused killer David Cote. Yue, 19, was killed last February during an armed hold-up at his parents’ Main Street convenience store, Magnus Food.

Cote has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and is expected to argue he was acting in self- defence.

Yue’s horrified parents watched the killing on a security monitor in their upstairs apartment.
The video shows a man, his head concealed by a hood and scarf, entering the store just before 10 p.m. He immediately takes a gun out of his right pant pocket.
“All right, it’s a robbery, take all the money out, hurry up!” the thief tells Yue standing behind the checkout counter. As Yue removes money from the cash register with one hand, he uses the other to press a button that electronically locks both the front and rear exits.

Yue continues to remove money from the cash register, using his free hand to grip the end of a baseball bat under the counter.
When the thief grabs the money and turns his back to flee, Yue reaches over the counter to swing the bat at his head. The swing misses, connecting only with the back of the thief’s jacket.
The thief turns and shoots Yue once in the arm. Yue swings again, this time striking the robber in the back of the head. The thief fires one shot at Yue before ducking behind a display stand. He fires two more times and Yue slumps to the floor.
The thief tries to run out the front exit but can’t open the door. He fires once at the door glass but it does not shatter.
Frantic and screaming, he runs behind the counter and grabs the bat. He bashes the bat at the door glass. The glass doesn’t break but the bat does, in two pieces.
Yue can be heard on the video moaning as the thief runs screaming from one end of the store to another trying to escape. At the back of the store, the thief confronts Yue’s father as he tries to escape through a rear exit. In a sequence of events not shown in court, Yue’s father captures the thief and holds him until police arrive minutes later. In court yesterday, Cote watched the video intently but betrayed no visible change in emotion. Crown attorney Brian Bell said neither the security video nor stills from the video would be released to the media, a decision that is expected to be challenged by at least two city news outlets. The trial continues Friday.


Mathematics: Helping to Avoid Coyote Ugly Since 2005

In Uncategorized on 12/15/2006 at 4:31 pm

Is there anything alcohol can’t do? I’m convinced it causes me to dance better, increases my fearless flirting technique tenfold, and always manages to bring more good-looking fellows into the bar than what should be statistically possible. Sadly, the morning after brings me slowly to a reality I’d much rather not face: I never could dance—last night was no exception, I still have the natural sex appeal of a banana slug, and those lookers a couple hours ago were the same creepers usually encountered at sketchy university watering holes only enhanced through the wonder of “beer goggles.”

The phenomenon known as “beer goggles” is usually brought on by a good-amount of boozing which magically makes even the most unfortunate-looking person into quite the desirable piece of bum.

Researchers at Manchester University have created a mathematical approach to the warped physical appeal brought on by “beer goggles.” Alcohol isn’t the only factor to be looked at; other elements to be worked in include the level of light, the general smokiness, and the distance between the two people. The equation works on a scale from less than one, meaning no beer goggle effect, to more than 100, making even the most offensive person look like a “super model.”

Nathan Efron, Professor of Clinical Optometry at the University of Manchester, claims, “Someone with normal vision, who has consumed five pints of beer and views a person 1.5 metres away in a fairly smoky and poorly lit room, will score 55, which means they would suffer from a moderate beer goggle effect.”

Seeing as a poll showed that 68% of people regretted giving their phone number to someone whom they later discovered they were not exactly attracted to, it may be worthwhile next time you decide to take a night out on the town to bring along a mathematically-inclined, sober friend.


In Uncategorized on 12/15/2006 at 2:41 pm
now is that magical time of the year….

click here to see magic

thanx hedonistica we will miss you…:)

A Happy Ending for the Life Aquatic

In Uncategorized on 12/14/2006 at 8:50 pm

Not only has Central Asia produced the tallest man in the world but he saves dolphins from life-threatening plastic to boot.

Bao Xishun, a 54-year-old Monogolian herdsman and also the tallest man in the world at 7 feet 9 inches, saved two dolphins at an aquarium in Fushun, Liaoning Province in China by using his 41-inch arms to reach inside and remove harmful pieces of plastic from their stomachs after medical instruments and short arms had failed.

