Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Commuter's Diary...

I had occasion to travel into Manhattan this morning, something which happens very infrequently these days, and the experience has left me wondering why I find it necessary to even do so at all. If you ever wanted to test your belief in the future of New York City -- let alone America -- against reality, then I suggest that you take a trip from New Dorp into Manhattan, and back. Within this short distance -- about 20 miles one way, as the crow flies --you will come into contact with a variety of people, sights, and smells, that can almost convince you that you've been dropped into some Insane Asylum specially designed to engender hatred of your fellow human beings.

My journey began at the train station. The Staten Island Rapid Transit is a relic of the New Deal and the retreat of industrialism. It's pretty much all that remains of the Great Days of Rail, when Cornelius Vanderbilt made his personal fortune shipping the products of the Industrial Revolution across Staten Island between New Jersey and the Rest of New York. If it wasn't for the Depression, even the two tracks that remain (Tottenville-to-St. George-and-back), probably wouldn't even still be here. Check out most of the inconveniently-located stations along this route and you'll find dedication markers galore, standing mute testimony to the Public Works Projects and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Most of it is now rusting, and falling to pieces, and probably, the ever-more-frequent applications of new paint (there's a graffiti problem here) is the only thing keeping most of it together.

It reminds you of the Communist-lite Five-Year Plans that Obama probably has in store for us.

Anyway, the train. "Train Etiquette" in New York City pretty much requires one to enter a Zone of Ignorance. You find a seat and do your level-best to tune everything out. Don't make eye contact. Mind your own business. Pretend there is an invisible wall around you, and stare off into space as best you can. It's much safer that way.

But the modern world now makes this impossible. If it isn't the ubiquitous ringtones of a million cell phones, it's the clueless people who use them. The ones who insist on yelling into the phone, oblivious to the fact that everyone can hear their end of the conversation, and assuming that we actually want to.

One phone ringing becomes the signal for fifty others to do likewise -- and really, just who COULD you be speaking to at 7;30 a.m.? Most of the conversations seem to go along the lines of "What are you doing?-I'm-going-to-work-Yeah-that-sucks-Did-you-see-the-Game-Last-Night? Fuckin' Duke!" sort. followed by the furious thumb-action of a flurry of text messages, and before you know it, the phones are blaring another symphony of electronicized "Fur Elise" and "I Kissed a Girl", and the process begins anew.

It's no wonder that people no longer know how to talk to each other anymore; all communication has apparently been reduced to a series of three-minute "Seinfeld" (About Nothing) conversations -- with portable e-mail, and a torrent of tinny sound effects.

The worst of these one-sided conversations are those where some Hairspray Queen in four-inch stilettos and barely-a-skirt that makes her lacy butt floss available for public display, begins the most dreadful caterwauling imaginable; she's yakking with a girlfriend about her rotten boyfriend -- you instinctively know he's probably named Lou Ragu, or Vinny Baggadonuts -- and his love affair with his hair gel and SL500. You don't want to hear this. However, the little dramas of her life (such as it is) find their way into the public realm, because, dammit, there are no boundaries anymore.

You can deal with this, up to a point. It's a matter of redoubling your efforts at self-containment and dousing your curiosity. You MUST shut them out, or else you'll punch them in the nose. But then the train slows, the doors open, and the Annoyance Factor is turned up to 11.

The Catholic School girls get on the train.

There is nothing louder and more obnoxious in all of Creation than a herd of teenage Babyfat in plaid skirts and saddleshoes. "Herd' is the proper terminology; they seldom travel in packs of fewer than 8 or 10.They board the train, take up station in front of the doors, and giggle, yell and screech. Oh, and then their cellphones come out, too, and they juggle yelling at each other and the person on the phone, simultaneously. You begin to wonder when the hell this train will get to the Ferry, so that you can get off and rest your ears, but that's exactly when it seems to move even slower. More young girls get on at the next stop, and then at the next come the Young Boys.

Then all hell breaks loose.

