Archive for August, 2011

Texas Smoldering

It’s not sweltering because it’s not Michigan.  I hear there is a fire going on somewhere in the state but it is not here.

But it was 105 today.

Yeah, but it’s a dry heat.

I got up, threw on my jeans and a t-shirt, jumped in the jeep and tore out of the driveway.

Then I turned around, went back home, threw the luggage in the vehicle and woke the kids to say goodbye for a few days.

Ran into work, stopped long enough to throw together one last panicky overnight box and issue a few vague orders and ran out the door there, too.

The airport was interesting.  An absolutely scary lady was heading right towards me and in my state it’s hard for me to change direction rapidly.  It was a collision course in the making.  She had some kind of fake wig, a big old mu-mu, mis-shapen face, five o’clock shadow, large nose, and huge pores… I was freaking out because we were heading right towards each other.  Then, about fifty feet away she veered off.

Yes, painkillers and Red Bull™ are quite a combination to behold.

I might have said something silly earlier about first class accommodations on the flight, complete with footrubs, aromatherapy, chocolate fondue, and all-you-can-eat-ribs.  Seriously, can you see me flying First Class?

The coffee was pretty good though.

Waited 30 minutes outside in sunny Dallas heat, which since it was a dry heat was quite pleasant.

The van ride to the hotel was… interesting… but that is a story for another day.

Cruel Wife says that even though I’d rather be at home, I need to take her out to dinner to treat her after all the good food I’m going to have eaten down here.

I told her that I was going to eat nothing but root vegetables while down here.

I just finished a Rutaburger with turnip fries and a Jerusalem artichoke puree.  Picture of that tomorrow if I can find the USB cable to the camera.

For now, I have to rest.  I’m wiped.

Been watching “Troy” on SyFy (worst damn name for a channel I’ve ever seen).  It’s easily the worst Homerism I’ve seen yet today.  Maybe some people liked it.  I was underwhelmed.  Which is too bad since generally I like Pitt and Bana.

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taobmaetS ooGcM rightly guessed that not all has been well recently.

I’ve been working like a horse to make a project work for months and finally two scientists I work with flew out to make it work – plus a third scientist who we are collaborating with.  I felt some relief that surely with their help we would lick this problem, but at the same time it was with a different small amount of relief that after three days three absolutely brilliant scientists found nothing flawed with my work.  But, that also means that we still didn’t make it work.

I told one of them that I thought that what we have been thinking our diagnostics have been telling us about our laser is incorrect and that meant that no matter what we did we would not get the wee beastie working.  She agreed.  I said I needed to go home because I physically couldn’t do any more.

That (Friday) evening, just two hours later, I got a phone call from one of the other scientists telling me that I could opt to say no, but “Would you go down to Texas to build the instrument that you designed at a different facility?”

What the hell are you supposed to do, say no?

Without missing a beat I said “Yup, I will go.”  When I got surprise on the other end I said “Look, I’ve been killing myself over this and I damn well want to see it work.  I’m not giving up.  If it doesn’t work it won’t be because I didn’t give it everything I’ve got.”

So this week I fly down to Texas to try another group’s laser and equipment – let’s hope it works.

Yes, that has been A problem but not THE problem.  I’ve been over-exerting myself physically and for long enough that my neck has been telling me things were seriously wrong.  Friday last, it really told me.  I was in a vicious pain cycle to the point where I nearly had a co-worker take me to the hospital but managed to get it under control with painkillers before that became necessary.

Saturday was the real problem.  I woke up in the morning pretty bad off and took pretty much everything I could, but after an hour I was even worse.  I asked Cruel Wife to call the pain doc and have him call the ER ahead of us so they knew to not let me sit in agony in the waiting room for three hours like last time (that was a few years back).  Problems with going to the ER are (1) acute embarrassment even though you just want them to make it stop, and (2) there is nothing you can say that will convince them that you truly aren’t a drug-seeker, unless you have a decent doc like I have finally found who managed to pin down three discs that other docs missed.

