A shaggy black dog

This is our childhood dog. His name was Scotty. Who knows why. He makes a number of appearances in my sister’s little commemorative memoir and biographical book about her life and childhood adventures in our neighbourhood East of Adelaide in London Ontario. Book and ebooks to come soon. There will be a post about it here when officially released, for sure, because it fits the theme of cartoon life. I drew a number of illustrations for the book.

With the close of TingFest, I’ll have to unstick those blog posts also, so they move along downstream. 

And honestly, I wonder again about how much I’ll continue to share here at WordPress. I have about 600 followers, and perhaps a half dozen hits a day. Not shabby. I have fewer followers on Tumblr and more response. I tried a special separate Tumblr to share only my pictures from. And my G+ personal profile is at about 500. Things got far too complicated with two Tumblrs, two Twitters, two Facebooks, G+ profile, collections and another Samupress page, not to mention pushing things from the stores to blogs to Wanelo and such. Medium is great for focused writing, of which I do very little, but do enjoy reading. Ello seems now like a very focused image sharing space.

 Incredibly, the G+ collection I set up to share artwork posts to has 10,000 followers with no work on my part, except to post images there. In some ways it seems like the way to go, to simplify the sharing streams. 

And so I periodically reassess this site. It was perfect years ago when the regular weekly editorial cartoon was posted. And having a lazy holiday Monday to sit around and just think about things comes along, well that’s a bit dangerous too. 

The old and the young

One is 23. One is 19.

Something I rarely do is paint from a photo, but this scene was likely going to change quickly. So, yes, I traced over the photo for the figure and forms, otherwise completely digitally hand painted free form. No filters, no sampling.

How about a transit-run AI self-driving smart car system for #ldnont?

Hmmm, maybe a crazy idea. My retro future fantasy brain on a spree.

The city transit service could run a small fleet of AI Smart, small self-driving cars. Electric. We know they’re coming. A kind of car share system managed by a transit authority.

You could hire one over the phone or through an app then wait at a bus stop, get picked up, insert the credit card or prepaid fare card and be delivered to another bus stop. The end bus stop wouldn’t need necessarily to be on the limited route. The car system could freely cross routes, and choose the most direct route through the city.

Some kind of payment system based on zones, or distance? A flat fee? I suppose, more than a two dollar bus fare, less than a taxi. Buses already service stop to stop. Taxis would still have the advantage of door to door, wider service ranges, storage for hauling substantial items, perhaps luxury, and personal help when needed.

I see the self-driving car, here, as a solution to short hops, or buzzing around suburban areas where bus transit is a bit spotty.

We’re #4 Canadian Travel app

The Heart of London climbs to the top:

We’re #4, We’re #4! You’re in for it now that I have another app posted… yes.. a plethora of daily reports about how it’s doing in the stores and its further development! Yesterday it was ranked Number 4 in Canadian Travel in the Apple Store. That’s pretty cool!


Not to mention the Rome Walkabout art history apps also available.

What does this puzzling and outrageous IgG result actually mean?

Working through some confusion with information above my pay grade.

Is this in any way an odd or unusual result? What are typical or otherwise ranges for this measure?

The biggest difficulty is finding some kind of comparative scale and conversions.

The Gamma Dynacre blood test results show an IgG of 160 U/ml for Casein. I can find information that says 620–1400 mg/dL or similar ranges of 650 to 1600 to be normal. I can only assume ‘U’ is in mg, so, online calculators and converters yield 1600. On the high side, or just elevated above normal.




Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 12.36.27 PM.png


Otherwise 160 is absurdly low.

If I move the decimal… 620–1400 mg/dL becomes 62–140 mg/mL …. (?). So 160 would be high. The GD chart shows 24–30 as moderate, and 30+ in a logarithmic scale, as elevated. So what does ‘U’ mean as a unit?

Is this IgG merely a reaction to exposure? A residual response? Or an actual active live allergy.

IgG is first line immune response attacking foreign bodies – proteins – and coating them as markers for other antibodies to deal with. These things are just in the wrong place. IgG is a response to the presence of the protein. Doesn’t mean it’s an allergy. (?)


