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These 5 Ancient Monsters Couldn’t Survive Climate Change, So How Can We?

these, 5, ancient, monsters, couldnt, survive, climate, change,, so, how, can, we,

One day we become a feast for worms then a snack for moles. Souls may soar to promised lands but flesh finds destiny in the dirt. Throughout Earth’s history geologists record 5 mass extinctions, destroying half or more of all existing species. Oh sure, everybody prattles on about the Cretaceous–Paleogene obliteration 65 million years ago. Most witlings know a humongous asteroid blasted the Yucatan Peninsula, laying waste to 75% of all living species and massacring the mighty thunder lizard. Still, clavens score props at pubs clarifying that the Permian mass extinction did far greater damage.

The Great Dying loomed around 284 million years ago when geologic catastrophes spanning 2 million years tormented terra firma and shriveled seas across super-continent Pangea. 96% of all animal classifications went extinct. On the positive side, life on Earth has evolved from that surviving 4% of species. Humans balking at genetic cousins hanging with primordial apes can shake Homo sapiens’ family tree to dislodge shared ancestors rooting from pelycosaurs. This swamp-dwelling class of reptilian quadrupeds survived Permian extinction to birth therapsid descendants that eventually emerged as early mammals.

Primates rule! And we have the bipedal locomotion, opposable thumbs and brainpan to prove it. We own this planet at least until overpopulation, rampant agriculture, poisonous pollution, Soylent Green shortages, and global warming blaze towards our impending expiration date. For now, let’s ditch the apocalyptic buzzkill with a smug look backward at some other mind-blowing beasts that failed to adapt to climate change.

1. Gigantopithecus:

Weighing in at a whopping 1,000 pounds, the Gigantopithecus flourished for 6 million years to settle among tropical forests of Southeast Asia as the biggest primate that ever lived. This gigantic simian towered up to 10 feet in height, had the mass of 3 to 4 modern gorillas, and bulked up through a steady diet of bamboo and some seasonal fruits. The big ape ruled the trees till 100,000 years ago, when climate changes wiped out their food supplies, although some scientists make a case for overhunting by early humans.

2. Arthropleura armata:

Arthropleura armata, or giant centipedes, grew up to 10 feet in length and hold title as Earth’s largest land invertebrate. 30 pairs of legs propelled 30 armored plates very quickly around trees and over logs. A biosphere rich in oxygen with few predators allowed this bug to bulge. Fossil records show they died out about 300 million years ago when the Permian period dropped oxygen levels and wilted tropical habitats into deserts.

3. Entelodont:

Entelodonts or “Terminator Pigs” terrorized forests and plains throughout North America, Europe, and Asia as ferocious omnivores. Their reign as major predators across American badlands lasted more than 20 million years. Entelodonts devoured fresh kills, carrion, plants, and tubers. These mini-bulldozers weighed 900 pounds, had shoulders like a bison, and used powerful jaws to sever prey. When global cooling transformed tropical forests to open grasslands, these Hell Pigs failed to adapt longer legs to catch faster savannah herbivores, and eventually starved to death 5 million years ago.

4. Brontosaurus:

The Brontosaurus vanished from textbooks over the last three decades because this beastie never actually existed. In 1879, fame-hungry Yale paleontologist, O.C. Marsh, carelessly misidentified fossil evidence of a juvenile Apatosaurus skull as a new species. He coined the creature “Brontosaurus,” then matched this head bone to the skeleton of an adult Apatosaurus. Books, movies, and cartoons featured bonehead Brontos munching Jurassic vegetation until the 1970s, when scientists conclusively identified the young Apatosaurus skull atop the ossified frame of its adult counterpart. The Brontosaurus spawned from Marsh’s ambition to win the “bone wars,” but finally died of exposure to cold scientific scrutiny.

5. Neanderthals:

Neanderthals spread through Europe around 300,000 B.C., survived several ice ages, and disappeared about 10,000 years ago. An Oxford University study recently proposed that Neanderthal extinction resulted from larger eyes essential to spotting prey over long distances at higher latitudes. With vision as a priority, cerebral structures adapted for sight and motor skills to the neglect of complex thinking that would have allowed invention of warmer clothes, better tools, and stronger social groups.

Another study cites anthropological evidence that modern humans butchered Neanderthals for dinner, and probably wore their teeth as necklaces. Neanderthal knuckleheads had plenty of brawn, but lacked the cognitive power to take on organized cannibals or adjust to warmer climes that demanded innovative hunting techniques.

Enjoy our limited engagement. Savor a steak. Grab a beer. Check out some nature. Humans are blazing trails in a mad rush for Earth’s 6th mass extinction, exhausting forests and fisheries while poisoning air, soil, and water. Greenhouse gasses strip ozone, launch dangerous weather patterns, and drive global climate change into impending planetary desertification. Our species doesn’t breed the collective will to reverse worldwide destruction, let alone overpopulation.

Of course I’d prefer a Star Trek destiny where U.S.S. Enterprise champions galactic detente with strange species. I’d chillax with Kirk and crew, exploring Class M planets rich in sweet air, lush fauna and room to roam. Oh well, we don’t call it science fiction for nothin’. Tragically, our next century will fester on a far more perilous and ugly orb. When it comes to perpetuating our own kind, Earthlings haven’t got a snowball’s chance in Yucatan.

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Video Games Are Good For Grandpa

video, games, are, good, for, grandpa,

Who doesn’t harbor negative stereotypes for vidiots who prefer gaming to human contact? Bloodless slobs shun sunlight, competition against alpha males, and sniffy dismissal from dominant females. On Friday nights, eggheads jack in to PCs and consoles to gun down Nazis, vaporize Hellspawn, or snuggle up to Laura Croft. Pathetically, nerdy journeys to strange new worlds often climax with an empty bag of Doritos or autoerotic shame, fighting droopy eyelids, hypnotized by turbocharged overtones from Robot Unicorn Attack.

We pity the fools who fit this broken mold, but we’re running out of places where this stereotype actually sticks. Nowadays video games attract a wide demographic who burn at least an hour every week at fun and games across multiple platforms, including PCs, Wiis, Kinects, tablets, pads, PSPs, and smartphones. The Entertainment Software Association‘s 2012 report indicates that gamers aged 36 years and older make up 37% of all digital adventurers. Gamers between 18 and 35 comprise another 31%, while video junkies under 18 make up the remaining 32% of all video players.

“In fact, women aged 30 and older now represent a significantly larger portion of the total population of U.S. gamers than boys 17 and younger.” Of course violent video games earn bad marks for scarring young minds. However, their kinder cousins, exergames, continually win positive press as physical and mental motivators that benefit the elderly. Video games now occupy our culture as welcome distractions that boost the cognitive and kinetic health of seniors.

Moms and dads of the late 70’s probably preferred to watch “Happy Days” or to read their copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) before grabbing hold of anything with a joystick. Anyone recalling Atari Pong long before beer pong deserves forgiveness for not taking to Super Mario Bros. like ants on candy.

These same analog folk now inhabit retirement communities, and avoid pushing daisies by pushing limits on motion games through Nintendo’s Wii or Xbox’s Kinect Sports. Simulated skiing, soccer, golf, and especially digital bowling teams, have taken over nursing homes.

Exergames have become the fastest-growing and most popular activity at senior centers, goosing grannies and grandpas to form leagues, throw rocks and blast pins in organized tournaments. Even without the beef to roll a 15 pounder, interactive bowling teams build social well-being, while maintaining brain and brawn by slowing loss of memory and muscle function.

Clunky consoles of yesteryear glorified daunting controllers, whose empty promise of instant gratification came to pass only after countless hours mashing toggles, buttons and pads. Sony’s DualShock controller demanded fast reflexes over twin analog thumbsticks and a dozen buttons before a gamer might rip the 2-D spinal cord from a vanquished street fighter.

In contrast, controllers for modern motion games create intuitive interface through infrared sensors that track arms and legs, freeing players to react instinctively with 3-dimensional landscapes. Obviously, interactive games win kudos for jump-starting hustle. Meanwhile studies also link video games sparking physical activity with numerous psychological benefits. Old folks drag baggage and rust into golden years and frequently battle regrets that may spiral into clinical depression and inactivity.

