Poor JFK. What a hard life. Two of the world’s most beautiful women battled it out over him whenever he wasn’t busy acting as the charismatic and dashing President of the United States, not to mention reign as King Arthur over Camelot. Jackie’s Camelot was seated in Washington D.C., the White House, to be precise. She was certainly an appropriate Lady Guinevere, conducting herself with grace and a unique style that was unprecedented in fashion. When she made her “coming out” appearance, she was dubbed debutante of the year by Hearst columnist, Igor Cassini. Jackie made as strong an impact for her beauty and style, as did Marilyn. Ironically, Jackie and Marilyn shared Irish roots. yet the comparison ends there.
One is the story of a woman and her survival in a world where she was orphaned and exploited by people for her entire career. The other is a woman besieged by nearly impossible and highly constricting social expectations. The one thing these incredibly different women shared was a love for an emotionally void man who cared far more for himself than either of them, or anyone else for that matter. Although she began her iconic life as Jacqueline Bouvier, then Kennedy, the First Lady eventually became known in pop culture as Jackie O, the wife of billionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Although Onassis proved to be another womanizer, the unlikely pair remained married until Onassis’ death in 1975. Jackie was a traditional, stalwart, religious woman who didn’t believe in divorce, even when she suffered the humiliation and loneliness brought upon her by a wayward husband. Somehow Jackie emerged with her dignity intact, too revered in elite, socialite circles to become the target of gossip.
The 1960s Jackie carved out an iconic niche for herself in political and fashion history, inspiring millions of women to wear her box-shaped jacket and skirt sets, jaunty hats perched smartly to one side and short, ladylike gloves. Fashion at that time was in a transition from that of the 1950s housewife in commercial ads: puffy-sleeved dresses and swirling skirts, emphasizing a tiny waistline and accentuated with sensible, two-inch heels. Jackie’s look was fresh and innovative, embracing the trendy 60′s with a dose of finesse. Designers worldwide stole her look and brought it to the catwalks. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and preservation of historic architecture, her style, elegance, and grace. Her famous pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat became symbols of her husband’s assassination and one of the lasting images of the 1960s.
Jacqueline Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929, to Janet Lee Bouvier and John (Jack) Vernon Bouvier III. Janet and Jack had a troubled marriage resulting from his womanizing ways. The pair were divorced in 1940, an event that devastated the young Jackie who was close to her father. It is possible Jackie was able to tolerate Jack and Aristotle’s philandering because her first male role model demonstrated this very behaviour. Jackie grew up believing men could never be faithful. Jackie lived with her mother, who in 1942 remarried Hugh Dubley Auchincloss, Jr., a lawyer from a wealthy old family. Jackie’s mother’s remarriage created conflict in the family. Although Jackie adored her father she saw less and less of him, especially after her mother and stepfather moved their family to Washington, D.C.
Marilyn Monroe, aka Norma Jean Mortenson or Baker, was an icon unto her own right. She couldn’t have been more opposite to Jackie if she’d worked at it. She was the best-known Hollywood actress in history, a buxom, voluptuous, platinum blonde, with candy apple red lipstick and a penchant for tight dresses and high heels. Marilyn hailed from humble roots and relative poverty. Like Jackie, her childhood was fraught with conflict within her family. She was one of two daughters born to Gladys Pearl Baker Mortenson, a pretty, brunette Irish woman who worked as a film cutter in Los Angeles. Norma Jeane’s uncle, Otis Elmer Monroe, died when syphillis invaded his brain as an infant. Gladys was a divorcee and single mother when Marilyn was born. Her first two children, Norma Jeane’s half-siblings, were Berniece Baker and Robert Kermit Baker. They were kidnapped by her estranged husband. Jasper Baker. Gladys later located them in Kentucky, but soon returned to Los Angeles without them.
Gladys was a paranoid schizophrenic who was hospitalized for many years. Unable to care for Marilyn, Gladys placed her child into the foster system. Norma Jeane’s exit from the foster system was a la marriage at 16 years old to her 20-year-old neighbour, Jim Doughtery. Many years after Marilyn’s death Dougherty would state in an interview, “I wasn’t married to Marilyn Monroe. I was married to Norma Jean Dougherty. I didn’t know Marilyn Monroe. She was a movie star. She was a stranger to me.” According to Monroe, Gladys’ second brother, Marion, committed suicide via hanging upon his release from an asylum, and Marilyn’s great-grand-father did the same in a fit of depression. It would appear that Marilyn Monroe’s life was littered with mental illness and suicide, a grim foreshadowing of her own future fate.
Marilyn was divorced from her third husband, Arthur Miller, when she became involved in a passionate affair with the President. They had met many years before but for both young hopefuls, their careers were foremost in their minds and they’d parted ways. Now it was a decade later and opportunity presented itself for both celebrities. JFK was smitten with the celebrity scene. He enjoyed the company of the Rat Pack, specifically Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra. It was through this circle that JFK became re-acquainted with Marilyn. For JFK, the attraction was obvious. Marilyn was a sexy, glamorous movie star. For her part, Marilyn had been an illegitimate child and never knew her father’s identity. JFK’s power made him appear as a handsome and protective lover, almost a father figure. JFK, on the other hand, regarded Marilyn in the same way he regarded all of his extramarital liaisons: she was a temporary sexual fling, nothing more, even with her celebrity status. Her sex appeal was all that very briefly lured him into her bed. He might have seen her eight times at most but somehow Marilyn made it into something much bigger in her own mind. In spite of her being the world’s sex goddess it mattered little to her that JFK had the unmanly reputation as a “2-minute man”. Marilyn wasn’t seeking sex from the President. She used sex to get close to him. She needed him for a sense of personal identity and security.
So delusional was Marilyn, she often told friends she was going to replace Jackie Kennedy as the First Lady of the United States, going so far as to contact Jackie herself on the telephone to tell her JFK was about to file for divorce. Jackie’s cool reserve never faltered. She assured Marilyn she had no problem allowing the actress to wed Jack but added that the movie star would have to travel to India, live in the White House, care for their children, and conduct many unglamorous duties. Gobsmacked, Marilyn had no retort. Jackie hung up, triumphant. Strangely, Jackie was more affected by the telephone call and by Marilyn Monroe than anyone knew. She was furious with Marilyn’s audacity and humiliated by Jack’s behaviour. Of all JFK’s affairs, the one with Marilyn worried her the most mainly because of the type of behaviour that led Marilyn to contact her on the phone. Marilyn was a loose cannon and seemed capable of anything including revealing details of her affair with the president, bringing public ridicule to the Kennedy family. Yet Marilyn was something of an obsession. Jackie adopted her voice and some of her mannerisms. In fact, to listen to Jackie without knowing it was her, you might think it was Marilyn speaking.
After the telephone call all hell broke loose in the Kennedy household. , Mrs. Kennedy put her foot down squarely on Jack’s head and told him to break off all contact with Marilyn Monroe. Meekly Jack agreed and indeed Marilyn was never able to reach the President on his private line again. Where once she’d spoken to him several times a week now Marilyn found JFK’s line disconnected. She contacted the main White House line and was told Jack was permanently indisposed. Flummoxed, Marilyn managed to contact his brother Robert and ask him to intervene for her. Although intrigued with his brother`s mistress Robert did nothing of the kind, pleased that Jack had come to his senses about the controversial film star. After this dual rejection Marilyn became despondent. She was suffering many losses at that time. Her career was faltering. She worried that she was losing her celebrity as she aged. Ultimately Marilyn took her own life on August 4, 1962. She was 36 years old.
The battle between Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe aka Norma Jeane Baker-Mortensen was over, with Jackie as usual, the victor.
Have you ever wondered why anyone would become involved in espionage? That didn’t really cross my mind until I read about the glamorous red-headed Russian spy Anna Chapman (her married surname). Chapman is the stuff of James Bond films: goddess body, pretty face, Breck Girl hair. She’s the type of spy that makes you believe espionage must indeed be a life of glamour and sex, since clearly both were a part of her espionage repertoire. Lest you think Chapman is merely a prop however, she speaks five languages, has a master’s degree in economics from Moscow University, and her father, Vasily Kushchenko, may be a senior KGB official, although this is unsubstantiated.