Because if there's anything worse than a gang of young girls behaving badly, it's a gang of young girls behaving even worse in order to impress some yobbo clad in a ton of hairgel and pimples. The Boys get on, and after the initial wave of Axe Body Spray smacks you in the face like a wet towel, and you resist the urge to vomit into your own mouth, the Fun and Games begin. This involves the girls getting physical -- pushing each other around and hurling vulgarities. The Boys egg them on. The rutting frenzy increases in ferocity, the girls getting ever-more physical with one another, and then...

A young girl winds up in your lap, the back of her head bopping you full in the nose. She didn't mean to end up there. She was pushed by her "girlfriend" who was "only fooling around". She's embarrassed -- and looking at you like you're some Sexual Predator, or something. You're angry. You make your displeasure known by reminding the children (Wildebeest) that a moving train is no place to shove each other, and that civilized people don't behave like a pack of hyenas in a public place. You get a desultory "sorry", and then a stare that could curdle milk. The "apology" is insincere; they really resent you for asking them to behave themselves.The Embarrassed Girl, her momentary humiliation quickly forgotten, punches her assailant in the arm, exlaiming "Jenna, ya fuckn' asshole, look what you made me do!".

The train stops. The Wildebeest exit, but before they go, the Pimpled Sir Galahad will take the opportunity to fire off a "Fuck you!" in your direction -- just as the doors are closing. I'm certain that Jenna-the-Fuckin'-Asshole, and Girl-in-My-Lap-With-No-Sense-of-Shame are mightily impressed by such manly bravado. Somehow, Yeah-That-Sucks-Fuckin'-Duke and Hairspray-Queen-With-The-Narcissist-Goombah-Boyfriend actually have the clueless temerity to remark "these fuuckin' kids got no fuckin' manners".

The train arrives at St. George, and The Rush begins in earnest. The Rush is the mad dash to make "The Boat". Seven or eight-hundred people at once all try to race each other to the exit and to The Boat -- which isn't leaving for another 15 minutes. Naturally, they all must stop for a $3 cuppa with whipped cream with enough caramel to choke a diesel engine, and then batter their way through the doors and across the ramps to the waiting ferry, spilling at least half of the sugary poison on Me. I guess it's difficult to negotiate a ramp with an oversized Prada bag in four-inch heels in a close-packed crowd while you try to juggle coffee and handbag while reaching for your never-stops-ringing-cellphone all the while. The idea that you have to answer that phone right-fucking-now overrides your situational awareness, or your sense of logic. That CALL MIGHT BE IMPORTANT, never mind that invention they call Voice Mail.

You've successfully made your way onto the boat, and try desperately to find an isolated seat where you won't have to deal with a crowd of Goombah Stockbrokers, Wanna-be Goombah Stockbrokers, Union Electricians with huge, heavy toolbags they can't control, Construction workers still carrying yesterday's concrete dust and industrial grease on their work clothes, and the Three-Very-Large-Black-Women-Who-Insist-On-Walking-Side-by-Side-at-a-Snail's-Pace blocking the isle,slowing the flow of traffic behind them, and emitting a constant warble of "I heard dat!", "Chile...!", and "ummm-hmmm".

You manage to find a seat in a corner on the lower level of the boat, towards the stern. Everyone's up front, hoping to get a jump on the Stampede that won't begin for another 20 minutes. There's not many people around, and the noise level is tolerable.

And then Yousef and His Band of Merry Men show up. There's three of them, and they are quite content to sit right in front of you, even though there's a bevvy of seats available a short distance away. I can deal with that. Except for the smell. I can't abide THAT SMELL. I can't even describe it, but it's apparent that Yousef, Ishmael and Mohammed (there's always at least ONE Mohammed) come from a country where soap is either an incredible luxury, or a device of the Infidel designed to lure the True Believer away from the Path of Righteousness. The breeze that comes through the window ensures that all the Disgusting Aromas of the Middle East -- without the flies -- is your's to enjoy for the next 20 minutes. There are, by now, no other seats...except the ones directly across from the Men's Room.