This makes me happy about life, and Mongolians, and being tall.

Thanks Carla!

does that mean a skinnier voice…

In Uncategorized on 12/14/2006 at 12:52 am

Worth the weight: skinny Jann Arden

Not pressured into losing pounds — she just wanted to see her cheekbones. Singer-songwriter Jann Arden has recently dropped 60 pounds. That’s a big deal when you’re someone who trades in self-acceptance. Not everyone is thrilled with Jann Arden’s recent shedding of 60 pounds. While some cheer, others are bizarrely betrayed. This last set, I reckon, consider Jann to be something like the Bob Rae of the Rubenesque brigade. Much like that notable New Democrat-turned-Liberal, she’s accused of having switched allegiances, become a turncoat, broken the faith. Fat being, as it so often is, a matter of politics.

“Weight is an emotional issue,” she herself elaborates. “And some people are mad at me. ‘You sold out. You caved under pressure.’ “

The singer-songwriter gives the skinny in a new cover story in Chatelaine. The writer of the article, Katrina Onstad, shades in the rest: “Weight loss is complicated for an artist who trades in self-acceptance and has a huge female following for making no apologies about being large.” So, why and how? Characteristically cheeky, the awesome Arden zings, “I just looked in the mirror and thought, man, I haven’t seen a cheekbone in so long.”

Old-fashioned healthy eating and committed jogging did the trick, she says.
And so we have it — a photo in Chatelaine that has Jann Arden looking all sultry and smoky and even a bit, if you blink, like Britain’s Jemina Khan! So no, Jann, it’s true what they say about pleasing all of the people. And yes, we’re keen to hear your new album, out early next year.
Oh, and just one more thing: Our Calgarian chanteuse says that she for sure gets the fat gene from her dad’s part of the family. Mom’s side “are like sparrows,” and as she goes on to chuckle, “I look at my father and I curse his sperm!”

Shinan Govani is National Post’s resident snoop, town-crier and people-watcher. His column, Scene, is the in-the-know-must-turn-to place in the Post. Govani explains: “Writing a social/gossip column is pure fun, but it’s fun that I take very seriously. It involves working the late shift, covering the parties, tracking the buzz, and decoding the personalities that make Toronto and the country tick.” In addition to his regular column, this serial socializer also writes the both cheeky and useful Dinner Party Crash Course in the Saturday Post. In addition, he frequently appears on television, and his work has also appeared in such publications as Salon, George, Details, enRoute, Toronto Life and Flare

Sigmund has the last word…

In bblonde, sigmund on 12/13/2006 at 1:25 pm

A neurological disorder in which physiological symptoms are discernible without seemingly justifiable reasons is commonly termed a ‘conversion disorder’ and is generally accepted to be subconciously triggered by stressful and/or traumatic events. The critical point here is that the symptoms of conversion disorder, which may include loss of coordination or balance, facial tics, loss of specific senses such as sight or hearing, difficulty swallowing or feeling of a lump in the throat, paralysis of limb, etc… are entirely involuntary. In essence the person is not consciously acting out the consequent physiological effects and often not even aware of the physical symptoms until it is pointed out to them.

The irony is that ‘conversion disorder’ was a term coined by Freud because he thought that people unconsciously converted a psychological distress into a physiological symptom, and has long been looked upon by the medical establishment as a ‘phantom’ disease more appropriately to be categorized under psychosomatic ailments. Although unfortunately it is still more commonly referred to as ‘hysteria’, its unusual features haven’t changed. Sufferers have neurological symptoms ranging from numbness in a limb to paralysis, memory loss and seizures, that cannot be traced to any known medical problem. That is, until now. ..

