Bean Crud

Unreal gets a headache over potential Botoxing. Plus, we put our carnivorous tendencies aside to pen an anti-meat poem.

When Unreal broke last month's story that St. Louis ranks as the nation's No. 5 "hot spot" for migraines, no one could have anticipated the extent of the problem. We shook the headache tree, all right: Further checking of our e-mail inbox reveals that 63 percent of respondents in a recent online survey said they treat their achy craniums with over-the-counter medications.

It gets worse: The National Headache Foundation, the Chicago-based nonprofit that conducted said survey, says 67 percent of headache sufferers say over-the-counter drugs don't help.

The folks who bring us high-octane migraine pharmaceuticals like Axert and Topamax would tell you to ditch the Tylenol and roll out the heavy artillery. But Unreal has other plans for our liver; we don't intend to surrender precious liquor-clearing cells in exchange for a few measly headache pills. So we consulted the world's top minds, asking them one simple question:

Mike Gorman

What's the best way to naturally cure a headache?

"A cup of coffee or tea. It can take care of it in an hour. Have you heard about the new American Express Rewards Plus Gold Card? — Anand, American Express customer service representative, Bombay, India

"Prayer. The whole basis of Christian Science is to restore healing as in the time of Jesus. If we feel our own efforts are not sufficient, we'd ask for help from a healing practitioner and ask for their help through prayer." — Merribeth Cook, treasurer, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Brentwood

"I really need to know palm, pulse and ask for the details of what type of headache the person has. There are different herbs, and I'd need to make a different formula for each headache. The acupuncture is very flexible. You need to evaluate what type of headache so you can choose which channel or which herbs." — Ling Li, acupuncturist, Oriental Healing Clinic, Richmond Heights

"I wouldn't recommend anything. Most people start with an over-the-counter product, but if they're exceeding the dosage most people should be seeing their healthcare provider. These are not innocuous substances. Even though people think of them as 'natural,' it doesn't mean that they couldn't have side effects." — Suzanne Simons, executive director, National Headache Foundation, Chicago

"My father used ginger, garlic and red onion. He'd chew it. He'd get a runny nose, and then he'd get well. I just take Advil or Tylenol." — Zewdu Lakew, clerk, A & Z Package Liquors, St. Louis

Chow Time
Two state senators recently issued a press release expressing their outrage at two "anti-meat, anti-farmer" questions that appeared in materials used to prepare students for the state-mandated Missouri Assessment Program test.

Republican senators John Cauthorn (Mexico) and Bill Stouffer (Napton) say children are being fed propaganda by a Connecticut-based company called Queue Inc.

One objection involves a passage called "Why Be Vegetarian," which students must read and then write about. The other concerns a poem test-takers must interpret, which includes the following couplet:

Your brain could rot from eating beef

from Mad Cow disease there is no relief

"They were using that to scare kids about eating beef," Stouffer tells Unreal. "Number one, it's not scientifically right, and number two, it's not the purpose of the test."

Cauthorn and Stouffer, it should be noted, farm cattle. "I do have a steak in this — and I mean a steak," notes Stouffer. "I love steaks. I have both kinds of stakes in this."

Unreal loves steak, too. But we also once wrote an essay called "Anti-Meat Poetry in Pre-Raphaelite Literature." So we figured the least we could do is write the rest of the poem.

Ergo:

"Your Brain Could Rot from Eating Beef"
Your brain could rot from eating beef
From Mad Cow disease there is no relief.
Got a hankering for some duck?
Shotgun lead will numb your pluck.
Maybe we should roast some veal?
Better yet, just club a seal.
A chunk of flank, a rib-eye steak...
Murderer! Venal snake!
Have some pork, load the larder,
Between pigs and us, they're the smarter.
Roast a chicken, that's delicious.
Caveman hungry, he is vicious.
Anti-farmer, anti-meat!
Carnivores we must defeat!

About Face
Unreal has sallied forth to the Ritz-Carlton for a rendezvous with a charming ophthalmic plastic surgeon. Her name is Dr. Deborah D. Sherman, but her colleagues call her "Dr. Deborah Dale Detail." She has come from Nashville to promote Botox. The way she feathers her short hair a good four inches away from her forehead brings to mind Daryl Hannah in the second half of Steel Magnolias. Her Southern drawl is so sweet, we feel a cavity comin' on just sittin' and listenin' to her.

She has a narrow, dainty face made smooth with fillers and Botox. The latter she injects into the mugs of country music stars. Unreal has been promised a facial analysis, from which we will learn how people respond to us based on our appearance.

"Generally I give a patient a Q-tip, which I call the Magic Wand, and say: 'Point to what bothers you.' Then I try to explain why you have that concern," the good doctor begins.

Actually, Unreal's pretty satisfied with our face. "You tell us," we counter. "What's our face saying?"

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