Thursday, July 24, 2008

Film fun

The truth the supermarket?
OK, are there any other X-Filers out there who get a little freaked out by this?

Father knows best
A few years ago, Pharmablogger's sister gave us a copy of "Daddy Day Care," and our daughter, bless her heart, made it disappear faster than a dead hooker from Ben Affleck's trailer (hat tip: Kevin Smith).

Last night PB was watching a preview for Juno, when we began to think about our favorite "Dad" movies; films with Dad characters who are actually intelligent, caring, compassionate. So we decided to start a list here, and ask all of our reader to contribute their suggestions. No particular order to these.

1. Juno

Juno's dad says a few biting things to her when she announces her pregnancy, but he's a great supporter and friend to her, who simply didn't see this coming. Favorite line: "Hey there, big puffy version of Junebug!"

2. Fairy Tale

This is a bit of a cheat, because the Dad moment is very brief, coming at the very end, and that's all PB is going to say about it. Because if you have a daughter, you need to see this movie. PB cries at the end every time.

3. Bend It Like Beckham

Dad is played by Anupam Kher, who shows his true colors of affection to his daughter about halfway into the film, sneaking in to watch her play metric football, then finally intervening in the end to allow her to play in the finals, accepting her traveling to America for college, and so on. He's trying to balance holding on to family the traditions of his culture with his daughter's need to grow.

4 & 5. Bride and Prejudice & Pride & Prejudice

The same story, two different interpretations, two great dads. Both of these contain variations of PB's favorite Dad line in literature: Your mother will never speak to you if you don't marry him, and I will never speak to you if you do. What a great show of respect for a daughter, to tell her that she deserves someone who is at least her equal, even if that decision may impoverish the rest of the family. Anupam Kher again in the first film, and Donald Sutherland in the second.

6. Contact

Jodie Foster's Dad is played by David Morse, who learns that his daughter is gifted in math and science, and does a great job inspiring her to excel beyond all of her peers, and think outside the orthodoxy of her field. His influence is so strong that it lasts well after his death when she is a young teenager.

7. Say Anything

Perhaps a controversial choice, since Ione Skye's Dad turns out to be a felon. But John Mahoney's relationship with his teenage daughter still remains something of a model for me. Sure, he puts her on a pedestal, but he's done a great job (another single Dad) encouraging her achievement, and giving her great values, despite his own personal failings. And there's that famous scene where she confesses that she "jumped on" John Cusack, and then expresses relief at her comfort at being able to tell her Dad something like that. Dad holds back his barely veiled concern, because he raised her to be honest, she was, and he knows he has to respect that, or undermine everything he ever told her in the past.

More when PB thinks of some, or you suggest something....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Baseball liner notes

Pharmablogger has noticed a trend toward feminization in sports, and a corresponding complementary trend in the opposite direction. We loved watching our daughter play softball this Spring, we note how baseball teams have worked hard to make ballgames more "family friendly," and we look forward to watching Ryan Howard leading cheers from the bench someday:

"We don't play with Barbie dolls, we just play with bats and balls.
We don't wear no miniskirts, we just wear pants and t-shirts."

We approve, since we would like to see our daughter win an athletic scholarship some day, and be capable of stuffing a field hockey stick up the rectum of any over aggressive suitor should the need arise.

And while PB once purchased a T-shirt at a breast cancer fundraiser that reads "Save Second Base," we must confess that the first time we saw those pink Phillies caps, we thought it must be Carlotta Tendant bobblehead night.

Anyway, we pause here to note some interesting (and dare we speculate, revealing?) quotes in the Inky last Friday. Mike Arbuckle, the Phils general manager, was discussing their latest trade for pitcher Joe Blanton, when he made this point about Blanton's appearance: "We feel his make-up is going to allow him to fit very well in a pennant race. He was attractive for a lot of reasons." I guess this move by the Phillies is just cosmetic.


Since the Supreme Court granted immunity to Medical Device manufacturers in February, there has been heightened discussion about the court taking the next logical step, granting immunity to FDA approved medications, which may occur in the next Court session.

Pharmablogger will devote additional coverage and discussion to this issue in the coming months. For an interesting contrast of media coverage, see July 18th edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the same paper, there was a slightly paranoid sounding article about a meeting in Philly between Pharma execs, attended by a "high ranking official" from the FDA, who was the featured speaker on the topic of immunity. The points about faulty FDA review were spot-on, but PB wanted to specifically call out one sentence: "These corporations will cry that complete immunity pre-emption is necessary because the cost of litigation is suppressing their research and development. That is a lie. " Amen. One of the best-selling pharmaceuticals in the country is an anti-schizophrenia medicine, which has already had one large line extension with bipolar disorder, and the company is seeking approval for an even larger extension with a claim for general anxiety disorder, and major depression. The patient population for this drug could explode even more, with GPs prescribing it. Yet this drug is also a huge litigation magnet for this company already. No matter - full (development) steam ahead.

The second Inky article is about Merck's approval of a settlement sum for Vioxx litigants - $4.5 billion. Now, PB has no journalism experience, and the first article seemed timely based on the meeting that the author discussed. But is it possible that the Inky held the editorial for a short while, knowing that a Merck decision on the settlement funds was imminent? Just wondering.