Two Great Vincent Price Murder Films

Theatre of Blood / MadhouseBefore there were slasher films that systematized violence to the point of pure boredom, there were great horror films in the 1970s. Unlike great murder fests of earlier times like House of Wax, these films were quite graphic—not, “cutting off a limb with a chainsaw” graphic, but lots of blood and some pretty cool gore. And this last week, I happened upon one I do not remember seeing. (But I might well have when I was a poorly supervised kid!) The film is, Madhouse. Looking at the poster brings to mind the film Vincent Price made right before it: Theatre of Blood.

When I was younger, I loved the Plaza Theater in Petaluma. All they showed were double features, which changed each night. So one night they might show Yojimbo and Sanjuro. The next: Wizards and American Pop. And then: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and Get Crazy. I wish I owned a theater where I could put together cool double features. If I did, I would run Madhouse and Theatre of Blood.

Madhouse would have to be the first film, because it just isn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong: it’s great fun. Vincent Price plays a hugely successful actor known for the character “Dr. Death.” He’s about to be married when his fiance turns up dead. (I won’t ruin it by telling you how.) He goes crazy but then we jump ahead many years when he is trying to restart his career in a British television show. There are more murders. It is all bizarre and wonderful—including a victim’s extremely silly parents who seem only interested in being compensated for their loss and the amazing spider woman. The problem with it, from my perspective is that it is a whodunnit. But the whole way through I was thinking, “It’s can’t be that obvious!” It is.

Theatre of Blood is one of my very favorites. It combines two of my favorite things: Shakespeare and horror. It is a much more straight forward film: Vincent Price is the “bad” guy. He plays a rather overwrought Shakespearean actor driven to kill himself by bad reviews. But somehow he managed to survive. So one by one he kills off his critics using scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. It is absolutely delightful. I often use Theatre of Blood to cheer myself up. And the fact that a large number of critics get their grisly due makes it all a very happy experience.

It turns out that I am not the only person to think that these two delightful revenge films would work as a double feature. MGM Home Entertainment’s Midnite Movies has them available on one DVD: Theater Of Blood/MadHouse. But as usual with these releases, there are no special features. That’s a shame. These aren’t just fun B films; they are the films that brought us to where we are. There would never have been Evil Dead or Dead Snow without them.[1] And are we really to believe that there isn’t some Vincent Price biographer who isn’t itching to watch these films with us?

But if you are not up for buying anything, Madhouse is currently available to stream on Netflix. Currently, Theatre of Blood is not. But it has been in the past. So look out for it. But the best thing is to get all your friends together and make an evening of the two films.


This scene is not from Madhouse, “It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!”

[1] You are absolutely not allowed to talk about Night of the Living Dead! I’ll just force you back to Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price anyway. But we should just admit that all these are all important films leading us forward.

Many People Just Hate Iran

John McCainI have a great fondness for Iran. Or maybe it is just that I really like the food at Maykadeh Persian Cuisine in San Francisco. Whatever. But the truth is my impression of Iran is as a modern people who would very much like to throw off the chains of their theocratic overlords and rush as fast as possible to their own variation of modernity. And what I say to all such people is, “Welcome!” And the best way to do that is to include Iran in our world, not exclude it. Our long-running tiff with Iran has been a disaster.

So the fact that we are talking to Iran in some capacities and that we have at least a short-term deal with them is great. So I’m being honest. I’m really not terribly worried about Iran getting a nuclear weapon. I wish they would not. We need to be destroying nuclear weapons not creating them; we certainly don’t need more countries with them. And Iran acquiring one would start a Middle East arms race. But fundamentally, I want good relations with Iran—which I think will solve the nuclear issue anyway.

People on the other side of the issue are not being honest. None of this is about a nuclear armed Iran. What these people want is a weak Iran. People in the region have their reasons. If Iran’s economy took off, it would be a powerhouse. That would understandably make Israel nervous. And with a strong economy would go much of the power of the theocratic state. And the other despots of the region wouldn’t like to see that.

In America, most of the hatred of Iran goes back to the embassy hostage crisis. But that was 33 years ago. Get over it! The country had a revolution. These things happen. It’s time to get on with the business of nations. Think: detente. I know that most people here claim that their problem with Iran is concern for Israel. But that makes no sense. Israel can take care of itself. And if it gets into problems, the United States is totally behind it.[1] What’s really going on is seen very clearly with John McCain. He just hates Iran and wants to do anything he can to harm it. I understand that, but that is no way to run a country’s foreign policy.

