Name! That! Horrifying! Disease!
Cry-Baby of the Week
It’s time, once again, to marvel at some idiots who don’t know how to handle the world:
Cry-Baby #1: Caprock Academy
The incident: A girl shaved her head to support her friend with cancer.
The appropriate response: Raising some money to donate to charity on her behalf or something.
The actual response: She was suspended from school.
Kamryn Renfro is a nine-year-old girl in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Her best friend, Delaney Clements, has been battling neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that affects children, for several years.
As a result of her cancer treatment, Delaney lost her hair. Something that she’s not too psyched about, “People would sometimes call me a boy even though I was all dressed in pink,” she told CBS News.
Because Kamryn didn’t want her friend to “feel left out,” she decided to shave her head, too.
"She was like, really excited and she was jumping up and down that I did it," Kamryn toldUSA Today.
The staff of Caprock Academy, the school that Kamryn attends, were not quite as excited though. When Kamryn arrived for classes on Monday, she was told that her haircut violated the school’s dress code, and turned away from her classes.
Why the #CockInASock Thing Is Vain Bullshit
Last week, 2.6 million women sacrificed their makeup, raised their tired arms in the air, pouted, and took a #nomakeupselfie to raise awareness for breast cancer. This week, boys have found their own inane counterpart: the #cockinasock.
The cock-in-a-sock concept, though probably as old as socks themselves, was most memorably championed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and since then it has gone from strength to strength, appearing in American Pie and bringing the homoerotic LOLs far and wide, from boarding school dorms to stinking holiday flats in Tenerife. That is, until now, when it’s become the latest weapon in the fight against ball cancer.
If you’re wondering what putting a sock on your dick and posting a picture of it on the internet has to do with raising money for charity, the mechanism is the same as the #nomakeupselfie. Take your picture, text the word “BEAT” to 70099 to donate three bucks to fighting cancer, and then encourage the giggling co-workers on your Facebook page to do the same. It’s the kind of viral campaign that gacky brand marketers strive a lifetime to come up with.
We Need to Quit Our Obsession with Meat Before It Kills Us
On Sunday, March 9, Pitt Cue Co.—the meat mecca just off London’s Carnaby Street—hosted a special evening, a one-off “Highland Beef Night” that featured a nose-to-tail menu of beef dishes made from a pair of Highland cows the restaurant bought a year ago from a Cornish farmer. The animals spent two months dry-aging, their flesh and bones eventually finding their way into dishes like beef scrumpets, beef and bone-marrow pasties, and the king of all cuts, rib of beef.
All of it was fucking fantastic. Not many places in London do the things to pigs and cows that Pitt Cue does. But with everyone smiling at each other—lips slicked with grease, teeth like fence posts that live animals had been fired into—I couldn’t help thinking that there was something a bit culty about a group of humans gathering together to eat two specific cows.
Locavore obsessives will kick their hooves at this. Speak to any chef, food critic, restaurateur—whomever—and they’ll give you the eat-better-meat-less-often argument, droning on about where the animals lived, what they ate, how humanely they died, which artisan coffee they drank, etc., etc. All of that is irrefutable. If you’re going to eat meat, you can do your part by eating the best quality available and, when you can, consuming the animal’s less popular parts (neck fillet, onglet, cheek, trotters, that kind of stuff) and not just the common cuts.
Meanwhile, we’ve become increasingly obsessed with meat. If an event like Highland Beef Night had been touted even a few years ago, there’s no way it would have pulled in the people it did on Sunday. Meat is now highly fetishized, especially among young people. Burgers are the new tits—if you look at any social media platform, there are as many 20-something men posting photos of ground flesh covered in neon sauce as there are sharing that zero-gravity Kate Upton video. We’ve become a society of rabid carnivores, and it’s not just getting tiresome—it’s fucking killing us.
In the three cigarettes it takes to watch this short film, you could learn how to smoke forever.
The Make-A-Kush Foundation: Kids, Cancer, and Medical Marijuana
The way Frankie Wallace tells it, his calling revealed itself in his sleep.
“I had a dream [that] cannabis would cure cancer and many other diseases,” he recalled as his wife, Erin, stood beside him on the back porch of their house.
