Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Let's see -- updates from the last three weeks ....

Somewhere, there's a song lyric waiting to be written about Chattanooga in December. I don't think I'm going to write it. It always is fun, though, to go back there for the TrashMasters tournament every year. I seem to always manage to team up with people who, unlike myself, actually know their trash, which adds the fun of being competitive in the field. A few well-chosen coattails never hurt. Thanks to JQ and JD for their stellar buzzes, Rebecca for her equally terrific buzzes as well as for a fun road trip, and, of course, Charlie for running the whole thing in the first place.

My affiliation with Western Michigan is finally winding down; all I have to do is give my second exam, then calculate and submit grades. The proofs of the second paper just arrived, and the first paper has been published on line in advance of an early 2004 print date. (Those sufficiently interested in wasp sex to want more information should contact yours truly.)

In other news, Rick has been diagnosed with mercury toxicity, which was not a surprise. (His problems with chemical sensitivities began almost immediately after he had to have several teeth restored with amalgam fillings.) This, of course, is a topic that will cause fisticuffs among dentists, physicians, and toxicologists in bars. The ADA doesn't believe that mercury is a problem, some other practitioners assume it's responsible for everything that ails everyone, and what seems to be conspicuously missing from the debate is much consideration that humans are genetically variable and might respond to environmental challenges differently. (A close biological relative of Rick's has an extremely similar history; yours truly, with about three times as many amalgam fillings as either of them, doesn't seem to have problems with the stuff.) At any rate, Rick is planning to be treated with oral chelating agents, as well as going on a strict rotation diet that we hope will minimize the effects of his allergies during the process. The diet isn't all that awful; though somewhat restrictive, it includes quite a few spices and seasonings, although the ones permitted on particular rotation days don't always seem to match the meats and vegetables permitted at the same time. With luck, we'll have some optimistic updates soon.


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