mercredi 30 avril 2008

Pink panther

So Steve Martin doesnt do a perfect fake Frenchy, but he's right about how they say 'hamburger'!

lundi 28 avril 2008


This weekend we decided to take a day trip to Beaune, which is a town in lower Burgundy, about an hour and a half north on the train. It is known for having a groovy old 14th century hospital that you can tour, as well as being a center for wine tourism. Underneath Beaune, there are hundreds of caves holding thousands upon thousands of vintages that will not be opened for years to come.

Wandering around Beaune.First we toured the beautiful old hospital, the Hotel Dieu. This is a picture of the courtyard of the hospital. The building was very elaborately decorated and gorgeous. The rooms for the sick had many tiny beds with curtains, and the pharmacie was full of bottles of bizarre treatments, like 'Vomit Nut potion.' Be glad you dont have an ailment that calls for that.
The hospital also had a very well preserved painting of the last judgement, which shows the archangel calling the dead from their graves; the dead walking to the left were entering heaven, while those heading to the right are entering the fires of hell. Among the saints in the crowd congregating on the left are the founder of the hospital, Nicolas Rolin, as well as the painter himself, who is the bald guy in the back. Atone, ye sinners!

After touring the Hotel Dieu, we got down to the serious business of Burgandy wine tasting. We went to a place that our guidebook recommended, the Patriarche Pere et Fils. While I had mixed feelings about supporting the patriarchy, the wines were awfully good. The tour involved 45 minutes of wandering through candlelit tunnels filled with wine bottles, with occasional tastings via self-service pours into a little tin cup called a tastevin, which we got to keep as a souvenir. The purpose of this little shallow cup is to let you admire the color of the wine.

Here is a pic I took in the tunnels. The piles of bottles were labelled with lot number, and some bottles would be locked up with signs that said, 'do not open until 2094' and whatnot. After all that booze, I had to rehydrate with a Badoit.
Then, in another small disaster which was perhaps owed to drinking too much, we misread the train schedule and had to spend the night in Beaune. Oops.

But, we did go to dinner and had one of the best meals I have had here in France. We went to the cafe on the right side in the picture below, and I ordered the Bresse chicken. The Bresse region is known to cultivate among the best chicken in France, and probably the world; it is the only poultry to have been granted its own protected designation of origin (appellation d'origine contrôlée). My Bresse dish came in a cream sauce with morels and asparagus, and was incredibly tender and delicious.
We stayed at the Hotel des Ramparts, which was pretty nice given that we had to track the room down at 11 PM.

Here is B, cheerful in the morning.On Sunday we decided to make the most of another day in Beaune, and went and toured another cave, the Marche aux vins, which featured a mind-boggling taste of 18 wines. We got a little punchy wandering around in the dark with our tastevins. Here is B trying to look serious about contemplating a Chorey-Les-Beaune.After that we ran to the station and thankfully made a train home, on which we had a well deserved snooze.

dimanche 27 avril 2008

the best news of the week

Hansbrough Returning For Senior Season

Ellington, Lawson enter Draft without hiring agents.

April 25, 2008

CHAPEL HILL - Tyler Hansbrough, the 2007-08 National Player of the Year, will return to the University of North Carolina for his senior year and sophomore guards Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson will declare for the NBA Draft but not hire agents, allowing for the possibility for them to return to school at a later date.

"I am pleased and most supportive of the decisions made by all three young people," says head coach Roy Williams. "I want what is best for each individual and each individual player is different and has different factors to consider. It was a very exhausting time of research spent talking to the NBA people. I contacted more than half the teams in the NBA, speaking to various player personnel representatives including a number of general managers. In fact, I contacted more teams this year than I've ever done before to provide them with the best information possible on their draft status. We gave that information over to Tyler, Ty, Wayne and their families and allowed them to make the decision.

"We will continue to help Ty and Wayne with the draft process and give them all the support they need in making any future decisions related to staying in the draft or returning to Carolina."

"I am returning to school for my senior year as a Tar Heel and will not be applying for the NBA Draft," says Hansbrough. "I love playing at North Carolina and still have big dreams to realize here, including graduating. Of course I look forward to playing in the NBA some day but not next year. I love my collegiate experience and want to finish my four years here, then move on to my next dream of playing in the NBA. I am very relieved that this decision is behind us and I can concentrate on my academic work and improving my game for next season."

Hansbrough has earned first-team All-America and first-team All-ACC honors in each his first three seasons. He was was named 2007-08 Collegiate Player of the Year by The Associated Press, the NABC, the USBWA, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, CBS/Chevrolet,, Basketball Times, the Commonwealth Club of Kentucky (Rupp Award), the Atlanta Tipoff Club (Naismith Award) and the Los Angeles Athletic Club (Wooden Award).

The Poplar Bluff, Mo., native has scored 2,168 points and grabbed 943 rebounds. He is the second-leading scorer in Carolina history and is first among ACC players and eighth in NCAA history in free throws made with 733. In 2008, he became the fourth player in ACC history (with UNC's Lennie Rosenbluth in 1957, Duke's Christian Laettner in 1992 and UNC's Antawn Jamison in 1998) to win National Player of the Year, NCAA Regional MVP, ACC Tournament MVP and ACC Player of the Year honors in the same season.

