Diabetes Cured Again!

No, we mean it this time:

The disease attacks insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. Healthy people have billions of ‘peacekeeping’ cells called ‘T-regs’ which protect insulin-making cells from the immune system but people suffering Type 1 diabetes do not have enough.  
 Now researchers at the University of California and Yale have shown that the ‘T-regs’ can be removed from the body, increased by 1,500x in the laboratory and infused back into the bloodstream to restore normal function.

Bascially, you’d go into the hospital once a year, they’d take two cups of blood out of you, treat it, and put it back in. Then, you don’t need to take any shots or additional insulin for the rest of the year.  I assume you’d just keep an eye on your sugar levels and eat healthy and all would be good.


I’d take that.


I’ll believe it when I see it, though…



The Dog’s Life

four pictures of my dog sleeping in a day

I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t I want to live a dog’s life. Looks – restful.

Granted, you eat the same thing every day for every meal, but…

O.A.R. Concert Video Series: Innsbrook

I’ve been an O.A.R. fan for a decade or more now. After seeing them randomly on a talk show, I hunted them down on-line and downloaded lots of bootlegs off the Internet Archives, which they supported and encouraged.

Nowadays, they record all of their own shows and make them available on their website for $10 a pop, less on some holiday weekends. (They were only $8 over Labor Day, for example.)

In the last couple of weeks, without any warning that I had seen, five concerts popped up as high def downloadable videos. The whole package was $50, or you could buy them individually for $12.99.

O.A.R. Live goes video, with high def material from Innsbrook

There were no previews on the website or on their YouTube channel, so I took a flyer and bought just one to sample: the Innsbrook show, which looked like O.A.R. was playing a small picnic more than anything else. I’m so used to seeing them at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ where the crowd is over 10,000, or in concert videos like Red Rocks and Madison Square Garden. This venue looks tiny by comparison.

I’ll save you that experimentation: If you like the band and you like their concert performances, go ahead and buy whatever shows you want from this list. You have nothing to worry about. They’re worth the money. We could quibble over any number of things, but for the price they are well worth it.

The video quality is excellent. It breaks down a little when you enlarge the image, with some shots later in the show as night falls looking like they got boosted a bit to be brighter and suffering the consequences. However, the default size on my Quicktime Player window works out great and minimizes those effects.

The audio to go along with that is obviously straight off the board and well mixed. Solos come out crisp and clear, no one part of the band ever shouts down the other. All the typical mix-ups from live music mixes are avoided here.

And how about this for a nice bonus: When you buy the concert video, you get the MP3 tracks from the show along with it. Suddenly, your $12.99 purchase includes a $9.99 gift. Not a bad deal at all.

O.A.R. Live goes video, with high def material from Innsbrook

Cameras are scattered around the stage for the show. Of course, there’s one from the soundboard front and center to get the “hero shot” of Marc Roberge singing, or to go wide to get the whole stage filled with people. There’s one or two clamped down around the drum set, from the looks of it, which often provide nice two shots looking over Chris Culos’ shoulder to someone in front of stage. There’s plenty of movement, though. There might not be a camera man sitting on a train track zipping back and forth in front of the first row, but the video never feels static.

Most of the camera angles feel really close to the band. It’s not about placing a bunch of cameras at a discrete distance and then zooming in for ‘clean’ shots. The long shots include the crowd in silhouette at the bottom. Lots of wide angles get used because the cameras are so close.

O.A.R. Live goes video, with high def material from Innsbrook

This one looks like an 11mm or 14mm wide angle lens. Check out the distortion on the far sides.

It’s a bit looser than what you might expect from a high end concert DVD. Cuts are made on the beat and all, but there are some moments where it feels like the wrong performer is being featured. Some solos are missed — though very few. I’d bet the camera aimed at the soloist had someone else standing in the way, so the weird cut was to hide that loss. (Like, at the end of “I Want Peace,” why is the trumpeter shown singing along with the final line of the song, rather than Roberge?).

The more I watch it, the more I appreciate some of the less traditional concert camera angles, like the two shots that fit the rule of thirds. This is a video shot with a still photographer’s eye almost more than a music video director’s eye. And given how many music videos are headache-inducing and unwatchable, that’s a high compliment.

O.A.R. Live goes video, with high def material from Innsbrook

While there are crowd shows inserted into the concert, it’s not too many. I hate crowd shots. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of drunk college kids with red cups in their hands singing along and dancing awkwardly. (To be fair, the audience for this particular concert appeared slightly older. Maybe O.A.R. fandom has grown up in the last few years.)

Oh, and all the iPhones. That’s the worst part. I feel sorry for the people who get stuck watching the iPhone screen held over the head of the person in front of them all night.

Forgive me, for I am an old man now…

O.A.R. Live goes video, with high def material from Innsbrook You might be bothered by the bugs in the bottom corners throughout the movie, but I do like that the song titles get flashed on the screen between them at the beginning of each song.

