HITHER AND YON: Mike The Tiger’s Got The Cancer

Lousy news. We blame F. King Alexander.

LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike VI, has been diagnosed with a spindle cell sarcoma, a type of cancer. Currently, Mike’s attitude and demeanor are unchanged, and he does not appear to be in pain.

Mike’s veterinarian, David Baker, DVM, PhD, and his veterinary student caretakers previously noticed swelling on the right side of Mike’s face. On Thursday, May 12, Mike was sedated in his night house and then brought to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for a physical examination and diagnostic tests.

Once at the LSU SVM, Mike was put under general anesthesia and given a CT (computed tomography) scan to determine the cause of the swelling. All diagnostic findings were reviewed by multiple specialists, both at LSU and at other institutions, and it was determined that Mike has a tumor in his face near his nose. Biopsy analysis led to a diagnosis of spindle cell sarcoma, which is a malignant tumor derived from fibrous connective tissues of the bone. This is an extremely rare form of cancer, but this type of cancer is unlikely to spread to other areas of the body.

The team on Mike’s case at the LSU SVM was composed of Dr. Baker, Mike’s veterinary student caretakers, and veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the anesthesia, dermatology, laboratory animal medicine, ophthalmology, oncology, surgery, diagnostic imaging and anatomic and clinical pathology services, as well as local veterinarian Alfred Stevens, DVM (LSU SVM 1979) and veterinarian for BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo Gordon Pirie, DVM.

Dr. Baker consulted with specialists at LSU and around the country to put together Mike’s treatment plan, which consists of a new and highly sophisticated form of radiation therapy called “Stereotactic radiotherapy” or SRT. SRT delivers radiation to the tumor in a highly focused manner, sparing surrounding, normal tissues so complications are reduced. Treatment may be given as a single, high dose or as fractionated doses given daily for up to three days. This treatment is not curative but should extend Mike’s life and allow him to live comfortably for some time. SRT will be performed by experts at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center here in Baton Rouge, in conjunction with Mike’s veterinary team.

Eventually, the radiation-resistant cells remaining in the tumor will resume growth. As for timeframes, it is estimated that without treatment Mike VI could live 1-2 months; with treatment, perhaps 1-2 years.

The Cancer Center was selected to provide radiation therapy due to its longstanding relationship with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. For years, the Cancer Center’s medical physicists have provided consultation and approval for animals receiving radiation treatment at LSU. Additionally, the Cancer Center offers the advanced technology and facilities necessary for Mike’s SRT treatments, which will occur outside of normal business hours.

Mary Bird Perkins and LSU have collaborated for years through its nationally recognized academic and research partnership. This collaboration offers a level of scientific ingenuity to radiation therapy that enhances patient care and has impacted cancer treatment around the globe. The Mary Bird Perkins – LSU Medical Physics Graduate Program, the only one in Louisiana, is nationally competitive as one of only 40 such programs in North America accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Medical Physics Educational Programs.

To get updates on Mike’s condition, please go to www.lsu.edu/miketiger or visit his social media pages (facebook.com/MikeTigerVI and @MikeTigerVI).



The Advocate has a piece on a guy named Scott Santens, a Seattle ex-web developer who has settled in New Orleans and has figured out how to “make a living” by doing freelance writing and activism on the idea of a universal basic income. The comments we’ve seen on this generally regard the guy as a bum, which (a) pretty much miss the mark and (b) are largely a function of the piece not being written all that well.

Scott Santens has committed his life to a single idea: that the government should write every adult citizen a check for $1,000 every month, no strings attached.

There is actually nothing so unusual about that. A lot of people support the idea of a so-called basic income in various forms. There are foundations dedicated to bringing it about.

What puts Santens in a category of his own is that he has managed to draw on his advocacy for the basic income in order to get himself — a basic income.

Or at least something like it. The government isn’t cutting Santens any checks yet. He uses a crowd-funding website called Patreon to generate money from supporters, presumably those who have read his articles about the basic income and taken an interest.

In December, Santens, a tall, lanky 38-year-old transplant from Seattle who works mainly from a white sofa in his living room in Gentilly, fired off a press release: “Writer and basic income advocate Scott Santens has become the first person to successfully crowdfund a perpetual monthly ‘basic income.’ ”

Basically what Santens has done is set up an account on Patreon, which is a site something like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, and more or less asks folks to kick in small amounts of money to fund activism for the idea of what he calls a Basic Income Guarantee.

