Muscle Women

Flipping through channels today and caught a bit of HBO’s Real Sports doing a segment on female body-builders.  Allow me to be judgmental for a second… FREAKS!!!  That felt good.  Sure, the male body builders are crazy, too, but at least when they totally abuse their bodies and look absolutely bizarre, they are pursuing the extreme of a masculine ideal for some serious prize money.  The women do their best to turn themselves into men (seriously– testosterone) for almost no money and rejection by society.  What really surprised me was to learn that due to the low prize money, many of the women supplement their incomes by websites or even in-person meetings with men who have fetishes for muscle-bound women.  The let the men feel their muscles, wrestle, etc., but no sex.  Bizarre!  When you consider how much these women truly look like men (or, at least men with breast jobs), I have to wonder if these fetish guys aren’t closeted homosexuals who cannot admit it to themselves and decide they just have a fetish for women who look like men.   Yuck all around.

Air Conditioning and modern life

Very timely column in the paper today about how modern life in the South and West is largely predicated on air conditioning (It’s 100 outside right now as I type).   Here’s how it affects living patterns in the US:

In 1960, air conditioning was found in only 12 percent of U.S. homes and 20 percent of cars. Even in the South, only 18 percent of homes had it. Today, 85 percent of homes nationwide have air conditioning, and virtually no new house or car is built without it.

The ascendancy of air conditioning has had its most obvious effect on our choice of where to live. Between 1960 and 2009, the population of the Northeast Census region grew by 23 percent and that of the Midwest by 28 percent. Meanwhile, the South swelled by 96 percent and the West ballooned by 143 percent. A mass migration-within-a-migration led millions of families to the vast suburbs that sprouted on the cheap land ringing Sunbelt cities – and air conditioning made hot, humid and mosquito-infested regions more habitable.

As someone who much prefers a fresh breeze over the AC when it’s not too hot and loves all the shade in my yard, I found this bit somewhat depressing:

Suburbia’s original appeal came wrapped in visions of green earth, clear skies and backyard bliss. But to fulfill the dreams of home buyers on modest incomes, developers cut back on costly structural features such as movable window sashes, screens, awnings and eaves, high ceilings, thermal mass, cross-ventilated designs and attic fans. They bulldozed shade trees and began building instead for mechanical climate control. Families responded by spending more time indoors.

Of course, the worst is over air-conditioned workplaces.  NCSU’s gotten better, but I’ve been known to run my space heater in a freezing building in July.  I especially hate that the state and university are wasting my money by trying to create an arctic climate in Raleigh in July.

The whole column is actually an interesting discussion of the many negative externalities that have come from our reliance on air conditioning (including long commutes for many).  Well-worth thinking about.  But, on this 100 degree day, I will say Thank God for AC!

%d bloggers like this: