First, the mice, since I'm a bit late on reporting this. You may have already heard about this: immunologists at the Cleveland Clinic have come up with a prototype vaccine that inhibits growth of and prevents breast cancer tumors in mice. So far the FDA has approved two cancer vaccines--both against viruses. This one targets an antigen. Human trials could begin next year. Would you volunteer for such a trial? I'm not sure whether I would. The study is in the journal Nature Medicine. You have to subscribe to access the whole article, but you can find the abstract here.

Second, orchids. Today was the 15th anniversary of my meeting L. We went to a fundraiser for Growing Home tonight at the Cultural Center, which is a gorgeous white marble and mosaic building that the first Mayor Daley wanted to tear down. His wife saved it. L brought me a stem of white orchids and a raft of barrettes. The barrettes were to hold the orchids in my hair. I managed to attach six blossoms. This was uncharacteristically romantic for L. Usually he goes for more practical gifts, like jumper cables and L.L. Bean shirts.

I didn't get him anything. He said it was OK. The centerpieces of the dinner tables were bricks and little squares of dirt with sprouts growing out of them. We took some bricks home because we use them to wall off our trees and plants from neighborhood dogs. We have become great brick scavengers, which is nice because L was never an alley picker like I am.

Growing Home trains homeless people to work on organic farms. What could be better?