As reported in the London Daily Mail (why do the British journalists get all the cool stories?) Dr. Oliver Curry, an "evolution expert" at the London School of Economics, is convinced the human species is destined to evolve into two genetically distinct species - a tall, beautiful, brainy upper class and a "dim-witted, ugly, squat, goblin-like" underclass.
But before that happens, Curry theorizes, a golden age of physical perfection will arrive about a thousand years from now. People will be about 7 feet tall, and thanks to better nutrition and advances in medical care they'll live to 120.
"Men will have symmetrical facial features with squarer jaws, look athletic and have deeper voices and bigger penises," the Daily Mail writes. "Women's skin will be lighter with large clear eyes, pert breasts, and glossy hair. Interbreeding will produce a uniform race of coffee-colored people."
So by 3000 AD all the women will look like Beyoncé Knowles? We could do a lot worse.
Alas, the golden age will not last long, Curry predicts. The natural tendency of beautiful, smart, rich people to breed with other beautiful, smart, rich people will cause human evolution to diverge along widely different paths until ultimately we become two species instead of one.
"The report suggests that the future of man will be a story of the good, the bad and the ugly," Curry said.
All of which leaves Upfront wondering which species a guy like Dick Cheney would fit into.
I LUV My Bike
From London's Daily Telegraph (motto: "All the News That Nobody Else Would Print") comes a report that a man has been placed on Britain's sex offender registry for trying to have intercourse with a bicycle.
According to police, Robert Stewart was caught in flagrante delicto in his room at the Aberley House Hostel in southwest Scotland. A police spokeswoman said two housekeepers knocked on Stewart's door and, after getting no reply, opened it with a passkey, whereupon they discovered Stewart wearing a T-shirt and nothing else while "holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex."
The housekeepers, described by the Daily Telegraph as "extremely shocked" (who wouldn't be?), notified the hostel manager, who called police. Stewart pleaded guilty last week to a charge of sexual breach of the peace, and the court ordered him to be registered as a sex offender pending his sentencing in November.
The Daily Telegraph, famous for its in-depth reporting of such matters, noted that this was not the first case of somebody in Britain trying to have sex with an inanimate object: "Karl Watkins, an electrician, was jailed for having sex with pavements in Redditch, Worcestershire, in 1993."
Don't even ask.
The Crack Epidemic Continues
We here at Upfront like to think of ourselves as pretty damn hip when it comes to fashion and generally understanding of the latest youth trends. There's no strict dress code at the corporate offices of the Source Weekly. We pretty much wear whatever we want. We even bit our collective tongues when one of our faithful, hard-working interns showed up in his favorite T-shirt that proudly exclaims "I'm a Whore for Cheap Sex".
But there's one trend we've never really understood. Guys who wear their pants so they sag off their behinds allowing us to see their dirty underwear poking out of the top. We're not talking about just the waistband being visible here. Some offenders have their pants halfway down their derriere and depending on the wearers choice of grundies, you get to see the shape of said wearers rump - crack and all. We're not down with that, yo.
Turns out, a lot of people aren't down with it. As Upfront has previously noted, cities such as Dallas, Shreveport, La, and Stratford, Conn., are all considering passing ordinances against such sloppy styles. And now Dallas gospel rapper Dooney Da'Priest - the Street Priest has taken up the cause. Da'Priest has recorded a song urging youngsters literally tighten their belts.
Sample lyrics to "Pull Your Pants Up" go a little somethin' like this: "If you stand up straight, bet your pants fall./ Might as well walk around with your pants off./ Pull 'em up, pull 'em up, pull 'em up./ Be a real man. Stand up./ Is that your underwear, man? Pull your pants up." You can listen to the song at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15534306.
We don't know about you, but we thank God too for this message from the "Street Priest". Now if only he'd write a song about lowered Hondas with coffee can tailpipes.
Sometimes Armed and Always Dangerous
The terror alert in New York's Hudson River Valley was raised to orange Monday as Vice President Dick Cheney went on a bird hunting trip in Dutchess County.
Deadeye Dick, who is an avid slayer of ducks, quail and other harmless, defenseless fowl, peppered hunting companion Harry Whittington's face with shotgun pellets during an outing in Texas last year. This time Cheney went to the exclusive Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club, where a membership costs more than $150,000 a year.
As Upfront writes this, there were no reports of fatalities or casualties. But neighbors of the shooting preserve weren't taking any chances.
"I don't want him in my backyard," Viva Ttanata, a farmer whose land is next to the club, told the New York Daily News. "He scares me. I'll be keeping my dog inside while he's here."
In another recent Cheney development, the veep was caught nodding off last week during an emergency White House meeting about the Southern California wildfires.
Cheney has been observed apparently napping on at least two prior occasions - during an April 2006 press briefing with President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao, and a month later during a meeting on Iraq. Both times he denied he was sleeping, claiming he was just "looking down at his notes." But that story will be harder to sell this time: The five-minute snooze was caught on video and shown on ABC's Good Morning America.
In still more Cheney-related news, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is continuing to use his distant kinship to the vice president as a rhetorical device on the campaign trail.
"It doesn't help when you put my cousin, Dick Cheney, in charge of energy policy," Obama told a gathering in Iowa on Saturday. "We've been trying to hide this for a long time, by the way. Everybody's got a black sheep in the family."
Cheney's wife, Lynne, disclosed early in October that her husband is an eighth or ninth cousin of the Illinois senator. For his own part, Cheney has been good-natured about the connection: In an interview on CNBC last week, he referred to Obama as "Cousin Barack."
To Upfront's knowledge, however, the two are not planning any hunting trips together.
From Double Fault to Double Down
It's no secret that professional men's tennis has been limping along in the United States despite great play from athletes like Roger Federer on the men's side and Justin Henin on the women's.
Federer is widely regarded as the best player ever to take the court. (He has won 12 grand slam titles since 2003, which is seven more than Tiger Woods has won in the same timeframe on the PGA tour.) Despite Federer's unprecedented dominance, Americans interest in the sport has never been lower. This year's US Open Men's Semifinals had a 1.6 rating, compared to an 11.6 rating for the Giants-Cowboys game the following day.
Tennis commentators have been wondering just what tennis needs to reinvigorate interest in the sport. Upfront suggests that they look to Eastern Europe where the number four-ranked player Nikolai Davydenko has been stirring up controversy and, possibly, interest in tennis with a bizarre betting scandal. Davydenko is under investigation by tour officials after a British gambling outfit refused to pay out on a Davydenko match in Poland when the Russian player forfeited with a foot injury. The betting house said there were irregularities in the betting patterns, which included several large bets (in excess of $1 million) laid down on Davydenko's low-ranked opponent.
Now comes news that tennis officials have fined Davydenko $2,000 for "not trying" in a match last week in St. Petersburg.
Upfront doesn't advocate throwing games or referees rigging outcomes. But a storyline like this - complete with speculation of Russian mafia influence and international betting scandals may be just the kind of thing that pro tennis needs to stoke interest.
After all the ESPN World Series of Poker, a "sporting event" that consists of nothing but betting continues to draw a larger audience than tennis week in and out.