The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

August 16, 2006




A confession, outright: I have come to learn that possibly more than any defining feature on my body, I am most consumed by, fret about and care for the hair that grows upon it. I would never have admitted this before a strange phenomenon started occurring.

I have, for some time, been losing my hair in some places where I don't want to lose it -- such as on the top of my head (also known as male pattern baldness, a genetic trait that men inherit from their mothers, as I understand).

And I have been gaining it where it is unwelcome -- primarily in my ears, nose and eyebrows.

I still consider myself fortunate on the hair front. I have more hair on my head than both of my brothers, each of whom are younger than I am, and neither who are anywhere as good-looking or charming.

But they have more hair on their chests than I do, so maybe there's a certain maximum number of hairs that men can have, say 10 million or maybe 100 million, I've never counted, and what I give up in the chest department to them I gain in the head department.

And, for those who are asking, I am obviously not counting other areas of the body in this post.

But what I am finding is that as I notice my hairline receding and the bald spot on the top of head getting bigger and bigger, I wonder if that hair isn't simply falling on to my face while I sleep and reattaching itself to my inner ears, my eyebrows and the interior of my nose.

I understand that this is part of the quirky male aging process, the same as my chest and shoulder muscles seemingly migrating to my midriff, apparently beyond my control, no matter what I do or don't do.

Here are some examples of middle-aged men's facial hair gone wild:

Clearly, these images are illustrating something I don't want to become. However, I have noticed a rogue white hair growing in the eyebrow above my right eye. I constantly cut it with scissors but it keeps coming back.

And seeing as I'm too much of a wussy to actually yank the hair out (That is SO painful and I want to keep all the hair I can!), it seems I am resigned to living with it. We almost have a relationship now. I would miss it if it died.

I have also noticed long hairs trying to grow out of ears, but I dispose of them fairly quickly along with the ear wax. As far as nose hairs, I cut them often but they just keep growing back thicker and more determined than before.

So while women struggle to deal with sagging breasts, bulging behinds and falling faces, plus the Big M and other minor inconveniences, it's important to note that we men also face our challenges with aging.

I hope we all understand that.



For those who haven't, Pluto is still a planet, although it's been downsized to some kind of lower category. And three others have been added to the list to bring the number of planets in our solar system to 12.

Here's a followup story, just to keep the universe informed...(besides that, I seem to have the Blogger Blahs this week).

The tally of planets in our solar system would jump instantly to a dozen under a highly controversial new definition proposed by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Eventually there would be hundreds as more round objects are found beyond Neptune.
The proposal, which sources tell is gaining broad support, tries to plug a big gap in astronomy textbooks, which have never had a definition for the word "planet."

It addresses discoveries of Pluto-sized worlds that have in recent years pitched astronomers into heated debates over terminology.

The asteroid Ceres, which is round, would be recast as a dwarf planet in the new scheme.
Pluto would remain a planet and its moon Charon would be reclassified as a planet. Both would be called "plutons," however, to distinguish them from the eight "classical" planets.

A far-out Pluto-sized object known as 2003 UB313 would also be called a pluton. That would make Caltech researcher Mike Brown, who found 2003 UB313, formally the discoverer of the 12th planet. But he thinks it's a lousy idea.

"It's flattering to be considered discoverer of the 12th planet," Brown said in a telephone interview. He applauded the committee's efforts but said the overall proposal is "a complete mess."

By his count, the definition means there are already 53 known planets in our solar system with countless more to be discovered.

Brown and other another expert said the proposal, to be put forth Wednesday at the IAU General Assembly meeting in Prague, is not logical.

For example, Brown said, it does not make sense to consider Ceres and Charon planets and not call our Moon (which is bigger than both) a planet.

IAU members will vote on the proposal Thursday, Aug. 24. Its fate is far from clear.