I was lying there, pretty much writhing on the bed, when Cruel Wife came in and said “here, take these… the doc called in another Rx”.  Time ceases to have any meaning when you feel like that so it had felt like both years and moments since I’d asked her to call the doc.   I took them and within 15-20 minutes I was wrung-out but the pain was receding rapidly, and I was drowsy enough to fall asleep.  I stayed drugged up all weekend, knowing that I had to pack up and fly to Texas for three days and hoping that the rest and meds would allow my body to heal a bit.

I still feel kind of cruddy but better than I have been.

My apologies for not posting – it will be spotty this week, too, but I will be taking all of next week off.


Well, damn.  Can’t say as how I blame him.  Makes you wish you could take the load off his shoulders though.  Through no fault of his own…


People assume weather science can predict anything?  Well, isn’t that true if climate scientists can project global warming and climate change out to 100 years from now?

“People see that and assume we can predict everything,” National Hurricane Center senior forecaster Richard Pasch said.

But when Irene struck, the storm did not stick with the forecast’s predicted major hurricane strength winds.

“It’s frustrating when people take our forecasts verbatim and say, ‘This is where it’s going to be at this time and this is how strong it’s going to be,'” Pasch said. “Because even though the track is good it’s not certain.”

In other news, global warming is causing a rise in mental illness.  Hmmm.   I thought the latter led to the former.

RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.

The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.

As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events.

Damn, that is choice.


In my school days, getting good or perfect attendance was expected and if you were skipping a lot of days it mean an ass-kicking at home.  Now, apparently, you get an iPod for doing what you should have been doing anyway.


And here I thought Spice was a geriatric drug that gave you blue eyes and allowed you to fold space.  Well, it must do something if so many folks in the military (and elsewhere) are testing positive for it.  People don’t generally test positive for massive ingestion of talcum powder or carnuba wax because they don’t get you high.


Okay.  That’s all I’ve got for now.

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Then Tragedy Struck.

A lady from our church e:mailed me tonight.   Her story has touched my heart.

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes.I made a quick trip to Madrid Spain on a short vacation unfortunately i got mugged at the park of hotel where i stayed,worse of it was that my bags, cash, mobile phone and credit cards were all stolen at GUNPOINT leaving me penniless right now.
It’s was a horrible experience for me and i need help flying back home,the authorities are not being 100%  supportive but the good thing is that i still have my passport.I need some cash to settle my billsand get on flight back home. please let me know if you can help.
I’m freaked out at the moment..
But after that touching story, it gives one a moment to pause and reflect as one reaches for that third hanky.
There are a few things wrong with this… (takes deep breath)… (1) I can’t see this lady with tears in her eyes and e:mailing me,  (2) I’m surprised that she would turn to me since we’re not like best buds or anything and she could at least have bothered with an opening salutation like “Dear Lemur”, (3)  this lady wouldn’t make a quick trip to the store without fanfare and the idea of a trip to Europe without even a little attention-whoring is fishy, (4) she doesn’t do “short vacations”, (5) she uses regular punctuation and used to be a teacher, (6) she violated grammar in an obscene way with the at park of hotel part, so refer to #5 again, please (7)  “worse of it was” is so unusual that I’d expect bestiality charges brought against her before I expected that grammar, (8) nobody in the US says “mobile phone” anymore, (9) she couldn’t have been robbed at gunpoint because all of the European gun control laws have ensured that no firearms-related crime is even possible there, (10) vanishingly few Americans use “penniless” in speech, (11) as much as she likes to talk I think that stating that it was a horrible experience is a waste of breath even for her, (12) you ought to think it over before flying her right home as there’s some positives to leaving her there, (13) the authorities not being 100% supportive doesn’t make sense because after about 30 minutes of listening to her talk would be enough for them to think of the negatives to leaving her there, (14)  that they stole everything but her passport makes no sense unless she carried it stuffed in the crack of her ass, (15)  asking me for the cash to settle her bills neglects to take into account the curdled milk of human kindness, (16) grammar, again, and this time I must wonder if only illiterate people get mugged, (17) it is not clear how I’m supposed to help if all I know is that she’s staying in a hotel, she has no ID, and is being held by unsupportive authorities without a mobile phone, and lastly, (18) her freak level varies between “kindergarten” and “PMS” so I’m not sure any descriptor has much meaning.