Elderly participants in a Wii study who gamed with an undergrad for one hour per week, reported decreased loneliness, and improved moods, while feeling more connected to others. Seniors who outgrow stamina for sports like tennis, golf, or bowling may return vicariously to favorite activities through exergames, reliving the very real positive vibes associated with rousing recreation of younger days.

Another study conducted through UC San Diego School of Medicine subjected seniors to 3 sessions of Wii-hab every week through exergames that lasted 35 minutes. Conclusions cited better physical health, and increased cognitive stimulation marked by reductions in depressive symptoms exceeding 50% or better.

When we rest we rust. Grandpas and grandmas, who opt for autopilot on a La-Z-Boy, quickly coast downhill to rest in peace. Depression, loneliness, and dementia, line up for a laundry list of medical ailments, which readily crumble elderly whose get-up-and-go got up and split during do-nothing golden years. Folks who face retirement on their feet stand a fighting chance of slowing ailments that afflict mind and body as life’s winter approaches. Science can’t cure old age, but it can prove that physical fun and games contribute to happier, healthier retirement.

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Conclave 2013 Should Take a Page From ‘Survivor’ to Choose the Next Pope

Survivor Vanuatu

Conclave 2013 Should Take a Page From Survivor to Choose the Next Pope

Conclave 2013 will consist of 117 Cardinals, mostly septuagenarians, who will elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor through secret ballot and a two-thirds majority. Only five voters within this ecclesiastical Electoral College look forward to a 60th birthday.

Regrettably, the new but old leader of the Catholic Church may soon again wither under the crush and pace bedeviling a papal jet-setter.

Every cassock casting lots within the conclave has accepted ordination from Benedict XVI, or his predecessor, John Paul II. The next Bishop of Rome will certainly cling to the conventional Catholic wisdom which paved his steps to clerical acclaim. Sheep and laity beseeching reform for reproductive rights, the LGBT community, or female priesthood haven’t got a prayer.

Still, a fresh legate with stale ideas may corral the wandering among a flock of 1.2 billion by achieving office through contemporary rituals that lionize charisma and vitality. Broadcast brush fires already obsess over every microscopic manifestation of the papal picking process. Sparkling spin on dull pomp would champion a dynamic and beloved Catholic chief. Conclave 2013 should institute Survivor-style methods that successfully select and promote a popular, enduring pope.

Survivor Pope Island: Let God sort ‘em out

Modern papacy demands stamina, world-class personality and diplomatic finesse. The competition to enthrone hallowed virtues begins at a small monastery on Vatican grounds. Pope Island tests each cardinal’s wisdom to form and sever alliances (holy covenants) while closing in on the finale. Reward challenges uncover each winner’s capacity to mete out charity, while calculating compassion as a means for securing faith and future favors.

Nobody starves on this diet.

Nobody starves on this diet.

Elimination challenges quickly cast out cardinals who don’t pack the pontifex maximus to exact dominion over obstacle courses, puzzles or scripture chases. Unlike reality TV, popefuls in their 50’s outlive early elimination votes, earning constant reward and immunity as low-mileage rivals who command winning streaks and regular heartbeats.

Competitions mercifully include a Communion wafer-eating match up to measure mortal capacity for consecration, while also leavening starvation.

Meanwhile a baby-blessing challenge separates Vaticans from Vaticants when anxious clerics captain Fiats through prayer and peril, navigating bumpy byways of Rome to perform multiple christenings.

As momentum races to crowning glory, agnostic and zealot crowd water coolers, taking bets on the dwindling court of anointed fave raves with a shot at winning the translation showdown. Potential potentates must choose a song from Billboard’s top 10 Christian hits.

Original costume designs for papal sing-off were rejected as too bland.

Original costume designs for papal sing-off were rejected as too bland.

Performers then croak milk-and-honey melody with Latin lyrics before adoring audiences, drawing authority and buzz from dead language and star-power stagecraft. Although originally considered, songs by Pink, Lady Gaga, and Madonna fail scrutiny under strict moral standards.

During global simulcasts, digital devotees cast Catholic ballots on Twitter, inspiring contenders through social media bliss for cardinal powers that magnetize masses.

Pick-a-pope phone apps offer personalized participation with front-runners by uniting worshipers in the cloud to fret over medical updates, polls, standings and life expectancy.

Despite global groundswell at the big reveal for a vital and charismatic pope, followers understand that the Holy Ghost ultimately chooses the champ, and may not side with the popular vote. Anyone still waiting to see Mark McGwire or Pete Rose elected to the MLB Hall of Fame knows exactly how that feels.

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How Caffeine Can Kill Productivity

How Caffeine Can Kill Productivity

How Caffeine Can Kill Productivity

Caffeine vexes our modern rat race. Workaday slobs and power brokers can’t face their day without it. Triple-shot espressos replace two-martini lunches as we press the lever incessantly for more caffeine. Fellow rodents scramble for position atop the heap in a shrinking cage, instinctively craving solutions that amp our ability to compete. A Washington state man is reportedly fond of the 40-shot espresso, the most expensive drink Starbucks offers, as it gets him through the day. This is what we’ve come to.

While caffeine rules as the world’s favorite stimulant, its edgy zing drains life force and kills productivity. For moderate to heavy users, withdrawal symptoms begin about 12 hours after going cold turkey, when strung-out sufferers curse their thirst for bitter crystalline alkaloid. Headaches, decreased energy, with loss of alertness and well-being, turn the screws on energy addicts who ail for a healthy diet.

Coffee achievers get positive reinforcement from 150 mg of chemical reward in an 8-oz cup to jumpstart initiative, while energy-drinkers are conditioned to guzzle 160 mg inside 16 ounces of canned Monster to recharge low-voltage output. Despite its rep as a cure-all for brain barnacles and moored butts, caffeine stands in the same lineup next to cocaine and amphetamines with rap sheets as analeptics, or drugs that stimulate the central nervous system.

The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders estimates that 9%–30% of caffeine consumers in America demonstrate substance dependency. The Encyclopedia explains two disorders that characterize chronic jitter junkies.

English: Main symptoms of Caffeine overdose (S...Caffeine intoxication describes a list of 12 unpleasant indicators afflicting heavy drinkers whoexperience a loss of social and occupational functioning. Score a 5 or better with ailments like insomnia, diarrhea, muscle twitching, and tachycardia to earn your medical diagnosis.

Caffeine-induced anxiety and sleep disorder distinguishes a class of symptoms which, in addition to caffeine intoxication, have grown so severe they demand separate clinical treatment. Anxiety may refer to a host of ills such as panic attacks, while sleep disorders could mark, among others, hypersomnia (inability to stay awake).

Granted, a taste of psychoactive stimulant (coffee bean, tea leaf, kola nut, cocoa bean) could prod performance. A single can or cup may sharpen focus, memory, and reaction time. But conventional wisdom raises red flags the moment we reach for a second drink.

Caffeine initiates excessive neuron firing in the brain, boosting the pituitary gland to pump out stress hormones, which then trigger the adrenal gland to spike the central nervous system with adrenaline.

Homo sapiens depended on adrenaline to hold at bay bear-size hyenas, or to charge headlong as a feral tribe of stinking cavemen, dipping spears in the red ink of 8-ton mastodons. Yet manly apes never needed caffeine to bring home the bacon, while modern humans sit at desks, harnessing synthetic “fight or flight” to overpower email and rush reports.

Invariably fight or flight’s stress response bottoms out, making us tired, hungry, and hell-bent for irritability, fatigue, headaches, and confusion. Caffeine juicing induces the type of biochemical teeter totter we endure in warzones. Even troglodytes had sense enough to take a nap after hauling home dripping shanks of woolly mammoth. Still we reach for another hit, believing that lattes and 5-hour Energy gas our flame for industry.

Early modern humans depended on adrenaline to bring home the bacon.

Early modern humans didn’t need caffeine to bring home the bacon.

Occasionally Starbucks sends a coupon for a free custom drink. Greedily I accept their challenge to formulate the costliest rocket-powered combustion their barista will deign to dump in a 20-ounce cup. At breakfast I launch my six-shot iced caramel flan macchiato. And despite two hours of grueling cardio, I spend the night orbiting the ceiling. The next morning caffeine’s siren song lures me back to rocky shores with the promise of immediate cure.

