It was nearly Memorial Day when Unreal realized that our awareness of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer, was less than total. Fortunately, a day spa in Sullivan, Missouri, called the Aliques Skin Institute helped us put a stop to that ugly state of affairs. We got on the horn with Jennessa McDowell, a massage therapist there who wanted to rap about something called COLORESCIENCE SPF 20 TO GO, a powdered sunblock she says is melanoma's worst nightmare. Aliques just happens to be the sole local distributor of the product.
Unreal: So, you say May is Melanoma Awareness Month, right? Surely you know it's also Hamburger Month, Ultraviolet Awareness Month and National Barbecue Month as well. What do all these things have in common?
McDowell: If you're grilling out a whole lot, cooking hamburgers on the grill, you're possibly at risk to melanoma from overexposure to the sun. Also, it's actually kind of a mystery what causes melanoma, but ultraviolet exposure is a huge risk factor.
Wouldn't the best way to be aware of melanoma be to actually contract it? Are you, then, encouraging people to get cancer?
No, absolutely not. But I would encourage people to get regular screenings from their dermatologists. Early detection is the most important thing.
Is dumping bags of COLORESCIENCE SPF 20 TO GO on unwitting nude Party Cove revelers a form of sexual assault, or is such behavior actually laudable?
I think it's a great behavior, and they would appreciate it quite a bit.
Pale is healthy, right? Do you think a return to Victorian Age beauty standards is in order? Should women squeeze into corsets, have super-humongous foreheads and show lots of cleavage but no ankle?
No, I think women should do whatever's comfortable, whatever they feel good about.
Slap Us Silly
Hold your heinies, St. Louis. Chris Camp, 36-year-old Guinness Book record holder in bullwhip cracking, is coming soon to a library near you. (See www.thewhipguy.com for more information.) A whipper since the tender age of twelve, the Springfield, Illinois, native has mastered whip speeds of 900 mph.
Unreal: Are your wrists insured?
Chris Camp: No, but my whips are!
Seems like there'd be some health risks involved.
You learn how not to overwork yourself. Plus, whips don't take a lot of muscle. They're all about timing and finesse.
What kind of skin care is required?
Occasionally in the summer I'll wear riding gloves when I'm whipping, 'cause my hands sweat a lot. Other than that, there's nothing I use for protection.
What else is a whip good for?
Ah, well, you know, traditionally animals.
Do you let friends play with your whips?
What happens to the whip when the whipper drinks alcohol or takes amphetamines?
I'm confident I can do a lot of things, but I'll try even more once I've had a drink or two.
So you break out the whip at parties?
Yeah, and weddings -- anyplace you need a whip handy. I also have two whips made of Kevlar that you light on fire. I equate them to sex: The first time I tried them, I was really nervous, but as soon as I was doing it, I was like, 'Hey, this is awesome!' At the first crack, a big ball of fire shoots off.
Really. How long do they last?
About two minutes.
Ladies like those?
Everybody likes those, man.
If you were a whip, which celebrity would you most like to whip?
It depends on how I was gonna do it. Tim Robbins, to watch him bleed. But if I was doing it to be kinky? God. Rachel McAdams [The Notebook]. She could be part of my show any day. Off the top of my head, that's it -- but I'll look you up when I'm in St. Louis.
LOCAL BLOG O' THE WEEK
"Trub. The sediment of life."
About the blogger: The author is a family man who is on a "quest to find the most edible cereal in the known world."
Recent Highlight (May 18, 2005): Cocoa Puffs
Where do I start with this monster? When I first poured the contents of the Puff Box into my bowl I was reminded of the dog food I had just poured into Fozzy's bowl this morning. Ok. I shouldn't judge it on my first impression, but I have to. I poured the milk in the bowl and it turned into dog poop milk. Ugh. I have a duty to report to you, my three readers, how this cereal tastes so I must trudge on. Ok, so I added the milk and things are looking normal so far. The gigantic balls o chocolate have not disintegrated, so they are a step up from the corn flakes. Here goes the first spoonful.
Mmm. There is a satisfying crunch and a taste that would relate to chocolate even if it was created in a lab. The next few spoon fulls reiterated my thoughts. The pseudo chocolate taste stayed even when the milk began to rear it's ugly head. The puffs were not as bad as I thought they would be. I'll be generous and give it three out of five spoons. Not bad and at the same time not great. I think this is the best rating so far. I sure hope the rest of the cereal on my desk will be at least marginally better.
Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog? Send the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Father of Invention
For most of us, Unreal included, a truly satisfying Eureka! moment comes along once in a red moon.
But the tap water must run gold in Hazelwood. In the past month, inventors in that northern 'burb have filed patent papers for 1) the Vacuum Cleaner Rechargeable Pack and 2) the Back Washer!
Incredulous, we placed a few calls in search of inspiration. And so Unreal is proud to present the wit and wisdom of 64-year-old Billy P. Reid, inventor of the Back Washer, doubtless coming soon to an infomercial near you.
Describe the creative process that led to your revolutionary invention.
My wife washes my back. We wash each other's back. And then I developed a little arthritis. And sometimes she be busy. And that's where the idea come up: to have something to wash your back when the wife couldn't. We're still working on it.
Do you sit on the side of the tub while she washes?
Oh, no, no, no. I stand.
Does she ever jump into the shower?
Oh, yes! That's how we all started washing each other's back.
Really! What else did you wash?
[Laughs] We wash each other's back.
How many fingers will the back washer have?
Oh, the back washer don't have fingers. It's a machine-like washing. And it massages and scratches. It's all rigged up.
Hmmmm. Is this product safe for use by a threesome?
How often do people really wash their backs, though?
You can't get lazy -- you'll get all kinds of blackheads and your wife'll have to bust 'em up. We used to bust each other's blackheads.
What other inventions are in Billy Reid's pipeline?
Well, I have something that I call "Monday Night Football Shower." I can't explain that too much.
Too bad! How about a butt washer?
I don't think that would be necessary.
Because it's easier to clean your butt than your back?
It's better to clean your tail. But you clean your tail yourself.