Matt Yglesias wrote an excellent short article this morning, The Risk Is the Iran Deal Will Work. And that’s definitely what I see. If this deal works, then all the people who want sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program will have to admit that it wasn’t about that at all. The nuclear threat was just a cover.[2]

[1] I remember this same kind of bullshit during the Persian Gulf War. Iraq was held up as this big bad military. It was nothing of the kind. But it was good for selling a war.

[2] Last week I was listening to NPR and a caller said that we shouldn’t reduce the sanctions on Iran because the regime is about to fall. There are several issues with this. First, the sanctions are hurting the people, not just or even primarily the regime. Second, we don’t want to see revolution; incremental improvements are best for the world and for the Iranian people. And third, are you fucking kidding me?! In the minds of conservatives, governments and movements they don’t like are always on the verge of collapse. All that is needed is a little more bombing, a little more starvation, a little more whatever. This is why we waterboarded Kahlid Sheik Mohammed 183 times; after 182 times, some asshole was there saying, “He’s about to break, I just know it!”

Income Inequality is Government Policy

Dean BakerOne thing I still hear a lot is that the reason there is so much income inequality is education and lack thereof. This goes along with the idea that there is “structural unemployment.” It isn’t that companies aren’t hiring, it is just that workers don’t have the skills that companies need! This is, of course, a supply side analysis of the problem. It amazes me with the utter failure of supply side theory over the last three decades that people still push these ideas.

Today, conservative economists want us to believe this nonsense even when this is exactly what they were saying during the Great Depression. I would think they would be embarrassed about this. But they are so wedded to their ideology that they just dig in further. They can’t be wrong—their models say so!

Another part of this madness is the idea that robots and computers are the cause of widening inequality and high unemployment. In other words: accountants are no longer necessary since we have QuickBooks. Dean Baker has been arguing against this fantasy for years now. As he says, “This story is comforting to elites because it means that inequality is something that happened, not something they did.” But he showed the lie to this in a Guardian article yesterday, Technology Didn’t Kill Middle Class Jobs, Public Policy Did.

It is mostly based upon some research by three of his colleagues at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Baker highlights the work on the disappearing middle class during the 2000s. What has happened is that middle-wage jobs have disappeared, only to be replaced by low-wage jobs. If this was just the economy adjusting to a new normal, we should have seen the earnings of low-wage workers increase. But we don’t see that at all. Basically: money that used to go to wages now simply goes to profits.

Baker mentions two reasons for this. First is the inequality of trade deals. Our government has signed onto deals that put manufacturing workers in direct competition with similar workers in other countries. This has caused wages to decrease. But at the same time, our government has held onto protections for high-wage earners like doctors, lawyers, and the like. It has also strengthened copyright protections. So while the middle class has gotten poorer, the cost of living has increased.

The second issue, and the most important in my opinion, is the decline of trade unions. And this is absolutely, positively not natural. Starting with the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and getting a huge boost by Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers, it has been open season on unions since about the time when they got established. (Note: the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization stupidly supported Reagan in 1980.) This one is extremely simple. Businesses have costs and receipts. They try to minimize costs and maximize receipts so that they can maximize their profits. Strong unions can force some of that profit to be spent on costs—namely workers. This is why businesses generally don’t like unions.

But it isn’t just about worker pay. CEO salaries can be kept in line by unions. There was a time when a company would have been afraid of all the bad press they would get when a CEO got twenty million dollars. Unions used to be a check against corporate greed and malfeasance. What’s more, strong unions would be a force against unfair trade agreements. I think basically all of our income inequality problems would be solved (directly and indirectly) with strong unions.

The point is that we have the income inequality we have because it has been government policy. This isn’t the “free market at work!” This is the power elite controlling government for their own purposes. The first step to fixing our broken system is to recognize this. Things don’t just happen to be bad; they are bad because the rich want it that way.

Peanuts and Secular Humanism

Charles SchulzOn this day in 1895, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill “W” Wilson was born. I understand the reason for starting the group. These were serious drunks who needed help. But there is no doubt that Bill W was a pernicious force in the 20th century. To begin with, the whole program is based upon religious teachings and the search for spiritual redemption. He could have followed in the non-religious tradition of the Washingtonian movement. And here’s the thing: Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t work. People are forced into this quasi-Christian cult and the only thing it clearly does for them is make their relapses longer. Basically, Bill W was a charlatan and the snake oil he sold was Alcoholics Anonymous. Thankfully, there is finally starting to be institutional push back against the whole 12-step “program.” I have no doubt that in 50 years, people will look back and ask, “Why did anyone think a religious program was a cure for drug addiction?” One might as well perform an exorcism on an addict.