Anna is a Russian national who was residing in New York City when she was arrested, along with nine others, on June 27, 2010 on suspicion of working for the Illegalas Program spy ring under the Russian Federation’s external intelligence agency for the SVR (Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki). Chapman pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General (how sneaky) and was deported back to Russia on July 8, 2010, as part of a prisoner swap (must have swapped her with a Playboy Bunny). She met Alex Chapman at a London Docklands Rave Party in 2001 and they married in Moscow. As a result she gained dual Russian–British citizenship, and a British passport. How convenient. one block from Wall Street in Manhattan. Her LinkedIn site profile identified her as CEO of PropertyFinder LLC, a website selling real estate internationally. Anna told him the enterprise was continually in debt for the first couple of years, and then suddenly in 2009, she had as many as 50 employees and a successful business. In late December 2010 Chapman was appointed to the public council of Young Guard of United Russia. According to the organization, she “will be engaged in educating young people,” (in what, they didn’t say).
On January 21, 2011, Chapman began hosting a weekly TV show in Russia called Secrets of the World for REN TV (I swear I’m not making this stuff up). She testified to the closed trial in absentia of Col. Alexander Poteyev that took place in Moscow in May and June 2011 that it was only Poteyev who could have provided the U.S. authorities with the information that led to her arrest in 2010. She alleged she was arrested after an undercover U.S. agent contacted her using a code that only Poteyev and her personal handler could know. The jerk.
Chapman wrote a column for Komsomolskaya Pravda. In October 2011 she was accused of plagiarising material on Alexander Pushkin. The Guardian reported that this added to a negative trend toward her and in September 2011, she had been “heckled during a speech on leadership at a St. Petersburg University“. Students displayed signs stating: “Chapman, get out of the university!” and “The Kremlin and the porn studio are in the other direction!” Chapman’s foundation supported the second International Сonference “The Genetics of Aging and Longevity” in Moscow, where top world aging scientists present their speeches, including researchers who presented the results of experiments using anti-aging drugs on animals. Anna must have picked up that stuff, judging by the look of her body. In 2012 it was reported that Chapman almost caught a senior member of U.S. President Obama’s cabinet in a honeytrap operation wherein the bisexual Chapman plan would have seduced her target before extracting information from him or her.
Officials claimed Chapman worked with a network of others, until an undercover FBI agent attempted to draw her into a trap at a Manhattan Coffee Shop. The FBI agent offered Chapman a fake passport at Starbucks, with the instructions to forward it to another spy. He asked, “are you ready for this step?“, to which Chapman unequivocally replied, “Of course”. She accepted the passport. However, after making a series of phone calls to her father Chapman handed the passport in at a local police station, but was arrested shortly after. After being formally charged, Chapman and nine other detainees became part of a spy swap deal between the United States and Russia, the biggest of its kind since 1986. The ten Russian agents returned to Russia via a chartered jet that landed at Vienna International Airport, where the swap occurred on the morning of July 8. After her deportation to Russia, it was revealed that Chapman wished to stay in the UK and was “particularly upset” by the revocation of her UK citizenship and exclusion from the country. Poor baby. I’m sure she will find someone to take her in.
Actually I think Chapman is pretty cool. She’s too good to believe yet she is real. After her disgraced deportation, she wasn’t jailed or jeered. She tweeted a marriage proposal to Edward Snowden. She became a sexy model in Moscow and the U.S. She was featured on the cover of Maxim, has been interviewed by countless reporters and ended up with her own TV show. “I never pictured myself as a TV star,” she admitted in an interview. Yet she envisioned herself as an international spy. Love it.
Who knows how any human being is fodder for international espionage? Let’s say you’re intrigued enough with Anna Chapman that you are seriously considering a career in espionage. There are interesting steps you may wish to pursue in order to join, say, the CIA:
- You need a university degree in your area of specialization. The CIA seldom recruits actual spies. They tend to need people in many other, far less glamorous occupations.
- You must be able to pass all background checks.
- you must be a U,S. citizen.
- don’t abuse drugs
- don’t gamble
- associate with squeaky clean people
- be physically and mentally fit to the nth degree
- it wouldn’t hurt to have military experience
- You are expected to work for the CIA for the duration of your career.
- The CIA sees itself as one big happy family. You will be placing your work ahead of your real family and will be expected to work in teams.
- The Agency has its own community. The George Bush Center has its own food court, gym, walking paths, clothing stores, recreational clubs and more. (In other words, they want you with them as much as possible…are you starting to feel owned? You should).
- having studies with emphases on international relations, law, technology, political science, history, security studies, economics or finance, mathematics, journalism, and anything requiring analytical skills, are advantageous.
- Learn at least one other language. Languages in high demand include Mandarin,Farsi (Persian), Pashto, Dari, Russian (Anna Chapman offers private lessons if you’re interested), and Arabic.
- learn people skills including how to make people like you. Arrogance, egoism and inflated self-importance will get you fired.
- If you see life in absolutes (“he is wrong, I am right“), then it’s likely you’re not going to be a good choice.
- Be physically fit. You will be put through rigorous physical testing.
- Be mentally fit. You will be tested to your limits in training to see how you handle emotional pressure. In addition, you might be captured and tortured. You never pictured James Bond in that predicament, did you?
- Be prepared to relocate. Often.
- you’ll never be a millionaire…your salary will be a lot lower than people with similar qualifications in the corporate sector.
If you still want to be James Bond (or Anna Chapman) I salute you.
Watch your ass.
Admittedly I have been taking pot shots at Michael Bryant in this blog, perhaps unfairly since the whole Darcy Sheppard thing. You know, the tragic tale where Bryant supposedly dragged Sheppard with his car for several metres, slamming him into a mailbox and finally killing him. On August 31, 2009, Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death. Days later he resigned as CEO of Invest Toronto, while maintaining that he was innocent of the charges. On May 25, 2010, all charges against Bryant were withdraw when prosecutors cited the cyclist was the aggressor in the incident and that the charges would be impossible to prove or disprove. At least this was the story back then. Here is a youtube video (admittedly it is quite grainy).
In his book 28 Seconds: A true Story of Addiction, Tragedy, and Hope. The story now unfolds like this: According to Bryant his vehicle stalled when he stopped behind Sheppard on Bloor Street. His car then lurched forward from his attempts to restart the vehicle which brought the car close to, or in contact with, Sheppard’s tire. Expert analysis of security camera footage confirmed the car’s headlights dimmed in a manner consistent with this explanation and that the vehicle had a “sensitive and light clutch”. No damage to the bicycle’s rear wheel rim was evident. Witnesses said that Sheppard confronted Bryant and his wife “loudly and aggressively” while they “remained passive.” The car’s next movement resulted in Sheppard ending up on the hood of the car. The car travelled 30 feet, lasted 2.5 second, the car’s speed was between 9 and 13.4 km/h and brakes were applied after 1 second. According to Bryant he was looking down trying to restart the vehicle and applied the brakes when he saw Sheppard on the hood. This was the initial accident, and in all truth that’s what it was at that point; an accident. It was when Sheppard grabbed onto the sideview mirror in an effort to continue his attack, that Bryant’s behaviour turned criminal.
The crown determined there was no evidence Sheppard was seriously injured at this point and there was not enough evidence to justify a separate charge based upon Bryant’s driving. The fatality occurred when Bryant drove away and Sheppard grabbed hold of the side of the vehicle. The car veered into the opposite lanes, Sheppard’s body struck a fire hydrant knocking him off the car and his head hit the pavement. There were witnesses who said it appeared Bryant had attempted to knock Sheppard off the car by striking him against trees and mailboxes. There were also witness reports that Sheppard reached into Bryant’s convertible and grabbed Bryant or the steering wheel. Bryant parked his car around the corner and called 911. Sheppard later died of his injuries in hospital.
