24. September 2014 · Comments Off on STYLE IS ETERNAL · Categories: ---

“Fashion is what one wears oneself.  What is unfashionable is what other people wear.”

Oscar Wilde

Today’s woman wants to know how she can fashionably express her personality in her style, especially if she’s not tall and slender like the models she sees everywhere.  Television shows about makeovers, and commentators on the Red Carpet at Academy Awards shows, provide lots of information for deciding what looks good around a woman’s figure problems, for her lifestyle, with her economic situation.  Lots of help, but not everything.  Many women still flounder and seek out personal shoppers, or get conflicting advice from others who don’t know much more than she.  What’s a woman to do?

Personality

Here are some brief tips to consider when shopping for a fresh seasonal wardrobe, another ensemble, or even a new dress to wear to the holiday party.

  •  The Classic personality wears little if any trendy or outrageous touches, vibrant colors, or exotic jewelry. She sticks with tried-and-true styles and fabrics, and presents a calm, peaceful presence.
  • The Creative personality usually has at least one exciting, colorful item in her costume, such as a scarlet blouse, silver open-toed sandals, a Dali scarf. Clunky jewelry is great for this look, as are trendy items and unusual fabrics.
  • The Casual personality typically wears little or no jewelry, rarely wears stiletto heels or suits, and prefers comfort and ease in her wardrobe.
  • The Romantic personality wears lots of ruffles and frills, lots of decorative touches, and luxury fabrics such as velvet and silk. She likes low-cut tops and skirts slit up to here, and often wears slinky satin for evening.
HOAX

Though they spell “HOAX,” these are the typical body shapes defined in the eighties by Mary Duffy, a former fashion model and creator of a plus-size line for Simplicity Pattern Co.

An H figure is one with hips no more than two inches larger than the bust, maybe an undefined waistline and wide-to-regular shoulder width.

The O has an upper body fuller than the lower half, possibly with a protuberant tummy and midriff, fullness in the neck, face and back, and relatively slender hips, thighs and legs.

The A is the most common body shape, with fuller lower body, heavy thighs, narrow bust and shoulders.

And finally the X is a curvy, womanly figure, sometimes challenging to dress in styles designed for slender models; you may have a full bust, a rounded hip and a clearly defined waist, there might be extra fullness in the upper arms and thighs.

Occasions

For business dressing, there are some basic rules:  Cover your cleavage, skip the stiletto heels and leave the fishnet tights at home.  Make sure your derrière is covered up when you lean over, and remember, tight clothes belong on a smaller woman.

For casual dressing, don’t jump right into sweats, or old shorts and a swimsuit top.  Some good suggestions for a pulled-together look include a neat T-shirt or sweater, a pair of jeans or Dockers, and a tweed or denim jacket.

Evening dressing should be fun but still flattering.  Try showing a bit of your delicious décolleté, wearing a jacket over your bustier or throwing a shawl around your shoulders to avoid flaunting your ample arms, slipping a transparent blouse over your camisole.  Consider keeping one foolproof party dress in your closet for last-minute invitations to those fabulous fests.

Style

The point in selecting a style is to distract the eye from focusing on the wrong things and direct it toward the right things – the curves you want to emphasize, rather than any bulges you’re unhappy about.

20. September 2014 · Comments Off on THE WIG’S THE THING · Categories: ---

Soon after arriving for her morning shift, Betsy Forman, the Day Nurse whose turn it was to check patients in, turned the page of the desk calendar to Tuesday, July 11, 2015. She tried not to hear the family conversation in the lobby, but couldn’t help it as both the doctor and the patient’s father had loud, insistent voices.

“We hate to do it, Doctor,” Mr. Matheson boomed, “but the D.A.’s office determined she has to be confined here for at least a month.”

“Please, she’s only 19,” Mrs. Matheson said tearfully. “Poor Ruthie just couldn’t keep away from that lowlife Hal Bundy, and it’s his fault she was convicted of that cocaine charge.”