Total IgG versus IgG4 food allergy

Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is classified into several subclasses termed 1, 2, 3, and 4. IgGs are composed of two heavy chain–light chain pairs (half-molecules), which are connected via inter–heavy chain disulfide bonds situated in the hinge region (Figure 1). IgG4 antibodies usually represent less than 6% of the total IgG antibodies. IgG4 antibodies differ functionally from other IgG subclasses in their lack of inflammatory activity, which includes a poor ability to induce complement and immune cell activation because of low affinity for C1q (the q fragment of the first component of complement). Consequently, IgG4 has become the preferred subclass for immunotherapy, in which IgG4 antibodies to antigens are increased to reduce severe antigen reactions mediated by IgE. If antigens preferentially react with IgG4 antibodies, the antigens cannot react with IgE antibodies that might cause anaphylaxis or other severe reactions. Thus, IgG4 antibodies are often termed blocking antibodies. Another property of blood-derived IgG4 is its inability to cross-link identical antigens, which is referred to as “functional monovalency”. IgG4 antibodies are dynamic molecules that exchange half of the antibody molecule specific for one antigen with a heavy-light chain pair from another molecule specific for a different antigen, resulting in bi-specific antibodies that are unable to form large cross-linked antibodies that bind complement and thus cause subsequent inflammation(16). In specific immunotherapy with allergen in allergic rhinitis, for example, increases in allergen-specific IgG4 levels indeed correlate with improved clinical responses. IgG4 antibodies not only block IgE mediated food allergies but also block the reactions of food antigens with other IgG subclasses, reducing inflammatory reactions caused by the other IgG subclasses of antibodies to food antigens.

In IgG mediated food allergy testing, the goal is to identify foods that are capable of causing inflammation that can trigger a large number of adverse reactions. IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 all are capable of causing inflammation because these antibodies do not exchange heavy and light chains with other antibodies to form bispecific antibodies. Thus, IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 antibodies to food antigens can and do form large immune complexes or lattices that fix complement and increase inflammation. The presence of IgG4 antibodies to food antigens indicates the presence of antibodies to foods that will not usually cause inflammation even though high amounts of these antibodies do indicate the presence of immune reactions against food antigens. Testing only for IgG4 antibodies in foods limits the ability of the clinician to determine those foods that are causing significant clinical reactions that are affecting their patients. The importance of measuring other subtypes of IgG antibodies is highlighted in an article by Kemeny et al. (17). They found that IgG1 antibodies to gluten were elevated in all 20 patients with celiac disease but none of the patients had elevated IgG4 antibodies to gluten.

… is from greatplainslaboratory.com which, in a cursory reading, seems a bit of new age woo site (?), but this seems a clear explanation.

These are for the most part the most common allergens. Aren’t they rare however in a senior adult?


I’ve had allergy testing twice across two decades with no findings, and displayed, all that time, allergy symptoms. We chalked it up to some occult environmental allergen. My family doctor always tracked a slightly elevated IgE, a sign of a low grade chronic infection, viral perhaps, perhaps some kind of Liver difficulty.

On October 1st, I started a FODMAP diet based on the MONASH University app, and the sinus effects have subsided — aside from the dramatic lessening of gut symptoms. Merely diet? Yes, Allergies and Intolerances aren’t the same thing.

UPDATE: 12/17/2015 a kind of stream of consciousness poem.

If low stomach acid
doesn’t metabolize B12
Due to age and buffering medicines
Is that inadequacy also
failing to digest
gluten and casein proteins
Into amino acids?
Should these proteins be in the blood
That is what the immune system responds to
Proteins viruses bacteria.

Apparently Yes.

Another update 12/18/2015 

Regarding a Sunflower and Sesame seeds. It seems that yes, an errant protein is the provocateur.


Even as this post discounts the IgG testing procedure, those FlaxSeeds – something that I haven’t knowingly consumed in years, yet is on. My list of newly discovered sensitivities- in that otherwise Gluten free granola sure did a job on provoking by IBS for a few days.

