Monday, October 27, 2014


Yesterday we talked about the latest cancer term: “Previvor”.
We are seeing the first generation of Previvors, people who find through genetic testing a high likelihood for a cancer.
Angelina Jolie may be the face to associate with that. Considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, Angelina discovered through genetic testing that she had an 80% chance of developing a breast cancer.
She had a double mastectomy before that could happen.

But genetic testing is not just for famous movie stars.

Joyce Walmer had lost her father and uncle to Thyroid cancer. She was diagnosed with it herself at 15.
There was a 50% chance that the gene would be passed down to one of her three children. The gene, MEN2A, guarantees you will develop thyroid cancer.
The results confirmed what Walmer had feared: Each of her children carried MEN2A, and would eventually develop thyroid cancer. So, their thyroids were removed.

Clearly, genetics are going to be more and more important in the journey to save lives and mitigate cancers.
Testing is commonly covered by health insurance and public healthcare programs for people at high risk for having a mutation, and not covered for people at low risk. The purpose of limiting the testing to high-risk people is to increase the likelihood that the person will receive a meaningful, actionable result from the test, rather than identifying a variant of unknown significance.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Remember the Georgia Satellites and their big hit "Don't Give Me No Lines And Keep Your Hands To Yourself"??
They have a greatest Hits album. 
Guess how many songs are on it?

Twenty songs, all hits. 
What makes that even more impressive than that is that the Satellites managed to glean 20 hits off of only 3 original albums.
But wait!
Even more impressive than that is the fact that from those 3 original albums they managed to produce four (4) Greatest Hits albums!
But the capper is that one of those greatest hits albums, the “Essential” Georgia Satellites, doesn’t even have “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” on it! 
And guess how much THAT one goes for?
60 bucks! 
For 60 bucks you get a greatest hits album that doesn’t even have, you know, a greatest hit on it! That is some slick-ass kind of marketing!

Saturday, October 18, 2014


What I learned at MD Anderson Cancer Awareness Seminar in Houston:
A person becomes a survivor at the time of diagnosis. Their healthy friends and family members are also survivors.
If you have Cancer, and you woke up this morning, you are a survivor.
One in 30 people are either currently undergoing treatment for cancer or have done so in the past.

And there is a new term floating about; the Previvor.
This is the first generation in human history who, armed with information about a predisposition to a cancer after opting into DNA testing, can make informed choices prior to cancer diagnosis. The typical previvor has tested positive for a BRCA mutation and learned that she is at high risk for developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and is attempting to manage that risk through a combination of increased surveillance through mammograms, breast MRIs, pelvic ultrasounds, oophorectomy,bilateral mastectomy, and other medical procedures.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


"You know what frightens me Commander?"
"Whats that, Jim?"
"Presbyterians. Presbyterians scare the bejesus out of me"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


"James Madison’s Constitution contains the Supremacy Clause (federal law “shall be the supreme law of the land,” regardless of state laws “to the contrary”) because he knew that state legislatures, even more than the national legislature of an “extensive” republic, were susceptible to capture by self-seeking factions."
George Will

for future reference

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I used mascara when I was in the 8th grade, but I didn't use it on my eyelashes.

Friday, October 10, 2014


From a true story, where a Breast Cancer survivor takes a phone call…

“Hello... I’m sorry but he’s not here... Yes, it is... Oh, I’m afraid I don’t need any light bulbs right now... Five Years? That’s quite a light bulb. Tell me this isn’t a scam, is it? If it is, please hang up... Disabled Vets, eh. Five year guarantee, my God, my oldest boy will be twelve. Twelve, eight and five. What was your name again?... Do you have children, Mr. Shaw?... Oh, my. You’ll have to sell a lot of light bulbs won’t you? Children have such a strange attitude toward light, don’t you think? Have you ever noticed how they can read after the sun fades? And the lights aren’t on? But then again, children have their own inner light, don’t they? I love my children, Mr. Shaw.”

“Tell me, what’s the price of this extraordinary light bulb?... That’s a rather expensive light bulb, isn’t it?... I know, five years, but what if it burns out in four, four and a half, where will I find you?... Won’t burn out, eh? You must have some remarkable scientists down there. They don’t happen to have anything on the old drawing board for cancer do they, just kidding, Mr. Shaw. Just an old disabled vet’s joke.”

