Why Is She Sporting a Moustache? Because It’s Movember, Silly.

It’s Movember!

No, I promise that is not a typo. If you are anything like me, you may not have heard of Movember. I was enlightened thanks to a funny little blog I read called Snide Reply. It led me the Bloggers for Movember page started by Le Clown.

Bloggers For MovemberMovember calls for an awareness of men’s health issues and mental illness. Started in Australia, Movember has infiltrated the globe, and supporters work to raise money and awareness under the guise of mascot moustaches. You may notice my banner photo has conveniently grown one for the occasion.

Coming on the heels of October and Breast Cancer Awareness, Movember holds a rightful place. My husband actually made the observation last month at how much coverage breast cancer awareness receives in proportion to other health issues. I responded that it is probably because 1.) most everyone likes boobs for one reason or another and 2.) it is a disease that affects namely women, and women get stuff done. But Movember proves that men are stepping up to the plate on their own healthful behalf. And just as men have helped carry the flag for women’s health issues (like the NFL teams sporting pink on their uniforms in the month of October), we women need to do the same for them. After all, every woman has at least one man in her life she cares about, be it a husband, father, brother, son, boyfriend, uncle, grandfather, or friend.

My energizer bunny Grandpa on his 90th birthday. He is one of the warriors who beat prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer is a disease on the minds of a lot of men. And it should be. I have heard it said that if a man lives long enough, it no longer becomes a question of if  he will get prostate cancer, but when. That experience has proven to be true in my family. Both of my grandfathers battled with prostate cancer; one successfully, the other not so. My dad’s father was one of the lucky ones, and now in his nineties, he is giving time a run for its money. My mom’s dad had a much rougher go of it. (I remembered him in an earlier post.)

My Papa in Ireland

Papa, as I called him, was a tiger. But not a wild tiger…more like the tiger you see at the circus. The one who knows when to roar on cue and make people quake when necessary, but who also gives warm, gruff, fuzzy snuggles to those who care for him (we will just forget about that tiger that attacked Roy for the sake of making my analogy work, okay?). He battled prostate cancer TWICE, but it was not actually the cancer that took him in the end. He kicked that crap to the curb on both counts, but not without consequences. What finally took him from us was what the cancer opened him up to. By the time he died, he left behind a body that was missing a prostate, had one lung, was skin and bones, and had been ravaged by years of fighting off infections. To me, the amazing part of it was how long and hard my grandpa fought, how many times he beat the odds, and how he did it in way that made us think there was nothing to it. Despite his courage, faith, and determination, I am still left feeling that it was not fair. He should not have had to endure it. No one should.

So here’s to Movember. Here’s to helping keep the men we love healthy. Prostates may not be as pretty as boobs, but ugly things need love too. I recall a wise man in a wool hat once said, “In order to dig things that are pretty, it takes no special talent. What it really takes talent to do is to dig something ugly…dig something like a garage door. I mean, how many people say, ‘OH, look at that garage door!’ ? You know? I mean, you get a lot of this stuff, ‘Oh, what beautiful azaleas.’

Even my daughter is sporting a ‘stache

So in other words, let’s save some garage doors! You can help by spreading the word about Movember, liking the Movember Facebook Page, and/or making a donation to my Are You Finished Yet Movember Team. If you’re a man (or a very hairy woman who doesn’t mind going “au natural”), grow a ‘stache…and get yourself screened for prostate and testicular cancers (only the guys, I mean…that would be a waste of time for the hairy women. But they may want to get their hormone levels checked). If you’re a woman, encourage a man in your life to get screened.

Now watch this rap about a bunch of men who were rockin’ moustaches before Movember was a word. And stay tuned for next month’s awareness campaign…Decentember: National Please Stop Posting Pictures of Your Elf on the Shelf in Sexually Explicit Poses and Thinking It’s Funny Awareness Month.

Lock Your Doors: There is Danger in The Lou

Huh. I just heard on the radio this morning that St. Louis, Missouri is the third most dangerous city in the world. You heard me correctly…the WORLD. The home of the World Series Champion Cardinals is nestled between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We also safely beat out Mogadishu, Somalia (#5); Grozny, Chechnya, Russia (#8); and Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, Pakistan (#10). That’s right. My city is more dangerous than one embroiled in the Afghan war.

Wow. So I guess the fact that I have safely survived thirty-four years without so much as mace in my purse means I have way more street cred than I ever would have imagined.

Or this could simply be a case of irresponsible journalism. Surprising, I know.

st. louis arch
Does this skyline look dangerous to you?

I was curious to see this report that one of our local radio stations broadcasted as I drove my daughter to school this morning. I apparently did not realize how lucky I was to have made the trip without encountering a car bomb or a car-jacking. So I typed in the keywords, expecting to see a rash of trustworthy news sources citing some legitimate study done by a governmental statistics agency, or something along those lines. Instead, I got one result at the top of the list from a website called Urban Titan, whose tag line is “All Things That are Weird, Bizarre, Strange and Unusual.” And the article about the ten most dangerous cities in the world was written by “Nataly.” Just Nataly. Apparently she is such a renowned expert that she does not need a last name.

That is just for starters. The “article” was riddled with typos. And when I was finished reading the “article,” I could click on one of the numerous ads on either side to educate myself on the ten most controversial cartoon characters, the five most bizarre deaths during sexual intercourse, and how drunk girls like to “experiment.” This is hard-hitting journalism, folks.

Not only that, but as part of the explanation of why St. Louis, Missouri is on the list, the author claims that 65% of our crime occurs in East St. Louis. Hold it. East St. Louis? You mean that city that shares our name but is a completely different city? The one with its own mayor, and…oh yeah, its own STATE? As in East St. Louis, ILLINOIS? Granted, I will admit that East St. Louis is considered to be within the family of “the St. Louis area.” We certainly claim its successes for our own, such as Ike and Tina Turner and Miles Davis. But when taking statistics for something like the most dangerous cities, it can only seem fair to include the stats strictly within the city limits, and East St. Louis does not fall within those limits. If they are going to be lax about parameters, at least throw in the stats from suburbs like Manchester and Frontenac to give our median a fair picure of the area. Even still, I would question if East St. Louis as its own entity would be able to keep up with some of the world’s most violent places.

But I think what bothers me the most is that some of our own St. Louisans brought this story into the limelight by discussing it on their radio show without really checking the validity of the story. The original article on Urban Titan was posted in January of this year, which means it went virtually unnoticed in our media for almost a year. Why? Because had it been a legitimate study, it would have made news. But it’s not. And now our own fellow citizens are perpetuating an idea that St. Louis is really worse than it is…which really is not that bad at all. I am not denying the fact that we have crime, and more crime than we should. But it seems that polls like this one and the recent Men’s Health poll on the saddest cities in America (in which we came in sixth) do nothing but create overall unrealistic images of cities which can be a danger to tourism and commerce. And for what?

I guess the only thing we in St. Louis can do is hold on to the fact that we know we live in a great city with a rich history. The Gateway to the West. The home of the Arch, interesting architecture, fabulous museums, copious and tantalizing restaurants, cozy neighborhoods to raise families, Forest Park, ground-breaking music, the eleven-time World Series Champions, and some damn fine beer, among many, many other things. Oh, and the best tasting city water in America (see: http://www.stlwater.com/bestwater.php).

As far as I’m concerned, the rest is just fuzzy math. Then again, most math is fuzzy to me.