Treat caffeine like every other addictive drug. Recognize that tolerance and consumption feed on each other to stave off withdrawals. Swilling 6 drinks a day to avoid burn out, hounds stimulation down weakening psychoactive spirals to crash against acute adrenal fatigue.

If you’re constantly anxious, wiped out, subject to mood swings, sleepless nights or weekend hibernation, then you may be a jitter junkie. We all chug mugs to complete projects and meet deadlines, but we’ve bought a bad jones when every day feels like finals week.

The effect of caffeine on spider web construction

We don’t flee from saber-tooths or fight marauding Neanderthals, but we must plan productive days the caveman way, through balanced nutrition from whole foods. Break your fast with fruit, veggies, and vittles you hunt and gather outside of a package. Welcome morning menus with Chocolate Frosted Rocket Bombs, flushed down by Jolt Cola, like black plague at the castle gates.

Quick energy draws quick penalty, making us hunger and thirst for a corrupt cycle that murders productivity. Don’t join your company cult of toxic energy addicts, who taunt death from a chemical spill of lethal liquids. Try to forgive caffeine freaks with short tempers and shorter attention spans, who radiate pheromone signals of bile breath and whiffy pits only a gorilla could love. When beastly behavior doesn’t seem natural, you can probably blame it on their monkey.

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Kickstart: Mountain Dew Wants to Be a Part of Your Breakfast

Kickstart: Mountain Dew Wants to Be a Part of Your Breakfast

Kickstart: Mountain Dew Wants to Be a Part of Your Breakfast

For decades Mountain Dew has served as nectar of the geeks for its high-octane formula infused with sugar and caffeine, bestowing on spotty adolescents the courage to endure dangerous quests while gaming obsessively with World of Warcraft or Dungeons & Dragons. As a quick fix for failing focus, 16 ounces of Mountain Dew brings 72 milligrams of caffeinated vigilance to the wee hours, allowing students to cram for finals, compose schmaltzy love letters, or plot payback for teenage tormentors.

"Ya-Hoo! Mountain Dew. It'll tickle yore innards."

“Ya-Hoo! Mountain Dew. It’ll tickle yore innards.”

In a bid to break into the anxiety drink market, PepsiCo has produced its own mutant energy booster called Kickstart. Brand appeal targets thirsty consumers between 18 and 24 who ache for the Dew’s diabetic smoothness but with stronger tremors.

Kickstart courts those Millennials who reject coffee and tea as morning motivators. The carbonated beverage features trace elements of vitamins B and C, along with 92 milligrams of caffeine in a 5% juice solution. However, Kickstart will neither call its contents a soda nor confess its role as an energy drink.

Can Kickstart pack enough punch to take on Monsters and Rockstars?

PepsiCo offers its concoction as a hybrid alternative to Monster, Rockstar, Earl Grey, and coffee. However, Kickstart won’t attract young consumers who seek their buzz from organic squeezins, or parents who dread sleepless offspring.

Connoisseurs of classic Dew won’t drool for the acrid aftertaste endemic to most anxiety potions. Meanwhile, mavens of canned nectar will still crave the Dew’s sickly citrus tang and bubbly bursts that spark their rocket-powered sugar rush. Nutritional value never guides our choice of carbonated poison.

Besides, jitter junkies know the best energy drinks taste like battery acid and would send hamsters on a death ride to Nowheresville. We chug anxiety drinks for the spike in heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure, powered by 142 milligrams of caffeine in a 16-ounce can of Amp. We don’t expect flavor inside vacuum-sealed paranoia. We quaff the same size can of Mountain Dew for its syrupy savor and insulin surge fueled by a sissy 72 milligrams of caffeine.

Can Kickstart survive in spite of competitors and a culture that worships coffee?

cowboy_coffee

Cowboys, campfires and coffee ride posse in our caffeinated cultural heritage.

Cowboys drank rotgut popskull, Adam’s ale (water) from hoofprints, and tin cups of brown gargle betwixt cattle drives. Wranglers wouldn’t frump about blistering brew as long as it didn’t taste of belly wash and kicked like a mule. A 16-ounce mug of Arbuckle’s likely boasted a whopping 400 milligrams of caffeine, or more if made properly. Gourmet words like amaretto and mocha never had a chance to infect buckaroo lingo.

Seniors at my YMCA nod appreciation when I tilt the urn to drain bitter dregs and spout “The only thing worse than bad coffee is no coffee.” Long before the low-fat half-caf caramel macchiato soy latte, folks swilled Joe like meth in a mug, focusing on pump-thumping effect over flavor. Varnish remover still stands tall as a cultural rite of passage for teens who yearn to appear all grown up.

Baby Boomers at 55 and older represent America’s fastest growing segment to adopt caffeine addiction. Post-war bambinos of the 50s pine for java strong and bitter, like their partners, or sweet but bracing, like their internists.

Boomers may yet see competition for market share from about 80 million young’uns in their late teens to early thirties, who comprise the largest generation ever to draw breath in the Home of the Brave.

Coffee Achievers keep it natural.

Coffee Achievers keep it natural.

Generation Y grew up with technology. They buy customized morning thunder through cell phones, live on Wi-Fi and social media, and patronize coffee houses with lumpy furniture and green mission statements. They savor exotic teas and bean juice for flavor, aroma, and jolt in a welcome social setting.

Big chains like Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, and Tim Horton’s battle for the loyalty of locals with sophisticated campaigns, coupons, free drinks and music downloads. The Caffeinated-Industrial Complex is winning back energy lovers who’ve grown accustomed to scoring a buzz from an acid bath of synthetic compounds used to strip the rust off garbage scows.

Sorry Kickstart, you’re a limp-wristed brand of snake oil, helpless to impress post-adolescent immortals, who already swill lethal levels of Red Bull just to test resolve at conquering fear.

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3 Reasons Straight Folks Are Afraid Of Those Who Aren’t

Our irrational fears regarding alternate sexual preference come directly from family, friends, religion, work and school. Citizens who don’t question the sanity of normative social influence often display great difficulty at revamping negative labels socialized for the LGBT demographic.

Are you a Bene Gesserit?

Fear is the mind-killer!

Don’t expect science or logic to open a closed mind, or hope for compassion from a hardened heart. Prejudice and ignorance are made, not born.

In Frank Herbert’s bestseller, Dune, a priestess sect called the Bene Gesserit repeat a chant to harness extraordinary mental powers. Given our exploration of universally brainless beliefs during this age of enlightenment, a scifi about epic feuds for political and military domination of the universe makes perfect sense.

Let’s dissect a few of the screwball convictions feeding irrational fear of the gay community. But first, please take a deep breath, and then speak the following chant before we hop the short bus to Crazy Town:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”

1. Homosexuality is contagious

American culture continuously grows acceptance for sexuality as a complex form of human expression without short answers. We don’t care who Furries yiff in the privacy of their own campgrounds. We respect their hairy rights, as long as no mammals suffer in the process.

Furries are the nerds that nerds make fun of.

Furries are the nerds that nerds make fun of.

Meanwhile heterosexuals, who stand fast against sensual variety, resemble global warming refuseniks.

Their “Archie Bunker” ancestors of the 60’s and 70’s used to vilify environmentalism as a plot, hatched by Commie Pinko fags (look it up), hippies, and treehuggers to subvert our prosperous way of life.

Anti-alternative advocates should try this empirical test. The next time you meet a suspected gay or lesbian radical on the streets, make sure you reach out and touch that person’s skin.

Don’t worry; you won’t get AIDS unless you approach sans prophylactic and exchange blood or sexual fluids. Besides, nobody can “turn” you to play for a different team if you’re not already built for that option at the molecular level.

Anyway, in a day or two, if you don’t develop a powerful impulse to watch Project Runway, or build a canoe in your living room, then you should survive this encounter with only a few broken teeth.

2. Alternate gender preferences defy God’s law

New studies, aided by breakthroughs in genetics, advanced CAT scans, and MRI technology, continue to link neuroanatomical structures with specific gender attraction. These findings reveal strong correlations between innate sexual propensity and the physical blueprint of our cerebral hardwiring.

