Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday cat blogging, Halloween edition

Meet Oprah, one of the newest cats at ARNO, and the perfect feline to feature in this Halloween edition of Friday cat blogging. A few weeks ago, a local veterinary office called ARNO to ask us for a special favor. They were calling on behalf of Heaven's Pets , a local pet cemetery. Apparently, Heaven's pets found itself in an unusual situation, they had a live pet on their hands. Oprah was found, undernourished and ill, wandering the grounds of the pet cemetery and crematorium. The cemetery staff had managed to catch her and bring her to the vet, and after she was given some food and fluids, the cemetery staff and veterinary staff decided that they would ask ARNO to take her in. Since Heaven's pets cremates any animal who dies in our animal shelter for free, we were more than happy to oblige them and take little Oprah under our wing. Not only was Oprah found in a pet cemetery, in October, but she is also all black with orange eyes. She would be downright creepy if she were not so tiny and adorable. Oprah was still a little weak when we got her, and so I brought her home to live with us for a while and get extra feedings and special attention. In the week that she has been with us, she has gained weight and strength, and seems much perkier. I guess that when you start off in a cemetery, there is really nowhere to go but up.

Oprah, when she first arrived at our house.

Oprah at our pumpkin carving party on Monday night.


You know what rocks about being in a PHD program? For the first time in my life, I have a professional office. Below are pictures of my new PHD level digs. As you can see, I have a desk in the Epidemiology department's Fellow's office. Since almost every other PHD student has an additional desk in the room in the area where their research study takes place (there is usually a room allotted to the researchers of a study for data analysis and grant business) , I am often the only person in the large, well appointed fellows room.

My desk, complete with computer, phone, and lots of file storage space.

The amazing view from my 20th floor office window, looking out across New Orleans to lake Pontchartrain. (Basically, where the buildings end is the start of the lake.)

My office plant, Burrito.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hooray for Drew Brees

TWo weeks ago, the NYTimes Sunday Sports section gave us a wonderful article about New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. It's a very light piece, starting with Brees's arrival in the city shortly after the storm. Saints fans immediately took to him, and he immediately took to the city. He has since had a child, and appears to be very dedicated personally to the city. The team is well-loved in the city, almost to the point of becoming a religion. The organization returns the favor, often putting together charity and city spirit events. The spirit in the city for the team is very infectious, particularly when they are doing as well as they are now. I've even started listening to the games on the radio while studying for my qualifying exams; they are scary good.

As an aside, I find it a bit amusing that I am now so enthusiasticaly cheering for Brees. I've seen him play in person once, during the 2001 Rose Bowl (following the 2000 season). Brees was playing for the Purdue Boilermakers, and lost to the Washington Huskies during their Marques Touiasosopo years. I don't remember Brees being particularly brilliant in that game, but he wasn't awful. Touiasosopo ran the option, and was personally responsible for something like 80% of the Huskies offensive yards that season. But I guess Brees got the last laugh, as he went higher between the two in the 2001 NFL draft, and Tuiososopo now plays for the Raiders.

But anyway, go read the NYT article. It's fantastic. Even more fantastic given the rediculous game he had today against the Giants.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Campus cats

Monday afternoons I run a TA session for Epidemiology 101. The TA session is on the uptown campus, because this particular class has a fair number of undergraduates who are public health majors. Since undergraduates spend most of their time uptown (even those who are public health majors, and take some classes downtown with me) that is where the TA session is. This does not particularly bother me, since we live right next to the uptown campus, and it gives me a chance to walk through the Tulane campus quads during the lovely early evening hours. Often on my walk to the TA session, I get a chance to see some of the fabled uptown campus cats.

Here were some beauties I spotted recently:

This fellow was staked out under this tree waiting for the squirrel above him to have a mishap.

While this group of feral cats were waiting to be fed their daily meal.
In exchange for this meal they help to keep the rat and mouse population down.

This is about how close any of them will let you get before they realize
you are not their evening meal ticket.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

This week's Friday Cat Blogging says goodbye to Poggibonsi, who left us last week. We had picked him up at the shelter for a few weeks ago, and were fostering him until Nora's father was in town to take him to Pasadena. Here we show the two men sharing a moment together in the library of their house.


DonorsChoose Social Media Challenge

Inspired by ScienceBlogs, we will be competing in the Social Media Challenge, a friendly month-long competition between blogs to see which can do the most to help low-income classrooms on In addition, our friend Sara works as a teacher in New York, and has funded a project through DonorsChoose. We chipped in a bit to that, and shipped her a box of Mardi Gras beads to give to her class.

By way of background, is an online charity connecting individuals, like you, to classrooms in need. The average public school teacher spends $500 - $700 on classroom supplies out of his/her own pocket, and students still go without critical supplies they need to learn. This website provides an easy way for everyday people to address this problem. Public school teachers post project requests that range from a $100 classroom library, to a $600 digital projector, to a $1,000 trip to the zoo. People like you can choose which projects to fund and then get photos and thank-you letters from the classroom.

DonorsChoose is definately good people. The page I've put together currently lists all the urgent projects in Louisiana; I plan to select a few specific projects in a bit. I'm going to try to keep it to projects of interest to us (New Orleans, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, science, and public health), but feel free to also give to projects that aren't on our list (or request that I add them to our list). You can contribute to our Challenge here.