Chichen Pops!

Or at least that's what I once heard a toddler call them. The grown-ups call them chicken pox or varicella. There are some school-aged kids in the region who have come down with chicken pox just in time for the winter holiday break. Without a definitive exposure event, there's no telling when any susceptible kids will start showing clinical signs and symptoms, but a rough estimate is right about the time they go back to school in early January. The post-exposure prophylaxis protocol is to give varicella zoster immune globulin only to persons at high-risk of severe disease. So far we haven't found any of those, so we'll let things take their course. We have identified all the kids in the school with no evidence of immunity to varicella and their parents/guardians have been notified. Now we wait and see who, if anybody, gets itchy and scratchy.

Other infectious news
Looks like green onions are in the clear, but lettuce might be implicated in the Taco Bell outbreak. Interestingly enough, another fast food taco shop, Taco John's, is having an E. coli O157 oubreak. I haven't heard anything about implicated food products in that one. I believe that the genotype results show it to be a separate outbreak, but don't quote me on that.

I was pleased to notice that the AP report on the Taco Bell outbreak included an explanation of the outbreak investigation procedures. They mentioned that while the bacteria hasn't been isolated from any of the food items, the lettuce was the most likely source of infection, based on comparisons of what the sick people ate and what the well people ate.

Recent reading:
Yesterday at lunch I read a new Christmas book by Dave Barry. It's The Angel, The Shepherd and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog. I was laughing so hard that I very nearly squirted Diet Pepsi out my nose. I did laugh out loud several times. I highly recommend it if you want a quick and entertaining read. Let's just say it involves a Christmas pageant, a dog and lots of bat poop.

Today at lunch I started to read Heat by Bill Buford. I'm not very far into it, but it's also entertaining. So far he's discovered how to slice open his finger and annoy the heck out of the sous chef at his first job, all without trying!

iPod woes
My computer doesn't like to let go of my iPod. It won't let me eject the silly thing. It claims that the iPod is still in use, even though the update is finished. Even when I quit iTunes and try to eject using the OS to eject, I get told that the item is still in use by another application and to try again later. I can only eject the iPod if I re-boot my machine. This annoying little behavior started when I upgraded my iTunes software. Needless to say I'll be rolling back to the previous install.

iTunes woes
Everybody's trying to figure out whether iTunes is running out of sales or growing. There are grave statements that iPods are failing to drive iTunes sales. That may well be true. Of course, that also assumes that iPods were developed to support iTunes. I'm willing to bet the exact opposite is true--the iTunes store was developed to drive iPod sales. Have a good look at what's available at the iTunes store. There's a heck of a lot of content that's completely FREE. Ain't no revenue stream from that. You'll find a lot of public radio content on my iPod. I got it off of the iTunes store and I listen to it at work on my iPod. It's almost as good as live streaming radio on my work computer, but given that streaming radio is forbidden at work due to the inability of the network infrastruction to handle the regular workload at anything faster than a snail's pace, I must get what satisfaction I can from my iPod. It also means that I can switch at a moment's notice from The Ramones to Beethoven to NPR's This I Believe or Ebert and Roeper's movie reviews. Unless the iTunes store starts hemorrhaging money, and I doubt that will ever happen, I can't imagine Apple ever shutting it down. I expect Apple will continue to add more content as time goes on. While I may never watch a movie on my iPod, I just might download a movie via iTunes and watch it on my laptop while traveling.

I am *not* a geek
I was half-listening to a History Channel show on tea production last night. The narrator mentioned the British had to "hack an infrastructure" into their surroundings. My head snaps up and I am expecting to see racks of servers, cat-5 or fiber drops and other networking toys. What I see is jungle. I am momentarily confused. Until my brain processes "hack" to involve a machete and vegetation. *sigh*


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