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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Gizmodo Ultimate Black Friday Deal Guide

50578849-1.JPGHere's the problem with Black Friday. Other than the one of two clearly awesome deals per store, it's tough to know if standing your butt in the cold all night will actually save your more money than doing some online comparison shopping from the comfort of your own, very warm home. But the truth is, Black Friday does have incredible deals and it can save you hundreds of dollars on big ticket electronics—if you play your cards right.

So we have sorted through the deals for you, listed the real savings (based upon comparative online searches, none of this retail priced crap) and categorized the best stuff for you to consider. Hit the jump for the Ultimate Black Friday Deal Guide—we wasted several hours so you wouldn't have to.

Big HDTVs (42" and up)

Best Buy

HP 42" LCD (1080p)

Price: $996.99

Savings: $500

Panasonic 42" Plasma (720p)

Price: $899.99

Savings: $200

Circuit City

Sharp 42" AQUOS LCD (720p)

Price: $799.99

Savings: $450

Note: Sam's Club has a similar deal for about $400 off.

Sharp Aquos 46" LCD (1080p)

Price: $1299.99

Savings: $500

Zenith 50" Plasma (720p)

Price: $999.99

Savings: $400


Polaroid 42" LCD (1080p)

Price: $798

Savings: $300

Medium HDTVs

Best Buy

Philips 32" LCD

Price: $599

Savings: $160

Circuit City

Sharp 32" LCD

Price: $599.99

Savings: $170

Sony 32" Bravia M-Series

Price: $699.99

Savings: $100


Polaroid 32" LCD (720p)

Price: $448

Savings: $222

GPS Systems

Best Buy

TomTom One LE GPS Navigation System

Price: $119.99

Savings: $130 (though it's a BB exclusive model)

Note: Staples has similar deal on normal ONE.

Garmin Nuvi 200 GPS Navigation System

Price: $169.99

Savings: $70-$90

Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS Navigation System

Price: $399.99

Savings: $100

Circuit City

Garmin c340 Portable GPS Navigation System

Price: $199.99

Savings: $70

Magellan RoadMate 1200 GPS Navigation

Price: $124.99

Savings: $85


Magellan Maestro 3100 GPS Navigation System

Price: $129.99

Savings: $85


Garmin Street Pilot c330 GPS

Price: $128.88

Savings: $70


Best Buy

Toshiba 1.73ghz Celeron Laptop & Canon 3-in-1 Printer Package

Price: $229

Savings: Can't find specific model, though we know it has a Celeron processor. They claim 20/store.

Sony 15.4" Laptop w/1GB RAM, 120GB HD, DVD Burner

Price: $399.99

Savings: ??

Circuit City

Compaq Dual-Core, 1GB RAM, 80GB HD

Price: $299

Savings: $300 (includes mir)


Toshiba 15.4" Notebook, AMD w/2GB RAM, 160GB HD

Price: $499.99

Savings: $250

Lenovo 14.1" Notebook Computer w/Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 160GB HD

Price: $599.99

Savings: $200


Dell 15.4" Laptop w/1.6 GHz AMD Turion, 2GB RAM, DVD Burner

Price: $598.00

Savings: $150

Circuit City

Swiss Gear Rival 15.4" Laptop Backpack

Price: $12.99

Savings: $37


Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks

Price: $9.99

Savings: $40



Dell Inspiron, Athlon 64 X2, 2GB RAM, 320GB HD, 19" Widescreen

Price: $598

Savings: $100


Acer Intel Quad-Core Desktop, 24" LCD Monitor + 512MB ATI Gfx

Price: $999

Savings: Dunno, seemed interesting.

Cooler Master 690 ATX Gaming Case

Price: $34.99

Savings: $45

Cooler Master eXtreme Power 500-Watt ATX Power Supply

Price: $16.99

Savings: $63

Cameras and Camcorders

Best Buy

Kodak EasyShare 7.1-Megapixel Digital Camera

Price: $189.99

Savings: $70

Circuit City

Hitachi Hybrid MiniDVD/Hard Disk Camcorder

Price: $299.99

Savings: $60

Sony Cyber-shot 7.2-Megapixel Digital Camera

Price: $99.99

Savings: $45 (Same deal at Staples and Best Buy)


Canon PowerShot A460 w/photo printer

Price: $150

Savings: $80


Panasonic PalmCorder DVD Camcorder

Price: $198

Savings: $150

Home Theater Equipment

Best Buy

Klipsch Synergy III 8" 2-Way Dual-Woofer Floorstanding Speaker

Price: $222.99

Savings: $160

Circuit City

Sony Platinum Dream Home Theater System

Price: $329.99

Savings: $170

Samsung 5.1 Channel 800W Complete Home Theater

Price: $150

Savings: $50

Optoma 1080i DLP Projector w/DVD

Price: $549.99

Savings: $330


PlayStation 3 80GB w/15 Blu-ray movies

Price: $499

Savings: $200 or so (Note, this is technically a Black Saturday Deal)

Miscellaneous Goodies

Best Buy

BoomChair Wi-FX Wireless Gaming Chair

Price: $79.99

Savings: $50 (BB exclusive product)

Dynex 100-Pack 16x DVD-R Disc Spindle

Price: $6.99

Savings: $25

Circuit City

SanDisk 2GB SD Secure Digital Memory Card

Price: $6.99

Savings: $25

SanDisk 4GB High Capacity SD Memory Card

Price: $27.99

Savings: $22


SanDisk 2GB Ultra II Secure Digital Card

Price: $17.99

Savings: $35


Logitech Elite Keyboard

Price: $9.99

Savings: $15

Black Friday Protips:

1. Avoid digital cameras in general. You can do better online.

2. You almost can't go wrong with the widespread deals on GPS.

3. We listed those Polaroid TVs from Wal-mart but you read this site and should know better.

4. Best Buy's doorbuster 40" Samsung 1080p TV isn't listed above since we found it here. UPDATE: IRS troubles with those folks. Thanks tipster. Similar deal at Sears, we believe.

5. Where's Apple? Here's Apple. No word on their deals yet.

Thanks for all the source research from []

To see pretty ad pictures hit up [bfads]

18-Year-Old Kathleen Holtz Passes the California Bar

November 19, 2007, 2:18 pm
18-Year-Old Kathleen Holtz Passes the California Bar
Posted by Peter Lattman

kathleenTwo years ago, the WSJ broke news that Kathleen Sullivan, the noted constitutional scholar and former dean of Stanford Law School, failed the California bar, notorious for being the hardest in the nation. (Sullivan passed the second time around.)

Today we have happier bar-exam news about another Kathleen — 18-year-old Kathleen Holtz (pictured). Last month we introduced you to Holtz, a first-year associate at TroyGould in Los Angeles who was awating her bar results.

On Friday night at 6 p.m., Holtz found out that she passed — the first time around. Once sworn in and admitted to the Calfornia bar, she’ll be the youngest lawyer in the Golden State, and quite possibly the nation. Holtz started at Cal State L.A. at age 10 and entered UCLA Law at 15, earning a spot on the law review.

We caught up with Holtz just a few moments ago. “It’s a huge relief,” she said of the news. To celebrate, Holtz says she did some shopping “on Rodeo” and went out to dinner with some friends. But, the Law Blog asked, did she have a drink? “I had water,” she deadpanned.

Things seem to be going well for her at TroyGould. She says she just spent the last few weeks on trial in Superior Court in Orange County. Holtz and two of her colleagues successfully represented the plaintiff in the case. “It was my first trial and it was a fantastic experience,” she said. “It’s very rare for business disputes to go to trial and I was thrilled to experience that so early in my career.”
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"Stella Awards"

It's that time of the year again. Enjoy!

It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.

