|May 8, 2002
|By Roy Rivenburg
|Electronic MD: If the Internet could
perform surgery and write prescriptions, it would make a
fine doctor. Until then, theres hypochondriac.com.
Thats our nickname for easydiagnosis.com, an
automated online physician that lets you describe
symptoms and then tells you what disease or illness you
For example, if you type in that youre experiencing chest pains at an undisclosed location, it tells you theres a 75 percent chance that youre Vice President Dick Cheney. We think the service would be more realistic if you first had to spend an hour in waitingroom.com, reading Highlights for Children and/or 15-year-old copies of Ladies Home Journal.
We also wish someone would invent an online shrink that can diagnose psychiatric problems because were pretty sure the world has gone completely insane. Here are the latest symptoms:
-- A New York playwright has turned her daughters bout with anorexia into a musical. The songs include Cooking for the Starving, a vaudeville number set in a grocery store, and Pretty to the Bone, a pop ditty in which the daughter defends her diet.
-- Donny Osmond spent May 9 in New York Citys Grand Central Station, serenading mothers as they munched bagels and reclined on a set of 50 mattresses at the Worlds Largest Breakfast in Bed. The publicity stunt was sponsored by I Cant Believe Its Not Butter.
-- A hard-core surfer has sued a fellow board rider for stealing his wave.
-- A Florida pooch named Genevieve and her owner, Dennis Fried, have launched a campaign to ban sports teams from having canine-related names such as Bulldogs or Timberwolves. Fried says such mascots are culturally insensitive because silly humans running around chasing a ball violate every dogs civil rights. However, he says Genevieve doesnt object to Wildcat or Bull mascots because its up to those animals to fight their own battles.
-- A museum devoted to salad has opened in New York.
-- Engineers at the University of Vermont claim they have created the worlds smartest bridge. It crosses the Winooski River in Waterbury, Vt., and features fiber optic sensors that can detect damage from cracks and road salt. No word on whether the brainiac bridge is smart enough to diagnose medical problems. But it did have the good sense to avoid Grand Central Station on May 9.
Encyclopedia of Useless Information: At age 6, Ringo Starr spent two months in a coma.
Going Postal: Two weeks ago, after mentioning that Texas police were using radar detector detectors to detect drivers with radar detectors, we joked that someone would probably invent a radar detector detector detector. As usual, truth proved stranger than fiction. Reader Paul Marteney notified us that such devices are already on the market.
Supermarket Tabloid Story of the Week: Funerals can be so depressing. But they dont have to be! The Weekly World News reports that a Scottish mortuary now offers comedy send-offs for the deceased, featuring day-glo embalming fluid, ventriloquists who make the dead talk, coiled snakes that spring out of urns and whoopee cushions on chapel seats. Theres also an optional slapstick funeral service in which pallbearers drop the casket and race around like Keystone Kops trying to replace the spilled corpse.
Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Buy This Book... Or Well Sue You! by Laura and Attila Benko, M2 Presswire, Life magazine, Citynewsstand.com.
Copyright © 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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