Join me in the fight against breast cancer!

By | May 16, 2024

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to share with you my commitment to once again participate in the New England Susan G Komen 3-Day walk (August 23-25) in 2023, embarking on a journey of sixty miles over three days to support the fight against breast cancer. For me, this isn’t just another walk; it’s a heartfelt mission that I’ve been dedicated to since 2008.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of participating in 37 Komen 3-Day walks, standing in solidarity with those affected by breast cancer. From being a part of the support crew 14 times to walking 23 times, every step has been fueled by the hope for a future free from this disease.

Together, we’ve accomplished so much. Through your generosity and support, I’ve been able to raise a lifetime total of $65,500.11 towards breast cancer research, education, and patient support. But our journey doesn’t end here. There’s still much more work to be done, and I need your help to make an even greater impact.

Click here to donate!

Your contribution, no matter the size, can make a difference. It can fund critical research breakthroughs, provide support to those battling breast cancer, and spread awareness about early detection and prevention. With your support, we can bring hope to countless lives and move one step closer to a world without breast cancer.

Will you join me in this important cause? Together, let’s walk towards a future where breast cancer is no longer a threat. Your support means the world to me and to everyone affected by this disease.

Thank you for standing by my side in this fight.

With gratitude,

Jay Furr

You can donate here:

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Frontiers of Medicine, Part 728

By | May 15, 2024

I’m 56 — but yesterday a dental technician from Russia told me I looked MUCH younger and didn’t believe me until I showed her my drivers license.

I took that with a massive grain of salt inasmuch as she also shared with me that two standard Russian cures for anemia are:
  1. drive a rusty nail into an apple and let the apple “suck up” all the iron, then eat the apple
  2. drink ox’s blood. Had to be ox’s blood; other kinds of blood “not as good”.

Uh huh.

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By | May 10, 2024
I’m a town delegate to the Vermont Democratic Convention next weekend. We will be, among other things, electing our delegates to the national convention. People have to file to be state delegate candidates and we vote next weekend. (Regardless of how the votes come out, the slate must be gender-balanced and so on, so it’s possible for someone to not finish in the top X and still wind up a delegate.) I was warned that I’d be getting emails from delegate candidates in advance of the event and the tidal wave is beginning to commence.
I’m reasonably pleased that so far no one who’s written me has come across as deranged. It’s more boring that way, but the reason I post is because I’m quite sure that were I a delegate to the state Republican convention there’d be a race to the bottom to see just how deranged each candidate emailing could be.
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The Sorry State of Sex Education in the USA

By | April 22, 2024

When I was 22 or so, my mother noted reddened areas on the backs of my arms which I hesitantly explained were rug burns (the result of extensive fooling around in my girlfriend’s individual office) and looked at me and said “Joel, do you know how to get a girl pregnant?”

I said “Yes.”

She said “Don’t.”

And that was the entirety of my “birds and bees” lecture.

In my school system — in a college town located in a rural area — only female students got sex ed. Males did not. My mother, in fact, paid for my sisters to take a private sex ed course offered through an external organization, probably because what little the school system proper offered was hopelessly out of date. My school health textbooks had been published during the Eisenhower administration and we were using them in 1983.

And even with such a minimal exposure to biological reproductive concepts, I was probably still better off than most students who are home schooled or who attend school in states whose education systems are controlled by the local theocracy. In many cases, what is taught is blatantly wrong (“Birth control causes cancer”, and so on).

Did you know that only 18 states actually require sex ed to be medically accurate?

From time to time I find myself thinking how grateful I am that Carole and I don’t have children. We are rapidly heading toward the world depicted in Idiocracy.

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Hot Tubbing With The Russians

By | April 17, 2024

Little things that pop into one’s head unbidden department: the heavyset Russian guy with the diamond pinky rings who wound up sharing a hot tub with us on our first (Western Caribbean) cruise in 2004. He did not appear to speak any English and we certainly didn’t speak Russian and we didn’t know him from Adam’s off ox, but he pointed at another guy standing attentively nearby (we thought of him as “the minion”) and made a circling motion in the air taking in everyone in the hot tub, and sent the guy off for drinks. I don’t recall what the drinks turned out to be; I mean, classically one would have expected double shots of vodka but it was probably something more Caribbean-y.

Neither Carole nor I had any idea if we were supposed to return the favor and get the next round, so we didn’t, and that appears to have been the correct course of action. Perhaps he would have been insulted if we’d tried to match his largesse. In any event, we raised our glasses to him and smiled appreciatively and he nodded back at us, and that was the extent of it.

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17 years. I remember.

