Monday, September 1, 2014

Kitty Labors Effury Day!

Superhero Kitteh Cinnamon
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COLUMBIA, Mo 8/30/14 (Beat Byte) -- A Columbia kitty has made medical history. 

With genetic material from Cinnamon, a female Abyssinian cat who lives and works at Mizzou's College of Veterinary Medicine, 26 genetics researchers from the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Portugal, and Spain this month announced they have finally sequenced the entire cat genome, coiled strands of DNA and RNA that determine the characteristics of life. 
In the works for nearly a decade, the Feline Genome Project promises help with human diseases including AIDS, leukemia, muscular dystrophy, polycystic kidney disease, and some forms of blindness.   Cinnamon was specifically bred to develop retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that famously afflicts Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn.  

Domestic cats share "nearly 250 genetic diseases analogous to human disorders," the cat genome team -- which includes Mizzou veterinary ophthalmology professor Kristina Narfstrom, DVM, PhD -- explains in their August paper for the journal Gigascience.  "Feline infectious agents offer powerful natural models of deadly human diseases, which include feline immunodeficiency virus, feline sarcoma virus and feline leukemia virus." 

An oft-repeated analogy likens the genome to a book.  Chromosomes are chapters; genes are words; DNA and RNA are individual letters.   Sequencing the genome is analogous to finding the type and location of every letter in the book.  Since each cell in the body contains at least one copy of the book -- the genome -- knowing how many times the letter "A" recurs, and where, is powerful information.  

Understanding the cat genome will better help geneticists correlate DNA damage to disease.  A deletion of DNA at one point in the genome might cause blindness, for instance, just like deleting the letter A from every word in a book would create gibberish.   Adding or substituting DNA anywhere along the genome can have similar harmful effects, the same way adding or changing letters in a book could destroy its meaning and contents.    

First reported in 2007 when it was partially sequenced, Cinnamon's genome includes 21,865 genes that code for proteins that determine everything from hair color to personality.   Though she has been in the spotlight since that first report, Cinnamon has two lower-profile male partners -- Boris, from St. Petersburg, Russia; and Silvester, a European wildcat whose DNA the scientists compared to the two domestic cats. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Buh-Bai August!

I think I slept through August! 
PATTY:  Can you believe it is the last day of August?? Holy cow, where did the time go?  And I have very little to show for it!  You, mister, have even less.

BHU:  No worries.  It's all in my job description:  sleep, snooze, hork up, wander perimeter searching for bugs and deporting them or ingesting them, depending on variety. 

PATTY:  Speaking of bugs, blister beetles ate my tomatoes and something is eating my morning glories! 

Notice the pattern of destruction in that lower right leaf!  Grrrrrrrr!
BHU:  Andy Warhol loved morning glories.  You look like him.  Except yer hairz is longer and your glasses are diffurrent.  And you have boobs.  Otherwise, you could be twins.

PATTY:  Alrighty then.  Hmmmmm.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

GNAT: don't do me like that!

Cause and effect:  trap beside lure!  bwahahaha!
PATTY:  If you have tomatoes, you have gnats.  I save seeds because I am (a) smart and (b) cheap . . . and also because I don't want to eat GMO foods.  Ya never know.  The three little tubs of tomato seeds in the process of being saved have attracted their share of gnattery, as have the two baskets of ripening tomatoes not far to the left of this little scene.  I love 'maters and so do gnats.  Now the little peskers are not harmful, but they are annoying.  Although harmful to the gnats, here is one trap that  is harmless to pets and people (and really, really cheap to set up).  This carries the Bhu Seal of Approval.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR TRAP: 
Pour apple cider vinegar into a jar.  Use a piece of wax paper, saran wrap, or even newspaper (any kind of paper, really) and affix it to the top of the jar to seal it -- use a rubber band if you don't have a canning jar like I used.  Punch holes in it -- toothpick size holes are too small, but shish-ka-bob stick holes are totally gnat-sized!  Wait and watch.  Soon your jar will look like mine:  a little gnat floating right in the center.  YAY!  [sorry about that!]

The following trap is very effective, but not pet or people friendly.   I've never had a problem with Bhu wanting to drink alcohol, but he is a very intelligent kitteh.

RED WINE TRAP:
Based on personal observation, gnats LOVE red wine -- especially cabernet sauvignon!  This is the simplest trap of all.  Just put some red wine in a shot glass or small jar, add a drop of dish soap and leave it anywhere.  To be honest, you don't even need the soap.  They will drown but they will be so, so happy on the way to gnat heaven!

