It's Begun: Planet of the Apes

Monkey Apes Humans by Walking on Two Legs

from Associated Press

JERUSALEM - A young monkey at an Israeli zoo has started walking on its hind legs only — aping humans — after a near death experience, the zoo's veterinarian said Wednesday.

Natasha, a 5-year-old black macaque at the Safari Park near Tel Aviv, began walking exclusively on her hind legs after a stomach ailment nearly killed her, zookeepers said.

Hmmm...you know what? That's a little freaky. 

Two weeks ago, Natasha and three other monkeys were diagnosed with severe stomach flu. At the zoo clinic, she slipped into critical condition, said Igal Horowitz, the veterinarian.

After intensive treatment, Natasha's condition stabilized. When she was released from the clinic, Natasha began walking upright.

"I've never seen or heard of this before," said Horowitz. One possible explanation is brain damage from the illness, he said.

Otherwise, Horowitz said, Natasha's behavior has returned to normal.

Natasha now plots the brutal deaths of 'the hairless ones.' 

Yawning Is Contagious Among Chimpanzees

from Associated Press

TOKYO - Ai, a 27-year-old chimpanzee in western Japan, watches another chimp yawn, quickly rolls back her head and soon is showing the pink inside of her mouth in a gaping yawn of her own.

"It's another good example of how chimpanzees are so like us," Tetsuro Matsuzawa, professor at the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University who took part in the Japan-based study, told the Associated Press Monday.

The study, published this month in the British online journal The Royal Society Biology Letters, says that out of six chimpanzees under observation, two clearly yawned repeatedly in response to videos of other chimps yawning.

Three infant chimps accompanying their mothers did not respond at all, it said.

Meanwhile, none yawned in response to images of other chimps just opening their mouths.

The pattern fits that of humans, Matsuzawa said.

Contagious yawning is thought to be a result of empathy and self-awareness, both of which require a sophisticated intellect, the study concluded.

Previously, it was believed that only older humans yawned contagiously because young children and animals did not have the intellectual development necessary.

But the study said its findings provide further evidence that apes may possess an advanced level of self-awareness and empathy like mature humans.

"Humans have a strong belief in our differences," Matsuzawa said. "Objectively, we should be one member of the apes."


Dungeons & Drag Queens

Date: 06-19-04 10:43 PM

Hey Shadowfoot, I just wanted to say congrats for coming out of the closet [in a post on a message board]. I've seen you post threads and stuff talking about having girl troubles, so yeah. Just wanted to say congrats. *nod*

Date: 07-20-04 10:33 PM

Hey [His Screenname]...

I wrote this long reply to this when I first received this email last month but your inbox was full when I tried to send it so I lost it all. Stupid messaging system!

Thanks so much for this email. I've come out, I guess, a few times on the boards. But only when it's relevant or it makes no sense to be vague, so it's not really that often. I don't think I've ever talked about girl problems, though - don't think I've done that since I was a teenager. But I can be pretty damn slick with those gender-neutral pronouns. :o)

But really, thanks for this email. I'm sometimes a little shocked and disappointed by some of the views on the boards, so it's nice to see the opposite, that someone would stop and write me a little note. It means a lot.


Date: 07-21-04 12:30 AM

Dear Darren

I wanted to reply back again. I kinda need someone to talk to about something on my mind. My bro is currently sitting next to me, and he was yelling about how I haven't experienced anything outside of the computer and how I should go out and live life and all this other stuff (including an off-the-top-the-head lecture on how he is gonna blow up the world. Now he's saying "cookie crisp"). But I just wanted to say even though my brother doesn't think I've lived anything, I think that I have. I mean, my bro hasn't had to go through the same problems I have. I'm currently struggling a lot with my sexuality. My mom cought me the other day looking at inappropriate content, I found out that my friend was gay even though he was the last person anyone would expect to be gay. Well, maybe not the last but he didn't fit the stereotype at all. Then I'm struggling with myself, because I think I might be bi but I can't really tell that many people because of all this stuff and gah. Anyways, I needed someone to talk to and I thought you'd listen. Thanks a lot for reading this if you do.

Very much so respecting fan

Date: 07-23-04 12:45 PM

Hey Oscar…

When I was about 15 or 16, my best friend came out. Aside from sort of disrupting our little group of friends – several of them didn’t want to have anything to do with Jesse after that – it threw me for a spin, because it forced me to confront the feelings I had all my life but had been suppressing and ignoring. I just didn’t let myself think about my attraction to guys, and if I did, I would just say to myself, “Well I’m just asexual, and I just won’t ever have sex” or “Well, I’m bisexual, but I’ll only ever be with a woman.” Anything but admitting to myself that I was gay. But Jesse coming out made me take another look at myself, which was very confusing and uncomfortable, and being around Jesse made me very uncomfortable, because it brought that issue too close to home for me. So Jesse and I drifted apart.

