Feed a Fever

I read an interesting article today — interesting in its own right, but more so because I first read about the subject, Coley’s Toxins, nearly 25 years ago and I last thought about that almost 23 years ago when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer.

I’ve long had a broad interest in science. I contemplated majors in oceanography, chemistry and linguistics; I enjoyed math (except for geometry) in school. After school, I subscribed to various science and health magazines. (This was long before Tim Berners-Lee birthed the Web. Ask your grandparents what it was like.) So, there’s nothing odd about me reading about obscure cancer treatments long before it had any relevance in my life. I’ll let you inform yourself about Dr. Coley and his cancer discoveries by reading the same article I just did (link at end of this entry).

It was a year or two later, 23 years ago this very month, that information about cancer took on new urgency. My Mom was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (or non-non, whichever is considered less likely fatal — ironically). After I recovered from utter despair, I recalled the article I had read about this little-known treatment. I thought it might be called Coxey’s Toxins (one of the endlessly amusing effects of my dyslexia). I scoured the library’s periodicals. Imagine going to an old building and leafing through huge books with article titles to find a reference, then taking that to a librarian who would find the actual magazine somewhere in the dark stacks. No, that isn’t a metaphor: that’s what happened, once I found Coley instead of Coxey.

I reread that article and confirmed the hope it offered: cancer cells are weak and succumb to fever. Induce fever in a cancer patient and the cancer may die. (The new article offers other possible explanations for the effect.) Armed with a photocopy, I approached my Mother’s doctor and asked, “what about this?” Well, our cancer specialist was a busy man, to be sure, and educated beyond the likes of a distraught son with an article from a popular digest. No doubt my Mom had more faith in me, but she took her conventional chemo like a good patient. Was the mainstream cure really worse than the disease? Given how sick and weak it made her and that it was no cure at all, probably. mjh

Damn Interesting » Coley’s Cancer-Killing Concoction

Coley’s Cancer-Killing Concoction

m jay h

Scrub jays show up in our yard frequently, sometimes one, sometimes three or four at once. When I see them, I put a handful or two of peanuts in the shell on a patio table. It is wonderful to watch them swoop in, perching on a wire or the back of a chair before landing on the table noisily, shaking its glass top, bouncing oddly to the pile, which is soon spread out by the fussy way a jay shakes each peanut — “no, not this one” — drops it, shakes the next, drops it, returns to the first, and so forth. If another jay is around, each becomes much less discriminating and just grabs and dashes. I rarely see them eat, though I have seen them hide nuts in the yard.

scrub jay with peanutThis morning, an especially tattered jay moved in more stealthily than most. He eyed the empty table before flying to a dead tree in the middle of our yard. (Merri is right: this dead tree is a great perch for many birds.) I thought he might bathe, but, instead, he dropped to the ground to forage among some plants. He returned to the same spot in the tree and flew in a different direction to poke among other plants. Eureka — he found one of his stashed nuts and flew to the top of the crabapple tree to peck at it before flying off.

A few minutes later, a much more assertive jay, familiar with the routine, demanded I put new nuts out. Minutes later, the remnants are scattered across the table. It’s the dog’s lucky day when one rolls off — he eats them, shell and all. mjh

PS: See mjh’s blog — Avis Habilis for an account of birds learning from birds of another species.

Number Theory

You know how you anticipate the odometer rolling over to a bunch of zeros? You watch, perhaps for months. You get down to just a few dozen more miles and then you look and you missed it — damn!

So it is with a couple of numbers on Flickr, my photoblog. For all I know, both numbers rolled over at the same moment — I missed them both. One is the number of photos I’ve uploaded, now beyond the 666 I was watching for. Fittingly, though unintentionally, this was #666. The other flickr count is the number of views, now over 10,000 (which is certainly not the number of people who have seen my photos). I have two pictures that have been viewed more than 400 times, but most garner 3-5 views by themselves (as opposed to viewing on a page with others). Posting to the The Duke City Fix Pool usually pulls in 30 to 50 views.

Meanwhile, the other number I watch far too closely — my book’s rank on Amazon — lurched above 100,000 yesterday (not a good thing). I need more reviews, perhaps.

Don’t ask me about my cholesterol or blood pressure. I’ve got other numbers on my mind.

For some, math is a religion. There is no better tool for measuring reality while looking for the truth, the grail of science. But if humans didn’t exist, math wouldn’t either. (Leaving aside speculation about how other intelligent lifeforms measure the Universe.) And while I hesitate to suggest 47 is as important as pi, the appreciation of any number is subjective and arbitrary. In that weird way, all numbers are equal. mjh


As with your kind, our time alive is limited. When the end comes, the dying fall to the ground engulfed in flames of spontaneous generation. By our custom, those nearby sit and wait and contemplate their own inevitable end. Some say the fire that consumes us reflects some quality of character — sometimes, raging red, others cooler blue. When the flames die down, very little ash remains, but in the center of that ash is what we call the afterlife, a stone the size of your heart, ranging from clear to jet black. By custom, the afterlife belongs to the family. Some families keep generations of afterlife, building temples to house them. Some leave the afterlife in a place special to the departed and so you may come across one of these stones in an unexpected place. Your kind owes ours no reverence, though moving these stones is inconsiderate, at best. You might better take a moment to contemplate your own afterlife. mjh

A Tale of Two Tales

A few months ago, I sat down with Andrew Webb, a reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, to talk about my book and the writing thereof. We met at Flying Star on Menaul and I had a great time. Who wouldn’t enjoy being the center of attention? At that time, I hoped I’d get a third of Webb’s weekly column. Instead, it became a cover story with BIG, colorful photos.

