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Thursday, July 31, 2014

A rational, history-based argument for gun regulation

 “The Carrying of Fire Arms Strictly Prohibited.” — 1879 sign posted on the main street of Dodge City

GOSH, I'm a fan a Nicholas Kristof. He has written such a rational, grounded-in-history opinion piece for The New York Times. I'm hoping you'll take a minute and read it. It's pretty short.

Our Blind Spot About Guns

By Nicholas Kristof
JULY 30, 2014

If we had the same auto fatality rate today that we had in 1921, by my calculations we would have 715,000 Americans dying annually in vehicle accidents.

Instead, we’ve reduced the fatality rate by more than 95 percent — not by confiscating cars, but by regulating them and their drivers sensibly.

We could have said, “Cars don’t kill people. People kill people,” and there would have been an element of truth to that. Many accidents are a result of alcohol consumption, speeding, road rage or driver distraction. Or we could have said, “It’s pointless because even if you regulate cars, then people will just run each other down with bicycles,” and that, too, would have been partly true.

Yet, instead, we built a system that protects us from ourselves. This saves hundreds of thousands of lives a year and is a model of what we should do with guns in America.

Whenever I write about the need for sensible regulation of guns, some readers jeer: Cars kill people, too, so why not ban cars? Why are you so hypocritical as to try to take away guns from law-abiding people when you don’t seize cars?

That question is a reflection of our national blind spot about guns. The truth is that we regulate cars quite intelligently, instituting evidence-based measures to reduce fatalities. Yet the gun lobby is too strong, or our politicians too craven, to do the same for guns. So guns and cars now each kill more than 30,000 in America every year.

One constraint, the argument goes, is the Second Amendment. Yet the paradox is that a bit more than a century ago, there was no universally recognized individual right to bear arms in the United States, but there was widely believed to be a “right to travel” that allowed people to drive cars without regulation.

A court struck down an early attempt to require driver’s licenses, and initial attempts to set speed limits or register vehicles were met with resistance and ridicule. When authorities in New York City sought in 1899 to ban horseless carriages in the parks, the idea was lambasted in The New York Times as “devoid of merit” and “impossible to maintain.”

Yet, over time, it became increasingly obvious that cars were killing and maiming people, as well as scaring horses and causing accidents. As a distinguished former congressman, Robert Cousins, put it in 1910: “Pedestrians are menaced every minute of the days and nights by a wanton recklessness of speed, crippling and killing people at a rate that is appalling.”

Courts and editorial writers alike saw the carnage and agreed that something must be done. By the 1920s, courts routinely accepted driver’s license requirements, car registration and other safety measures.

That continued in recent decades with requirements of seatbelts and air bags, padded dashboards and better bumpers. We cracked down on drunken drivers and instituted graduated licensing for young people, while also improving road engineering to reduce accidents. The upshot is that there is now just over 1 car fatality per 100 million miles driven.

Yet as we’ve learned to treat cars intelligently, we’ve gone in the opposite direction with guns. In his terrific new book, “The Second Amendment: A Biography,” Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, notes that “gun control laws were ubiquitous” in the 19th century. Visitors to Wichita, Kan., for example, were required to check their revolvers at police headquarters.

And Dodge City, symbol of the Wild West? A photo shows a sign on the main street in 1879 warning: “The Carrying of Fire Arms Strictly Prohibited.”

The National Rifle Association supported reasonable gun control for most of its history and didn’t even oppose the landmark Gun Control Act of 1968. But, since then, most attempts at safety regulation have stalled or gone backward, and that makes the example of cars instructive.

“We didn’t ban cars, or send black helicopters to confiscate them,” notes Waldman. “We made cars safer: air bags, seatbelts, increasing the drinking age, lowering the speed limit. There are similar technological and behavioral fixes that can ease the toll of gun violence, from expanded background checks to trigger locks to smart guns that recognize a thumbprint, just like my iPhone does.”

Some of these should be doable. A Quinnipiac poll this month found 92 percent support for background checks for all gun buyers.

These steps won’t eliminate gun deaths any more than seatbelts eliminate auto deaths. But if a combination of measures could reduce the toll by one-third, that would be 10,000 lives saved every year.