By | April 16, 2024
Feeling rather somber today. 17 years ago today a severely mentally ill Virginia Tech student murdered 28 students and four instructors, to say nothing of wounding many more. At the time, this captured the nation’s attention and indeed the attention of the world. All the major networks sent their anchors to Blacksburg to report. Universities across the country sent giant condolence cards. The New York Yankees, of all people, came to Blacksburg to play a charity game against the Virginia Tech baseball team. President George W. Bush came to the memorial ceremony which was broadcast live.
And yet today, hardly anyone remembers unless they’re somehow associated with the Virginia Tech community. We’ve become so inured to constant mass murder that nothing fazes us anymore.
Many of us, including me, hoped that the lives of the murdered 32 would not have been in vain, that we would learn from what happened and take steps that it never happen again.
It appears that no one learned a thing… except for the sobering fact that at the end of the day, lives simply don’t matter to a huge percentage of our society.
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Major depression update, March 2024

By | March 25, 2024

Random thoughts about depression:

I suffer from major depression. I have for most of my life, dating back to middle school at the very least.

Depression causes me to have difficulty doing things I need to do. I procrastinate significantly more and I don’t have the energy to do things I enjoy.

Something a lot of people don’t understand about depression — it’s not necessarily (or at all) linked to “feeling bad about something”, though one hallmark of major depression is that one’s brain goes looking for things to be depressed about and then points to those things as the “cause” du jour. Depression is an expression of biochemistry, life experience, stress, and so on.

I imagine that I would probably have been very depressed even if I had led the absolute perfect life. My father had undiagnosed major depression. My mom’s mom was institutionalized for most of her life due to symptoms that sound an awful lot like major depression. (The state of medical care in rural Florida was not always what one would have liked it to have been.) You can’t ignore the role genetics plays in mental health.

What helps? Talk therapy (working with counselors) does not really help me. Medicine helps somewhat, but is not helping much with my latest bout of black moods. I’ve gone through extensive DBT (dialectial behavior therapy) training and am familiar with skills like radical acceptance, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. It’s just that sometimes those skills can only do so much.

I would probably feel better if I started getting intense regular exercise. I’ve been pretty sessile for the last year — partly because of my having been chair of my local Selectboard and always had things to do (and had a lot of stress as well), partly because it rained nonstop last summer, and partly because I made a ton of excuses all fall and winter. I have hopes that as the weather continues to warm I’ll find it easier to get outdoors and get going for walks again.

I’m heading to Bermuda on Saturday for a week’s vacation and am, unfortunately, stressing about that. Our flight leaves BTV at 5:20 am — that’s leaves, not boards. Carole is not a morning person to begin with and will probably have been up late Friday night packing (she has depression too and she’s terrible at tasks that require organizational skills like, oh, packing). Once we’re actually on the plane and in the air heading to our connection in Charlotte, I expect I’ll feel better.

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By | March 4, 2024

At some point, in a bout of what turned out to be utter foolishness, I gave my cell phone number to ActBlue, which promptly resold it or shared it with every Democratic candidate from the candidate for the Billings, Montana dog-catcher race to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. I get at least one text every day asking for donations from various candidates (or, to put it another way, from whichever fundraising firm they’ve hired), and some days it’s more on the order of four or five.

I reflexively type “STOP” and send it off every time, and these do get acknowledged — that particular campaign won’t text me again. But it has no effect on the glut of other texts from other campaigns.

(I looked on the ActBlue site to see if there was an option to turn off the flood and other than deleting my account, there wasn’t — and deleting my account had no effect whatsoever on the volume.)

Until now, the texts have always been from moderate-to-liberal candidates. However, this weekend I got a text from the Nikki Haley campaign, formatted and styled just like all the texts from the Democrats.

I think it’s about to be time to change phone numbers. Imagine the hell I’d wind up in if the number finds its way next to Donald Trump.

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RIP Mojo Nixon

By | February 8, 2024

From today’s “I Has A Sad” Department: Mojo Nixon has passed away at the age of 66. Mojo, real name Neill Kirby McMillan Jr., died of a cardiac event on February 7 while on an Outlaw Country cruise where he was a featured performer and entertainer. Mojo is survived by his wife Adaire and their two sons, Ruben and Rafe, as well as a granddaughter. My condolences to his family. He will be missed.

When I was in college at the University of Georgia (1985-1988) Mojo got a decent amount of airplay on WUOG 90.5 FM and showed up late at night on MTV in strange commercials with his bandmate Skid Roper. He was known for songs such as “Elvis is Everywhere“, “Don Henley Must Die” and “Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child.” All are worth a listen, and FWIW, the video for “Debbie Gibson” starred the actual Winona Ryder playing Debbie Gibson.

My favorite bit of Mojo trivia: he was performing “Don Henley Must Die” in 1992 in a small club in Austin, Texas called the “Hole In The Wall” when Don Henley himself jumped onstage and sang along with him. Mojo, stunned, said “Is Debbie Gibson here too?” Henley was a very good sport about the whole thing — props to him.