Here are the Stella's for the past year:

Kathleen Robertson of Austin , Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.

Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish.

Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.
Keep scratching. There are more...

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock , Arkansas , garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Grrrrr . Scratch, scratch.

Amber Carson of Lancaster , Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more Stellas to go...

Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah,
plus dental expenses. Go figure.

1ST PLACE : (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please)
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just incase Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Are we, as a society, getting more stupid...? Ya Think??!!
More than a few of our judge's elevators don't go to the top floor either!

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The Simmons Homestead Inn - Hyannis Port, Cape Cod

Bill's Collection of
Single Malt Scotch Whisky

If you thought the collection of almost five dozen red sports cars was a bit much, wait till you check out the collection of several hundred different single malts I've been stowing away for the past several years. And yes, Scotch Whisky doesn't have an 'e' in it like its American counterparts.

Actually not all these whiskies are are Scotch, and a few are not single malts.

To be called Scotch Whisky, they must be distilled and aged in Scotland. I currently have seven single malts from Ireland, two from Japan, one from Wales, one from Canada and three from the United States. These can be called 'single malts' as they are distilled from a barley malt, but can't be called 'Scotch.' I also have two 'single grains' which are made from a grain other than barley. One is from the United States and one from Ireland. They can be called 'single grains,' but not single malts and certainly not Scotch though they taste about the same.

Then I have several whiskies that aren't really single malts. They are called vatted malts which means they are all made up from single malt scotch, but contain more than one malt in the final bottling. In fact, Chivas makes one called A Century of Malts. It is comprised of drips and drabs from one hundred different single malts. Others like Sheep Dip, Pig's nose and Hog's Head are generally made up from three to six different single malts.

But don't confuse vatted malts with blended Scotches. To be called a Scotch, there must be a minimum of 20% single malt. The rest can be any distilled product, generally grain alcohol which is just a chemical. High end Scotches can be over 50%, but the rest is just that clear stuff that gives you hangovers. Single malts can never hurt the head.

In fact, single malt Scotch has very little damaging effect on the body. It is classified as a 'clear liquid.' This means it passes right through the the liver, kidney and the rest of the body doing absolutely no harm. This doesn't mean that it won't get into your bloodstream and get you drunk, just that there won't be any lasting damage. Doctors will, if pushed, reluctantly admit to this.

Then there is the psychological thing that if it really tastes like medicine, it must be actually doing you some good. Ahh, nice thought. This is one of the reasons my favorite Scotches come from the Hebrides Island of Islay. Here they use peat rather than wood when heating the malting floor. The peat has already absorbed the saltiness of the sea and then gives off it's own smoky peaty flavor. Gives these Scotches that 'healthy' medicine flavor. You just know that Single Malts have to be healthy. Don't ya?

Enough of the excuses for drinking Single Malts.

Because Scotland produces the best barley in the world, it is the grain of choice for making their whisky. First the barley is spread over tin floors in the malting house and fires are lit under them. These rooms are open to the air, so this is where the island malts pick up their salt or sea weed flavorings. Then when properly baked, the barley goes into a big tub with water added, and they make a beer out of it. Technically it's called a wort, but the distillers call it beer. Scotland has a very varied terrain and climate, so there is a great difference in the water found in the many locations that Scotch is made. This adds to the flavor of the malt and to it's uniqueness. Also, when the whisky comes out of the barrel it is at cask strength, which can run up to 130 proof or so. In the final bottling, the local water is used to reduce it to a more manageable 80-86 proof. Again, the water has a great influence on the final taste.

