Ever heard that expression? The Body Beautiful? I am not referring to campaigns like the one launched by Campus Recreation. This campaign seems to be an effort to encourage men and women to love their natural, normal bodies in spite of the media obsession with perfection. One problem: the website uses Portia de Rossi (actress) and Serena Williams (athlete) to reinforce this message. What? Has CR noticed these women are beautiful, very thin (Rossi) and coiffed and made up?
The Body Beautiful expression I’m referring to was a reference to an unhealthy obsession with body perfection that began in the early 1980s. That was a time when women’s aerobics was a relatively new concept. Ads featured svelte women in skimpy bodysuits who were exercising or advertising health bars or what have you.
The 20-Minute Workout was launched during the mid-80s. The show consisted of attractive, thin women in their early 20’s. There were a lot of crotch and rear end shots. I liked the warnings at the beginning of the show that advised women (or men) not to push themselves to the “point of exhaustion” and all manner of things. That was legitimate advice. The silly advice came from the bubble-heads at the start who giggled about how “fun” aerobics was and how great they liked now that they participated in it. It was a bitter-sweet program for women who enjoyed this new concept called aerobics but not for those who didn’t have the impossibly beautiful bodies the instructors flaunted.
The media presented the body beautiful as just that – someone’s beauty ideal that many women couldn’t achieve. It made women I knew without a svelte physique feel inadequate. Yet hundreds of women jumped (pun) on the aerobics bandwagon, joined gyms, tuned into the 20-Minute Workout, bought Jane Fonda videotapes and did anything they could not to be healthier or more energetic but to become more attractive. The healthy and energetic aspect of exercise and healthy eating is a wonderful thing and everyone should strive towards it. The beauty regimen isn’t all bad either. It’s motivational and it feels great when you can achieve a slimmer, more attractive version of you.
But therein lies the rub. programs like The 20-Minute Workout and Jane Fonda’s videotapes and a host of other media outlets make beauty the number one reason for exercise, no matter what they say. It made me feel a little sorry for women who couldn’t slim down and tried their hearts out (pun).
Jane Fonda was her own aerobics empire. She admitted in her 40’s that her very energetic aerobics tapes were designed to stay “whippet-thin,” and had nothing to do with health. She eventually adapted her program to reflect the needs of women who weren’t in Olympian shape although she continued to wear the classic 1980s revealing high-legged leotard. However Fonda was revolutionary in using fit women in their 50’s in her videos, an unheard of concept for most celebrities at the time and today.
Other celebrities, such as Raquel Welch tried to emulate Fonda with their own version of aerobic exercise. Welch made a fool of herself in one of her videos where she used an exercise bicycle with a pained look on her face and broke out into a sweat in about 4 minutes flat (pun – there is nothing flat on Welch). Perhaps her PR people responded to what must have been negative feedback or poor sales on this video because eventually she released a video that was much more professional and made for women in “great shape, not in such great shape or you’ve never been in great shape.” Certainly that targets a wider and more profitable market.
Skip to the 1990s and Cindy Crawford dominated the aerobics videotape scene with Workouts by Cindy Crawford. Her contemporary approach involved a coach who was present in the videos, Crawford exercising outdoors on a roof (?) and Crawford admitting there were certain advanced exercises she wasn’t capable of completing. There were also a few exercises in the videotape that looked quite useless – her swinging back-kick while she balanced against a chair for instance. Isn’t that using g-force to do the work for you? So far however, this would be a reasonable series of celebrity exercise workout programs. But nowhere near as healthy and effective as Jillian Michaels. I just wish she’d stop calling us guys.
Look, there’s nothing bad about promoting exercise and healthy living. If women are inspired to follow in Crawford’s footsteps (another pun) by tackling her videos then so be it. Besides it’ a great way for celebrities to make more money and if anyone is in the business of turning a profit it has to be a star. The issue I’m making however is that some of these videos aren’t about that. Ever notice how carefully coiffed and made up these women are in their videos? Really? Why can’t any of them look sweaty and gross like everyone else when they’re working out? They must have a lot of “cuts” and “takes” to keep looking that pretty while they exercise.
Actresses and models have always worked hard to stay in beautiful shape. Marilyn Monroe is a prime example. of course this clip isn’t an exercise program on videotape and she is as dolled up and gorgeous as Monroe ever was in her photo shoots. What was trailblazing about her however was that she was the first celebrity ever to be photographed exercising which was akin to admitting that she had to “watch her weight” as they used to call it (and probably still do). Certainly the world watched Marilyn’s weight and the rest of her body.
