Halloween in Arizona

Off to Phoenix, or really Glendale, in the “Valley of the Sun”. Good flight on Alaska and they have improved their service to the public. I had my first experience with Pre-Pass at the Portland Airport. Shorter line with no taking off my shoes, taking out my computer, and removing liquids from my bags. Yoo Hoo! The ABVP meeting looks really to be a good meeting and it is great to say hello to old friends. This is a growing area of Phoenix with sports stadiums, hotels, entertainment spots and malls.
Wore my “cat ears” to the end of the day reception for a Halloween feel.

What is Faux?

We have had to listen to a drum beat of voices saying that those of us who had our individual health insurance cancelled that it was faux insurance. We are rubes, schlubs, and ignorant people who don’t know what is good for us in deciding our health care. Even though it has been around for awhile and we were satisfied with it. Certainly more satisfied than our premiums going up around 70%, deductibles which were already high almost doubling, and co-pays cut almost in half. We will be paying for insurance that will probably not help us and most likely economically hurt us.We have a government that lies to us and won’t accept responsibility. We lie for your benefit. Too bad, so sad. We lie since you are too stupid to know what you need. I hope this backfires on them and the Democrats suffer politically for this. For all the hurt they do to us, I hope it triples for them. We did not need to break 9 eggs to coddle 1. That is my mantra and I am so angry and frustrated on how this whole health care and insurance issue has gone.


If you enjoy history and Shakespeare, the story of Henry V of England and the battle of Agincourt is exciting. A battle on St. Crispin’s Day won by a small army against a much larger one of France. Or did they? There is some question that the disparity was not as much as suspected. Read about how historians are looking at the battle and reassessing it here.

Military History Books

Victor Davis Hanson, an author of history and military aspects of it, has listed some of his recommended books for reading on Pajamas Media. He is an exceptional author in my opinion, well above my intelligence level. Other writers have their selections in this section of the website. Check it out here.

David at 34

Today is David’s birthday. He is 34 and head of his household. We dropped a birthday card by his apartment last night since we left for Portland to attend a seminar this morning early. It was a shame not to be able to spend some time for his birthday together. He and Renee went out to dinner at Red Robin last night. We had a nice evening going to Pastini Pastoria restaurant at Bridgeport Village in Tualatin. Nice to see some other scenery.

Thrones of Desert and Ice

I have mentioned before how I enjoy reading and watching the book series of George R. R. Mitchell. A mix of kings, queens, and country across the frozen north to desert wasteland. One discussion of the series and TV rendition is found here.

Like Pizza?

If you like pizza, here is a recommendation by state in Zagat’s for their favorite pizzas (lost the link). Our two favorites when we travel are Serious Pie in Seattle and Solaris in Bingen WA, across the Columbia River from Hood River OR. Locally, we usually go to James Gang Pizza in Lebanon.

Seven Years' War

While we traveled around Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, we got a better understanding of two wars that affected that part of North America, the Seven Years’ War and the War of 1812. The Louisbourg Fortress was transferred to British hands at the end of the Seven Years’ War. An article that gives a good synopsis of this war on the Continent and in North America is found here.

Among the British, more war with the French seemed likely over their differences in the Americas. The British had taken control of a portion of France's colony in North America in 1710 (during the Queen Anne War of 1702-13), and they had renamed the area they had conquered Nova Scotia.

Society and Revolution

Investor’s Business Daily has an 8 part series of articles exploring society, socialism, communism, and our lives. The first part is on France and the propaganda of the French Revolution. The eighth part is on Lenin and the disintegration of marriage. I have not gone through all the parts yet wish to post here for future reading and other’s interest.

A Holocaust Snippet

When you visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, they give you a card of details of a holocaust victim to carry throughout your tour. The thought is to give you a connection to that person and what their life may have been like during this horrific period in our world’s history. This post reminds me of the card I carried during my one trip through. The photo and description of this 14-year old girl from Poland can bring the whole tragedy closer.

Book List of Your Own

The following blog post has a unique feature, a list of 100 books that the post’s author enjoyed and read. So, instead of having angst over how many one may have read in this list……….make your own book list. I would have to say that I have only read about 25% of his list, a % number the author is frustrated by when he reads other book lists.

