Monday, January 28, 2013


Hey sexy laaaaadies, remember this one:

"Kill those f**king Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives...
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers...
Kill them all slowly and painfully."

Doesn't ring a bell, you say? It's none other than YouTube rap sensation and Kim Jong Un lookalike Psy's 2004 South Korean anti-Iraq war ditty.  Hardly American Idol material, but that didn't stop the Obamas from inviting him to the White House Christmas party. Sadly, I guess Hugo Chavez was still recovering from surgery and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad couldn't get a holiday flight out; otherwise the two could've sung back-up for Psy during the hate-laden refrain.

I wonder what kind of chow gets served at a White House Christmas party? I bet it's a tad better than the seaweed and tree bark that many of those in the DPRK subsist on.

Maybe less time around buffet tables and more time with his ample face in a history book would help Psy understand that 36 516 "f**king Yankees" died giving him the liberty to make an ass of himself.

Gangnam style!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hard Work's Substitute Takes The Lead

Cher once famously quipped, “If it came in a bottle, everyone would have a good body.”  The remark was part of Jack LaLanne Health Spa’s advertising campaign of which Cher was an apt pitchwoman back in the 80’s. The statement has certainly been contradicted by all the fads, gimmicks, potions, and elixirs designed to help the desperate achieve their fitness and weight loss goals that have come and gone since Cher’s famous pronouncement.

The latest device currently seeking FDA approval is the AspireAssist pump.  Just when you thought stomach stapling and gastric banding were as fantastically absurd as it gets, along comes this little wonder.  The pump uses a tube that’s inserted into the stomach, passes through the abdomen and linked to a port on the person’s skin. After eating, the person attaches a bag to the port and siphons off the top third of the stomach’s contents before they can be assimilated and turned into fat.  I shit you not. You’d be bang-on if this sounded to you like bulimia minus the spoon, gagging, vomiting, and messy cleanup. 

When are we going to start just sewing people's mouths shut?

Aspire CEO Katherine Crothall states that the device, “is a very serious therapy for morbidly obese people who want to lose weight.” Ya, and Percocet and Vicodin were designed to treat patients in pain, right?  How long will it be before this medical marvel is marketed to post-natal moms looking for assistance in shedding baby fat? Or doctors-to-the-stars (cue Michael Jackson’s Propofol-pushing Dr. Murray) are “prescribing” it to starlets looking to land the lead in the next blockbuster? Perhaps  it’s telling that the story on the device is featured in today’s newspaper in the Entertainment section, rather than a more relevant section.  And of course once some tasteless tabloid cleverly suggests that Angelina Jolie is using the AspireAssist, can a late-night infomercial be that far behind?

Will the pump work?  Probably, but that shouldn’t be considered anyone's happy ending.

The best diet advice you’re ever going to get remains, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”, where “food” is meant to include only that which either heals you or nourishes you.

Easier said that done indeed, but we’ll never teach the young and impressionable that the path to success is paved with hard work in a world full of gimmicky shortcuts.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The lucky break

I've never put much faith in luck; good or bad. I know there have been times in my life when I worked very hard at something and "good luck" seemed to follow. Other times when I remained uncommitted or disengaged, "bad luck" was sure to appear.

As for fate and destiny, I believe that we create our own through our actions and inactions.

And I suppose you couldn't call me a superstitious guy. I proposed on the 13th. We were married on the 13th, so our anniversary occasionally falls on Friday, the 13th. Our house number is 13.

I do, however, believe in chance occurrences that have a seemingly insignificant meaning when taken at face value, but have a profound impact on your life when you dig a little deeper. In my philosophy, this is how our world speaks to us. How well we listen dictates our actions and these actions become our "life".

My world spoke to me loud and clear on a cold November evening in 1995. At the end of a first date, while nervously trying to unlock my frozen passenger-side door, my key broke clean off. With the car no longer an option for getting my date home, we made the journey on foot. Instead of a short drive home, we shared a long, long walk home with nothing else to do than get to know each other a little better. And a date that should've ended at 11:00 lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

My "first date" that night is now my wife.

So Lenchik, on this 13th day of January, 2013 as we celebrate our 13th anniversary, I want you to know that my key breaking off in that lock was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.

January 13th, 2000. St. Lucia, W.I.

Happy Anniversary.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Facebook's Free Lunch

"It's free and always will be."

This is the first greeting you'll encounter if you establish a Facebook account. Since the social networking service tracks everything, I wonder if there's a statistic indicating how many of the billion users actually believe this claim.

Sure, you may never have to crack open your wallet to open an account or to creep around gawking at strangers' holiday pix, but it's amusing how many users cry foul each time Facebook creatively tries to monetize itself.

Although Facebook appears to be a lovely community service of smiling happy faces, that's only a clever disguise. It's really a business (who knew?) and businesses need to make money, else their owners (shareholders, in this case) grow restless and sell their portion, driving down the value of the business as a consequence.

Facebook's latest attempt to monetize some of its services came when its wholly owned photosharing site, Instagram announced a new intellectual property policy that could give it the right to sell users' photographs without notification or compensation to the user. Although the company quickly backpedaled after a public outcry, I was surprised (or sadly, perhaps not) by the sheer volume of users who ostensibly seemed to think that their highly filtered photos would be coveted down on Madison Avenue. I mean does any average user really think that the Sutro'd photo of their drunken visage snapped at some all-inclusive in Aruba is going to make it into the next glossy Sandals brochure?

What part of "world wide web" is being misunderstood?

I came very late to the Facebook party and I'm still undecided as to whether there's a net benefit for me, or not and I've never fooled myself into thinking that anything I post is "private", either. Regardless of how many screens, filters, and barriers I may place in front of my data, I'm keenly aware that someone somewhere can likely view photos that were intended for family consumption only. There has to be a few thousand techies with "all access passes", right? As tired as the cliché is, "govern yourself accordingly."

Fast and loose access to your private online information gets simpler too the older the data becomes.  When one of the first social networks, Friendster collapsed, holders of defunct accounts were shocked to discover years later that their dormant profile data had been sold. Surreptitious indeed, but like gym memberships there's little that can be done about it once a company changes hands. Memory Lane,, Myspace? I'm sure their day is coming.

In the meantime, Facebook will continue to walk the tightrope between making money for its owners and respecting the privacy of its users as neither of these parties can exist without the other.