“Yeah, well, it was mostly Ruthie’s fault,” Mr. Matheson declared stoutly. “Doc, listen, can you make sure she’s put in with someone nice? She’s a little shy, and she needs help coming out of her shell.”

The doctor smiled down at Ruthie whose pretty, cocoa-colored face was pale, and her black eyes were red-rimmed. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.

“She’ll be fine,” he assured her father. “Her roommate will be Helen Barth, who mostly sleeps. But the nurses, like Nurse Forman here, will take good care of her, won’t you, Nurse?”

Betsy nodded and passed the commitment papers to the doctor, who handed them to Mr. Matheson for his signature. As her husband signed, Mrs. Matheson put her arm around her daughter who was slumped over listlessly beside her.

“See, honey?” she said. “The nurses will take good care of you. And we’ll visit you every weekend, I promise.”

The girl shrugged indifferently, seeming not to hear her mother’s words. Betsy circled the desk and took the girl’s arm. She walked Ruthie down the corridor toward the attendant, Les Montgomery, who smiled warmly at her. The girl didn’t even look at him, but he walked her down the corridor to a room. Her parents watched him open a door and lead their daughter inside. Then Mrs. Matheson began to cry in earnest, and her husband put an arm around her and led her out of the rehab center.

***

After a few days, with group sessions in the morning and private sessions with the doctor every afternoon, Ruthie had begun to feel much better. Dr. Chang told her that if she continued to improve, she could leave after serving only four weeks; the judge had sentenced her to four to six weeks in rehab.

But on her fifth day, Nurse Forman led the girl out of her room and saw that there was something on Ruthie’s mind.

“What’s going on, hon?” she asked kindly.

Ruthie considered the question for a moment, then took the nurse’s hand and pulled her into a quiet corner of the hall.

“Can I trust you?” she asked, looking furtively along both sides of the corridor. Betsy nodded, not certain where this was going, and Ruthie said, “I’m pretty sure my roommate is an alien.”

“No,” Nurse Forman said in surprise. She hadn’t thought Ruthie had shown symptoms of paranoia, but this might be the first sign of it. “She’s just addicted to marijuana,” she assured the girl, “and she’s been in and out of a local jail for assault and theft until a judge sent her here. She was born in Fort Hood.”

“Not that kind of alien,” Ruthie said, scorn in her voice. “Well, I mean, it’s actually Helen’s wig that’s the alien. Helen is actually just a costume the wig wears.”

Betsy almost giggled at this despite her training, but as she looked closely at the girl, she decided Ruthie wasn’t joking. She said merely, “Her wig.”

“I’m sure of it,” Ruthie cried. “I know you don’t believe me, but I’ll prove it to you. Come on!”

She grabbed the nurse’s hand and pulled her into their room. Her roommate, Helen, appeared to be asleep beneath the thin coverlet on her bed. The nurse moved to Helen’s side and lifted the wig off the sleeping girl’s head. “See? It’s just a wig. Do you see how ridiculous your idea is?”

Ruthie, who appeared never to have thought of this simple solution, nodded. Her shoulders sagged and she turned to sit on her own bed. The nurse replaced the wig, smiled at Ruthie, and led her out of the room.

The next morning, Nurse Betsy was found strangled to death in a drug supply cabinet in the locked infirmary. When the police arrived at the clinic, Ruthie was waiting and insisted on telling them all about Helen and her claim that her roommate’s wig was an alien. But after speaking with Dr. Chang, the police ignored her claims as the ravings of a drug-addled brain.

Later, in her session with Dr. Chang, Ruthie told him that she had seen the wig make its way off Helen’s head and stare at her, Ruthie, from Helen’s pillow. “How does a wig stare?” the doctor wondered.

Ruthie shrugged one shoulder and shook her head. “I don’t know,” she said. “All I know is that the alien wig was staring at me. I don’t know how.”

“I’m sure you realize, Ruthie, that such a thing is completely impossible. Now I want you to try a new sedative; you should sleep better, and maybe you won’t hallucinate again.”