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a 21st century approach to what a beautiful face, hair colour and body really looks like. Cool. It attempts to change the media portrayal of attractive women and to boost women’s self-esteem when they simply cannot look like de Rossi or Williams. Whether women are buying into this notion or not, I admire the effort and the sincerity. Is this campaign going to change the North American perspective on women and beauty? Probably not. There is a woman at my work who was naturally thin during the last two years that we met. For some reason she got herself a fitness trainer and now she truly has no figure left. I don’t consider her to be at all attractive anymore. No I’m not envious. It’s the truth. I am within a healthy weight range and I have a fit body myself. But there’s a line between slim, fit and almost emaciated. Like the Dove Corporation, I believe it’s about time we knew where to draw it.
Right to Grow-Ops
Here is a situation that actally occurred in February 2015 in Markham, Ontario. A school community was outraged to discover that a legal grow-op had been established across the street from Sam Chapman Public School. The owner was given a licence to legally grow 146 plants for personal use. Parents say they’ve noticed the pungent smell of the plants on their kids’ clothes after they leave the elementary school.
“I’m shocked that this is happening, I can’t believe this,” said one woman at the gathering. “How can you give a guy a licence to do this across the street from a school?” A couple living in the house next-door say the odour given off by the plants is “unbearable.”
Oak Ridges-Markham Conservative MP Paul Calandra attended the meeting and agreed the home-based operation should be closed. However, he added that shutting it down won’t be easy. The federal government moved last year to ban Canadians from growing medical marijuana at homes but regulations limiting cultivation to commercial operators were put on hold because of an ongoing legal challenge by a group of patients. Ah, democracy. Ain’t it grand?
Jon and Jackie Messenger said the operation at a plaza near Royal Windsor Drive and Southdown Road is making it hard to do business. They said they can smell the plants all day long inside the offices of their heating and air conditioning company.
Is that truly fair? When the stench from a person’s home is so strong that neighbours and people at businesses are offended by it (physically as well as psychologically) should this be permitted? I don’t think so. And don’t tell yourself I am a self-righteous moralist who is pointing fingers because pot is bad and so are all drugs. That isn’t my perspectives at all. My viewpoint is that the majority are entitled to their rights over the minority where matters of physical and mental health are concerned. Once in high school a teacher asked us “is what is legal necessarily moral?” I’d like to substitute the word ethical. The answer is no.
The legal right to a grow-op across the street from a school (or anywhere) isn’t a good thing. Why? Who deserves the legal right to grow pot in a neighborhood of children? Are we really naïve enough to believe that every person with a basement grow-op isn’t going to distribute grass among friends and acquaintances? Or sell it for profit? Is it a good example for young people that marijuana should be legalized?
However on the other side of the grow-op fence, studies ascertain that marijuana grow-ops didn’t increase the use of pot among teenagers in the community. And we know that smoking pot isn’t a slippery slope to using much heavier drugs. That’s silly. Either you’re going to be a hard drug user or you aren’t. Heroin or crack or meth have nothing to do with marijuana. Not even close. Watch this funny video.
Marijuana is generally much stronger now than it was in the 1960s when free love and marijuana and all that groovy stuff was hip. It was relatively harmless, harmless meaning brain cells were still being destroyed by the stuff, but you could argue that a lot of things kill our brain cells every day, including smog and stupidity.
The main ingredient in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive, or mood altering, effects is a cannabinoid called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC” for short. The amount of THC in marijuana determines the strength of the drug. This can vary depending on the strain or variety of the plant, the way in which the plant is grown, the part of the plant that is used, and the way the plant is prepared and stored. The way marijuana is grown can affect the amount of THC in the plant, and therefore its potency.
Some argue that cannabis grown hydroponically, or under artificial light, is stronger than cannabis grown outdoors in natural light. Because the amount and quality of resin produced depends on temperature, humidity, light, and soil acidity, cannabis grown outdoors varies considerably in potency, whereas intensive indoor cultivation, often done with female plants and clones, under artificial light, and without soil, produces optimized cultivation conditions and cannabis of a consistently higher potency.
Some users of the drug say they can tell when they are using “hydro” cannabis versus “bush weed” because the effects are so much stronger. However, some people do not believe it is hydroponic cultivation itself that makes cannabis stronger; large scale hydroponic cultivators may simply be more likely to use more potent strains and grow plants to their full potential.
Insofar as hydro-grown plants are concerned, illicit operations steal that hydro power from the tax-payers. They access it through illegal means and drive up community taxes. The vast majority of grow-ops fall into this category. This may be another reason to legalize the stuff. Or it may simply be great for finger-pointing. If cannabis is legally grown will this offer a tax write-off for people who grow it? Will it again increase taxes in a community or both?