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Russian supply rocket blows up after launch.

NASA is counting on Russia as well as Japan and Europe to keep the orbiting outpost stocked, now that the space shuttles are no longer flying. The shuttle program ended in July with the Atlantis mission; a year’s worth of food and other provisions were delivered.

That burning sensation?  Shame.  Pure unalloyed shame.

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Oh, and I ordered Deus Ex: Human Revolution, juuuuust coming in under the wire as a pre-order and getting the tactical pack (nifty weapons and in-game credits unlocks).   So in two days, it will be here.  Yay!  Talk about waiting till the last moment.

May it be a damn sight better than Duke Pukem: Never.


I am inspiration-less.  Be patient with me.  Been a rough week.  Still numb-er than I would like (left hand) and the left arm and neck pain is still there (no, it is not a heart-attack).   Not a lot can be done about it besides piss and moan, so I piss and moan.

The Dude is a rock.  He sent me this gorgeous haute cuisine photograph.  It is just gorgeous.  As in “I could gorge on that”.


My Granddad used to always say, “Lemur, I don’t eat guts.  Don’t eat guts, Lemur.”   He clearly mentioned that our family had a long history of not eating offal/organs from critters when there were so many other tasty parts.

I have diverged from his paths on occasion.  I like liverwurst.  I like menudo.  But generally I try to stay away from guts.

Which is why I never eat placenta.  I just don’t do it.  If it’s human placenta, isn’t that cannibalism?  How about if it is your placenta?  Is it wrong or just really frakkin’ gross?   Really?  Seriously?   The Placenta Cookbook?

Holy sh*t-sucking leeches, Batman…

Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo, is the country’s leading (and quite possibly only) authority on placentophagia, the practice of placenta consumption. He has been researching the phenomenon for twenty years, and concludes that it must offer “a fundamental biological advantage” to all mammals. What this advantage is, he writes in one of his papers, “is still a mystery … in fact, a double mystery. We are not sure either of the immediate causes … nor are we sure of the consequences of the behavior.”

Well, we don’t even know what the advantages are, but it sure seems to make more sense to eat it because it seems like the creepier something is when we eat it the better it ought to be for you, right?

The guy just wanders in and out, though.

According to Kristal, the first recorded placentophagia movement in America began in the seventies, when people residing in communes would cook up a placenta stew and share it among themselves. “It’s a New Age phenomenon,” he explains. “Every ten or twenty years people say, ‘We should do this because it’s natural and animals do it.’ But it’s not based on science. It’s a fad.”

I knew a couple families when I was growing up that were like this.  They wove their own clothes out of hair from their bodies combined with yak-teat fuzz for some of the softest underclothes ever – well, softest ever relative to the hemp burlap they normally recycled into their garments.  These people also made huts out of straw and cow manure, smoked dried moss, and thought urine was a fantastic aphrodisiac.

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The Dude sent me a link to a Steampunk Mr. Potato Head.  Found by him over at Instructables.com

I don’t have a lot to say.  One good thing is that the injection in one of the arthritic joints was…  cautiously, because I don’t want to jinx it… a success.  It just doesn’t hurt like it did.  It friggin’ ached and then some and now it’s a irritant, nothing much more.

The other side of the neck with the disc issues?  Meh.  Left arm numb/pain still there, neck still hurts.  But I’m happy with anything at this point.  One less source of discomfort.



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A photographer saw several high school girls being incredibly abusive to some classmates on FaceBook.  Then…

She took screenshots, sent them to the girl’s parents, said she was not going to take their pictures, and refunded the $200 deposit.

Oh. My.  GOD.

Ms. McKendrick (Jennifer McKendrick), I am willing to drive to Indiana to pay you to photograph my family.

Seriously, that takes real character.  Good for you, ma’am.

I don’t want to photograph them, I don’t want them to be a part of my business image and I don’t want them on my blog. – Jennifer McKendrick


Well, this is sad.  Don’t read if you’re not up for a story that you’re not quite sure will have a happy ending or not.  It’s not over yet.

Someone took a child and neglected her until it snuffed her spirit right out.  Nice.