A century ago, we reacted to deaths and injuries from unregulated vehicles by imposing sensible safety measures that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives a year. Why can’t we ask politicians to be just as rational about guns?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A logo in the window at last

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

WE'RE MAKING progress at Brainstorm. Still a long way from our grand opening, but we're inching along. 

We finally got our name on the window. Hallelujah!

One of the non-physical alterations we've made is changing our name. Instead of Brainstorm Marketing, we're now Brainstorm Iowa. It's shorter, snappier, but broader in concept. Marketing was a little too pigeonhole-y, plus we get the added benefit of being able to lose our l-o-n-g web address; brainstorm marketing.us becomes the shorter, simpler, easier to remember brainstormiowa.com. We haven't switched our web address quite yet, so if you look for us, look under the old address.

We love having a storefront location!! And we're now in such a fun part of the city. We're surrounded by clothing boutiques, gift shops, antique stores and funky restaurants. We took an impromptu walk around the neighborhood a few weeks ago, and Paul said, to quote Marc Maron, "We've found our people." 

As I may have mentioned, we have a full kitchen. It's the first time in my entire life that I've ever had a dish washer. Seriously, and I think I'm in love!

We have a little black table and chairs next to one section of our big windows where we eat our lunch. Before we had our name on the window, from time to time people came in thinking we were a restaurant. Not such a surprising misconstruction considering that we have one of our customer's big displays up inside and he's a pizza restaurant consultant, and coincidently we also have a Tabasco sauce banner stand that's plainly visible. Add to that the little table with us sitting in the window eating, and not such a stretch think "restaurant." Gotta get new displays!

When we were cleaning out our old location, we put a lot of things in storage and disposed of at least as much either by selling it on Craig's List, donating it to Habitat for Humanity's Restore or simply putting it on the back dock at the old office for anyone who wanted it. One of the items Paul put out was a trade show display case that I always thought was kinda cool because it's a smaller one, maybe 40" long, and pod-shaped with bright red straps. 

I looked out the window at our new office one day and saw a guy on a bicycle with our case strapped to a kind of makeshift trailer he was pulling behind his bike. I said, "Hey, Paul! Our ex-case just went peddling by."

A couple of weeks later, I was taking the trash out to the dumpster at our new location, and there he was. I think he thought I was going to scold him because as I walked over he said, "I'm just looking for cans and bottles." 

I said, "Of course. Of course. That's just fine. I have some inside I'll bring out to you, but I'm interested in your case. We're the ones who put it out on the dock at 108 Third Street."

He apologized for taking it, and I said, "No, no! We meant for whoever could use it to have it and put it there for the taking. We're glad you're finding it useful."

Then he told me that he keeps his bedding in it to keep it dry during inclement weather, and indeed his bike trailer is a phantasmagorical construction of all his worldly goods organized and strapped together.

Today as we were having a late lunch, I saw him across the street, standing with his bike under a big shade tree. I pulled out a cold lemon soda from the fridge and walked it across the street to him. 



The back of the showroom.
Part of my office.

Paul in front of a couple of exhibits.
PS: July 29 would have been my Grandpa Sargent's, the grandpa who raised me, 125th birthday. Yup, he was born in 1889. 

Today, July 30, is my brother David's birthday. He's lived in Japan since he was 24, and I haven't seen him since I was 20. 

Today is also my cousin Kevin Sargent's birthday, another grandson of Grandpa's.

I will always love you, Grandpa and will always be your little Kay.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vitamin K deficiency brain bleeds in babies

"Vaccines save lives; fear endangers them. It's a simple message parents need to keep hearing." — Jeffrey Kluger, American journalist and author of scientific books

ALTHOUGH THERE have been people skeptical of vaccination since this method of disease prevention was first developed, the latest surge in the anti-vax movement started when Andrew Wakefield, a British physician and researcher published, a study in 1998 alleging a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism.

Since then his research has been proven to be unreproducible, unethical, fraudulent and dangerous to his his study participants and society, and he has been barred from practicing medicine in the UK

And just so you can know just how dastardly this guy is, here's some of his history from Wikipedia:

After the publication of his paper, other researchers were unable to reproduce Wakefield's findings or confirm his hypothesis of an association between the MMR vaccine and autism or autism and gastrointestinal disease.

