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A Brilliant Medical Researcher; A Really Long Trip; Disputing the Ball; Photo Quiz Lunch; Lawyers for Dinner?

Here at Blog Headquarters, we are always happy to receive complimentary emails about our blog posts. (Complaints from outraged, disgruntled or otherwise dissatisfied readers are passed to our Circular Filing System Manager for disposition.) One of our obviously very bright and discerning readers (whom we met in person last year at the Center for Spiritual Living in St. Louis) is Kathryn Tristan, a medical researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine, pictured here in her lab/office. The piece of equipment behind Kathryn in the lower photo is a liquid nitrogen tank, in which she keeps her lunch as well as vials of cells, proteins, viruses and various and sundry biological hazards. Kathryn advises that the temperature of her liquid nitrogen tank is about 330 degrees below zero (F), or about the temperature of a sunny Spring day in Coon Rapids, Minnesnowta. Judging by her coffee mug, she prefers warmer climes like Nassau in the Bahamas.

When she’s not reading this blog, Kathryn studies how the immune system regulates itself; she also mutates proteins to determine how they react in certain genetically-based disease states. She has most graciously offered to give Your Ever-Inquisitive Correspondent and His Lovely Bride a tour of her lab when we return to St. Louis next year (2015) and even show us the “confocal microscopy” facility that makes a grain of sand look like a penny and peers into the inside of individual cells (see photo at left). This would be “Way Beyond Cool”… thanks, Kathryn – we look forward to seeing you again in St. Louis!

Speaking of research, I am on Mapquest right now planning our summer tour. In particular, I just input Greenville, SC, and Wilmington, NC. The distance to be traveled is 305.77 miles, and the calculated time (based on current traffic) is 8,337 hrs 59 mins. I had hoped to be able to make the drive in about 6 hours, but now I have to plan on 347.416667 days. Leaving on 1 May 2014, we won’t arrive until 13 April 2015. I’m not sure we can afford that amount of time, but we have friends in Wilmington that we want to see, so we’ll just have to suck it up. Maybe the traffic will be a bit lighter by May 1st.

Spring has arrived here in The Villages… how do I know, since it’s almost always warm and sunny here? Well, for one, polo is back! Our local newspaper (AKA “The Happy Paper”) advised that the first polo match of this season was played on Sunday. Here is a photo captioned “Disputing the ball”. Let’s see, you have two thousand pound animals galloping at 30 miles per hour with gals and guys with long mallets pushing each other around while trying to whack the ball into a goal. “Disputing the ball” seems a grossly inadequate phrase…

On a less confrontational note, on Sunday we were able to have lunch with our recent Photo Quiz winners, Steve and Carole Jasper. Steve had the first correct entry identifying the frozen strawberry photo. Our good friends Joyce and Sharon also joined us at Panera; you may recall that Sharon won the Impertinence Award… We had a great time, and fortunately the Panera staff did not eject us for excessively loud laughter.

Finally, the last post title does not refer to feeding lawyers to sharks or piranhas. I am told that because of professional courtesy, man-eating fish will not attack a lawyer. Actually, we were able to reciprocate dinner for several friends, two of whom are lawyers, AKA attorneys, advocates, and ambulance chasers. (Yes, I was able to constrain my desire to tell lawyer jokes, but it was very hard.) Peter is a patent attorney with lots of experience in technical patent applications; his wife Jan is a nutritional adviser, yoga instructor and artist whose beautiful hand-painted scarves are very popular here in The Villages and back in their home state of Michigan. Jan, in fact, gave us the idea to visit the Detroit area; Suzanne will be speaking in their home area in Farmington Hills in May. Lawyer Gail is a public defender in Sumter County; she has more stories than you can imagine… many of which deal with her speeding tickets, but I don’t want to overly publicize that aspect of her life…

We were pleasantly surprised when our sweet little Miniature Dachshund Gretchen allowed Gail to hold her; Gretchen even gave her lots of sloppy kisses. (I don’t know what it was that Gail had on that made Gretchen kiss her, because we have trained Gretchen as a lawyer-attack dog…)

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