Bryant gave TVO an interview with Steve Paikin in 2012 about his book. He looks haggard; grey-haired, slumped and thinner, large bags under his eyes. The cocky politician from previous years is nowhere to be seen. Nonetheless, Bryant opens up. “People want to talk about it. It is very awkward…’oh you’re that Michael Bryant,’ I wanted to talk about it because sometimes, not often, I would go into a social setting and suddenly it was a wake, or a shiva…until somebody makes the first joke it’s just tense.” Here’s a mind-blow: Sheppard was the drunkard who got dragged, but Bryant himself is an alcoholic. Paikin says frankly, “so you were the Attorney General, an alcoholic and as the cliche goes ended up in the gutter sometimes and you managed to do your job.” Bryant responds correctly “there are some people who are high-functioning alcoholics in this world.” I agree with him. I know this to be true. “I had basically someone hold up a mirror to me and it’s when you undergo that rigorous honesty with yourself, and then you see what’s really going on, that’s when one comes to realize you’ve just got to give up.” Talk about opening yourself up to public scrutiny. Bryant’s full admission leaves him with nothing to hide behind. Forrest Gump said it best, “sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.”
Obligingly, Bryant reads his account of the fateful 28 seconds to Paikin:
I put the SAAB in reverse. As I was looking back Sheppard hurled his backpack containing a heavy bike lock at us. It went sailing over my head. I put the car in first gear and tried to drive around him. Outraged, he raced toward the front of the car. I remember Susan screaming ‘oh my God’ over and over. Chasing after us, he leapt at the SAAB as if in slow motion, Sheppard landing hip-first to break his fall, the way you see stuntmen as cops do the hood-slide on crime shows [they should clean up that video and make it into a CSI episode] . It made a crunching noise. I felt the impact of a man over 200 pounds landing on my car. He then grabbed the windshield wiper and bent it back towards him. He began pulling himself toward me hand over hand, as if the wiper were a rope. The strength of the man was extraordinary. he seemed almost superhuman [gasp from audience]. His upper torso was now on the hood’s edge of the driver’s side, the car moving forward. He swung around, put his right arm inside the door, his left arm hid around the side mirror. He held up his legs, a feat of some strength no doubt assisted by the adrenaline that I later learned Darcy so often sought. [wtf?] The car suddenly swerved sharply to the left almost 45 degrees. I have no recollection how that happened. He must have grabbed the wheel.[i wonder what Sheppard's account would say to that]. In wrestling for control of the car we crossed to the other side of the street, heading westbound into the eastbound lane. Then he said to me with a crooked grin, after we had stopped for a moment, ‘you’re not getting away that easy.’ [it's all fun and games until Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark shows up], then he started climbing in the car. Susan grew louder and more frantic. ‘No, no, no, stop, stop, stop, stop!’ This was the only physical contact between us. The car remained stopped while the shoving was going on. I was struggling with Darcy Sheppard for control of the vehicle then he was gone. All of a sudden I just didn’t see him there. I didn’t see him fall. I heard a sound, maybe a groan.
He finishes with an abrupt nod.
During the first months after Darcy Sheppard’s death, Bryant was in a daze. One of the conditions of bail was that he couldn’t drive so he bought a bike at Duke’s Cycle on Richmond West. As he walked around the store checking out different models, the room fell silent. When he handed over his ID to take a test ride, the clerk read the name with disbelief. “Yup,” he said to his gobsmacked co-worker, “it’s actually Michael Bryant.” Bryant bought the bike. Stay away from Bloor Street. Toronto Life magazine insists in the months after Sheppard’s death Bryant found himself at loose ends. He filled his days like a 1950s housewife: picking up the kids from school and meeting friends for lunch. The city seemed much louder than it had before. His marriage underwent considerable strain. Once a power couple, Bryant and his wife Susan Abramovitch, avoided public parties. Dressing up and socializing seemed gauche and so they stayed in. Eventually they divorced. Then there was the pesky matter of those criminal charges. Bryant knew Edward Greenspan but he wanted a lawyer who ignored the media. In other words, not a media star. Where does the irony end? He went with Marie Heinen, an amoral defence lawyer who got David Frost, the notorious Brampton pedophile and Michael Danton’s former hockey coach, acquitted of twelve sexual assault charges against him upon children as young as 14. Perhaps there are times you have to make a deal with the devil. Thankfully, not everyone feels that way.
Then people began to come forward to say they saw photos of Sheppard on the news and believed they’d been harassed by him in the past. In six incidents, detailed by Henein’s defense team and later in the court summary, motorists recounted stories of Sheppard violently intimidating them, spitting on them, hitting the windshield with his fists. In some cases, he threw things at their cars or reached inside the open window to grab the steering wheel. Photographs depict a shirtless man with a mohawk reaching menacingly into the car as he clings to the vehicle’s running board were sent to Henein. It was the pictures that persuaded the court that Bryant was not the aggressor, but the victim of an assault. In a courtroom packed with media, lawyers, and friends and family of Sheppard and Bryant, Peck announced his decision. In a detailed, 11-page court summary, he concluded that the evidence brought forward by the defense established Sheppard was the aggressor and the Crown had no prospect for a conviction. The reaction was one of approval and outrage.
A reader of Toronto Life commented “I had a run in with this cyclist years ago…as a witness to his craziness…He ran into a car, on his bike, then after raging at the driver, an older Asian gentleman, for about 10 minutes, he picked up a concrete block and hurled it at the car. He missed me by inches…he doesn’t deserve our sympathy. Our sorrow perhaps…but from reports, this was a common occurrence with him.” Indeed.
Bryant admits the book seems like a PR stunt. Paikin informs him there were many people who disliked him before the incident and no amount of explanation or contrition will convince them otherwise. “Time will tell, right?” Bryant says to Paikin. Paikin dwells on Bryant’s life in politics after the reading. He probes into Bryant’s background and when the time seemed right for him to pursue a political career. Bryant admits the ambition began in his teens, probably the reason he made youngest ever AG at the tender age of 37.
Although after the Sheppard incident he was hired into Ogilvy Renault’s energy department, he left for the post of Minister of Aboriginal Affairs (or AA, ironically). Yes, another connection that got him a secure cabinet position, however Bryant has a background in Aboriginal Affairs ( a PhD) and insofar as the House is concerned, his position is actually a demotion. I believe Bryant is unfulfilled outside of politics. This is his league, it’s what he knows best (that and reckless driving). When McGuilty – oops - Dalton McGuinty offered him Aboriginal Affairs, Bryant is adamant he saw it as an opportunity. If he didn’t have the background I’d say it was an opportunity to get out of the gutter and back into the House. However, knowing his graduate educational background centres around AA presents it as another kettle of salmon.
Bryant remains a media darling, albeit a cloudy one. He isn’t one to shy away from the limelight even when it consists of lemons. McGuinty wasn’t pleased with this behaviour since Bryant was AG. He wanted Bryant’s public persona dampened (although certainly not tarnished). One wonders if McGuinty had an “couldn’t have happened to a nicer politican” moment upon hearing about the Sheppard incident. Meow. If I sat on the Cabinet they’d have to pass me a saucer of milk to shut me up. The book is hard to put down. There are melodramatic moments of course, but Bryant has a knack for keeping his readers’ attention, every bit as much as he captivates the media. Recovering alcoholic notwithstanding, he can’t run too dry. People will lose interest.
I read an interesting article on Yahoo today. It was about Ary Borges, a Brazilian man, who owns 7, yes 7, Siberian (orange and black) adorable full-grown tigers. He also has 2 lions. Yipe. The federal Brazilian wildlife officials have begun legal methods to remove the animals and neuter them. Ary, a bit of an unconventional sort not only protects his cats, he also breeds them. Ary had no experience handling wild animals when he began to breed his cats. The wildlife feds argue that the animals are dangerous and deserve to live elsewhere than in Ary’s small home in the middle of an industrial area. He does however have a spacious red-dirt compound. It is surrounded by wooden walls and metal fences.