It is a fact that many people with Lou Gehrig’s disease can extend their lifespan by decades by smoking pot. Normally a person who is diagnosed with ALS has only 3 months to live. That’s awful. If a person with a terminal illness can extend their lifespan (and hopefully maintain a good quality of life) by smoking marijuana then give it to them. But make it the sort of medication that one gets through a doctor’s prescription and purchases it at a pharmacy. That seems to be a fair compromise between grow-ops and community concerns to me.
People have also used the same explanation for things like back pain. Wellll. That makes me roll my eyes. There are other much more effective legal medications for that. Try Percocet. That should keep the pain at bay. And before you say but that stuff is addictive, so is pot. Watch this unfunny video.
These people are the ultimate source of marijuana (and a lot of illicit drugs in North America). They have acres of marijuana that make residential grow-ops look like child’s play. They like earning their money from selling their pot (and other fond pursuits). They don’t like commercial competition. It doesn’t sit well. If you would like to take on a motorcycle gang that will kill you as easily as they will shake hands with you and say “welcome to the neighbourhood” then you are a braver soul than I. (FYI do I really have to inform you that this is sarcasm)? We need a little comic relief.
Hey listen I’m open-mined enough to provide links to counterarguments to my opinion. You can easily find as many reasons to argue for the legalization of marijuana grow-ops as I can to not legalize them. I admit that freely. We are all entitled to our opinions and I welcome your feedback.
But don’t think for a minute you’ll change my mind. You won’t.
Sexual addiction, also known as hypersexuality, is a puzzling concept. Is it an excuse for people to engage in numerous sexual encounters with reckless disregard for their own health and that of others, or is it an actual disorder that is beyond a person’s control? I’ve always been a skeptic. What a convenient way to explain one’s philandering to a spouse. And from 1990 – into the 21st century it seems we have to developed the “it’s not my fault, it’s a disorder” mentality to escape responsibility for irresponsible behaviour.
To wit, the infamous incident where Mel Gibson was arrested or drunk driving and made slanderous comments against Jews. Later his explanation to the public was that his comments were “blurted out in a moment of insanity.” Does alcohol impairment qualify as insanity? To be sure, Gibson was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder some time before the incident, however if he was (presumably) in treatment, what was the impetus for the insanity claim?
However I digress. This is about sexual addiction not Gibson and his drunken rant about Jews. I compared the definition of a general addiction to that of sexual addiction in order to highlight similarities and differences between the two:
- is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences
- is marked by two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli:
- they are reinforcing (i.e., person will seek repeated exposure to them)
- and intrinsically rewarding (i.e., something perceived as being positive or desirable
- people who report being unable to control their sexual urges, behaviors, or thoughts
- some specialists do not believe sexual addiction exists as a clinical entity (it isn’t in the DSM 5)
- No diagnostic proposal for sex addiction has been adopted into any official government diagnostic manual
- There are two models that are used to classify SA, with the following model being the most similar to the characteristics of drug addictions, in that SA is both
- reinforcing and
In spite of the findings that no government diagnostic manual classifies sexual addiction as an entity, and many psychiatric specialists do not believe in sexual addiction, community groups exist that consist of twelve-step programs for sex addiction, and clinical treatment. Such programs include Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, and others. That “sex addicts” attend these groups suggests they do feel overwhelmed by their sexual impulses and are intent on controlling them. That sounds a lot like a drug or gambling addictions.
The thing about SA that makes me skeptical is that sexual addiction meets the criteria for an addiction because it is “reinforcing and rewarding.” No kidding. But picking up a bottle of alcohol and drinking it alone, or putting a needle in your arm, compared to the intimate, premeditated act of engaging in sex with another person are very different behaviours. Perhaps two other labels for this behaviour are playboy and philanderer. The drug addictions I understand. The jury’s out on SA.
Do people exhibit paraphilia-related disorders in terms of their sexual behaviour? They certainly do: fetishes, BDSM, nymphomania, Don Juaniam, uncontrollable sexual thoughts, voyeurism, exhibition, and many more are proof of paraphilia-related disorders. However it is proven that many of these behaviours aren’t genetic as in the case of drug and alcohol addictions; they are learned.
For instance, the adult who engages in masochism was once a childhood victim of a parent’s extreme abuse, followed by remorse and affection for the abuse. In this manner, the child developed the concept that pain and love were inseparable. As an adult, the two result in sexual arousal. James Dean is a famous example of a masochist although information supporting this allegation tends to be obscure.
