Archive for the ‘things that haunt my unconscious’ Category

Last night I had a dream.

I was in a church, and behind where I was sitting was a plaque inscribed in German. I tried to read it, but I didn’t recognize one of the words. My former boss from Germany was sitting next to me, so I asked him about it. He explained that there were actually two words.  One of the words was an abbreviation (“und” was written as “u.“).  The tight spacing had fooled me into thinking it was part of the next word. With that clarification, everything made sense. I woke up.

Two questions:

  1. How could I “be fooled” or “figure something out” if all of this took place in my head?
  2. Didn’t Batman: The Animated Series teach me as a child the impossibility of dream reading?

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Did I mention I’ve been under the weather the past few days?

The male gender is in danger, with incalculable consequences for both humans and wildlife, startling scientific research from around the world reveals.

The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.

Apparently these chemicals are also damaging my genitals!

Research at the University of Florida earlier this year found that 40 per cent of the male cane toads – a species so indestructible that it has become a plague in Australia – had become hermaphrodites in a heavily farmed part of the state, with another 20 per cent undergoing lesser feminisation. A similar link between farming and sex changes in northern leopard frogs has been revealed by Canadian research, adding to suspicions that pesticides may be to blame.

God help me if I have more in common with the cane toad and northern leopard frog than I think!

At the other end of the world, hermaphrodite polar bears – with penises and vaginas – have been discovered and gender-benders have been found to reduce sperm counts and penis lengths in those that remained male.

Wait a tic–what was it John saw in Revelation?

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale hermaphroditic bear: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

We are doomed. No man-made army can stop the end of times–we haven’t the reinforcements:

And sperm counts [for men] are dropping precipitously. Studies in more than 20 countries have shown that they have dropped from 150 million per millilitre of sperm fluid to 60 million over 50 years. (Hamsters produce nearly three times as much, at 160 million.)

These giant mutant hamsters will mock our lack of virility as they stuff us into their chubby cheeks for to sup on us at their leisure.  We must beat a hasty retreat to the dark jungles of the Amazon, and entreat the woman warriors for protection. It is our only hope.

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The Wall Street Journal reports a new challenge in the cutthroat global business environment:

Shake hands? Kiss? Or kiss-kiss-kiss?

This is the quandary for Frank Higgins, one of today’s global business soldiers. He is employed in Glendale, Calif., by Swiss-owned Nestlé USA Inc. as president of two divisions, one of which markets to Hispanics. With so many national customs involved, ordinary office greetings require savoir-faire.

This is not a problem in Germany, of course, where a handshake and a warm “Moin!” is as personal as a greeting gets.

I did, however, face the dilemma the article describes during two visits to Romania, where the double cheek kiss is common as a friendly greeting. I never grew completely comfortable with the practice because my American mind could never quite shake off the perceived suggestiveness of the gesture, especially when it was directed at one of the rather numerous beautiful young women I had the pleasure of meeting.

Nonetheless the practice does become somewhat mechanical after time. I can recollect leaving an event at a high school and walking down a line of four or so teachers, all of whom I dutifully double-kissed as a farewell. I was so caught up in the repetitious process that I did not notice that a middle-aged American whom I did not much care for was standing idly at the end of the line. When I finally reached this woman, I had already begun to lean in before I noticed who it was, and, already committed fully, was thusly forced to see the thing through. To have to fake cordiality and kiss someone whom you are loath to be even near was for me severely upsetting, and I still feel a slight shiver at the base of my spine recalling the event a year on.

If there is such a thing as cooties I contracted it on that day, and I fear no amount of circles, dots, or any combination thereof will inoculate me against so terrible an affliction.

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After Cute Knut and Flocke, Germany on Friday got a new cub to ooh and aah over — and this time one which hasn’t been rejected or eaten by its mother.

Two thoughts occur to me:

  • The article is notable not only for its dry humor but also for its very, very unpolished feel. I can’t help but wondering if it was somehow slipped passed the editor.
  • As my fellow South Carolinian Stephen Colbert dutifully reminds us so often, bears are nothing more than godless killing machines. Don’t be fooled by the cute and cuddly image–this button-eyed killer would rip you apart in a heartbeat.
The number one threat in Germany

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Well, it’s officially Thanksgiving back in the States, so I’d thought I’d engage in the time-honored tradition of naming one thing that I’m thankful for:

I’m so very thankful that I do not live 390 million years ago, where every day would evidently be spent trying to avoid BEING EATEN ALIVE BY 8 FOOT-LONG SEA SCORPIONS!

I’d also like to thank the BBC, the creator of the above picture, paleontologists, and the theory of evolution in general for providing the fodder for years’ worth of future nightmares.

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