Other birthdays: physician and activist Mary Edwards Walker (1832); inventor Willis Carrier (1876); botanist Ruth Patrick (1907); actor Robert Goulet (1933); the British Russ Meyer, Stanley Long (1933); comedian Rich Little (75); puppeteer Wayland Flowers (1939); singer Tina Turner (74); novelist Marilynne Robinson (70); and cartoonist Roz Chast (59).

The day, however, belongs to the cartoonist Charles M Schulz who was born on this day in 1922. He is my hometown hero. One of the few things that haven’t changed here is the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which is designed to look like a Swiss chateau. When I was a kid, it seemed so big. Now when I drive past it, it seems tiny. Anyway, it is still used all the time, even as each rollerskating rink has vanished. It’s all kind of campy, as are all the Peanuts statues throughout the town. It could be worse.

When I was a kid, I loved Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang. In its time, it was the best comic strip going. Bill Watterson said that it defines the modern strip and that everyone who came after Schulz was just following his lead. I think that’s about right. The one thing that eventually turned me off the strip was its marketing. I can’t bear to watch the TV shows anymore. The insurance and junk food commercials are terrible. I am forever grateful that Watterson doesn’t market Calvin and Hobbes. Making those characters concrete would just ruin it.

I was happy to learn today that Schulz grew out of his Christianity. For the last decade plus of his life, he referred to himself as a secular humanist. I had always assumed that he was a hardcore Christian, because of all the explicit Biblical references in the strip. And indeed, he was once a Christian. But I suspect he valued the Bible the way a lot of us atheists do. It’s got a lot of good material in it—for good and bad. Schulz was a profound guy:

Peanuts - Democracy of Rain

Happy birthday Charles M Schulz!

Calm Down

Sitting quietly in class all day is a very difficult thing to do! Being 9 years old and adding ADHD on top of it makes it almost impossible but somehow my son manages with the help of DAYTRANA patch, self-control and lots of concentration. He really deserves a medal as far as I’m concerned!

There’s no wonder why he bounces off the wall when he gets home. We try to get his energy out by playing basketball, throwing the football or going to a near by indoor trampoline place but even after all the activity he still has a difficult time to slow down for his evening routine. This has caused me to start doing some research on calming supplements, herbs and techniques that I wanted to share.
Lemon Balm – Lemon Balm has several benefits, including reducing stress and calming effect.

Lavender Oil – Scent has calming effect to help promote relaxation and reduction of stress.

Magnesium – A mineral that’s non-existent with my son’s intake due to being a picky eater. Having anxiety and being under stress actually depletes your magnesium level, I actually might need some of this too. Magnesium helps you sleep better, gets rid of stress and helps your brain work better.

Calming Techniques – Deep Breathing, stretching, listening to music, walking (in case of my son running), squeezing a stress ball, drawing and/or writing. The calming techniques are a work in progress for us since my son has a hard time slowing down to recognize that he needs to implement them.

We are now starting my son on magnesium supplements and applying lavender oil to his temples to help him slow down in the evening, hopefully, one of them or both will help him slow down. It hurts to see my son struggling with all the obstacles that accompany his ADHD but I know we will be stronger and more educated with our hands on experiences. I will keep you posted on our new path to calmness!

Boehner’s Obamacare Woes

John BoehnerAs you may recall, yesterday, I wrote about John Boehner’s experience signing up for Obamacare, GOP Silence on Good Obamacare News. My focus was on the fact that when bad news comes out about Obamacare (Or just news that seems like it is bad news), the conservative press is all over it. But when that news is shown to be incorrect, nothing is said. In that case, as soon as Boehner indicated that he wasn’t able to sign up for Obamacare, the right wing chamber started to echo. But when less than an hour later we was able to do it, the right wingers just dropped the subject.

There was also the issue that it seemed like Boehner had received a decent deal on the exchange, so I talked about the fact that he didn’t mention it. But then, his office announced through Politico that he was actually paying twice as much as he was before. I smelled a rat. In an update, I noted:

First, that sounds like it comes direct from Boehner’s office and not an actual journalist. Second, given that the Boehners get their insurance through their employers, wasn’t the actual cost they were paying higher than their own contributions? That is: what about the employer’s contribution? Third, by opting out of employer insurance, are they throwing themselves into a high risk pool—namely the “old and smoking” pool?