This is a single file download. You don’t get easy track access. This is not a DVD. There is no jumping from chapter to chapter. Each concert is a roughly two hour file with no markers. That might be the biggest drawback, but I’m also not sure how you’d fix that. The last thing I’d want is to have to deal with managing 20 different movie files and setting up a playlist to play through them in order or something.

The long and short of it is this: It’s not a perfect concert film, but it’s a good value for the money and the ease of access. It looks a lot better than I was expecting, and I hope they do more. I might not buy a lot of them (as much as I’ve love to), but I’d definitely pick and choose a few more examples.

“The Voice” Irony (from last season now)

The Voice Judges:

“Engage the crowd. Let them see your eyes. Look right at them. Move around the stage.”

The Voice Host:

“Please welcome multiple award-winning musician and friend of the show, Sia!”THE VOICE -- "Live Playoffs" Episode 812B -- Pictured: Sia -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

My Best Bowled Game

Started a game with 7 strikes in a row.

Then a spare. Not the end of the world.

The split in the 9th still makes me cringe, though. Turkeyed the tenth, though. That impresses me to this day.

This was January 30, 2000-something. Maybe 2004 or 2005….

Quote of the Day

“Schizophrenia can be an excellent management style.”

Merlin Mann, The Dalrymple Report #3

Happy Fourth of July 2015

fireworks for 2015

Cute puppy

He stares into your soul…

my new dog looking right into your soul

Watching Random Movies

Sometimes, I feel like watching forgotten movies.


Right now, I’m half in the mood to pull out “Treasure Planet” and “Dinosaurs” and watch those this week.


Maybe follow that up with “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”?


I watched all of those movies once when I bought their DVDs 10-15 years ago. Don’t remember much about any of them, to be honest.  I remember only thinking that “Treasure Planet” felt like three episodes of a TV show strung together.


They couldn’t have been all bad, right?  At the very least, there’s likely gold in those hills if you dig deep enough, right?


Might be worth a try…

Hey, Look, They Cured Diabetes Again

Sayeth UC Davis:

The new drug apparently works by stabilizing metabolites of an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. These metabolites are thought to contribute to the beneficial effects of a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, Hammock said. Previous UC Davis research in the laboratories of Hammock, Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, Robert Weiss, Anne Knowlton and Fawaz Haj showed that the enzyme reduces or reverses such diabetes-linked medical issues as renal failure, hypertension, diabetic pain, hardening of the arteries and heart failure.

Or, you know, just take a vitamin instead.

Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame”

I’ve never seen Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Like most right-thinking people, I gave up on Disney’s animated features in the 90s after Lion King. They all hit the same formula after that.

But I’ve always been amused at how Disney has buried the movie. Not completely. (It’s no “Black Cauldron”/”Song of the South”.) They did issue a Blu-ray of it at one point. They didn’t give it a special designation of any sort, and they rehashed the DVD’s special features for it, but at least they released it.

But while the movie’s contemporaries occupy a regular spot in the rotation on the Disney Channel — Mulan, Hercules, and their sequels — “Hunchback” is noticeably absent.

This article probably explains why:

“I now want to point out that this Disney movie has a song in which the villain sings that he will either rape the main female character or burn her at the stake, because his lust for her is driving him insane. As he sings the song, he sees a vision of her dancing in his fire, and although it is obvious that usually this fiery image is clothed, there are moments when that doesn’t so much seem to be the case.”

That’s the Disney song titled “Hellfire.”

“Hellfire.” The Disney song. About FIRE from HELL.

Yikes, what were they thinking?

The movie is available on Netflix, as is its direct-to-DVD sequel. Might be worth a watch now, just without my daughter…

Also, they might be working on bringing “Disney’s Hunchback” back to Broadway, too. Weird.

The Next Generation Will Lead the Way Out

Meanwhile, not all of comScore’s data is that reassuring. The company says a whopping 24 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds say they’re not subscribing to pay TV. More than half of those folks — 13 percent of the total number polled — say they’ve cut the cord, while 11 percent say they’ve never had a cord, period.

via 24 Percent of Millennials Say They’re Not Paying for TV – Comscore | Re/code.

If I ever get around to writing up the sheer hell Verizon has put me through this past week, you’ll see why I find this future a beautiful place. It’ll be one less avenue for cable companies to attempt to screw people out of hundreds of dollars due to their own incompetence and/or lies (er, “misrepresentation.”)

Diabetes is Cured Again

Giant leap against diabetes | Harvard Gazette.

With human embryonic stem cells as a starting point, the scientists were for the first time able to produce, in the kind of massive quantities needed for cell transplantation and pharmaceutical purposes, human insulin-producing beta cells equivalent in most every way to normally functioning beta cells.

Sounds good to me. Sign me up!

CNBC’s New Comic Books Business Analyst

I appeared on CNBC this week. See the video here. It leaves out the last question that I answered, but we’ll save that for the Director’s Cut Blu-ray down the line somewhere…

Inspiration for Your Resume