Saturday, December 29, 2007

Roof of Africa

My mom and I both made it to the top of Kilimanjaro, to the highest peak in Africa. We made it despite the fact that it was gruelingly hard, the weather was punishing (snow and hail and rain nonstop, although our nighttime ascent to the summit was clear), and we were suffering from altitude sickness. But we kept going, and we got to the top, and then we limped back down to the base camp and vowed to avoid mountains for a while.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Meat causes cancer

As long as I'm on my high horse, did anybody else hear this story on NPR this morning? About how eating meat causes cancer?

Circumcision is anti-sex.

This article in The New York Times led me to this study, Fine touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis.

The relevant conclusions?

The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.

Oh yeah, and this:

Whether the penis is circumcised or not might also affect coitus. For women, having a male partner with a foreskin increased the duration and comfort of coitus and increased the likelihood of achieving single and multiple orgasms

Monday, December 10, 2007

Packing for Kili

It's been years since I packed so deliberately, thinking over every item I bring, checking to make sure that I have everything I'll need and then checking again. Partly because climbing a very tall mountain and camping out in a wildlife park are activities that require special forethought and deliberation. Partly because it's a vacation, not something longer and more substantial: time I spend trying to find some necessary item that I forgot is just lost, any moment that I can't experience fully is unrepeatable.

Vaguely related: I've been reading this biography of Henry Morton Stanley, and although there is much to say about it, and I will write a short review later, I feel frequent guilty twinges because certain descriptions of his explorations in the Congo frequently remind me of...the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. At one point Tim Jeal quotes from the diary of one of Stanley's companions, and he's describing the sound of arrows whizzing by his head - how silent they are, but for a faint "pit pit pit" as they strike in the surrounding bush. I nodded my head and thought, "Yes, just like the ride!"

I'm kind of ashamed of this, as, I suppose, I ought to be.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Seal Bay

I just ate about a half pound of Seal Bay cheese from King's Island, Tasmania. It's one of those uber-creamy bries that you can scoop out of the rind with a cracker without making the cracker crumble. Very sweet and creamy, with an amazing aftertaste of seashells. It tastes like the beach, in a good way which I could never have imagined without actually trying the stuff. Plus, it's pasteurized, so even pregnant ladies can indulge!

Anybody with an interest in fine/oddball cheeses should snap this up if they ever see it.