McClellan and Today

How does one be much loved or thought fondly of, yet be totally ineffectual and be put aside. Our current President could fit that bill and turn our current military leaders into the same type of people. One person in our history, George McClellan, was much loved by his men and still was a totally poor leader in warfare. He could not make a decision and take action until often odds were turned against him. A couple of articles about McClellan can be found here and here.

Challenge Science Results?

Being involved with the Winn Feline Foundation and reviewing research grant proposals, I found an interesting article through The Economist. Their premise is that researchers are too complacent in challenging their results or of others. Many studies’ results cannot be reproduced………..they are “one offs”. They also challenge the peer review concept and that results should be challenged by open discussion after publication. Here is the article, others can decide how they view this issue.

A Cat's View of the World

One artist is trying to offer a rendition of how a cat’s vision works as it views different parts of its surroundings. They operate and view items differently than human. They have more rods than cones in the center of their retina so they can see better in very dim light though they do not have the clarity and color vision that people do.

Because of the various photoreceptors parked in cats’ retinas, they kick our asses at seeing in dim light. Instead of the color-resolving, detail-loving cone cells that populate the center of human retinas, cats (and dogs) have many more rod cells, which excel in dim light and are responsible for night-vision capability. The rod cells also refresh more quickly, which lets cats pick up very rapid movements — like, for example, the quickly shifting path a marauding laser dot might trace.

With this description, I think they would be great security sensors in a Zombie Apocalypse. They could sense zombie movement at night much quicker that we could. Right? Read about how their vision differs here.
Human View
Cat View

What Is A Yeti?

A British scientist feels he may have an answer for the mystery of the Yeti. He believe that the creature seen and described in those sightings is an ancient polar bear that still lives in the Himalayas.

Research by Professor Bryan Sykes, a geneticist from the University of Oxford, has not only uncovered a genetic match between samples thought to come from the elusive creature and another that lived more than 40,000 years ago, but also suggests the beast is still roaming the mountains.
Professor Sykes conducted DNA tests on hairs from two unidentified animals, one found in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh, in northern India, and the other from Bhutan, 800 miles east.
The results were then compared with other animals’ genomes stored on a database of all published DNA sequences. Professor Sykes found a 100 per cent match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone
found in Svalbard, Norway.

Additional information can be found here in the article from the Telegraph.

The Crater

Another spot we have visited in our Civil War site travels is the area around Petersburg Virginia and especially where the Battle of the Crater was fought. It was hoped by the Union Army that they could damage and breach the breastworks of the Confederate Army to achieve a breakthrough. It ended up a debacle and large loss of Union soldiers. Here is a description of the Battle of the Crater. A photo follows of part of the area where the battle took place and how it looks today.

John Brown's Beginnings

There is an interesting history piece about the early life of John Brown. It is written by Tony Horwitz who wrote “Confederates in the Attic”. The article gives some sense of why John Brown was an anti-slavery person with strong views on the issue. Bob and I have visited Harper’s Ferry and toured the town. We have seen the armory where John Brown and his sons attacked and were subsequently defeated and rounded up by Colonel Robert E. Lee.
A main street in Harper’s Ferry, looking toward the river and the armory would be to the right at the end.

All Star Cardinals

Powerline Blog had a recent post with discussion on who would make up an All Star lineup of the St. Louis Cardinals. The post is here and interesting reading. Tony LaRussa is the choice for manager of the team of all who have gone before. He did do a bang up job there and after doing a good job as manager of the Oakland Athletics where Bob and I knew him and his family.

Misplaced Charter

Our country is going through a stressful time right now. As an earlier blog post mentioned, our President and his administration are doing their best to separate the people from the land and National Monuments. We can no longer go where we feel we should be able to access and visit. Mark Steyn touches on this topic a bit and how the President has broken an almost 900 year old portion of English law that an English king gave to his freemen subjects. This law was established two years after the Magna Carta was written, the basis of English law and our law too. He has rolled back the connection a supreme leader has with their people and the land. We are reversing to a despotic concept more in line with “divine right of kings”. The article can be read here. The only argument I have with it is that is says that Henry II gave the Charter of the Forest to English freemen in 1217. It was Henry III, the son of King John the king -who had to accept the basis of the Magna Carta due to his despotic rule over his noble subjects.


When my beloved grandmother died in 2005, it was a sadly blessed relief. For at least 7 years, she was declining into dementia and her actions took a toll on the family especially my mother. She would not let Mom out of her sight for over a second and became impossible to deal with when it happened. The fun and joy of the type of person she had been was gone. I also believe that the huge closeness my mother and she had over the years--traveling together--was deeply strained. There appears to be a possible treatment on the horizon out of Great Britain. Details are covered in this article here.