Then the wort is distilled into pot stills and turned into an alcohol. Once the distiller feels that it's time has arrived, the fairly clear liquid is put into oak barrels to age. Here is where the distiller's art comes to bear. The casks are always oak, but that is where all similarity ends. All casks are certainly not alike by any means. A brand new cask will impart strong vanilla flavors. A cask that has held other malts will impart a hint of that flavor. Islay malts primarily use old American bourbon casks, some even briefly charred. Macallan uses casks that held sherry. Others use casks that have been used to age Ports, Madeira's, and other wine products. And many use several different casks in the aging process. My everyday Scotch is Balvenie Doublewood, a 12 year old. First they take their ten year old Founder's Reserve out of the cask it was aged in, and put it in a sherry cask for two more years. This adds a sweet touch to the taste and to the finish. It is only while in the cask that whisky ages, once in the bottle it is the same forever. So, time and barrel make the huge differences that make most every Scotch taste unique. The wood also breathes, and expands and contracts with temperature changes. This releases some flavor and inhales other flavors. The uniqueness of each malt whisky is pretty much directly related to the cask in which it ages.

The various regions in Scotland produce a varied array of single malts. Each distillery has it's own way of doing things, a different supply of water that can run from soft to hard to glacial run-off. What the water flows over imparts a taste of it's own. The soil, rock, peat and other natural additives it picks up along the way.

Scotch from the Lowlands is generally milder, ones from the Islands sea like and peaty. Ones from the Highlands are heathery and full bodied. The majority of malts come from the Northern Highland area surrounding the river Spey. These are the Speyside whiskies that are the best known, and the ones generally used in blended Scotches as well. This is what makes this whole adventure rewarding. And, pleasurable.

Each one of the single malts that I have simply taste uniquely themselves. That's why they are fun to collect, and more fun to sample. I am not becoming an alcoholic, simply a more competent and educated researcher. The collection grows by belonging to a couple of 'Scotch of the Month' clubs, by checking out the monthly wholesale catalogs put out by the importers, and by making all guests at the Inn that come from the UK bring me a malt that is not available here in the Colonies. It works!

Here are the malts presently on the shelves in the kitchen, living room and everywhere.

There are currently 524 different Single Malts in the collection as of October 20, 2007.

Scotches sorted by regions

Scotches sorted by distillery

ToadHall Cars - in Hyannis, Cape Cod

A great private collection of over 50 Classic Sports Cars, mostly English with some Japanese and European ones thrown in. There are a dozen Lotuses, half a dozen MGs, Triumphs and Jaguars, and a bunch of Austin Healeys, TVRs, Datsuns, and Ferrari, Mazda, Morgan, AC, Daimler, Sunbeam, Mini Cooper, and more. Mostly old, some new.

And, of Course, they are all red.

Toad Hall kinda started out with a few sports cars housed in a shed behind the Simmons Homestead Inn in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. Over the past dozen years the number of sheds and cars grew and grew. Finally when there were some three dozen cars, the sheds all got tied together and enclosed. Now there are more than 50 inside and another bunch outside that at least can get driven around. Most are classics from the 50s to the 80s. Most are British Sports Cars, all are red. There are several cars of which less than a dozen are in the States, but the rest simply will bring back happy memories to the older folks. The cars are all nicely restored, and they are all handsome drivers, that is if you can get them out of a now rather crowded garage. The Toad Hall Collection is part of the Simmons Homestead Inn, and everyone who has visited it has had a really great experience. It's now one of the largest private collections of Classic Sports Cars around.

If you remember back in your childhood, or maybe more recently, you probably read the book or saw the Walt Disney movie THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame, written back in 1908. About a bunch of animal characters in England in the late 1800s. The leading guy was Toad, Lord of Toad Hall. He was totally fascinated by the then new motorcar. And, all of Toad's cars were red too. This same fascination is carried forward today at the Toad Hall Classic Sports Car Collection at the Simmons Homestead Inn.

This collection of Classic Sports Cars, like Triumph or MG is the private collection of Bill Putman, Innkeeper of Sorts at the Simmons Homestead Inn. Being a part of the Inn, it's open daily from 11 A.M. till 5 P.M. year round. There are also videos going about Vintage Race Cars and Vintage Races. Then there is an added benefit if you are staying as a guest at the Simmons Homestead Inn. You can get in most anytime you want. Bring a camera if you want. This is a place to enjoy. Toad kinda started this car nut thing, and Bill is just carrying it on today in his honor.

