Archive for August, 2012


One Small Quip for [a] Man…

25 August 2012

Neil Armstrong is dead at age 82.  While a half dozen new biographies of the iconic moon-walker will undoubtedly be released in the next year, the truth about him will probably remain well concealed.  Armstrong’s silence throughout his life was deafening.  Where others like Buzz Aldrin learned to live in the limelight, he retreated into the space-like quiet.

Armstrong never sought to be a spokesman.  How ironic he is known for his words!  Even his legendary quip, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” was, by his own belated admission, botched: it was supposed to be “One small step for a man…”  Still, that slogan, correctly delivered or not, stands out precisely because of the personal void around Armstrong.  He ushered the world into the great beyond.


New Avenues for Birth Control Pill for Men

17 August 2012

In that perennial quest for the holy grail, the pill for men, scientists are showing a new round of optimism.  Every attempt in recent years has failed due to a host of complications with terminating billions of sperm effectively and without side effect.  Organon’s attempt at an implant failed in trials, for example, despite it being heralded as some kind of messiah-pharmaceutical.  Nevertheless, some new drugs are in testing phase, however, pursuing the prospect of massive sums of money to the winning developers.

James Bradner reports for his squad, which has seen successful results among mice.  The drug JQ1 targets a testis-specific protein, rendering production of sperm impossible.  Bradner reports elsewhere that he suspects the pill for men will be available within a decade.

Indian scientists have developed a gel called RISUG which is injected into the vas deferens in a procedure much like a vasectomy.  The chemical somehow disrupts sperm by electrocuting them with a charge produced by the surface of the polymer.  It is in phase III trials in India as of 2012.

Testosterone undecanoate, currently used with success for hypogonadism, is being considered as a contraceptive.  Chinese researchers report early success in trials with their injection method, which mixes the compound in tea seed oil.  Some permanent infertility was noted, however.


Olympic Quiz

11 August 2012

Quick – name the two events men do not compete in at the Olympics.









Answer? Synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.


Men Losing It: Five Cult Albums

10 August 2012

Occasionally men lose it. They flip. They get their heart smashed and then plummet, or absolutely erupt, or both. That makes for a dangerous situation, resulting in some really unsavory headlines. It also produces some of the most fabulous, gut-wrenching cult albums of all time. Here are five of them from men at their best, worst moments. I highly encourage you to listen to these albums. I also strongly suggest you don’t, if you enjoy being happy.

1. Sugar – Beaster (1993). As the B-side EP to Copper Blue, these tracks should have been the scraps. Au contraire. These are the juiciest cuts. Together, it makes up the  feistiest, most explosive material from Bob Mould, who rails about betrayal and angst. Sugar’s punk past festers wonderfully at this juncture.

2. Weezer – Pinkerton (1996). After the eminently likeable blue album, Weezer did an about-face and released a most unpopable sound. A rock opera gone bad, Pinkerton features Rivers Cuomo’s terrifying descent in self-pitying loneliness after a series of obliterated relationships, including a misguided crush on a lesbian.

3. Chris Whitley – Din of Ecstasy (1995). Many artists, especially after receiving popular acclaim on their first album, take a new turn. Whitley jumps off the rails. His American steel bluegrass is replaced by soaring electric guitars and soulful noise rock. Drugs and anger play out more strongly here than on any of his other work. Underneath the abrasive presentation is sheer genius at work.  Was the album was released twenty years too soon – or too late?

4. Damian Rice – O (2002). This very well may be the most self-loathing, girl-loathing, life-loathing album ever made. Yet just when you think Rice’s dysfunctional libido has consumed him, he bounces back with an inscrutable sweetness.  Watch the movie Closer to maximize the psychological pain.

5. The Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen (1993). Greg Dulli lives in hell most of the week, with breaks to go to the bar. It’s unclear what sent him into his emotional spiral, but the grunge rocker knows all too intimately the terrors of his self-destructive eros in “Gentlemen” and “What Jail Is Really Like.”  This is one of the unsung albums of that strange foray Americans took into alternative rock.