Later that same day:

Is a good place to look for information on IgE food allergies and information on the sources of the allergy in specific foods. 

My stone age blood

The Prothrombin 20210 Allele is apparently traceable to some 20,000 years ago. This is late Pleistocene. This is late Stone Age. Hunter gatherer’s. My ancestors have been in Europe a very long time. First records of my family in Italy are from the late 1800’s, the house on Borgo Nouvo, in Monteleone. Borgo Nouvo means: that new part of town outside the walls – the fortified walls surrounding the medieval hill town. The suburbs. That part of town is at least 120 years old as my grandfather was born in 1895. The house was certainly already there and looking well weathered.

Leonardo Antonio, Maria Taggio, and Giovanni Ruggiero
Leonardo Antonio, Maria Taggio, and Giovanni Ruggiero
That’s just the street though, not necessarily when the house was built, or even when the ancestors got there. The house is high on the slope, which means it was relatively early and clearly well after the wall. Just down the road and inside the current town borders is a smallish triangle of land about the size of your front lawn which was forever the family farm.

One thing my grandfather did when he eventually settled here was try to run a small market garden shop selling fruits and vegetables. It was just south of Bathurst Street, North of Horton Street at the railroad underpass on Wellington. I think of that every time I traipse by the Salvation Army clients lingering and lounging there.

Obviously peasant farmers from a long way back. And hunters before that.

The Pleistocene genes

As to estimating the age of the mutation, we thank Zivelin et al.

“The analysis yielded an age estimate of 23,720 years. … The occurrence of the … [mutation] in whites toward the end of the last glaciation and their presently wide distribution in whites suggested selective evolutionary advantages for which some evidence was reported (diminished blood loss) or is controversial (protection against infections). …[Until] recent centuries humans did not live long enough to manifest a meaningful incidence of thrombosis.”

It might have been a useful adaptation when we were cutting up our hands making stone tools, stabbing penguins and megafauna, carving Venuses and not living very long. Sitting around in airplanes is another matter From Wikipedia on Paleolithic Europe:

“The Solutrean culture, extended from northern Spain to SE France, includes not only an advanced stone technology but also the first significant development of cave painting, the use of the needle and possibly that of the bow and arrow. The more widespread Gravettian culture is no less advanced, at least in artistic terms: sculpture (mainly Venuses) is the most outstanding form of creative expression of these peoples.”

In a general essay about the source of some languages, Alexei Panshin drops a relevant passage about the last glacial maximum.

“…the Last Glacial Maximum, some 20,000 years ago, … was an event of unparalleled disruption for the human population of Europe. … from 21,000 to 17,000 BP, glacial conditions grew so extreme that much of Europe was uninhabitable. Ice fields spread south from Scandinavia and north from the Alps, and the narrow corridor between them became a bleak polar desert… [creating] an impassable barrier between eastern and western Europe… At the absolute peak of the cold, human habitation was reduced to a few relatively temperate refuges, and even in those the harshest of steppe conditions seem to have prevailed. There was one such refuge in southern France and northwestern Spain and a second in Italy. A third was in the northern Balkans, and a fourth in the Ukraine”.

My family has likely been in Italy for the largest portion of those 20,000 years.

Cat considers landscape


It's been a long quiet bit of time here. Been working out. Feeling a lot better, but that amongst other things takes up some time. All the testing after the stroke/seizure has been inconclusive really about any direct causes, but with lots of interesting peripheral findings.

The usual autumn tidying and winter prep for has kept me somewhat busy.

I will get back to more drawings from the Uffizi catalog. Banging into my clumsy “oh, no, I'm not not-Botticelli” drawing ability has kept me frustrated I'll get back to Flora, and make a decent drawing. I will.

So with this huge pause in mind, retrospectively, this drawing has much more meaning. I went back to my method, draw, make a mark, zone out and no criticism, only yes, only accepting what comes out. Shape it.


