Sunday, January 13, 2008

Surf Was Up at Mavericks!

I admit to an unhealthy fear of the water: the one time I did try swimming (after being pushed into a canal in Venice), I sank like a waterlogged bolt of fine wool gabardine. However, I discovered an utter fascination with surfing (watching, that is) on a long-ago vacation in O'Hawaii. The big wave riders at the North Shore breaks such as Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and the Bonzai Pipeline are amazing athletes in what many professional commentators consider the most dangerous sport on the planet.
Living in Carmel, California, I regularly walk down to the beach and sit for an hour or so to watch the locals rip. But yesterday, I motored up Coastal Route 1 to Half Moon Bay to see this year's Mavericks Surf Contest at Pillar Point. The magnitude of what these intrepid acquamariners face is documented below.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Doctor in the Mouse?

There's a really interesting article in Salon today about patient access to medical information on the web. It's written by an M.D. and is a counter to the petulance (I almost said flatulence) that appeared in Time magazine (and online) titled "When the Patient Is a Googler." The Time article is also by an M.D. I never thought I'd hear an intelligent, educated person (a scientist, no less) turn 'Googler' into a dirty word.

I have a close friend who goes in for a four-level cervical laminoplasty next week. Since this is spinal surgery, he wanted to learn as much as possible about the procedure and the recovery and the success rates and all the, you know, really pertinent stuff. So he turned to the Web. Now he feels much better (though he did have a tough time seeing a video of this operation on YouTube).

So, raspberries to you, Time medicine man - time for a upgrade!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Quadrophenia (and other great music)

Finally got around to ripping one of my holiday presents: Quadrophenia, The Who's second rock opera. And I thought Tommy was great with its amazing musicianship (just listen to Townsend on the acoustic guitar in the Overture) and tight thematic orchestrations that made that album one of the sixties classic rock set pieces. Quadrophenia though is, I believe, The Who's crowning achievement. This is immortal music and a must listen. Definitely something I would take if stranded on a desert isle (and still able to play my iPod).

Here are my music (re)discoveries in 2007:

1. Led Zeppelin (all of it)
2. The Who (Tommy, Quadrophenia)
3. The Beatles (anything and everything)
4. Schubert (the piano sonatas)
5. Bach (the cello suites - Rostropovich, naturally)
6. Jan Klemmer (Touch - the most romantic jazz album ever)
7. Al Di Meola (Kiss My Axe - no explanation required)
8. Lee Ritenour (Stolen Moments is a jazz classic)
9. Dave Brubeck (Time Out)
10. Jane Monheit (the best of the young jazz singers)