A 2004 investigation by Sunday Times reporter Brian Deer identified undisclosed financial conflicts of interest on Wakefield's part. The British General Medical Council (GMC) conducted an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Wakefield and two former colleagues. 

The investigation centred on Deer's numerous findings, including that children with autism were subjected to unnecessary invasive medical procedures such as colonoscopy and lumbar puncture, and that Wakefield acted without the required ethical approval from an institutional review board.

On 28 January 2010, a five-member statutory tribunal of the GMC found three dozen charges proved, including four counts of dishonesty and 12 counts involving the abuse of developmentally challenged children. Wakefield was struck off the Medical Register in May 2010, with a statement identifying deliberate falsification in The Lancet research, and he is barred from practising medicine in the UK.

In January 2011, an editorial accompanying an article by Brian Deer in the British Medical Journal identified Wakefield's work as an "elaborate fraud". In a follow-up article, Deer said that Wakefield had planned to launch a venture on the back of an MMR vaccination scare that would profit from new medical tests and "litigation driven testing".

Wakefield's study and his claim that the MMR vaccine might cause autism led to a decline in vaccination rates in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland and a corresponding rise in measles and mumps, resulting in serious illness and fatalities, and his continued warnings against the vaccine have contributed to a climate of distrust of all vaccines and the reemergence of other previously controlled diseases.




Below is what the CDC says about the actual outcomes for vaccine-related complications versus vaccine-preventable disease-related complications, from RationalWiki:

The rates of complication from vaccines are so low that the benefit of vaccines for each individual child is higher than the risk of a poor outcome, so it is not true that the few children with adverse events are being sacrificed for the health of others. For example, the CDC compiles rates of risk from disease vs. risk from vaccination. For the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, these are the data:

Measles Complication Rates:
Per case of measles.
Pneumonia: 6 in 100
Encephalitis: 1 in 1,000
Death: 2 in 1,000

Mumps Complication Rates:
Per case of mumps.
Testicular atrophy: 1 in 7 in men
Miscarriage: 1 in 4 in the first trimester

Rubella Complication Rates:
Per case of rubella.
Congenital Rubella Syndrome: 1 in 4 (if woman becomes infected early in pregnancy)

MMR Complication Rates:
Per injection given.
Encephalitis or severe allergic reaction: 1 in 1,000,000 (compared to 1 in 1,000)

According to the site anti-vaccinebodycount, that tallies the number of vaccine-preventable illnesses and death from weekly CDC reports, there have been:

136,242 preventable illnesses* 
1397 preventable deaths*
0 autism diagnoses scientifically linked to vaccination*

*in the US from June 3, 2007 to July 12, 2014 

I said all the above to say this: there's an new and dangerous round of anti-vax hysteria making the rounds that is persuading parents of infants to forgo getting a routine shot that will prevent a rare, but deadly vitamin K deficiency.

Here's the story from Mother Jones.

In May, the Tennessean reported on a truly shocking medical problem. Seven infants, aged between seven and 20 weeks old, had arrived at Vanderbilt University's Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital over the past eight months with a condition called "vitamin K deficiency bleeding," or VKDB. This rare disorder occurs because human infants do not have enough vitamin K, a blood coagulant, in their systems. Infants who develop VKDB can bleed in various parts of their bodies, including bleeding into the brain. This can cause brain damage or even death.

There is a simple protection against VKDB that has been in regular medical use since 1961, when it was recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics: Infants receive an injection of vitamin K into the leg muscle right after birth. Infants do not get enough of this vitamin from their mother's body or her milk, so this injection (which is not a vaccine, but simply a vitamin being delivered via a shot) is essential, explains pediatrician Clay Jones on the latest installment of the Inquiring Minds podcast (stream below). It's also quite safe.

So then why are some parents refusing to get it, leaving their infants vulnerable to a potentially devastating condition? It's difficult to understand the phenomenon outside the context of a growing fear, in general, about vaccines in the US. 

"There's a lot of overlap with that anti-vaccine mentality," says Jones. 