“Tell you what, you can put me down for a light bulb, okay?... I have to buy six? That’s thirty years. My my. Alright, Mr. Shaw, put me down for thirty years.”

From Paul Linke's story of his wife Francesca, lost to Breast Cancer a few days later.

Friday, October 03, 2014


So, let me get this straight.
My nephew Dave gets diagnosed a month ago, starts chemo and gets sick like a big dog, but manages to run a 5k one week into the therapy. Then today, while he is in the middle of a 25K (still doing chemo), he takes the time to stop and take a selfie with an 8 foot Arkansas Blacksnake, and still not only completes the marathon, but completes it with two hours left to spare.
Way to go Dave!
No matter what you are doing, whether its cooking salt dome turkeys, firing hockey pucks into trash cans off the back porch using a sheet of plexi-glass to simulate ice, building a guitar, mowing grass and getting poison ivy, collecting drums, sorting bolts, running the Cassotot in a kayak, or taking catfish off trot lines till your hands bleed; no matter what your latest endeavor might be, you are fun---and amazing-- to watch.

Dave is a total inspiration.
Keep him in your thoughts and prayers, OK?

Monday, September 15, 2014


A small zoo in Arkansas had a very rare species of gorilla. Within a few weeks the gorilla, a female, became very difficult to handle.   Upon examination, the veterinarian determined the problem. The gorilla was in season. To make matters worse, there was no male gorilla available.

Thinking about their problem, the Zoo Keeper thought of Bobby Lee Walton, a redneck part-time worker responsible for cleaning the animal cages. Bobby Lee, like most rednecks, had little sense but possessed ample ability to satisfy a female of any species.

The Zoo Keeper thought they might have a solution. Bobby Lee was approached with a proposition. Would he be willing to mate with the gorilla for $500.00?

Bobby Lee showed some interest, but said he would have to think the matter over carefully. The following day, he announced that he would accept their offer, but only under four conditions.

1. "First", Bobby Lee said, "I ain't gonna kiss her on the lips." The Keeper quickly agreed to this condition.

2. "Second", he said, "You can't never tell no one about this." The Keeper again readily agreed to this condition.

3. "Third", Bobby Lee said, "I want all the childrun raised Southern Baptist." Once again it was agreed.

4. And last of all, Bobby Lee stated "You gotta give me another week to come up with the $500.00." 

Friday, September 12, 2014


You know the Lord is with someone when they seem to be dying of the same heart attack for 30 years.
I lost track of how many bypasses she had.
Lera had a bad ticker, but a good heart. 

She was the last of the 4 Williams sisters from Alto Texas, which included my mother. 
Before she died on September 12, 2011, she still loved to crappie fish and play bridge. She was a Certified Bridge Life Master, which I believe is the equivalent of being a Five-Star General.
When I was a kid and we would go to Lera's, there was always that laugh. A throw your head back raucous laugh. I guess all 4 sisters had that laugh, but Lera's was the prettiest.
And there was her Texas Sheath Cake, and Buttermilk pie.
Funny, I was a chef for 25 years, but I'm not sure Lera would have believed that I could cook my way out of a wet paper bag.

That might have something to do with my storied past with Lera.

A few months before she died I had talked to her on the phone. I told her I had finally quit doing drugs, that I had 2 years of being clean and sober.
"We tried to tell you!" Lera said.
Lera. She was a kind woman, in a Joyce Meyer kind of way.
She suffereed no fools; pulled no punches.

I can remember when I was 14 I had had a key made for her car after my parents had started watching the mileage on theirs rather closely, and on Saturday nights during the summer of 1971 I would slide noiselessly out the back door and walk to Lera's car, then meet up with my other 14 year old pals in the middle of the night, and we would joy ride and smoke Swisher Sweets and I knew of a certain window that if you knocked on it at 2 a.m. a couple 14 year old chicks would come crawling out, and its off to Devils Backbone to make out. When finally I was caught (by the Southlake Police) and had to give the key back to Lera and try to explain what the heck I was doing with a key for her car, I don't remember anything except her bright and burning blue eyes and pursed lips, as she said without much amusement:
"What in the world were you thinking?"
It was the eyes that got me, eyes that blazed and sparkled with kindness, and could have melted steel.