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Sundays Reads: Spit in My Mouth Already, DIY Genetics and What the Pho?

The best of MEL from the Week That Was

It’s 2019, people: Feel free to spit in each other’s mouths.

That’d be the “internet-so-horny” sense of the phrase even your mom would probably get if she saw how much y’all like to talk about swapping spit on the internet. That’s how prevalent it’s become. Hell, search Twitter for “spit in my mouth” and there’s a new tweet every minute or so. In fact, BuzzFeed put “spit in my mouth” in a headline (imagine that happening 10 years ago!).

It’s almost like everyone’s acting brand-new when it comes to a little saliva. But Isabelle Kohn knows that the sexual act of spitting in mouths has been well-loved by kinksters for a long time now. It’s old news!

Still, at the rate it’s growing, we’ll all be babybirding by this summer.

This Week’s Must Reads

The Meteoric Rise and Inevitable Fall of Hotel Porn
For much of the last 30 years, in-room hotel porn seemed like just one of those permanent amenities, like bars of soap and mints on your pillow. Of course you can rent a nasty flick in the privacy of this nearly anonymous rented room. But with the rise and eventual dominance of the internet, our use for a little vacation porn has waned. And now, with most major hotel chains phasing out pay-per-view porn, it’ll soon be gone forever. Brian VanHooker has the story of the struggle to bring — and keep — dirty movies on your hotel room TV.

Edit Yourself
Who likes trudging all the way down to the local science lab just to tweak a couple of genes? Not DIY geneticist Josiah Zayner, the former NASA biophysicist who wants to bring genetic engineering to the comfort of your living room. Zaron Burnett III spoke to Zayner about the existential threats of gene modification, how he negotiates fatherhood with risky self-experimentation (he once injected himself with jellyfish genes to see if he could glow in the dark) and the ethics of shooting oneself up with sealife DNA without any kind of oversight.

What The Pho?
If you run a Vietnamese pho restaurant, a punny name is almost too good to pass up. There are so many possibilities! Given how easy it is to make “pho” (pronounced “FUH”) sound like “fuck,” though, these names have occasionally caused trouble for the restaurants’ owners. And so, Eddie Kim took it upon himself to explore the relationship between dining establishments and joke-y, often vulgar names.

Black Guns Matter
Pro-gun advocacy coalition Black Guns Matter is working to educate urban communities and people of color about the Second Amendment, and how proper knowledge of gun rights can lessen gun violence — and, by proxy, racism directed toward minorities. Harmon Leon spoke to the founder of the group, Maj Toure, about his teachings. Namely: “We aren’t combating guns with more guns — we’re combating ignorance with more information.”

Real-Life Dr. House
You likely know the well-worn trope of the drug-addled doctor on shows like House and Nurse Jackie, but these figures aren’t a figment of Hollywood’s imagination. With increased access to prescription drugs and the immense stress of the job, drug and/or alcohol addiction among physicians is actually more common than drug abuse among the general public. C. Brian Smith talked to doctors who have struggled with addiction about how the job is conducive to the problem, and the new crop of treatment centers and programs designed specifically with them in mind.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All
While the once uber-popular Pokémon Go game may have burned out faster than you can say “Charizard,” the OG Pokémon playing-card game has shown incredible staying power — especially among adults who grew up with the original GameBoy games from the 1990s. And if you’re really good at it, you can even take it pro.

The WWE Ain’t Got Nothing on Poland
If you’ve ever thought that pro wrestling in the U.S. isn’t flashy enough, needs more drama and more actual fighting, you ought to take a look at Poland’s MMA promotion, the KSW. After all, the KSW has far more in common with the WWE than with the UFC, with its stock footage of monster trucks and hulked-out strongmen cos-playing as lab specimens. The only difference, really, is that these dudes fight for real. And what they lack in technique, they make up for in brutality.

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A Man We Loved This Week: Spike Lee

Last Sunday, director Spike Lee finally won his first Oscar. Specifically, he won Best Adapted Screenplay for his film BlackKlansman. Why, though, did it take so long for him to get the acknowledgment he deserves? And why does the Academy still seem so hesitant to make him the first black man ever to win an Oscar for Best Director (which he didn’t take home on Sunday)?

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week

See these words completely in context (and what the fuck they mean) here.

Life-Changing Information We Learned This Week: Pepper To Ease Your High

One time during my sophomore year of college, I was convinced I was going to be the first person to die from a cannabis overdose. I ripped a bong too hard, got a scary text and had a full-blown “call an ambulance” panic attack. Instead, this week I learned I should have just huffed some black pepper. Because, according potheads in the know, and more importantly, to Ethan Russo, a board-certified neurologist who’s written a new study on the subject, specific terpenes in peppercorn can help “tame the intoxicating effects of THC.” All of which means my out-of-control high might have been significantly reduced after nothing more than a whiff of my pepper mill.

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