Indeed, reporting on the Vanderbilt VKDB cases, the Tennessean explained that "Vanderbilt doctors believe incidences are on the rise because of the anti-vaccine movement."

VKDB comes in two versions, an "early" form (occurring in the first week of life) and the much more dangerous "late" form, which tends to strike infants between two and 12 weeks old who have not received Vitamin K, and who are "exclusively breastfed" by their mothers. 

The problem, writes Jones, is that "levels of vitamin K in breast milk are low, much lower than in infant formula."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants who do not receive a vitamin K injection have an 81 times greater chance of coming down with late stage VKDB. Even then the risk remains small: Between 4.4 and 7.2 infants out of every 100,000. But a Vitamin K injection is "virtually 100 percent protective," Jones explains.

Such are the facts, yet nonetheless, parents interviewed by the CDC after bringing in their infants with VKDB showed concerns about the injection. "Reasons included concern about an increased risk for leukemia when vitamin K is administered, an impression that the injection was unnecessary, and a desire to minimize the newborn's exposure to 'toxins,'" observes a CDC report. These concerns are scientifically questionable at best. "Earlier concern regarding a possible causal association between parenteral [injected] vitamin K and childhood cancer has not been substantiated," states the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A quick Google search returns a number of dire warnings about vitamin K shots circulating on the Internet. One of the top results is an article at TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com, which urges readers to "Skip that Newborn Vitamin K Shot," before going on to list an array of "dangerous ingredients in the injection cocktail." (The site also calls vaccines "scientific fraud.")

The case for the vitamin K shot is irrefutable, says Jones, "especially when you take into account just how ridiculously safe these intramuscular injections are."

And then there's physician Joseph Mercola (whose popular website calls vaccinations "very neurotoxic" and suggests they are associated with a list of conditions, including autism). In another article on his site, Mercola suggests there is a "Potential Dark Side" to the vitamin K shot. "A needle stick can be a terrible assault to a baby's suddenly overloaded sensory system, which is trying to adjust to the outside world," it reads. (Although Mercola himself rejects and debunks the alleged leukemia link.) Mercola instead suggests administering vitamin K orally, claiming it's "safe and equally effective."

In a written statement provided for this article, Mercola elaborated on his views. He said that as a doctor, he has personally seen "direct evidence of trauma from injections," and he cited risks from aluminum preservatives contained in vitamin K shots. "It is incomprehensible to me how any rational individual could even consider arguing the use of vitamin K injections over a simple and inexpensive, painless oral dose that has never been shown to fail," Mercola wrote.

Jones disagrees. "We have decades of data from a number of countries, some of which have oscillated between doing the [intramuscular injection], doing the oral, and doing nothing," he says. "And so we have good data that shows that while oral is certainly better than nothing, it is not as effective as intramuscular dosing." 

In particular, with oral vitamin K, there are problems involving making sure that people take the right dose and stick to the regimen—and then of course added problems if a baby vomits up the dose. 

"There's a lot of factors that could potentially interfere with the ability of the oral dosing to work," adds Jones. 

"Intramuscular is the best way to do it." (For Jones' more thorough rebuttal to Mercola, read here.) A 2003 statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics makes a similar point, citing evidence that "oral prophylaxis" may fail more often than an injection in preventing late VKDB. (Here's a paper discussing the cases of several infants in the Netherlands who received oral Vitamin K, but still came down with late VKDB.)

Science aside, evidence presented by the CDC suggests that refusal of vitamin K shots may be a major phenomenon to contend with. In Tennessee, the CDC found that at the hospital with the highest rate of missed vitamin K injections, 3.4 percent of infants were discharged without receiving one. At birthing centers in the state (a hospital alternative, often run by nurse-midwives), the number was much higher: 28 percent. (The agency also hinted that medical staff may not be adequately informing parents about the need for the shot.)