He’s doing something relatively noble, which is easy for him to do seeing as though his wife has a job – namely, that he’s advocating for everybody to get $1,000 a month as a universal basic income and that’s what he’s living off of through the support of folks who have pledged a few bucks here and there to his Patreon account. He’s not profiting off his advocacy beyond what he’d have everybody in the country receive.

The UBI is an interesting concept and Santens’ formulation of it is a fairly attractive one.

Before you freak out about the idea of paying everybody in the country a grand a month, understand what we’re talking about here – this would wipe out food stamps, disability, welfare and all the rest of the free-money government programs and just give everybody one check a month. And it’s not need-based; everybody gets it, so there is none of this business of paying people not to work. You go to work, you make what you make at your job PLUS the grand a month you get from the UBI.

And living on a grand a month isn’t easy, by any means. Which is a good thing – we like that Ben Franklin quote that happens to be today’s Quote Of The Day:

“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

We’re not saying we’re for this idea, but we don’t hate it. It might be too expensive for the country to pull off, but on the other hand it’d cost about $3 trillion a year and we currently spend pretty close to that on entitlements. Adjust the tax code a bit in order to incentivize people to go out and make more money (meaning make it flat and at a higher rate than most people effectively pay, like 20 percent for example – you’re getting $12,000 in free money from the government so you’d become a net taxpayer at $60,000 a year at 20 percent, or $48,000 at 25 percent), and you might be able to make this actually a pro-growth policy.

And the dreamers and tinkerers who sometimes come up with The Next Great Idea are often stymied by the fact that their time gets used up doing dumb jobs to pay the rent. Albert Einstein was a patent clerk in Switzerland, for example. Maybe the 20-30 hours a week a prospective entrepreneur would spend delivering pizzas or working in a store someplace could be better spent tinkering with an invention or a business model and more people could get a business launched – and that business could take advantage of labor being available at a cheaper cost. You could see this as a potential boon to small business if it’s done correctly.

And Santens’ idea, which is one we’ve seen expressed a lot, is you’re going to need a UBI what with automation taking away everybody’s job. It’s not just the fast food places going fully automatic in response to the stupid $15 minimum wage idea; you now have self-driving cars and trucks, meaning the truck drivers who make pretty good money could well be out of a job. And so on.

As to the idea this guy is a bum, that’s off the mark. The one criticism we would make is since the UBI doesn’t disincentivize anybody from going out and making more money than the welfare state pays them, he really ought to do a lot more with his blog. Given that his cause is gaining a little steam at present, he ought to be updating that thing every day, plugging the heck out of it on social media and hooking it up to Google AdSense and some other ad networks – in other words, monetizing it. And in doing so, he could be making the point that yes, he’s set himself up with the guaranteed basic income, but that just like the Americans he wants to all receive it he’s able to go further and do well for himself beyond that.

Then nobody would be able to look at Santens like he’s a bum – they’d be more likely to see him for what he is; namely, a 21st-century social entrepreneur.


The news at the Ole War Skule isn’t all bad despite Mike IV’s diagnosis. LSU’s softball team won its regional with a 2-0 victory over Arizona State Sunday. They’re off to play James Madison in a Super Regional this week.

Meanwhile, the baseball team had a pretty incredible weekend, taking two of three from #1 Florida. But for one bad inning in the third game, they might have pulled off a sweep.

LSU will be up against Tennessee in an elimination game tomorrow in the SEC Tournament. Who’ll pitch in that game will be an interesting question – Alex Lange is definitely available, but head coach Paul Mainieri might decide to save Lange for Wednesday – if LSU beats Auburn they’ll have a rematch with Florida. He has John Valek, who’s been the Sunday starter most of the year, available; Valek didn’t pitch over the weekend.

And in football, LSU took three commitments and two of them are monsters. Nobody seems to know much of anything about Tory Carter, a 6-2, 255-pound fullback/linebacker from Lee County High School in Leesburg, Georgia, but offensive lineman Austin Deculus from Cy-Fair High School in Houston is one of the top players in the country and Hinds, Mississippi JC wide receiver Stephen Guidry, who’s originally from Livonia, is the best junior-college wide receiver in the country.

We’ve got highlight films to show you for the two big-time commitments. Here’s Deculus…

And here’s Guidry – from back in high school…

Interested in more news from Louisiana? We've got you covered! See More Louisiana News
Previous Article
Next Article
Join the Conversation - Download the Speakeasy App.

Trending on The Hayride

No trending posts were found.