No one sits in those seats. For a start, the stench of a public restroom, especially one on A BOAT, is overpowering. The sickening combination of smells -- urine, and the antiseptic sweetness of scented, yet-industrial-strength urinal cakes -- is terrible. For some reason, Men in a public bathroom seem to regard it in the same way they would The Woods, and that's before you factor in the difficulty of maintaining steady aim on a rolling and pitching boat. Anyway, there is an unwritten rule amongst male ferry riders -- or there should be if there isn't -- that states One Must Not Sit Across from the Men's Room Else Others Might Think You Gay. It makes more sense on a guy-to-guy level, trust me.

The Boat docks. The Stampede begins. You make your way through it, trying desperately not to touch anyone inasmuch as possible to avoid "trouble". And when you finally break through to a more open area where the crowd may disperse, there HE is.

HE is a vagrant. In fact, He's the same Vagrant you've been seeing around the Ferry terminal forever. It might not be the same man, but it's always the same type. Toothless, drunk, smelling like an Ostrogoth on campaign, begging for change, extending a filthy coffee cup Or cigarettes; if they can't get change, they'll settle for cigarettes. Campaigning-Ostrogoth-Vagrant-Man leaves a cloud of stank in his wake that makes Yousef and Mohammed smell like a flower garden. It's probably a combination of Thunderbird-induced diarrhea, and the thick, crusty layer of dirt, sweat, and the pus from suppurating sores that cover his face and hands.

You only want to conduct your morning's business as quickly as possible, and Get The Hell Back Home. You pass the still-empty hole that used to be the World Trade Center, fenced off from the narrow, cluttered-with-trash side streets that lead to it, pushing your way as best you can through Hordes of the Clueless and Selfish, and those with no sense of Decency or Propriety, from all over the world. If it wasn't for the cellphones, you'd probably never even hear your native language being spoken.

On your return voyage, the Tourists must pester you, too. Excusing themselves in broken English as they jockey for position along the Ferry railings and windows to snap pictures of the Statue Of Liberty, their children running freely, screaming, everywhere. Some woman emits a stream of noise you recognize as French, in a voice that makes your scrotum shrivel, as her little sack of hyperactivity decides that trying to scale the protective barrier between himself and a 30' drop to the briney deep is a worthy activity to carry on behind Mommy's back.

The Italian tourists (you can tell who they are because Italians can do nothing without creating a tremendous racket) parade back and forth, leaving the typical Roman Essence behind them: body odor and vast quantities of Hugo Boss. The Germans march from one end of the Ferry to the other in Regimental Formation, only with Tour Guides, and the Japanese bury you in a swirling storm of absolute gibberish and boisterous laughter. We should have bombed all three countries a lot more when we had the chance.

Your train ride home is, remarkably, without incident. It's actually quiet. Twenty-five minutes of utter bliss, by comparison to this morning's ordeal. You exit the train, and then...

The parade of Central American women bringing their enormous broods of sickly-looking children home from the local half-day Kindergarten. No one speaks English. Everyone spits. The children run the gamut between sullen and filthy, and hyperactive and dangerous -- especially the one swinging the tree branch he obviously found on his walk home, brandishing it like Errol Flynn. He manages to whack you on the back of the leg as you maneuver around the little knot of little people that manages to take up the entire sidewalk. You wave your finger at the little bastard in reproach, and Mama spews forth a massive stream of Spanish obscenities as she yanks the little guy back and forth by his arm. You feel sorry for him; he didn't mean to do it,and if Mama hadn't been busy regaling her counterparts with the epic tale of she got her sandals on sale at Pay-Less (The Lunatic speaks Spanish, you see) , it mightn't have happened.

Of course, if she had taken the tree branch away from him in the first pace, it wouldn't have happened at all, but there I go again; expecting people to actually look after their children and exercise some sort of critical judgement.

I know, I'm an asshole, right?