As she usually did, Ruthie shrugged complacently and took the pill. The doctor watched as she tossed it back and then left the room. Later that night, one of the nurses found Dr. Chang strangled in his locked office. After interviewing all the nurses and attendants, the police arrested one of the patients, Allen Greenwald. Allen did not have an airtight alibi.

***

Ruthie hated the way the new drug made her feel so after the first day, she pretended to take it when the nurse handed it to her but secretly dropped it, and the next few, in her bra. After four more days, she slipped the pills into Helen’s tea.

A few hours later, she was sure Helen was asleep so she snuck over to her bed and yanked the wig off her roommate’s head. As she held it triumphantly in the air, the wig sprouted four tentacles and gripped Ruthie by the throat.

She screamed, but by the time the attendant arrived Ruthie had been strangled, just like Betsy and the doctor. And Allen Greenwald, the patient who had been suspected in the deaths of the nurse and the doctor, had been securely locked away.

20. September 2014 · Comments Off on THE BEST MEDICINE · Categories: ---

I was introduced to the benefits of massage at a very young age. My dad was a physical therapist whose job was to assist patients, referred by local physicians, to regain the use of their arms or legs. He would bring his massage table home at night and offer his five children the benefit of his strong, warm, loving hands. Whenever one of us had sore muscles, we reaped the wonders of those excellent hands; we may have pushed ourselves a little further than kids who didn’t get to be massaged.

In the early part of the century, people received massages only if they were undergoing physical rehabilitation, or if they were athletes or wealthy but stressed-out businessmen. There was also something called a “massage parlor,” about which the less said, the better. In general, there was little sensuality associated with professional massage, only for the overtly sexual use.

In the 1970’s, young people, who would come to be known as the “Me” generation because of their focus on their own bodies and desires, became aware of massage as a sensual tool. Sex therapists encouraged couples to massage one another to improve their sex lives. Magazine articles inspired married women to purchase perfumed mink oil and other types of massage creams, and to set aside an hour or two a week to exchange massages with their husbands, usually as a prelude to sex. These were very unscientific massages, of course, consisting of the opportunity to touch each other in a sensual way rather than for any therapeutic benefits they might offer.

During the 1980’s, massage came to be accepted into the New Age concept of medicine. People began thinking of massage as a homeopathic remedy, and the occupation of “massage therapist” was born. So today, athletes, busy working men and women, college students, stressed out dentists, truck drivers, housewives and babies, can all enjoy the various benefits of massage.

Deep-tissue massages, which are very long and slow and provide the most healing benefits, are generally done by experts and are best done in conjunction with medical or psychological therapy. There are more superficial massages which can help people to relax; these can be done by friends or lovers, and contribute more to better communication than to better health. Healing massages are more psychological than physiological in nature, and are usually done because of health needs and for compassion, rather than for relaxation or communication.

A study conducted by the University of Miami was reported on in Prevention magazine in May 1998, which indicated that fifteen to twenty minutes of parent-child contact daily in the form of massage could improve problems such as diabetes, asthma, dermatitis and insomnia. Such “caring touch” can be used to increase the baby’s blood circulation, digestion, muscle tone and neurological development, according to American Baby, April 1997. Thus, massage itself has the power to heal.

So for sore muscles, sickness, communication and a healthy sex life, massage – not laughter – may be the best medicine.

 

18. September 2014 · Comments Off on ENTREPRENEURIAL MARKETING · Categories: ---

A few years ago, a market research analyst I know named Joanne Dove decided to quit her dead-end job and become a freelancer. She knew she was very good at what she did, and friends had always encouraged her to go into business for herself. However, she was a bit timid and lacked drive, so once she had thrown a good deal of money into setting up her business, she felt that the services she offered were so good that her market would come to her. It didn’t.

At about the same time in a neighboring city, a friend of hers, Harry Beecham, also a market research analyst and also wishing to be his own boss, decided he would go into business for himself. He set up meetings with a tax consultant and a business manager, and offered the same kind of services Joanne was offering. But Harry knew the value of marketing, and his business flourished.

