Monday, September 27, 2010

In Memoriam

I received some sad news this weekend. An old friend of the family and the original Scoutmaster from my Boy Scout Troop, Newton Porter, passed away earlier this month.

Mr. Porter was the coolest Scoutmaster! Not only did he have some great stories to tell us about his work on the Miami Bomb Squad, but he had some of the most creative ways to start camp fires! My favorite was the one we all called "The Letter."

This Fire Lighting ceremony started with Mr. Porter standing in front of the unlit fire scowling at us. He fumed a bit and then took an envelope out of his pocket. Gesticulating wildly with the envelope, he spent the next couple minutes telling us how the envelope contained a letter from the parent of a scout who claimed that nothing exciting ever happened at the scout camping trips.

This, Mr. Porter claimed, was utter nonsense. The rant ended with him throwing the envelope into the fire and storming off. Without anyone touching the fire or anything further going on, the fire would then burst into flame. I have been told how this was done and the explanation sounds plausible, but I have never been able to replicate it.

Our Scoutmaster also often gave talks to other troops about how to be safe with explosives. Our troop once got the opportunity to go to the bomb squad offices on a field trip. Arrayed on the shelves along with the mock-ups of some bombs the squad had found were hands and fingers that had been amputated explosively in jars of formaldehyde. Like I said, Mr. Porter was the coolest.

It has been at least twenty years since I have seen any of the Porter family, but They are in my thoughts as I remember Newt and wish them all well.

Wherever you are this week, I hope that you are well.

Don Bergquist - September 27, 2010 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Polly

Happy birthday to my cousin Charles

Monday, September 13, 2010

Surgery And Recovery

An old roommate of mine used to be able to do “The Wave” with his eyebrows. Karl would lift one and then the other. I was able to lift my eyebrows, but only more-or-less at the same time. I was never able to show inquisitiveness by raising one eyebrow, one went up and the other followed. So all I was able to manage was an exaggerated look of surprise. This is, until last Friday…

Friday morning I went in for surgery to remove a small Basal Cell Carcinoma that had appeared on my temple over the right eye. The procedure took all morning, but that is mostly because each time they came in to slice out a bit more of the area they had to biopsy the tissue they had cut out to see if they had it all. It is a procedure called Mohs Surgery in which they slice off the carcinoma and biopsy the border to assure there are not cancerous cells left.

The surgery left me without the ability to raise my right eyebrow. I can now lift my left eyebrow and look inquisitive! My surgeon said that this may happen and that it would probably be a temporary affectation. I also have a bit of bruising and swelling around the site of the surgery. It looks like someone slugged me.

I got to change the dressing for the first time today which was nice. I had to keep the wound dry and the dressing fresh for 72 hours. Since it is right up against the hairline, I have not been able to wash my hair all weekend. This morning I washed my hair, removed the dressing and cleaned and dressed the wound. It looks a lot nicer this morning than it did right after the surgery.

My problem now is to come-up with a plausible (but more dramatic than truthful) story for explaining the scar. One of my brothers has a doosie of a scar on his ankle. Rather than telling the truth about it (he was a clutz and had an accident with a television picture tube) he used to tell people he got bit by a shark. I am not sure I can use that for my forehead; the scar will only be about 1/2" long. Perhaps a lamprey attack…

Whatever story I come up with, it will have to be a good one; plausible and outlandish simultaneously. The important thing for now is that I am on the mend and I get my stitches out on Friday.

Wherever you are this morning, I hope that you are doing well.

Don Bergquist – September 13, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Launch Tonight!

For any of you in Central Florida, my friend Pat has written another book:

Trailblazing Mars: NASA's Next Giant Leap

There is a talk and book signing tonight at the Brevard Community College's Cocoa, Florida campus. from 07:00 - 09:00 pm.

Checkout his facebook page for details.

Happy birthday to my cousin Michael

Monday, September 06, 2010