Neuroimaging techniques reveal microscopic structures.

Neuroimaging techniques reveal microscopic structures.

Scientific evidence refutes assertions by conservative religious groups, politicians, and parents desperately embracing sexuality as conscious choice which merits reward, punishment and regulation.

Sorry Mr. Leviticus, our sexual flavors come locked and loaded in our DNA. Or, from a metaphysical perspective, you can’t pray the gay away when God already made you that way.

Hell, even asking for divine intervention to make you bi, or a batter for breeders, questions God’s genetic wisdom, and smacks of blatant heresy.

For behold, true believers may yet lose faith for Intelligent Design, even when gender preference manifests unto them as a locatable region of genomic sequence, corresponding to a unit of inheritance.

I’d like to invite all godless heathens, blind to molecular mysticism, to meet me behind the industrial complex in the abandoned parking lot for your lunchtime stoning. Remember to bring a bag of medium sized rocks!

3. LGBT’ers won’t stop undressing me with their eyes

The Beautiful People cannot recommend you for our club.

The Beautiful People cannot recommend you for our club.

Well, in the case of homely Homo sapiens, we may chalk this up as hubris. On the other hand, the beautiful people (we know who we are) may have a legitimate gripe.

Zillions of times I’ve swiveled eyeballs in lustful languor, hugging the tight curves of female anatomy while pondering writhing geometric possibilities struggling for slippery communion. Whew! Is it hot up in here or what? Scuse me while I go freshen up the downtown.

Fortunately attraction and fantasy require no introduction. I would have endured umpteen curses and beatings if women possessed the X-ray superpower to look upon the filth projecting across my mental drive-in.

Gay, straight, or bi, young men enter adulthood as shameless pigs. Whether by God or biology, toxic testosterone levels compel us like rats on roadkill to drool before our hot babe ideal. In fact, men never complain about being objectified by a tasty scrumpnugget, whose unblinking stare baits inborn sexual preference.

Ironically, straight studmuffins may puff up and proclaim indignation when cruised by crunchy beefcake. But the same dudes head home half-cocked for happy endings in front of porn starring one man and two bisexual minxes. In male sexuality double standards often take the wheel, driving headlong to a singular orifice.

So how do we unlearn centuries of redonkulousaurus fear?

We won’t change the world overnight, but the global spin advocating for sexual alternatives looks unstoppable, especially as more countries ratify marriage for same sex couples. The Y’s and X’s lead the charge to link preference with chromosomes, as opposed to good and evil.

Support for gay marriage occurs along generational lines.

Support for gay marriage occurs along generational lines.

Millennials are now twice as likely to support gay marriage compared with the Silent Generation (1928 – 45). Gen X hipsters welcome the institution at a narrow 51%, while 41% of Baby Boomers (1945 – 64) have seen the light.

Once upon a time our numskulled ancestors believed the world was flat. My informal poll indicates that 99.9% of all “flatlanders” have fallen off the face of the Earth. The rest are under medical supervision or babbling in the back of your local city bus.

When it comes to ending irrational fear and prejudice aimed at gay folks, we can count on time to heal those archaic wounds, one shovelful at a time.

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Valentine’s Day: What’s Different for the Millennial Generation?

Romans (the original romantics) really knew how to handle a holiday.

Romans really knew how to handle a holiday.

Valentine’s Day exalts a couple men named Valentinus who ministered to Christians in defiance of the Roman Empire. Both community organizers met with a sticky end on February 14th during different years of the 3rd century. Their martyrdom inspired the feast of Saint Valentine, which Pope Gelasius declared a holiday in the 5th century, highjacking February 14th from centuries of pagan ritual known as Lupercalia.

Our Hallmark moments swell from Lupercalia, an ancient and gruesome gala where drunk, naked Romans (the original romantics) slew goat and dog, then whipped ecstatic women with dripping hides to grant fertility through sacrificial blood. Today love’s dawn-to-dark devotional finds honor as one of our most celebrated dates on the world calendar, second only to New Year’s Day.

This is what happens to knights when fair maids just want to be friends.

This is what happens to knights when fair maids just want to be friends.

By the 12th century, Valentine’s Day lauded courtly love, a Freudian paralysis of platonic passion whose carnal repression drove knights to lunge at one another atop chargers. Champions consummated the G-rated favor of damsels by spearing opponents with lances in a lethal game of chicken called jousting.

Around the 15th century, gentry becalmed themselves to save the date for flowers, candy, and icky-poo sonnets. But marrying outside class or family goals for natural desire brooked scorn for a dangerous revolutionary idea. Finally, the Industrial Revolution arrived in the 19th century, branding amour forever as a marketing tool for mass-produced greeting cards.

Nowadays the true meaning of February 14th remains up for grabs depending on the itch you hope to scratch. A 21st century valentine may patronize a frigid yokemate, naively declare attraction, or reign supreme as your surefire Patron Saint of Impending Climax.

Welcome to the Manti Teʻo dating culture

Twenty and thirty-somethings still rut like weasels, but digital technology guides their awkward romance. Millennials don’t talk dirty on landlines, can’t imagine mixed tapes, and likely haven’t scrawled pen across parchment in lyrical delirium to ignite a flame. They mark territory and pursue mates by planting profiles within the Ether, a binary wonderland where CPU’s and servers process limp substitutes for human contact.

Manti Te'o's "Dead" Girlfriend

Manti Te’o’s “Dead” Girlfriend

For Generation Y, true love may resemble a sly peep across mobile networks to penetrate the 4-inch display of a slightly significant other. Unsatisfied partners often begin arguments by skipping traditional primate behaviors that forewarn failing intimacy. Flagging eye contact, touching, and PDA’s have rolled over for click-through rates.

Millennials weigh multi-channel analytics to operationalize undulations in texting, sexting, linking, likes, pluses, e-cards, comments, posts, and syrupy status reports to forecast the ROI of their pair bonds. Couples, who stay abreast of digital convenience to the exclusion of cuddling or hot-blooded embrace, risk sterilized sentiment that eagerly spawns on any web-enabled device.  The moment you stroke your screen as a tool to avoid sticky relationships, you may as well be dating Lennay Kekua.

Make Valentine’s Day about good ol’ analog love

Sex is five 5% of a good relationship and 95% percent of a bad one. Anyone who’s faked an orgasm has slept on the prospect of faking true love. Millennials need more than passion to survive the long haul. Successful unions thrive on intimacy and spring from honest friendships that steel unshakable resolve to annoy beloved partners for the rest of our lives.

If you're getting your love online, you're pressing all the wrong buttons!

If you’re getting  love online, you’re pressing all the wrong buttons!

If Honeybunch and  Papa Bear can’t get smoochy on the 14th, then they should exchange holiday gestures that demand hearts and hands. Digital communication is a poor stand in for bed, blandishments and bruises. Don’t press Siri’s buttons instead of the ones on your lover.

Write, paint, draw or create personal statements that lay bare your vulnerability and fearless devotion. Years from now your better half will open a careworn box and pore wistfully over letters, poems and art. Meanwhile, a very different type of significant other will plumb your Facebook profile to scrutinize digital evidence of your forensic affections. No doubt we’ll still call them stalkers.

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Guns Now More Than Ever

If you have to ask, you’re not ready for the answer

Nuns with gunsIn the early 90’s I often rode my bike through a nondescript suburb of San Diego County. The journey included a tiny piece of La Mesa’s landscape that stood out among the green lawns and modest homes; a bumper sticker declaring, “Guns Now More Than Ever.”

I watched this message cycle by at 20 mph, and laughed every time it caught my glance. Marveling at the moxie of such a bizarre statement, I almost felt sorry for this lonely idea. Calling desperately for the embrace of its fuzzy, provocative premise, the little idea thoughtlessly assumed a large audience would feel no need for questions.

Guns don’t point at rational appeal

Perhaps the very attempt to decipher this cryptic calling precludes any deductive grasp of its intuition. If you seek a logical explanation for “Guns Now More Than Ever,” then you’re bound to miss purpose in its passion.