Before he even left his old job, Harry had made an appointment with his tax attorney to discuss whether to incorporate or not, and how he might arrange his equipment purchases and invoicing so as to avoid problems with the IRS. He wrote a business plan, which is helpful whether or not you want venture capital funds or a loan. The plan required him to think through who his market would be, how he was going to reach them, what he would do with the income he received and what his actual business was. Through the business and marketing plans, he was able to decide how he would market his services so that very little time was wasted trying first one thing and then another.

Harry’s tax attorney referred him to a Public Relations expert, who helped him decide what kinds of publicity he wanted, and all his decisions had been made by the time he started work on his first contract proposal.

Writing Your Business Plan

This article will be an investigation into some of the tools you, as an entrepreneur, might consider when writing your own business plan. You can do a simple plan just for yourself, clarifying your mission, stating exactly what service and/or product you want to provide, who you might expect to purchase those services or products (your target market), where these customers might be found and how you might connect with them, and how you’ll treat the income your product or services will generate.

You could also purchase software that will help you to write a business and marketing plan if you want something more complex, or if you wish to use the plan to generate capital. You can find this software in office supply stores or online, or you can hire a consultant to write a plan with you.

A small business consisting of one to three people most likely doesn’t need a 40-page plan, but do write your goals and your mission statement down, however simple or complex you feel it needs to be. It will be very helpful to think through your first year, and you’ll probably find several areas you wouldn’t have considered without the formal process, which may save a lot of wear and tear on yourself in the future.

Market Yourself

You’ll want to be clear about how to market yourself, how to spread the news about your new small business, and how to put yourself forward as a professional.

Some of the tools you might employ to market your business and spread the news about it include newsletters, flyers, direct-mail, fax/electronic mail, telemarketing, newspaper and magazine advertising, and/or publicity. Here’s a brief exploration of each of those tools.

  • Direct-mail – You can write, or have a professional writer prepare, a persuasive sales letter that can be sent to your prospective client list by snail-mail, fax or email; but remember, a sales letter ALWAYS asks for the sale.
  • Telemarketing – You might purchase a list from a professional list service, according to demographics you specify, and then hire friends or students who can make up to a hundred phone calls a day offering to set appointments for you to discuss your products or services.
  • Advertising – You could prepare a display ad (or simply a Yellow Pages or classified ad) that would appear in one or in every issue of a newspaper or magazine that goes to your target market (the specific types of people you are targeting for your product or service).
  • Newsletters – You can write articles about the kind of work you do, items that summarize recent studies in the field, and ask friends in the same or related fields to contribute ideas, columns, articles or fillers that your target market would appreciate. This might be a one-page newsletter prepared with an inexpensive software program, printed in black & white at your local printer, with clip art and your own mailing list labels applied, all the way up to a glossy four-color six-page newsletter, professionally produced and mailed to a large, expensive, professionally developed mailing list.
  • Flyers – You might prepare black & white or color flyers and arrange for them to be direct-mailed to a targeted market, included in local newspapers, stuck under windshields or even stuffed into mailboxes. These might announce your debut as a service provider, or they might offer a big discount on a special deal.
  • Website – You might want to hire someone to prepare a website that you will contribute to regularly (once a month would be fine); these contributions might include articles about what you can offer, how-to articles, or interviews of local entrepreneurs, etc.
  • Publicity – You might decide to hold a fund-raiser, sponsor a charity, teach a class, publish an article about your services or have someone write an article about your business – in some way, make yourself visible in the community to draw the attention of prospective customers to you. You should consider writing a press release and sending it to local newspapers.

You might wonder whether you need publicity. A Public Relations consultant can give you guidance as to what their assistance will result in. But be careful – not all publicity is good publicity; the difference between publicity and notoriety is that publicity is good, although maybe more difficult to get.

 Be Seen As a Professional

You can be perceived as a professional in a variety of ways: Your business card and stationary will say a lot about your professionalism, as will the brochures, the website and the flyers you prepare. You can also join one or more trade associations related to your business, and make yourself visible within them, or you might choose to become a member of your local Chamber of Commerce and attend their networking meetings, or both. You might consider joining a group of like-minded small business owners and professionals in a networking group, where you’ll likely be encouraged to share your expertise and will learn methods of quickly introducing yourself and your business. These groups are also great sources for referrals.

