Promising research for celiacs

This exciting piece of news crossed my radar this morning: A paper from researchers at Stanford University outlines a possible path for treatment, and maybe even a cure, for celiac disease:

Rational Design of Combination Enzyme Therapy for Celiac Sprue

Here, we demonstrate that a two-enzyme cocktail comprised of a glutamine-specific cysteine protease (EP-B2) that functions under gastric conditions and a PEP, which acts in concert with pancreatic proteases under duodenal conditions, is a particularly potent candidate for celiac sprue therapy. At a gluten:EP-B2:PEP weight ratio of 75:3:1, grocery store gluten is fully detoxified within 10 min of simulated duodenal conditions, as judged by chromatographic analysis, biopsy-derived T cell proliferation assays, and a commercial antigluten antibody test.

This is preliminary research, but it holds much promise as described. All I want to do is not have to worry about ingesting a miniscule amount of gluten every time I eat; to turn the strict avoidance of gluten-containing foods into maybe a mere rule of thumb. To maybe enjoy a nice pint of hoppy pale ale again, on special occasions.

And then maybe we can work on that peanut/tree nut allergy thing some more. It seems that every one of us in this family, with the exception of Dylan, has some major allergies to live with. I suppose technically gluten intolerance isn’t considered an allergy, but there’s a fine line there. But the peanut/tree nut allergy is extremely frightening.

A cure for food allergies likely isn’t that far off. Current government funding levels are woefully inadequate, but it is generally felt that with proper financing these things could have viable treatment options within five to ten years.


I finally bought a TextMate license today. This is a pretty slick code editor.

I’ve used Dreamweaver for 80% of the code editing I do, supplemented with 15% of my work in BBEdit and the occasional 5% writing C++ in Xcode or deciphering complex rats nests in CSSedit. As I’ve learned more and more about TextMate, I find myself going to it more often.

The main reason I see myself gravitating towards it is because it does handle all the languages I work in: XHTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and so on, and it handles them well and in an integrated way similar to Dreamweaver.

Some of the features are really addictive too. Simple little things, like creating a tag set by typing, say “li” and then Ctrl+<, which creates a list item tag in XHTML, or typing anything with that keystroke for any XML tag for that matter.

Vertical selections are cool eye candy, but if I’m doing that then I’m always questioning why I’m putting so many redundant lines of code together like that, and then I start looking for a more concise way to implement the same thing…

I don’t see the other editors disappearing from my workflow, but TextMate definitely has it’s place and I see it competing with Dreamweaver for the primary default code editor spot.

Play for the Dogs

Bay Area Musicians: September is light anyway, so how about considering doing this benefit to raise funds for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation:

This September, to mark the five-year anniversary of the World Trade Center disaster, the Pacific Collegium will present Duruflé’s Requiem and two major works of Gerald Finzi in a benefit concert on behalf of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation ( NDSDF, a primary organization for the training and support of search and rescue dog teams, was prominent in the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center five years ago and in many before and since, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Their expert search teams are provided at no cost to fire departments and other emergency service agencies throughout the country. As a tax-exempt charity with no government funding, NDSDF relies on support from private individuals, foundations and corporations to provide this crucial service.

Our goal is to enable 100% of ticket proceeds for this event to directly benefit NDSDF by arranging for fixed expenses to be waived, other expenses such as music rental to be underwritten, and by soliciting an ensemble of top-notch musicians as volunteers for this memorial fundraising concert.

Would you consider a donation of your time and talent as an instrumentalist to help make this event possible? Your time and your skills are extremely valuable (or we wouldn’t ask you to be involved in this project!). We hope you will consider joining us on this significant memorial occasion both for the sake of an important charitable cause, and in order to bring these beautiful works to performance in two very flattering acoustic spaces, but most importantly as a fitting tribute on the five-year anniversary of 9-11.

In fact, we could not be more thrilled about the program of music, featuring Duruflé’s Requiem in full orchestration alongside Lo, the full, final sacrifice and Dies Natalis, two engaging and eloquent works of Finzi a three-part meditation on tragedy and innocence, desolation, redemption and the simple wonder of being. A full orchestra and vocal forces of the Pacific Collegium will also be joined by trebles of the Pacific Boychoir Academy. I believe you will find it a suitable reflection on the events of 9-11-01 as well as a worthwhile observance of its five-year anniversary, in which you will be glad to be involved.