At first I thought “this guy is nuts. One of these days those tigers will turn on him.” Then I looked at the slideshow. Cute. And in the pictures I saw the a highly impressive property. A gorgeous woods with a large, deep blue swimming pool (yes the tigers use it), as well as spacious cages with at least one swimming pool inside. The rest of the day the tigers and lionesses wander around inside his house interacting with his children and spouse. Ary first rescued two abused tigers from a circus and this is what started him on his tiger-breeding hobby so to speak. To be fair, I should call it a sanctuary and it does look that way. It is probably a full-time job to care for so many wild beasts and it is obvious from looking at the impressive photographs that Ary does a darned good job. The cages are clean, as are the animals. They are healthy and active (not to mention beautiful). In one picture Ary is shown bottle feeding an adorable 2-year-old tiger named Dan. His paw is enormous, far bigger than Ary’s hand.
The 2nd last picture is of one of his 7 tigers standing in his pristine white kitchen across the table from Ary’s family. The animal is enormous. I pictured walking around the corner into the kitchen alone and encountering just one of the enormous tigers or lionesses. It made my heart skip a beat. As beautiful and serene as they are, tigers, lions (and bears) are wild animals. I hope nothing nasty ever comes of Ary breeding and raising his tigers. I watched a Youtube video of Ary, his tigers and his family and my impression changed somewhat. Kevin Richardson has nothing on Ary Borges, in a manner of speaking.
Another scene showed Ary holding a tiger on a leash and the animal lunged at one of the girls, Uyara, who scurried, frightened, out of its way. Moments later Uyara insists that since the family has been caring for them, the tigers’ instincts are dormant. Not sure I agree with that one. Rafael, Uyara’s husband,doesn’t want her interacting with the tigers. He is terrified of the big cats and keeps his distance. “They can be lethal. I am very afraid. I try to avoid any kind of contact as much as I can.” Not a fun way to live. Uyara however allows their adorably pretty little daughter, Rayara to ride on the backs of the tigers. Ary leans over and strokes one of the cats behind the ears. The animal’s head jerks up and he growls at his “master.” Ary snarls back and wallops him but he looks uncertain.
The compound is impressive. I didn’t picture (pun) this man’s property and animals being anywhere this efficient and clean. Considering that it takes $20,000.00 a year just to feed one full-grown lion or tiger Ary must be loaded. That’s also beneficial to his cats.
Personally I’m on Rafael’s side. The animals are cantankerous, unpredictable and huge in size, Even Ary wouldn’t have a chance should any of his cats turn on him. I picture coming around the corner and walking smack into a huge, grown tiger. I doubt I would maintain my calm. I’m sure I’d scream and run. Of course we know that running away from a carnivore tends to trigger a hunting mechanism. Instinct is the inherent inclination of an organism toward a particular complex behaviour. The simplest example of an instinctive behavior is a fixed action pattern, (chasing) or a very short to medium length sequence of actions which are carried out in response to a clearly defined stimulus (running away). Running away from Bob or Dan means you might as well be a sitting duck. Chasing is a complex reaction when compared to a simple reflex. It isn’t learned. An animal or person is born with it. In spite of Ary and his family insisting that the tigers’ instincts have become dormant since they have been raised by humans, science says differently. People may be able to modify a stimulated fixed action pattern by recognizing its activation and choosing to simply stop doing it, whereas animals without a sufficiently strong volitional capacity may not be able to disengage from their fixed action patterns, once activated.
So far, Ary and his family insist there have been no serious injuries. I hope that continues. As impressive as the concept may be I say eventually nature always wins.
Have you heard of the Tapeworm Diet? I swear it’s real. In fact, one of my fave programs, 1000 ways to Die, aired an episode in which a girl swallowed a tapeworm that lodged snugly in her intestines, she lost scads of weight, and died from various complications. That’s the idea behind the TD (no, not the dying part – the weight loss part). I first read about swallowing the parasitic tapeworm at least two decades ago. The man who swallowed it didn’t do so for cosmetic reasons. He wanted to prove for scientific research if Fred the Tapeworm (that’s what he named it) could save his life and boost his immune system in the event that he was internally exposed to elements that should have been fatal. For example, this brave (or gross) person drank from the Ganges River, and ate stuff that would turn off a billy-goat. Happily, Fred did his work and absorbed all of the incredibly dangerous viruses and bacteria that came from the exotic diet. Eventually, the scientist had to somehow de-worm himself so he could void it, since Fred was also killing him. via extreme weight loss. Can you imagine having a tapeworm hanging out of you when you go to the bathroom? Gross. The things people will do in the name of science.
Tyra Banks had a panel of women on one of her silly episodes (stupid show) and a female tapeworm user’s doctor had inserted it inside of her tongue, just beneath the surface. She stuck out her tongue at Tyra and the camera zoomed in so we could all see it, Ick. The woman was still chunky. I guess the tongue doesn’t work as well as the intestine….you know, you could interpret that statement on so many levels. These tapeworms can grow several feet inside the human body It keeps pace with your intestines. Tapeworms have been known to void from a person’s anus. Seriously. Are you eating just now? Sorry. The tapeworm expert on the show presented beef and pig tapeworms. Beef tapeworms are known as taenia saginata. The tapeworm eggs hatch inside the cattle and travel to the muscles becoming inclusions called cysticercus. Pig tapeworms are called taenia solium. Humans become infected from passed eggs or by consuming contaminated meat.
These are normally not ingested by humans. Humans come in contact with them by eating contaminated beef or pork, but in North America that seldom happens.
Women have swallowed tapeworm eggs and larvae (gross) to lose weight and yet many have not. I suppose it doesn’t work for everyone, like any diet and exercise program. At least reasonably normal diets like eating extra veggies and fruits than you usually do, or cutting down on carbs, or some such thing, doesn’t do any damage and doesn’t threaten your life. I mean, are people that desperate to lose weight that they would put their lives at risk and become a nursery for wriggly worms? Eesh. In other countries in the world, obesity is considered very attractive. Obese women have far more marriage options than thin women, since the weight suggests the husband is wealthy and can afford to feed her well. However, before you get all excited and think you might move there, these women usually eat all day in order to gain massive amounts of weight. Since food is expensive they are known to eat cattle feed and to die from it. Sheee-it. No matter where we are on the globe, it’s all about the body.
Other opinions about tapeworms state that the TD does no harm to the human body. This article, Null Hypothesis, claims that death is unlikely, but if it occurs it is due to massive infections. So far as I know, the woman who ate a tapeworm on the Tyra Banks show is still alive, so perhaps there is some truth to the Null Hypothesis. Mind you, I wouldn’t accept the article’s information over that of a doctor. Not for a minute.
If you are considering the TD, here are a few facts for you to consider:
- tapeworms grow up to 20 yards long (nasty)
- tapeworms can eat their way out of the intestines into the abdomen, causing death by internal hemmhoraghing (ouch)
- taenia solium, a type of tapeworm, is the leading cause of acquired epilepsy, originating in pigs (th-th-that’s all folks)
- you will be swarming with eggs, larvae and tapeworm (gross)
Here’s a great paragraph summing up more reasons to avoid tapeworms as dietary aids:
While a tapeworm might take in some of the food you do, it would at the same time be taking in a lot of vitamins and other nutrients you need to stay healthy. Do you know what ascites are? A big pool of fluid in your tummy caused by an immune response to something in your guts. Something like a tapeworm. It gives you a big potbelly, which runs kind of counter to the look you might be wishing for. And a tapeworm might not necessarily just set up camp in your innards. It can also cause cysts in your muscles, liver and eyes. Your eyes! So don’t you think it might be easier instead to just eat a bit less and exercise a bit more? Well said.
- Tapeworm eggs hatch in the intestines of the infected animal. This hatched stage of the tapeworm is called an oncosphere.
- The oncospheres penetrate the intestine wall and move to other organs, such as the brain, liver, tissues and striated muscles.
