Halloween In Nashville

Not much of a spooky Halloween. I spent the day in lectures about feline medicine and Bob went sight seeing around Nashville. The city seems safer and has a lot more to enjoy than the last visit. Bob went to see the Johnny Cash museum today and felt it was a must see. I will have to save it for another time. We spent the evening at dinner with veterinarian friends. I had to take it slower since I had one of my molars break last night and it is painful to eat sometimes.
Here is a picture Bob got of the Tennessee capital. It was a great place to visit I remember from last time.

Music City Here We Are

We took off yesterday afternoon to fly to Nashville for the ABVP meeting. We are staying at the Omni Hotel which is fairly new and quite nice. It is across the street from the Music Center and attached to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville seems to have changed from when I was there 15 years ago and we are more on the eastern edge about 4-5 blocks from where the meeting was last time.

True Thoughts on Conversation

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
-- Lady Dorothy Nevill,
British writer

A very accurate statement. One should consider whether what they say will advance the conversation or the understanding associated with the conversation. Will it achieve what you want or will it detract? Is it a “fly-by” just to be hurtful or at least unhelpful.

From Funny to Serious

Anne Applebaum who is a compelling writer reviews the first volume of three planned books of an extensive biography of Stalin. The premise here is not that he was crazy or devious but rose to the top of this group because he was smart and ambitious. It pays to understand Stalin because many still wish he was in charge of Russia and admire what he achieved. There also could be more like him out there in the future. Know thy enemy. Read about it here.

The Princess Bride

Some movies make “cult” status, sometimes quickly, other times over time. “The Princess Bride” is said to be of the latter category. It is certainly one I enjoy to watch and it has one of the most quoted lines from any movie in it. Mandy Patinkin delivered it. Patinkin is a wonderful actor and singer. One of my wishes was to see him perform and I did finally get to do so in San Francisco a number of years ago. He was smaller than I expected and pale (probably due to stage makeup). He did put on a good show. All I can say is read Cary Elwes book about the movie and read this article about it all. INCONCEIVABLE!

Kooky Kansas City Cats

Sports fans are a bit strange and two guys who are long time Kansas City Royals baseball fans. By painting some wrestling one-suits with cat faces, they have become quite well known around TV for their attire and support of their team. Especially in the playoffs and World Series. We need to get the Catsuit Guys to say a good word for Winn Feline Foundation. See more about them.

Wind Storm

Today we had the biggest windstorm that Oregon has had since in December 2006. We missed that one because we were in Chico visiting Bob’s cousin and husband. The wind then got up to 100 mph gusts. Not so bad yesterday but it was very blustery. We went to Eugene for some shopping and lunch. The outer doors to Macy’s kept blowing open and bringing with the wind a lot of leaves into the store. It was nice to get home so we could get away from the Suburu being buffeted along the road. Power went out for about an hour. I like storms but would have liked to be at the Oregon coast snuggled up next to a fire and watch the storm hit the coastline. That is lots of fun (unless one would be out in a boat). They had to evacuate the Port Orford harbor yesterday because the wind was so bad.

More Hot Zone

Richard Preston is the author of the book I mentioned a few days ago, “The Hot Zone”. He has an article today in The New Yorker called, “The Ebola Wars”. He has such an interesting way of writing about diseases to bring it all down to the feeling it is right in front of you waiting to be touched (or not touched in this case). I wish we could have him communicate the real life scenario than the basic hacks from the government who make you feel like they just lie to you or want to talk down to a person. For his take on the current Ebola situation in west Africa, go here.

The most dangerous outbreak of an emerging infectious disease since the appearance of H.I.V., in the early nineteen-eighties, seems to have begun on December 6, 2013, in the village of Meliandou, in Guinea, in West Africa, with the death of a two-year-old boy who was suffering from diarrhea and a fever. We now know that he was infected with Ebola virus. The virus is a parasite that lives, normally, in some as yet unidentified creature in the ecosystems of equatorial Africa. This creature is the natural host of Ebola; it could be a type of fruit bat, or some small animal that lives on the body of a bat—possibly a bloodsucking insect, a tick, or a mite.

Before now, Ebola had caused a number of small, vicious outbreaks in central and eastern Africa. Doctors and other health workers were able to control the outbreaks quickly, and a belief developed in the medical and scientific communities that Ebola was not much of a threat. The virus is spread only through direct contact with blood and bodily fluids, and it didn’t seem to be mutating in any significant way.”

Surviving Ebola

What helps some people be able to resist and/or survive Ebola? Knowing some of the background of this type of immunity would be useful. More information found here.
Ebola virus particles on a cell’s surface.....