Rehearsal are planned for the evenings of Sept. 7 and 8, with performances on Saturday evening, Sept. 9 and Sunday afternoon, Sept. 10. As an additional thank-you for your participation, we will also offer each participant a complimentary subscription to our 2006-07 season, featuring Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers.

Furthermore, if you know of other talented instrumentalists that might also be interested in participating in this event, I would be happy to know of them, or to have them contact me directly. Please feel free to forward this announcement as you deem appropriate, or drop me a note with any suggestions!

Photo of cute rescue puppy with captionsIn case you are still undecided about whether to sign on, I have shamelessly attached a photo of a NDSDF puppy. (Take a peek!) : )

Thanks for considering being a part of this charitable event. I look forward to hearing from you!

Warmest regards,
Christopher Kula
Artistic Director, Pacific Collegium


The Pacific Collegium Presents

A memorial benefit performance

In support of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

Christopher Kula, conductor
Tonia d’Amelio, soprano
Pacific Collegium
Pacific Boychoir


Finzi, Lo, the full, final sacrifice
Festival anthem for chorus and orchestra

Finzi, Dies natalis
For soprano solo and strings

Duruflé, Requiem
For soloists, chorus and orchestra

September 9, 7:30 p.m., St. Paul’s Episcopal, Oakland
September 10, 5 p.m., Trinity Episcopal, San Francisco

Duruflé’s orchestration of the Requiem is a marvel of the liturgical repertoire, as well as being a (the?) seminal work of the 20th century Gregorian chant revival. Lo, the full, final sacrifice is viewed by many as Finzi’s masterwork, though it is little widely known and virtually unheard in its lush orchestral version. A series of musical vignettes around the hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas: Adoro Te devote and Lauda Sion Salvatorem, set in English by the 17th century poet, Richard Crashaw, it is particularly celebrated for its final Amen in eight-part divisi. Dies natalis, also by Finzi, sets texts of another 17th century English poet, Thomas Traherne. Accompanied by string ensemble, this work explores in solo voice the innocent ecstasy of a newborn child discovering the world and its wonders anew.

I’m playing bass. The program sounds challenging, so if you’re feeling up to it then get in touch.



Gluten-free flank steak tacos marinated in chili sauce with warm grilled corn tortillas, fresh handmade tomato/onion/garlic/cilantro/chipotle salsa, and guacamole. Mmmmm…


  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle powder
  • 1 chopped clove of garlic
  • dash of lemon juice

Mix up these ingredients in a bowl and set aside.


  • 1/2 lb. flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • dash lemon juice

Dice up the flank steak into small cubes, marinate in rest of ingredients for at least a half hour, and stir fry everything on high until the marinade condenses into a nice glaze. Dash lemon juice into the hot pan towards the end and serve.

Don’t forget the tortillas. I use store-bought gluten-free organic extra-large corn tortillas from La Tortilla Factory. I spread a thin layer of butter on one side, dash a little salt on the buttered side, and drop it in a hot frying pan for about 60 seconds. This gets them nice and soft and hot, and frying them butter and salt brings out the corn flavor.

Place a generous amount of meat and salsa on your tortilla. Top it off with a dollop of fresh guacamole. Fold it and stuff your face. Bring napkins.

Alternate style: Add some cheese and melt it. I like to use a dry aged cheddar, or you can use Monterey Jack, asiago, or cotija cheese, fold everything, and heat it in a lightly buttered pan until the cheese melts. Top with the guacamole after frying that puppy.

Rite of Spring

This video is a fine reenactment of one of the greatest moments in music history. When the Rite of Spring premiered in Paris in 1913, the audience argued, fought, and eventually broke out into a riot. I cannot think of a more wonderful thing to happen at a premiere – it would be the clearest indicator possible that you have created your masterpiece, that you have changed the world forever:

The BBC seems to have done a wonderful job of recreating the original choreography. I saw Joffrey do the original Nijinsky choreography back in 1990, and this was pretty close to what I remembered seeing back then.