Like your world view

Like your sophisticated political views?

After all, any true believer knows better than to ask why God allows countless massacres. Common sense inquiries touching on atrocity reveal wimpy resolve, dooming tests of faith to failure for dry-humping the foul temptress of Reason.

Besides, blind faith will not prejudice the M16 over the AR-15, or show deference to the AK before the M1A, for all assault rifles stand equal in the eyes of God. Hallowed be thy name and hollowed be thy round.   

Military assault rifles dehumanize good old fashioned murder

WWI changed the face of war through innovations in weapons technology. Tanks, submarines, mustard gas, grenades and automatic rifles joined forces in our very first War to End All War, championing wholesale death at a distance.

Let's celebrate life in the cross hairs.

Let’s celebrate life in the cross hairs.

Machine magic took the fuss out of genocide to carpet whole countrysides in the stench and miasma of rotting flesh. Soldiers slogged through scabby earth that oozed in a nightmare theater where waddling rats claimed victory.

Today, military grade assault rifles continue this inventive celebration of life in the crosshairs through pinpoint accuracy, super light composite frames, semi-automatic chambering, massive ammo clips, specialized rounds, and convenient modification to automatic fire.

While these weapons are a hit in any American warzone, they’ve begun to take a terrible toll on our civilian morale.

Murder deserves a name, a face, and a grudge

We must return to simpler times when homicide promised a very personal experience. We needed a plan, preferably inspired by righteous vendetta born of rape, physical abuse, perceived slight, or haste to enforce Omertà.

We took care in choosing the time, the place, that perfect rock, an unbreakable garrote, a hefty club or balanced sword. We hated our prey, or at least held their heartbeats as obstacles to selfish goals. And our twisted truth makes sense of mournful death when killers make personal calls for payback.

We watched the eyes of our victims grow blank, sometimes in visceral satisfaction, other times with remorse and emptied bowels. And once in a great while, we even dispatched a bastard who bloody well deserved his execution. Naturally, we took care to hide our crimes.

Wasting life should never waste its meaning

Traditional killers care how you die.

Traditional killers bring panache to your departure.

We relish the sweet taste of revenge, whose savor turns from cold to bitter when served inside bars or gas chambers. Even sociopaths, who enjoy killing as a way of life, value their own mortality through commitment to outlast enemies and innocents alike, one body at a time.

Successful slayers treat assassinations like any procedural issue, and work tirelessly to wipe away gore and fingerprints, cut up corpses, and establish an alibi. No self-respecting predator would press muzzle to temple and splatter grey matter just to escape crime scene drudgery, or to avoid imaginative tales of his whereabouts. Only sissies and crazy people drop the hammer on that kind of nonsense.

Military grade assault rifles have transformed group slaughter into a carefree point-and-click process, guaranteeing double-digit send offs, igniting white-hot news trends that bleed and lead throughout our 24 hour cycle. Sure, we nest in a modern democracy, but mass murder has never seemed easier or cheaper outside of Syria.

Gun Control Atheists refuse to believe in the existence of compromise

I see, the lack of guns remains the root cause of gun violence.

Yes, the absence of guns remains the root cause of gun violence.

The Washington Post reckons the overall number of bangers in the U.S. at about 270 million, while other guesstimates climb as high as 350 million and beyond. Statistically speaking, we’ve got a gun for just about everyone.

Of course in the absence of assault rifles, an enterprising psychopath can always equip his rampage through our traditional arsenal of privately owned and perfectly legal lead launchers sanctioned by our Second Amendment:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

We have gobs of grease guns, piles of pistols, and roomfuls of rifles to choose from. And double-digit headcounts won’t come as quickly to killers who have to pull the lever on a Winchester, steady a hand with revolvers, or rack and reload their 12 gauge pump-action problem solver.

Resurrecting the ban on military assault rifles won’t bring back the dead, but it could save lives by making wholesale butchery a pesky, time consuming chore.    

Relax; America will always be #1 with guns

Our history, economy and culture have honored ventilators for centuries, beginning with the arrival of European settlers, muskets and mayhem. British soldiers and pilgrims joined forces with Mohegan and Narragansett allies to terminate pro-Dutch members of the Pequot Nation opposed to Puritan expansion. New England’s first major regional squabble became known as the Pequot War of 1637.

Later, the English issued a range of arms to American provincials, including British Long Land muskets, carbines, civilian rifles, and fowlers to kill the French and their savage allies during the French and Indian War (1754–1763), in constant battle for colonial domination of North America.

Patriots favored Long Land muskets to ambush Loyalists with single and grape-shot volleys during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Indian Nations looked to civilized weapons for homeland security East of the Mississippi during the American Indian Wars (1775–1842), killing Anglo-American invaders who squatted beyond the borders of their newly proclaimed United States.

Brits allied with American Indian Nations, issuing Brown Bess Flintlocks to repel Yankee aggressors during the War of 1812. Most Patriots know nothing about Her Majesty’s disastrous bid to confine American land ownership to cemetery plots, as Anglo insurgents encroached on vast Indian realms rightfully stolen by British Commonwealth. Free from contest with England for lands belonging to Indian Nations East of the Mississippi River, pioneers and the federal government then set their sights on new Indian Wars West of the Mississippi (1811–1924) to clear the way for Manifest Destiny and the Wild West.

America rules the world in guns per capita.

America rules the world in guns per capita.

Mexicans wielded pistolas to kill Gringos in the 1840’s following the annexation of a backwoods bramble called Texas. Mexican patriots depended on the .753 caliber British Brown Bess or Tower-type musket, purchased used and on the cheap from England, to field a worn out standard weapon. I’d like to offer a special shout out to the Mexican–American War for New Mexico, and especially for Alta California. After 165 years I still feel like a winner!

The War Between the States unified our nation’s love for blasters

Civil War exploded in the 1860’s. Johnny Reb, Billy Yank, and all their kin took aim at anybody fool enough to don the blue or grey. Colt, Smith & Wesson, Gatling, and Winchester have since taken up residence in our popular vocabulary and homes.

Guns don't kill if you can't get to them in time.

Guns don’t kill if you can’t get to them in time.

Lethal relics stand proud and polished as museum pieces. Meanwhile, newer descendents fill private collections, nap under pillows, and hide under beds. Their safeties may be on, but their chambers stay loaded for bear. And why not? Bad guys don’t come knocking for polite conversation to borrow a cup of patience.

If you have shaky fingers, and the time to unlock a safe, remove a trigger guard, and slip in a clip, then you have time for a beating, or worse. Guns don’t kill… when you can’t get to them in time. Take this truth on faith or take it on the chin.

These same manufacturers, who supplied sidearms and rifles to the War of Northern Aggression, have thrived selling wares to our unified South. On the brighter side, thanks to this fracas that began with Harper’s Ferry, Daniel Day-Lewis will become the 1st to win a 3rd Oscar for Best Actor through his role in “Lincoln.”

Looking out for #1

Maybe it’s time to loosen our grip on so many cold, dead hands.

Enough retrospective. We all agree that arms inhabit America’s origins, constitution and soul. The United States began its difficult birth of a nation with more rifles and sidearms than cold dead hands to grip them.

And we’ve never looked back. Gats find guts and glory in bygone times, and constant rebirth in our movies, books, liquor stores, drive-bys, target ranges and shootouts. Guns and the damage they do are here to stay. Author, Phillip J. Cook, sums up our love/hate friendship with firearms through a quote from his landmark study on crime and public policy, Gun Violence: The Real Cost:

The United States has the highest rate of gun related injuries (not deaths per capita) among developed countries, though it also has the highest rate of gun ownership and the highest rate of officers.

Endless studies offer various chart-topping stats where the U.S. reigns as the world leader or second banana in gun violence, gun crime, gun accidents, and gun death. Gun-control and gun-rights policy advocates devoutly trade salvos over remedies for these rising numbers.

Hippies, peaceniks, gun-control Commies, and parents of 1st graders will press for new legislation to enforce stricter regulation of guns, their owners, and the Smiths that make them.

Equally, lovers of freedom, Constitutional straight shooters, dead burglars, and gun-rights militia maniacs will praise education and safety as the honest path to protect families, and our god-given, federally recognized right to peashooters.  

