I was watching a Youtube video about black people bleaching their skin with whitening products (btw it’s gauche to call it bleaching – people say “toning”). The largest percentage of women and men who whiten their skin are in Nigeria for some reason. There’s a huge market for bleaching products in that country, as there now is worldwide. I didn’t know there was such a thing as skin whitening products until Michael Jackson turned that ghastly chalk-white. I didn’t believe for a minute that he had that skin disease, whereby the skin’s melanin deteriorates and patches of dark skin lose colour. How stupid are we Michael? He swore on Oprah Winfrey that “it’s a disease!” He certainly did have a disease. It was in his head.
One thing a lot of people don’t know about skin bleach is that the main ingredient is mercury. Uh-oh. Mercury is that stuff that used to drive hatters mad about a century ago. Lewis Carroll aka The Reverend Charles Dodgson, invented the character the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. Johnny Depp did a great Mad Hatter (I always put a plug in for Johnny wherever I can) in the 2010 release of the movie. Depp stated that playing the role “was a dream come true.” Personally I think Depp is a dream come true. Okay enough of that. Men who made hats once upon a time used mercury in the process. Over time it drove them insane (mad). They suffered from brain damage due to the mercury poison, merely by inhaling the fumes. Eventually the stuff killed them. In modern bleaching products, there isn’t enough mercury to cause brain damage, thank heaven, but there is enough to cause skin cancer and God only knows what other health consequences.
A woman in one of the documentaries I watched told the interviewer, “I want to look more beautiful. I got tired of being ugly. I don’t look beautiful when I’m dark.” I’m not sure who put the idea into her head that whiter was prettier. I suppose we can all point fingers at the media and blame it. There is a strong element of truth to this belief. I was surprised at the before and after pictures of Iman, Rihanna, J-Lo, Beyonce, Dencia and Mariah Carey. These are several beautiful women who have worked hard at becoming white. Their before pictures looked gorgeous to me. In fact, Carey looks much less attractive as a “white” woman. When used over a long period of time, skin whitening products can cause nasty blotches all over the face and body. Skin doesn’t always react the way a product claims. And different people’s skin will have different results. Copying a celebrity is usually quite foolish. No doubt a famous person has a dermatologist assisting a celebrity’s skin whitening. Celebrities also use products you’ll never find on a shelf anywhere and you’d never be able to afford anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if laser surgery is the manner in which most celebrities whiten and brighten. Mind you, who knows how these people look when the makeup comes off? There could be horror stories underneath the light brown foundation.
Laser surgery on the surface of the skin is known to lighten brown spots and even out skin tone. Photo facials use a type of laser but the laser a dermatologist uses is much more intense and much more expensive. I suspect this is one of the only viable and safest ways to lighten skin if you are having the procedure done by a licensed, experienced medical doctor, but I don’t know that using it on the whole face is a good idea. For one thing, it burns. Sometimes a preparatory cooling gel will be used on the skin and some machines have a built-in coolant. I will admit i have a few brown spots, probably from sun exposure in my younger years, on the sides of my face that I would love to laser but this whole skin whitening thing sounds frightening to me. I would never bleach it. That is a terrifying thought. Greg Absten, executive director of The Laser Training Institute claimed, “It’s not that hard to learn. But whether the person is a doctor, a phD., or a tech, they have to take the time to learn, they have to care what they’re doing, and they have to have the ethics to know when not to treat something. Those are the safest people in the world because they stick to their limits.” I agree with Absten, with one possible exception. I would always go to a medical doctor for any type of surgery, including that involving light pulsation or a laser. In Ontario, all dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons have to be licensed with the Ontario College of Physicans and Surgeons in order to practice in Ontario. I have never read a single headline about botched IPL, which isn’t to say it hasn’t happened but my bet is that it’s relatively rare. One sensible piece of advice may be to “get a regular facial first before trusting them to give… an IPL treatment.”
A photo facial or photo rejuvenation, uses light-based technology. Photo facial supposedly tone and lighten blotchier parts of skin that seem to arise with aging. It also treats broken capillaries (spider veins). This procedure is not a skin whitening process per se. One type of photo facial is called Intense Pulsating Light, or IPL and it uses short blasts of polychromatic, high-intensity light to damage the melanin that causes “age spots.” Keep the word damage in mind. It darkens the skin spots and broken capillaries first. Then skin repairs the damage within 5 – 10 days and the overall skin tone becomes enhanced. We hope. IPL is touted as a way to boost collagen and elastin. As with every type of “advanced” beauty treatment, there is always a risk. Some spa centres are more interested in commissions than the safety of their clients’ skin. They pressure their technicians to speed up the process so they can treat as many clients as possible in a week, resulting in clients who develop serious skin damage. This is called the turn em’ & burn em’ effect. A discount spa or a college where students perform the treatment should be avoided unless a supervisor performs the procedure while students merely observe.
People with Asian or darker skin should be extra careful as IPL can cause hyper-pigmentation (darkening the skin spots).You can get severely burned if the operator is not careful during the treatment. The burns can be severe and cause permanent scarring, scabs andwelts. One woman had to apply a medical cream every 2 hours for three weeks and stay out of the sun after a technician severely burned her skin. The spa refused to apologize or offer her a refund. The director told her she was “overreacting.” Seriously. I say get a lawyer and go after them. We’ll see how the director “overreacts.” The idea however is NOT to experience this type of damage to your skin. You’ve only got one skin. You need to make very careful decisions about it. Before you proceed with a laser treatment it might be helpful to look at your spots and spiders and compare them with the type of photographs embedded above. On the other hand, the photograph below is how skin looks with an experienced, ethical technician. The problem with skin whitening is it’s hit or miss. And when they “miss”, it’s devastating. “What they have done to me is criminal,” one permanently scarred woman in her 50s stated. “I feel like an idiot.”
