The Snoozeletter @

Bibendum (a/k/a "The Michelin Man"). For the past several months, I've been plagued by delayed pressure urticaria, a form of hives. At first, it was just a minor nuisance, a few swollen bumps which appeared at night, and disappeared by morning. But then the bumps became very itchy, and began spreading, until they covered a large percentage of my body. These bumps started developing bumps, and I began to look a bit like Bibendum. So I finally visited a dermatologist on Wednesday, but for some strange reason, medical science can't determine the exact cause of this ailment. So I now have a bunch of drugs that make me spacey and sometimes suppress some of the bumps. Swell.
Vietnam Nurses with Dana Delany: Anikó and I just saw the repeat of this powerful documentary on the WE cable network. Anikó was in the middle of watching another program, when I begged her to change the channel (mainly because my buddy Sue O'Neill is one of the nurses), but we quickly became engrossed. The show consists of many short snippets from the nurse interviews, which meant that Sue could tell only an abbreviated version of The Boy From Montana. Even so, the story touched both of us very deeply.

You can catch the next WE rebroadcast at 10pm ET / 7pm PT on Thursday, August 31, or buy the DVD here. A portion of the proceeds go to The Vietnam Women's Memorial.

Other links: Sue blogs about her part in the project, short bios of the nurses in the show, and WE recommends Sue's book.
Meet My Son, Your New CEO (Slate): "The question of how installing the boss's kid as CEO affects firms' performance is actually quite hard to answer. An initial step is to look at how a company's performance changes after a CEO succession, comparing firms with scion CEOs with those in which executive power passes outside the family. The authors of the new study do this, and they show that in a sample of 5,000 Danish firms from 1994 to 2002, firm performance (measured by the ratio of operating income to assets) improved only after a nonrelative took over. [...] Like all studies, this one has limits—chiefly that it is limited to Danish firms. But we are left with the conclusion that showing favor to family members in the executive suite isn't bad just for other CEO candidates. It's bad for firms' performance as well. To paraphrase the Bard, something nepotistic is rotten in the state of Denmark."

Hm. Alan works for a firm like this...
Pests. In Riverside, they train birds to get rid of birds. In Delhi, they train monkeys to get rid of monkeys. So why can't they train beetles to get rid of beetles?

Yes, the exterminator just sprayed our whole backyard with pesticide, and it really stinks...
X-ray. CAT scan. PET/CT. And now this. Yesterday morning, Anikó and I visited a thoracic cardiovascular specialist, the latest in her month-long Cavalcade of Medical Appointments. He confirmed that she will need surgery. The mass that's positioned between her heart and lung may or may not be malignant, but no doctor will guarantee that it will stop growing if it stays in place. So my brave wife will undergo an operation in the next month or so. The surgeon will break a rib, remove the mass from the side of her body, and wait for results from the hospital's pathology lab. When he knows what it is, he might remove more material.

Like her right lung.

As you can imagine, we're still struggling to process this new development.
Pierce Brosnan should be so lucky. I just tried out the Face Recognition software (celebrity database - faces of the world's 3,200 most famous men and women) at, and evidently I resemble these guys: Robert Patrick (57% match), James Van Der Beek (55%) and Pierce Brosnan (55%).

The bad news? It said I look more like Bridget Fonda (59%)...