More on the hopefully boring and uninteresting state of me


In My biggest disappointment is that I didn’t gain any superpowers I mentioned the surprise incident. All the puzzles bits aren’t yet in place, but it looks like a seizure caused by a warning stroke, or a TIA, or Transient Ischemic Attack. The bubble test, where they run some oxygenated fluid, like a carbonated software drink, through your heart shows an intra-atrial shunt, likely a PFO, or Patent Foramen Ovale, which is a small hole which allows stuff to pass through that shouldn’t.

About a quarter of the population has such a thing. And in a history of an otherwise healthy person a TIA or “out of the blue” event a PFO is the likely source. Even then, many PFO strokes are cryptogenic, or have no apparent cause.

Strokes are caused by blood clots making their way to the brain. The suspicion here is that a tiny blood clot made it through the PFO to my brain. So the question then is where did the blood clot come from? I have no history of trauma, or any extended non-mobile activity, in the past year.

Any other ‘anomalous’ findings in my battery of tests, all are typically age related and not unusual. Blood tests continue to look for the zebra in that large herd of horses.

At this point, there are simple drugs – a daily aspirin – which act as a blood thinner. This should keep the clots away. PFO’s can be managed otherwise with surgery. We’re not near that point yet.

I can continue with my otherwise uninteresting normal boring life. As I did have the seizure, though, it will require my being clear for a year before I can drive again.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/390835-exercising-with-patent-foramen-ovale/ is a light quick overview.

“Symptoms of PFO include fatigue, shortness of breath upon exertion, heart palpitations, swelling in the legs, feet and ankles, cyanosis, or possibly stroke.”.



http://cardiaccenteroftexas.com/pfo is little more thorough and medical.

Forlorn cat

Whatever comes up, comes up. CT Scan clean. EEG clean. MRI today. Blood work excellent. Cholesterol low to non-existent. No risk of diabetes. My weight and condition is very good, aside for someone turning 61 years old today.

The drawing around the eyes, the shape of them in this cat suggested some sadness and self-absorbed consideration. It is also the first drawing coming out of a week of lassitude and puzzlement.

A visit to Raphael’s place

From my sisters trip blog: Cotogne Torre:

I was a little disappointed with Raphael’s house. I was expecting it to be, well, a little more…. “Manger like”; you-know: humble; east-of-adelaide; poor kid makes a name for himself kind-of-place. Instead, it looks like his parents were doing alright and could easily afford to send their kid to art school. I expected a “struggling atmosphere.” Curious though it may be, I didn’t pay the fee to see the “Birthing room”, that seemed a little far fetched to me, instead, I persevered up the incredibly steep hill to the statue and park in his honour. If you ever come to Urbino, just ask for a copy of my pictures, don’t actually walk up this hill yourself. It is like scaling the side of a 10 story building without your spiderman outfit.




Hey, Starbuck’s…

does not sound like

Pumpkins for 2012


I wasn’t built for this

20121022-170947.jpg Whew. Seems busy today. And it seems like a while since I’ve been drawing, or putting up stuff here. First, the prints are well received, and a few sales are made. The medium 22 cats books are well received, and a few sales are made. The small 22 cats books completely ran out, and I’ve a second set to distribute. They arrived today. Free is easy to take, and some have actually sold. The 22 cats folio of prints earned a $75 donation for Animal Outreach.

As I said elsewhere, the marketing is the most difficult and exhausting part of all this. Products at the store (and blog posts for them) don’t create themselves. Of any cat drawings I’ve done, the subjects look harried and alarmed. All the drawings in 100 cats are all really self-portraits. Even at rest,

20121022-172216.jpg they bear a visage of frantic psychic exhaustion.

I found the other day, that someone has borrowed an image for an illustration on their web page. Cool. And they properly link back. As it happens I had some of those cloud images set up for the store, and set up yesterday and today eight new mugs. Titling, tagging, blogging, all while watching five amazing young women compete on CBC’s Over The Rainbow, being astounded and distracted while they moved you so … Well, it’s probably better to do one thing at a time.

A mystery plainly explained. There is no mystery.