A Personal Account
Nature usually knows what it’s doing when it gives a person a certain skin, eye or hair colour. It is our changing perception of what beauty is as we leave childhood and grow into youth and young adulthood that effects how we perceive ourselves. Another woman in the documentary I watched stated, “I started [skin bleaching] when I was in 10th grade. I went to a more predominantly white school and so being dark wasn’t really popular. The darker you were, the more mystery you got. So I just started bleaching my skin to get it lighter.” Certainly there is and always will be prejudice against black people of any nation and race. I got that. But popularity also depends a lot on one’s social skills. I remember a young black man in my high school circle of predominantly white friends and everyone loved him. He had great social skills. He was intelligent. No one commented on the fact that he was black and no one cared. My best friend (a gorgeous blonde, as it were) dated a young Filipino man. We didn’t care in our group. It didn’t even occur to me that he wasn’t white. So what? He was fun, pleasant, and reasonably intelligent. I’m sure you’ve known white girls in high school and college who were hated because of their nastiness. People like to blame the media only, and blame society’s prejudices against their lack of acceptance and popularity and there certainly is that. I’m inclined to agree with that in many, but not all, situations.
Dencia is a piece of work. She should be no one’s role model on earth or in hell. She has 44 EE breast implants (or so it looks). She wears 6 inch glittering, chunky, platform shoes. She wears stretch one-piece cat suits with psychedelic patterns. Dencia (a fitting name – the root word rather sounds like dense), looks like a pop star from Neptune. She is a caricature rather than a person. She promotes a skin bleaching cream called Whitenicious. She claims looking whiter doesn’t mean looking better. Right. She claims Whitenicious is a “dark spot” remover. Why she called it Whitenicious is a reference to “pure.” “White means pure,” she claimed. “A lot of people don’t feel clean with dark spots…everybody needs Whitenicious.” She argued endlessly with an interviewer that the product is strictly for dark spots. Onstage for this interview, Dencia wore brown face makeup. It looked ghastly, very fake. I’m certain that underneath that makeup is a much whiter face. Do you remember when Black Face was an insult? How times change. Guess Dencia has a lot of dark spots. I mean aside from the ones on her character. There’s no cream anywhere that can erase that kind of dark.
Since the 1960s there has been spectacular, golden advice on how to live a healthy, gorgeous life and not put on unnecessary pounds. It’s so Einstein it staggers the mind. Drumroll please…...eat less, exercise more. Ta-daaaaa. That’s it. That adage is still true today. You don’t need pills. You don’t need a personal trainer (unless that’s your thing and you just like having a trainer). You don’t need to buy manuals about “secrets” to a great body that you never knew before. You don’t need celebrity-endorsed b.s. about why they look so much better than you. It’s all crap. Seriously. Those privileged (jerks – haha) people:
- get liposuction
- get tummy tucks
- use fat-deteriorating injections (no kidding – Britney Spears will always do it one more time)
- have enemas to empty their colons (ick – Marilyn Monroe was a fan of that one),
- take laxatives
- hire chefs who cook the most nutritional yet sinfully good-tasting meals
- have a whole team who work on keeping them fit and beautiful. They are an industry unto themselves especially if they want to keep getting movie roles. We just cannot hold up to that. Period.
Kevin Bacon of the infamous Bacon body once told an interviewer that he has to keep his body in superlative shape (those weren’t his words, she was fawning over him…so shallow…I wouldn’t of course because I would have passed out cold already), because he has to be ready at any time to take on a role. His living depends upon it. That puts things into perspective I should think. That and a sense of humour. Bacon isn’t getting any younger either. He recently celebrated his 55th birthday. On Jimmy Kimmel Live he stated quite sincerely about the birthday celebration his family had for him, “my wife spent a lot of time in the kitchen looking for the caterer’s number.”
Having said that there are a few truisms that you have to accept about your life and your body if you are going to be happy:
- your body is not the same at 20 as it is at 50. That’s obvious. Your system changes. Your hormones do a double-loop when you hit menopause (if you’re a female, obviously). You may have sustained long-term injuries or developed an illness you didn’t have when you were young.
- the amount of food you ate at 20 is probably not going to cut it when you’re 50. It does for some people. I like to ignore those people. Either that or push them over a flight of stairs.
- the type of exercise you engage in may change radically over the years. Or not. It’s good to have change in my opinion. It keeps boredom at bay. It’s a learning experience. It’s fun. However, there’s nothing wrong with tried and true. Whatever has seen working for you for 20 years, God love ya. Keep at it.
- Swimming tends to be a great option for most people. It is injury-free. You cannot hurt yourself doing aquatic exercise. It’s a fact. Go ahead and try it. But it doesn’t count if you jump off a diving board into an empty pool. That’s cheating. And stupid.
- regular exercise and a regular, healthy diet are essential. You aren’t 20 anymore. There are no exceptions to this unless you’re in that 10% of people who can still eat whatever you want yet not gain weight or suffer from health defects. You’re in that percentage I want to push over a flight of stairs so watch your back. And your front.
- you are at a stage in your life where your lifestyle change and body changes can be a thing of peace and beauty. No kidding. Accept that you are in a new zone and embrace it.
- the media is idiotic. You have my blessing to ignore it. I do and it seems to be working for me.
- embracing a healthy lifestyle means you’re worth it. You are worth those hours during the week that you spend time walking, biking, running, working with that snotty personal trainer. You are worth the hours you spend preparing healthy meals and snacks. You are worth it.
- You’re worth it.
- You’re worth it. Is that one sinking in yet?
I hate the expression that a woman or a man looks good “for a person their age.” What the hell does that mean? When a person looks good, that person looks good. For any age. Don’t demean yourself or anyone else with that expression. It’s rude and is in no way a compliment. Unless it’s said in this manner “my God! Did you see that 40-year-old woman with the kick-ass body? I should be so lucky! Even now at 20!” I can live with that type of mentality. That is a perfectly complimentary perspective. I am sure you hear that sort of thing all the time because you likely respect your body and live a good lifestyle. I know this because you are reading this blog (don’t you have anything better to do?). Am I in the best shape of my life? Ah, I am not. Do I have the best body I’ve ever had? Not at the moment. My tummy sags too much. It needs work. Overall, I have been more toned, but I am thrilled when I see the results of my self-discipline with my food choices and not spending all my time lounging around like a lady of leisure. I’m not ever going to be perfect, but parts of me are pretty damned sweet. Besides, fitness isn’t reaching a goal. It is an ongoing process. And if it isn’t ongoing then that’s when you “fall off the wagon” as they say and put the weight back on.