Ellington and Lawson have helped lead Carolina to a 69-10 record with a pair of ACC regular-season titles, two ACC Tournament championships and berths in the Elite Eight and Final Four in their first two seasons.

Ellington has scored 1,092 points, was a second-team All-ACC selection in 2007-08 and has earned ACC All-Tournament Team honors in both seasons. He scored a career-best 36 points in a dramatic overtime win at Clemson, scored 20 or more points nine times as a sophomore and has the ninth-best free throw percentage in Carolina history.

"I am applying for the NBA Draft, but I am not hiring an agent," says Ellington, a native of Wynnewood, Pa. "I will comply with all the necessary rules to make certain that my NCAA eligibility is not negatively affected. I really enjoy North Carolina and my teammates. I'm not dying to leave here, but playing in the NBA is another dream I have. During the next couple of months I hope to work out for NBA teams and get a more specific evaluation of where I would be positioned in this year's draft. After I receive the information from the NBA teams, I will decide to either stay in the draft or come back for my junior year. Next week is exam time at UNC and that's also important to me. I will continue to remain in good academic standing regardless of the decision that awaits me."

Lawson has averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 assists in his first two seasons. The Clinton, Md., native directed an offense that was second nationally in scoring and led the ACC in scoring, field goal percentage, assists and assist-turnover ratio. He shot 51.5 percent from the floor and 83.5 percent from the free throw line this year and helped Carolina average 88.6 points per game en route to winning a school-record 36 games.

"I am applying for the 2008 NBA Draft, but not hiring an agent," says Lawson. "I will work out for NBA teams to get a more precise evaluation of my draft status. After I do that and get more information from the teams, I will make a decision to either stay in the draft or come back to North Carolina for my junior year. I am in good standing academically and plan on doing a great job in my final exams."

College players have until midnight Sunday to notify the NBA of their intention to declare for the draft, which will take place in New York on June 26.

The league's pre-draft camp is scheduled for May 27-June 2 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Players are not permitted to work out with individual NBA teams until June 3 and may withdraw their names from the draft by 5 p.m. on June 16.

dimanche 20 avril 2008

All is well in the world of epi

More than 250,000 Additional Public Health Workers Needed by 2020 to Avert Public Health Crisis

Date: February 27, 2008

Shortage will leave nation vulnerable to disease, bioterror and health threats according to a new assessment from the Association of Schools of Public Health

(Washington DC, Feb. 27, 2008) – While natural disasters, the threat of bioterrorism and other health threats are taking their toll on public health resources, the U.S. is facing a major public health workforce crisis that could impact the health of each and every American unless there is an immediate influx of funding for recruitment and training of public health professionals. The Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) today released a first of its kind assessment of the crisis which found that more than 250,000 additional public health workers are needed by 2020.

The crisis is a culmination of already documented and forecasted shortages of public health physicians, public health nurses, epidemiologists, health care educators, and administrators and other contributing factors like an expected spike in retirement. In fact, 23 percent of the current workforce – almost 110,000 workers – will become eligible to retire during the next presidential term.

"Tackling the health implications of tobacco use, heart disease, obesity and physical inactivity, not to mention the threat of globally spreading infectious diseases, depends entirely on the availability of a well-trained public health workforce," said Dr. Linda Rosenstock, dean of the UCLA School of Public Health and chair of the ASPH Workforce Taskforce. "Unless we act now to recruit and train an additional 250,000 public health professionals, we will soon be ill-equipped to identify looming public health crises and respond decisively."

Leading public health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Public Health Association, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Institute of Medicine agree that the current workforce is inadequate to meet the needs of the US and global populations. Given the growing complexity of public health challenges, more specialists will need to be trained in additional public health sub-disciplines. Furthermore, in the era of globalization, the U.S. public health workforce needs to be adequately prepared to handle health threats that often arise from beyond our borders.

"These shortages have very real impacts. Fewer public health nurses mean fewer cancer screenings and fewer immunizations. Not enough epidemiologists make it harder to respond to food-borne outbreaks or to track emerging infectious diseases like MRSA (drug resistant staph infections). And, Hurricane Katrina made clear the importance of public health workers in responding to natural disasters," said Earl Hunter, Commissioner of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. "Denying a problem doesn't mitigate the staggering impacts on the physical, mental and financial health of our communities."

In order to address these significant shortages, ASPH is calling for an increased federal investment in public health education and training in addition to the coordination of a centralized enumeration effort to adequately understand current and future workforce needs.

"An appropriate number of well-trained public health professionals is critical in order to safeguard the health of our nation and our world," said Dr. Harrison Spencer, president and chief executive officer of ASPH. "Our government and our schools of public health play a critical role in preventing the forecasted shortage."

Additionally, increased recruitment, training and fellowship programs, financial aid assistance and expanded graduate-level opportunities are among the most urgent needs for averting this looming crisis. According to the analysis, Schools of Public Health will have to graduate three times as many public health workers over the next 12 years in order to meet national healthcare needs in 2020.

