Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mammogram Guidelines

HOWARD MEGDAL: At first glance, it’s astounding to consider how hard it is to convince people that annual mammograms should start at 50, not 40. Of course, putting it in personal terms makes people fearful, and want to reach for the nearest medical response to the frightening prospect of cancer involving a wife or mother.

However, the evidence is clear. For every 1,904 women screened in their 40s, we see one life saved. We also see 935 false positives. In other words, you are 935 times likelier to face all the awful aspects of stress, dangerous procedures and potential risk than save your life. Continue reading

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Charlie Crist: Leading or beaten?

HOWARD MEGDAL: It seems odd to say it, given his 47-37 percent edge in the latest poll, but Charlie Crist is a decided underdog in an effort to capture the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida next year against Marco Rubio.

CHRIS PUMMER: Considering the national fervor over a conservative insurgent candidate for a House seat in NY-23, and Rubio’s year spent as a darling of right-wing talk radio and blogs, it’s probably fair to start asking why Rubio hasn’t pulled ahead in the polls. Continue reading

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Rocky and Bullwinkle Turn 50

HOWARD MEGDAL: I’ll never forget the time my father and I came home from the video store with a VHS showing some of the best episodes of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: As a child, I wasn’t so into cartoons. Bugs Bunny bored me, Woody Woodpecker grated on my nerves, Smurfs were insipid and creepy, and contentious duos like Tom and Jerry or Heckle and Jeckle were just too cruel. Cartoons were never really my bag — until my mother introduced me to the wonderful world of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Continue reading

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2010 Free Agent Thoughts


Previewing this winter’s free agents, list courtesy of


Eliezer Alfonzo (31)

Brad Ausmus (41)

Paul Bako (38)

Rod Barajas (34) – Type B
HOWARD MEGDAL: Barajas seems particularly suited to this market.…

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Word of the Year: Dithering or Bass-Ackwards

HOWARD MEGDAL: While I applaud Merriam-Webster for correctly identifying the sound and fury signifying nothing from the far right as the dominant characteristic of 2009, I believe they picked the wrong word to truly embody the movement.

DAVE TOMARDithering is the Word of 2009, a reflection both of a Republican party that remains firmly entrenched in the strategies that have defined it for the last decade and of a media outlet for this party that is a lampoon of its own party. Really, they could not have picked a sillier word, presuming that Sarah Palin couldn’t possible pronounce vacillate without saying something dirty. She can’t even pronounce ass-backwards. I guess we’ll see though. Continue reading

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Cake v. Pie

HOWARD MEGDAL: If the game is Cake vs. Pie, the contest is over before either of them reach the oven. Pie in a landslide.

ZOË RICE: You wanna know what’s overrated? Icing. When did dessert artists decide to ruin a lovely piece of spongy, flavored cake with the sickeningly cloying, overly sugared paste that goes between and around it? No, the way to most tastily consume sugar is in delicious, smooth and meltingly soft pie filling.

STEVE MURPHY: I agree, pie is delicious. Incredibly delicious. But it’s flawed. Put a piece of fruit pie on a plate… and it falls apart. Cake doesn’t fall apart when you slide your fork through it. No, cake sticks together. Cake is unified. Cake is strong.

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: When to comes to cake vs. pie, there’s only one answer: cupcakes. There is no dessert more perfect.

TED BERG: I really don’t see why this is even a debate. Cake is far superior to pie.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN:If you put a piece of pie and a piece of cake in front of me, I will put the plate of cake on top of the plate of pie to get it ergonomically closer to my mouth while I eat it, and then wander off in search of more cake. Why? Because cake is a treat. You never know when you’re going to have cake, and you never know when your next cake might be around the corner! Cake is a celebration food, while pie is a signal that the meal is almost over, because hey, suddenly you’re eating pie, and don’t you wish it were cake?

AKIE BERMISS: There is one dessert that I must impugn with fiery indignation. It is a scourge of tiny over-sweet be-frosting-ed mealiness. It is the malefactor’s attempt at miniature mayhem. It is the herald of all things saccharine, the patron saint-food of all empty gestures, the paragon of mediocrity and malfeasance. I am speaking, of course, of the cupcake.

CHRIS PUMMER: Cheesecake is really a pie that calls itself a cake. But no matter the nomenclature, it is far superior to any of its dessert cousins.

EMILY SAIDEL: Ice cream is supreme because it is a dessert with a wide range of variety, a great range of serving size options, and the unique ability–shared only with whipped cream–to enhance other desserts. Continue reading

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Nabakov’s New Novel: The Original of Laura

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: It’s easy to see why it was tempting to (very, very posthumously) publish Vladimir Nabokov’s final work-in-progress, The Original of Laura. Nabokov’s a literary icon, one of the greats of the 20th century. But when is it right to go against a man’s dying wish? And what if the end result turns out to be disappointing and brings with it a significant amount of backlash?

AKIE BERMISS: I was never a huge Nabokov fan for reasons too many and varied to go into. My first tastes of Nabokov were heavy doses of his work paired with virulent myopia and over-bearing personalities. I’ve admired him, if at all (and sometimes begrudgingly) only from afar. As a spectator of those who adore him senselessly. And I have no desire to impugn the author or his body of work with something like ignorant cynicism (though that is often the accusation) — but maybe in another life, I may come to love the words of Vladimir Nabokov. Continue reading

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Things That Make No Sense: Scientology and the Electoral College

LILIT MARCUS: So, I’m a religion journalist. Can you imagine a less glamorous job? No one wants to make dinner party conversation about the Pope’s latest speech. However, if I want people to sit rapt and stare at me, all I have to do is offer to explain what the hell Scientology is about. I was going to do that here, and then I realized that a) it’s been done already, and b) I can provide it right here in all its brilliant South Park glory.

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: At least you get invited to dinner parties. As a lawyer, I don’t get called unless and until a guest slips and falls! Okay, I’m not that kind of lawyer. But I too have an excess of information no one wants. For example: I understand the Electoral College (U.S. version). You can too! Continue reading

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SNL: Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Dave Matthews Band


C O L D   O P E N :

Lesson learned here: sarcasm through a translator will pretty much always be funny. And I continue to look forward to Fred Armisen’s…

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Sexiest Man Alive

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: There are a fair number of things wrong about People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” award – mainly that the award is incredibly poorly named. If the recipient were truly this sexiest man alive, would the honor rotate every year? I think not. I think that person should retain the title until he became unsexy and therefore demoted, or until he dies.

LILIT MARCUS: Let’s just be honest here. Sexiest Man Alive is a euphemism for Person With the Most Hardworking Publicist. I mean, do you think that ridiculously good-looking bartender or buff firefighter will be chosen, even though they’re way hotter than inaugural winner Mel “Sugartits” Gibson ever was in his prime? No. And do you know why? Because they can’t afford publicists.
Continue reading

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