Monday, December 26, 2016

Uplifting Your "Breast" Friends

Uplifting Your "Breast" Friends

  A few years ago the bra enjoyed its 100th birthday.  But according to the majority of women, the garment that is supposed to contain and restrain their mammary glands often leaves them hanging, or substitutes as a medieval compression chamber—particularly for those who are generously endowed.

            More than 800 new bras are designed each yet; yet over 80 percent of women are wearing the wrong size.  How can you tell?

            Do your “puppies” shake like Jell-O when walking or exercising? Do they overhang or under fill the cups? Do you suffer fat back from an industrial strength clasp? Is your bra equipped with shoulder pads for straps? Do you find yourself stuffing and shoving your breast friends into place?

            If you’re attempting to prevent weight shift by shortening the straps you’re creating a seesaw effect. When the back is raised the front droops. A well-fitted bra should act like a suspension bridge, balancing gravity versus uplift.

            Bras have weighed from 10 ounces to 20 pounds. The largest recorded bra was a 48V. About 70 percent of bras designed today are equipped with under-wires. Unless that bra fits properly, it could be a “cutting edge” experience.

            Bullet bras of the 50’s were recently upgraded with metal tips. For the plus-sized woman, these might be considered weapons of mass destruction.

            Bras weren’t designed to “lift and separate.” Your “girlfriends” should only be one inch apart when in residence.

            A bra should be lightweight and comfortable. A well-fitted underwire bra will take up to 90 percent of the breast’s weight from shoulder straps.

            The bra strap is a stabilizer; it should allow the bra wearer to bend, stretch and twist without distributing its precious cargo.

The answer is not in burning your bras or going without one. You will lose elasticity and, without support, you will develop water balloons.

Each of your breast friends is a different size; always fit the fullest one. Try moving vigorously in a sheer bra.  If it isn’t fitted properly your “headlights” may shift and point in two different directions.

Mass-produced undergarments contain fewer parts and come in limited sizes. A store that specializes in custom fittings can put you in a bra designed for your body shape and bust dimensions. It can be an uplifting experience.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Snoopy: Why We Love Him!

Again this year Macy’s grand balloon parade was headed by Snoopy, America’s most famous canine.  But how did he get to be that way, and why?      

When Charles Schultz created the Peanuts characters, a rather colorless canine he named Snoopy quickly became the Top Dog.   Not willing to settle for the ordinary life of a yard dog, Snoopy changed the image he and everyone else had of him.  He began seeing things not as they were but as he wanted them to be.

            He transformed his non-descript doghouse into a showcase for never seen art treasures.  Other times it served as a fighter plane, the “Sopwith Camel”. Pictures of Snoopy sleeping on the peaked roof of his dog house, with no concern for the weather, helped to make him the world’s most recognizable dog. 

This canine extraordinaire imagined himself navigating the globe, and with a little assistance from NASA, Snoopy walked on the moon.   We embraced Snoopy’s zany antics and simple philosophies:  My life is going too fast…my only hope is that we can go into overtime.”

 At whatever he attempted Snoopy saw himself as “The World’s Best”, and so did we.  Much to Charlie Brown’s chagrin, Snoopy was the best player on his Little League team.

            Without ever uttering a word Snoopy spoke volumes using gestures and expressions; he communicated with the other Peanuts characters—and us--with thought balloons. 

Snoopy’s only real concern seemed to center around his food, which was usually served late and seldom appeared exciting.  Yet he danced exuberantly for that dinner with anticipation and appreciation. In true dogged fashion Snoopy accepted the failure of several love affairs by sighing deeply and “going back to eating”. 

            Snoopy was the author of a 227 word novel that never sold, yet achieved world-wide popularity.  He developed several alter-ego personalities like Joe Cool, Vulture, and World War I Flying Ace.  When Snoopy declared he would read Tolstoy’s War and Peace-- one word a day –we decided we could too.

            The dog with no real pedigree became a breed onto himself.  He loved everyone and everything, except The Red Baron and cats!  By breaking the rules of confinement Snoopy captivated our hearts. 

