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A microwave oven for the
4 January 2008



The Minneapolis Star -Tribune/
Sunday 16 December 2007

Commanding wind, waves, now sales

Call it a prophet margin: The surprise hot-selling toy for Christmas is a Jesus doll that recites Bible verses.

by John Ewoldt

Jesus is selling out.

Out of Wal-Mart and Target, that is. The 12-inch $20 Jesus Messenger of Faith talking action figure has become a holiday hit of biblical proportions. Online mega-retailers and are sold out.’s supply is likely to disappear within a few days.…

Shoppers at have rated the Jesus figure “five stars” as have consumers at One reviewer at describes the religious figure as “a real-life hero that beats all the other Superman, Spider-Man and other action figures combined.” Another wrote, “My 10-year-old listens to the Scriptures often, but the voice of Jesus is a little loud.”…

But let the buyer beware: talking Jesus is made in China.


Thanks to C.E. Barnett for this item.




The New York Times/Health/ Tuesday, 1 January 2008


Killing Dogs In Training of Doctors Is To End


by Nicholas Bakalar


By next month, all American medical schools will have abandoned a time-honored method of teaching cardiology: operating on dogs to examine their beating hearts, and disposing of them after the lesson.…

Among the 126 American medical schools, 11 still sacrifice animals for teaching, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an advocacy group that tracks the practice.…[N]one of them use dogs.

Francis Belloni, a dean at New York Medical College, said his students now used echocardiograms to study heart function, and subjects were live medical students rather than live dogs. Dr. Belloni said the use of animals was not done lightly and had value, but added that students would become just as good doctors without it.

The Fourth Excerpt

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

A new translation
by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

Translation copyright 2007
by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

A Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf

If the world could write by itself, it would write like Leo Tolstoy.—Isaac Babel


On the Pranzen hill, in the same place where he fell with the staff of the standard in his hands, Prince Andrei Bolkonsky lay bleeding profusely and unbeknownst to himself, letting out soft, pitiful, and childlike moans.

Towards evening he stopped moaning and became completely still. He did not know how long he was unconscious. Suddenly he felt himself alive again and suffering from a burning and rending pain in the head.

“Where is it, that lofty sky, which I never knew till now and saw today?” was his first thought. “And I never knew this suffering either,” he thought. “Yes, I knew nothing, nothing till now. But where am I?”

He began to listen, and heard the sounds of approaching hoofbeats and the sound of voices speaking French. He opened his eyes. Over him again was that same lofty sky with floating clouds rising still higher, through which showed the blue of infinity. He did not turn his head and did not see those who, judging by the sounds of hoofs and voices, had ridden up to him and stopped.

The horsemen who had ridden up were Napoleon accompanied by two adjutants. Bonaparte, riding over the battlefield, had given final orders about the reinforcement of the batteries firing at the dam of Augesd and was looking at the dead and wounded who were left on the battlefield.

“Fine men!” said Napoleon, looking at a dead Russian grenadier who, his face buried in the ground and his nape blackened, lay on his stomach, one of his already stiff arms flung far out.

“The ammunition for the guns in position is exhausted, Sire!” ad adjutant said just then, having come from the batteries that were firing on Augesd.

“Bring up more from the reserves,” said Napoleon, and, riding on a few paces, he stopped over Prince Andrei, who lay on his back, the staff of the standard fallen beside him (the standard had already been taken as a trophy by the French).

“There’s a fine death,” said Napoleon, looking at Bolkonsky.

Prince Andrei understood that it had been said about him, and that it was Napoleon speaking. He heard the man who had said these words being addressed as sire. But he heard these words as if he was hearing the buzzing of a fly. He not only was not interested, he did not even notice, and at once forgot them. He had a burning in his head; he felt that he was losing blood, and he saw above him that distant, lofty, and eternal sky. He knew that it was Napoleon—his hero—but at that moment, Napoleon seemed to him such a small, insignificant man compared with what was now happening between his soul and this lofty, infinite sky with clouds racing over it. To him it was all completely the same at that moment who was standing over him or what he said about him; he was only glad that people had stopped over him and only wished that those people would help him and bring him back to life, which seemed so beautiful to him, because he now understood it so differently. He gathered all his strength in order to stir and produce some sound. He stirred his leg weakly and produced a weak, painful moan that moved even him to pity.

“Ah! he’s alive, ” said Napoleon. “Lift up this young man...and take him to the first-aid station.”…

pages 290-291



Eating on the Go


EACH WEEK we scan ads from an actual catalog, a catalog selling junque. (That's junk with cachet.) These ads are real. Maybe they don't seem real, but they are.

This week , in order to demonstrate the pervasiveness of junque in our worldnot to mention life-threatening idiocy—we feature an item not from a catalog but from Westways, the magazine of the venerable AAA of southern California. Yes, friends, it's a microwave oven for your car. For those times when you are running late and just don't have time to pull into a MacDonald's because you want to keep on rolling down the road. "Damn, I'm hungry, no time to stop. Happy I bought my WaveBox. So, let's see, plug this cord—oh, still has a rubber band around it—into my auxillary power supply right there on the dash, wait, gotta turn on an interior light to see that puppy, let me just reach back...OK, now that's connected. Oh, I didn't realize there was still some shipping stuff inside my new car microwave. Oh darn, styrofoam peanuts all over the seat. Now where's my frozen food? Oh, yes, on the floorboard in my cooler. I'll just reach down..."


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