This isn’t to say that a little plastic surgery is a no-no. That’s your call. Your business. I don’t judge that (and who would care if I did?). If that makes you happy and takes a little stress out of your life, so be it. Sometimes there are conditions that won’t ever be improved through diet and exercise and if they bother a person, then do something about it. Here’s an interesting example (beginning at 14:44). I’m not talking Heidi Montag. I feel sorry for that girl. She cannot make up her mind for one thing. One minute she has “10 plastic surgeries” in one day. The next day, she regrets it. She even admitted her implants “hurt so bad I wanted to rip them off.” That isn’t self-improvement. That’s a personality disorder. Personally I thought Montag was beautiful before the surgery. That’s how she looked on the right. Not too shabby.
I will add one tidbit (pun) to the adage eat less and exercise more. Eat well along with eating less. Don’t starve yourself yet eat junk and think this is what that expression means. Nuh-uh. In fact, don’t starve yourself at all. You are not an Eating Disorder waiting to happen. Nope, nope, nope. You have too much sense and too much self-respect. After all, you’re older now than you were at 20. You have experience. You have common sense. And you have a love and acceptance for your body and your lifestyle. No one can take that away from you. Excuse me. A woman with a God-given body just walked by. I am certain she is at least my age or older than me. I have to follow her and look for a flight of stairs….
One doesn’t cancel the other out in my opinion. Wanting to maintain a reasonably youthful beauty isn’t a crime and there are many cosmetic and surgical procedures that assist women and men in achieving that goal. Nowadays however turning back the clock is seldom about getting surgery in order to look 20 years younger than you are. It’s not going to happen and it looks
dreadful. Check out the enclosed picture of Cheryl Tiegs. She was a knock-out in her 20s and 30s and I understand why she’d want to keep herself as youthful as possible. However (there’s always a however) she’s gone way past the boundary of plastic surgery sanity and has hacked her way into self-mutilation, much like Michael Jackson. Michael J however had a vastly different story. He wasn’t trying to look younger. He was trying to look whiter.
Many celebs and ordinary women are opting out of extreme plastic surgery and only tweaking what they perceive to be flaws, rather than trying to erase all signs of aging and recapture their lost youth. It just doesn’t happen. It looks creepy. And everyone can tell when a woman or a man has gone overboard with the plastic surgery thing.
Lisa Renna is a celeb I happen to like. She’s known for that big, pouty mouth, which happens to be a bit extreme but works for her. Due to constant filler injections in her lips, one year ago her lip hardened up completely. The filler had to be removed and her lip was closed with 40 stitches (gross). Right away she filled her healing mouth with filler again then suddenly she did a 180 and decided to remove all of the filler in her lips, (lip reduction surgery) and I mean all of it. It makes her unrecognizable and quite plain. At the same time she looks younger! Who knew?
It’s understandable that celebs try to look years younger than they are. Their PR people and photographers insist on a fake representation of their clients. PR people want actual surgery. Photographers want to airbrush a 40-year-old actress into looking 20. There is such a stigma against middle-aged women being allowed to look like middle-aged women that the constant criticism thrown at them must truly sabotage their self-esteem. I don’t like hearing it and I’m certainly no celebrity.Today there are plastic surgeons who devote their practice entirely to removing or fixing bad cosmetic surgery jobs. imagine getting cosmetic surgery to fix cosmetic surgery? That has to be the ultimate irony.
We can only fight aging and fading for so long, no matter how much money we invest in youth. The Hollywood icon of beauty and sexuality, Marilyn Monroe, said it best, “gravity catches up with all of us.“
Although Elizabeth Short was found dead on July 15, 1947, severed in half, drained of blood, with a Glasgow Smile carved into her once-beautiful face, today there is still no lack of interest in this woman and her tragic story. It has been 65 years since Short dominated headlines in Los Angeles and across the U.S. when her nude, severed and spread-eagled body was found on Norton Avenue, a vacant lot at the time. One of the many ironies in the case was that the lot had a number of signs posted around it stating “No Dumping.” Apparently our killer had a sick sense of humour, along with his sick sadistic sexual fetishes.
Short grew up in Medford Massachusetts, one daughter of four born to Phoebe (nee Sawyer) and Cleo Short. When Elizabeth (known as Bette) was about 8 years old Cleo up and abandoned his family, making his escape appear to be a suicide. It’s doubtful that Phoebe was fooled. Cleo left his wife with bankruptcy, debt and credit collectors to contend with on her own. She had to move her family of girls three times over the following two years in order to afford a house where they could live. The family depended on welfare for food, shoes and nightgowns. Elizabeth’s bedroom in their last home was on a sun porch.
Elizabeth learned her father was alive when she was about 18. At the age of 19 she joined him in Vallejo, California but after only a month, the relationship soured and Elizabeth moved out. At this point, Short became somewhat of a drifter around the states. She found work at a naval base called Camp Cooke and was voted Camp Cutie. She began dyeing her mousy hair pitch black, wearing it high on her forehead and fastening a white dahlia in her hair. Although she often wore black she also wore pastels and favoured pink and light blue. Her notorious name, Black Dahlia, was not contrived from her appearance in life. It was created by the press after her murder. When the media discovered Short used to wear a dahlia in her black hair, they dubbed her the Black Dahlia as a reference to the movie The Blue Dahlia, that had been released in Hollywood the year before. In the film the Dahlia was a nightclub, not a woman.
Around this time Short met an army pilot named Matthew Michael Gordon Jr. They fell in love and for several weeks were inseparable until Gordon was sent overseas to India to test airplanes. They wrote back and forth to one another but on the night before Gordon was due to return to America, he was killed in a plane crash while testing it for the aviator unit. Short was devastated. Once more she began traveling.
Short travelled around to other cities until she finally reached Los Angeles, Hollywood, California. For about 2 years she enjoyed the night life and slept all day. She seldom held down a job and hence could barely afford to pay for a room with her roommates. Linda Rohr, a 22-year-old roommate who worked for Max Factor, remarked, “the kid was hungry and broke.” In order to provide herself with a meal a day, Short went out on dinner dates with men. However, unlike the press’ claims, Short wasn’t promiscuous and she wasn’t a prostitute. The press and some members of the LAPD smeared Short’s reputation in the mud for reasons known only to themselves. Even the detective in charge of the case, Detective Harold Hansen, falsely stated years later that “she was a hooker, you know…”
Short was known to frequent celebrity-filled clubs such as The Florentine Gardens, owned by a successful businessman named Mark Hansen (no relation to the detective). Short also liked the Crown Grill, and Tom Brenamen’s. It was common for movie stars, Mafia men and servicemen to frequent these bars. Since Short had a preference for men in uniform this appealed to her, however she also dated two Mafia men who were kingpin Mickey Cohen’s henchmen. Clearly Short was a naive girl who had no real knowledge about her friends and boyfriends. It was this character trait that would prove to be her downfall.