            In Snoopy’s world the only Impossible Dream was one in which he didn’t believe.  We fell in love with him because he represented everything we aspire to be. 


Friday, June 14, 2013

White Witch or Zombies?

Albinos are probably the most misunderstood, most maligned, and in some parts of Africa, the most hunted people in the world. They have always been discriminated against for their appearance.  In Biblical times they were forced to live with lepers in colonies because it was believed that both disorders were a curse or a judgment from God for sin.
In Tanzania, 62 murders of Albinos have been documented since 2008; 12 others have been exhumed from their graves. Most of the victims are children. Why? Because of superstition, ignorance and witchcraft, Albinos are believed to possess supernatural powers, that Albinos never die, that they become ghosts or zombies. 

Children are increasingly subject to murder or mutilation, even sold by their parents, because of the myth that the harvesting of Albino limbs, organs and blood for lucky charms will bring good fortune to such businesses as mining and fishing.
In Zimbabwe having sex with a woman having albinism is believed to cure an HIV infected man. As a result, a large number of Albino women are being raped and thus, being infected by the HIV virus, in the name of a cure.
Albinos occur in all races, and in all animal groups.  It is genetically inherited. Albinism occurs as a defect in one of several genes  that block the production of melanin, a natural substance that gives color to the hair, skin and iris of the eyes. Albinos are often depicted as blind-- another untruth.  Hair and skin are usually very white; eyes from pale blue to gray. In severe cases they may be pink or reddish.

Low vision causes vulnerability to sun exposure and bright light. As a consequence Albinos can be vulnerable to skin cancers if unprotected from the sun.  Albinism has no effect on mental development and does not cause criminal tendencies. 
Accurate information on the number of Albinos that exist is hard to come by; it is estimated that one out of every 17,000 people have some form of albinism.

Hollywood bigots have capitalized on the spurious myths by producing, to date, 68 movies stereotyping Albinos as evil and villainous characters-- anti-heroes.  In the movie, The Da Vinci Code, Silas, a religious fanatic and murderous assassin, is portrayed as an Albino.  This Monster Mania  is appearing in modern music as well.

Albinos animals and plants are considered valuable assets; even in the wild these creatures will receive positive attention from their own. Not so with the human race. Where is the compassion and outrage over this overlooked minority? 

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) has spoken out against Albino bias in the United States. But ignorance and misconceptions refuse to go away as long as people with albinism  are treated as a valuable commodity..

NOTE:  My novel Angel of Tears deals with several forms of prejudice – albinism is one of them.  I expose my readers to the wonderful traits of Alva Watson, an albino.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Eloise: Hospital of Horrors

It was the largest asylum in the country, the first to perform lobotomies. These procedures were carried out in the tunnels of the vast hospital. After it closed, in rooms off the tunnels were found vials containing bits of brains from the lobotomies, and the study of the brain.

In 1839 Michigan’s Wayne County purchased 1000 acres of land for $800 in what was then Nankin Township (later renamed Westland).The site was chosen because it was far away from the city.  On it they built the Wayne County Poorhouse.  The first patient, Bridget Hughes, was 16 when she was admitted in 1842; she died there in 1895.

 It became dumping grounds for people whose families couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of them, and for the vagrants, vagabonds and the poor, looking for a home with food and beds.

During the 1840’s there was no distinction made between rational and mentally ill patients. Harsh restraints were used to separate the population.  Patients of all ages, sex, idiots and the rational were all kept huddled together. The mentally ill were housed on the second floor of a building used to hold pigs. For the first few years, people in the surrounding areas complained about hearing the roaring and shrieking cries of despair that was in discord with the squealing pigs. 

In 1894 it was renamed Eloise, after the 5-year-old daughter of the County board.

A sewage plant was constructed in 1896 because the Rouge River was insufficient to carry away the nearly 80,000 gallons of sewage drained into it daily. 

