New names for the kitten

Based on her behaviour over the past month I have some suggested new names for our 10-month old kitten, Boo. Here they are!

Ms. Behaviour
Ms. Creant
Cat Astrophe
Cat Atonic (this one is rare)

She is learning fast – both bad and good things. She is leaping farther and higher and getting daring taking multiple steps on the staircases. She still loves her feather above all else – I now can drop it down the stairwell all the way to the bottom (three and a half floors) and she will run down to get it, play with it a bit at the bottom, then bring it back up. Well she’s consistent so far except for bringing it back. Sometimes she races back up without it. Within an hour or two we always see her with it, so she eventually beings it back for a treat.


Pansy Division at the Eagle Tavern

We all know about the ultra-popular beer bust at the Eagle on Sunday afternoons, but who knew the Eagle hosted live music every Thursday? And next Thursday Pansy Division headlines, along with Lucky Jesus and the Reform School Girls. I’m already humming My boyfriend has hockey hair. See you all there!

Eagle Tavern entertainment schedule.

Garden update

arugula-boltingWith the warm spell over the past week, things have been happening quickly up topside here. The arugula has been growing very contentedly but with the warmth one of the plants, though small, is starting to bolt. On the other hand, the Mexican Lime which I had moved indoors during December and early January, began to flower (indoors) and thus when it warmed up outside I could move it out again so hopefully all the flowers will pollinate. Many small limes are already growing. Who knows? Maybe this is the year of the rooftop limes!

Hail to the new Chief

Barack Obama is now officially the 44th President of the United States!  Ding, dong and all that too!  The White House website has been updated already to include an ambitious civil rights agenda which includes LGBT folks.  Found here, examples are:

  • Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

As disappointed as I am about Obama’s highlighting of Rick Warren in the inauguration celebration, I am hopeful that he will pursue what us outlined here. This would be a breakthrough.

No doubt the road will be bumpy, and we will need to keep our eyes and ears open to what is really going on as we get more experience with Obama’s administration. And we have to be ready to shout loudly if the time comes when we’re about to be pushed under the bus.

New one-pill per day HIV treatment planned by Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences of Foster City, CA, the pharmaceutical leader in HIV research and care, has plans for a new one pill per day HIV treatment, to compete with Atripla.   Gilead currently co-markets Atripla with Bristol-Myers Squibb, and it is a leading HIV medication particularly for first-line patients.   Atripla itself is composed of three drugs, two from Gilead and one from Bristol Myers.  While very effective and popular, one of the drugs it contains sustiva which can cause side effects ranging from vivid dreams, nightmares to severe depression and dizziness in a non-trivial minority of patients.

The new combination pill, as yet un-named, will contain the two drug components of Atripla – emtriva and viread – which are from Gilead, but rather than the Sustiva (which is Bristol Myers contribution) Gilead is developing a new Integrase inhibitor, elvitegravir, as well as a drug they hope will replace Abbott Labs ritonavir as a booster. While containing four drugs, Gilead has indicated the pill will be smaller than Atripla.

The new elvitigravir is already in clinical trials.  The new booster drug is not as far along, but activists hope it may break the stranglehold which Abbott Labs now has with ritonavir. Overall the new combo pill is several years away if it passes trials.

Abbott has used their monopoly to jack up the price of ritonovir four-fold a few years ago when its efficacy in boosting the blood levels of other HIV drigs was discovered.  Abbott bundles it at no cost with its own drug lopinivir which combination it markets as Kaletra.

Kaletra has been superseded by newer PIs with even fewer side effects including Reyataz and Prezista.  These drugs must be used in combination with ritonavir, so Abbott uses their lock on ritonavir to get a chunk of those markets.  At patient expense, of course.  As well, ritonavir is a liquid and so prevents it from being part of a one-pill combo treatment.  Gileads’ new booster is a solid.

The other good news about the combo pill is that it will be based on an Integrase inhibitor, a new class of drugs, which makes it an option for patients whose HIV becomes resistant to the older classes of drugs.

More here at