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Red-headed Beauty

red hairWhile only one in 200 people is a natural red-headed beauty, research by Clairol shows that 30 percent of women aged 18 to 34 who color their hair are choosing to go red. In comparison, only 27 percent choose brown and 26 percent choose blonde. So who’s having more fun now?

Bruce Springsteen and Dolly Parton both sang about the winsome and slightly dangerous beauty of a classic red head.

 

“Your beauty is beyond compare

With flaming locks of auburn hair

With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green.”

Jolene by Dolly Parton

 

 

“Well brunettes are fine, man,

And blondes are fun.

But when it comes to getting a dirty job done

I’ll take a red-headed woman.”

Red-Headed Woman by Bruce Springsteen

 

Your odds of being born a natural redhead go up if you hail from the British Isles. An estimated 10 percent of Irish have red hair (though at least 40 percent carry the recessive gene). In Scotland, redheads run at 13 percent and six percent in England.

Recent research indicates the weather might have something to do with all that ginger.

“The experts believe that the gloomy climate in Scotland prompted a deliberate genetic adaptation. Essentially, this means that red hair helps to take advantage of sunny days and allows the body to absorb more vitamin D,” writes Cathy Hayes in reporting to IrishCentral.com about the Scotlands DNA project. The project’s managing director Alistair Moffat described plans to create a sort of “ginger map” that may help explain the geographical prominence of redheads in an area that has far more cloudy days than sunny.

Redhead science saw its first big breakthrough in 1995 when Professor Jonathan Reese conducted a University of Edinburgh study of redheads. What he found was the melencortin 1 receptor (MC1R) on the 16th chromosome – the single gene responsible for red hair. To get even more scientific, a buildup of phaeomelanin leads to higher chances of being blonde or red. In most people the production of eumelanin (dark brown and black pigments) overpowers the phaeomelanin. MC1R blocks that production and opens wide the door to the beauty of red hair. And, with it, usually fair skin, freckles, light eyes, and left handedness (really, red heads are more likely to be left handed since recessive traits often come in pairs).

As for the fiery temperament so often linked with such red-headed beauties, there’s no scientific evidence to support that claim. Even so, it’s best to avoid using “carrot top” or asking if the carpet matches the drapes. Better safe than sorry.


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Bring out the Celtic Warrior Side of Dad

486523_4358821007811_1206339264_102578811_1255516196_n-1Celebrate the patriarch of the family this year with gifts that will bring out his Celtic warrior side.

1. A Celtic warrior was the man. He was fierce and competitive and downright scary on the battlefield. Alexander the Great himself must have been a wee bit intimidated by the Celts he met. Two thousand years ago, the Greek writer Strabo wrote, “The king [Alexander] received them kindly and asked them when drinking what it was that they most feared, thinking they would say himself, but that they replied they feared no one, unless it were that Heaven might fall on them.”

Give dad his own flask for drinking and see how quickly he fears only Heaven itself.

2. Celtic warriors were hairy and scary. They often stripped naked in order to further intimidate their enemies. “Very terrifying too were the appearance and the gestures of the naked warriors in front, all in the prime of life, and finely built men, and all in the leading companies richly adorned with gold torques and armlets,” wrote Polybius almost 2,000 years ago.

Today’s warrior dad might look great naked, but is more likely to want to intimidate with a dapper shirt and a close shave. Go ahead and celebrate that he can feel fierce without stripping down.

3. Celtic warriors knew how to celebrate a victory. The Celts hosted great parties and were known to throw gold and other tributes into the waters of lakes and rivers in order to thank the gods for battlefield wins.

Remind your warrior dad that there is always time for a party and always something to celebrate. You might even splurge on a gold tribute just for him. Only remind him not to go crazy and toss it into the river.

4. Celtic warriors loved their kilts. Though fighting naked seemed to have its advantages, later generations of soldiers from the British Isles adopted the versatile and stylish kilt as their uniform. The thick fabric skirts were useful for protection on the battlefield, warmth against the elements, and comfort when used as bedding for the night.

Lucky for today’s warrior dad, a kilt is still fashionable, versatile, and just as comfortable when relaxing with some whiskey as when ambushing the enemy.

 


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Somewhere Over the Rainbow…is Ireland

GayIrelandAbstrThe May 22 referendum legalizing same-sex marriage in Ireland might have your Irish Catholic grandpa rolling over in his grave. Or maybe not. Turns out the majority of Catholic voters were actually in favor of the law.

“But for all this talk of a vanishing Catholic Church, Ireland remains a deeply Catholic nation: although more than 62 percent of Irish who voted in the referendum supported same-sex marriage, a full 83.2 percent of the population still claims to be Catholic,” reports Jack Jenkins of ThinkProgress.com.

Ireland was the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote. The other 19 nations and 37 states here in the United States that have legalized same-sex marriage have done so through legislative actions.

The reaction from opponents of the measure was, well, kind. The Iona Institute for Religion and Society issued a statement congratulating the other side on a “very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started.” It went on to state, “we will continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood” and it reminded that the government must “address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”

Will Ireland’s bold statement divide or unite the nation in the end? Time will tell. But the rest of the world can learn from the civilized discussion now taking place as all Irish determine what a broader definition of marriage will mean.

Some, like Tim Stanley in The Telegraph, believe the referendum might actually be a score for conservatives. He writes, “The very campaign for gay marriage could represent a subtle shift towards monogamy and a search for something that transcends all the cruelty of a society hooked on disposability. People are crying out for a more human alternative to this social order.”

The one thing almost everyone agrees upon was stated eloquently by Jenkins: “If the Irish are known for anything, it’s for their rollicking history of fighting to bring oppressive powers low before God.”

Grandpa may not have understood the rainbow flag, but he would be proud of that Irish fight.

 


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