My favorite memory of him is from a time (circa 1994 or 1995) I went to see him perform at a club on Hillsborough St in Raleigh near NCSU. I forget which club it was, but that’s not important. It wasn’t the best show — he played a lot of stuff off his not-so-good later albums and, other than Elvis is Everywhere, didn’t play much from my college years. Also, he and his backup musicians were drinking Jägermeister shots between every song.

By the break, he was three sheets to the wind. When they did take a break, he leapt off the stage and headed toward what I assume he thought was the door to the men’s room, or backstage, or something. What he actually did was run straight into me, started to fall down, grabbed at my jacket and clothing to hold himself up, and scrabbled at my chest gibbering something incoherent. Then he got his balance back and headed off in another equally random direction, ping-ponging his way through the audience. (The second half of the show was blessedly short; I’m not 100% sure he knew which end of a guitar to hold by that point.)

I told people later that I would never wash the clothes I had on again; they were wet with Mojo’s sweat and I considered them a holy relic.

Rolling Stone’s obituary:

LA Times:


Rest in peace, Mojo. Or give them hell. Whichever suits your fancy. Say “Hi” to Elvis up there in heaven for us all.

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Glenn Stoops, 1941-2023

By | October 12, 2023

My father, Glenn Stoops, passed away on September 7, 2023. I thought I would share the obituary that ran on the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News website and on sites such as We will be holding a memorial service in Dayton on October 21. All who knew him are welcome to attend.

Glenn Allen Stoops, 82, of Oakwood (Dayton), Ohio, passed away suddenly but peacefully on September 7, 2023, at home.

Glenn was born in Butler, Pennsylvania, the first child of the late Rosmer Glenn Stoops and Ethel Edna (Elder) Stoops (known to their friends and family as R. Glenn and Teddy), on August 21, 1941. Young Glenn A. started school in Kittanning, where he dazzled his teachers, skipping two grades; he graduated from North Allegheny Senior High School (Pittsburgh) and entered MIT at the age of sixteen. He received a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT, then entered a PhD program in Mathematics at Rice University in Houston. There he met Anne Wilkins Odum, his future wife. They married in 1965 and were married for 52 years until Anne’s death in 2017.

After Glenn received his PhD, the couple moved to Carmel, California, where children Glenn B. and Carole were born. A few years later, Glenn’s career took the family to Dayton, where Glenn and Anne lived for the rest of their lives. They purchased a house in Oakwood, right next to the Oakwood YMCA pool (now the Oakwood Community Center). The pool was a recreational center for the entire family, and Glenn was a daily presence there for the rest of his life.

Glenn was very involved in Christ United Methodist Church (Kettering), where he was a lifelong choir and bell choir member. He was an avid cyclist, riding on every fair day, and rode in the Huffman Hundred, a cycle tour held every May in southern Ohio, many times. Glenn had a major bicycle accident in 1979, requiring surgery, and afterward he was inspired to become a blood donor. He donated at every opportunity for the rest of his life, and gave over 400 units.

In retirement, Glenn and Anne began taking courses at Wright State University in whatever caught their fancy. Glenn continued taking math courses up to the end, and he tutored members of the basketball team. He always enjoyed sharing his love of mathematics.

After Anne’s death, Glenn had a new period of adventure. He took several international trips with Glenn B., to South America, Europe, and Australia. He continued his bicycling, joining Glenn B. for the 4-Borough Century (100-mile ride) in New York City in 2019. He also spent many hours cycling with Theo Hale, a young man who had met him at the pool as a boy, who found Glenn to be a role model in cycling and in blood donation, and who became his “honorary grandson.” Theo led Glenn on a bicycle ride in the Colorado Rockies in 2022.

Glenn was predeceased by his wife Anne in 2017. He is survived by son Glenn Bardwell Stoops of Queens, New York, and daughter Carole Elaine (Stoops) Furr and her husband Jay of Richmond, Vermont. He is survived by his sister Ann Stoops Thomas and husband Ron of Tempe, Arizona; his brother Harry and wife Debbie of Corinth, New York; and was predeceased by his brother Paul, whose widow, Cheryl, survives him, in Hailey, Idaho. He is survived by brother-in-law Charles Odum and wife Gloria of Lewisville, Texas; sister-in-law Margaret Odum Frindell and husband Wayne of San Antonio, Texas; and sister-in-law Jeanne Odum Cain of Coppell, Texas. Survivors also include honorary grandson Theo Hale; many cousins, nieces, nephews, and their children; and many good friends at Christ Church, at the pool, in the neighborhood, at the blood bank, and everywhere else he went.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at Christ United Methodist Church, Kettering, Ohio, on October 21, 2023, at 2 PM, followed by a reception in the same place. Glenn would be honored by your donations to the Community Blood Center of Dayton (now Solvita), to Dayton Public Radio, or to your favorite public radio station.

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