Just read this long, loooong article
about research on homosexuality. Here are the points I found interesting:
- While post-birth development may well play a supporting role, the roots of homosexuality, at least in men, appear to be in place by the time a child is born.
- Homosexuality runs in families - studies show that 8 to 12 percent of brothers of gay men are also gay, compared with the 2 to 4 percent of the general population.
- There is a "big-brother effect": the chances of a boy being gay increase with each additional older brother he has. A male with three older brothers is three times more likely to be gay than one with no older brothers. (For the record I am the eldest in my family.)
- Amherst College biologist Paul Ewald argued that homosexuality might be caused by a virus - a pathogen most likely working in utero. That argument caused a stir when he and a colleague proposed it six years ago, but with no research done to test it, it remains just another theory.
- A study last year by researchers in Italy showed that female relatives of gay men tended to be more fertile, though, as critics point out, not nearly fertile enough to make up for the gay man's lack of offspring.
- The UCLA lab is examining how gay genes might be turned "up" or "down." In studying the genes of gay sheep, for example, (the scientist) found some that are turned "way up" compared with the straight rams.’ (I am going to use the phrase “I am so turned way up like a gay ram”.)
- This is a research field built on “underfunded, idiosyncratic studies that are met with full-barreled responses from opposing and well-funded advocacy groups.”
"The novel is a capacious old whore: everyone has a go at her, but she rarely emits so much as a groan for their efforts," said Alex Linklater, deputy editor of Prospect. "The short story, on the other hand, is a nimble goddess: she selects her suitors fastidiously and sings like a dove when they succeed.
"The British literary bordello is heaving with flabby novels; it's time to give back some love to the story." The Independent
In related news, I received a rejection email this morning for a short story I submitted recently. Oh, and I hate the last chapter of my book. Hate it like a polaroid picture.
If the “Devil is in the details” and “God is in the details”, who’s looking after the broad generalisations?
People are always impressed when they find that I’m writing a book. ‘Wow,’ they say in awe, ‘that’s impressive’ and I nod, not because I’m marvelling in my own dedication, but because it’s easier than telling them about the badges.
Some kids have a drink problem; others are into pot or huffing. My addiction was for Teacher’s Association Science Badges.
The process went like this. One selected a topic (from astronomy to zoology) and was given a list of tasks on a sheet of A4. Each task had a rating from 1 – 3 points. Once you tallied up 15 points, you qualified for the badge.
Some of the tasks were tricky:(Conservation)
"Make a solar cooker” 3 points
Others were not:(Optics)
"Draw a colour triangle and write a poem or song about light" 1 point
Some were just weird:(Large Animals)
“Trial three brands of cat food" 2 points
While a few were impossible:(Geology)
"Find out why dinosaurs became extinct” 1 point
When completed, the research was checked and $5 collected to pay for the badge. A month later it arrived - cold, heavy and shining like a nugget of gold to be awarded in a makeshift ceremony at the end of Science class.
Completing a science badge was supposed to be quite an achievement, the high school equivalent of say, a Nobel Prize. At the beginning of the year Mr Shaffer - the Science teacher renowned for large sweat rings under his armpits - gravely announced that we should attempt to earn just one of these coveted badges per term.
I’ve always liked a challenge.
I can’t remember when I decided to do them all. I liked research and libraries, and I hadn’t quite slotted into a social group - but more importantly I’ve always had fanatical commitment levels.
When I was nine, Mr Saunders asked me to create Christmas decorations for the classroom, so I made life-size images of Santa Claus, Mrs Claus, Elves, and Reindeer - the works. They were so popular I began to do them on commission for my classmates earning a bit of pocket money in the process. I published my first newspaper when I was ten and wrote and directed my first play the same year which was performed in front of Assembly. I was editor of my Secondary School paper when I was 12 (which I ostentatiously called The Stentorian), I was Student Rep at 16, Head Prefect at 17, I played badminton, soccer, tennis and went to the Model United Nations - so yes, I was that
kid. In hindsight, it wasn’t simply a case of repressed homosexual over-achieving; I genuinely liked having fingers in pies.
I’m not sure how I paid for all the badges. I have a hunch I may have sold some earlier science badge research to fellow classmates just so I could afford a new one. Mr Shaffer would always look exasperated when I approached with my folder.
‘Which one is it today?’ he’d sigh.
‘Ornotholgy,’ I’d reply, ‘and um, horticulture. And Chemical and Process Engineering.’
‘Any more?’ he’d ask sarcastically.
‘Oh - and Marine Biology.’
After achieving all 22 science badges I once decided to wear them all to school. Don’t ask me why. I think there was a certain kitsch factor in them. All I know is that my green wool jersey was never the same again.
So writing a mere novel is nothing when you compare it to my industrious youth. Once you’ve found out why dinosaurs became extinct (thesis now quoted by the British Science Council) and written a pop song about neon light, 80,000 words don’t seem so tough. Heck, if there was a science badge in authoring I’d probably have three by now.
For list people like me, this
is like smack.