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The Update.

Did a half day at work today.  Hadn’t felt abysmally bad when I got up.  I opened my eyes and said “Whelp, I don’t want tuh get up, but I think I can.”

And so I did.  But after four awful hours I said “Whelp, I guess I is gonna go home.”

Whispering as I did… “One… one… one… one…” in a really tiny voice.

I got home and called the nurse at the pain clinic – she got back to me pretty quickly.  Turns out, in spite of what they say, not only can the pain increase but so can the numb and tingly stuff.  It’s really alarming when you start getting number extremities that also hurt.  She says that the stuff they shoot in there is pretty irritating stuff and can make all the stuff in there really inflamed.  Which is really really counter-intuitive to me because I thought it was supposed to be anti-inflammatory meds that they were injecting, but no, they are irritants themselves – like paint thinner, kerosene, and copier fluid.

So there.  That’s the day.

And, if you choose to read on in this post, be aware… I’m not in the best of moods.

Here’s a quick dose of humor to get you through it if you should decide to go on.  I’ve made lamb confit ravioli before and done garlic confit, but I’ve never ever heard of that kind of confit before.  Ever.  Nope.



While we’re talking about attention-whores, I thought we could skip over to this one for a bit because I’m (surprisingly) tired of talking about myself.

The butterball morbidly obese large woman person is 700lbs and wants to reach her goal of 1600lbs in her lifetime.

Despite warnings from her doctor that her bizarre experiment could kill her, Susanne insists she wants to break the record.

Dr Patrick Flite said: ‘She’s really playing Russian roulette with her life with this goal. There are well-documented complications that come with morbid obesity.

I would never encourage anyone to be doing what Susanne is doing.’

Dr Flite said Susanne’s medical checks showed no current problems, adding: ‘She’s capable of making her own decisions.  I don’t see any psychiatric problems or anything else wrong.’

Gee, I see two people with psychiatric problems right off the bat – the butterball and her doctor.

She can’t work because she’s so friggin’ fat.  Someone is paying for her food.  I have to ask “Why is someone paying for her to eat the amount of food daily that would feed eight to ten other people?”

‘I want to break the stigma that being fat is a bad thing,’ she said. ‘I remind other fat people that it is OK for them to be that way.

‘The message I want to get across is for people to accept others for who they are.’

Who said there shouldn’t be stigmaWhen did this silly rule get made up?

Sure as hell should be stigma when you actively pursue any kind of situation that requires someone else to support you.  Even if she’s independently wealthy (doubt it, look at her home, she’s no wealthier than I) then for cryin’ out loud, think of your kids, lady.

This is even worse than the couch-eater and the furniture polisher.


I know!  Let’s tax people, buy kits to test their kids for drugs, send them to parents who are interested, and make it look like a great service we’re offering to people who ought to be tracking their kids better than they are!  What a fantastic use of tax dollars!  Yay us!

Hell, people.  If I want to know if my kid is doing drugs I’ll buy a kit myself, not waste it on bureaucracy to do my job for me.

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In my neck of the woods…

Last night was just the diagnostic, really.

After lots of sweaty broken sleep and trying to stay in bed, I really did try, I got up around 10AM.  Half-crap dozing until 4am but not sleep as we normally know it, and then solid sleep until 7:30 or so, and then full-crap sleep until 10AM.

You know that when your sleep starts feeling timeless like when you are in a hospital it is time to get the diddley-f*ck right out of bed, right nowAnd it was.  So I did.

I still feel like canned-creamed sh*t.  Yes, the anesthetic they put in last night helped immediately afterwards, and it was really trailing off around 11pm.  But now… holy f*ck.  It should calm down in a day or two though.
What I’m saying is that even this process is just a bandaid, not the cure, which is to remove a disc or perhaps two. Doc said there were three that were problematic.

Can you imagine the epidurals and discectomies hundreds and thousands of years ago when they didn’t have readily available painkillers?  (**eyeroll here**)

And even tho I’m whining this really isn’t worse than the bad days at the lab, and I go 8-12 hours there at times even when I’m bad off.  This is a different kind of pain though.