This is New York in the year 2010; a decaying infrastructure, inhabited by people encased in either a cocoon of protective stupidity, unconcerned, or even unaware that their stupidity is on view for all to see. A place so overrun by insanity, that I almost feel like Winston Smith at the beginning of 1984:

"This, he thought with a sort of vague distaste -- this was London, chief city of Airstrip One..."

I'm never getting on that fucking train again, if I can avoid it.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Douchebag of the Week (4/5/10): Tiger Woods...

Tiger's done it again! If it wasn't enough to cheat on his beautiful wife with everything with two tits and a heartbeat, he's gone and done it again with his latest bit of insanity; the claim that he was racially-harased on his first day of kindegarten.

In a book by Charles Barkley, Tiger claims he was accosted by a group of sixth graders on his first day of kindergarten, beaten up, tied to a tree, and had a racial epithet spray-painted upon his person. I heard this story once; it was used by Tawana Brawley, the fake-rape-victim and Al Sharpton cause celebre (who eventually converted to Islam, you know). Brawley claims she was abducted and raped, left in a black, plastic garbage bag, by "White cops" who scrawled "KKK" on her body -- with dog turds. It all turned out to be an elaborate ruse cooked up in the mind of a teenaged girl , desperate to avoid punishment for breaking curfew.

Brawley was eventually caught when her story didn't pan out, and because she made the elemental mistake of spelling 'KKK' incorrectly and upside down when she wrote it upon herself with canine waste. But that's the past...

Tiger claims this is something that has affected him deeply (I'm sure it would!), and I wouldn't be surprised if this eventually gets used as part of his litany of excuses for wandering off the marital rails and fucking all the White Trash In America. It might even be the first installment of the famous "I'm Black and Society is to Blame" defense, in which Tiger Woods, who has made a fetish out of not making a big deal out of his racial heritage, now makes a big deal out of his racial heritage in order to escape public scrutiny.

However, just like the Brawley Incident, the tied-to-a-tree-and-spraypainted-saga might not have ever happened, either.

No sooner is Tiger's recollection of disgusting racism against a helpless child made public than his former teacher, his former classmates and other former students, all go public to deny the allegations. The teacher even went as far as to hire Gloria Allred, the attorney who's also representing one of Woods' alleged mistresses, to defend her against any possible charges!
Gloria haunts your steps, Tiger, you poor bastard.

There's an old saying that says "when you find yourself in a deep hole, you'd better stop digging."

Here's a public figure, who has had a very public (and messy) series of self-inflicted wounds. He's trying like mad to "return to normal life", too quickly in my opinion, and in a period of one week, his pornstar mistress starts looking for money, reports surface that the wife he's "reconciling" with hasn't been seen within a 100 miles of him for a month, another report surfaces that he's spent as much as $10 million to keep the legion of slambags quiet, and that his crew enabled him to the max. Then he makes an outrageous statement like this.

I find it hard to believe that such a thing ever happened, but then again, I don't have any proof that it didn't. The allegation though, is so over-the-top and so-conveniently-timed that you have ot question it.

If anything, it's probably one of those things intended to "distract" the Press (you know, the Press he doesn't talk to in the first place?) so that he can play golf and win tournaments (because that's all he basically has left), despite the fact that this upcoming "Master's Tournament" is run by people who have basically bullied the Press into leaving Tiger alone. it's a strange dynamic: he constantly cries about his "privacy" and his "private life", and that he must be protected from the Media so that he can "heal", and then he tosses out a childhood recollection of racism that no one seems to remember.

As if we needed more baseless claims of racism after the ObamaCare debacle?

For being that big of a selfish douchebag, Tiger, you're this week's winner.

By the way, you're not an athlete; golf is not a real sport -- real sports aren't played in business casual, have defense, and don't involve electric carts and a personal servant. And it's gay. Why, golf is so gay that it makes knitting and hairdressing seem manly by comparison.

Enjoy your Douchebag of the Week Award, Tiger, because it's the only one you're getting this week. And it's looks better than a Green Jacket, too.