Now a new study, published in the December issue of medical journal Neurology finds that a part of the brain which normally responds to touch was inactive when the numb body part was stimulated – proof that the symptoms really exist. Omar Ghaffar, a resident in psychiatry at Sunnybrook and the study’s lead author along with Anthony Feinstein of UofT, says the findings are good news for those who have long been told their condition was imaginary and offers brain evidence that “validates” the general Freudian view of the disorder. So next time your significant other complains of tingling sensations or nervous tic, don’t be so quick to assume that they are imagining it, try offering a deep back rub instead 🙂

at what price a cure for heart break..?

In Uncategorized on 12/12/2006 at 2:43 pm

There was big news on the heart front last week. A hot new pharmaceutical with the tongue-twister name of torcetrapib failed miserably, despite the 15 years of research and $800 million that Pfizer devoted to it. The finding left in its wake stunned investigators and a passel of cardiologists scratching their heads over the loss of a dream drug, one they’ve been waiting for ever since it became clear there was such a thing as a good cholesterol. There’s no doubt that torcetrapib raises HDL, the good cholesterol, just as well-known statin drugs like Lipitor lower the bad LDL cholesterol. Using both agents together seemed to offer a promising new way to fight off heart attacks and strokes.

But the complexity of the human body dashed this grand hope when an independent monitoring group-the only individuals privy to the results-advised Pfizer to halt its major research trial involving 15,000 patients. Among patients taking torcetrapib plus Lipitor, there were 82 deaths; that’s compared with 51 in the group on Lipitor alone. And reportedly there was also an increase in nonfatal cardiac events including angina, heart failure, and the need for angioplasty. For the HDL-raising drug to show little added benefit is one thing. For it to increase heart problems is a real shocker.

After all, HDL acts like Drano on an artery clogged with atherosclerotic plaque. It infiltrates plaque, sucks up bad LDL, and carries it off to the liver for discard. A low HDL (less than 40 mg/dl) is a well-known cardiovascular risk factor, and each 1 mg/dl rise in HDL is estimated to reduce that risk by 2 percent. But anyone who has low HDL (mainly men) knows how hard it is to move that number. Exercise, a glass of wine, maybe a little fish oil, even the statins can bump it up a few points, but that’s about it. The B vitamin niacin raises good cholesterol by up to 25 percent, but it comes with the troublesome side effect of flushing of the head and neck. That’s why torcetrapib, which raises HDL by about 50 percent with few side effects except for a minor increase in blood pressure, was a long-awaited breakthrough.

By all accounts, torcetrapib seemed to be a sure bet. Its novel design inhibits a particular protein, called CTEP, that regulates cholesterol, with a net effect of making the good cholesterol rise and the bad fall. Research in animals with atherosclerosis found that plaque shrank considerably with the new drug. Indeed, the buzz at last month’s annual American Heart Association meeting in Chicago was that torcetrapib was mighty close to its victory lap. Pfizer even predicted approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 2007. There were no signs to the contrary. However, in the final analysis of its heart effects in humans, it missed the mark.

Quality matters. What may explain this, plain and simple, is that all HDL is not created equal. In fact, some forms are downright dysfunctional, unable to remove the bad cholesterol from the arteries, and worse, are so chemically altered that the HDL actually stimulates inflammation and blood clots. Those are the very factors that can make atherosclerotic plaque in an artery swell up, rupture, and clot, triggering a heart attack or a stroke. Bernadine.

Bernadine Healy M.D., is a health editor for U.S.News & World Report and writes the On Health column for the magazine. A Harvard- and Hopkins-trained physician, Healy is a past Director of the National Institutes of Health, where she started the Women’s Health Initiative. She is currently a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and is a leader in patient care research and education.

Let’s keep it PC, shall we?

In Uncategorized on 12/09/2006 at 7:53 pm

The 12 Politically Correct Days of Christmas. Because we here at brainwashcafe do not wish to offend or promote controversy in any way 😉 And for the traditional, albeit potentially offensive lyrics, click the link.