In 1934 the inmate population (not patients) numbered 8,300, about 50% of them mentally ill. People often had to bring their own mattresses in order to be housed there.  Boredom was a major problem. Between waking and bed time the people sat and stared at the walls, at their feet and at the windows. Inmates who were given passes to leave the rounds were usually arrested and fined, or they simply disappeared.

 Eloise grew into a city onto itself, with 75 buildings including a fire department, and a carpenter shop that doubled for a morgue. There was a greenhouse, dairy and pig farms, fire department, power plant, bakery, a post office and 3 cemeteries. The facility was renamed Wayne County General in 1945, but to the locals it would remain the infamous “Eloise”.

Throughout its boom years, when the complex was caring for as many as 8,000 patients daily, the facility was plagued by reports of patient beatings, employee theft, mismanagement, unsanitary conditions and inmates chained to walls. At one time 3,800 mental patients -- including 300 with tuberculosis -- were crammed into quarters designed for 2,500. As many as 125 women had to share five toilets.

  By the '50s, Eloise provided the newest forms of treatment for the mentally ill: calming hydrotherapy, sensory deprivation chairs, twirling chairs, steel cabinets in which staff would lock patients and then insert needles to put water directly in their skin, straightjackets, shackles, and the usual – lobotomies.

Eloise’s last patient left in 1979, and Eloise officially closed in 1981, a victim of financial problems and mental health care reform. Wayne County sold most of Eloise's grounds to the Ford Motor Company and their developers.  A radio control aeromodeling club uses some of the land, and the cemetery is located behind their gate.  In that cemetery are the graves of between 7,000-8,000 people; their markers are a brick stone containing only a number. 

It was a formable place; during its decaying and demolition period, the curious and workers at the site were convinced that the dead weep and walk within those wretched grounds. Maybe they still do – behind the cemetery fence.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


In 1961 Detroit was a city on the grow.  Its government appeared rigidly honest, non-partisan and often called a little dull.  Tri-country construction contracts totaling 443 Million were used to utilize vacant factories, cleaned out depressed areas, and developed Corktown.

 Other major expansions included:

1.       McLouth Steel’s $105 M mill expansion
2.       Detroit’s 20M post office
3.       The Bendix Aviation Engineering & Research Center in Ann Arbor
4.       New York Central’s 13M electronic yard
5.       Midtown Medical Center and University City area around Wayne State. 
6.       The Cranbrook Cultural Complex in Bloomfield Hills.
7.       Merrill-Palmer Institute.

Detroit led in other ways:
·         Detroit Zoo pioneered in displaying wild animals in natural settings without bars.
·         Six of top ten advertising agencies had offices in Detroit.
·         One of few cities whose electric utility was building an atomic reactor.
·         Detroit Institute of Arts was one of America’s finest.  It also boasted one of the greatest   symphony orchestras.

There were 104 hospitals, 99 convalescent homes, 5,570 practicing doctors, 18,000 licensed nurses.
Downtown boasted 37,000 parking spaces.

·         119 meat plants
·         72 beverage companies
·         50 iron & steel foundries
·         52 paint manufactures
·         86 soap manufacturers.
·         14 industrial chemical firms
·         11 manufactures of tires, tubes.
·         55 blast furnaces, steelworks, rolling and finishing mills.


In 1963 the country changed directions: prayer was outlawed in public schools.  That fall, the first of Devil’s Night fires erupted (400), for which Detroit became infamous.  When God is displaced, Satan moves in big-time.  A series of other national events, including political greed and cronyism, caused Detroit to spiral into decline.

On Sunday, July 23, 1967 a civil disturbance at a blind pig on the city’s West Side, escalated into a full scale riot, leaving 43 dead, hundreds injured and 2000 buildings destroyed.  The city was mortally and morally wounded. 

Detroit continued to make headlines, mostly for the wrong reasons.  The city’s 25-year Master Plan died an early death. 

The city that put the world on wheel now lies buried beneath the rubble.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When Detroit Ruled - Part 2

Part 2 – When Detroit Ruled - First in the Nation

In 1961 on a national level  Detroit was:

·         One of few cities whose electric utility was building an atomic reactor.
  • Only North American city connected to all three great sources of natural gas.
·         Detroit Institute of Arts was one of America’s finest.  It also boasted one of the greatest    symphony orchestras.