Sexual sadism is expressed in two different ways: with mutual consent between the “victim” and the sadist; non-consensual sadism resulting in injury or death. Mild sadism involves role play, in which the two participants agree beforehand on which acts are acceptable. This is another reason why I believe SA is unlikely. This isn’t compulsive or out of control. It is very much in control of the “sadist.” The behaviour is within the sadist’s control, unlike the characteristics of drug, alcohol and gambling addictions.
Voyeurism – this is a complex form of sexual behavior. Often voyeurs are comorbid with drug and alcohol addictions which is a rarity among people with other paraphilias. Also, pornography can significantly decrease the incidence of voyeurism, which suggests to me that such an easy substitute does indeed suggest that voyeurism is an act that is well within the voyeur’s control.
Exhibitionism – the flip side of the voyeurism coin, exhibitionists like to expose their genitalia, buttocks or genitals to unsuspecting victims. This is non-consensual and is usually meant to elicit a distressed reaction or an amused reaction from strangers and acquaintances. Marilyn Monroe is a famous example of an exhibitionist. Her famous skirt scene, where her skirt flies up over her head during a publicity stunt in New York City, is an example of her exhibitionism. Also Monroe was known to walk around her house naked even in front of guests.
Exhibitionism is generally one of the least harmful of all sexual paraphilias. And evidence of self-control stems from the ability for many “exhibitionists” to merely fantasize about exhibitionism, rather than engaging in the act. Exclusive exhibitionists: These offenders cannot form romantic relationships and cannot engage in normal sexual intercourse. Exhibitionism is the sole outlet for sexual gratification. Oddly, exclusive exhibitionists haven’t been diagnosed, but based on the theory of paraphilic equivalence, clinicians believe it can be predicted that these exhibitionists do exist in society.
Autoerotic Asphyxiation Disorder – , also known as hypoxiphilia, is a form of masochism. It is almost exclusively practiced by males. It consists of using some means of cutting of one’s oxygen supply, often through ligature strangulation, as a means of achieving orgasm. It is a very dangerous practice. The behaviour that results from intense and recurring fantasies or sexual urges over at least six months must cause significant clinical stress and/or impairment (social, occupational, other) in order to receive this diagnosis. Although some males experiment with it only periodically, the majority of men who engage in this behaviour do so on a regular basis. Sometimes AAD practitioners have otherwise healthy sexual relationships. There is no comorbidity with mental or personality. Although cures are possible, few people are motivated to cease the behaviour, although this is within their control. A famous example of this phenomenon was Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of the 1980’s rock band INXS, who accidentally asphyxiated himself to death through AAD. A fictional example of this behaviour was included in the Robin Williams’ film Worlds Greatest Dad.
List of Famous Sexual Addicts (if you believe in SA)
- John F Kennedy
- Tiger Woods
- Donald Trump
- David Duchovny
- Jesse James (no, not the gun slinger)
- Charlie Sheen
- Kanye West
- Michael Douglas
- Billy Bob Thornton
- Kari Anne Paniche
- Jenny Ketcham
- Jenna Jameson
- Angelina Jolie
- Brittany Spears (oops she did it again)
- James Lovett
Frankly, I think most of these people have sex with lots of people because they can, not because their behaviour is out of their control. It’s the wealth, prestige and fame that gives them access to countless sexual flings, whereas the lack of the aforementioned would likely limit their partners – and their behaviours.
Nope not whichever sports team you’re thinking about. I love all big cats actually as I love all animals. The thing about big cats that breaks my heart however is that they are slowly going extinct. Can you believe that? In 2011 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially declared the Eastern Cougar as extinct.
National Geographic has a Big Cats Initiative and inside that, all kinds of projects for kids, schools, families, individuals who are interested in getting involved in some manner to save Big Cats (it doesn’t have to involve money).
One of the easiest ways to promote NG’s BCI is to spread the word via social media. So here it is.
Before the commitment and before the ring goes on, I mean to say. I was reading a very good book, something about Why Men Marry Bitches, by Sherry Argov. I can’t say I agree with absolutely everything Argov had to say, but there were definitely some pearls in that read.
The one chapter that really stands out for me however isn’t just one that offers women a male’s eye view of how women supposedly pressure a man to make a commitment, she does so with a humour I can’t forget. I don’t remember which chapter it was, but this one killed me (it’s not word for word since I can’t find the chapter now):
Ladies, imagine if you started dating a man you barely knew and you discovered he had a hope chest with pretty ribbons all over it (what), filled with all kinds of treasures a new groom could want to start his new life with his new bride. Then picture yourself walking along with this man you’ve known for about 6 weeks and every time he sees an infant he sighs loudly and grips your arm. Now one day, picture yourself coming home and he’s in his silk boxer shorts and cowboy boots, swinging around a pole and doing a strip tease. Would that make you want to commit to him?