So I sorta understand how a friend’s coming out makes you confront your own feelings, and how uncomfortable that can be. It really threw me for a spin at the time.

It would still be several years before I came out to anyone – I was very ashamed of how I felt (keep in mind this was almost 20 years ago, in ultra-conservative Orange County California, before Will & Grace and Queer Eye, when all I ever heard about gay people was that they were crossdressing child molesting drug addicts with AIDS – and that certainly wasn’t me, so I sunk into denial). And then several years more before I came to a place where I was comfortable to be who I was. And now it’s completely a non-issue for me. It’s just who I am, just like being right-handed or short. I knew how I felt, and that I wasn’t this horrible person all the religious conservatives kept telling me I was. I wasn’t a pervert, I wasn’t promiscuous, I wasn’t molested, I never made a choice, I wasn’t too close to my mom or too distant from my dad, I wasn’t in a phase, I wasn’t a child molester, I wasn’t a drag queen, I didn’t eat feces, I wasn’t a drug addict prostitute hanging out in back alleys, I wasn’t evil, I didn’t deserve to die, etc. I was just me, and in a lot of ways a much better person than the people who said I was evil. I understood who I was and it wasn’t who they said I was, so their opinions became completely invalid. It was (and still is) simple prejudice hiding behind (in most cases) religion. I, for example, don’t have anything that’s ever resembled the “gay lifestyle” I’ve heard so much about. I was in a nine-year relationship (longer than both my mom’s marriages combined), and my current boyfriend’s and my lifestyle consists of cooking dinner, going to movies, watching TV, laughing, hanging out with friends – essentially the lifestyle most straight people have. Yeah, maybe we shop for clothes more than straight people, but we ARE gay after all. So I know I’m not really that different than anyone else. In some ways, I’m probably a little cooler than the humdrum everyman. At least I have an interesting aspect to myself. ;o) And going through what I have, being the only minority it’s okay to actually hate and persecute, has probably made me a better person.

Sorry for that tangent. As for you: I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You sound like you’re probably about 15 or so? You’re growing up in a different world than I did. When I was growing up, they wanted to quarantine gay people and make them register with the government as sex offenders simply for being gay. Can you imagine? Now gays can marry. It’s a very different world, one that is far more accommodating than mine was for someone growing up and questioning his sexuality. The generations before me had it so much worse – so many gay guys tried to be straight that they ended up ruining their lives and the lives of their families and wives. Luckily, we’re in a different world now. There are still places in the country where this type of denial exists – conservative areas of the Midwest and south – but for the most part, everyone knows someone who’s gay, or has seen them on TV. It’s not quite the horrible stigma it used to be.

There is a lot of blurring between being gay and straight, and I think it’s rare if someone is simply 100% one or the other.

You may just be a straight guy who finds guys attractive but finds women amazing, and you may never feel the need to act on the gay attraction or may act on it once or twice just to satisfy the curiosity and then go back to girls; a lot of people are like that, curious but not oriented. Even me. I think Michelle Pfeiffer is kinda hot – you know, for a girl – but I’d never want to do anything with her. But she’s certainly nice to look at. Doesn’t make me straight, though.

You may be truly bisexual, attracted to both guys and girls; I actually think this is the coolest thing to be, to be able to be attracted or fall in love with someone simply because of the person they are and not the gender – it just seems to open up so much opportunity in your life. If you end up bisexual, I’d envy you.

Or you may end up being gay. Honestly, most gay guys spend their teenage years clinging to a bisexuality that actually doesn’t exist for them. They so don’t want to be gay, feel so much family/societal pressure or just shame that they try so hard to like girls. Even Jesse, my friend, came out originally as bisexual, but he eventually admitted to himself that he was gay. But ultimately, as time goes on and they get more comfortable with themselves, they realize that they are simply gay. Most of my gay friends – if not every single one of them – started off dating girls. They look back on those years as eras of denial, when they were coming to terms with and finding out who they really were.

I think most straight guys are probably 95% straight and 5% gay. If they can look at another guy and recognize the attractiveness of that guy, then they’re not 100% straight, and I think most guys are that way, able to recognize the difference between, say, Brad Pitt and Danny DeVito. Look at bodybuilders: They idolize the perfection and appeal of the male body, and can look at the bodies of other men with envy, recognizing the attractiveness of that. So I think bodybuilders are probably 95/5. And that may be all you are.

But you sound like a teenager, so it’s not something you need to act upon now. You may have to wait a couple years until you’re out on your own and feel comfortable – or even have the opportunity – to explore those feelings. You may eventually kiss a guy and realize it doesn’t do anything for you, that it was more interesting to think about than actually do. Everyone has fantasies that are more appealing to fantasize about than actually act out. That may be all this is.