“People who survive Ebola can lead normal lives post-recovery, though occasionally they can suffer inflammatory conditions of the joints afterwards, according to CBS. Recovery times can vary, and so can the amount of time it takes for the virus to clear out of the system. The World Health Organization found that the virus can reside in semen for up to seven weeks after recovery. Survivors are generally assumed to be immune to the particular strain they are infected by, and are able to help tend to others infected with the same strain. What isn't clear is whether or not a person is immune to other strains of Ebola, or if their immunity will last.

As with most viral infections, patients who recover from Ebola end up with Ebola-fighting antibodies in their blood, making their blood a valuable (if controversial) treatment option for others who catch the infection. Kent Brantly, one of the most recognizable Ebola survivors, has donated more than a gallon of his blood to other patients. The plasma of his blood, which contains the antibodies, is separated out from the red blood cells, creating what’s known as a convalescent serum, which can then be given to a patient as a transfusion. The hope is that the antibodies in the serum will boost the patient’s immune response, attacking the virus, and allowing the body to recover.”


Ebola and The Hot Zone

We have been going through a serious period over the past 2 weeks where a traveler from Liberia brought an Ebola infection with him and transmitted it to two nurses treating him. Troubling and I don’t feel our medical authorities have been handling the situation with due caution and appropriate controls. Too much minimizing and I feel that they forget the serious concerns discussed in the book, The Hot Zone, from the 1990s where an outbreak in monkeys near Washington D.C. was considered a major concern. I talked with two veterinarians featured in that book and this is a level 4 virus in how they handle it. High mortality and one we don’t want in the population. Here are some facts coming in about this clade of Ebola virus and how to deal with it.

The Origin of Blackmail

Another situation of “Did you know” and “Today I Found Out”. What is the origin of the word and concept Blackmail and the lesser known phrase “buttock mail”. You can check it out here.

“Blackmail” has its roots in the early 16th century, first used by English farmers living on the England/Scotland border. It derives from the Middle English word “male” which itself is thought to derive from the Old English word “mal”. In Old English “Mal” is described as thus: “lawsuit, terms, bargaining, agreement”.

Perfectly Round Cat

There is a picture someone took of their fluffy white cat which came out looking like the cat was perfectly round. Very cute photo. People have been having fun photoshopping the picture into many other scenes and photos. Which one can be the most outrageous round cat.
Check it all out here.

A Dog's Life

While running errands around town I noticed a couple of lazy, comfortable pooches on the back end of a truck. One dog was curious and watching his surroundings, the other one took time to curl up and take it easy on top of a tire. Oh, the dog’s life it is.

Tired Little Boy

David, Renee, the boys, and her family flew back to St. Louis via Atlanta 2 days ago to spend the last days with Renee’s grandmother. It is a long way to go with a full family to take and 2 active kids. Travel is exhausting as Ryan demonstrates in this picture....
the sleep of the innocent.

Al Jolson

I enjoy reading about different facts in life. It gives a person some perspective about the truth and not the myth. Al Jolson was a singer who was well known for the movie, “The Jazz Singer”. He also did a song in blackface referring to “Mammy”. Not what would be acceptable today as a performance thought there are often ones worse that are not acceptable. One can find out more about Al Jolson and his career here.

Last Day for Kalamazoo

Interesting day of presentations and interactions about cats. It was an enjoyable three days in Kalamazoo and I had a great time. I think everyone else did too. Long flight home to Portland through Detroit. Really had to hustle with my bags to get to the new gate.

The Big Day

Today was my scheduled presentation in front of people at Zoetis. Since I am not a frequent speaker and work behind the scenes, it seemed to go fairly well. We also had a panel discussion and that seemed to be also well-received. It was a relief though to be done and I think I have gotten on the horse and survived so I can do it again if needed.

Off to Kalamazoo

Caught a flight to Kalamazoo, MI by way of Minneapolis. A large portion of the aged population like me seemed to be traveling to Minnesota. Kalamazoo in the dark looked like a great spot for Halloween Trick or Treating much like Haddonfield from the movie, Halloween. I didn’t get into my room until 11 p.m. so a tired old lady.

Columbus Day

The world is getting even wackier. We are due to spend right after the New Year’s in Seattle and they are beyond wacky. Today is not Columbus Day to the City Council there but Indigenous People. At this point, based on how long my family has been located in America, I am well into being an indigenous person. Some background.

Mowing Weeds

Bob and our neighbor, Dan Hartman, went over and mowed down a lot of tall grass and weeds around the place. One can now see where the yard is and at least enjoy it to a fair degree. Much cleaner view. In visiting, I didn’t go in because David was feeling sick and I did not want to get exposed.
I did grab some McDonald’s food to eat since I was a bit hungry. To know how the McDonald in McDonald’s is, check it out here.

