Monday, July 31, 2006

Madd Max

Madd Max

It's a bit churlish of me to exploit such obvious schadenfreude but I really can't resist. Mel Gibson is such a smug, sanctimonious, pseudo-pious, twerp that I can't help but snigger as he manages to shoot himself in both feet and possibly the head at the same time. Give the large number of Jews in the upper echelons of Hollywood, his anti-semitic comments might be a tad ill-advised. Oh, well he might have to live off his earnings from the Passion of the Christ from now on: at a stretch they may run to a couple of weeks in the Betty Ford Clinic. Life can can be brutal, can't it? MADD indeed!

Another Foster's, anyone...?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thoughts of Far Off Lands

Corfu 1972
Mad Dog in Corfu, July 1972

With the Big Personal Project and a few other things, 2006 has been a fairly challenging year and I'm starting to ache for a decent holiday. I really envy the tradition of European vacations where families decamp to a Mediterranean destination or similar and just hang out for three weeks. There is no sense of such things over here which is both unenlightened and a shame. I get two weeks (that is 10 working days) paid leave a year and that's it. Devotees of this blog will know that the Greece is one of my favourite spots on the planet: I've been in love with the place since I first visited 35 years ago (see above for gratuitious nostalgia photo). Next month I'm going to take a week off and hang around in California. It will be fun but I'm hoping that I can get back to an island in the Ionian Sea in the not too distant future...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Crotchet post-surgery

My lovely, fluffy, ragamuffin cat, Crotchet, is recovering from surgery. Awhile ago I noticed an odd lump on her back which didn't feel like a sebaceous cyst, granuloma or any other lesion of benign origin. The vet was initially skeptical about my worry-wort behaviour but then agreed to lop the thing off. I duly picked up Crotchet who was very dopey and wrapped in a body bandage. The poor thing hid under the bed for three days. The vet had made an astonishingly large crescent-shaped incision, about 12cm long, across her back and was tight-lipped about a possible diagnosis. Unfortunately, my fears turned out to be well-founded when the pathology report came back. The lump was a fibrosarcoma, a particularly nasty kind of soft tissue cancer. The prognosis is not great but markedly improves if the tumour is caught early and the surgery is fairly radical (now I know why the incision was so large for a less than 2cm lump). Another point in Crotchet's favour is that the mass was not yet vascular (infiltrated with blood vessels) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we won't get any recurrence. This particular kind of cancer is apparently a rare side effect of Feline Leukemia vaccination (your cat is at much greater risk for developing FL than this complication so please don't stop the shots) but ironic as I've spent a large part of my career developing vaccines. Incidentally if anyone has any ideas how a killed preparation of FeLV can induce a tumour please let me know (come on Dr Jim, you've always got a view on these things: I suspect a protein promoter myself).

Monday, July 17, 2006

That Headbutt


Well it would seem that Zidane's headbutt has given rise to a few copycats. Maybe this is set to be a new form of greeting in France?!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Is it Just Me...?

Pink cannon

Some time ago, I spotted this pink-barreled cannon on the mean streets of Bellevue (no that's not the lunatic asylum that Bruce Springsteen sings about so poetically -this is Bellevue, Washington; a middle class suburb with the charisma of a boiled cabbage). Now is it just me that finds this odd bit of iconry profoundly disturbing? I mean it's not outside a nightclub, singles bar or anything like that: it's in the parking lot of a bank of all things. Now what the hell is that about? I was tempted to speculate that it was a metaphor for the bank's attitude towards customer relations but that would almost certainly result in a lawsuit and me living in penury for the rest of my life so I'll refrain. Anybody got any suggestions...?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How Did This Happen?

Olivia in gown 10:6:06
Olivia in Bachelor's gown + various achievement medals and honours. Commencement, University of Washington, 10 June, 2006.

For reasons that I fail to comprehend, my 2-year-old daughter is now 22 and for the past month has been the proud owner of a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Washington. And she even has a real job prior to taking the next step in her education (a PhD in clinical psychology or a medical degree, I'm informed). I don't know how this happened; I must have blinked or something. However it does make me feel old. Oh, tempus fugit!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Water Under the Bridge

Crotchet can barely contain her excitement in the Wold Cup Final penalty shoot out.

Phew, some water's certainly passed under the bridge since my last post. To those well wishers who've sent emails to enquire as to my well-being let me express heartfelt thanks -it was very touching to hear from you. Anyway let me reassure you all that I'm in rude health and nothing sinister has been going on. I've just had very little time for blogging having been on the road, grant writing (an interminable processs), watching the World Cup (Rooney you little git, if you are going to foul somebody watch the clip of Zizou's headbutt and learn -it was formidable), attending daughter's graduation, planning the next MCH rally, doing lots of aikido and iaido training and dealing with a feline health crisis. Needless to say I have lots of stories and I'll relate some of them to you over the next week or so. In the meantime I've posted a pic displaying my my companion animal's interest in football...