Times, they aren't a-changin'
"Baby boomers say wrinkles aren't so bad and they're not that worried about dying. Just don't call them 'old,' " reports Associated Press. "The generation that once powered a youth movement isn't ready to symbolize the aging of America, even as its first members are becoming eligible for Medicare … Younger adults call 60 the start of old age, but baby boomers are pushing that number back, according to the Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll. The median age they cite is 70. And a quarter of boomers insist you're not old until you're 80."
Dating, it is a-changin'
"Culturally speaking, it's less of a death sentence to be unmarried at 40 and more - well, the norm," the Chicago Tribune says. "Fifty per cent of women and 45 per cent of men ages 18 and older are now unmarried, says the U.S. Census Bureau. … [A]recent major study of 5,200 singles ages 21 to 65 revealed: A majority of singles ages 55 to 64 identified themselves as 'very happy' or 'somewhat happy,' as did a majority of singles ages 21 to 34. It was the folks in the middle who reported significantly lower levels of happiness. Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, a lead researcher on the study … says the kid issue further muddies the waters. 'The biggest gap is between people looking for a reproductive partner and people who are not looking for a reproductive partner,' Fisher says. 'From a Darwinian perspective, the brain that wants to reproduce is very different than the one that's not going to reproduce.'"
Meditation and orgasm
"Spiritual teachers have been onto this for years," says The Huffington Post, "but research is now showing that orgasm and meditation create much the same effect in our brains. According to a recent article in Scientific American, both meditation and orgasm decrease our sense of self-awareness. Bliss, says author Nadia Webb, whether through the experience of meditative contemplation or through the bodily experience of sex, 'shares the diminution of self-awareness, alterations in bodily perception and decreased sense of pain.' … Still, orgasm is no replacement for meditation. Meditation and orgasm light up different parts of the brain. Meditation, various studies have shown, lights up the left prefrontal cortex - an area associated with joy and happiness. But during an orgasm, the left cortex remains totally silent. Meditation has also been known to create lasting change in the brain through a thickening of the cortex."
Speaking of meditation
"The Sixth Dalai Lama (1682-1706) might be called the Hugh Hefner of Dalai Lamas," Religion News Service reports. "Fond of silk robes, beer and women, Tsangyang Gyatso refused to take monastic vows, choosing instead to pen poems and search for lovers in the towns that surrounded his monastery. Folklore held that huts in which that search proved successful were painted yellow; many remain so today. Still, the Sixth Dalai Lama is beloved among Tibetans, who see deep dharma messages about the transience of earthly existence in the playboy's poetry."
- "An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as 'religious headgear,' " BBC News reports. "Niko Alm … said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism. Later, a police spokesman explained that the licence was issued because Mr. Alm's face was fully visible in the photo. … A self-confessed atheist, Mr. Alm says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a light-hearted, U.S.-based faith whose members call themselves pastafarians." The licence took three years to come through and Mr. Alm says he was asked to submit to a medical interview to check on his mental fitness to drive.
- "Richard Bombain appeared before a Gary [Ind.]city court judge on Monday to explain why he was driving without a licence," The Huffington Post reports, "and he apparently thought he had a pretty good excuse. 'I'm blind,' Bombain told Judge Pro Tem Itsia Rivera, according to the Post-Tribune of northwest Indiana. … 'How many people are you trying to kill?" she reportedly said back. Bombain apparently apologized to the judge, according to ABC, but she said she didn't want an apology - she wanted him off the road."
Thought du jour
"As my father always used to tell me, 'You see, son, there's always someone in the world worse off than you.' And I always used to think, 'So?' "
Bill Bryson (1951-)