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Posts Tagged ‘Despair’

It has been a fun month for health and the current administration. Let’s just go over some of the more recent news! stem cell alternatives

A couple weeks ago, Bush rose to the defense of embryos everywhere and vetoed the second stem cell research bill from congress. But just to prove that he still likes everyone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Lupus, he issued an executive order to “encourage” non-mini-baby stem cell research. He proudly gave his support for these alternative methods with a big thumbs up (while neither offering funding nor new avenues of research).

Then early last week the surgeon general also claimed that the Bush’s administration sought to “weaken or suppress important public health reports,” so research and general information on topics including secondhand smoke, global warming, AIDS, contraception, and stem cells were all altered to fall better in line with the current opinion of the Bush administration. Traditionally, positions such as the surgeon general (and attorney generals) have sought to be beyond the political fray, to better serve the public. Luckily these topics affect very few people. It’s not like public needs more scientific information on global warming, std prevention, or smoking. Who would that help? My personal favorite part of this story is the White House’s spokesman’s response: “It’s disappointing to us, if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.” So the White House’s response to the surgeon general’s accusations of them bullying him: “Grow a pair”

Hearing from the surgeon general that the administration officials wanted to water down more negative information on secondhand smoke, comforted me with the idea that the tobacco lobby is still doing well. Before this I thought TheTruth.com won. Speaking of which, I’m sure the tobacco lobby has no influence on the White House’s disapproval the proposed $1 tax hike on cigarettes. This bill is set to support The Children’s Health Insurance Fund by adding $50 billion to the fund over 5 years, as opposed to Bush’s proposed $5 billion. In fact Bush “denounced the Democratic proposals as a step toward ‘government-run health care’ for all”. Truthfully, I’m just amazed that someone can have gumption to spend an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars on a war, while “denouncing” a $50 billion effort for children’s insurance and the idea of universal health care…while offering little alternative. Kudos to you sir!

*A fun and interesting thing to note from the second nytimes article, was that the surgeon general was discouraged from going to the Special Olympics because of politics (the Kennedy family’s involvement). I didn’t really think this was news because Bush has always had a rocky relationship with the mentally disabled.

 

 

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Pool Bar Review: B61

I joined the American Poolplayers Association last season for a weekly 8-ball tournament. Each Monday I join my teammates at either our home bar, Park Slope Billiards, or another bar in the Park Slope/BoCoCa/Red Hook areas. One bar that I have been to several times, both for league play and socially, is B61. Named after the bus line that runs down Columbia St., B61 is a great find.

To begin, it’s a pool player’s dream. Why? Free pool. Not just after ten on Tuesdays, not just during happy hour, ALL THE TIME. You never have to pay for pool. Despite this, they manage to keep the table relatively clean and tidy. The pool area, located in the back room, is spacious and comfortable. There won’t be any need for a short cue in this bar. The only disconcerting thing is that while you’re playing, you occasionally get dripped on, as the roof leaks. It’s probably not wise to go here on rainy nights if you’re planning on really concentrating on your game. I’ve been playing when there were at least ten buckets lined up around the table, most of the them half full.

The bar atmosphere is pretty friendly, with lots of beer on tap and strong drinks (I’m told they make a mean mojito), as well as a very eclectic jukebox selection. The bartenders are friendly and so is the clientele. It should be said however, the free and spacious pool does tend to attract some hustlers. On one of my more recent visits on a Friday night, I played a group of people in the back. It was casual and friendly until two other guys arrived, played a few games and then tried to get me to shoot with them for $200. I declined, and it wasn’t a big deal, but if this annoys you, you should probably steer clear of B61 on the more popular evenings. If you’re looking for a money game however, well, there you go.

And if drinking whets your appetite, there is a Mexican restaurant called Alma right above B61, as well as Jake’s Barbeque next door. No matter what neighborhood you live in, B61 warrants a trip to Red Hook for a nice atmosphere and some free pool.