At ten to one my sister rings to say she will be late for our lunch. At 1pm I go and buy some food so I don’t fall over hungry. At 1.30pm I dispose of the wrappers and head back to my office. Inevitably, it’s only when I reach my desk again that my phone beeps.Sorry am here and pretty lost where do I go
I stand up and walk back to the lift. On the way down I run over the mantra I invented twenty minutes before.Just say I love you and I’ll miss you. I love you and I’ll miss you. Then walk away. Don’t get angry or open up a can of big brother, just say I love you and I will miss you.
She is not there when I exit the lift so I wait outside my office building. And wait.
I call her.I’m walking through the park.
I go to meet her half way and she almost passes me without seeing.
Amber gives me back some of the money she owes me. She is flustered. Her flight tomorrow has been cancelled and she needs to organise a new one. I have to go back to work. I want to know when I will have all the money back. I wish we had more time.
It is one thing to get all David Sedaris or Gerald Durrell about your family, but most of things we say to each other don’t make great reading. My sister is going back to New Zealand. I don’t want her to go. I think she is running away. She is lost and is looking and has made her decision based on her experiences and desires. And I should be happy for her.I love you and I’ll miss you
We hug and afterwards Amber’s face has that closed, hard expression of someone who has a mountain to climb and has only just realised the enormousness of the task ahead.
"One of the open secrets of literary life is that it's easier to get a book deal for a first novel, or for a work of nonfiction, than it is to get a short story or an article published in a serious magazine. This is because book publishing now revolves less around the book itself than around the marketability of the author--physical appearance; ethnicity, race, religion or sexuality; media or social connections--while serious magazine publishing, for all of its shortcomings, is still about writing"The Nation
Praise Allah for being a gay, vegetarian, pseudo Jew!
p.s. Serious magazines? Anyone been to a newsagent lately? If it's not a close-up of a pimple on Britney's shoulder (no, not her husband), it's a lad mag with more exposed tits than the London zoo aviary (see what I did there?).
Why you may not be in love yet
You haven’t met the right guy / girl
When you did meet them they weren’t attracted to you because you had a spot on your chin
You had that chance and you lost it
You have issues
You don’t have issues
Your issues aren’t as big an issue as theirs
You need better issues
A glamorous drug problem, a tragic death
Thrush just doesn’t cut it
You prefer it this way
You choose it
You have selected to wake up each day and scream “world, it’s me – just me - and I feel fucking fantastic about it!”
Until your neighbour bangs on the wall
You’re newly married neighbour
You’re on night shift and your only human interaction is with Marty, and he spits when he talks
And anyway you dated him and it didn’t work out
Because you slept together
On the first date
And once at work in the utility cupboard
Last week in fact
You’re thinking about doing it again soon, but it would never work out long term
What if one of you was transferred to days?
You don’t zing
Or you zing too often, too painfully often.
The post lady, the girl in the park, the woman who tripped in the street - each one takes a piece of your heart
You don’t believe you deserve it
And all the romantic films in the world can’t convince you of the contrary
Or Gone with the Wind
Or You Got Mail
Or the first time you watched Love Actually on the big screen (not the director’s cut special edition on DVD, which you personally felt didn’t add anything to the original)
You worry that maybe there isn’t one special person out there for you
What if someone else jumped the queue and stole your soul mate?
You’re too strong = not vulnerable enough
You’re too picky = scared of commitment
You have a cat = you have a cat
No really, you are
You’ve just read this
And reacted in some way
And another person has read this and maybe felt the same
And in my books that makes you compatible
Hell, in my books that makes you on the path to lurve
Now all you have to do is meet them
We’re in a global village
Go on a weekend break to Prague
Loiter outside the newsagent
Get drunk and throw your business cards off the bus
And when you do meet them
Remember this and maybe work it into a conversation
They’ll slap you on the chest
Get out, I read his blog too!
And you’ll smile at your good fortune
And all I ask in payment
Is that you invite me to the ceremony
And maybe set me up on a date with your incredibly hot younger brother
Who was in the marines
And still has the uniform
Because the guys I’m after don’t ever read blogs
Hell, most of them can’t even read at all.
O, this Brave New World!
Happiness in a brown box
Ikea be a
There are only two types of friends: those who will help you move, and those who ask how it went the following Sunday at brunch.
Inspired by “Tanks for the Memory” (by Dr John C. Lilly and E. J. Gold) here are some Floatation Tank Coffee Table Books just begging to be written:
De-conditioning for Dummies
The sinking of Abigail Jones
Can you pee in it? And other questions you don’t want to hear as your neighbour borrows the tank for an hour.
That’s Epsom salt in your eye…
No, really – it looks like a coffin
Where has Mummy gone?
A Guide to Sensory Deprivation – For Kids!
The horrible, horrible feeling of floatingAnd finally,
Am I done yet?
I achieved almost all of my goals this weekend, but £40 to lie in some tepid salty water for an hour seemed a bit steep. I searched for “make your own flotation tank” on Google with no luck either. On the other hand I think I might have discovered a gap in the market…