On the 12th day of the Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival, my Significant Other in a consenting adult, monogamous relationship gave to me:

TWELVE males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming,
ELEVEN pipers piping (plus the 18-member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract even though they will not be asked to play a note),
TEN melanin-deprived testosterone-poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping,
NINE persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression,
EIGHT economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk-products from enslaved Bovine-Americans,
SEVEN endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands,
SIX enslaved Fowl-Americans producing stolen non-human animal products,
FIVE golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration, (NOTE: after members of the Animal Liberation Front threatened to throw red paint at my computer, the calling birds, French hens and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further Animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)
FOUR hours of recorded whale songs,
THREE deconstructionist poets,
TWO Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses, and
ONE Spotted Owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree.

Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah/Hanukkah. Good Kwanzaa. Blessed Yule. Oh, hell! Happy Holidays!!!! (unless otherwise prohibited by law)

Unless, of course, you are suffering from Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD). If this be the case, please substitute this gratuitous call for celebration with a suggestion that you have a thoroughly adequate day.

Received this in an email donkey’s years ago

the ultimate dating game…?

In kacs on 12/09/2006 at 3:40 am

Sadly this is not what you think. In spite of obvious chemistry and the shared passion for the ‘game’, this is no Blind Date reality-show-match in the making between Vesselin and Judith. Or to be more precise, Grandmasters Vesslin Topalov and Judith Polgar to you and I. This is a chess ‘match’ between the recent World Champion and the current World’s best female Grandmaster in the history of the game (and consistently among the top 10 in the world, men or women) being held from December 7–9 2006 at the renowned Gugenheim Museum in the Basque city of Bilbao. And yes, they are playing blindfolded.
The match consists of six rapid games, two played on each of the three days. Time controls are 25 minutes per game for each player + 10 sec. per move. The rounds start at 17:30h local time. You can watch the game in a live Java broadcast provided by the official site, or in the broadcast room of
On the first day Veselin Topalov unfortunately won the first game in 27 moves with the white pieces in a Keres Attack of the Sicilian Scheveningen. The second game ended after 55 moves in a draw. Since we know that all you people are eagerly awaiting to find out the exact moves, we bring the following play by play of this exciting match for your edification and overnight analysis. Enjoy 🙂

GM Topalov,Veselin [BUL] (2813) – GM Polgar,Judit [HUN] (2710) [B81]Duelo Mundial de Ajedrez a Ciega blind Bilbao ESP (1), 07.12.20061.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Be3 Be7 7.g4 h5 8.gxh5 Rxh5 9.h4 Nc6 10.Be2 Re5 11.Nf3 Ra5 12.a3 d5 13.b4 Nxb4 14.axb4 Bxb4 15.Bd2 dxe4 16.Nb5 Rxa1 17.Qxa1 Bc5 18.Ng5 a6 19.Qe5 axb5 20.Qxc5 Ra1+ 21.Bd1 b6 22.Qxb5+ Bd7 23.Qb2 Qa8 24.0-0 b5 25.Bb4 Ra2 26.Qe5 Qc6 27.h5 1-0.
GM Polgar,Judit (2710) – GM Topalov,Veselin (2813) [B33]Bilbao Blindfold match (2), 07.12.20061.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Bg5 12.Nc2 0-0 13.h4 Bh6 14.g3 Rb8 15.Bh3 Bxh3 16.Rxh3 a5 17.Nce3 Bxe3 18.Nxe3 Ne7 19.h5 f5 20.exf5 Nxf5 21.Qd5+ Kh8 22.Nxf5 Rxf5 23.h6 Qf6 24.hxg7+ Kxg7 25.0-0-0 Rxf2 26.Qxd6 Qg5+ 27.Kb1 Qg6+ 28.Qxg6+ hxg6 29.Rd7+ Kf6 30.Rhh7 Re2 31.Rd6+ Kf5 32.a3 g5 33.Ra6 b4 34.axb4 axb4 35.Rf7+ Kg4 36.Ra4 Kxg3 37.Rxb4 Rxb4 38.cxb4 Re4 39.b5 Rb4 40.Rb7 e4 41.b6 g4 42.Kc2 e3 43.Kd3 Rb3+ 44.Ke2 Kh2 45.Rh7+ Kg2 46.b7 g3 47.Rg7 Kh2 48.Rh7+ Kg1 49.Rg7 g2 50.Rh7 Rxb2+ 51.Kxe3 Rb6 52.Kd4 Kf2 53.Rf7+ Ke2 54.Rg7 Rxb7 55.Rxg2+ 1/2-1/2.
Click to replay and download games

winner of ‘Not My Job’ award

In Uncategorized on 12/08/2006 at 8:35 pm

…although we think an argument could well be made for “respect the nature” award…