Hey, that would be interesting – pain is one of those things that is VERY hard to describe or quantify.  If you have one that you can only describe using far-out descriptors, say ’em here.

I’ll start: The other day the bad disc area in my neck ached so bad that it felt like it was being turned inside out.   See what I mean?  What the hell does that mean, really?  But to me, that is exactly what it felt like.

Now, it feels like a series of infinitely sharp serrated scalpels are doing the jaws of life in that part of my neck.  Very sharp, very bright.  It’s a bright “twinkling star on a freezing winter night” kind of pain.

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Yay me.

Update #2:

Holy f***.   11:39pm… gonna be a long night.



Ok, so for a brief while there I was feeling pretty ok, able to move my head all around.  By the time we got to the car I was feeling kind of cruddy.  Still am.

The deal, talking with the doc before the procedure is that I have three bulging discs in my neck, one moderately severe based on what I told him about leaning forward to hold something in the lab and having my finger and thumb go numb.

So what they did was the epidural and combined it with several cortisone injections for arthritis, the logic being that do them all at once and you have less trips into the operating room.

As bad as all that news is, at least I don’t have to wonder if someone thinks it is all in my head.


Today is another exciting edition of Cervical Epidural Day!

I can’t wait.  Another hour and 12 minutes by my reckoning.  A wee bit more risk than the previous spots and if history is any guide as soon as the anesthetic wears off 12 hours after that I’m going to be a hurtin’ puppy.  Don’t know why I don’t handle ’em well but I just don’t.  But if it works, it’s good news and bad news.

Good news because I’ll get some temporary relief.  Bad news because, if I understand it right, if it works then it’s probably going to mean disc removal in the future.  Huh.  I guess I’m not all that opposed to it if it helps but I sure don’t want a nasty painful procedure that doesn’t change the Quality-of-Life meter.

More later.

And yes, I’m telling them I want a sedative.


And truly, this is NSFW, brought to you by Lady Clankington.  Steampunk and “personal stimulation”.  Yes, the article is nearly a year old.  I just thought you might be tittilated.  Or something.

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Hey, everyone’s got problems, right?

As of Tuesday at 6 p.m. Sturdivant has been on the tower for 128 hours.  – Oklahoma, newson6.com

Why, when a guy climbs up a 300 foot tower and refuses to come down… why do you keep bringing him tasty food?

Note:  Link from last night was bad, and this is the updated web page at newsat6.com, which may or may not have the direct quotes I found last night – but you will have the story.  


Verb: Treat (someone) very indulgently or protectively.

A Tulsa Police negotiator spoke with Sturdivant for several hours Tuesday afternoon.  The negotiator was hoisted up in a bucket, where he talked with Sturdivant, and at one point, even grabbed his hand.

Tuesday morning Sturdivant asked for a meal from Whataburger, then asked for Oreos and milk, according to police.

Tulsa officer Leland Ashley said there were no plans to try to force him down from the tower and said it would be logistically impossible to place a net under the tower in case he fell because the structure is so massive.

I don’t mean to sound heartless but… come on.  Whataburger, Oreos, and milk?  One would think if you gave him stale bread and water, and then held a burger out to him with the promise of a big juicy bite of it when he came down, then he’d come down a lot sooner.

Ok, I’ll be fair – odds are that he goes in for 72 hour observation.  Which probably should be waived because he’s already given them 128 hours to observe him.

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Update:  Coworker Black Lab on Meth got this at a local fair.   Here it is shown in my office about ready to take a crap on my desk.  A few nuts, bolts, and washers per crapload, which no one is going to notice amongst all the nuts, bolts, and washers on my desk already.


Frankenboy as I may have mentioned before is a pretty high-end (functioning) autistic kid.  He has his mannerisms, some of which drives one nuts, some which are kind of cute, and some that leave you scratching your head.

But in other ways, he’s Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.

I had a less-than-zero sleep last night and by 7:45am I was hearing the sounds of Cruel Wife rushing to get out the door.  I could hear her brushing hair, doing the makeup, and the pfffft of a quick shot of hair spray.