Zzzzzz.  Purraying for the little gnats who lose their lives due to gluttony.
BHU:  zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

PATTY:  Bhu is having cabin fever today.  It's hot, hot, hot and way humid so we are hanging out inside this afternoon, hoping to stay cool.   xoxo

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Checking In!

BHU:  Hai, it's me again!  Didja miss me?  Purrobly not, right?  Well, anyhoo, nothing much has been going on around here.  It's been quiet, but the weather has been "wonderful" [quoting mai mom] so the 'rents have been spending lots of time outsides!  I keep asking what is the condition of my catnip plant, but I get no answers. 

PATTY:  Well, we didn't want to disappoint you, but the fact of the matter is that every kitty in the 'hood has been butting head into the 'nip and it is beaten down and lookin' sad!  Sorry dude!  Other than that, the garden is doing good thanks to the fabulous compost I make!  And I have been busy saving seeds, too . . . chard, snow peas, mustard and tomatoes, so far.  Beans are growing, turnips need to be dug up, potatoes are almost ready and I still haven't figured out what to do with the Lemon Grass, but HEY, it's lookin' good!

Top:  Glorious sunflowers and the Mimosa in the background.  Bottom:  Madonna Lilies, Genovese basil and the mystery vine that grows in the compost bin every year.  I think it's some kind of squash.  The flowers are pretty.
Hope your summer is going well!  We are only two weeks away from the start of school here, bringing 30,000 more teen pods to the area.  Anybody else live in a university town?  If so, you know our pain. 

xoxo

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I've been waiting for this!

Thanks too Ann of Zoolatry for this graphic!



BHU:  For me, this is every day and I hope it is for you too!  xoxo

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May (we have spring back, pleez)!

BHU:  I am tired of the cold.  There were a few days there when I thought it was over; that spring was here.  Okay, akshully there were a couple of days when I thought I slept through spring and it was already summer, but that's kinda the way it is here.  And then there was the BIG STORM!  Okay, the hail was BIG, I tell ya!  BIG!  and LOUD!  Ten minutes of what sounded like aliens pelting our house with rocks or baseballs.  I wasn't skeered. 

PATTY:  Now THAT just isn't true, Mister.  We were all scared.  You can see the damage it did to the garden.  A new kinda camo for the car, a completely shredded hosta and a decapitated tomato.  But what's that thing in the top left of the collage?  A pizza, of course.  Just showin' off. 

xoxo

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yellow Jacket Trap Lure

BHU:  Well, mai mom wants to post a recipe for yellow jacket trap lure and she's too lazy to take a new piksher of me, so she just closed her eyes and aimed the mouse at a long list of files that started with the word "bhu".  This is the one where the mouse landed.  Like it?  I think it shows off my versa-tilt-ity.  I asked her why she wants to post this recipe here on mai blog because, after all, it has nutthin to do with me or mai furrends.  She sez, "I want to be able to find it.  I will lose the piece of paper on which I wrote it, but it will always be here fureffur and effur."  Her alternative smartness is sometimes inspiring (but most of the time it's alarming).  Anyway, here's the recipe.  If I was a yellow jacket, I'd be skeeeeered!

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 banana peel
4 cups water

xxoo

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Now it's spring!

PATTY:  Now it's spring!  Bhu seemed so sad the other day when it was cold and rainy.  The two of us have arthritis and so I know when he is hurting.  Now the warm weather is back and there are still some rainy days, but it's not so bad because the cold is gone.  And, as you can see, a walk around the yard provides color and cheer! 

BHU:  Happy Easter, furrends!  xxoo

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Holy Hail!


BHU:  Hey, mom, you put these quilt blocks on the floor and I thought they needed to be re-arranged a little bit.  Do you like the new arrangement?

PATTY:  Uh, NO; but I guess it doesn't matter what I like, right?  Speaking of things I don't like, what is the purpose of hail anyway?  Oh, I know:  to smash down all the beautiful daffodils and narcissus that JUST bloomed! 

BHU:  Must be.  Hope it's over for a while, though.  Hope all mai furrends and their families are safe and dry tonight!

PATTY:  Me, too.  xxoo

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Re-Lent-Less


BHU:  Hai, effuryone!  I reminded mai mom that it has been over two weeks since she let me visit you and she says it's because of Lent.  She says she has given up Responsibility and Obligation for Lent.    I'm tellin' ya, I don't understand this human habit of creating trouble and stuff before the holiday.  How can it be a holiday if nobody is havin' fun? 

PATTY:  Somehow, in a weird way, I think you actually understand my sacrifice.  

xxoo