A few minutes before, the three of us had ducked into the basement of Frankie and Erin’s suburban split-ranch house near Portland, Oregon. We went down there to sample something called Absolute Amber, a potent concentrate Frankie concocted by soaking a batch of his latest crop of medical marijuana in butane and isopropyl alcohol, boiling those liquids away, after which the oily residue was frozen and double-filtered. The resulting product was as close to a pure distillation of THC as a mortal was likely to get.
Frankie lit a blowtorch and held it to a small piece of metal attached to a glass water pipe until it was red-hot. He touched the matchstick-size shard of burnt-sienna-colored hash oil to the metal, and it released dense white smoke that the pipe caught, filtered, and delivered into my body. On exhaling, I felt an astringent tingle pass through my lungs. I sat down and quietly counted to 30. The urge to speak would be great, Frankie had warned, but to do so might send my body into a fit of convulsive coughing. As I looked at Frankie and Erin, their soft smiles appeared to curl up like arabesques in an illuminated manuscript.
Frankie is more than a weed aficionado—he’s a marijuana evangelist, a THC high priest. After his fateful dream, he sold all of the couple’s belongings and moved from Birmingham, Alabama, to Erin’s cousin’s garage in Portland, where medical marijuana is legal. They partnered up with another grower and found a house in a nearby suburb, where they now live alongside the two dozen marijuana plants in their garage. They have 12 patients and keep their modest grow operation afloat through donations.
This kind of small business isn’t uncommon in the statured legal-marijuana market of the Pacific Northwest, especially now that “dabbing” is becoming a luxurious but increasingly popular form of ingesting THC and its cohorts. What sets Frankie and Erin apart is that they believe pot can literally cure cancer. And ever since the dream they have been testing their theory on an eight-year-old named Mykayla Comstock.
I Got My Personal Genome Mapped and It Was Bullshit
Last Friday, the FDA forced personal genomics company 23andMe to stop marketing its tests to the public in their current form. Before the order came in, customers would send a spit sample to the firm, who would sequence the DNA and look for genes indicating a risk of up to 254 diseases and conditions, providing a breakdown of any issues.
The FDA cited a lack of supporting evidence for some of the claims made and expressed particularly serious concern over their assessment of the BRCA gene, which is linked to breast cancer, suggesting 23andMe’s tests might result in false positives that could lead to women undergoing traumatic and unnecessary surgery. The FDA’s actions have led to an explosion of opinion across the science blogosphere, but in all of that commentary a big question remains unanswered: What exactly is the point of personal genomics?
My first experience with the industry came about three years ago, when I was offered the chance to have a test done with Navigenics, a firm since taken over by a biotech firm called Life Technologies. Being a curious sort of guy, I jumped at the chance. A sample tube arrived via Fedex a few days later, which I duly spat into and sent back for analysis.
The results came back in the form of a sort of “wall of death”—a breakdown of all the things that might harm or kill me over the coming decades, detailing how likely I am to have each condition. Drilling into the figures, I can see that I have a higher risk of prostate cancer than 95 percent of the population and a 1 in 5 chance of developing Alzheimer’s—twice the average risk. So I’ll probably get cancer, but on the plus side I’ll be too forgetful to care about it.
A Terminal Cancer Patient Talks to an Exonerated Serial Killer
Yesterday it was announced that Sture Bergwall, formerly known as Thomas Quick, has been freed after spending 20 years locked up in mental institutions. He initially confessed to over 30 murders in Scandinavia and the last of his eight convictions came in 1994. Our friend Kristian Gidlund wrote the following article after the two met on May the 14th for the first (and probably only) time in their lives. Kristian is a 29-year-old journalist and drummer in the band Sugarplum Fairy. He suffers from terminal cancer and has, with his blogand book, helped thousands of Swedes to acknowledge death as a natural part of life.
In Sweden, Thomas Quick used to be considered to be the worst serial killer in existence. A predator with his sights set firmly on young boys, who he allegedly sexually abused before stabbing them to death with a knife. He was considered a living demon—evil personified—and he lived 20 minutes away from where I lived, in the valleys of Dalarna.