The image of a guy wearing shiny boxers, swinging around a pole like an idiot with a serious look on his face, no inkling that this might be a bizarre scene for anyone walking through the door made me guffaw. Of all the scenarios she painted there, that one stood out for me the most. You really can see the male point of view about marriage and ambiguity.
Well, that’s it.
Have you noticed lately what a plethora of sexual opportunity exists on the internet? Cell phones, email and social media have made it easier than ever for people to hook up for a hot sexual tryst then never meet again. It’s not that this is a recent phenomenon in human behavior of course. Sexual promiscuity has been a part of civilization since, well, the dawn of civilization. What is it about that innate need (or want?) that drives so many people to hook up, role play, make empty promises they never intend to keep, then go their separate ways? Especially in an era of HIV and many other sexually transmittable diseases, that seems like crazy behaviour, even to people who indulge in it, I’m sure.
Clearly, physical pleasure has a great deal to do with human desire but there is a difference in promiscuity and perhaps, oh I don’t know, remaining faithful to one’s spouse whilst engaging in pornography in one’s spare time, or fantasizing about the neighbor whilst having sex. There’s also the old stand-by masturbation. However, for a fairly significant percentage of the population this just doesn’t cut it anymore. If it ever did. What has increased the amount of illicit sexual contact among people quite arguably is social media and the internet. The fetishes and ravenous sexual desires haven’t increased, just the availability of partners.
Consider the biography of the Marquis de Sade then ask yourself what this sex fiend would have done had he lived today and used social media to lure his victims into his sadistic lair.
Marquis de Sade – (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) – born Donatien Alphonse François, the poster boy for S & M, lived only a couple of hundred years ago. Knowing what I know about the Marquis, that’s a little too close for me. de Sade wasn’t a masochist – he was a sadist. Technically, if you’re going to have a true sadomasochistic relationship or encounter with a partner, then at least one of you has to really be into receiving pain and one of you has to really want to give it. You can switch it up of course, so long as this is a mutual relationship. de Sade however wasn’t about mutuality. He victimized people and tortured them cruelly. Creepy dude.
His sexual pathologies may not entirely have been his fault. When he was 4, de Sade was a very spoiled child with a nasty temper. He once beat the French prince so severely that he was sent to the south of France to stay with his uncle. Think about that. When a 4-year-old child beats another kid nearly to death, doesn’t that suggest to you that something is very wrong? Whether genetic, or learned, or what the hell happened, this was one messed up little boy. Fortunately, when he was 6 years old, his uncle taught him all about debauchery (amorality). That was helpful. When he was ten years old he was terribly whipped while attending school for misbehavior. Not surprisingly, this punishment affected him for the rest of his life. Perhaps that’s where the whole S&M thing began.
de Sade was known to be a libertine – the polite word for slut and an undesirable slut at that. de Sade was not only a sadist; in his spare time he wrote books that included fiction and philosophy, and plays and all kinds of literature. Justine and 120 Days of Sodom (about horrific sex orgies) are among his most infamous. Surprisingly, he is known for his erotic work, pornography, sexual fantasies emphasizing criminal violence and lots of blasphemy against (here it comes) the Catholic Church. He loathed morality and all things spiritual. If it had rules attached to it, de Sade had no use for it. Oh did I mention that the uncle he lived with as a child was an abbot in the Catholic church?
A man of disguise, as a young adult de Sade was known to behave like a true aristocrat; he liked theatre, the arts, he was a good reader, and like all aristocratic men of the time, he kept a mistress. I doubt she stuck around when the fun really got going however. He probably went through a few of them.
However it’s all fun and games de Sade style until his sexual perversions got him his last 13 years in an insane asylus. Yep, asylum. And while he was in there, he had some type of relationship with a guard’s 13-year-old daughter. That crafty de Sade. He even completed a manuscript about an inmate who is “persecuted and assassinated under the direction of the Marquis de Sade.”
This man adapted well to his circumstances. de Sade wasn’t truly nuts by the legal definition. There is no such thing as insanity – that is a legal term. Psychiatrists politely term a person with a “break from reality” as psychotic. I haven’t studied de Sade so I can’t attest to whether or not he fit the definition of a psychotic but I doubt it. Sadistic, yes, but he seemed to know what he was doing when he did it; he didn’t experience audial or visual hallucinations, he wasn’t paranoid; he had no delusions of grandeur. He was dangerous, not crazy. What happens when a person’s beliefs and behaviors offend the majority of the populace? They are deemed sick or psychotic and imprisoned.