When guns are left to Rednecks, only Rednecks will gun down Leftists  

The straight and narrow path must include stopping power.

Verily, the straight and narrow path must needs deliver  2400 fps of stopping power.

Don’t ask. It’s my best shot at covering gun-policy dogma under a bumper sticker. Take the phrase as double plus truth that bumper stickers press buttons, not intellects.

Frankly, as a godless tree-hugging Liberal with ties to childhood in Slidell, Louisiana, Jesus, and a Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 smoke wagon, I hope to have insulted anyone who can read. Of course, the Bubbas crawling through my familial swamp may target such a sticker as a challenge, or at least a compliment.

Rifles, pocket warmers and violence go together like Glocks and Hydra-Shocks. Should we blame guns for this aggressive relationship?

As tools for hunting and protection, boom sticks have no power to inflict harm until somebody snaps their lock, yanks their trigger cocked, and gets ready to rock.

Or, should we simply find fault with humans who turn guns into dupes, forcing hole punchers to become accessories to crime and destruction?

Maybe we should stop making heaters the butt of all blame for gun violence. Once we grasp equalizers as the injured party, we dare not exile these innocent victims, coerced into a brutal pattern of villainy caused by reckless mortals.

Peacemakers mindlessly work to reduce the human side of the gun controversy by culling the number of people who will ever enjoy access to persuaders. Unfortunately cutting down our population through homicide defies direct correlation with reductions in gun violence—probably because guns don’t die while people do.  

America’s codependent romance with street sweepers has reached overkill

Hey, it's just for deer and home protection.

Hey, it’s just for deer, home security and 1st graders.

We actually can lessen our danger in front of choppers if we loosen the grip of those who stand behind them. Seriously, bringing back the national ban on military grade assault rifles ain’t gonna kills us.

Do we really need spray and pray banana clips to drop a deer? Are we crazy for setting speed traps to catch unstable kooks who could be plotting to go out with a bang of body bags?

Sane, god fearing folks have nothing to fret from universal background checks save their own impatience. And you can bet babies to bullets that crusaders for “no control” will take refuge in cliché to rebuke the slippery slope while ignoring our sticky floors. 

CNN Conservative correspondent, Erick Erickson (1/15/2013): You may think a 30-round magazine is too big.  Under the real purpose of the Second Amendment, a 30-round magazine might be too small.

Boosters for no control may confront a rude awakening as states demonstrate sovereign latitude to interpret and legislate our Second Amendment. On January 15th, the State of New York enacted our country’s toughest gun control laws yet, banning military assault rifles while mandating background checks for the purchase of ammo.

On January 16th, President Obama signed 23 executive actions proposing stronger federal gun control. Ever since, the NRA and gun-rights advocates have screamed bloody murder, much to the chagrin of mourners who’ve been doing the same thing since December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Blessed is the Bushmaster .223 caliber M4 carbine

On January 19th, in response to so much gun safety madness, a Republican consulting firm spearheaded the national public relations counterpunch known as Gun Appreciation Day. Lovers of bullets and justice were encouraged to visit many impromptu shows dotting the country, organized to commemorate this special day. While defending our freedom to bare arms, five patriotic enthusiasts–let’s call them victims– sustained gun shot wounds at three separate gun shows.

Poor PR campaigns can work against your cause.

Blind faith and reckless PR campaigns inspire national support for stronger federal restrictions.

When questioned about this event coinciding with our celebration of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr, Larry Ward, chairman of Gun Appreciation Day, fired back with double-barreled wisdom:

WARD: I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would agree with me if he were alive today that if African-Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.

Who would dare deny the compelling genius of  this simple logic? With each new tragedy, no-control advocates fervently bear witness that violence could have been averted. 

They insist we eliminate innocent victims by guarding them with guns, by issuing  our populace permits to carry concealed weapons, and by hiring teachers and faculty to tote guns. This same logic suggests we strap up older students with 9mm stopping power.

Clearly, no waiting period, fast reflexes, and quick access to sidearms will solve most of our culture’s gun violence bugaboo. We will draw down gun violence only when citizens refuse to reach for the sky, then reach for their heaters, ending terror in the split second they start shooting back.

We need to stop criminalizing guns just because they fall in with bad company. They promise to protect us all next time. Honest. Guns never mean to hurt anybody on purpose. Baby, they’re just made that way. Hmm, Guns Now More Than Ever. Sure, it all makes sense now.

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Double Divas: More Proof that Reality Shows are Neither

The Gift of Lift

Lifetime channel’s new reality TV show, Double Divas, features Molly and Cynthia, proprietors of LiviRae Lingerie, an intimate apparel boutique specializing in custom fit bras for breasts of all sizes. Finding quality support is chore enough for women with standard equipment. Meanwhile the intimate apparel industry often ignores the supersized when it comes to making products for nonstandard mammary glands.

Just a couple good ol' girls with the gift of lift.

Just a couple good ol’ gals with the gift of lift.

Molly and Cynthia provide valuable service and genuine humor from their shop in Kennesaw, Georgia. But will their docuseries offer a meatier look at contemporary gender role complexities, or just titillation? As our first episode opens we overhear Molly’s phone conversation with new clients who form a gospel chorus concerned with a more professional style of musical presentation:

“It’s OK, because God made you the way that you are, but we can just facilitate you in another way so y’all don’t have to worry about the bouncing bosoms in church when you’re receiving the blessings of the Lord.”

In following scenes, Molly helps a male customer who wants to honor his wife through lingerie that screams “freak in the sheets.” They settle on a microscopic nurse outfit with snaps in the back, and send home a grinning husband. Unfortunately, his wife returns to confess that she feels like “the hired help,” and begins the search for more tasteful attire. Viewers are then treated to a smoking hot mom posing in a two-piece worthy of a Playboy party. Our pupils dilate as Mom finds greater self-respect in front of multiple mirrors.

In another storyline, Cynthia tailors a “Bro Bra” for a marathon runner who suffers from bleeding nipples caused by constant chafing against sweaty shirts. Cynthia seems proud of her invention and confides “Half the people I’ve dated had man boobs.” However, on arrival to inspect new sportswear, a strapping man reveals only disdain for slender fabric that resembles a training bra for moobs. He assures the girls that no male runner would wear it, concluding with “What’s the point of having intact nipples if your pride is broken?”

Spoiler alert

Look closely at the center model, if you dare!

Look closely at the center model, if you dare!

Lifetime’s Double D main page makes the following false claim:

“Boasting a hilariously unfiltered cast exuding Southern charm and hospitality, “Double Divas” follows LiviRae owners and best friends Molly Hopkins, the “boob whisperer,” and Cynthia Richards, the “Thomas Edison” of custom lingerie, as they display their natural talent helping women with any and all intimate apparel needs.”

I am shocked to discover that DD’s’ customer service rep, Lauren Schaffer, has submitted to significant filtration, hailing only recently from a shameless hussy girl band called The Coedz. Lauren’s glamor girl contours have arrived to serve ratings before clients. Unbelievable. Do I take umbrage with Lauren’s pouting lips, dazzling green eyes, and potentially enhanced topography? No. Never. I am not comatose.

But I remain dismayed that I could have invested a fortune in gas and tire wear, hunting for mythical creatures who are in fact not indigenous to the greater Atlanta County area. Nor do I appreciate this senseless breach of broadcast trust.

Where’s the beef?

Yes, I can see the honesty in this reality TV show.

Yes, I can see the honesty in this reality TV show.

Don’t expect a journalistic mandate from a show whose title comes in cup size. Still, realistic attention to clinical concerns and negative social stigma could help humanize breasts as an intricate part of feminine sexuality, elevating them above the status of sex toy or marketing tool. After all, breast cancer, mastectomy, loss of effeminate esteem, chronic back pain, and difficult lactation don’t sell beer or bikinis, but they deserve air time at LiviRae Lingerie.

Double Divas could actually cowgirl up with an intricate exploration of adult female sexuality, or just expect viewers to gob at gazangas. Most likely, Double Divas will faithfully cast its baited hook, fishing for easy market share, luring in horn dogs with big bras and bouncing boobs.