UPDATE: FoxNews is reporting that Tiger Woods will hold a "Press Conference" at 2 p.m., Eastern Time. I wonder if he'll adress any of these issues, or just stonewall while pretending to co-operate with the Press he so desperately wants to leave him alone. Asshole.

Son of Bad Medicine...

This week we're looking at a "treatment" for ADHD, a Foot Fungus "cure" that might be a fire hazard, and an over-the-counter or "health supplement" that is being heavily advertised on television which has kept the lawyers very busy, indeed. If you wish to see the other posts in this series, simply click the Bad Medicine tag at the bottom of this nonsense.

This week's As-seen-on-TV-Miracle-Cures are:

1. Actonel - is another treatment for Osteoporosis, a debilitating disease which threatens to inflict millions of soon-to-retire Baby Boomer females with brittle bones that will keep them from living out their life-long dream of hitting every position in the Kama Sutra. Broken bones are certainly nothing to laugh about, especially when you anticipate another 20 years of heavy sexual activity with your pumped-up-on-Viagra mate, your meds and lifestyle subsidized by the American taxpayer. Can't be snappin' bones when you're Snappin' Bones, can ya? Ain't no fun when your pelvis might crack at any moment.

Anyways, if you take this medicine, not only will your Osteoporosis be relatively cured (in the sense that you'll, maybe, break fewer bones than you would have without it), you'll also be treating yourself to the following cornucopia of side-effects: Esophageal ulcers, difficult or painful swallowing, chest pains, continuous heartburn, back-muscle-bone-or-joint pain (hey! I thought this was supposed to be good for your bones?). oh, and it won't really rot your jawbone...if you're lucky. Which is a good thing, because then you'll be able to enjoy all those bladder infections and the crippling diarrhea you're likely to get, if you haven't already been killed by the increased or irregular heart beat, or unexplained rashes the drug might cause. All this for only $140.00 a batch! Why,Ladies, I'll bet you just can't wait!

Check out the well-preserved geriatric bombshell on the website.

2. Align - Well, well, well. It seems everyone's concerned about their bowels, nowadays. And I guess Jamie Lee Curtis talking about turds and pushing yogurt just won't cut it anymore, and so we have Align, which promises to "help build and maintain a healthy digestive system", and to "restore you natural digestive balance", while protecting you against "occasional digestive upsets". So far as I can tell, that means "we'll help you shit, shit more often, and as close to on-a-schedule-as possible".

That statement is conditioned by this one: "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease". Nope, we'll just market it to you as if constipation was a deadly malady that'll kill you faster than any cancer or Muslim Terrorist. They even have a money back guarantee (You Poop or We Pay!). It's amazing how many people nowadays are focused -- like a laser beam -- upon their colons. It's almost a fetish. But, at least it's better than the last fetish, which focused on made-up diseases like Chronic Dry Eye and Restless Leg Syndrome, and the ever-present threat of Erectile Dysfunction.

Align bills itself as a "daily pro-biotic supplement" (whatever the fuck that is), which promises "Align works by providing an ongoing natural defense against occasional digestive upsets". You'll be more than pleased to know that someone went through the trouble of studying the effects of Align on menstruating women and found the combination of raging hormones and blocked bowels does not equal a death sentence. I'm sure that puts your mind greatly at ease.

You'll be happy to know that the Website offers this lovely tidbit of gastrointestinal knowledge: a supposedly-healthy person craps somewhere between three times a day and three times a week. If you're hitting the head 21 times a week, I hope you're bringing reading material. I know dogs that don't pop that often.

In the end the makers of Align probably need this product more than anyone else does: their own website is so full of shit that even 21 trips a week to the Crapper may not suffice. Oh, and all this bowel-related tomfoolery will set you back about $24. For the sale price of Manhattan Isle, you'll be able to drop a spike on a schedule that's convenient for you! A fitting thing, since our culture is dominated by both crap and convenience, isn't it? I couldn't find a TV Commercial for this one, but I see it at least as many times as a day as I crap.