Now fast forward to the 21st century and social media. Imagine de Sade with a cell phone, a computer, and an internet connection. Yikes. I don’t know how many people he victimized in the 18th century, but I’d bet that number would be a lot higher in the 21st century. Do you think he would have set up a site where he would sell sexual services online? What would he name it I wonder? Perhaps he would offer a webcam for those who like to watch. Or actual in-person meetings for those who wish to take it a step further. The problem is, these people would never be seen alive again. A serial rapist trolled successfully for victims on Match.com named Jeffrey Marsalis (rather similar to Marquis). The Craigslist Killer made international headlines. These were terrible men. Nonetheless, these two social media monsters would have had nothing on de Sade in terms of social media crime, had he been alive today.
You know that cool L’Oreal Preference hair colour commercial where the spokes model (usually one beautiful celebrity or another) encourages women to spend the money on quality hair colour (that’s a matter of opinion), and star makes that cool statement, “Because you’re worth it.” I love that statement. Are we worth it? Damned right.
The idea I am leading up to is this: you’re also familiar with the program Vanity Insanity, an examination of the plastic surgery craze that has swept the nation in the past 10 or so years. Of course you’ve probably googled the internet and seen utterly terrifying pics of before and after procedures that have gone wrong. Worse, there are women and men who believe their bizarre appearance is an improvement on their natural looks. That’s what I call insanity.
I know this isn’t funny but, having a warped sense of humour, I can’t help myself. Combine that sentence with some disastrous cosmetic surgery photographs, and consider what a unique advertisement to go plastic that would be. If you were a plastic surgeon who was actually proud of her/his work and didn’t see anything wrong with an utterly horrifying job, that could be rather humorous. To that end, here is my suggested commercial campaign to all of you surgeons and vanity insanity wannabes out there who just don’t have a sane perspective on so-called surgical improvements to one’s appearance:
Because, You’re Worth It…..
This isn’t the time of year for this stuff, but I read some interesting information about dry drowning recently. It was creepy yet informative. There are all kinds of ways to die of dry drowning. Most victims are children.
Dry drowning , or secondary drowning or near drowning, happens when a person inhales water into the lungs. He doesn’t have to be submerged into water for long. In fact, she can jump in and out of a pool and end up dying of dry drowning. Occasionally dry drowning can happen in the bathtub. But sometime within the next 24 hours their lungs start a massive inflammatory reaction to the water they inhaled into their lungs. In these rare situations, the larynx (voice box) spasms and stays shut, causing involuntary suffocation. Sometimes this spasm is triggered by water droplets hitting the larynx, or a sudden high-speed submersion under water such as off a high-dive or a high-speed water slide.
This is what happens:
Let’s say a child coughs and hacks up water in a pool. The child has a bit of a coughing fit and seems to be fine. However what has often happened is some water gets into the child’s lungs. Occasionally dry drowning can happen in the bathtub. The kid seems fine, walking around, eating, etc. Then suddenly the child literally drops dead or her parents put her bed at night and she never wakes up.
Case in point: Johnny Jackson, a 10-year-old American boy from South Carolina, recently died at home on Sunday from “dry drowning” more than an hour after going swimming. He had a coughing fit in a pool then walked home with his mother and sister. Within the hour, Jackson was dead. Jackson’s mother made the sad comment that, “I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water.”
Jackson got water in his lungs while he was swimming in a local pool. He didn’t show any signs of respiratory distress, but he had an accident in the pool and “soiled himself.” Sometimes a child may experience vomiting instead of defecating. Both may be symptoms of dry drowning.
Dry drowning can also be a type of suffocation. Water, or a different chemical such as a toxic gas, makes contact with the larynx. The larynx swells up as a reaction to the water that has reached the lungs. Where toxins are concerned, they replace oxygen in the lungs, resulting in internal suffocation. This is why Hitler’s Nazis gassed Jews, and how it worked. More gas than oxygen inside the “showers” (an ironic name) suffocated these people. By the millions.
Another example of dry drowning via gas is the inhalation of carbon monoxide. You know, that colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that fills a room in a house, or a car that is idling in a garage. If enters the bloodstream and decreases oxygen levels, essentially starving the organs of its unsuspecting victims. Corpses of people who die of carbon monoxide poisoning have an orange or red tinge to them; a dead (pun) giveaway that the culprit was carbon monoxide gas.
