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Monday, May 14, 2007Do You Know ?
There are 1.75 million animal species that have been noted and named by our scientific classification system. Of them, there are 5,800 types of mammal. All mammals are warm-blooded and have a four-chambered heart, but so do birds. Most mammals give birth to live young, but there are exceptions to that. Mammals all have hair, but again they share that trait with other creatures–in this case spiders. In fact there is only one truly defining characteristic of mammals that is unique, and that is the trait for with they are named: the mammary gland. All mammalian species posses a gland that secretes or oozes milk for the repast of their young. In most cases the mammary gland becomes enlarged during lactation, and diminishes to almost unnoticeable when the milk is unneeded. However, amidst all 5,800 mammals, there is only one species that has perpetually swollen mammary glands. Odds are you are a member of this strangely anomalous, difficult to explain species.
At first glance the human breast defies explanation, but there are those who have spent careers and lifetimes in pursuit of explaining the relative enormity of the bust. Theories about the abundance abound. As of yet there is no consensus as to why the human female is so endowed, but staying abreast of the emerging ideas can make for titillating research.
Every variety of mammal has some sort of breast. The feature that sets the human breast apart is that in relation to the size of the body, there is no other species that retains a breast in such a swollen state. Cattle teats can be proportionately larger, but only so long as the cow is lactating; the same is true of many other species. It seems logical, seeing how lactation can be a drain of resources, that the animal’s breasts would atrophy when not in use. Some early thought on the origin of the human breast stated that because of the breast's importance in nurturing the young, biology opted to supply extra fatty deposits to the mammary glands to help the race survive lean times of drought or meager foodstuffs. A fine idea, but it does little to explain the complex psychology surrounding the breast, and one should suppose the same phenomenon would be displayed in other species.
Blue Footed BoobieTherefore to handle the riddle of perpetual breasts a zoologist by the name of Desmond Morris attempted to apply gleanings from his animal research. Morris is probably best known for his 1957 art exhibition of paintings created by monkeys and his documentary series "The Human Animal". Morris has become a somewhat controversial figure by writing papers expounding on how certain human aspects may have evolved. Among the tenets that he's suggested is a need to exercise our inherent omnivorous heritage by eating everything, and speculation on the development of human breasts.Morris' hypothesis is that the breast is a purely erotic affectation–a piquing notion. Most creatures in the animal kingdom tend to have the most success mating in a "male aft" sexual position because of the placement of the genitalia.
Ranjit Hoskote reacts to the Hindu fundamentalist intrusion at the Fine Arts Faculty, Baroda. He asks whether these fundamentalists would go ahead with moral policing and destroy all our cultural heritage.?.............................
"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
The Wikipedia article then quotes Paxton as summing up the essence of Fascism thus:
1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions; 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign `contamination.
I shall end by quoting the end of Ranjit Hoskote’s fine piece:
It appears that the champions of a resurgent Hindu identity are acutely embarrassed by the presence of the erotic at the centre of Hindu sacred art. As they may well be, for the roots of Hindutva do not lie in Hinduism. Rather, they lie in a crude mixture of German romanticism, Victorian puritanism and Nazi methodology.
What happens next? Will the champions of Hindutva go around the country destroying temple murals, breaking down monuments, and burning manuscripts and folios?
They were up on a picnic table at that park by the lake, by the edge of the lake, with part of a downed tree in the shallows half hidden by the bank. Lane A. Dean, Jr., and his girlfriend, both in bluejeans and button-up shirts. They sat up on the table’s top portion and had their shoes on the bench part that people sat on to picnic or fellowship together in carefree times. They’d gone to different high schools but the same junior college, where they had met in campus ministries. It was springtime, and the park’s grass was very green and the air suffused with honeysuckle and lilacs both, which was almost too much. There were bees, and the angle of the sun made the water of the shallows look dark. There had been more storms that week, with some downed trees and the sound of chainsaws all up and down his parents’ street. Their postures on the picnic table were both the same forward kind with their shoulders rounded and elbows on their knees. In this position the girl rocked slightly and once put her face in her hands, but she was not crying. Lane was very still and immobile and looking past the bank at the downed tree in the shallows and its ball of exposed roots going all directions and the tree’s cloud of branches all half in the water. The only other individual nearby was a dozen spaced tables away, by himself, standing upright. Looking at the torn-up hole in the ground there where the tree had gone over. It was still early yet and all the shadows wheeling right and shortening. The girl wore a thin old checked cotton shirt with pearl-colored snaps with the long sleeves down and always smelled very good and clean, like someone you could trust and care about even if you weren’t in love. Lane Dean had liked the smell of her right away. His mother called her down to earth and liked her, thought she was good people, you could tell—she made this evident in little ways. The shallows lapped from different directions at the tree as if almost teething on it. Sometimes when alone and thinking or struggling to turn a matter over to Jesus Christ in prayer, he would find himself putting his fist in his palm and turning it slightly as if still playing and pounding his glove to stay sharp and alert in center. He did not do this now; it would be cruel and indecent to do this now. The older individual stood beside his picnic table—he was at it but not sitting—and looked also out of place in a suit coat or jacket and the kind of men’s hat Lane’s grandfather wore in photos as a young insurance man. He appeared to be looking across the lake. If he moved, Lane didn’t see it. He looked more like a picture than a man. There were not any ducks in view.
by Langston Hughes
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
The mother and father had just given their teenage daughter family-car privileges.
On Saturday night she returned home very late from a party.
The next morning her father went out to the driveway to get the newspaper and came back into the house frowning. At 11:30 AM the girl sleepily walked into the kitchen, and her father asked her, "Sweetheart, what time did you get in last night?"
"Not too late, Dad." she replied nervously.
Dead-panned, her father said, "Then, my precious one, I'll have to talk with the paperboy about putting my paper under the front tire of the car."