The cars all run if you can get them out of the garage. Place has gotten a bit crowded over the years as it grew out of control. Oh well. You can get a preview by going up to the top and clicking on the various marques.

You can also go to the directions page and find out how to get here. Toad Hall and the Simmons Homestead Inn are in Hyannis Port, just outside of Hyannis smack in the middle of Cape Cod.

Also feel free to call us at 1-508-778-4934 or e-mail us at Toad Hall is a great place to spend some time and really enjoy these classic red little critters.

TOAD HALL is open Daily 11 to 5
Adults $8, Kids 10-16 $4, 9 and under free
Bring a camera, wander around and enjoy
Bored wives can sit in the chairs
and play with the cats at no cost.

The 10 Most Insane Medical Practices in History

article image

Have you ever been left with the impression after a thorough poking, prodding and testicular cupping at the doctor's office that perhaps they don't always know what's best? The thought is usually pushed from your mind, after all these people had to go through years of school and thousands of dollars of their wealthy parents' money to get where they are! If you can't trust them about your health, who can you trust?

Here's the thing though, doctors have a long storied background of not knowing what the hell they're doing. History is filled with stories of hilarious medical ineptitude, and in all likeliness, today's medical practices will be similarly snorted at 100 years down the road. In other words, if you're looking to justify your medical phobia so you can rationalize not getting that ever-growing lump on your neck checked out, you're in the right place.


Children's Soothing Syrups

In the 19th century, people were simply too busy churning butter, waxing their moustaches or changing in and out of 15 layers of undergarments every time they went to take a piss to be bothered with disobedient children. To aide the stressed 19th-century mother, a series of "soothing syrups," lozenges and powders were created, all which were carefully formulated to ensure they were safe for use by those most vulnerable members of the family. Oh, no, wait. Actually, they pumped each bottle full of as many narcotics as it could hold.

For instance, each ounce of Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup contained 65 mg of pure morphine.

Based on our experiences teething and experimenting with pure morphine, that seems like a lot. Finally in 1910 the New York Times decided the whole narcotic-babysitter concept was probably bad in the long run, and ran an article pointing out that these soothing syrups contained, "...morphin sulphate, chloroform, morphine hydrochloride, codeine, heroin, powdered opium, cannabis indica," and sometimes several of them in combination.

You can't say the soothing syrups weren't effective, as long as you didn't mind your toddler being strung out on the midnight oil or, you know, dead. That's right, the terrible 2s weren't just a cutesy euphemism back then. Kids were not only at their brattiest but also often died, in many cases after their parents tried to cure the aforementioned brattiness with narcotic concoctions that would give Lindsay Lohan a nose bleed.


The Curative Powers of Mercury

Mercury is pretty neat stuff. The shiny silvery liquid has fascinated humans for millennia (there's evidence people used it as early as 1500 BC) and will undoubtedly continue to fascinate far into the future when shape-shifting Robert Patrick clones overtake the planet. How could something so awesome not be good for you?

That was the thinking for centuries, when Mercury was used to treat pretty much anything and everything. Scraped your knee? Just rub a little mercury on it. Having some problems with regularity? Forget fiber, time to get some mercury up in there! If you lived more than 100 years ago, you simply weren't considered healthy if you weren't leaking silver from at least one orifice

Mercury, as we now know, is toxic as hell. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include chest pains, heart and lung problems, coughing, tremors, violent muscle spasms, psychotic reactions, delirium, hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, restless spleen syndrome, testicular twisting and anal implosion. OK, we just made the last few up, but they barely looked out of place on that horror show list of symptoms did they?

It's a testament to just how cool a substance Mercury is that people kept trying to cure shit with it for 1,000 years after everybody who ingested it dropped dead. "Yes my Lord, I'm afraid another member of your court has perished. The autopsy showed it was Silver Liver Syndrome. Not even the gallons of wicked-awesome Mercury we fed him could bring him back to health.