Even so, the courage to add some intellect might give this show wider demographic appeal and future seasons.  We have no shortage of controversy in a culture shamelessly eager to marginalize the mammary, relegating weighty aspects of monumental busts to TV commercials, billboards, websites, and fetish porn.

All boob and no brain equals soft porn

While I don’t object to graphic portrayals analyzing primate mating rituals exhibited within modern western society, I’m certain that breasts keep getting the short end of the stick. Portraits of buxom babes crowd our landscape, bursting with oversexed zeal across every communicative conduit plugged into our daily lives. We swim in a media mainstream awash in eye candy, starving for brain food.

I.will.not.objectify.women. I.will..Daaaaamn!

I.will.not.objectify.women. I.will..Daaaaamn!

Bereft of artful aesthetic, images of busty babes hawk for a quick buck, pushing onto our field of view and digital doorsteps as vehicles for commerce.

Sure, I’m genetically compelled to salivate at every single carnal depiction. At the same time, a tiny part of my reptilian attic fights valiantly against hormonal hardwiring, boobs-for-beers marketing mantras, and our creepy Madonna/whore double standard.

I constantly strive for mental page rank, prioritizing breasts as objects of love, beauty, intimacy, and life. And it ain’t easy!

Every breathing hairy ape, breeder and bi alike, loves to race eyeballs down a blinding fast slalom, hugging the dangerous curves of female anatomy.

Tragically, death remains the only cure for this overt manifestation of testosterone poisoning. Nevertheless I doubt the longevity of a reality show whose voyeuristic premise caters to a knuckle-dragging demographic already accustomed to hearing, “Hey, eyes up here, asshole!” Before passing final judgment, let’s peel back the gossamer layers of this show’s thin skin.

What will we see on Double D?

This visual metaphor captures Double D's brand of feminine empowerment.

This visual metaphor captures Double D’s brand of feminine empowerment.

Naturally, breasts the size of orbital satellites will amass a unique set of issues. Double Divas could score smarty-pants appreciation, bringing us uncompromising narrative whose main thrust exposes moments of genuine vulnerability.

Mental massaging would stimulate a wider range of onlookers by observing provocative gender issues such as stereotypes, Feminine Mystique, sexual harassment, the search for dialog with eye contact, breast-feeding in public, and our heritage of Victorian repression.

Will Molly and Cynthia dare to confront the motives and esteem of women who seek inflated status through saline solution and surgical mutation the size of weather balloons? Not a chance. Denouncing the Myth of Barbie to advocate for sanity over silicon would reduce more profits than busts in this boutique.

With few exceptions, reality shows work tirelessly to produce neither. Occasionally glimpses of honest storytelling wander on camera. Ideally, Double D will rise above its peep show premise, overlooking cleavage to peer into psyches and stories of those women who shoulder the Rubenesque burden of finding a comfortable bra. But a show whose slant prizes drool over debate won’t make a grab for intellectual appeal.

To guys who watch: You better watch your 6

Male members in the target audience, who plan to leer at this program in the vicinity of seething female partners, better rehearse a convincing act of indignation. Save your bacon, boys, and take to the high road when your companion reaches for the remote. You’re not a fixated fetish freak, but rather a concerned, misunderstood man, eager to shrink the cold space between Mars and Venus. Share your respect for balanced reportage that pairs gender role burden with celebration of continental cleavage as both Feminist and feminine.

Women don't look like Double D's target audience.

Women don’t look like Double D’s target audience.

Then get ready to lose this battle. A bold stand for reality show racks will insult the IQ of any woman seeking substance from her television. Thinking men will avoid petty TV turf wars and nights on the couch in favor of harmony and access to 3-dimensional breasts.

Once your better half smells the stink on your noble quest for insight you may yet command the remote. Admit defeat, confess Neanderthal ignorance, and then immediately check the DVR list for an episode of Downton Abbey. It’s your only chance.

Double Divas will continue to attract heavenly bodies to its specialty shop dedicated to 18 hour support of bodacious boobs. Episodes will rarely deviate from the seesaw verité focus on T & A.

Well-proportioned clientele will arrive regularly to try out skimpy outfits under a magnifying glass, or to decelerate the downward trajectory of biological beauty, doomed to obey the relative laws of time, mass, and gravity. If we’re lucky, we may even find a little hard truth among all those breasts, bras and bums.

What can we say about reality TV that wins hearts without minds?

Tasteful presentation and a hint of mystery will drive this new reality TV winner.

Tasteful presentation and a hint of mystery will drive my new reality TV vehicle.

Like any new TV treatment, Double Divas longs for legacy as a well-endowed series. The stamina of this shtick will depend on how it handles the first few dates. Can its limp premise generate lasting chemistry and measure up to the higher standards of sophisticated female audiences?

After all, this too 2-dimensional concept relies on a dressing room banquet of massive bosoms studied through cameras mounted on the ceiling. Ironically Double D overlooks the fact that most women refuse to tolerate wide-eyed gaping at voluptuous assets outside of lingerie stores, pole dancing, or foreplay.

Most of us remember younger nights and that mad rush to couple with someone we barely knew. And most of us quickly learned that orgasmic encounters without honest emotion, real intimacy, or stimulating conversation transform erotic studs into anticlimactic duds.

Double Divas will rise with the momentum and bang of a noisy booty call, only to peter out  as a dull, excruciating breakfast. You’ve seen it naked, looked into its heart, tested its IQ, and suddenly realize there’s nothing left to your imagination. Well, at least you had a good laugh.

If this brain-dead brand of reality TV finds a way to survive through the trailer park charity of mentally challenged audiences, I will not mourn the death of American culture. In fact, I’m working on my own reality concept destined to eclipse Survivor as a smash hit with staying power.

Nobody seems to understand the travails endured by French supermodels who struggle to find comfortable haute couture G-strings. I’ll blow this controversy wide open with a balanced perspective, touching on empowerment and personal redemption told through the unblinking integrity of floor-level cameras.

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Make Your Own Reasons for this Silly Season

To Dylan James Nelson, my only begotten son and beloved maker of ornaments

Would you pay to see this movie?

Interesting plot, but we'll have to rework the script to fix the weaknesses.

Interesting plot, but we’ll have to rework the script to fix the weaknesses.

A powerful father, to circumvent incest and adultery with a married daughter, artificially inseminates her to sire his favorite son. The humble child matures into a scholarly carpenter whose wisdom astounds the great thinkers of his era.

This son, despite preference for female companionship, opts to forgo family values, abstaining from passion and progeny in manly prime to choose torture and unspeakable suffering. Strangely, he begins to believe his untimely death will change the fates of countless brothers and sisters, living, buried, and unborn.

Desperate to please an absent patriarch, the son cannot accept that all-knowing Dad has already preordained reward or damnation for all those billions of siblings who walk the Earth, rest within it, or who have yet to  emerge as flesh and blood. Had our only begotten son confronted this mind-blowing paradox, he would have marveled at the divine futility of his Herculean sacrifice.

A Triumph of French Cinema

Clearly this plot line comes to us via the darling of France’s Academy of Film Arts and Sciences; a director who wins accolades for ambitiously exploring Oedipal elements of the single victim mechanism, collective violence, and expulsion from patrimonial community against a backdrop of Freudian psycho-sexual tension. The director’s tour de force impales European moviegoers, decrying a deterministic society in which we die alone as prey to cruel and absurd events.

Palme d'Or

Truffaut‘s dark tale is a slam dunk for the Palme d’Or. Shockingly, the Oscar escapes his grasp despite rave international reviews. Crestfallen, critics blame the Screen Actors Guild for lacking the stones to award emotionally complex storytelling driven by intensely stratified subtext .

Look Joe, it's OK to ask a few questions.

Look Joe, it’s OK to ask a few questions.

Guild insiders later confess their inability to forgive this foreign film’s one artistic sin which coincidentally also plagues American cinema. Inexplicably the son returns from the dead in closing scenes as part of a shameless feel-good gimmick.

Gushing audiences dab tears when our antihero proclaims miraculous recovery, invoking new super powers to beam off planet in a blinding shaft of white light. Crowds cheer as the big screen fades to black. Deus ex machina  triumphs in propelling record-breaking box office sales.