Well, my answer came today from some fine reporting by Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times, The Dirty Secrets Behind Boehner’s “Spiking” Obamacare Premiums. I’m still not certain how Boehner’s current plan works, but the main reason he has to pay more is because he is moving from an employer plan that doesn’t take his age into account to a private plan that does.

Think about it: this is how insurance works. We constantly hear conservatives complain about how young healthy people shouldn’t have to subsidize healthcare for the old and unhealthy. But that’s how employer provided insurance works. As Hiltzik shows, if Boehner were 50 instead of 64, he would be paying less through Obamacare. What’s more, if Boehner worked anywhere but in Congress, nothing would change:

Boehner has only his congressional colleagues to blame for his having to use the insurance exchange at all—the Senate GOP mandated that members of Congress and their staffs, uniquely among federal employees, move their insurance to the exchanges. And now they’re complaining about the complexity and cost? That’s gall.

The takeaway from all of this is that Boehner may be doing worse by moving to private insurance through Obamacare. But he is not typical of people who work for Congress. And he is nothing at all like people who don’t work for Congress. This is all very typical: scratch an Obamacare horror story and you find nothing there but a fairly well designed system that is providing people with good health insurance at a reasonable cost.

Update (26 November 2013 2:54 pm)

Brian Beutler provides the full rundown of this at Slate, John Boehner: Obamacare’s New Best Friend. Basically, it is just what I said: Boehner was getting highly socialized healthcare through his employer plan and now he is getting less socialized healthcare in the individual market. But if Boehner were currently in the individual market, he would see that his premiums have gone way down.

The thing that Beutler makes particularly clear is who is paying for what. His old plan cost him $433 per month, but his employer threw in $426 per month. That means his old plan was $859. His new plan costs $875, but his employer is still going to pay the $426, so he will have to pay $449—$16 more than he currently does. It is true that he is getting less, as discussed above. But it most certainly is not the case that he is paying double.

Dog Violence Is Completely Unacceptable

Dog Attack Victim - See TextAs regular readers know, I admire Great White sharks. I admire grizzly bears. And I admire the larger molosser dogs such as the American Pit Bull Terrier. But I don’t think any of them should be kept as pets. These dogs have been bred for fighting. They’re good at it. And when they go bad and attack (and even kill) humans, we shouldn’t be surprised.

It doesn’t help that men who are trying to compensate for their own feelings of inferiority are attracted to these dogs. And according to the ASPCA, “His intimidating appearance has made him attractive to people looking for a macho status symbol, and this popularity has encouraged unscrupulous breeders to produce puppies without maintaining the pit bull’s typical good nature with people.” So we start with a breed that has a violent nature, appealing to macho assholes, causing breeders to make even less domesticated dogs.

I don’t know how we got to this point. We should never have accepted any kind of pet that was not entirely submissive to humans. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have character, but serious injury should not be on the list of “common accidents.” The ASPCA article is largely an apologia for pit bulls. But even it notes, “[T]hey tend to bite harder in play than other breeds.” And, “They’re easily excited and, when in an agitated state, they may have little control over their behavior…” Just great!

The website Dogs Bite produces lists of fatalities from dogs each year. Their list from 2013 includes 29 victims thus far. Almost all of them are pit bulls or other larger molosser breads. And I know: this is a small number of deaths compared to other causes. But these are completely preventable deaths that occur primarily so that some people can keep the most badass dog breed around that is responsible for the vast majority of dog on human death.

I bring this up because yesterday in St. George, Utah, a child’s face was half ripped off by a pit bull. He almost certainly would have died except that his 6-year-old friend pulled the dog off him until help arrived. The story is pitched from the perspective of the heroic 6-year-old. And indeed, he is a hero. But the bigger question is why his dog was being kept as a pet.

This isn’t about pit bulls. Whenever a dog attacks someone, there are always people who want to forgive the dog and justify what happened. I don’t care. I don’t think the dogs are evil; they are just doing what their genetics and environment dictate. But violent dogs should never be pets. And breeds that are known to be violent should not be acceptable pets. See that picture above. That is Nephi Selu, another 6-year-old boy who was killed by the family’s pit bull mix (also in photo). The dog was a male and had not been neutered. The owner was a police officer. According to the family, the boy and dog were best of friends. Until they weren’t.

