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The Howler Monkey photo from Christian Artuso

The Howler Monkey
The Howler Monkey is among the largest of the New World monkeys. They range in size from 56 to 92 cm, and like many New World monkeys, they have prehensile tails. They have a short snout, and wide-set, round nostrils. Howlers eat mainly top canopy leaves, together with fruit, buds, flowers, and nuts and have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. They move quadrapedally and do not brachiate, usually holding on to a branch with at least two hands or one hand and the tail at all times. They very seldom leave the trees, rest about 80 percent of the time and are considered the least active of all monkeys.

   

 

Make Love Not War

by

John Rachel

By the time the eight days of Spring Break finally rolled around middle of March, both Billy and Natalie were suffering from a serious case of burn-out. They were more than ready for a serious respite from the daily grind of campus life, and longing for a dramatic change of scenery from Cornell.

On the web they found a "theme hotel," called the Motel California, featuring rooms decorated around motifs commonly identified with locations in California or the lifestyle there.

""Whoa! Check this out. Hollywood Boulevard. Suite on the Beach Boys. Beverly Hills 90210. Surf City. Sunset and Vine. Castro Street San Francisco."

"I think that's for gay couples."

"No Cuban cigars?"

"Or dictators."

Motel California was in the Poconos, just across the state line in northeastern Pennsylvania. Though it was last minute, they were able to get a reservation. They arbitrarily chose the Disneyland Suite and the next morning off they drove in a rental car to "the happiest place in the world".

It was the third week of March 2003.

While Billy and Natalie were holed up in the Motel California huddled in each other's embrace, there were thousands of people in another part of the world holed up and huddled as well.

Shock and awe.

That was what they called the raining down on Baghdad of tens of thousands of pounds of explosives as punishment for Sadam Hussein's refusal to cede his iron-fist rule over Iraq, as demanded by George W. Bush and the cobbled-together Coalition of the Willing.

The message was unequivocal: Do as we say or we kill you.

So the innocent citizens of Iraq -- young and old, men, women, children -- already struggling to survive the aftermath of the Iraq-Iran war, the punishing defeat of Operation Desert Storm, and cruel sanctions imposed on their country because of the tyrannical rule of a ruthless and sinister Sadam Hussein, were now holed up below the ground, huddled against one another, trembling and fearful as explosion after explosion wreaked unfathomable terror and destruction to their cities, homes, temples, schools, hospitals, museums, and mosques.

People were holed up and huddled.

Billy and Natalie.

The citizens of Iraq.

The same three days.

Let's do some war math.

In the first 72 hours of the air assault on the relatively defenseless country, over 1000 cruise and other sophisticated missiles leveled building after building, vaporized or dismembered thousands of civilians, and sent tens of thousands of screaming citizens scrambling from one burning building to another. Smart and dumb bombs alike, launched by technological miracles like the F-117A Stealth Fighter, and dropped in random carpet bombing by bohemoth cargo airships of death like the stalwart B-52, also ran into the thousands. Some of these bombs were so massive their destructive capabilities rivaled nuclear devices.

The air assault impersonally and efficiently almost completely destroyed the infrastructure required to support the millions of people crammed into Baghdad and other urban centers, which dot the vast uninhabitable sea of hot sand that comprises 98% of the country of Iraq. The people who survived the initial shock and awe faced a long difficult battle. They would be holed up and huddled for some time to come.

Now let's do some love math.

In that same 72 hours, Billy and Natalie made love 11 times. Billy's orgasm count was 14. Natalie's was 27.

Let's take this a step further.

There are over 6 billion people in the world.

For arguments sake, let's safely assume that about half of them are coital capable-and-ready.

That's 3 billion.

Let's say that half of those are in some sort of relationship or have within their immediate range of options someone to make love to.

Now we're at 1 billion.

Let's conservatively say that each of the 1 billion has sex once a week, resulting in a happy ending, meaning an orgasm.

That would suggest that during the three day shock and awe bombardment of Baghdad, 3 out of 7 of the 1 billion coital capable-ready-and-accessible had happy-ending sex.

Click click click equal sign.

So while thousands of bombs were being dropped on thousands of people in Baghdad, there were over 600,000,000 people having orgasms.

Let's see.

Drop bombs = kill people.

Or.

Make love = happy ending.

Hmmm.

Tough call.

Following the make-love = happy-ending scenario along with 600 million others, no one died, no one had their arms or legs shot off, no one was blinded or crippled for life. Both Billy and Natalie emerged from their experience with blissful smiles and hopeful dreams for the future.

Probably a good number of the other 600 million did as well.

President Ronald Reagan, one of the most popular presidents in recent history, probably because he articulated an easily-grasped vision of the world unencumbered by logic and uncomplicated by fact or historical perspective, had a favorite phase he used to completely baffle and disarm his critics. It was one of those perfect combinations of words, for which American English seems particularly adapted. It said absolutely nothing but managed to bring to a complete halt any further equivocation, or for that matter any further intelligent communication. The phrase was . . .

There you go again.

Yup.

There we go again.

It does kind of sum it all up.

The repetition. The familiar patterns. The cyclical nature of things.

Birth. Life. Death. Birth. Life. Death.

The good and the bad. All the glory and tedium that defines us.

The dreams. The despair. The optimism and pessimism. Triumphs and catastrophes. Boldness and cowardice. Daring and fear. Celebrity and anonymity. Order and chaos.

There we go again.

Yup.


John Rachel has a B. A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, is a songwriter and music producer, and a left-of-left liberal. Prompted by the trauma of graduating high school and having to leave his beloved city of Detroit to attend university, the development his social skills and world view were arrested at about age 18. This affliction figures prominently in all of his creative work. He is author of two full-length novels, From Thailand With Love and The Man Who Loved Too Much. He is currently living in Japan.

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