On July 15, 1947, a nude corpse of a young woman was found that was so brutalized as to be unrecognizable. The Glasgow Smile carved into it’s face went from the corners of the mouth to the ears. It would seem to me Short didn’t have much to smile about. The smile originated in Glasgow Scotland and was used by street gangs. Eventually it became more popular in England and also became known as the Chelsea Grin. Short’s body was completely drained of blood. Police surmised her lower half must have been hung upside down in order for the killer to accomplish this gruesome task. Her intestines were tucked beneath her buttocks. Most of her internal organs remained in her upper torso. Her right breast was almost completely severed. She had been burned with cigarettes and bludgeoned about the head. Experts surmised that it was exsanguination from the wounds to her head and face that caused her death.
The bisection began after Short was either in a coma, unconscious, or dead. It is theorized that her wrists were tied to a faucet in a bathtub and her feet were tied together. Although photographs show Short displayed spread-eagled with her upper torso beside the lower, it was suggested by the son of a detective who helped to work the case, that originally Short was found in a more obscene pose, as if she was performing oral sex on herself. The police supposedly re-positioned the body before the press could take pictures. A few days after the corpse’s discovery the killer mailed some belongings of Short’s including her purse, to the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper. A note was enclosed stating there would be more information to follow but that was not to be the case. LAPD knocked on 10,000 doors and followed up on approximately 5,000 leads to find Short’s killer, but to no avail. Detective Hansen claimed he was “sure we didn’t encounter the killer during our investigations. He didn’t slip by us…”
50 people falsely confessed to the savage murder, including a woman. None of the stories were true as they didn’t match facts that only the killer could know. Several suspects were interviewed and placed on a polygraph. One suspect in particular, Red Manley, had been seen dropping off Short at the Biltmore Hotel on the night of her disappearance. He was given a polygraph test twice and both times he passed. Police compared Short’s murder to that of the Cleveland Torso murders to search for clues of a possible serial killer, but no connection was made. They studied other murders in the Los Angeles area but met a dead (pun) end. For Elizabeth Short, life was long over. For the press, the public, authors, and musicians, the story was just beginning.
You’ve seen the show Hoarders: Buried Alive. There used to be another one but I can’t remember the name of it. It’s astounding that these people live this way. This isn’t a scripted show from what I can tell, at least I believe it. Maybe I’m naive but I don’t think so. Hoarding is in the DSM-V, listed under a compulsive disorder, under OCD. It was debated whether or not it would get its own category for V but that didn’t happen. Of course OCD can also be symptomatic of a larger issue, such as Bipolar Disorder or any one of a number of Anxiety Disorders. I feel for these poor souls. That cannot be an easy life and since these urges are incurable, the best hoarders et al can hope for is control of their symptoms. Usually this requires intensive, ongoing counselling and medication. Meds are actually very helpful. They don’t sedate people. It requires an anti-psychotic to cause sedation (or a sedative) and the former are usually given to schizophrenics or bipolars who are in mania. These are extremes. For OCD and hoarding, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications tend to fill the bill. Sometimes.
Hoarding has many levels – from 1 – 5, with 1 being the mildest (barely begun) and 5 being the worst and most difficult to control. Levels 4 – 5 are fire hazards, and therefore life-threatening. In the previous episode, the psychologist attending the house had to wear a respirator to avoid contracting any bacteria or viruses that could lead to a disease. Children are always removed from these households by Children’s Services. These are illegal households and often the city will intervene and enforce by-law to make the hoarder clean out the household. Fires are a no-no in suburbia, because they easily spread to other houses, as do coackroaches and rodents. Hoarders bring down the value of real estate on their streets. People have the right not to tolerate this abuse of their environment. However, abuse is exactly where hoarding begins. When a hoarder is young, neglect and abuse tends to contribute to hoarding. Often this person is a victim of the foster system; constantly moving and not permitted to gather personal items. They own next to nothing. Ownership of personal items, no matter how repulsive, becomes a safeguard, a false sense of security against the cold, untrustworthy world around them. The worst possible thing done to these children is when a foster parent, or biological guardian, forces the child to dispose of their items. Some adults have been known to force children to burn their precious belongings. I can’t think of anything crueller, next to sexual abuse. Now that the child has grown up into adulthood, s/he can collect and hoard as many items as desired. It becomes a cycle that spins out of control.
Another reason is in the way that people process information. Consider:
- The objects physical appeal for the hoarder’s attention. This makes sense. You know how it is when you’re garage-sailing of course. You might not be searching for something specific but an item suddenly catches your eye for reasons you’re not even cognizant of and you have to buy it. A hoarder displays an extreme form of this behaviour. S/he pays attention to the shape, colour and texture of an object. Whereas most of us consider the usefulness of an object before we purchase it, hoarders consider the appearance of it and whether or not it can simply be added to a collection at home.
- Length of time assessing an object. The hoarder spends a great deal of time investigating an item purely for aesthetic reasons. It takes a long time for the hoarder to make the decision as to whether an item is valuable or not.
- Hoarders are highly disorganized. A lot of us think that about ourselves as disorganized but wait! This is different. When you get mail, you probably have a place where you usually place mail. A hoarder has a very different system. S/he organizes visually and spatially. They rely on memory rather than organization.
- Creativity. Some hoarders have a creative streak in that they appreciate the detail of an object. However this is taken to the extreme when almost everything the hoarder sees has an artistic bent.
- Hoarders’ brains process information differently than non-hoarders. Studies have discovered differences in patterns of brain activity between the two.