Bring Out the Cones

It is disgraceful that our President and his administration are taking on goonish thug tactics to the American people during this current government shutdown. His hit squad of goons, the National Park Service, have gone around the country placing traffic cones in places to block tourists from visiting or viewing national sites. I have a photo from a prior trip to Wales of a statue of a Welsh statesman that someone put a traffic cone on his head. I think Barack Obama deserves to be stuck wearing a traffic cone as a dunce cap. I wish he would demonstrate some of that brilliance that he supposedly has and do something smart and good, not mean spirited. A further look at what the traffic cone is coming to symbolize.

Work and Movies

The morning today was taken up with the Winn October teleconference board meeting. It appeared to go well and it is great to have it all completed for this year. This is probably a day to have followed up and watched one of the movies listed in this article of 15 underrated films from the 2000s that are worth considering watching.

Richard III and Travelers

The finding of Richard III of England’s remains has been an intriguing bit of news in recent times. Maybe his winter of discontent was made possible by being infected by roundworm. According to news stories, they have found roundworm eggs in the soil where his intestines would have lain. The parasites were probably well fed since he was king. Was he less content by carrying them? Maybe Shakespeare had the inside track or knowledge. Hmmmmm?

In September, 2012, Richard's remains were excavated and sediment samples were taken from the sacral area of his pelvis, and control samples from his skull and the soil outside the grave cut. The results showed the presence of multiple roundworm eggs (Ascaris lumbricoides) in the sacral sample, where the intestines would have been during life.

Colorized Civil War Photos

Two individuals, one from Great Britain and the other from Denmark, have developed a method to colorize photos from the Civil War. They really have brought that part of history to life and made it even more enjoyable and interesting. The article that brought it to my attention is here. They have links to other articles where additional photos can be found.
Happy explorations! A photo of General USS Grant.

Designer Genes?

Are we on the verge of a change in the way we can program genetic code to develop more antimicrobials? Will this lead to better designer genes, nothing, or will we some day “Unleash Hell” through the unknown consequences? A description of the new concepts in developing designer genes is found in this article.

Reprogramming bacteria to produce proteins for drugs, biofuels, and more, has long been part of the job for bioscientists, but for years they have struggled to get those bugs to follow orders.
Those days may be over.

LaRussa's Cats

The Wall Street Journal has a cool article about Tony and Elaine LaRussa and their work with ARF. It also focuses on their household of cats which I was the veterinarian for covering about 15 years. It looks like they still have Sierra and Kachina. Since I have been gone from there for 10 years, many of the cats they have are new and therefore, unknown to me. I was certainly there at the start of ARF and as a big supporter for it. Evie was housed at my hospital for a number of months until she went to live at a home rescue shelter associated with ARF. Here is the article.

Short Excursion

Bob and I took a short excursion to Springfield and Eugene to look for other possible leased space in the I-5 corridor. We did find a few likely spots to investigate for other options and farther away from downtown Eugene. The most likely is in the Gateway area which is growing in business to a fair degree.

Wind and Rain Damage

The heavy rain and wind caused an old apple tree by the garden to topple over. It was loaded with rain wet leaves and heavy apples. The tree was located next to the area where my grandparent’s home had been before it burned. The tree was older than I am. Even though the apples are very tart, they were part of the place and loved by deer to eat as they dropped.

Political Storm

Yesterday was the start of an intrusion and nightmare for the future, Obamacare. Government involvement in our health insurance and therefore our health care. Both Bob and I are without our plans at the start of the year. I truly dislike what they have done here and can truthfully say that I hate it. On the same day, the government has shut down because of this program and trying to fund the government overreach. I blame the President and Democrats for where we are though the Republicans don’t improve their brand either. Washington DC is a mess and it spills over on us with the power grabs.

Rainy Weather Again

One other surprise we had on the trip was how when we left the weather report was for a relatively nice weekend. Both Bob and I got notification alerts on our Apple devices about a major storm that was headed to Oregon for the weekend. We monitored the weather radar and it looked to be bad. We did miss a big wet, windy storm while gone. We lost an old apple tree that was older than I am in age. Loaded with tart apples that mostly the deer loved to eat. Still what a shame.
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