Let's toast.

Now, I know you don't know me all that well, if at all, but I'm making a discernable effort to start on a positive note so just raise your damn glass.

Today's theme involves exhuming previous notions and casting them aside as misconceptions, although even in doing so, these new developments (un)surprisingly still lead us nowhere.

So in an attempt to follow current trends (of which I am not adept), I will smile a little retail clerk smile while I report. You know the smile. The one where they ask if you need help, judge your hair, and scoff quietly while they get you a larger size? Smarmy bastards.

Fun fact: That smile is, in fact, classified as the "Pan-American", known primarily for its use of only the Zygomaticus Major muscle and giving a look of insincerity. Pan-American…Insincere…Pan-American…Insincere. Funny that.

Moving forward! In the news:

NewScientist.com is reporting that cigarettes and coffee, contrary to popular belief, might actually be bad for you! For a long time (decades!), studies on Parkinson's disease [PD] have shown that double fisting a pack of Camels and a tumbler of Joe have an inverse correlation with the disease. However, a recent study shows that: 1. Indulging in either does appear to have an inverse association with PD. 2. The two probably do not have a direct cause and effect relationship. And, therefore: 3. The onset of Parkinson's is attributed to varying causes…

They close the study with this remark: "…relative to lung disease and heart disease, Parkinson's disease is far less common."

To that end I present you with a throwback to the early 90s: No shit, Sherlock. Eat red meat. Booze it up. Eat fiber. Drink urine. Die anyway.

Trudging along, according to Guardian Unlimited Breaking! International! News!, Turner County High School in Ashburn, Georgia (population: 4000) has decided to break tradition. So unbelievably forward thinking and progressive! I cannot bestow enough accolades upon their awesomeness. This year, for the first time, high school students will have an integrated prom!

This year. 2007 AD. For the first time, Turner County High will have a prom where students of all races are invited…All races. 2007.

Is this news breaking the fact that the United States is constantly backpedaling? Wasn't there that march in DC that one time? And wasn't there some emanci-procla-something-or-other signed 100 years before that? And didn't we learn anything from Mean Girls? C'mon! L. Lo at her finest hour! (Which is equivalent to feeling a sense of achievement from managing not to step in dog shit for once.)
Now, you might wonder why all this mumbo-jumbo has anything to do with gender at all. I could say that the intention behind shunning the discussion directly applies the notion that gender is so interconnected in society that there is no escape, much like one’s sexual history. (Impossible.) By deliberately denying face time to gender implications I am propelling the concept of society being wholly supersaturated in gender goop. I could say that. But then I would be lying. I had a mild brain fart and now I’m backpedaling in honor of my “land-of-the-free.”

My fascination with this Promenade article can be explained in simple terms: I got thinking. The prom at Turner County, like all proms, is engendered with feminine qualities. From the theme “Breakaway” a la Kelly Clarkson to the palm tree/waterfall decorations, we are clearly in straight girl paradise. Even your rabid event planning, interior decorator closet case is dreading the idea of going to prom with hag #1 in tow. Prom has and always will be considered the pinnacle of high school for the girls. So why is that? What in your gender makeup makes you want to put on a dress, break a heel on the dance floor and lose your virginity in a motel, drunk off one too many PBRs and then vomit in a toilet through mascara tears while your girlfriend holds your disheveled hair back? And, so, why has this article failed to address the girl perspective - the most passionate advocates for the largest, most lavish prom ever? Why are you interviewing your run of the mill guy who would prefer a tailgate party at a Limp Bizkit concert? Nary a quote or statement from the masterminds themselves! When did prom typify gender segregation in the years of adolescent development?

That is the news.

With that, I continue to smile and ponder in my gown, staring wide-eyed from the back of the bus. It might be a neurological disease, but who can say?

My mouth is starting to hurt.

Returning to a positive note though, a New Zealand octopus, Octi, has learned to open twist-cap soda bottles. She also likes to play by squirting liquids in her keeper's face. Speaking from experience, some people don't find that quite as amusing.

Bottoms up!

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