• JOHN OSLER'S UPBEAT Admin

PUTTING THINGS BEHIND US


The Dirty Dog Jazz Café will remain closed until our jazz family can again safely gather in an intimate setting to hear live jazz. What makes the Dirty Dog and jazz so important in our lives is its ability to bring us closer together. For the moment we will have to stay close by staying apart. This necessary intermission will end, and jazz will once again leak out the Dog’s front door and smiling people will pour in. See you then.


Separation seems to be working where it is practiced. Thanks to everyone who is practicing social distancing. Thanks also to all those who are serving at risk.

The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Listen to the art.” -Junot Diaz

This is a time when when the whole culture is asking us to slow down. This may be a good time to listen to some art. This may be a good time to search out some music that you can bring into your home, books on line and some art that you can hang on your walls. There are artists who would appreciate your reaching out.

We are all trying to find a silver lining in this pandemic. With all the pain around us it isn’t easy, We need an alternative to the worthlessness we feel when we can’t get out and help. We need to counter the not knowing and the isolation. The absence of a clear light at the end of the tunnel can be frustrating. It is difficult enough to be isolated, but it is really hard not to know how your friends are faring. We go online to find little shards of light, something or someone who can pick up our spirits. We use Facetime, Skype and Zoom. where we get to see each other inside our homes. We also get to see what we put behind us, on the screen.  It can be revealing.

It is giving us a look into the personal lives of our fellow workers sitting alone in their  homes with background sounds of families crying for attention. Politicians will place themselves in their austere offices with a flag behind them, lending them some seriousness. TV personalities can be found looking up from desks in their dens looking like ordinary people. Friends will be in a place that they hastily cleaned up, sometimes leaving some evidence of disarray.

It gives us a chance to see people in a new way. 


Our screens are filled with images of red and blue lit folks looking straight at us. Often they are too close to the invisible camera on their laptop or phone. We see bulging eyes, swollen noses and wrinkled chins from below. These can’t be the handsome friends we are used to seeing eye to eye.

We all need a quick course in how to make a better impression using a screen camera.

Here is what I would suggest.

Place the screen level with your eyes or above so you don’t appear to look down at everyone.


Don’t use the screen to light your face.


Don’t use a background that is too dark or too bright


TRY TO STAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCREEN


LEARN HOW TO SAY GOODBYE


PUT ART ON THE WALLS

I see very few  paintings or art photography on the walls behind the guests who appear on my screens. I do see bookshelves, vases, potted plants and tables with piles of work to be done. I would kind of like to see more art, like I find at the Dirty Dog jazz Café.


What art tells us

I am often surprised when I go into a room and there is a piece of really good art on the wall. It may not always be my cup of tea, but I will carry forward a good feeling towards the person who thought that art was important. We all have different skill levels when we decorate a space hoping to make life more orderly and livable. When we first enter a room and glance around we get our first glimpse of someone. A room that I occupied  would usually be a scene of disarray. Piles of stuff and unfinished projects would litter every corner of every room. Fortunately for me and anyone visiting our house, my wife has a better sense of presentation than I do. Any room where I am working  would soon become uninhabitable if left ungoverned by my better half. I am grateful for all of the people who keep order in our world and especially those who place in front of me beautiful arrangements of beautiful things. It is often a woman with impeccable taste. When I am in the Canadian woods it is Mother Nature. At my house it is my wife, and at the jazz club down the street it is Gretchen Valade.

I miss the art at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café almost as much as the music.


When you enter the Dirty Dog Jazz Café you are greeted by a host and a dog that is scratching itself because it might be a little bit dirty.  The dog is not real.  It is just one of the many artifacts in a club chock full of charm, music, civility and art. Fortunately for those of us who like jazz played in an intimate yet expansive space the Dirty Dog has been created in its proprietor Gretchen’s vision. She was looking for a nice place to spend an evening. The Dirty Dog is a handsomely turned out establishment that does not take itself too seriously. This is obvious when you encounter the art on the walls. The original art that covers the walls captures the joyous character of the club and its owner. Gretchen has shown her appreciation for the musicians and patrons by surrounding them with a veritable art gallery.

I have been asked from time to time to add a piece of art to the walls of the Dirty Dog. It is a little scary to try to live up to the standards that exist in the music, food and service. It always turns out to be a misplaced fear of failure as it is a place with a low judgemental factor, so you might as well have fun. That quite honestly is what this place is all about.


Dee Dee Pierce oil painting by John Osler

Dee Dee Pierce and his wife Billie headlined a jazz band that was a fixture for years in New Orleans. He was an American jazz trumpeter and cornetist. He is best remembered for the songs “Peanut Vendor” and “Dippermouth Blues”, His wife Billie played the piano.

I never met Dee Dee or Billie except through some early recordings and by going through Tulane University’s archives. Their early playing was rough hewn, bluesy and authentic to their situation. I was moved to paint their story. I think there is a lot of a journeyman jazz musician’s struggle in his face. Gretchen must have agreed when she put the painting on the wall.