A couple of months later, I met in the same spot — at the same table — with Johanna King, of the Journal, to talk about my major passtime (which, to me, should be the correct spelling): blogging. This was also a lively and entertaining discussion. (I imagine the Journal takes the talents of people like Webb and King for granted, as countless Journalism majors wait in the wings. Writing is hard work — engaging writing is better than gold.)

Now, I’m not complaining. I know, that’s how complainers begin, but I’m NOT. What I’m getting to is the perverse power of expectations. No doubt, the first article raised my expectations about the second (The daily blog). Not about the writing, which was great in both cases, but about the impact of the writing. And the impact of the photos. (Believe me, I understand if you’re thinking, “this guy was in two articles in the paper and has any gripes.” But, I’m not griping.)

Just yesterday, I met someone for the first time with whom I had corresponded by email a bit. He said, “you’re much better-looking than your picture.” To which, today, I say, “please, god, I hope so.”

In the same article, another blogger comes out to the world. Coco’s is one of the few blogs I ready with regularity and I do like her style and view. But here, she pulls off her mask to reveal the real person behind it. Ta-da! Ironically, I end up being the guy with too much time on his hands. (Well, that’s true, though time is all we have and until it runs out we all have the same amount.) Any press is good press, right?

While much of the blogosphere is ready to bury the MSM (mainstream media), I do appreciate that any new readers today come to me thanks to that very same MSM. Far more people read Webb and King than Hinton — I’m cool with that (sniff — stifled sob). On the other hand, it is likely that still more people saw Benson Hendrix’s piece on the UNM homepage. Yes, three articles in three months. (Is this the Universe’s nice way of saying goodbye?) If it looks like I’m great with PR, I’m not. Just lucky (some might say, blessed). I’m a terrible marketer. But, I’m worse at billing, so it’s good I never found more work. mjh

PS: If you want to blog, do it. Go to www.wordpress.com or www.blogger.com (or www.flickr.com for photos) and create a free account. You’ll be blogging in minutes. Don’t forget to link to me.

PPS: In thinking about time, I had an epiphany: each of us has just one possession, albeit temporary: our presence. It is at once our gift to and from the world. Connect with others, including everything around you. Blogging is just a part of that.

weBlog, do you?
photo by mrudd

See also mjh’s blog — Other Blogs and New readers.

“Barbaric! Hear me!”

In Speech, Byrd Denounces Enthusiasts of Dogfighting Associated Press

“Let that word resound from hill to hill and from mountain to mountain, from valley to valley across this broad land,” he thundered, raising his right hand. “May God help those poor souls who would be so cruel. Barbaric! Hear me!

Federal agents have charged Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three others with procuring and training pit bulls for fighting in Virginia and elsewhere. Investigators say some losing dogs died in the pit or were later electrocuted, drowned, hanged or shot.

Byrd, 89, said he would not prejudge the men’s guilt or innocence, but he left no doubts about his sentiments.

“I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God’s creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt,” he said.

“One is left wondering,” he said. “Who are the real animals: the creatures inside or outside the ring?”
– – – – –

ABQjournal NM: N.M. Addresses Dogfighting, By Trip Jennings
Copyright © 2007 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Capitol Bureau

SANTA FE— The indictment of NFL quarterback Michael Vick this week for allegedly sponsoring a grisly dogfighting ring has placed a spotlight on people who wager money— sometimes big money— on the brutal blood sport.

New Mexico has a law against dogfighting. But although Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White and other officials said Thursday that illegal dogfighting goes on in New Mexico, they don’t know how much money is involved or how often fights are held. …

“They train pit bulls by using a small cat or a small dog,” Greenhood said. “They set them up as a bait to kill, to foster aggression.”

“It’s hard to get people to testify because there are threats and intimidation,” Greenhood said. “There’s a lot of money at stake.”


My Photos on Flickr

Flickr: Archive of your photos posted to Flickr in June 2007

Details link shows larger thumbnails spread over several pages (all are clickable, small or large).

And May http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/archives/date-posted/2007/05/
April http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/archives/date-posted/2007/04/
March http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/archives/date-posted/2007/03/
Feb http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/archives/date-posted/2007/02/
Jan http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/archives/date-posted/2007/01/
Or all of 2007 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/archives/date-posted/2007/