The good news is, it’s easy to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. A couple received a carbon monoxide detector as a gift and the detector went off. They called 911. The fire department arrived, found readings of 28 parts per million and determined dirty pilots on the kitchen stove were the cause of the problem. To prevent further problems, the couple purchased a new gas kitchen stove with electronic ignition and sealed burners. This story had a happy ending. No lives ended.
Okay, in my defense I have never cougar-ed before. And this situation didn’t begin as a tawdry, one-night stand after having met at a bar or some such thing. It all began innocently enough, I swear. Let me explain before you roll your eyes in self-righteous morality and indignation. My very heterosexual and very sexy, lover-to-be heterosexual hairdresser’s name is Ryan (not true at all – I’m obviously not going to print his real name). He has a beautiful common-law wife with big boobs with whom he has purchased a home. They have a pet. They are engaged to be married next year. Already I can feel my female readers sharpening their claws. Listen, I am not at all interested in breaking up their relationship. And Ryan isn’t stupid enough to walk out on his pretty wife for a woman 16 years older than him. Hear me out, would ya?
Ryan is sexy, 33, tall and thin, dark-haired with the sexiest male voice I have ever heard in my life. He is in the business of making beautiful women even more beautiful and he loves every minutes of his work. It all started when I visited the salon for the second time, I believe it was. He was working on a younger woman’s hair. It was long and black. He had styled it with these large, loose curls. He ran his fingers through it from root to tip to arrange it and the whole time he was telling her things like, “you look like Kim Kardashian,” and “your boyfriend won’t be able to stay away from you,” in that sultry voice. I think Ryan was having a hard time staying away from her and keeping his hands in her hair. I have a feeling he walks around with a semi half the day. Sweet Jesus.
While his adorable junior hairstylist, Dennis (of course that’s not his real name), was working on my hair I began flirting with Ryan. I couldn’t take my eyes off of watching him run his hands through that woman’s hair. And that voice. Ryan could make someone as homely as Courtney Love think she’s beautiful. In fact, he could make the fat lady at the circus think she was hot. I believe you get the idea.
My third visit was unexpected. I asked Ryan to do my hair (stop that, you – the drapes are unique – there is no carpet). I liked his technique better than Dennis’, who is still learning how to style hair (although to his credit, he did an awesome purple shade for me and I’ve lost count of how many strangers have told me they love it). But I digress. Ryan gave me this orgasmic, oops, organic massage while he was washing and conditioning my hair. He took his time about it too. So I took his hand and placed it on my breast. Dennis saw that. He was cutting a client’s hair at the time. He grinned and shook his head then said, “I didn’t see anything.” In other words, discretion rules in this salon. Perfect for a woman like me.
That was all I needed, and apparently all Ryan needed too. Since then we have decided to become lovers. Or at least sex buddies. Whichever. I haven’t done him yet. It’s a matter of time. I won’t crowd him because that’s psychotic. And I can’t pay for a hairstyle every day because that’s expensive. The waiting makes the temptation even sweeter – and more agonizing. There’s something to be said for self-discipline. Who knew? I don’t feel at all bad that I am doing a married man and a man who is 16 years my junior. Men have been having sex with younger women since the dawn of time. Why can’t we?
And that, everyone, is the story about how I became a shameless and active cougar. Stay tuned. There will be a follow-up. I can assure you of that. p.s. obviously the bombshells in this blog aren’t me. I merely add them for visual effect. After all, this whole steamy escapade began with a mirror and a magazine.
1. Buy low, sell high. Oh really? Are you a stock market aficionado? Can you play the stocks along with the best? Even the pros cannot manage the market with perfect timing. The odds of doing this consistently are incredibly low. That means you have to be buying straight stocks rather than mutual funds or a GIC or even Savings Bonds and keeping an eye on how they’re doing. I wish you luck with that. Usually mutual funds or ETFs are the way to go for the middle-class investor. Affluent to wealthy people may have more leeway but even the affluent need a good financial advisor when investing their hard-earned cash.
2. Follow the 1/3 rule. The 1/3 rule in a nutshell: to invest your money in a supposedly wise manner, invest 1/3 of your income in a high risk venture, 1/3 in a moderate risk and 1/3 in a low risk. Seriously? Let’s consider a high risk. Someone wants you to give them a few start-up bucks to open up a restaurant, promising you a significant return, maybe even a long-term venture together. Everyone knows the restaurant business is notoriously unstable. If you are a millionaire, go ahead with the 1/3 rule. Otherwise, what are you thinking? Invest 90% of your funds in low-risk and maybe the rest in moderate – high risk. You can’t afford the risks.