There was a silver lining, though, as it helped to fight the spread of STDs. Mercury was used as a cure for syphilis and to its credit, the "cure" usually resulted in one less person with syphilis in the world. It's generally believed Mozart was poisoned by mercury-based syphilis cures, which contradicts the film Amadeus in which he was killed by writing too much music someh


Calm Your Cough with Heroin

In the late 19th century people apparently took cough suppression seriously. We're talking "I'm-going-to-take-me- some-heroin-to-calm-this-cough" level serious, here. We know Victorians were sticklers for social etiquette and wheezing your head off was probably considered frightfully rude, but we can't imagine tying off and shooting some horse in the middle of a dinner party would go over terribly well, either.

Well you probably don't need us to tell you how addictive and destructive a drug heroin really is, but just in case ... Heroin? Might want to avoid that stuff. On the upside, it actually does suppress coughs, so if you do decide to become a junkie at least you'll save on buying Halls.

Heroin, by the way, was originally developed by Bayer. You know, those friendly folks behind harmless old aspirin.

Oh, and while we're taking on the man, we should also mention that Bayer used to be called IG Farben, a pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate that allegedly sponsored experiments by Nazi torturers. How is this not at the center of every single Tylenol ad campaign: the fast acting pain reliever that has never sponsored Nazi torture camp

Electrical Impotence Cures

Men have been desperately searching for solutions to their malfunctioning members since Grok the caveman clubbed a cavewoman, drug her to his cave only to drag her back out again a half hour later with an embarrassed look on his face and muttering excuses about how tired he is. In the late 19th century, the wonders of electricity became to be known to the common person. Surely this marvelous new technology could be used to heat things up in the boudoir, right?

Electrified beds, elaborate cock shocking electric belts and other strange devices were advertised as being able to return "male power" and prowess by making your penis rise to electrified attention like Frankenstein's 6-inch-tall monster.

What's fascinating is that you can find ads for more than one brand of electric dick-shock belt. That seems to indicate that the dick-shock belt industry somehow survived the negative word of mouth from the first dick-shock belt.

By "word of mouth," we mean the incoherent screams of the first customer which could presumably be heard in the next town.



Imagine if you will. You're sitting on your psychiatrist's couch, pouring your tortured heart out about how depressed you are. He listens, jotting notes on a piece of paper and nodding intently. "I think I have the solution to your depression," he says as he produces a 10-inch-long ice pick. "I'm going to jam this into your eye socket, then put it into your brain using this mallet over here. Then, I'll wiggle it around so that it shreds part of your brain. Then you won't be depressed any more. Just lie still."

Congratulations hypothetical version of yourself living in the 1940s, you've just been lobotomized! Lobotomies were a popular fad for the first half of the 20th century and were floated as a "cure" for pretty much any mental issue you can name, from conditions as serious as schizophrenia to something as mild as depression or anxiety

The inventor of the lobotomy was given a Nobel Prize for it in 1949. Doctors claimed the "ice-pick-to-the- freaking-eye" method of lobotomy would be as quick and easy as a trip to the dentist. By 1960, parents were getting them for their moody teenage children.

This practice didn't hang around as long as some on our list, but still some 70,000 people were lobotomized before somebody figured out that driving a spike into the brain probably was not the answer to all of life's problems.

Urine Therapy

You can tell just by the title of the entry that we're not heading anywhere good with this one. Yup, throughout history there are those who believed the key to good health (and terrible body odor) was wallowing in one's own excretions. It was said to cure an endless list of ailments and promote good health if drank, was applied to the skin and yes some even used it to give themselves (turn away now weak-of-heart) a nice bracing urine enema.

Perhaps the best part of this is that while most of the practices listed in this article have long since been dismissed as lunacy, urine therapy lives on to today (for your own sanity don't do a Google search for it). That's right, of all the crackpot theories listed here the one that endured is the one where people drink and bathe in piss.