Still 3/4ths asleep I noted it and resolved to lay back down until when my alarms were set, at 7:59am and 8:03am (I have this thing about wanting prime numbers, no repeat numbers, and not liking increments of five in my alarm clock settings).

Some time later, I smelled hair spray – very strongly.  I threw the covers over my head while thinking “Jeez that is ridiculous”.  A minute later I threw the covers off my head to get some fresh air and gagged at the smell which was an order of magnitude worse.   Covers went back over my head and I said to myself “Damn, CW, that’s over the top.  Must be a bad hair day to rival Bill Clinton’s”.

A few minutes later I was looking for fresh air and it was just as bad – hair spray fumes were making stratified layers of haze across the room.  I closed my eyes and ducked under the covers again, resolving to get some more shut-eye.

The alarm clock went off.  I smacked it with my foot and it turned off the alarm.  I closed my eyes again and almost immediately the thing went off again, this time to a radio station, which told me that it was the second alarm.  I stomped on it with my foot and it, too, turned off.

At least the hair spray smell was abating a bit.  I went back under the covers and resolved to get up in a few minutes.

Fast-forward 37 minutes – I looked at the clock and realized I was late.  I leapt out of bed, got on my fuzzy robe, and realized that the sitter had already arrived and was on the couch reading her paper as I dashed to shower.  Did all the appropriate get-ready-for-work things, picked up all my pocket stuff (change, keys, smartphone), and realized I had no hair spray.  So I ran to the other bathroom where CW keeps hers and… she was out.  The can was gone and there was only some kiwi-scented (flavored?) gel stuff, which I was not going to use.

On the way to work I called her and said “So, you ran out of hairspray this morning, huh?”

“No, I have been running low but I still had a decent amount.”

And it dawned on both of us at the same time that Frankenboy must have imitated Dear Old Mom and hosed himself with spray to the point of exhausting every last bit of propellant and toxic hair spray glue that was left in the can.   Which means that everything in the house will be tacky for a while and that the cats may hork up next week’s hairballs tonight because of the aerosolized glue.

On the way out, Frankenboy said “I want to play on the Playstation.”  I told him “No, I have taken it away for a week, remember?”

He ran over and beat up the couch.   I told him that I understood that he was angry and that was ok, but he still doesn’t get the Playstation.   He looked at me and then beat up the couch again.   We repeated that once more and I told him to go to his room and be angry there.

He ignored me until I hit a count of “two” and then did it, and slammed his door.   Then I heard another door slam.  Then a third.

I thought “But their room only has two doors…?”


He was making his point to keep slamming the door until I fully understood That He Was Angry.

I went in and told him he was making the perfect case for losing the Playstation for another week or two.  That resulted in a major pouting session but by then I really had to go to work.

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An environmental watchdog group [Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)] that is defending a suspended government biologist who claims polar bears are drowning has blasted the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed scientific integrity rules, saying they will make it easier for scientists to be punished for misconduct.

Can you imagine the chaos if scientists who knowingly publish fraudulent data were suddenly punishable for misconduct?  Why, the push for carbon dioxide emission reductions would drop overnight.  Al Gore would have to find a new scaremongering job somewhere.   Public hangings of global warming deniers would drop off dramatically.


Good gravy.  When trying to implode buildings the purported goal is to bring down the building.

Now, you blow your wad and the building is still standing.

Two of its 230-foot smoke stacks collapsed to the ground — and the building dropped 18 feet and teetered back and forth — but it never fell, said Jennifer Gregor, operations manager and marketing coordinator for Engineered Products.

Do you:

A)  Waltz in, inspect it all, and carefully plant more ANFO in strategic locations?

B)  Walk away in disgust, saying “Kwitcherbitchin’, it’s going to fall on it’s own eventually, anyway”?

C)  Open another bottle of Johnny Walker?


I know this sort of thing has been claimed before but I do have hopes that it (or any of them) come to pass.  The idea of being able to wipe out leukemia so easily is so cool.

It’s a good example of where government does not have to be the source – an idea that has merit will be funded.

With results for the three  patients published Wednesday simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, money for further studies — not just in this one type of leukemia, but in other cancers — will likely pour in from both the government and drug companies.


More later, I’m sure.

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