To prevent any more horrific brain bleeds in infants, that has to stop. The case for the vitamin K shot is irrefutable, says Jones, "especially when you take into account just how ridiculously safe these intramuscular injections are."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dutchman's Store, Cantril

“I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.” — Grant Wood

SATURDAY Paul and I took Paul's parents on a road trip to Cantril, Iowa to visit Dutchman's Store, and on the way we stopped to see the iconic house from Grant Wood's world-renown painting, American Gothic

It was an encore performance. It's exactly the same trip Mama Logli planned and we took her on about a year ago, and we thought it was worthy of repeating.

Cantril, population 222 as of 2010, is located in Van Buren County in the southeastern corner of Iowa. According to Wikipedia, the entire county has a population of just 7570, of which 1006 reside in Keosauqua, the county seat, which FYI is the home of the oldest continuously-operated courthouse in Iowa and the second oldest in the entire United States.

The red square on the Iowa map is Van Buren County. On the left is an enlarged drawing 
of Van Buren County, with the town of Cantril circled in red. The other squares on 
the county map are also towns, so you can see it's rather sparsely settled.

There's an association called the Villages of Van Buren, and here's what their website has to say about themselves: 

Off the beaten path, but near to history, nature and the spirit of America's heartland, visitors say life in the Villages of Van Buren, a unique cluster of towns in Van Buren County, moves at a slightly different pace, friendliness is a virtue among residents and village heritage is sacred ground.

Relax as you drive through the countryside because you’ll not find a stop light or a fast-food restaurant in the entire county.


Awarded "Iowa Tourism County of the Year" in 1989, 1991, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2010, it's easy to see why the Villages of Van Buren are one of Iowa's top tourism destinations. We are also proud to be included as one of only nine Iowa locations in the best-selling book "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" in the U.S. and Canada. (pages 521-522)


But first came our stop in Eldon to see the American Gothic house and walk through the small museum dedicated to Grant Wood and the history of his best-known painting. Visitors are offered the opportunity to get their picture taken in costume posing as the dour pair in front of the house Grant Wood immortalized.

Of course we had to do it.




The famous original.
Paul's parents, Phyllis and Keith, in their own clothes.

After leaving Eldon, we wended our way on county roads through Amish country to Cantril. I spotted a bake sale at an Amish farm participating in a local event being held called a Farm Crawl. I bought donuts and a cream-filled coffee cake, and Paul's parents got green beans and a pecan pie. The green beans were $1 and half a dozen donuts were $1.75.

I haven't had a donut for I bet 10 years, but for the last couple of weeks I'd been experiencing an intense donut craving, and there they were calling my name. I ate three, and about made myself sick. I expect I'll go another 10 years before I have another.

Below are a few photos I snapped while we were at the bake sale home.







Dutchman's Store is an anomaly and a wonderment in this modern day. It's an old-fashioned country store, but not a fake old-fashioned country store like some restaurant chains have. This is the genuine article where what you buy is wrapped in paper or comes in a jar or a hand-labeled plastic bag.

It's become a draw for tourists, but it started out in 1985 as a single storefront to serve the needs of area residents for meat, produce, milk, cheese and butter, spices, raw ingredients, dry and preserved goods, bakery items, household wares, ointments, clothing, shoes and every other thing you can think of sold for fair and reasonable prices, and has grown to be the entire block.

The place was jam packed on this particular Saturday, and I was so distracted by the array of goods and crush of people that I forgot to take any pictures, so I've attached two screen caps taken from their website.

Paul and I bought peaches, tomatoes, fresh and dried garlic, ginger, horseradish, coleslaw, honey roasted pecans, soup, soap and a knife. (They have the best and most inexpensive knives there!)



Afterwards we ate across the street at Alice's restaurant where there were pork tenderloins, mashed potatoes, $5.00 hot beef sandwiches, homemade peach pie and other Iowa soul food on the menu.

We wended our way back towards Des Moines on different county highways that are part of the official Scenic Roads of Iowa, and stopped in Oskaloosa so I could made a quick run into one of my favorite shoe stores where they specialize in trendy shoes for small prices. In fact by coincidence, that day both Paul and I were wearing shoes we'd purchased the last time we were there a year ago with Mama Logli.

It's called the Shoe Dept, and I highly recommend it. As Paul says, "Any day that has new shoes in it is a good day." Does he know me, or does he know me?!