There's absolutely no evidence that urine therapy can cure a damn thing (and it comes with the added bonus of you getting to smell like the underside of a bridge or a downtown subway car). No, even the thing with peeing on jellyfish stings isn't true. On the bright side, armed with the new knowledge we've provided you, you can now try to pass those DVDs your girlfriend found in your closet off as medical instruction videos.



Bloodletting was one of the most enduring and popular medical practices in history, originated by the Greeks and used up until the 19th century for, well, basically everything. If you were feeling under the weather back in the day there's a good chance it was because you just had too much damn blood.

Now, a person having too much blood may sound about as absurd as a person breathing too much air or you coming home to find too many naked supermodels in your bed. But, that's just because you don't know about the four humours. Don't worry, we won't hold your ignorance against you. Basically the theory was that the body was filled with four fluids (blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile) called humours and that any imbalance in the four was the root of all illness. Apparently blood can be a bit of a space hog and thus often some had to be bled out to make room for more fun stuff like phlegm and black bile (a.k.a. diarrhea), or so the theory went.

If you're wondering whether or not it works, the next time you're on your death bed with the flu, drag yourself out of bed and go downtown and give anywhere up to 4 quarts of blood; that's bloodletting for you, except you usually didn't get orange juice and a cookie after. Now, there is a chance you'll feel a bit better as you take a delirious blood loss inspired trip through the clouds on a golden unicorn, but we can assure you your flu probably won't be cured.


Hard Core Diet Remedies

While fuller figures have been popular for most of history, during the 20th century thin was in for women (which explains why it's known today as the "no fat chicks" century. Well, at least by us). This need to be slim led to the creation of countless "diet pills" that promised to help you melt away those pounds and inches.

While a lot of the pills actually did help with weight loss, they also often caused fevers, heart troubles, blindness, death and birth defects. They couldn't have been all bad though, as in the 1950s and '60s women who took diet pills liked them so darn much they just couldn't seem to stop taking them. Of course, it might have had something to do with the fact that the diet pills of the '50s and '60s were in actuality bottles of pure crank. But hey, what's getting addicted to amphetamines when being ready for bathing suit season hangs in the balance?

Oh, and since we just can't resist grossing you fine readers out, there have long existed stories that in the 1920s and '30s capsules filled with dehydrated tapeworms or tapeworm eggs were sold as diet pills.

There's some debate over whether these actually existed, but it seems like it could be true as various advertisements for the wormy pills have survived. Besides, if there was a market for the nut shock belt ...



Trepanation is a fancy word for drilling holes in your head. This is actually the oldest surgical procedure known to man as humans have been intentionally knocking holes in their skulls dating back to the time of cavemen, giving hope to anyone who's had to watch the sitcom starring the Geico cavemen that all of them might die in a trepanation experiment horribly gone wrong in an upcoming episode.

Historically trepanation was most commonly used as treatment for seizures and migraines. Surprise, surprise. Having a gaping hole drilled in your skull (usually without anesthesia) did very little to help people's headaches or brain issues. Trepanation was also used as an extreme form of cosmetic/experimental body modification amongst several societies such as the Incans and Mayans. These societies also got largely wiped out, then a few hundred years later suffered the indignity of having an insulting Mel Gibson movie made about them, so it didn't really work out that well.

Oh, and yes, a few brilliant individuals still practice trepanation to this day. To give you an idea of the oh-so-solid ground today's trepanation supporters' beliefs are built on, the biggest modern proponent of trepanation is a "Doctor" Bart Hughes. We put doctor in quotations marks because he never actually finished medical school. That's right kids, you, too, can be a college dropout and yet still go onto a career convincing people around the world to do incredibly retarded things, so reach for those stars.