Thanks misszoepearl 🙂

and just in time for the holidays…

In Uncategorized on 12/07/2006 at 1:09 am

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the leading causes of death in the United States are, in this order, heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and “accidental injury,” a broad category that includes a lot of stuff that just happens.

You are more likely to commit suicide or fall to your death than be killed by a tsunami or any natural disaster, the odds say.

…but you just might suffer a fatal car accident, have a heart attack or fall to your death (though probably not all at the same time), according to a recent study by National Geographic. The results of the study, rendered in an interesting series of concentric circles which we can only reproduce tiny-style here(click here for the full graphic), are both fascinating and at the same time not all that surprising. Learning that cancer was considerably more likely to do me in than a fireworks accident (hence, this blog’s title) wasn’t particularly jaw-dropping. But, being the trivia buff that I am, I couldn’t resist the picayune (and morbid) details. So let’s run the numbers!

In 2003, your lifetime odds of dying by
– falling out of bed were 1 in 4,473.
– being crushed by a nonvenomous reptile was, unsurprisingly, 0.
– a sudden change in air pressure were 1 in 374,804.
– having your pajamas catch on fire were 1 in 1,249,356.
– an accidental overdose of sleeping pills or other narcotics were 1 in 406. (A little too close to 1 for comfort, if you ask me.)
– cataclysmic storm were 1 in 49,974.

The big problem with this study? All the odds are for 2003. What if my odds of being crushed by a reptile are like 1 in 5 this year? (For some reason, thinking about my odds of dying a lot tends to put me on edge.)

thanks to Mental-Floss boys;)

be Adequite…

In Uncategorized on 12/01/2006 at 3:19 am

Lohan offers words of condolence to Altman’s family

There are those who have been moved to great eloquence and passion by the death of the eminent film director Robert Altman. And then there is Lindsay Lohan.

The 20-year-old actress, who scored a part in Altman’s last movie, A Prairie Home Companion, made the interesting decision to go public with a condolence letter she wrote to the Altman family in the wake of his death from cancer last week. The passion was certainly there – she, like many dozens of actors before her, clearly adored the experience of working in Altman’s characteristic freeform style – but the letter was also spectacular in its incoherence and disregard of basic grammar and spelling.

“I am lucky enough to of been able to work with Robert Altman amongst the other greats on a film that I can genuinely say created a turning point in my career,” she began, less than certainly. “He was the closest thing to my father and grandfather that I really do believe I’ve had in several years… He left us with a legend that all of us have the ability to do.” A little lower down, she fell into improv philosophy, apparently riffing on the notion that life is too short to waste: “Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourselves’ (12st book) – everytime there’s a triumph in the world a million souls hafta be trampled on. – altman Its true. But treasure each triumph as they come.” And she signed off, “Be adequite. Lindsay Lohan.”

The letter has become the talk of Hollywood since its release over the weekend. Was the actress on a misguided – and utterly botched – quest for publicity, exploiting the death of a revered director for her own purposes? Had she been on one of her legendary party benders? Or was this Exhibit A for the indictment of America’s education system?

Lohan fans sought to argue that the letter really was not that incoherent after all – the errors no worse than the average teenage e-mail exchange.

Patt Morrison, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times, begged to differ, calling the letter “alarmingly incoherent” and questioning what it was Lohan had learnt at the Long Island schools that gave her straight As.

“As for the brilliant Mr Altman himself,” Ms Morrison added, “I suspect he might find sardonic comedic potential in all of this.”

By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 29 November 2006