My super-comfortable, cushy, $16.98 sandals.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Des Moines jazz festival August 1 - 3

"Life is a lot like jazz; it's best when you improvise." — George Gershwin

AWHILE BACK I mentioned that Paul is getting a Special Recognition Award from the Greater Des Moines Community Jazz Center. I also hinted that we had exciting forthcoming music news that I couldn't spill because it had yet to be officially announced.

It was released weeks and weeks ago, so I'm remiss for not telling you what that news is.

But hang on; you're clever. You've already figured out it's a jazz festival in Des Moines like it says in the title.

Ding ding ding. You are correct oh, sleuth-y one.

There is indeed going to be a jazz festival here in the heartland August 1, 2 and 3, and we've got a couple of stupendous national headliners coming to town.

It's called Music Under the Canopy because it's being held at under the new canopy at the Brenton Skating Plaza next to the river.

I've included the schedule below, but before you get to that, READ THIS:

There are few, if any – at least that I know of – actual tangible benefits you receive from reading Hey Look, but here at last is one small one: I have a code for you to use that will get you Premium seating at the festival for the general seating price. Tickets are sold by the day or for the entire three-day festival. 

Go to midwestix.com and put in the code tjc (case sensitive) to get the upgrade for a day pass or tjcpass for the all-festival pass when you check out. This upgrade is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so you might want to jump on it. 





And BTW: Paul is playing all three days – in the Parranderos Latin Combo Friday night, with the Des Moines Big Band Saturday afternoon and with the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame All Star Band on Sunday. Be sure and say hello to him if you attend.

Day Schedule

Day 1   Hiroshima plus World Port and Parranderos Latin Combo Click here to purchase this day pass

Day 2   Arturo Sandoval plus The Des Moines Big Band, Steve Grismore Trio, The Hands of Time, Patricia Barber and Damani Phillips Click here to purchase this day pass

Day 3   Dominick Faranacci plus Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame All Stars, Damani Phillips. Click here to purchase this day pass


Click here to purchase the All-Festival Pass.


Legendary trumpeter Arturo Sandoval

Individual Concert Times

Friday, August 1, 2014

  • 6 PM   Gates open to public
  • 7 PM   World Port
  • 8 PM   Parranderos Latin Combo
  • 9 PM   Hiroshima

Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • 1 PM   Gates open to public
  • 2 PM   Steve Grismore Trio
  • 3 PM   The Hands of Time featuring Chris Merz
  • 4:30 PM   Des Moines Big Band
  • 6 PM   Patricia Barber
  • 7 PM   Damani Phillips
  • 9 PM   Arturo Sandoval

Sunday, August 3, 2014

  • 3 PM   Gates open to public
  • 4 PM   Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame All Star Band
  • 6:15 PM   Damani Phillips
  • 7:30 PM   Dominick Farinacci

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Bottle Boys

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'." — Erma Bombeck

I'M A LITTLE late to the party here. This group of five Danish guys hit public consciousness in 2013 on Britain's Got Talent. Their initial offering was unique and entertaining, but nothing compared to what they've evolved to be — which is just amazing.

I've attached a video of their performance of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. Watching it just might make your day.


 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mama Logli's 89th birthday

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” — Dr. Seuss

AND WHAT a fantastically wonderful "you" Virginia Logli is! July 21 was her 89th birthday. We took over a cake, ice cream and an orchid to celebrate. She got lots of birthday cards and calls, and her niece, Denise Logli Jones, came over with pink squirrels so we could all drink a toast to Virginia.


Virginia with her 8-pound cake, orchid and lots of birthday cards,
and she's wearing beads we brought her from New Orleans.

I kinda overkilled it on the cake. Paul, Virginia and I each had gigantic slices, we sent one home with Denise, Paul took a piece to Dena, Virginia's 95-year-old sister-in-law, we left a slice for Virginia for later, and we took one to Lee (age 105), Virginia's other sister-in-law, and we still have half a cake left. 

We figure we'll freeze the rest and give it to Ann and Jonathan (Virginia's daughter and grandson who'll be flying in from California) to take to Mark's, (Virginia's son), when they drive her down to Fairfield for a visit in a couple of weeks — and they can polish off the rest.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! We adore you.