3. Always get a private financial investor or stock broker. Don’t be stupid. That’s like saying always trust a used car salesman.You might be lucky to find a good one and they are out there, but most brokers are in it to win it for themselves. Generally speaking major banks are the way to go. They also have an agenda of course, but there are so many people investing through banks that your likelihood of a good return is significantly higher than investing through someone whose eye is more on her own commission than on your financial well-being. Besides they might be pushing a specific product and that is ridiculously misleading.
4. Open a credit card account but don’t use your card so you can build up a good credit rating. Of course you will use that card. And often. You will tell yourself it’s only for emergencies but your definition of emergency will be pretty lax once you realize how easy it is to pull out that card and ch-ch-charge it!
5. Nix a written financial plan. Okay so you won’t reach every goal you have on the plan, it’s more of a forecast than 10 financial commands written in stone. A good financial plan however offers room for flexibility and allows for set-backs. It is updated regularly to suit your goals and financial situation. You need it and you need a good, certified financial planner to help you make one.
6. Ignore undervalued stocks. This may be smart but an undervalued stock that has good potential to rise is a different story. Your financial advisor at your bank or your certified financial planner (whom you have checked out and are satisfied with his or her credentials) should be able to advise you on this one.
7. Hire an investor without recognizing significant personal and professional characteristics. A good advisor is patient, understands human needs, has no hidden agenda, has strong, verifiable credentials and is without bias.
8. Ignore your retirement needs, it will all take care of itself. This one is huge. you have to do the math in order to predict what you will need to live on comfortably when you retire. You need to allow for the cost of living, inflation, recession, ill-health, the duration of your mortgage payments, and the age you want to be when you retire. These aren’t fun facts but they’re important. You need to invest in an RRSP or ETF portfolio you are willing to buy and hold, or some such thing and contribute to it with every pay check.. It is never too early (or too late if you haven’t begun) to start planning for your retirement. Seriously. That even applies to people who are fresh out of university or college and are still in their 20’s. The sooner the better.
9. An RESP for your kids shouldn’t be a priority. Well, if you cannot invest in your child’s education and your child has to apply for a bank loan or a government loan, the world won’t stop turning. Most of us had to pay for our own schooling. It was tough, but we did it. However one of the best gifts you can give your child is an education and if you can do it, then why not? The sooner you invest in an RESP, the better. It doesn’t have to be a large investment. I started investing for my 6-year-old daughter with only $25 a month since, as a single mother on a $40,000.00 a year income and no child support, that was all I could afford. I increased it to $50 a month only after she reached about the age of 13. It was the best I could do. However, in Ontario the government matches RESP investments dollar for dollar up to $4,000.00 annually. By the time she was ready for college at the age of 18, I had close to $6,000.00 for her, more than enough to pay for a 2-year college program. Who knew?
10. TFSA’s aren’t as financially sound as RRSPs. Not so. The proper use of a TFSA (tax-free savings account) is to hold your money in it for as long as possible. Investing then withdrawing on a regular basis will lead to taxation and that renders it useless. However, sometimes you may need to cash in your TFSA for an emergency fund. It’s a small tax shelter when used properly. It’s great as an emergency savings plan or for a relatively short-term goal, such as a purchase you wish to make within 5 years of opening the account. It’s wise to take advantage of this investment on a short-term basis. If you’re looking for a retirement fund however, RRSPs or ETFs that are comprised mostly of mutual funds are the best way to go. RRSPs tend to be good starter investments for the new investor but they are also very reliable for the middle-class investor who has little risk room.
11. You always need lots of diversity in your mutual funds. Not necessarily. The “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” mentality is a smart one but a more experienced investor doesn’t invest in hundreds of stocks via mutual funds. Those that are tried and true can be highly beneficial and relatively risk-free.
12. Renting your home is throwing money away. Nonsense. It is true that a house is a long-term investment and that home ownership gives a person a feeling of accomplishment. But renting isn’t throwing money away. Going to a casino and gambling away your pay check is throwing money away. if you aren’t in a position to buy, and that may always be the case, there are other ways to invest your money so you won’t be house-poor or cash-poor. When you can’t rent for significantly less than you can own, that can be a more sensible move than buying a home. At least you don’t have to panic when a recession hits, and recession will hit. It is inevitable, especially with financial trading and national economy going more global than ever. Besides, you are locked in to your mortgage and your location when you buy a house. And you are responsible for your own yard work and the repair and maintenance of your own home. Meh. Flip a coin. To each her own.
I’m sure you know of other tips to avoid bad investing (or missing out on good investing). I’d love to hear from you to add them to my list.
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