This story brought my interest back to the topic (I’ve blogged about it before). A Connecticut woman died when the floor above her head collapsed on top of her, while she was in the basement doing god knows what. Police found the body of 66-year-old Beverly Mitchell after an alert mailman told police her mail was piling up. The building was so unsound, firefighters had to cut into the side of it. They used a backhoe to scoop up the pounds of debris that covered her corpse. If hoarding isn’t a type of mental illness then I’d like to know what qualifies. Surely at this level of hoarding, there are rodents, cockroaches and other infestations, feces from insects and roaches everywhere. The woman’s own toilet was probably backed up and in that case, she would have been defecating on the bathroom floor. “She just never threw anything away. Mail, packages, bottles, lots of papers, newspapers, magazines, you name it. Piled to the ceiling in most rooms. There was a waist-high layer in the room she had been living in.” A police officer commented. He stated that social services offered to help her many times, but she refused. No surprise. “It’s unfortunate because … we’ve tried all along to get her assistance, but she was a very private and solitary lady.”
It would seem to me they didn’t try hard enough. I’m surprised that the city didn’t intervene and force the woman to accept a clean-up crew to clear out the house. Social services are all well and good, but not if they can’t help the affected person. There are other channels that could have been used to help Mitchell so that her life didn’t end beneath a collapsed floor. What happened here?
Lots of people get addicted to one thing or another. Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, gambling, sex, shopping (seriously) and on and on. I like Dr. Gabor Mate`s take on what addiction is and why it develops. He believes childhood trauma is the direct result of addiction. Every woman he has ever counselled has been a victim of sexual abuse. Every man he has ever counselled has suffered through a physically abusive environment. Here is something we probably all know about cancer, for instance, but didn`t know about addiction: it is genetic and is turned on or off by the environment. Think about that. My friend grew up in a household where her father was addicted to both alcohol and cigarettes. He lived on the stuff for 30 years yet she never took to smoking and she barely drinks. Perhaps she doesn`t have a gene for addiction.
The Addiction Gene
Mate talks about a study that proved people who were genetically predisposed to becoming addicts didn`t – that gene was `turned off` so to speak - because of the good childhood. I have a question. How do we know when someone is predisposed to becoming an addict. Just asking. Dr Mate insists that people who are addicts yet insist they had a `blessed childhood` truly didn`t. They may remember or choose to remember a “blessed childhood“ but that really hasn`t been the case. A closer, more honest analysis of an addict`s childhood often reveals stressors the alcoholic didn`t remember having suffered. For some people, dredging up and resolving these traumas isn`t possible. Alcohol or drugs remain the crutch that helps them live their lives. I remember reading about a woman who suffered such severe abuse that she developed several personalities in order to cope. She kept a distant, cordial relationship with her parents after she left home and married. She was afraid to delve too deeply into her background in case she discovered for certain that her parents were indeed her childhood abusers. It was just too difficult a journey for her to make.
Addiction in Adulthood
As an adult, if an extraordinary thing happens to a person, addiction is highly unlikely to happen. The brain isn`t able to make that connection. The infrastructure is formed in childhood and addiction won`t happen. Remarkable. Will-power seems to have nothing to do with it. Our impulses come from much deeper brain areas than that which we use to make an informed decision. The gap between the two takes a split second. As for people who`ve had dreadful childhoods but don`t become addicts, there are other negative outcomes. Some repeat the cycle. Some make themselves ill because they repress so much harm in their lives. Some develop eating disorders or self-mutilate. However, the lucky ones have the opportunity to process their difficult beginnings as they happened, and this can make a huge impact on avoiding adulthood addiction. The overwhelming number of people who become addicts are those who had overwhelming trauma and had no one there to help them to cope.
The War on Drugs
Mate admits that less than 5% of his clients succeed at leaving addiction. This is true across the country. We also know this to be the case with support groups such as AA, and others. There is no cure for addiction and getting it under control is like fighting fire with gasoline. The anguish, the guilt, the origins of pain, these things are unavoidable obstacles. And for some, they are unconquerable. Mate insists that the so-called War on Drugs isn`t helping anyone; the addicts or the families of addicts are still marginalized and maybe more so. He believes there is a war on drug addicts. Special homes,end of the war against people, resources that are allotted into treatment centres rather than jails are the tools needed to help more addicts break the cycle of addiction.
What is an Addiction
It`s anything compulsory that gives you pleasure or relief to the point that it interferes in your daily functioning. Mate himself blew $8,000 in one day on CDs when he was younger. People who call themselves workaholics are trying to fill an empty void. Work gives them fulfillment and a sense of purpose but certainly too much of it creates a void in personal relationships. Their early lives may have been that of neglect or a chaotic household perhaps, one where a parent came and went or where divorce was frequent. A lack of family stability early in life cannot be erased. It often causes something known as avoidant personality disorder, a condition where people deliberately sabotage their relationships first, before the partner can cause them emotional harm.
Willpower has nothing to do with addiction. When talking about willpower, Mate states it makes people aware that they themselves can and should make rational decisions, place themselves in the driver`s seat and maintain control. This can apply to something as simple as the hour a person gets out of bed in the morning to whether or not a person strays from a diet. This isn`t to suggest that people don`t fail in their quest to practice willpower. But usually the choices they make or don`t make don`t tend to interfere with their daily functioning. If that`s the case then the situation is not one where willpower can help. There is a far bigger issue at hand. Addiction is far more intense. It controls the addict. It is always the driver. There is no question about control. Willpower cannot battle with addiction because one is nothing like the either. Apples and oranges.
Creative Genius and Addiction
No. Creative beauty isn`t the result of addiction. A sense of passion about one`s work means the creator is in charge. Addiction places the drug or other stimulus in charge. Sometimes some good can come of creativity and addiction but this is extremely rare and it never overcomes the bad. If you want to test whether physical beauty results from addiction, click here.
Doctor Heal Thyself
As previously noted, Mate has a shopping addiction – and it is truly astounding, especially for a man (ha). He shares that information with his clients. They often snicker and shake their heads. Shopping. Ha. It could be worse. Well, yes and no. If Mate ends up having to mortgage his house to satisfy his compulsion then it doesn`t get much worse. Mate contends he has had a stable upbringing. Okay now what. Mate seems to contradict himself here. But it is what it is I guess.