·         A pioneer in the field of investment, as a member of the National Association of Investment Clubs.
·         All vitamin capsules and ingredients were made in Detroit by R. P. Scherer and Parke, Davis.
·         From motors to missiles, America’s Astronauts’ space capsules were made in Detroit.    Burroughs Corporation was Michigan’s largest defense contractor.
·         Headquarters for companies producing 85% of America’s cars and trucks: two million a year. 
·         Henry Ford’s $5 a day made Detroit the country’s most successful stealer of headlines.
·         Pleasure boating capital; had more pleasure boats that any other city.
·         Greatest supply of fresh water.  During WWII the military paid for a 42-inch main running into Macomb County for a jet engine plant which would have been located in Chicago otherwise.

·         Detroit was FIRST among ten largest cities to write a master plan. Approved in 1950 it set objectives for 25 years in advance.

·         Detroit Zoo pioneered in displaying wild animals in natural settings without bars.
·         Six of top ten advertising agencies had offices in Detroit.
·         ONE of nation’s best-lighted streets and the city pioneered lighting alleys.
·         Among 100 top cities in U.S. ranked FIRST in average weekly wages to production workers in manufacturing.
·         Had the strictest civil service recruiting program in NATION. 
·         Montgomery Ward’s distribution center in Allen Park was the pilot for a nation-wide chain of electronically controlled warehouses. 
FIRST large city to organize a large group of citizens to plan school needs.  Over 3000 citizens, headed by American Motors President, George Romney, surveyed each of the 312 public

NEXT: Part 3 - When Detroit Ruled - On a local level

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When Detroit Ruled - Part I – A World Leader

On May 21, 1961 The Detroit News published a 35-page color booklet, The Real Detroit.  Reading it today is heartbreaking.

Detroit was an innovative city that made it a World Leader:
·         Turned out more war winning tools than any other city in the world.
·         World leader in producing drugs, industrial chemicals, steel, paint, tires, storm windows, machine tools and accessories, stampings, office machinery, hardware, commercial films, architecture, advertising, even fishing lures.
·         Two-thirds of the WORLD’s milk cartons were made by Ex-Cell-O Corporation.
·         WORLD headquarters for the largest architectural and engineering firm, Giffels & Rosetti.
·         Detroit Edison’s atomic power plant (under construction) would be WORLD’S largest commercial fast breeder-type reactor.
·         COBO Hall & Convention center was the WORLD’s largest meeting facilities.
·         Downtown landmark store for J. L. Hudson, one of WORLD’s largest department stores.
·         Birthplace of the modern shopping center.  Two of the largest in the WORLD, Northland Center in 1954, and Eastland Center, the second.
·         Metropolitan Beach WORLD’s largest fresh water beach.
·         The Port of Detroit made Detroit River the WORLD’s busiest waterway; 25% of the waterborne commerce of the U.S. sailed through the Great Lakes system.  Privately owned terminals began expansion of facilities intended to relive marine traffic jams.
·         WORLD’s largest food distribution center (Kroger’s)
·         GM’s tech Center comprised of 27 ultra-modern buildings on 900 acres. It became a workshop for more than 5,000 scientists, engineers, researchers, stylists, designers and mechanics.  WORLD’s largest concentration of research facilities.
·         70% of people owned their own homes and businesses, a record amount of nation’s population centers.

Population for the greater Detroit area topped 4 Million.  Transportation was first-class: Four large airports, three railroad stations, 640 city buses, and Greyhound handled 173 buses at the Civic Center Terminal on a daily basis.

Religious institutions experienced its largest growth since World War II, with 300 new Protestant churches.  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Detroit gained 74 new churches, 61 new schools, and 100 new parishes for future expansion.  Lutherans added another 66.   Residents could attend 54 institutions of higher learning, including U OF M, Wayne State, and University of Detroit, the largest Catholic college in the NATION.

Part 2 - Part 2 – First in the Nation  will be posted later