It’s not acceptable to have dogs bread to fight as pets. It’s like having our children play in mine fields. We try to clean up mine fields; we should try to clean up our pets’ gene pool. Pets add so much to our lives, they should never be allowed to be a mixed blessing.

Jessica Sanford and the Power of Math

Jessica SanfordDanny Westneat wrote a most amazing article over at The Seattle Times, Debunking Obamacare Sob Story. It is about Jessica Sanford, a single mother who has gone 15 years without health insurance. She was able to get it for just $169 per month and the administration used her as an example of an Obamacare success story. And then things went wrong.

The state made a mistake calculating her income and the insurance was going to cost more. But really, not that much more. It was going to cost her $237 for a “bronze” plan for herself and $30 for full coverage for her son. That’s a total of $267, or $98 more per month. That’s a shame, but for a woman making almost $50,000 per year, it doesn’t seem unreasonable. Regardless, Sanford now says she can’t afford insurance.

Of course, this caused the right wing press to go absolutely crazy. Rush Limbaugh published, Another Lie: The Story of Jessica Sanford. And you can well imagine the rest. But here’s the thing: the numbers don’t back up the story that Sanford is being harmed.

Sanford’s son suffers from ADHD and she spends $250 per month on medication for him. That medication should be covered by his $30 policy. So Jessica Sanford should have to pay only:

$237 + $30 – $250 = $17

It could be that the new plan will not pay all of the cost of the medication, but even if it pays 50%, her insurance will be only $142. Or it could be that she is exaggerating about what she now pays for medication. Or it could be that the only way she thinks she can afford insurance is if the government pays her $81 per month ($169 – $250).

But I think the most likely case is that she just hasn’t thought about the savings that the insurance will provide. The whole thing is very frustrating because we hear about these terrible injustices in Obamacare. They are widely reported. And when everything is factored in, people end up with at least reasonable deals. But that isn’t reported. And for an old scientist like me, I don’t appreciate the whole anecdote game anyway. But if we are going to talk anecdotes, we should at least be sure they are true.

Lope de Vega

Lope de VegaOn this day in 1896, the great composer Virgil Thomson was born. I like his work, but it is bizarre in Thomson’s own way. There is, of course, Four Saints in Three Acts with its libretto by Gertrude Stein (And is it ever Gertrude Stein!) with music that is completely fitting. But here is his score to The River, a documentary about the Mississippi. It uses many American standards in what are often very humorous ways:

The great jazz saxophonist and composer Paul Desmond was born in 1924. Here is a reworking of his tune “Take Five” from his album Skylark from the end of his career. The song is called “Take Ten”:

The great R&B singer Percy Sledge is 72 today. He is best known for his mega-hit “When a Man Loves a Woman.” He is actually a lot more than that, but it’s still by far my favorite of his work. So:

Other birthdays: physicist Julius von Mayer (1814); horrible businessman Andrew Carnegie (1835); mathematician Ernst Schroder (1841); hell road paver Carrie Nation (1846); children’s author P D Eastman (1909); baseball player Joe DiMaggio (1914); one of the great villains of the 20th century, Augusto Pinochet (1915); film director Norman Tokar (1919); the stupidest “smart” guy ever Ben Stein (69); and actor John Larroquette (66).

The day, however, belongs to perhaps the greatest playwright of all time, Lope de Vega, who was born on this day in 1562. During his lifetime, he wrote at least 500 plays. He was a writing machine. I can’t help but find Shakespeare wanting in comparison to him, just based upon the fact that Shakespeare stopped writing at the end of his life. Writing seems to have been nothing more than a means to wealth and a coat of arms. Lope was driven. What’s more, Lope was subversive. Whereas Shakespeare never wrote anything that challenged the power elite (quite the opposite actually), Lope did so repeatedly. I wrote about this in, The 500 Plays of Lope We Have Not Read. A great example is from the play Fuente Ovejuna, which I also wrote about:

The synopsis of Fuente Ovejuna is really quite simple. The lord of the town is misbehaving by raping many of the young girl. Finally, the town men rise up and kill the lord. Given that the plot is so simple, the play can deal with the characters, and more important, their interactions.

No character is more important or well written than Laurencia. I know of no female character in all of Shakespeare who can compare with her. There are reasons for this, of course. Vega had actual women actors playing his female characters whereas Shakespeare had boys. As Gary Taylor has noted, this tended to limit the females in his plays to pretty young things and old hags. The only Shakespearean character that strikes me at all like Laurencia is Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. But even Beatrice is at heart a sad sop. Laurencia is captured by the lord, but manages to escape before being raped but after being beaten. She finds the men of the town and yells at them for allowing all that has happened. She shames them into action.