Vancouver`s East Side
The places where Mate`s clients live are often infested with roaches and rodents. Mate`s office is swarming with roaches. Gross. That`s how it is there. It wasn`t always like that but now the East Side is so neglected, regional government doesn`t regulate it and doesn`t care enough to clean it up. Vancouver Services feeds people and finds them housing but the quality of housing cannot be helped. Not without government funding and perhaps a little philanthropy. More than ever, it seems to me, that addicts in Vancouver are marginalized. Not only do people look down on them for their disease, but they are forced to live in squalor. What do most people think about that situation. Ick probably. That`s hardly helpful to anyone. Vancouver politics is slowly changing according to Mate. There seems to be the stirrings of an effort to “clean up“ the East Side. If that`s the case, perhaps Mate will receive a little more of those aforementioned resources he needs to help more clients overcome their addictions.
Celebrity and Addiction
Mate`s theory that bad childhoods create addicts make me wonder if that also implies to the many celebrities we have lost in recent years. Some famous drug users who also overdosed include Marilyn Monroe, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Whitney Houston, John Belushi, Rick James, Chris Farley, Sigmund Freud (euthanasia), Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, Alan Ladd, Bruce Lee, and many others. These are irreplaceable people. Did they all suffer from early childhood trauma. We know this is the case for Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane Baker), Michael Jackson unquestionably suffered traumatic childhoods. Hoffman and Houston did not (so far as anyone knows). In a rare interview on ABCNEWS’ Primetime, Houston stated that she
used alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs at different points during her career. She was known to use crack but wouldn`t admit to it. Perhaps she, like many others on the list, are exceptions in Mate`s theory about childhood abuse and addiction simply due to their celebrity and easy access to drugs.
Oprah Winfrey was subjected to continual sexual abuse by male relatives as a young child. Traumatized, she became addicted to alcohol and drugs. She was pregnant by 14 but she went into labour went it was premature and it died soon after birth. Somehow this woman overcame dreadful beginnings and so far as I know, doesn`t currently struggle with addiction.
Demi Moore is another celebrity who had a dreadful beginning and has been in and out of rehab. I don`t know what her current status is in terms of drug use. She was born to an alcoholic father and a bipolar mother. They were only married for two months. Her stepfather struggled to hold down a job due to his own addictions and because of this the family moved more than 40 times. Both her mother and stepfather were serious alcoholics who also physically abused each other. In 1980, Moore’s stepfather committed suicide. During her childhood, however, the family suffered in poverty and Moore had both a vision and a kidney problem that she could barely afford to treat. Moore is estranged from her mother.
I hate Tim Hudac. Who? Hudak is the idiot running for Ontario Premiere as a representative of the equally idiotic Ontario Conservative Party in a neck and neck race against Kathleen Wynn, the representative of the Ontario Liberal Party. Hudak frightens me on so many levels. In the mid-1990s, when Mike Harris butchered the province’s funding, damaged the education system with by cutting 50 million dollars in funding, made the medical establishment work about 20 hours overtime unpaid without enough doctors for people who were placed on wait-lists for a year or more, and messed up a number of infrastructures in law enforcement, that was bad. It was the darkest time in Ontario’s political history. Jobs were cut in both public and private sectors. Of course being a corporate kiss-ass (that, after all is that the Conservatives are about), he made life for corporations and profiteers as cushy as possible, and the end result was tragedy on so many levels. Let me offer an example, Harris allowed companies to initiate their own quality control panel. This meant that no longer would government test and approve or disapprove the quality of meat, milk, clothing, toxic chemicals, you name it. It also extended oddly to the public sector. Hence, there were two very scary outcomes:
- The small county of Walkerton lost 6 lives due to poor quality control management of the water facility. Water was contaminated by Escherichia coli (E. coli). At the time of the event in May 2000, Stan Kobel was manager and Frank Kobel (bit of nepotism that) was water foreman. Neither had any formal training and retained their jobs through three decades of on-the-job experience. The water supply became contaminated with the highly dangerous strain of E. Coli bacteria, from farm runoff into an adjacent well that had been known for years to be vulnerable to contamination.Starting 11 May 2000, many people of the community of about 5,000 people began to simultaneously experience bloody diarrhea, gastrointestinal infections and other symptoms of E. coli infection. For days the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission (headed by the brothers Kobel) insisted the water supply was “OK” despite being in possession of laboratory tests that had found evidence of contamination. This almost sounds like a creepy film noir. However, as the Walkerton tragedy grew in severity the two were eventually part of the criminal investigation into the tragedy, and, as a result, both pled guilty to a charge of common nuisance. They admitted to falsifying reports and Frank admitted to drinking on the job, as a beer fridge did exist at the facility No kidding. And all this due to the open (beer fridge) door policy on quality control. Later, businesses that lost major profit or were forced to close due to the use of the tainted water weren`t compensated for the financial damages. More than 6,700 personal claims have been made by the public for illness-related costs. $65 million dollars was issued to cover these costs. Some people developed life long diseases. One child, who was infected by E. coli as an infant and survived, later developed Type I Diabetes directly as a result of his infection with E. coli.
Recently in a public address Wynne commented to the Walkerton situation. (This argument is made for Hudak not against him, but I decided to include it to show the desperate measures, not of Wynne, but of the Conservatives et al in trying to sidestep the true responsibility in this tragedy, being the Conservative government). Kobels or not, the situation arose because it could. And it could because of Conservative cutbacks allowing for corporations to still their own quality control people. For his part Hudak commented, Ì think it`s rather sad to see the premiere of Ontario take advantage of that for political gain.` Well if that don`t break your heart. The only political gain here is that Wynne is assuring us this will never happen again under the Liberal Party leadership. It`s about avoiding cutbacks wherever possible, hence the reason she referenced Walkerton. Good! I want that issued directly addressed. And the reason the woman is doing so is that she knows damned well that if Hudak (god in heaven please no) wins the election, Walkerton will have to start boiling its water all over again.