3. Intuniv - the latest and greatest "treatment" for ADHD (what used to be called "Ants in the Pants" or "Sit down and Shut the Fuck Up" syndrome), this drug is intended specifically for children between the ages of 6 and 17. It's derivative of a drug (Tenex) that was originally used to treat high blood pressure; it was not specifically developed to address what some consider a psychological problem. It's great "virtue" is that it's not considered a controlled substance, which makes getting your hands on it all so-much-more easier. A drug intended for teenagers that's easy to get? Yeah, that makes sense. I like this vaguely-worded, and grammatically-suspect little blurb on the Pediatrics website I visited:

"...Intuniv, unlike other ADHD medications, especially stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, or Vyvanse, does not cause much appetite suppression, so may be a good choice for children who lose a lot of weight when taking a stimulant. Until more is known about Intuniv, another benefit is that there will simply be one more option for treating children with ADHD..."

In other words, we don't know much about this drug, but give it to your kid anyway -- it's one more "option" available to you. And that was written by a DOCTOR?

The cost of drugging your child instead of teaching them a bit of discipline are the following side-effects: low blood pressure, fainting spells and low heart rate. But hey, it's better than having to chase Timmy around the living room, and having his teacher suggest Special Ed, right? The price checker I use (Pharmacychecker.com) lists one source for Intuniv, at a cost of $549.00 for 100 pills, and Pharmahelper lists 100 pills for $475.95...for a drug that wasn't invented to treat children with ADHD, which might not actually work, but which a doctor will be happy to recommend in order to give you the sense that you "have options". But at least you don't need to go through all the trouble of getting a prescription for it, right?

Please note that on the Intuniv Website, there's a section entitled "How Intuniv is THOUGHT to Work", which I'm finding is a pretty common thing for all drugs that have an effect on brain chemistry. The implication is that no one's quite sure how these things do what they do, and we don't really bother to find out, but what the hell? You're crazy, anyway, right?. So, we're distributing drugs to people considered varying-degrees of "crazy", and no one knows how or why they work? Who's the insane one here?

4. Liverite - Liverite is a "supplement" which promises to "clean your liver", "increase your energy" and "improve liver function". It's ingredients are listed on the website, and consist of a load of shit I've never heard of (except for "Vitamin B12"), and are mostly gobbledygook. For example, a "Hydrolysate" is defined as "the by -product of the process of hydrolysis", so what the fuck IS "Liver Hydrolysate"? Stuff taken from a cow or pigs liver and then dried out and powderized, of course.

Other ingredients include "17 (unspecified) Amino Acids".

It turns out the makers of Liverite have been the subject of much attention from the FTC for making outlandish claims about the efficacy of their products, and even making claims that Liverite is an effective treatment for certain liver diseases. They've been sued about three dozen times, but apparently are still in business, and still trying to convince people that "Liver Detox" is the key to Eternal health. There's apparently an entire line of Liverite Products, including Liverite for Men, Liverite for Women, Liverite for Albanian Dung Beetles, Liverite Ultimate LiverAid, Liverite 3-in-1 (for both sexes!), Liverite Sports, and now, Liverite with Milk Thistle Extract. Whatever the fuck that is.

Basically, Liverite is a collection of crap that you can find in any "Health Food Store" and it's only really useful ingredient might be the Vitamin B12. You can get it for about $29.00 a bottle, which is a lot to pay for stuff that'll make you shit like a shark and some B12. I think this is another"dietary supplement" which has taken on the "Organ Detox" theme (you can now "detox" your liver, colon, pancreas, kidneys, lungs, with "herbal remedies" of all sorts, nowadays) which is quite popular with the Natural Medicine and Osteopathic crowd, people who don't like doctors or pharmacology, and frankly, who can blame them? Reading up on some of these drugs has certainly opened my eyes, but the whole "Natural" movement leaves itself open to all sorts of quackery and charlatanism.

I'm not providing any links to the website, and fuck the commercial. This looks like a ripoff.

5. Lovaza - This is really just the extracts from fish oils that contain the Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which promise to help control your cholesterol levels, especially Triglycerides. In effect, it's an attempt to get some fish oils into people who don't like fish, or perhaps, may not be able to get enough fresh fish into their diet. That didn't sound so bad to me, so why the heck does Lovaza require a prescription?

Basically, because Lovaza is FDA-approved, it's therefore different than those Other Omega-3 pills you find on the health food shelf (the cheap, deadly, poisonous Health Food store pills that will kill you!).

If that doesn't convince you that Lovaza is the best goddamned Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement in the Universe, they then go on to tell you all about their "5-step purification process" which "helps remove mercury and other environmental toxins that may be present in fish oils." Oh, well, since you put it THAT way...

And how much does this FDA-approved, not-quite-but-more-Mercury-free-than-Brand-X Omega-3-Fatty-Acid-Dietary-Supplement cost you? About $160.00 a month. For that kind of money, you could probably afford to eat real fish three times a week.

My biggest issue with Lovaza is that it's not really a medicine, but it's marketed as if it were, which seems pretty douchey. Here's the website. While searching for the commercial, I found this Consumer Reports video on Fish Oil supplements.

6. Plavix - Plavix says it will protect you from that heart attack or stroke which you will most certainly have-- and which cannot be avoided-- like death and taxes. The commercial even shows an active Baby Boomer being pursued by a gurney, like Freddy Kreuger in one of those movies, just to make that point. By taking Plavix (along with aspirin), you'll be thinning your blood out, keeping your blood platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots which will kill you faster than ObamaCare. Why, that sounds dandy! Until you get to the side-effects.

The Plavix website lists them, thusly;

"In clinical trials, the most common side effects of PLAVIX were severe itching (pruritus), a severe rash characterized by the appearance of purplish spots or patches (purpura), diarrhea, and rash. Less common, but serious, side effects of PLAVIX may occur.

Tell your doctor if you have any bleeding or other problems while you are taking PLAVIX."

But that doesn't tell the whole story. If you take Plavix, you can look forward to: frequent bruising, "minor" bleeding, chest pain, swelling of the tongue and mouth, and my personal favorite, "black, hairy stools". I didn't know that was possible. Other side effects include: bleeding in the eye, bloody urine, sore throat, loss of appetite, pale skin, unspecified seizures, persistent headaches, speech problems, unexplained weight loss, unexplained vaginal bleeding, yellowing of the skin and eyes. I guess that's all preferable to a stroke. Oh, and I had to search the internet for those side effects -- because they're not listed on the Plavix site. Anywhere. Go figure!

Plavix will set you back about $90 a month -- pretty cheap for black, hairy stools and bloody urine, indeed.

7. Tineacide - Tineacide is produced by a company (Blaine Labs) that bills itself as "the leading antifungal specialists", which caused me to spew coffee when I read that. Tineacide is supposed to help cure toenail fungus, which I hear is a mighty common (and disgusting) condition. Of course, I'd just wash my feet more often, keep them dry, and not wear the same socks four days in a row or better, NOT swap four-day-old used socks with my brother, and avoid the problem altogether. But no; apparently, the cause of basic hygiene is lost on some Americans who will invariably have their toenails eaten away by a yellow fungus, in which case, they'll need non-prescription Tineacide, which is guaranteed to work-- in about a month or so!

This is a non-prescription creme, a combination of herbs, minerals, and "topical medicines" that you can rub into your filthy feet and fingernails, destroying the fungi that will eventually rot your nails and skin. It'll also work on Athlete's Foot, Ringworm and Jock Itch, the website says.

Just don't use Tineacide if you're pregnant or breast-feeding, because it might be poisonous in certain concentrations, and oh... it might be flammable, too. Keep yer feet and crotch away from open flames, will ya? It'll take the curl out of your permanent and pubes,too, which I guess is pretty funny, but also kinda disturbing. Available in "Regular" or "Physician's Strength" formulas! It costs between $14 and $19 a bottle.

Here's the commercial. Oh, and you get a free nail-clipper with it...I guess to inspire you to beat the dreaded menace of toenail fungus?