So again, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s a good thing to think about it and, when you feel you’re ready, explore it a little more. But you’re still young, and there’s no reason to rush into anything you’re not ready for: It’s perfectly fine to be confused and curious and just contemplate how you feel. And it sounds like you’re starting in a good place. It sounds like your brother knows how you feel (you said he was next to you when you were typing me that email) and your mom has some sort of inkling (she caught you looking at guys, right?) and your friend came out so you have someone to talk to who might understand how you feel (although I know that could be really awkward), so you’re already in a more open place than most people start off in. So just think about it for now. It may just be a passing curiosity that won’t seem so compelling a few months from now. Or you may feel even moreso a few months from now, in which case you might feel like dipping your toe in the water, maybe going on a date with a guy. I don’t know. It really depends on your environment and where you are emotionally and mentally; you may have to wait a few years to do that.

But there are places you can go, both physically and virtually, to explore how you feel. There are organizations and support groups that cater to what is called “questioning youth,” where you can be around and talk to people who feel like you do. You may do that, and realize it’s not for you after all. Or you might feel a connection and realize that is who you are. Or you may still be confused. There are surely message boards and chat rooms where you can talk with other kids like you (but be careful of predators!). There may be a gay and lesbian community center in your area where you can go and just hang out – play pool, read magazines, talk with others, just sorta see how you feel.

I’m happy you wrote me about this, and I hope I’ve been of some help. If you want to talk about it, I’m always here. I can help you hunt down some of these places (local centers, chat rooms, websites) if you like. Or answer questions or just listen.


Date: 07-25-04 12:28 AM

Thanks Darren.

I wanted to reply saying thank you, but I'm not in such an open community. What I meant to say was that my brother was next to me and I had to keep it short. You see, I think my bro might have an inkling as to my current thoughts on men. He told me flat out one day, "Dude, you know that if dad caught you fucking a guy in the ass he'd ground you for a really, really long time." My mom and dad both spent a lot of their childhood in the Dominican Republic and New York City, the Brooklyn Bronx area. Both places are not very accepting of gays. My dad was raised to think of them as a joke, and still does, and my mother...well, my mother is an Oprah Zombie, so her thoughts on gay guys basically follows the two TV stereotypes, The queer guy for the straight guy "I'm a women in a man's body" type or the "I do cocaine, rape children, cheat on my wife, have sex with my kids and other men but dont think I'm gay" gay. Truth be known, the only open people in my town are my friends, but word spreads like fire in my little town, and it wouldn't be a secret for long if I told the wrong person. I'm currently part of the gay/straight alliance in my school, which is primarily straight females. The two other (pardon the term) gay guys who are part of it aren't really my type. I find one a bit intimidating, as he follows the tight shirt pretty boy queer eye for the straight guy thing, while the other one doesn't enjoy talking openly about it. But he's kinda cute ^_^. He reminds me a bit of a young Bono form U2. I've met a few bisexuals who I wouldnt mind "experimenting" with, but I'm afraid of having my heart broken by them. A lot of them are just real hotties passing themselves from guy to girl and breaking every heart as they go by. I really want to find someone like me, but I doubt I'll be able to in this town. Just about everone I [hang out with] is asexual or seemingly 100% straight. I've talked to a few [of them], gone out to nearby towns and found more open people but still more people who have placed themselves into "being gay is a silly joke" mindframe. It's frustrating. You are right, I am but 16 years old, and I think I'm just looking for someone nice. I've had my heart broken a million times by girls, and a few times by guys. I'm really hesistant to fall in love again, because hell, I've felt heartbreak since the first grade. (If you dont believe me, I can tell you a few stories). I just wanted to clarify a few things and keep in touch with you.

- Oscar.


Alien [30-Second Bunny Theatre]


Halle Out, Jessica In X3?

Halle Storms Off

from Handbag.com

Halle Berry will not be back for a third X-Men movie because her character, Storm, isn't going to be in it enough. The sexy star apparently sees no reason to go back to playing the sidekick when she's just played the superhero star in Batman spin-off Catwoman. "Halle was ready to do X-Men 3, but only if Storm was given more storyline," says our source. "But the studio sees the third movie as a means to wrap up the trilogy, and that means Storm won't be featured more than Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Halle has now passed on the third movie because she's not into bit-parts. She's an Oscar winner and she wants roles that test her." Producers are now looking to singer and actress Christina Milian as a possible replacement.

Newleyweds' Jessica To Dazzle in X-Men 3?

from Cinescape.com

It all began last week with Dark Horizons. A week ago the Australian-based film website published a rumor that singer and emerging actress Jessica Simpson had sent off an audition tape to the producers of X-Men 3, in the hopes that a role could be created for her in the film - specifically, as the mutant singer called Dazzler. The story is credited by Horizons as first appearing in "local news outlets of Spokane, Washington."

And a week later Dark Horizons story has landed in The Irish Examiner. That paper now reports the Simpson/X-Men 3 rumor - except they say she has "landed" a role in X3. Quoting a source, the paper reports "They will possibly give her a small role in X-Men 3 as a lounge-singer to introduce the character of Dazzler."