A complete copy of the assessment is available on-line at

mercredi 16 avril 2008

Le Mur

Last night I went rock climbing at Le Mur de Lyon, a climbing gym, with Therese, Esther, Kimberly, and Therese's friend, Cecile. I had never gone climbing before. It was totally fun. Its hard to do, a real workout for your wrists and forearms, although some of the faux 'rocks' are harder to hold on to than others. Its also a bit scary a the top of the wall, even though once I started doing it I realized the impossibility of hurting yourself, because the rope system is extremely secure. I want to go again soon! How you do it in real life, without lots of fake rocks sticking out of the wall when you need them, I do not know.

mardi 15 avril 2008

Average starting salaries, by major

A friend sent this to me.
Doh! As a psychology major with an art history minor, this sure made me feel great.

Actually, one question is the degree to which the salary differentials remain in place 5 or 10 years out of school. I imagine all those philosophers and historians will undoubtedly go on to law school, where their salaries that five years later will blow the engineers and computer geeks out of the water.

Pharmacists, I was recently told, when they graduate, they will earn considerably more money compared to their peers. However, after that, their salaries rise much more slowly with increasing years of experience, in comparison to other jobs. So those English and art majors start lower but catch up more as time goes on. One could argue that in terms of amassing wealth, it is better to have more in your 20's and invest it-- that is what we are always told, right?-- rather than putting it away later in life. But, if you end up in a job with a substantial salary, does it make much difference?

Of course, there are the other benefits to majoring in philosophy, as found in this New York Times article:

Jenna Schaal-O’Connor, a 20-year-old sophomore who is majoring in cognitive science and linguistics, said philosophy had other perks. She said she found many male philosophy majors interesting and sensitive.

“That whole deep existential torment,” she said. “It’s good for getting girlfriends.”

lundi 14 avril 2008

Last snowboarding of the season

I went this weekend to Bardonecchia. This was the last weekend of the season that any lifts were running, and the weather was so warm in the valley that only the lifts at the highest altitude were open. Which was slightly limiting. Next time I'll know to go to Val d'Isere or another ski town at a very high altitude. But, we did eat lots of good Italian food and we did get some boarding in.

After some confusion with the hotel reservation at the Larici, we found a room at the Hotel Tabor, which was 3-stars. I think a 3-star hotel in Italy must be equal to a 2-star hotel in France, which is equal to about 1-star in the US. It was slightly nicer than a Motel 6. But, it was right next door to a excellent pizza place, and the beds were perfectly comfortable, so we didn't care so much.

On Saturday we went for a drive along the Susa valley, heading towards Torino. Here is B wrestling with the rental Renault Twingo. Here is the little road we were on, the SS335.It was a pretty drive.We stopped to admire the fort in the town of Exilles.Manuvering the streets of Exilles, while Italians sat outside, sunning themselves and drinking espresso.There was still beaucoup de neige at higher elevations. In this picture, the town of Bardonecchia is visible in the valley below.In his ski clothes, B resembled the preppy villain in some 80's John Cusack teen movie. Here I am as we were heading out. I bonked my head boarding. Ouch. I promise to get a helmet before I go next time.Driving home through the Alps. It was very pretty.

jeudi 10 avril 2008

Olympic flame

The story of the Olympic flame runner being attacked in Paris was all over the news earlier this week.

Yo go people! The recent events in Tibet appear to be galvanizing human rights activists from other regions of China for a common cause. More power to them. Yesterday the runners got harassed in San Francisco. What's next-- will they skip all the other cities and zip it right to China?

You would think that these flame runners, ex-Olympic athletes themselves, would be able to outrun the overweight protesters. Or, take them in a fight.

It seems to me that the games should not be boycotted, because that just punishes the athletes. But a boycott of the opening ceremony is appropriate.

mercredi 9 avril 2008

Happy Birthday Katherine!

And many more...

So much for spring

It snowed in the north of France this week, while it rained here. I think this calls for one last snowboarding trip of the season!

dimanche 6 avril 2008

Lyon sushi

Friday night I went out for sushi to a place called Toya, in the 3rd arrondissement. On my way there I ran into Vivian, who told me that she thinks that the sushi restaurants in Lyon are sub-par because all the fish is flown in from the other side of the planet: the salmon from Norway, the tuna from the US, etc. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I have to say that my dinner at Toya was nothing special. The tuna, in particular, did not taste fresh. I had one bite and wouldn't eat the rest-- it had that strong fishy smell. In addition to that problem, I suspect they watered down their soy sauce. But, the gyoza was good. So, I have no idea where to go for sushi in Lyon, although some coworkers swear by one of the conveyor belt sushi places in the presque ile.

In contrast, I have had other good Asian meals in Lyon of late. In particular, I had some great lemongrass soup at a Thai place called Bangkok Royal. Also, despite the lack of spice, I am getting attached to the Indian dishes at a place that is just down the block from me. They are clearly French-inspired in that the sauces are think and rich. The sag paneer is delish.