However, this ham-fisted device in the dénouement galls SAG voters who squirm while exquisite tragedy and art film immortality transfigure before their eyes from gutsy classic to spineless hit.

If you answered “yes” to this movie, you probably can’t wait to see how surround sound and 3D effects add tooth and nail to mob scenes in a fantasy blockbuster. If you answered “no” to this movie, you’ve likely met a few carpenters and refuse to believe even one can sit still long enough to read anything besides blueprints.

When making sense looks like a fantasy flick, you don’t have buy tickets

Crazy winter solstice rites and strange beliefs are as old as humankind. For example, the Kalash people of Pakistan celebrate Chawmos, whose purification ritual requires men to pour water over their heads while holding up a loaf of bread. They must avoid sitting on chairs until evening when goat’s blood is sprinkled on their faces. Once everybody’s pure the fun begins.

Ancient Greece had a midwinter girl gathering called Lanaea, or the Festival of Wild Women. Sorry guys, better not crash this bash before lunchtime. Maenads, or female followers of Dionysus, (Greek god of the grape harvest, wine making and wine,  ritual madness and ecstasy), would enter the forest to descend upon a man or bull representing their god, tearing the poor beast to pieces before devouring its flesh raw.

Well, actually many academics now assert that evidence doesn’t support this macabre stereotype, but we can all agree that the fiesta involved oodles of lunatic ladies dancing on local mountainsides.

The Wild Hunt exalts the manlier traditions of violence and virility.

Wild Hunt exalts the manlier traditions of blood lust, kidnapping and great hair.

Yuletide has entered our culture as a remnant of Germanic pagan religious festivals. Originally occurring in late December or early January, according to the Germanic lunar calendar, Yuletide made its home permanently on December 25th following the adoption of the Christian calendar (Julian calendar).

Yuletide has historical connections to the myth of the Wild Hunt, which warns believers to take cover before a spectral cavalcade of berserk huntsmen, fairies, dark witches, and former pagan gods armed to the teeth, sweeping land and sky amid horses and demonic hounds.

Seeing this hunt could portend war, plague, or if you’re lucky, just plain ol’ death. This satanic horde sucked out the souls of wicked and innocent witnesses, discarding lifeless bodies in midair, kidnapping spirits for a journey to the land of the dead.

On a more gruesome note, scholars speculate that the Wild Hunt served as a convenient scapegoat, explaining away abducted kids, murdered step-children, and crippled offspring who endured extreme domestic violence. Surely that long fall to the ground would account for severe cranial injuries on a young German corpse.

Have a blast during our wacky solstice season

Christmas is a wondrous time of giving, getting and grudges, charged by the emotional spark of friends, family and feuds. So many strange and disparate expectations compete for our December, suddenly populated by an asylum of screwballs who go gaga for fantasy tales. Crusading against all that crazy would simply turn you into Ebeneezer.

Maenads: Followers of Dionysus

Maenad myth placed men on the menu

Take counsel from the surf instructor in Forgetting Sarah Marshall: “When life gives you lemons, just say ‘F— the lemons,’ and bail.” Well adjusted revelers will assure you that sound reason is no reason for the season.

Seriously, if you stumbled upon a naked band of wild women emerging from the dappled light of evergreens, drenched in blood and drunk with desire, wouldn’t you beg to join their picnic?

Sometimes a ridiculous celebration spontaneously bursts open like a piñata to commemorate its own fleeting existence. Don’t let your compulsion for careful planning sterilize the spirit lingering in the air, waiting to infect us all. Choose your weapon, put on the blindfold, and swing for the bleachers till some of that senseless joy spills out into your life.

Make holiday hoopla that makes sense to you

Festivus for the rest of us.

Festivus for the rest of us.

Festivus comes to us through the comic genius of the hit series, Seinfeld. George Costanza’s barely stable father, Frank, has an epiphany while raining blows on another shopper in a retail death match over a doll for George. Sadly, the doll doesn’t survive the struggle. However, Frank Costanza’s revelation guides him to renounce Christmas commercialism to observe a more honest ritual, declaring “Festivus for the rest of us.”

The Festivus Pole stands in stark contrast to the decorative excess and expense of a dead fir and won’t burn down your house. Airing of the Grievances and Feats of Strength offer original panache while ironically paying homage to traditional Christmas dinners, particularly where liquid cheer fills glasses in bounteous supply.

College kids and holiday hipsters recognize Festivus as a cool theme. You don’t have to deck the halls, and can leave the holly on the boughs. More importantly, Festivus defies cultural prejudice because it doesn’t claim any of the customs common to Chrismahanukwanzakah. If Festivus feels too conventional for your taste, make up something fresh.

Decorative ideas should reflect your unique traditions

Here in the Southwest I occasionally see the Christmas cactus. This ritual is far “greener” than any tree you buy at the lot. The practice recognizes trees as a vital, sustainable resource for reducing the carbon dioxide that fuels global warming. Better yet, a Christmas cactus will never spontaneously combust into a pillar of fire.

Christmas Cactus

Let thy light so shine.

To commemorate cultural roots, my personal custom calls for a “White Trash” tree.  Scotch pines achieve true beauty only in death, adorned by sparkly plastic relics, paper ringlets, homemade ornaments, Xmas throwaways, and yard sale gems, including  my son’s long discarded relics and G.I. Joes. Every worthless bauble tells a priceless tale when my Island of Misfit Toys returns to nestle in the brittle arms of fallen timber.

The tree’s shining star is a 20″ plastic Godzilla modified through proctological procedure to mount high atop its branches.  While I alone must secure the monster to its roost, an honored guest will choose the unlucky toy that writhes in agony enshrined between Godzilla’s savage jaws. For good or ill, Gumby usually gets plucked to consecrate this calling.

Christmas has borrowed or stolen its traditions, and so should you

Christmas Card to Aunt, 12-25-1967

Christmas 1967

In olden times, before smart phones and the Web, a beloved and popular couple bid farewell to the godforsaken tundra of Evansville, Indiana to spend their golden years in sunny San Diego’s North County. Rummaging through the must and mold of my favorite used bookstore more than a couple decades later, I came across a flat box in the shape of a large book which had landed on dusty shelves through an estate sale.

Inside I found dozens of Christmas cards, newsletters stamped in the muddy alphabet of prehistoric Underwoods, picture postcards of 2.5 children and a dog, along with group photos mailed to Mr. and Mrs. “North County” in December of ’67.

1967 saw the performance of the first Superbowl and the first heart transplant. In 1967 a house cost $24,600 while a gallon of gas demanded an investment of 33 cents. At 23, Michael  married Lisa, who had left her teens just 6 months earlier. Sharing personal events required you to sit and choose words carefully, fishing your stream of conscious for the perfect line before landing the next sentence. Mailing your letter meant scraping up an entire nickel for the stamp, but you could still send a postcard for a penny. 

Merry Christmas from June and Dick

Merry Christmas from June and Dick

This archeology of warm wishes arrived in plump paragraphs from folks who knew how to blend vulnerability with ink, including priests, nuns, bankers, dealership owners, friends, family, business associates, even the Rotary Club–whatever that was.

Letters spoke of graduations, marriages, and christenings, meticulously recounted for missing pillars of their Evansville community. They spoke as a chorus with love, longing, and blessings for happiness in a new home.

In a fit of inspirational madness I decided to resurrect these spirits and join them with the kooky fringe of my own clan. On the front of each envelope I added a fresh stamp, then changed the mailing address so the name of each new recipient appeared directly under Mr. and Mrs. North County. I refused to alter poetry within the cards but most missives closed with the following: “P.S. Jay Nelson hopes to see you during the holidays and looks forward to sharing a hug and a tall glass of Christmas cheer.” 

After receiving her card, Gramma called me and said, “You know, I didn’t really understand any of it, but when I finally saw your name I guess I wasn’t surprised. It sort of makes sense coming from you.” Years later my son and I made ornaments from some of the remaining cards. The final dozen bedeck home and heart at the close of every year with greetings from creaky Christmas ghosts. I’ve never met them, but I know them all intimately.  And every year I quietly thank them all for faithfully reminding me why I adore this silly season.

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