Hard Times Ahead

Unreal gets all hot and bothered over some very special plants (and a rather steamy billboard) and finds the key to St. Louis' revival. Plus, a local blogger is driven mad by public breastfeeding.

Is it Unreal's imagination, or is the ficus before us blooming with erotic possibility? No, it must be our newly adopted regimen of Hot Plants, a libido-enhancing botanical supplement developed by University of Massachusetts-Amherst "Explorer-in-Residence" Chris Kilham.

Combining herbal aphrodisiacs from around the globe, the 52-year-old "medicine hunter" promises his pills will shift your sex drive into overdrive. For those of us wanting more action and more info, Kilham has recently penned the accompanying book, Hot Plants: Nature's Proven Sex Boosters for Men and Women. Our thumbs greening, Unreal recently got Kilham on the line for some sexual healing.

Unreal: So, what are Hot Plants?

University of Massachusetts-Amherst "Explorer-in-Residence" Chris Kilham: Hot Plants are proven sex-enhancing plants from India, China, parts of the Amazon, the Middle East -- all over the place. I spent ten years traveling all over the world investigating different plants that have significant benefits from a sexual standpoint.

Sounds like you do some pretty hands-on research.

Among other things, yes. You can't really know a plant unless you put it in your body. If a plant is supposed to give energy, well, I want to find out. If it's a sexual enhancer, I want to know. I can say that it really isn't that much fun to be completely horny on the road in a foreign country, but I've certainly been horny on every continent.

Do you travel solo, or do you have a traveling companion?

I've done both. I prefer to travel with my girlfriend, but I've traveled solo a great deal in the course of doing this research. That's been challenging.

You sound like the ultimate sex tourist.

You know, I'm not. I'm really focused on the plants, versus, say, sex shows. While I'm interested in the different sexual-cultural things of particular countries, that's not my focus. I'm really about the plants and giving people something other than potentially very dangerous drugs to help improve their sex lives.

Speaking of those drugs: Viagra can deliver a 36-hour erection. What will Hot Plants do for me?

The difference is that most of the Hot Plants enhance your body's natural capacity for sexual activity, so whenever you want it, you're ready. It's not like: "Oh God! I need to take this pill, because it looks like I'm going to get lucky in an hour."

Do some of the indigenous people that you've traveled among have better sex lives than, say, your average couple from Akron?

I don't know. I think that in the United States we're comparatively uptight and voyeuristic relative to some of the cultures I've seen.

So are you pretty much horny 24/7?

I do okay for a 52-year-old guy. I feel like I have the libido of a twenty-year-old, which sometimes is very annoying. But I definitely feel pretty vital that way. There's no such thing as a placebo erection.

LOCAL BLOG O' THE WEEK

"The Mindset of a Champion"

www.byroncrawford.com

Author:Bol Guevara, MD, along with other contributors

About the blogger: Guevara writes as his alter ego, Brother Byron Crawford, a born-again ex-boozer.

Recent Highlight (June 10, 2005):

Now, it's my opinion that there's never, ever, at any point, an excuse for a woman to be breastfeeding a child in public. If the baby is hungry, then it needs be fed before it leaves the house. If the baby is out of the house long enough that it needs to be fed again, then it needs to be returned to wherever it came from. After all, it's a baby, not a camel. If, for some sort of unforseen reason, the baby is out and can't wait until it's home to be fed, then that needs to take place in a restroom just like any other activity that involves the whipping out of nasty bits.

No homo, of course, on the fact that I don't want to see any women's boobs in public unless it's costing me at least a dollar (not counting the $10 surcharge), but it's been my experience that there's no such thing as a hot woman that breastfeeds. As can be seen above, any time you see a woman with her tit in a kid's mouth, it's some big, floppy, pale thing, not to mention the possibility of spotting one that's got motherfucking hair on it. Now that's just wrong!

You would think that it might occur to these so-called lactivists that if they were really looking to sway people's opinions to the cause of public breastfeeding, that they might go and find the 30 best-looking titties in town and have them all out on display instead, but that's women for you: They're so wrapped up in their cause that they can't even make a titty look good.

Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog? Send the URL to unreal@riverfronttimes.com.

Elms Away

J.P. Hansel is wild about elm trees. The executive director and founder of New Hampshire's Elm Research Institute says elms are key to reviving any city center. And since our city center could use a little sprucing up, Unreal gave him a jingle.

Unreal: Is there any way we can go off speakerphone?

J.P. Hansel, who founded the institute in 1967: Is it no good? How's that?

Fine. How do you convince kids today that elms are better than, say, Jell-O pudding pops?

You talking about Boy Scouts or something like that? Well, if you want to leave your footprint in the sands of time, you don't do it by selling Cracker Jacks. You want something to be proud of next year, twenty years from now. When you're a grandfather, and you look up there, 100 feet tall -- you did it.

Which factors contribute more to the revival of a city center: a) a combination of local government tax incentives, b) the reversal of white flight, c) an insurgent arts scene or d) elms?

I think having nature as part of the city is an invaluable asset. We have a program where we say, "Take out every fourth parking space and put an elm in it, and you will change downtown forever." It puts a softness to all of man's hard commercial storefronts and buildings.

What does the Lorax think of all this?

This is the reason I had the speakerphone on, because it's difficult for me to hear you. Let me try the other ear. See if it whistles. I've got a hearing aid in this ear. That whistle to you? OK. So, the elm is unique -- they rise up like a fountain, totally statuesque.

How many elms had to die to print these 2,000-word press releases?

I'm not sure I understand you. [Adjusting phone] We lose less than 1 percent American Liberty Elms. The tree shakes off disease. Was that your question?

If Billboards Could Talk

This week Unreal finds ourself pondering the billboard for gay chat line Interactive Male, viewable heading west on Delmar Boulevard toward the Loop. What might this surf-soaked beefcake have on his mind?

A) "What's this 'gay chat line' shit? My agent told me I was auditioning for Baywatch!"

B) "How 'bout some briny, wet balls?"

C) "Forget Key West! Nothing screams sun and and promiscuous gay sex like summertime in St. Louis!"

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