Moving Day

David, Renee, and the boys had a major move today to a mobile home over on Denny School Rd. It offers a bit more room for them as far as the kitchen, dining and living room. The boys have a fair sized room or area to each of them. One big attraction is that it is less expensive so that will be helpful for them at this point. Bob was involved in helping move all the big and little stuff with Renee’s family helping.

Radical Islam in the Middle East

It helps to read books and magazine articles on different perspectives regarding the history of peoples and religions in the Middle East. Here is an interesting article about the development of radical Islam in the Middle East in more recent times.

The Pledge

What is the origin of the Pledge of Allegiance? I certainly have never felt the need to “diss” saying the Pledge. While I have been with some who live outside the U.S. who would grumble, I do a respectful “God Save the Queen” when I need to.

More Meetings

While he is often taking photos and videos of us, I was able to get Steve Dale, radio personality, in a quick snapshot as we got set for another round of board meeting and grant review for Winn.


The day was fully spent doing strategic planning and practicing leadership. The meeting went well overall and we had a nice evening for dinner at Gibson’s steakhouse located right at the hotel. Eric Bruner, our board member, lead the session.planning-10-7-14

Flying to Chicago

Had to leave before 7 a.m. to fly to Chicago for the Winn October meeting. It was a slow start and the flight delayed but it was a nice evening having dinner with my old buddy, Drew Weigner. We have not have enough time to spend together in recent years.

Controlling Cats

A good picture of what we can expect our cats to demand of us at anytime.


Early Cell Phones

Cell phones are ubiquitous. They are everywhere and it seems almost everyone has one (well some have resisted). Here are some interesting facts about the earliest cell phones and how they evolved. The first handheld weighed 2.4 lbs. Now they weigh around 0.25 lbs. What a difference and why they are so popular for one reason. Technology moves on.

Gypsy History

Another one from Today I Found Out...................about where Gypsies originated as a group of people. Find out more here.

On one of our trips to England, Bob and I came across a traveling Gypsy family. The father was leading the wagon and his family down one of the main two-way roads between Salisbury and Exeter. Since the wagon moved slowly, the traffic did back up behind them. Because it was such an unusual sight, I wish I had been able to get a photo but my cameras were film in those days and not set to be accessible and get quick shots.

“They do not have a shared homeland or national identity. They are a people who are scattered across the globe and whose origins have always been shrouded in myth and mystery (among other reasons because they have kept no written records of their early history). Many saw them (and continue to do so in many cases) as dirty, thieving and undesirable, others as artistic, romantic and carefree. In France, they are referred to as gitanes, in Spain they are called gitanos, and in Germany, zigeuner.

There are an estimated 12 million Romani – better known as Gypsies – living worldwide. Most of them (8-10 million) live in Europe, making them the continent’s largest ethnic minority group. So where did they come from?

A recent genetic analysis of 13 European Gypsy groups confirmed that their ancestors, for reasons not perfectly clear, left India in a single emigration wave some 1,500 or so years ago. “There were already some linguistic studies that gave clues pointing to India and genetic studies too, though without being precise about the where or when,” explained David Comas, leader of the research group that made the discovery.”

Who Invented the Internet

One of the interesting facts from the Today I Found Out website. For further information on this and surrounding facts, check here.

“The genesis of the internet itself was a group effort by numerous individuals, sometimes working in concert, and other times independently. Its birth takes us back to the extremely competitive technological contest between the US and the USSR during the Cold War.

The Soviet Union sent the satellite Sputnik 1 into space on October 4, 1957. Partially in response, the American government created in 1958 the Advanced Research Project Agency, known today as DARPA—Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency’s specific mission was to

…prevent technological surprises like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for our enemies.

To coordinate such efforts, a rapid way to exchange data between various universities and laboratories was needed. This bring us to J. C. R. Licklider who is largely responsible for the theoretical basis of the Internet, an “Intergalactic Computer Network.” His idea was to create a network where many different computer systems would be interconnected to one another to quickly exchange data, rather than have individual systems setup, each one connecting to some other individual system.”


Sad Losses

I heard today of the deaths of two people who had a really positive impact on veterinary medicine. One was Dr. Lorie Huston who received the Winn Feline Foundation Media Award this year. The other was the also too early loss of Dr. Sophia Yin who was inspiring to many on better and gentler techniques in handling dogs and cats. She offered so much. I salute their work and mourn their loss to us and all the animals whose lives were bettered and many more who will be so.
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