Female Hysteria Cures

Women and their mood swings, right guys? Right? You know what we're saying. Now, if you happen to be female don't be offended, there's no shame in admitting to the occasional bit of moodiness as according to 19th century doctors it's a symptom of a deadly serious medical condition (along with other symptoms such as nervousness, irritability and the dreaded "tendency to cause trouble"). That's right ladies, you may be a victim of female hysteria and not even know it.

So, how exactly do you cure a so-called "condition" that coincidentally was diagnosed almost entirely to women who dared disobey their Victorian husbands? Glad you asked. The prescription for female hysteria was usually a good spot of doctor administered vaginal massage until the woman achieved "hysterical paroxysm."

Yes that's right, the cure for female hysteria was a doctor's hand down your bloomers until you weren't only thinking of England but screaming its name. Is it any wonder the list of symptoms for female hysteria was so long, literally any ailment could fit the diagnosis? In those sexually repressed times visiting the doctor's office must have been like a trip to Disneyland for most women.

Doctors of the day on the other hand were apparently, I don't know, gay or something since they actually objected to women's frequent desire to be "cured" by their magic fingers. Their solution to alleviate hand strain? They invented the vibrator, and thus this article comes to a happy ending.

Nathan Birch also writes the sickeningly cute comic strip Zoology.

Turkey Day Chismillionare style

ISS from Space Shuttle Endeavour

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

37°10' 55" N, 122°23' 37" W

Once per year at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse they shut down the weak insipid modern (presumably electric) light and switch over the the 5 kerosene lamps and fresnel lens of the original, as it was 135 years ago.

Last night was the night, and it's really quite a sight. When they fire it up there's really a collective sense of "whoa!" from the audience (which was WAY bigger than I expected - I probably had to park a mile away and I was there an hour early).

Capturing a shot like this is tricky because the lens itself actually rotates, which looks great but is tough for long exposures. But for the first 5 minutes they leave it static to indulge all of the photographers who turn out and want this shot (this highly unique and one-of-a-kind shot of course). When they switched to this light my camera still had about a minute of noise reduction to do on my final test shot to get the exposure right, so I missed the first minute. Then I started this shot which was about 2 minutes long, followed by 2 minutes of noise reduction again. So by the time I had my shot it was too late for a do-over. So this is it, I only got to take one photo and this is what I got, so I hope it worked out.

It's also noteworthy that the fog last night was insane, even for a San Francisco local. On the drive home there were times when I couldn't see the road in front of me, only the orange reflectors in the middle of the road (for about 60ft). It worked out beautifully for viewing the lighthouse, though I also found that if I backed away much further than this I'd lose sight of the lighthouse itself. The unfortunately consequence of all the fog was that it was almost impossible to keep the lens and camera dry, so the lesson learned was to always keep towels with you when shooting the California coast.

And in case you're wondering, that is the moon in the upper left.

Nikon D40 | Sigma 10-20@10mm | f/7.1 | 114s | ISO200 | Tripod

Nissan GT-R pricing and ordering process announced

The certification process begins today with a letter from the automaker being sent to its 1,076 U.S. dealers outlining precisely what is required for certification. Dealers have a scant three weeks to agree to proceed through the certification process.

Higher-volume Nissan dealers who also sell a good number of Z cars will get preference.

Certified dealers also must commit to a top dealership executive serving as the GT-R salesperson, preferably with transactions taking place privately outside of the showroom, and a service manager designated just for GT-R customers. The dealership also must have certified master technicians with special GT-R training, and invest in a specially equipped service bay.

Earlier this week at the Los Angeles auto show, Nissan announced the price of the GT-R at $69,850 for the base model, and $71,900 for the Premium trim. Both prices include delivery charges.

Pre-orders begin at the first of the year, and the 2009 GT-R will officially go on sale in June.

What this means to you: If you want a GT-R — and who doesn't? — find a dealer who sells a lot of Zs and be on their doorstep January 1. — Kelly Toepke, News Editor

Purple Violets available today- first film released Exclusively on Itunes

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