- Once the oncospheres have migrated to other organs, they turn into cysts.
- Cysts found in under cooked meat travel to the intestines in humans. The intestines are where the cysts stop in humans.
- Cysts turn inside-out, causing the insides of the cysts to protrude in a tubular fashion.
- These inside-out cysts attach themselves to the small intestine of their human carrier by their scolex, or head-like segment.
- Adult tapeworm development from the scolex
- There are 1000 segments of adult tapeworm
- Each segment carries 50,000 eggs
- Adult tapeworms lay eggs and the cycle continues
Sounds gorgeous? Hardly. Healthy is a write-off. But if it’s an easy form of weight loss you want, the TD might be the (dangerous, gross, foolhardy) solution. Two internet sites where you can order tapeworm larvae are tapewormeggs.com and lieware See you in the cemetery. I’ll bring flowers. Oh, and a scale.
Recently Yahoo ran an article about a woman, Zahra Aboutalib , who discovered she’d been pregnant for 46 years and was carrying a calcified or stone baby. I heard about that one years ago and I pitied her. Can you imagine carrying a large stone infant for 46 years? And I complained about 9 months. What happened to was that she had an ectopic pregnancy, meaning the fertilized egg didn’t travel to her womb. Instead it remained inside a fallopian tube. The dead foetus was too large to be re-absorbed by the mother’s body and it becomes a foreign body to the mother’s immune system. To protect itself from possible infection the mother’s body will encase the foetus in a calciferous substance as the tissues die and dehydrate. As the calciferous wall builds up, the foetus is gradually mummified becoming a lithopedion or stone baby. A stone baby is also known as a litheopideon baby. in 1955 in a small village just outside Casablanca, 26 year old Zahra Aboutalib is pregnant with her first child. She was looking forward to giving birth, but after 48 hours of painful labour, she was rushed to the local hospital. Doctors informed her that she would need a caesarean section. On the ward Zahra saw a woman in terrible pain die in child-birth. She fled the hospital fearing she would meet the same fate if she remained. In the days that followed, Zahra continued to suffer excruciating labour pains but the baby remained resolutely in her womb. After a few more days the pains ceased and the baby stopped moving.
Not to be outdone, Huang Yijun, age 92, (left) was found to be pregnant for 60 years since 1948! Her baby had also calcified after it died in her womb. Normally a baby that died in the womb would decay but this one, like , formed a protective calcium barrier around itself and, although dead, remained intact for 6 decades. Huang knew that she was pregnant in 1948 with a dead infant, and when doctors demanded £100 to remove it, she walked away. She said: “It was a huge sum at the time – more than the whole family earned in several years so I did nothing and ignored it.” But the secret emerged when Huang hurt her stomach and went to hospital for a scan recently. Doctors are running tests to see if the elderly woman requires surgery to remove the infant. I’m not sure what the alternative would be; perhaps a medication that could slowly dissolve it, induced labour (not smart for a 92-year-old woman) or simple leave it. I doubt the latter will happen since Huang only went to doctors since her stomach finally hurt her. Indonesian surgeons delivered a 27-year-old baby from a middle-aged housewife who had carried the dead body inside her because she was too poor to have it removed. A team of 15 doctors operated for three hours to retrieve the 1,6kg petrified baby from the 54-year-old woman, identified as Taminah, at the Sutomo general hospital in the Java island city of Surabaya. “This may be a world record. The woman has carried the dead but fully developed baby inside her for 27 years,” said Dr Urip Murtejo. Clearly he hasn’t heard about Huang. He said the woman was otherwise healthy but had been referred to the hospital from her home of Bojenegoro, west of Surabaya, after complaining of occasional pains in her stomach. Taminah’s baby perished before birth in 1978 after it developed outside the womb. At the time, she could not afford the surgery to extract it, Murtejo said. The woman was recovering at the hospital and was said to be in good health after the operation. The body was taken for forensic study. They meant the baby. Not the mother.
A similar situation happened to a 7-year-old Indian boy. Doctors thought they were removing an extremely large cyst from the child but soon discovered the “cyst” was actually the boy’s twin. It was difficult to remove since it was covered in veins. All of these veins connected to Alamjan’s arteries. The mass didn’t look like a foetus. It was deformed and misshapen. One doctor moved the hair around and found a face beneath it. He was too frightened to examine the face further. The doctors still weren’t sure what they’d found inside the boy. The mother was very shocked and doctors scolded her that she should prevent further incidents. A very sensible thing to do since clearly this was her fault. Alamjan’s mother observed the foetus but his father refused. She was horrified and burst into tears. Alamjan recovered and looks like a handsome, healthy boy. His mother, however, has been ostracized for having infected her son with this “thing.” That will teacher her not to have anymore twins.
Another poor little child in an unusual medical situation is that of a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant. The little Mexican girl began menstruating very early, although younger girls have been discovered to be pregnant.The girl gave birth to a 6-pound baby and is healthy. A 5-year-old girl, Lina Marina, in Peru became pregnant in the 1930s . The child was removed by C-section. Her parents then raised the child as her sibling! Okay theres weird and there’s these people. The child of Lina’s father was 42. The small village insisted that they deal with him according to their culture. He was forced to leave the village and never return. Sounds pretty lenient to me. The 10-year-old Mexican girl and Lina Marina, had precocious puberty, meaning puberty that begins at a very early age. Less than 10% of girls have precocious pregnancy. I rather think of it as a precocious pregnancy. The child is involved in a statutory rape case. The age of consent in her state is a mere 12 years old, The age of the father wasn’t revealed. At first I thought it must be an adult. “castrate him,” I said to myself. It is possible however that the father is as young as 11! Even still, it is very worrisome to think that an 11-year-old boy (or perhaps it was the girl) was driven to pursue sex at such an early age. Clearly, one or both of these children are living in highly dysfunctional homes, That’s what happens when parents allow television to raise their children for them.
A 34-year-old woman had a 300 pound tumour removed from her body in surgery. The procedure took 6 hours. She had to lie on her side since lying on her back the tumour would crush her. The poor woman holds the world record for the largest tumour inside a human body. Doctors initially thought the tumour would have to be removed in pieces, however it remained intact and was easily removed from her body in one piece. When she was wheeled out of surgery, she was on one stretcher and the tumour was on another. She was given her life back that day. I don’t know how she carried on in her life with this growth. Happily the tumour was benign. This is a Guinness record although I have the feeling the woman would rather not have achieved that stat. God bless her.
Abigail and Brittany Hensel - Two Heads are Better than One The Hensel twins are an extremely rare form of conjoined twins. They possess what appears to be one body, but have two different heads From the navel down, they share one body with one set of internal organs. From the navel up, they have separate organs and of course, heads.. This condition is known as dicephalic parapagus twins. I should think this must be one of the most challenging form of conjoined twins from a social perspective. Although all conjoined twins would cause people to look twice, the Hensel girls would garner more attention than that, being a two-headed person. There must be a lot of advantages to this condition. Consider;
- taking academic tests – if one twin is good at math and the other isn’t, guess who will write the exam?
- driving a car – no need to turn your head to look left and right
- you can always look over your shoulder whatever position you’re in
- two pairs of eyes are great for editing and proofreading
- you’ll never walk alone
did you know there are many types of conjoined twins? Some of these are:
- Thoraco-omphalopagus (28% of cases):[Two bodies fused from the upper chest to the lower chest. These twins usually share a heart, and may also share the liver or part of the digestive system
- Thoracopagus (18.5%): Two bodies fused from the upper thorax to lower belly. The heart is always involved in these cases.
- Syncephalus: One head with a single face but four ears, and two bodies.
- Pygopagus (Iliopagus): Two bodies joined at the pelvis.
Thankfully, these conditions are all extremely rare. Life with such deformities would never be any enjoyable experience. Mind you, this is a world made for couples and in these cases, most of the conjoined twins don’t need dates. They also get discounts for a 2 for 1 movie ticket or some such thing.