Happy birthday Lope de Vega!

Kennedy Vs. Reagan

Bill MaherAlright folks, this is funny. It is the most recent “New Rules” segment on Real Time with Bill Maher. This one is called “Our Kennedy is Kennedy.” It is a comparison of Kennedy and Reagan, because as Maher correctly notes, Reagan is the Republicans’ Kennedy. But the presentation is done from a liberal perspective and Reagan comes off as pretty bad. While Kennedy was in office, it was the time of, “Ask not what you country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” When Reagan was in office, it was the time, “Greed is good.” Or to be fair, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Because let’s be honest: when the Republicans are in charge, government sure the hell is the problem.

Generally, Maher’s “New Rules” segments are quite insightful. This one really isn’t. It is just funny as hell. There were at least three times when I burst out laughing. That is most especially true of the Judd Nelson joke. I won’t spoil it. But… Poor Judd Nelson! Anyway, enjoy:

The Tea Party Has Always Existed

Obama's Plan: White SlaveryCaptain Fogg over at Human Voices wrote a very compelling contrast between the way the far right treats Obama versus how they treated Kennedy, Remembering the Hero. Even though today Kennedy has an approval rating that tops 90%, while he was in office, he received the same kind over-the-top rhetoric about how he was discarding the Constitution and how he was a traitor.

Let me take it a bit further. Basically, since at least World War II, there has always been about 20% of the population that thinks that the commies are taking control of the nation. That’s not just me, that’s the conclusion of Change They Can’t Believe In.

Ever since 2009, I’ve been amused and outraged that the Tea Party is treated as some legitimate political movement. The mainstream press just loved the idea of middle class people finally organizing. But that’s not what was happening at all! These were the McCarthyites who knew that 81 communists worked in the State Department. These were the Birchers who ranted about the communist plot of water fluoridation[1] in 1960. And of course, these were the people with the “treason” signs on the parade route in Dallas.

I think our country would be a good deal better off if we knew more about John Wilkes Booth. He wasn’t crazy. It was just that in the circles he ran, it was a given that Lincoln was a tyrant. In his mind, he was Brutus in Julius Caesar—not an assassin but a hero of the people.

No one thinks themselves greater patriots than the Tea Party. But they aren’t patriots to the United States. They are patriots to some kind of vague notion of what they think America once was. And most sadly, that usually means an America where only whites had power.

I don’t think most of these people really wanted armed revolt and political assassination. But Captain Fogg is right that these people are sowing it. But whenever there is a tragedy that they helped create—whether it is Dallas or Oklahoma City—they slink away. For a while. When they come back, they don’t slink. They stride proudly back with their signs, “Obama’s Plan: White Slavery!”

[1] This scene from Dr. Strangelove seems like an exaggeration but it isn’t:

Turkey Doesn’t Make You Sleepy

Aaron CarrollAaron Carroll is a health policy expert and a medical school professor and lots more besides. He’s also co-written two very fun books with Rachel Vreeman: Don’t Swallow Your Gum! and Don’t Cross Your Eyes… They’ll Get Stuck That Way!

What I know him from primarily is his writing at The Incidental Economist where he does daily battle with idiot conservatives and intermittent battle with idiot liberals (there isn’t as big a supply of them). For example, on Friday, he wrote, Life Expectancy and Health Care Spending. He provides a graph that shows how most countries conform to a particular trend: the more money they spend on healthcare, the longer their people live. Except for the United States. We spend way more than everyone else and don’t live as long. For example, we live about as long as people do in Chile, but we spend five times as much per person.

Anyway, today, he posted a great video just in time for Thanksgiving: Turkey Doesn’t Make You Sleepy. It is informative and funny and most of all: it will give you something to talk about over Thanksgiving dinner!

I can hardly wait!


I just found the following quote from another of his articles, Survival Rates Are Not the Same as Mortality Rates:

Surprisingly, the email I received was about evenly split between people who claimed no one serious ever says “we have the best health care system in the world” and people who claimed “we have the best health care system in the world.” I wish I could somehow get you all to talk to each other.

What I love about this is that I’ve been exposed to that same whiplash. But I think it isn’t two groups. I think they are the same people who make differing claims depending upon their rhetorical needs.