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Brooklyn Skeptic’s hard-hitting coverage of the tragedy of Anna Nicole Smith’s life/death continues today with news that her death has been deemed “accidental” by Broward County officials. Apparently she suffered some kind of bad reaction as the woman was literally a cornucopia of drugs. If the pilgrims had this woman instead of root vegetables and fish in their corn (growing) holes, let’s just say this country would have turned out a little differently.

cornucopia.gif

A Cornucopia – “The Horn of Plenty”

Imagine it was filled with drugs.

More importantly, the lethal combo for her was eerily similar to the one that killed her son last fall, according to the family coroner. Methadone and anti-depressants. I know after hearing this news, many of you will also have to change your breakfast drug cocktail. And, just a note of caution, if you are injecting your methadone yourself, be sure to wipe your skin with an alcohol swab first, because bacterial infections in your blood also contribute to the likelihood of your kicking up daisies in the manner of Ms. Smith. I only tell you because I care.

Anyway, the bottom line is that this is total bullshit. There is a huge conspiracy afoot, but I’m not sure who the main players are yet – if only because I am constitutionally unable to identify celebrities. I defer to Johnb on this one.

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Republican Party, you have made your god weep.

I really take glee in all of the proclamations of the downfall of the Republican Party (Yet two years ago they said the same about Democrats). It’s probably due to the overwhelming arrogance that it embodies. With people like Bush, Cheney, Gonzoles as the poster-boys. It’s like the joy of watching the bullies and villains at the end of movies get thrown down into a pit of snakes (my apologies, I’ve watched a lot of Indiana Jones).

In my first installment, let’s talk about our favorite Mr. John McCain.

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In the last two days, fifteen people searched for the show about intelligence and fifth graders and landed on Brooklyn Skeptic. WordPress does a nice Big Brother-ish job of telling us how people happened across our site (spooky). Now, of those fifteen people, thirteen searched for something along the lines of “are you smarter then a fifth grader” while two people searched for “are you smarter than a fifth grader.” The answer to both of those questions is that 87% of the people who found our blog because of that show are not, in fact, smarter than fifth graders. This makes Brooklyn sad.

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Pool is passé.

I’m going to break it to you, there are no longer guys in fedoras tapping their wingtips to the jukebox, with a cigarette between their fingers. It’s been replaced by frat boys in polo shirts & baseball caps, or suits with loosened ties. All the romance is gone and has been replaced by a certain banality.

Bocce doesn’t need to get people to pay for it. They know they’ve created a group of individuals who will come to the only bars in Brooklyn (owned by the same person) to get their bocce fix. They’ve created a subculture who crave their hands around their large balls. They will come week after week, set up leagues, and practically live at these bars. Do we need it in more places? No. And I like it that way. Pool you can go almost anywhere. I can barely walk down the street without running into a pool table.

And I’m sorry, something is wrong if you think handling a small stick and delicately hitting small balls is somehow tough. All that green felt is simply bourgeois. Bocce requires you to get down in the dirty court, pick up balls with your bare hands, and throw it down a court. You really learn to channel a more primal energy. You call that cute? Obviously you also haven’t heard the smack talk that goes on.

You have to accept that bocce is the new hotness, while pool is the old hotness…which can’t be anything but lukewarm.

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I don’t think the word ethereal has ever been used in relation to a game where you lob large circular objects onto a court in an effort to knock other balls out of the way. However my point was not that Bocce is ugly. More that Bocce is, in a word, cute. Bocce is billiards’ cute indy-rock girlfriend who is a little more shy and less overtly sexy. Billiards, on the other hand, is slightly more out of one’s league (pun sooo intended). Billiards has a series of shiny, colorful balls and a beautiful green felt table with six evenly placed leather pockets. And you use a looonng, shiny, aerodynamic, wooden stick that you know you just want to wrap your hands around and….. Ahem. Chalk.

Anyway, again, bocce is definitely hot. Its balls just aren’t as polished.

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