- Maple Leaf Products, a massive operation,is another example of a corporation when, in 2008, it failed via its lack of quality control and killed 5 people, sickened dozens of others, and had a major recall of their products, including those used by McDonald’s and Schneider`s sausage. They launched quite a campaign to tell people how sorry they were….then they went right back to using their own in-house quality control people. The Canada Food Inspection Agency issued a public warning not to consume Maple Leaf products due to the possibility of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that causes infections of the central nervous system (meningitis, meningoencephalitis, brain abscess, cerebritis). The Conservative government’s changes were the subject of controversy as academics and the opposition expressed concerns over the few details that emerged about the Conservative Federal government’s supervision. Hey listen, Harper isn`t our friend either. He doesn`t care who gets taken out by a little listeria here and there. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the few for the money…..oops I mean many. Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain addressed the public through an ad campaign wherein he stated, `this week our best efforts failed and we are deeply sorry.“ Therein lies the rub. Was it truly their best efforts or something significantly below them, something perhaps related to the internal power to control the quality of one`s own product. Notice the expert coaching that was used on McCain during his public address: stoop shoulders, sad eyes, folded hands. He looks like an altar boy who stole a (sausage) cookie from a cookie jar and is praying for forgiveness. There`s a reason why sociologists claim body language is more important than words…..it makes 90% of the impression our brains get during a conversation. Well they do say a (moving) picture is worth 1,000 words. However that was then, this is now. Apparently the death toll hasn`t continued with Maple Leaf and Hamilton, Ontario is pretty confident it won`t return.
Just think about that if you will. This wasn’t only about job loss and increased taxation for the public, people died because of Harris’ policies! They died! Well, here’s a word for you in terms of Conservative policy in Ontario: in the current election that is taking place even as I blog, Hudak, if (god in heaven forbid) gets elected, he will make Harris look like a boy scout.Meanwhile, Hudac`s exciting new plan with the Ontario budget is to immediately cut 100,000 public servant jobs, whilst simultaneously creating 500,000 more. How does one manage that. Does he mean he is actually creating 400,000 jobs but has managed to put that half a million number in people`s heads. Truly the man thinks we are totally stupid. Mind you Hudak is claiming that he is actually going to generate one million jobs for us. Whoa, Nellie. The other half million jobs are the result of the Harper government. We get those gems regardless of who wins. Still Hudak claims it is feasible for him to guarantee a million jobs – meaning he will need to generate 125,000 a year for the following 8 years (two terms). In the history of Ontario the most jobs that have been generated a year is 85,000. Hudak insists `we have done it before.“ When. Per year. What evidence do we have of that. Keep in mind that Hudak`s continued bullshit hasn`t escaped the notice of his own party. Even they hate him! A number of his own cabinet have stated that Hudak is the wrong man for the job and is only out for himself. Personally I never heard of a Conservative who wasn`t….but Hudak is a menace unto himself. When your own cabinet hates you…..for example, .Hudak has had to make recently within his own caucus. Hudak recently fired Randy Hillier as PC labour critic for his email to the caucus expressing concerns that Hudak could be open to criticism that he used a private members’ bill to try to get donations from EllisDon, a large construction company. Hillier responded in kind: “Tim Hudak demanded that I both apologize for allegedly breaking caucus confidentiality and to publicly retract the comments I had made in the aforementioned email,” said Hillier. I made it clear to Tim that under no circumstances would I retract the comments and concerns that I raised three months ago, and that I still stand by to this day.” The Huffington Post revealed that Hillier did not release his original email to The Canadian Press, but confirmed a key part of its contents: “In caucus, it was stated quite explicitly that following a successful EllisDon fundraiser for Tim, our party would continue to benefit financially with the advancement of this legislation.” Hudak also removed Peter Shurman as the PC finance critic after the MPP refused to pay back a $20,000 housing allowance for a Niagara residence.
Firings here, firings, there, corruption revealed all over the place and of course all of it related to the core of the Conservative party`s interests being money. Now check out Premier taking advantage of the Conservatives’ infighting and calling a snap election in the midst of the Conservative scandals. Instead she wants to govern and make the minority legislature work. Clearly, there has to be another agenda at work here. The latter has been done and to unpredictable results. Sometimes the party that calls the election is defeated in spite of the controversy among the opposition. It can be a 50-50 coin flip, so why risk the unnecessary. Although not especially admirable, at least Wynne`s politics are a lot more transparent than Hudak`s.
Returning to Hudak`s plans for job generation, the very highest was when the baby boomers were in their prime working years,boomer`s kids were entering the work force, the American economy was thriving and there was `significant participation growth, particularly among women.“Hudak acknowledges it is an optimistic view on job generation, then he mumbles about how growing immigration stats insist we must generate these jobs. But Hudak still isn`t explaining HOW THIS WILL HAPPEN. `Let`s actually search this province for it….I`m confident we can create these jobs.` Search for them where. Where are said jobs hiding. In America. Apparently Indiana and Louisiana are partly to blame – they are stealing our manufacturing jobs in both the cereal and car industries. And how will we get them back. The plan has more than 200,000 jobs in the skilled trades. Wonderful plan. And I`ll believe it when (and when not) I see it. Just don`t give Hudak a chance to reveal the depth of his lies or generating one million jobs won`t merely be the joke that it is, but an example of the voting citizen`s utter folly and this province`s financial and political downfall.
Okay I’ll get flack (flak?) over that one. I’m referring to women without makeup and with makeup. The results of course are staggering. I wouldn’t post a selfie without makeup even though I know for my age and blah blah blah it’s actually pretty hot (if I may be so bold). A made-up pic no problem. That’s probably because we expect the worst from people and often we get it. One morning I was running late for work (I promise I won’t make it a habit) and when I got to work, although nicely dressed and my hair decent, I didn’t have on a stick of makeup. Ouch. When I went into an office a really nice woman who happens to find me attractive actually said “you’re stunning even without makeup.” Made me blush (get it)? I wouldn’t go that far. Nope. And as soon as I could I ran to the washroom to pack on my usual made-up face. I’m a makeup worshipper. Get over it. Do you recognize the lady in the picture on the left? It’s Marilyn Monroe. Do you see why I’m a makeup fan? If there was no such thing as makeup there never would have been a Marilyn.
When a woman reaches a certain age and by that I mean it depends on her appearance, personality, job, lifestyle and the condition of her skin, she cannot go make-up free anymore. It’s a fact. Not every woman is like that. I especially find that is true for black and biracial women. They have the best colour without makeup. Cruel. Myself, a caucasian, after I turned about 26 or so, I just didn’t feel good without my cosmetics. People told me when I was 25 I looked so young they mistook me for a teenager but I didn’t see it. Certainly by 30 I wasn’t going out without eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. I skipped the foundation then because my skin was better (or at least I thought so). I would never go without it now.