Gretchen has curated most of the stuff that finds a place on a shelf or a wall. There are a lot of images of dogs and jazz artists. There is evidence throughout the club that she is unafraid to put up what pleases her. She is  confident that this is going to bring a little happiness to the rest of us. The Dirty Dog is dedicated to promote and support all artists. All it takes is to be authentic and give a good effort.


“Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view.” -Paul Klee


SHARING MUSIC AND ART

Art, springtime flowers and family support can not be touched by this virus. Get all you can get.

Art is in the eyes of the beholder, but someone has to get it in front of the beholders. The Dirty Dog understands this. They share original jazz, art and food for those who like that sort of thing.

All this is will be back on display when the lights go back on at the Dirty Dog.


Until then, be safe.

John Osler

GETTING TO KNOW THE VIRUS

We are all in the hands of our scientists. They will let us know when we can return to a normal life  or at least near normal. Old weezy folks like myself have a special interest in them getting it right. They only have one job, get to know this virus so that they can defeat it. This article is from the Fred Hutch News Service.


What’s with the spikes?


Those structures that give coronavirus its name might be SARS-CoV-2’s weak point


APRIL 3, 2020 • BY SABIN RUSSELL / FRED HUTCH NEWS SERVICE






Illustration of COVID-19 virus

Artists’ renditions of the coronavirus, like this one, have become popular symbols of the COVID-19 pandemic.Illustration by Getty Images



If there is one thing most of us have learned about the coronavirus itself, we know it is covered with spikes.

In news broadcasts about the COVID-19 crisis, that gray Styrofoam ball dotted with red spikes has become an unofficial logo of the pandemic.

We even see the spikes as they appear — with artificial coloring — in photos from powerful electron microscopes. They ring the body of the virus like jewels in a crown, hence the name of this microbial family — coronavirus.

Biologically speaking, those spikes are critically important. They are literally the point of contact that our own vulnerable lung cells have with the virus, SARS-CoV-2. Like a key cut for a specific lock, the spike slides neatly into the matching sites of receptors found on cells that line the airways of our lungs. Once secured, this connection allows the entire ball-shaped virus to slip into the cell. Inside, it makes thousands of copies of itself. And the potentially lethal infection has begun.



Yet this spike has qualities that make it different from other feared contagions like HIV and influenza, giving scientists a possible route to an effective vaccine or cure. Genetically, it is relatively stable compared to surface proteins on other viruses, and that makes it less of a moving target for antibodies or drugs designed to block it.

“That’s good news for slowing resistance to antivirals. It’s good news for vaccine development,” said Dr. Michael Emerman, a virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

A researcher at Fred Hutch and the University of Washington, Emerman is a leading expert on how pandemic viruses like influenza, HIV and SARS cross from animals to humans. It is thought each of those viruses, on their evolutionary journeys, jumped from another species: Influenza from birds to humans, HIV from chimpanzees, SARS — and its close cousin SARS-CoV-2, most likely from bats.


The coronavirus genome has an error-correction mechanism

Influenza and HIV are known for surface structures made of proteins and sugars that rapidly change their shape. Attempts to block HIV with a vaccine have failed for three decades because of that virus’ ability to hide from the human immune system, including from those tiny proteins called antibodies that are raised naturally against HIV’s surface. Influenza viruses are shape shifters as well, because they evolve new surface structures against antibodies from vaccines. That forces vaccine makers to reformulate flu shots against different strains every few years.

Coronaviruses are genetically more stable because they carry within them a mechanism for correcting errors that naturally occur through mutation of their genetic code. The genomes of HIV, flu, and coronavirus are all made of RNA, which is less stable and more prone to error than the DNA that stores our own genetic information. All three viruses mutate because they rely on RNA, but coronaviruses do so more slowly.

Therefore, researchers have reason to hope that if they can come up with a treatment or vaccine that locks onto those signature spikes of coronavirus, it is less likely to make a quick escape and is more likely to be controlled.

One thing that is different about the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 from pandemics of the past is that researchers are now equipped with tools that have enabled them, within weeks of the discovery of the virus, to sequence its genome and model the protein structure of the spikes. Using cryo-electron microscopes — which give scientists astoundingly accurate images of the spike — we already know the knobbly terrain of its surfaces and likely spots on it for antibodies or drugs to dock and possibly disable it.

Fred Hutch scientists — and researchers throughout the world — are feverishly working to find antibodies that naturally attach the SARS-CoV-2 spike, gumming up its ability to enter lung cells so easily. These tiny proteins could be produced in the lab and used as drugs to block the virus, and they might serve as the basis for a new vaccine or blood tests that show prior exposure to the virus. They could prove to be critical in the fight against COVID-19.





Sabin Russell is a staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. For two decades he covered medical science, global health and health care economics for the San Francisco Chronicle, and wrote extensively about infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and a freelance writer for the New York Times and Health Affairs. Reach him at srussell@fredhutch.org.






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