I’ve often commented about the Northwest being a Paradise in summer. Actually, I was slightly inaccurate about that comment. It is also a paradise in winter. True, it rains all winter. But… it can be paradise if one enjoys skiing. Both downhill and cross-country skiing appeal to me, though I definitely enjoy cross-country skiing more than downhill. So, I got to experience my first downhill night skiing this year. It was a blast. I was with somebody who was definitely a much better skier than myself, but it was still very delightful. The photograph of this precious event was not so helpful at showing that we really had a blast.
Cross-country skiing has many varieties in the Northwest. One day, Jonny and I was able to go at a fairly fast clip on groomed trails. The next, Jonny and I did true cross-country skiing, plowing our way through steep slopes, in the woods, powder up to our hips, which made it extremely difficult since we were on fairly steep slopes attempting to go up. It would have been easier with Mountaineering cross-country skis, with skins attached. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry!).
The snow hasn’t been particularly plentiful in the mountains. That is a little surprising, since, as I write this piece, it is snowing for the fifth time this year outside. This is unusually strange since I’ve never seen it snow more than twice in a year. Surely this is global warming! Either that or God intends to make a total fool of Algore.
I was able to make it down to Portland. During that visit, I discovered that a new Bengali language text was out on the market. The problem is that it didn’t have a CD, which is not available yet from the publisher. It looks a lot better than the only other real text out there, which is totally useless, the Teach-Yourself-Bengali text by Wm. Radice. I am completely frustrated with the language teaching modalities used in Radice’s text. I’ll have to wait for Bangladesh in order to re-commence my studies. Meanwhile, I was also able to see my youngest brother Gaylon. We went out to a “German” restaurant (Gustav’s), and I noted that there was about nothing on the menu that was similar to what I had in Deutschland. So, I endured, enjoyed a good beer, and left it at that. I ate much better in Germany for a fraction of the cost. The photo shows Gaylon in his pad.
So, off to Phoenix. The first two days were spent with brother-in-law Petie Megyesi. He is a wonderful cook, his wife is an even better baker, and they have the most loving dog named Bubba that would eat your leg off if you ever came near to him.
Petie runs a business that makes on-hold messages for the telephone. If you need some 1st class stuff done up for your office telephone system, give him a call (1-800-678-9971). I then went to the Society of Surgical Oncology meetings. It was nice meeting my old friend Dr. Peter T.
There was nothing new at the meeting. I didn’t learn much. In the old days, we fought cancer by looking at very large metabolic charts that hung on the wall and devised means of blockage of various metabolic enzymes. Now, we have very large charts that hang on the wall with lots of regulatory substances, all named with three letters, like ras, raf, fos, kit, etc., etc., and now we are devising blockade for them. Then, we do a few limited bench studies, herald the drug as a “promising” new treatment for cancer, after which we run countless expensive clinical trials to find out that the drug gives a possible 1% survival benefit, which is definitely statistically significant, even though the effect lasts for only 3 weeks – 9 months. I had to contain my excitement. There were a few good talks. I wish they would spend their time funding sole basic research, especially looking at embryology, the genetics of development, and the mechanisms of differentiation, de-differentiation, and phenotype expression. It’s not so glamorous of research, but it would be challenging to convince the Feds to pour billions of dollars into this sort of research, though, I suspect that it is here where the ultimate cure for cancer will be found, and not in the endless search for another metabolic or regulatory pathway to blockade.
Final preparations have commenced in earnest for our trip to Bangladesh. Our bags are slowly getting packed, unpacked, and repacked, very indecisive about exactly what may be needed for 2 months in Bangladesh. Betsy also has several outfits for Bangladesh, as you can see in the introductory photo. When we return from BD, I will make up a packing list for future ventures! We have our visas, and Samaritan’s Purse has been exceptionally helpful for Betsy and me. Meanwhile, I’d like to remind all you dear readers that I cherish all of our e-mails, even though I don’t respond to every single one of them. We will try to stay in touch, and even update our “Feuchtblog” once in a while, though I’m not sure how good the internet will be in BD for such a task. I WILL NOT be sending out notices of blog updates in BD, so please check the webpage from time to time if you are interested.