I read an article in a fashion magazine that presented three middle-aged women who looked much older because of their weight, their skin and their hairstyles and condition of their hair. At least I thought so. I remember one woman in particular I would have pegged for 60. The women were about to receive a make-over from the magazine’s staff. The women were brave enough to pose for a shot without makeup. It was horrific. When the make-up artist on staff asked one woman which look she wanted she said natural and he shook his head. “Not a lady your age,” he said bluntly. “And not with your skin type. You have splotchy skin. You can’t get away with that anymore. That only works for youngsters in their twenties.” Ouch. She did look much better with makeup but she was slovenly and no beauty to start with, so the makeup didn’t turn her into a glamour queen either. Still, she was more presentable.
Here is a blog from a woman (Leandra Medine - right) who wrote very honestly about her own experience without makeup. And this is what a man stated about her when he met her while she wasn’t wearing make-up: “She is ugly as fuck tho. Truly a man repeller.” Seriously. Someone wrote that about her in an email that he accidentally cc’d to her. She revealed some of the comments she received on her Man Repeller blog: The comments sometimes appear as compound questions like, “you could be cute but why don’t you wear makeup?” Other times they’re just plain insulting. As recently as last week, I’ve been called an ugly whore (not so far off from “as fuck”). Whore? I mean you don’t have to find her beautiful but judging her character to be a whore because she is plain-faced? wtf?
This is a photo line-up of women who supposedly look gorgeous without makeup. Okay now I have to disagree with several including: Amanda Seyfried, Deena Nicole, Heidi Klum, Eva Longoria, Zooey Deschanel (I can’t believe Deschanel made it into People’s most beautiful people edition), and surprisingly, Megan Fox, who really is too young to look so awful without cosmetics. Mind you she had plastic surgery on her face to improve her appearance so I suppose that makes sense. The others are banal to beautiful, especially Sharon Stone (who knew?) and Jessica Biel (who wouldn’t know?).
I liked this Yahoo article about an English major (such as yours truly once) who did an experiment on her makeup applications. Why an English major posed that question in what has to be a sociology paper I don’t know. Whatever. The author, Brinton Parker (I wonder if that is her natural name, or a glamorous name or in between) wore three different faces to school – au naturel, minimum and heavy. Personally I liked all three. She is young and adorable-looking. She has a great skin. I think all of the looks work for her. I prefer the last two because I am a makeup person but that’s just my opinion and as Parker stated at the end of her blog, people’s opinions “are just that – opinions.” Well said. Here is the link to the article.
Originally posted on A Blog of Bosh:
One of the questions which are often asked about Nonsense is, Why did it disappear almost completely from literature after the great season of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll? As M.B. Heyman writes in his thesis (Isles of Boshen: Edward Lear’s literary nonsense in context, University of Glasgow, Faculty of Arts, Department of English Literature, 2005):
If we skip Lear, Carroll, and the rest of the nineteenth century momentarily, we find a curious twist to the course of nonsense. Although literary nonsense drastically changed the face of children’s literature, as a more “pure” form for children it seems to have died away toward the turn of the century. Instead of remaining a children’s genre, nonsense returned to its old adult audience in various forms (p. 3).
After listing a few examples (Edward Gorey, Mervyn Peake, Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl) he concludes that “the genre has never returned…
View original 179 more words
In a previous post of mine I examined the disappearance of Flight 19 over the Bermuda Triangle and was rightly set straight by a reader who informed me about several documented, proven reasons behind the tragedy, none of which was based on the superstitions around BT. The current tragic news about a supposed “aircraft disappearance” is that of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I find this conjecture quite odd since the disappearance occurred somewhere over the South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal. planes are said to vanish without a trace. Several days ago, a Malaysian politician tweeted, “New Bermuda Triangle detected in Vietnam waters, well-equipped sophisticated devices are of no use!” This outraged many people, who deemed his comments insensitive, and he later apologized. Although certainly foolish I don’t find his comment to be insensitive. It’s a fact that well-equipped devices (and I believe he means in comparison to those available in the search for Flight 19 in December 1945) are far more superior today, yet we still can’t locate the aircraft. Doubtless he is correct about that but the hocus pocus about the disappearing plane at this point seems a little premature. The search has just begun. It’s a little early to lose hope about finding the airplane and to attribute this development to a non-existent phenomenon, although clearly the lives of 230 people are probably lost forever whether the plane is found or not.
Personally I don’t see anything mystic in this airplane “disappearance.” It actually reminds me of the shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655 by the U.S. navy warship Vincennes, some 20-odd years ago. Is it possible someone took out Flight 370 and we haven’t been informed, or it hasn’t yet been discovered? I think so. Someone somewhere is in a lot of trouble. Then again I’m a skeptic. I don’t believe in the supernatural, ESP, psychic vision or any of that silly stuff. The “original” Bermuda Triangle myth was based on 3 unproven (and ridiculous) facts:
- Blame it on Atlantis, the mythical city at the bottom of the sea using its “crystal energies” to sink ships and planes. Of course Atlantis exists. That’s Aquaman’s city.
- Other more fanciful suggestions include time portals and extraterrestrials— including rumors of underwater alien bases. That’s not at all weird.
- Still others believe the explanation lies in some sort of extremely rare and natural geological or hydrological phenomena. Now that’s the kind of energy we need to harness. Kind of makes Niagara Falls a bit redundant, don’t you think?
Sometimes things happen on this earth that we just cannot explain and we have to accept that. Is a magical force claiming human lives and aircraft and navy ships? Obviously not. That’s akin to a child’s fears of a monster hiding in the closet. When air traffic controllers lose sight of an airplane on a radar, it doesn’t point to a supernatural explanation. Maybe the disappearance will be solved one day. Maybe it won’t and that’s just the way it is sometimes. There will always be unexplained phenomenon on this earth. It’s part of what makes living on this planet so fascinating, and so tragic. Btw, if you’re interested in reading about what really happened to Flight 19 as it soared over BT and thereby maintaining a healthy skepticism, check out this publication: “The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved” (Prometheus Books, 1972), by Larry Kusche. He debunked the myth of the non-existent triangle, although many people hang onto this tale out of sheer ghoulish delight. In the interim, for the lost Flight 370 I sincerely wish all those on board well. If it is in Bermuda, I hope the passengers are sunning themselves on the beach and have not mysteriously disappeared in a whirl of mysticism. Or cynicism for that matter.
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