One day he escaped from the Säter Hospital, the psychiatric clinic where he was locked up, convicted of eight murders—among other things. I remember the panic among all the kids in the schoolyard. Our parents picked us up from school and we had to play inside for the rest of the day.
Twenty years later and I’m facing death. For real this time. The cancer that was discovered in my body has forced doctors to remove my stomach and my spleen. It has forced me to go through two dozen sessions of chemo treatments while feasting on my existence. I’m fading away. I’m headed towards death.
During the past two years, I’ve been blogging about my inevitable demise, and the blog has grown to become quite well-read in Sweden. One day, a comment popped up on one of my entries from Thomas Quick, the walking demon. “I recognized myself in your destiny,” he wrote. “It was an existential recognition. You were standing in front of death, with the cancer. I used to have death by my side and I lived in a valley of death. Although I can sense life today, I can still fully understand your situation of facing the end of life.”
Michael Douglas’s Oral Sex Humblebrag Totally Failed
I say a lot of things I don’t actually mean to say. When I let my mouth run, I find myself implying that I can do 100 pushups, that my favorite movie is “something French and old,” and that I “read books for fun.” I guess you could say I’m a huge liar with absolutely no shame. That’s why when I found out that Michael Douglas, star of Behind the Candelabra and the movie that came before Basic Instinct 2, claimed that oral sex gave him throat cancer, I felt like I had finally found a celebrity to admire. Sadly, he couldn’t even keep that story going, because he’s retracted his claim.
As you can see in the below quote from the Guardian, and this audio transcript, Michael Douglas strongly implied, if not downright admitted, he got cancer because he loved to go down on women. Yeah, Michael Douglas decided to talk about how he loved to lick, suck, and drool all over vaginas. This is how it went:
Xan Brooks: Do you feel, in hindsight, that you overloaded your system? Overloaded your system with drugs, smoking, drink?
Michael Douglas: No. No. Ah, without getting too specific, this particular cancer is caused by something called HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus.
It’s All Going to Be All Right
About two months after writing this article, on the 26th of December, Nicola lost the uneven battle against cancer, which he describes below in the most humane and open account we have seen. His aim was to take your mind away from the sanitized brochures of hospitals and fake True Hollywood Story specials dedicated to celebrity cancer survivors. The people who edited and published this text had the honor of meeting him and, some, of being his friends. Rest in Peace, Coco! You’ll always be an inspiration to us.
I’m sitting in the hospital crapper, laptop on my knees, writing this, while a full-on orgy is taking place to my right. Six pigeons are fucking on the windowsill about a foot away from me, while ten more bombard the tin roof with bird shit. I guess I’m just going to have to look for inspiration in the 12-foot high heap of rotting trash that’s been piling up in the hospital yard. I look toward the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria, where Vitosha mountain lies and realize it’s all ablaze with forest fires—that just makes my heart sink. At that very moment my chemo constipation turns into chemo diarrhea, accompanied by a profuse nosebleed, lively convulsions, and muscle spasms, and the inspiration is gone before it has even arrived.
I’ve told myself the title of this article has to be Everything’s Going to Be All Right. It’s a promise that makes me feel better—much better, actually. Then again, I can’t stop wondering how many miles I still have to swim against the current with my mouth open, in a river full of shit. Having faith in the bright days of your future does nothing to make up for when fate’s boner finally rubs against your back, cutting your skin in the most inappropriate places. Then nothing is really all right any more.
I’m basically old in every way but my age. In the space of just a few months, I have suffered from every illness and ailment known to man. At one point, breathing while lying down became impossible so I had to sleep in an armchair, sitting down with my arms crossed against my chest. Finally, I was attacked by a vicious cough, which I decided to cure with vodka, wine, and bad folk music at a two-day-long party somewhere in the Bulgarian countryside. Pneumonia, I thought. You wish I were pneumonia, thought the tumor. The pulmonologist was baffled: “I’m not gonna lie, dude, it’s huge. This tumor weighs about 4.5 pounds. It’s almost as big as your head. Go get a CAT scan and keep your fingers crossed—there’s a chance it might be benign.”