Have you ever wondered what happens to child stars who are a public magnet for years then disappear the next? Me, I’ve always assumed famous children, no matter why they are celebrities have untold wealth and live a life of luxury until the day they die. The Dionne Quintuplets however have proven me quite wrong. These five little girls were conceived in 1934 when there was no such thing as invitro fertilization or fertility drugs. The sisters were born just outside Callander,Ontario, Canada to father Oliva-Edouard and mother Elzire (Legros) Dionne. The Dionnes had five previous children, Ernest, Rose Marie, Thérèse, Daniel, and Pauline, who was only eleven months older than the quints. In total, the farming family consisted of ten children, five of whom were infants. The Dionnes also had three sons after the quintuplets: Oliva Jr., Victor and Claude. The five identical sisters were born from a single egg in 1934. They were abused for the beginning of their lives into their teenage years, both by the Ontario government and, they claim by their father.
The Media Circus
The news of the unusual birth spread quickly. Before long, people all over North America were offering assistance. Individuals sent supplies and well-meant advice and one hospital sent two incubators. Oliva, already poor was approached by fair exhibitors for Chicago’s Century of Progress exhibition within days of their birth, who wished to put the Quintuplets on display. The parents were persuaded to agree, and although the contract was revoked before it was put into effect, it raised the issue of exploitation of the children. After four months with their family, the girls were made wards of the King for the next nine years under the Dionne Quintuplets’ Guardianship Act, 1935. In the same year the Ontario government had intervened and found the parents to be unfit for the quintuplets (although not for their previous children). The government recognized the massive public interest in the sisters and made them into a tourist attraction.
Across the road from their birthplace, the Dafoe Hospital and Nursery was built for the five girls and their new caregivers. The compound had an outdoor playground designed to be a public observation area. It was surrounded by a covered arcade that allowed tourists to observe the sisters behind one-way screens. The girls were beautifully dressed, their hair curled, and they were provided with a plethora of toys. Meanwhile across the street their siblings, unnoticed by tourists and the media, lived in abject poverty.
The quints were constantly tested, studied, and examined with records being taken of everything. What they were examined and tested for beats me. The Dionne sisters, while living at the compound, had a somewhat rigid lifestyle. Cared for primarily by nurses, the children had limited exposure to the world outside the boundaries of the compound except for the daily rounds of tourists who, from the sisters’ point of view were heard but not seen. They also had occasional contact with their parents and siblings across the road. The quintuplets were allowed to leave the compound only a handful of times. Their parents were allowed to visit but to the girls they were simply two more visitors who had to wear surgical masks to keep from spreading germs. ”We didn’t know each other,” Cecile said. So much for bear hugs and candy kisses.
Approximately 6,000 people per day or, in my opinion the equivalent of a small army. visited the observation gallery that surrounded the outdoor playground. The tourists behaved like brutes towards each other. They yelled, pushed and shoved each other out of the way to observe the children who were a circus attraction. Almost 3,000,000 people walked through the gallery between 1936 and 1943. Oliva Dionne ran a souvenir shop and a concession store opposite the nursery and the area acquired the name “Quintland“. The souvenirs pictured the five sisters. There were autographs and framed photographs, spoons, cups, plates, plaques, candy bars, books, postcards, dolls, and much more at this shop. Oliva Dionne also sold stones from the Dionne farm that were supposed to have some magical power of fertility. The sisters, their likenesses and images along with Dr. Dafoe, were used to publicize commercial products such as Karo Corn Syrup and Quaker Oats, among many other popular brands. They increased the sales of condensed milk, toothpaste, disinfectant, and many other products through their promotions. During the girls’ infancy, nurses would take them to a nursery balcony and show them one at a time to a crowd below, their names written on a card. In the media, the girls’ upbringing was characterized as privileged, with round-the-clock nursing, a swimming pool and playground all their own. But in reality their playground was surrounded with glass that allowed visitors to view them three times a day. A store set up in Quintland generated millions of dollars for the province of Ontario, at times keeping the province from going bankrupt. The Dionne sisters became very famous. Famous, certainly, but not at all wealthy. The girls enjoyed the creature comforts of life and wanted for nothing but all of the profits made from their exhibition went to other people and the government. They never saw a penny.
Show’s Over, Folks
In November 1943, the Dionne parents won back custody of the sisters and everything circus ground to a halt. The entire family moved into a newly built house within walking distance of Quintland. The yellow brick, 20-room mansion was paid for out of the Quintuplets’ fund. Odd. I would have thought the quintuplets fund would be held in trust and used for the quintuplets. Silly me. The new home had many amenities of the time, including telephones, electricity and hot water. this was new and unprecedented luxury for the previous five children. The mansion was nicknamed “The Big House.” (Isn’t that an expression for prison? how ironic). The building is now a retirement home. The nursery was eventually converted into an accredited school-house where the sisters finished their secondary education along with ten girls from the area that were chosen to attend.The quintuplets became emotionally closest to their sister Pauline. This made sense, considering Pauline was born within the same year as the girls. My, my, those parents were busy. While the Dionnes claimed they wished to integrate the quintuplets into the family, the sisters frequently travelled to perform at various functions, still dressed identically.
According to the sisters the parents often treated them at home as a five-part unit, and frequently lectured them about the trouble they had caused the family by existing. Ouch. They didn’t perceive their parents as saviors from Quintland; they their mother was unloving and their father was controlling, even tyrannical. Their parents acted as if “they had been partners in some unspoken misdeed in bringing us into the world [and] we were drenched with a sense of having sinned from the hour of our birth.” The girls later admitted that they all longed to have been born alone rather than as five. They were sometimes denied privileges the other Dionnes received, and were more strictly disciplined and punished. Perhaps life in Quintland was better than they’d realized. “Who could ever count the times we heard, ‘We were better off before you were born, and we’d be better off without you now?’”They also received a heavier share of the housework and farm work and were forced to serve the family dinner. They were unaware for many years that the lavish house, the expensive food and the series of cars the family enjoyed were paid for with money they themselves had earned. In particular the father was resentful and suspicious of outsiders as a result of his having lost custody of his children. In 1995, three surviving sisters asserted that their father sexually abused them during their teenage years. That’s a tricky accusation to prove or disprove, for reasons listed later in this blog.
Let’s sort that one out inside their heads, shall we? They grew up for nine years on display like a circus attraction and were viewed by millions of people. They had no concept of a world outside their own bizarre compound where they were subject to various scientific and psychological tests. Whatever. Their parents are merely visiting strangers in medical masks. Then abruptly the girls are removed from the compound they have known as their only home and moved into a new house with the strangers from across the street who now call themselves mother and father. There is very little media attendance or public interest anymore. Suddenly they’re expected to live just like everyone else, after having had their every want and need catered to for almost a decade. Alongside all of those grievous changes they are treated like house-servants and abused by their father. With the exception of Pauline, who knows how the other siblings treated them?
Word to the Wise
The quintuplets left the family home upon turning 18 years old in 1952, and had little contact with their parents afterwards. Small wonder. Marie, Annette, and Cécile went on to marry and have children however both ultimately divorced. Émilie and Marie both died before reaching middle age, with Émilie dying as a result of a seizure at 20, and Marie dying at 35. In 1997, the three surviving sisters wrote an open letter to the parents of the McCaughey Septuplets, Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey in Des Monies, Iowa, United States, warning against allowing too much publicity for the children. The letter read:
Dear Bobbi and Kenny,
If we emerge momentarily from the privacy we have sought all our adult lives, it is only to send a message to the McCaughey family. We three would like you to know we feel a natural affinity and tenderness for your children. We hope your children receive more respect than we did. Their fate should be no different from that of other children. Multiple births should not be confused with entertainment, nor should they be an opportunity to sell products.
Our lives have been ruined by the exploitation we suffered at the hands of the government of Ontario, our place of birth. We were displayed as a curiosity three times a day for millions of tourists. To this day we receive letters from all over the world. To all those who have expressed their support in light of the abuse we have endured, we say thank you. And to those who would seek to exploit the growing fame of these children, we say beware.
