The worst case scenario: your car stalls, you have a four-hour hard-on and your skin itches. Don't go back to bed.
June 2, 2005.
Can we just hold that story for another day? The Los Angeles Times, in a piece of unfortunate timing, did a story on the Prius, Toyotas hot hybrid gas-electric car I raved about below. It turns out it is one of the most reliable cars on the road, according to J.D Power & Associates. Works for me. My 2002 has never been in the shop for anything other than regular service (until it got sideswiped by a truck last month). Despite the fact it is the most technologically advanced car in the world, it has been virtually flawless. Well, maybe. On the same day the Times came out with it story, the National Highway Safety Administration announced it was investigating complaints the car stalled in mid-flight and some of them wouldnt start up again and had to be towed. No one knows why. It happens at moderate speed, and initial reports are that it is when the car is moving with the aid of the traction motor and battery. The chances are good its in the programming and someone may have to debug it. It involves only the newer ones, the third generation Prii (2004-2005), not the second generation ones like mine. Which is still in the shop getting its side replaced.
Before you pop that little pill you might consider celibacyMost of us have done it. You go to bed with someone you just met, wake up in the morning, roll over and are astounded at your choice, and wish for a moment, youd go blind. Well, for at lest 38 men their dreams may have been answered. They took Viagra and then went blind. In this case, however, their partner was not to blame, the pill was. The manufacturer said it would add that side-effect to the warning labelthe blindness, not the bad taste. But thats not all. If youve seen the ads, you know that another side effect can be a four-hour erection. Four hours! It advises you to seek medical help, and every time I hear that ad I keep thinking of going into an emergency room, walking up to the lady at the desk and telling her I need to see a doctor. And why, she asks? Fill in your own line. In todays Slate, Daniel Engber points out there is nothing funny about a four-hour boner. You can hurt yourself that way. Its called priapism and is associated with all kinds of things that are not nice. I think a good red wine is safer.
The revenge of chicken poxSpeaking of things that are not funny...shingles. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, the varicella-zoster, and sometimes, after you recover from that disease, the virus remains in your body sleeping. Then, usuallybut not alwayswhen you are old and your immune system wears down, it comes roaring back with a vengeance. It produces a skin rash that can be excruciating and could last for years. Its called shingles or herpes zoster. There is no good cure. But in a study reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine, there may be a vaccine, one that works about half the time, which is better than nothing and better than what we have. The vaccine, interestingly enough, is made from the same chicken pox vaccine kids get, but in a much more potent form. Even those in the study who got the disorder got a milder version.