Mainstream Moisturizers and Tumors

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Breaking news which I saw on my Facebook feed, which actually broke back in 2008: Moisturizers cause cancer in mice.  Yes, the moisturizers we all know and presumably trust, the mainstream brands that keep us from shriveling up like raisins and moulting, do not appear to offer mice any health benefits. Scientists slathered the rodents with copious amounts of Eucerin and Vanicream daily for 17 weeks with disastrous results.  These poor mice developed 69% more tumors than mice not “hydrated” with the moisturizers.  There are three aspects to the study, that were glossed over by the outraged anti-moisturizer activists who published a Portlandia type article in some off the grid journal devoted to convincing readers that we modern day humans are doomed.  One, unlike humans, mice don’t need moisturizers.  Though I am not a scientist and do not claim to have any knowledge of science except that climate change and evolution are real, common sense would dictate that rodents produce natural skin oils that render creams redundant.  Two, Eucerin and the like are not made for mice.  Three, the mice that developed tumors were already at risk for cancers because the researchers had been subjecting them to high amounts of ultraviolet rays, if I understood the study correctly – the mice subjects were known as UVB-pretreated high-risk mice.

I am not defending the petroleum industry, but I am suggesting that extrapolating results of tests on mice to humans is dubious. The amount of lotion those suffering rodents must have received each day would probably have been the human equivalent to 32 ounces rubbed all over our bodies daily, head to toe, over a lifetime. You’d likely drown in the stuff before you developed a tumor, and even if you were a good swimmer, you’d probably end up dying of cancer eventually anyway, as many of us unfortunately will.  The fact remains, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and no doubt the leading cause of death among laboratory rats. A little dab of Eucerin or Neutrogena is not likely to do us in. And because I secretly read this off the grid journal and have drawn my own conclusions,  I believe that what we should be more worried about are pesticides, GMOs, bourbon because its made with GMO corn, breakfast cereal, homogenized milk, preservatives, meat of any kind, soda, flouride in toothpaste and drinking water, energy drinks, mercury from light bulbs (and all that mercury us older folks played with when the family thermometer broke), white bread, the sun, sunscreen, air pollution, climate change, bedding material, rugs, mosquitoes, ticks, rabid raccoons, asbestos, lead paint, air freshner, laminate floors, bug spray, bug propellant, pesticides, nuclear waste, bottled water and so on.  As they say in New Hampshire, “Live Free and Die anyway or something like that.

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Mad Cows Protest

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If I were a cow, I would be concerned about the latest bill supported by California Governor Jerry Brown which would make it nearly impossible for cows to get antibiotics.  For the record, cows generally don’t like antibiotics and some even refuse the treatment because it upsets their four chambered stomach, especially when its empty.  However, a key source from the bovine world told me that were the Brown proposal fully implemented, and the cows unable to purchase over-the-counter antibiotics, something they have been able to do since the 60’s, yes, without a prescription, they would agitate and it would not be pretty.  Already some leaders of the various Bovine Unions in California have begun to organize stray cows who have taken advantage of their owners free range practices, and disaffected cows who are fed up with electric fences.  Just last week, a group of Holstein Heifers marched and then grazed on the California capital grounds demanding access to a broad spectrum of antibiotics to combat a nasty case of pink eye going around.  One young calf had also complained of not being able to get a bottle of tetracycline to treat his acne. He said the wildflowers he had tried as a home remedy had not helped and had actually made him “quite mad”, which was related to one of the slogans on a two-sided banner that an Angus cow wore like a saddle – MAD COWS = ANGRY DAIRY.  A group of devious beavers provided a constant drumbeat on empty plastic gallons of milk with their paddles in support of the cattle who chanted MOO, MOO, MOO, which sounded like a tractor motor that was trying to start, but wouldn’t.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to consume angry milk, yogurt with an attitude or crazed cheese. The cows do have a point.  And they are organized!

Ibeyi: Soon To Be Superstars

Theatre District, Boston

Theatre District, Boston

Ibeyi means twins in Yoruba and is the name of a twin sister band who trace their roots to Nigeria and Benin through their father, the late great Cuban percussionist who played with Irakere and was best known for work with the Buena Vista Social Club.  The Diaz twins, Naomi and Lisa-Kainde, were born in Paris and spent some formative years in Cuba. They recently launched their music careers with their self-titled debut album. I was fortunate enough to catch their act in Boston, the second to last stop on their first world tour.  A mix of Afro-Cuban fused pop, European electronica and a unique blend all their own, Ibeyi brought down the house last night.

The house where the twins performed happened to be the Royale in Boston, a tiny club that seats or stands less than 1,000 people in the heart of Boston’s Theater District.  Ibeyi sports a sparse stage setup included an Akai synthesizer atop a Roland 700 digital piano for keyboardist Noami and an electronic drum machine, a cajon, a sort of drum box that is sat on and played, and a set of bata drums for percussionist Lisa-Kainde. A video screen hung in the background to project abstract black and white videos of urban scenes to accompany each song.

There was a spacious bar in the back, a small dance floor in the middle in front of the stage where most of the crowd packed and balcony seating all around for those who preferred to chill in the distance. The venue did not appear to be at maximum capacity, but the crowd, mostly Gen. X’ers and Millennials, was nonetheless enthusiastic and welcoming. I attended with my daughter, a recent college graduate, who is a big fan of Ibeyi. I was one of the oldest in the crowd, no doubt.  One funny aside, as the concert was held in the Theatre Distict, and we were running a little late getting there, we hurriedly walked up to get in line with a group of patrons who looked much older than we would have expected for an Ibeyi concert. I asked the ticket taker what band was playing and to my amusement, he said “Kraftwerk”.   We were at the wrong theater and I could not help but laugh at the thought of Mike Meyer’s SNL “Sprockets” routine. Fortunately, Ibeyi was playing right across the street and we got there just a few minutes before they walked on stage. And even though I had never heard Ibeyi’s music before, I liked their sound instantly, something I could never say about Kraftwerk.

It is hard to describe Ibeyi’s music and I am probably not doing them justice, but I can say that they harmonized, vocalized, memorialized with tributes to their late sister and father, and mesmerized with captivating beats, melodies and rhythms.  It was the kind of music that makes you move and sway but also takes you by surprise, especially the percussion work. The tunes were emotional, yet upbeat with a spirit that brought smiles to all in the crowd.  It was a night I won’t soon forget.  And I am betting that as their sound reaches more ears, their popularity will increase.  I predict stardom in the twins’ future!

Here’s their setlist from the Boston concert that I found on setlist.fm. Do yourself a favor and go have a listen!