We sincerely hope a lesson will be learned from examining how our lives were forever altered by our childhood experience. If this letter changes the course of events for these newborns then perhaps our lives will have served a higher purpose.
Sincerely, Annette, Cécile and Yvonne Dionne
No reply was received from the McCaugheys’.
In 1998, the sisters reached a monetary settlement with the Ontario government as compensation for what was perceived to be their exploitation. Yvonne Dionne died in 2001, and as of May 2013, there are two surviving sisters, Annette and Cécile. The three women lived together in a modest house in a Montreal suburb on the equivalent of $525 (United States) a month in pensions. One of the three remaining sisters, Yvonne, died in 2001 from cancer. The three emerged from decades of seclusion and spent months in the early 2000s digging through their pasts in painfully public ways. They asked the Mike Harris government, where they were born on May 28, 1934, to poor French-Catholic parents they never really knew, and to give them a full accounting of their early years, when they were a bigger tourist attraction than Niagara Falls. They wanted to know what happened to around $1 million that disappeared from a trust fund set up for them when they were taken from their parents’ farm home in Corbeil, Ontario, and made wards of the state. They wanted a public inquiry into the millions of dollars their fame brought to Ontario during the Great Depression when three million tourists visited the rural compound where the world’s first surviving quintuplets were put on display three times a day.
The late Yvonne said, ”we want to find the real truth.’‘ While the Ontario government rejected legal responsibility for the plight of the three sisters, it accepted a moral obligation to help. Premier Mike Harris offered them, but not the survivors of a dead sister, a take-it-or-leave-it offer of $1,400 a month, apiece, for life, if they agreed to drop all claims to future compensation. The three extremely shy women went before the cameras they so dislike to denounce the offer as little more than an attempt to silence them. ”We want justice,” Cecile told reporters at a news conference last week, ”not charity.’‘
When the girls entered the “real world”at the age of ten, they discovered for the first time that other children didn’t live the way they did. Ten little girls who lived in the area attended the former nursery to receive a private education. They were very happy, a fact that baffled the girls, whose lives had gone from one of vaudeville entertainment to that of servant. As the quints aged into adulthood they had no idea how to live, behave, or set goals for themselves. They couldn’t tell the difference in a nickel and a quarter. Cecile married the first man who took her for a cup of coffee. She had five children in five years and then left him. Annette and Marie also married and raised families, and their marriages failed. By the time they turned 60, they were under such emotional and financial stress that they wrote a book with a professional author. Revelations of sexual abuse by their father briefly increased sales (sick society) but the advance of about $37,000 did not last long. One wonders if Oliva Dionne did indeed sexually abuse his daughters, since this “admission” from the girls helped to make the book a success. At any rate, the remaining sisters, Annette and Cecile, continue their quest for retribution from the Ontario government. I hope they get it. Not surprisingly, Hollywood exploited their fame and four movies were made about them in the 1930s, all with happy endings. If only fiction was stranger than truth.
Thursday May 28, 2009 marked the 75th anniversary of the birth of the world-famous Dionne quintuplets. Thursday also marked National Multiple Births Awareness Day. The day was established in 2005 by the organization Multiple Births Canada to coincide with the Dionne quints’ birthdate.
Poor Mom and Dad. We’re always blaming our parents for every trivial mistake we make such as baring all for hard-core porn and deciding to skip college and go straight to work earning minimum wage for the next 10 years until we get it together and go back to school. It’s decidedly unfair when adults, even young adults, make poor decisions in their lives and blame their parents but sometimes the blame, at least partial blame, is placed squarely where it belongs. In fact, some porn queens, most of whom are anywhere from 18 to 21, just kids really, don’t know for themselves why they are into this way of life besides easy money. Well, easy if you don’t mind being forever branded a whore and contracting as many STDs as you can along the way.
I blogged about one typical porn queen in Tales from the Dark Side, a dark tale indeed about Colleen Applegate turned Shauna Grant in her hardcore porn films. A beautiful blonde, Colleen hailed from a cold, strict, self-righteous family that oppressed her to a point that when she finally broke away, she went to the extreme of degrading herself in Los Angeles pornography. Her mother stated “I wasn’t aware of how bad her life was until after she died.” No kidding. Meh. If you want to read more, click here.
I say typical about Shauna Grant because her sad story isn’t unusual in Los Angeles porn, where young girls are chewed up, spit out, and often left with drug addictions that are as hard as the porn they’ve starred in. Nasty. Lately violent and degrading porn is in high demand. The silly sappy stuff you see on YouPorn is the PG version of pornography. Yep. PG. The stuff that’s being filmed in L.A. is truly awful: young girls are supposedly gang-raped in videos, they’re beaten, called degrading names, forced to partake in BDSM scenes, and used in the worst kind of porn you can imagine. These scenes aren’t real in the sense that these women aren’t truly being raped, but after the fact they often feel as though they have been: their bodies hurt, their self-esteem plummets, they feel depressed and some are suicidal. Some succeed at suicide. Do these girls sound like whores to you?
You may wonder what drives a young woman into hardcore porn, especially the aforementioned degradation? Well wonder no more. A little online digging and I uncovered some valid, yet perplexing reasons, that the daughters of certain parents become victims of pornography. A list:
1. A truly nasty divorce - absolute vindictiveness and no “amicable” anywhere to be found. These are the divorces where name-calling and false sexual abuse allegations occur. The worst kind is when parents convince their children to lie about a parent having molested them. Do children lie about this stuff? Absolutely, when they’re under pressure to do so. Do they feel worse than shit for doing it? What do you think? A study by Paul Armato showed that children of divorce score lower academically, and suffer “psychological adjustment, self-concept and social competence.”
2. Furthering this concern, a 2002 study in The Journal of Pediatric Psychology found that adolescents from mother-alone or mother-absent homes are more likely to become sexually active at a young age, risk taking behavior that is compounded by substance abuse and lack of social support. I do have a bone (pun) to pick with the mother-alone conclusion. As a single mother raising a beautiful, healthy daughter I take offence to that statement. Mind you, I was a single mother by choice and there was no divorce. That might account for my daughter turning out so beautifully. That and my awesome parenting, of course.
3. Mothers and fathers who weren’t parents: they were friends. Allowing daughters to set their own boundaries, get a boyfriend as young as they pleased, These parents didn’t teach their daughters how to set personal boundaries and that they had the right to be respected by boys. This is one of the worst parenting styles ever.
4. Families that raped and molested their daughters - a pretty obvious (and tragic) one. It’s possible that someone outside the family was molesting a little girl and the parents ignored it. I mean, how do you honestly not know this stuff? If you’re a distant, uncaring parent then you might just might not know about it but otherwise, you do and just don’t want to deal with it. I knew a young woman who was sexually molested by a neighbour for a number of months. When she got older and confronted her parents they claimed innocence. She killed herself.
6. Parents that were prudes or mothers who were total sluts and didn’t have a good handle on their sexuality. This leads parents to inadequately educate daughters about sex, either teaching an abstinence only or a laissez-faire approach. Statistics on abstinence-only programs show this approach to be insanely ineffective. I love my mother with all my heart but that was her ridiculous approach and that was because she was raised in the previous generation. She truly did abstain until marriage. Mind you I didn’t become a slut or a porn star. I only had sex with one boyfriend for 5 years. Honest.
7. When Mom and Dad let men or women run in and out of their lives teaches daughters that significant others, and people in general are exchangeable. Kids need the truth about reliable sources of adult support and attachment.
8. She was permitted to watch insane amounts of television. Wholesome role models such as Madonna, Paris Hilton, and scantily-clad skanks dancing around in MTV videos have proven to be a great substitute for caring mothers and fathers. And if you believe that one, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d love to sell you.
9. She got a smartphone when she was 10, and took awesome #selfies all day. With every picture she took to post to her social media sites, she became less sensitive to the idea of her images floating around on the web. Sexting, btw, is a booming practice, and a gateway technology usage that might lead to appearances on Internet porn sites. If a neglected daughter isn’t participating yet, she’s thinking it over.
