Competitive facial-hair-growers are revered in some countries, with Pakistan and India featured in recent reports. Pakistani Amir Muhammad Afridi, 42, whose handlebar lip hair extends in an arc almost to the top of his head, told reporters he had to move from his rural home to the more secular Peshawar because of threats that his pride and joy was un-Islamic. And the Guinness Book record- holder, Ram Singh Chauhan, 54, of India, offered grooming tips in an interview with BBC News, revealing that he keeps his 14-foot-long moustache conditioned by cleaning and combing it for an hour each day (treated with coconut-based hair oil) and lamented that he must wind it around his neck to keep it from interfering with his daily activities. [Daily Telegraph (London), 4-9-2012] [BBC News, 5-17-2012]
Google Trends notes that five of the top seven countries in the world whose residents search "sex" are Muslim, and in Iran, especially, a "virtual cottage industry" has developed of clerics turning into amateur sexologists, according to the May/June Foreign Policy -- often with mockable results. For example, one cleric declared, "If a person has intercourse with a cow, a sheep or a camel," it is not proper to consume the animal's milk. Leaders, from former president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr (who believed that women's hair emits sexual rays) to the current Ayatollah Khamenei (who approves the concept of Islamic "temporary marriages" that justify what we in the West call 'quickies') promote internal friskiness while at the same time denouncing outsiders (especially Americans) for attempting to corrupt the country's morals. [Foreign Policy, May/June 2012]
And to wind up today's trip through the awesomely dumb:
Two veteran Church of England vicars were in the news in May for their unique approaches. Rev. Andy Kelso left the church after 25 years to start an Elvis Presley Gospel Tribute act as "Elvis Prayersley." Said Kelso, "I felt God say to me very strongly, 'Take Elvis to the church.'" And Rev. Nick Davies of Cheltenham, England, promises to continue breathing fire part-way through his sermons (to mark Pentecost, in which the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus' disciples, appearing as "tongues of flame"). [Metro (London), 5-24-2012] [BBC News, 5-27-2012]
Feeling a little better about your own life yet? Yeah, I thought you might after reading this stuff...
A friend sent me an email and asked if I could send him a copy of a verse I once recited to him. It is by Lord Byran and, especially as I grow older, it is one of my favorite quotes:
Though much is taken, much remains,
And though we are not now that strength which moved earth and heaven,
That which we, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate,
but strong in will,
to strive, to seek, to find,
And not to yield...
Live Long and Prosper....