It’s not a dadbod – it’s an act of rock’n’roll dietary rebellion

I weighed myself this morning, and I am 110kg (17st 4lb). As a 192cm (6ft 3in) tall man aged 41, this gives me a BMI of 29.4, which means I am considered to be on the very tipping point where “overweight” bellyflops into “obese”. If there’s any muscle in there, then it’s not so much relaxed as fast asleep. My stomach looks like a blancmange dunked in hair, with perky, budding moobs. I am not in good shape.

Except, apparently, I am. What I have, it has become apparent over the past couple of weeks, is a dadbod, which means I now count among my brethren the likes of Kanye West, Leonardo DiCaprio and Seth Rogan, something I never imagined. A dadbod is basically a “normal” male torso gone to seed, the shapely bulk of a man who once went to the gym, then realised that pizza and beer were much more sensible and let it all go. Not corpulent, but definitely not what the good people of Protein World would consider anywhere near “beach-ready”. People have even taken to saying that a dadbod is a hot bod. And to these people I say: I don’t want your approval.

Seriously, stop fetishising and commodifying my ghastly body. I worked long and hard to get this far out of shape and I don’t need you telling me that’s fine and that I’m actually the new big thing (literally) in male body types. My body can’t be contained or held back – just ask the waistband of my jeans – and I reject this new acceptance of it.

As an officially very-nearly-obese man, I am edgy and antisocial. I am attacked and pilloried at every turn, either because of the hypothetical strain I place on the NHS when my heart eventually explodes, or because of my evident distance from the aforementioned beach-readiness. It’s absolutely fine to mock, censure and body-shame me (ha, just you try) without fear of reprisal. It’s fine to go ham on my fat (mmm, ham…). I can reasonably assume that Katie Hopkins finds me contemptible, and I can think of no more ringing endorsement than that.

“Dadbod”. It’s a horrible little dismissal, suggesting cosy respectability and the inevitable slide into middle age. Me, I’ve always thought of my rejection of physical fitness as rather rock’n’roll, an almost political act of dietary rebellion. There’s tremendous pressure from all sides to be “healthy”, for reasons both aesthetic and medical, so to relentlessly stick two fingers up at those who apply that pressure takes character. It takes guts to have this gut....more 

TCM’s summer film noir festival and online course

Clear off your DVRs because they’re going to need all the space they can get this summer. Turner Classic Movies is running a film noir festival every Friday of June and July called, appropriately, Summer of Darkness. A full 24 hours of films noir will air starting at 6:00 AM each Friday. It begins on June 5th with Fritz Lang’s chilling 1931 masterpiece M and ends on August 1st at 3:00 AM with Hitchcock’s 1956 based-on-a-true-story mistaken identity picture The Wrong Man. In between are iconic films you’ve probably seen many times — The Maltese Falcon, Murder, My Sweet, The Big Sleep, The Third Man, Blue Dahlia, Strangers on a Train — others you’ve heard of but not seen, ones you’ve never heard of and a smattering of modern classics likeLA Confidential and Blue Velvet. Browse the full schedule here (pdf). The grand total by my count is a pantagruelian 121 movies.

But wait, there’s more! TCM is leaning into the fact that it’s already to all intents and purposes a film school that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year, 366 on leap years, and will be airing this treasure trove of film noir in conjunction with a massive open online course The Case of Film Noir.

In this nine-week course, we’ll go back in film history to investigate the “The Case of Film Noir” — the means, motives, and opportunities that led Hollywood studios to make these hard-boiled crime dramas, arguably their greatest contribution to American culture.

This course will run concurrently with the Turner Classic Movies “Summer of Darkness” programming event, airing 24 hours of films noir every Friday in June and July 2015. This is the deepest catalog of film noir ever presented by the network (and perhaps any network), and provides an unprecedented opportunity for those interested in learning more to watch over 100 classic movies as they investigate “The Case of Film Noir.”

Both the course and the associated films will enrich your understanding of the film noir phenomenon — from the earliest noir precursors to recent experiments in neo-noir. You will be able to share thoughts online and test your movie knowledge with a worldwide community of film noir students and fans.

Carl Sagan Issues a Chilling Warning to America in His Final Interview (1996)

Until the end of his life, Carl Sagan (1934-1996) continued doing what he did all along — popularizing science and “enthusiastically conveying the wonders of the universe to millions of people on television and in books.” Whenever Sagan appeared on ‘‘The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson during the 70s and 80s, his goal was to connect with everyday Americans — people who didn’t subscribe to Scientific American — and increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of science.

At the end of his life, Sagan still cared deeply about where science stood in the public imagination. But while losing a battle with myelodysplasia, Sagan also sensed that scientific thinking was losing ground in America, and even more ominously within the chambers of the Newt Gringrich-led Congress. During his final interview, aired on May 27, 1996, Sagan issued a strong warning... more 

Californians Are Painting Their Lawns Green to Save Water During Record Drought

California residents have come up with an innovative solution to brighten up their dry lawns, in the midst of their fourth year of drought: they’re painting their lawns green! The extreme measure became popular after statewide water restrictions were announced for the first time in history, in order to combat one of the region’s most devastating droughts.

The restriction leave average Californians with virtually no water for their lawns, but that hasn’t stopped them from wanting to keep their front and back yards looking green. Lots of them are now turning to lawn painting, which is a whole lot cheaper than artificial turf, at 25 cents per square foot. The service was once limited to athletic fields and golf courses, but is now being sought out homeowners, hoteliers, and wedding planners, among others.

The green dye is apparently plant based and completely harmless to humans and animals. It’s also water resistant, although no one would mind if a little rain were to wash it away. The effect lasts for about three months, after which the lawn has to be spray painted again....more 

How Music Stimulates the Unconscious Mind

Music plays with the brain in interesting ways. For instance, past studies have shown listening to a familiar, favorite song causes our brain to release dopamine — a chemical associated with pleasure and reward. However, some researchers believe music could be utilized to boost cognition in unconscious minds.

Alexandra Ossola from Braindecoder writes about the curious case of seven-year-old Charlotte Neve. In 2012, she had a had a brain hemorrhage while she was sleeping. Surgeons were able to stop the bleeding, but she had several seizures after and slipped into a coma. Ossola writes about her astounding recovery:

“Charlotte's mother, Leila, was at her bedside listening to the radio when Adele's hit 'Rolling In The Deep' started playing. Leila and Charlotte had sung the song together many times and, as Leila sang along to her unconscious daughter, she saw Charlotte smile. The doctors were stunned. Over the next two days, Charlotte recovered more of her faculties — she could talk, focus on colors, and get out of bed.”

It's uncertain if this recovery was caused by the music or if the entire thing was just a coincidence. However, it has become the basis of a recent study where researchers played music to 13 patients — all in comas for different reasons. The researchers split the patients into two groups; in one, the researchers played some of the patient's preferred music and in the other, researchers played a continuous sound to act as the control. Then, the researchers measured the patients' brains with an electroencephalograph (EEG) while they called the patient's name....more 

MUSIC: Terranova - Skin & Bones (Feat. Lydmor & Bon Homme)

MUSIC: Kotomi - Swimming

MUSIC: Leisure - Got It Bad