11. Parents didn’t know their daughter’s friends. When a child has excessive contact with her peers and loses touch with safe adult attachments, the likelihood increases that she will become an addict, or become involved in sex for hire, as mentioned in addiction specialist Dr. Gabor Maté’s book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.
12. Parents taught her to worship false idols before God. She never learned a healthy way to fill the spiritual void that is quintessentially human, especially when Mom and Dad are addicted to keeping up with the Joneses, or even better, being the Joneses. Isn’t it interesting that girls leave porn because they’ve found religion? No fake. Money, sexual exploration, and false adoration didn’t provide personal fulfillment like spirituality did. Who knew?
13. The most tragic of all from parents’ perspectives: they truly tried their best but for whatever reason it wasn’t enough. Most likely, these were parents who simply didn’t have the necessary skills to raise a girl (or a boy) and yet they don’t know why their child has become a porn queen. In this category, you might include mothers who gave birth at the age of 16, or mothers who forced their daughters onto the birth control pill at the same age “just in case“, humiliating and infuriating her and emphasizing a lack of trust in her sexual behaviour.
14. Mom and Dad loved her lots but they didn’t love her right. They weren’t in tune to her emotional and psychological needs. These parents have a problem with authentic intimacy too, and it’s often an intergenerational issue, a cycle that has never been broken and probably never will be. I knew a man like this once. He wasn’t a father (thank God) at that time. He was the strangest, most detached person I ever knew, able to manipulate people with insulting behaviour that he tried to cover up as if it was as natural as could be. He even manipulated a girlfriend into an abortion she didn’t want. When and if he becomes a father, his daughter is in for a very rough ride.
15. The parents were married to their careers and nurtured them far more than they did their children. I’m not talking about parents who have to both work a job in order to keep a roof over their children’s heads. Most of us have to do that. I’m talking about people who devote as many overtime hours into their careers as possible in the quest to get ahead and climb that promotional ladder, while forgetting that raising their kids just might be an important priority too.
16. People who shower their children with gifts as a substitute for affection and spending time with their daughters are headed for trouble – and of course so are their daughters. These are the parents who protest, “of course I love her! I gave her everything a kid could want.” Materials (like false idols) are never proof that a person loves their children. In fact this approach is a convenient way to avoid spending time with their kids.
17. A complete lack of stability. These are families with no roots, they pick up and move continually without a moment’s notice and no explanation to their children. Sometimes a spouse is left behind in the move and the daughter never sees him or her again. Secrecy, denial, and instability have severe effects on children, probably more than most adults realize.
18. Low self-esteem and no friends. Traci Lords, an underage porn star, has discussed being bullied, beaten up by peers, and isolated at her school at the tender age of 14. Girls were envious of her pretty appearance and early physical development. Along with those characteristics, Traci had low self-esteem and few social skills, typical of girls who run away and have little attachment to their families.
19. Growing up in poverty. Some young women live in homes that provide scant food and clothing, they go to bed hungry, and worse, Mom and Dad seem to have enough money for dope but not enough for food. These girls want a way out of poverty and into fast, easy money. Enough said.
19. Parents who were themselves sexually abused. That vicious cycle again. It’s a killer.
Obviously not everyone who lives in these difficult circumstances becomes involved in pornography so don’t get all riled up. For instance, some parents who are poor (not to be confused with poor parenting) manage to provide beautifully for their children. These are the parents who go hungry in order to feed their children. Poverty isn’t a sign of poor parenting. Many parents living in a high needs area I know are wonderful parents, who strive hard to help their children succeed academically and psychologically. They do not want their children to “end up like they did.” All of the aforementioned examples do not necessarily encourage young women to enter into porn, certainly not when isolating merely one “point” on its own. The human mind as we know, is so much more complex than that.
People who are reading this blog and see themselves in it are probably pissed and in complete denial. They’re thinking “who is she to point her finger at me?” Someone’s got to do it. You certainly won’t. And of course there are people who are guilty of a number of these sad family tragedies yet who don’t see themselves in here at all. That’s probably the worst reaction to a blog like this one. If that’s you, your daughter probably isn’t in porn, but is it possible she’s developing other self-esteem issues? They say it’s never too late to turn your life around and perhaps that’s true of your parenting.
Admittedly these are degrading labels, reducing a person to her actions or making that person into an object. Both are nasty. Mind you I’ve already blogged that I hate labels since they reduce anyone to a thing, rather than a person. However. We hear those terms cougar, panther and milf constantly during this century and people erroneously seem to interchange them. How are they different?
A cougar implies a woman in her 40′s or later who is on the prowl for young prey. She isn’t after an equal relationship. In fact she may not be interested in a relationship at all, maybe just a one-nighter. She isn’t interested in a man her age or older and small wonder: many men that age are out of shape, take women for granted, and generally are cheap skate poop-heads. Not all of them. Just in general.
A MILF on the other hand is an acronym for a Mother I’d Like to F–k. Seriously. Isn’t that nasty? In this case the woman in question is seldom a cougar (on the prowl), and she may not even be aware that younger men are interested in her. She goes about her business and is blissfully ignorant to the gross comments that youngish men say about her under their breath.
A panther is a cougar who has passed her prime. She’s about 60 or older. Seriously. And she still gets young men. Nasty.
Can a MILF and a cougar co-exist in one person? Absolutely. In fact one feeds nicely into the other in a mutual exchange. The cougar who prefers younger men is pursued and receptive to young men who consider her to be a MILF. It’s a nauseating scenario. Hence the reason I find it so nasty. There are even cougar theme nights in some establishments where men in their 20s hook up with middle-aged women, if all goes well. Whatever.
For those of you who don’t care whether you’re labelled cougar or not, there are cougar rules you’re expected to follow in the nightclub scene if you expect to pick up a young hottie:
(1) Cougars have to make the first move.
(2) No commitments and no attachments.
(3) Never fight with your cougar buddies.
(4) Cougars move in packs together.
(5) Don’t tell him your age and don’t ask him his.
(6) Never compete with younger women.
(7) Act your age (really?)
(8) Never stress over your body.
(9) Don’t tell him that you’re married.
You gotta wonder where this MILF trend originated. Why the interest in being Dustin Hoffman to Anne Bancroft’s Graduate? Where did the fantasy about the older woman originate from? I don’t personally see the attraction unless a woman is exceptionally beautiful. Consider a celebrity example. Demi Moore baffled me when she hooked up with the idiotic Ashton Kutcher. I mean what was that all about? You knew that wouldn’t last. Soon after the two exchanged vows, Moore underwent major plastic surgery to her face and body, trying desperately to turn back time. It didn’t help. Instead of realizing how lucky he was to have an icon like Moore in his bed, Kutcher stepped out on her with younger women umpteen times. At least she was the one who asked for a divorce first, maintaining a shred of dignity.
In reality, out of the celeb circle, many middle-aged women don’t look after themselves. They are overweight, don’t dress well, have faces that have aged rapidly, and are oblivious to the fact that they desperately need a make-over. Not every middle-aged woman. Some look fabulous. I’m speaking in general. And just as oddly what does a sophisticated, successful woman see in a kid? As far as I’m concerned a 20-something dude is off-limits. He’s a boy, not a man. Where a middle-aged woman who wants a boy-toy is concerned, does she see him as a conquest? Does he make her feel sexy and attractive? Is he part of a mid-life crisis? It’s in line with older men and young women. We criticize this coupling all the time and chalk it up to men being gross, infantile jerks. Then what about middle-aged and 50-something women who like arm candy? Shouldn’t the same be said about them? Fair is fair.
Personally I don’t know any women who act like cougars or whose son’s friends call a MILF. The middle-aged women I know seem to have their heads screwed (pun) on better than that. You can’t help the labels other people call you,, but you certainly don’t have to wear them. And you certainly don’t have to live by them.
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