In the long run, our friend Joanne was probably as good a market research analyst as Harry, and might have had a pretty competent business head on her shoulders. But she didn’t know, or she forgot, that it was her responsibility to go to her customers, and not theirs to come to her.

18. September 2014 · Comments Off on POLICING IN THE 20TH CENTURY · Categories: ---

Throughout the past century, ongoing changes in police methodology and laws relating to how the police may do their jobs, as well as the technology allowing such changes to be implemented, have led to overall improvements in the public’s understanding and empathy for the police.

Prior to the Great Depression in the thirties, the media (radio, newspapers, a few local magazines, books, and pre-talkie movies) focused on a limited amount of news and pure entertainment. During the first thirty years of the century, movies tended to be like little novels, telling exotic stories and preaching values and norms. There was little congruence between what was broadcast over the radio or written in books about police work, and actual police and their activities. Newspapers and magazines focused on good news and fashions, or on high society. Little was known at that point of crime and criminals until the Stock Market Crash in 1929.

During the thirties, forties and fifties, movies about gangsters created stereotypes of police and criminals that had an effect not only on the views of the public about the police, but the views of their jobs by the cops themselves. Once television became omnipresent during the sixties and seventies, it brought events such as the civil rights battles, the riots every summer, the anti-war activities, right into people’s living rooms.

Stories about how the police did or did not do their jobs, who they were and what they were doing, made them much more noticeable to the public.

Today, since cop shows are one of the most popular TV entertainment venues, they permeate the attitudes of the public, and of the cops themselves, toward the job of the police.

The media watch everything the police do and report it all, mostly focusing on the bad. Many problems that occur within police departments are first brought to the attention of the police hierarchy through the media. The ability of today’s media to present events, often as they are happening, influences the manner in which the police must do their jobs.

The problems of corruption in the police, lack of training, inefficiency, racial profiling, brutality, have all been covered in the media during the century. Articles, and books such as “The Jungle,” yellow journalism and shock journalism, have all helped to focus the public’s attention on the police, sometimes having a detrimental effect and often leading directly to changes in policy and procedures.

Laws have been changing a great deal over the century, and those that affect the police and the court system have been changed as well. “Crimes of the Century,” such as the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and “Trials of the Century,” such as the O. J. Simpson trial, had massive effect on police procedures, whether for good or bad.

* * *

In the early years of the twentieth century, police departments were inefficient, ineffective, and generally based on the political “buddy system.” Cops had little training and almost no education, and laws were enforced arbitrarily. The common citizen expected little from the police department; the police were definitely not our friends, but were sometimes our enemies. The general perception of a cop was of an uneducated thug who had power over one’s life, and therefore must be feared and respected. Until the thirties, people generally avoided seeking out the police for help.

It wasn’t until after World War One that the image of the police began to change. Soldiers returning from the war with military training often influenced police departments to implement these methods into their working lives, and a new, more effective paramilitary police organization was born. During the Great Depression, police departments became even more focused on maintaining the status quo, and not so much on crime-fighting. There were so many people out of work, so many homeless and small, petty crimes, that people with money tended to turn their faces away from such problems to avoid seeing them. So the police saw their jobs as more to keep everything looking normal, letting the public avoid seeing the crime that was going on. The thirties saw a rise in bank robberies and train-robberies, and the police had to begin developing systems to combat this. It was then that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was created.

World War Two took many young men off to war, but the country’s crime rate went down and more women moved into the police department. These women were social workers, rather than hard-nosed cops, and those police who stayed at home were older and had to become more efficient. Later, when the soldiers returned with even more military training than in the last war, as well as experience with other countries and other police departments, police cultures changed yet again. Women were forced out of the police, or were relegated to more support roles, after having had a taste of real responsibility and power. And as a result of the GI Bill, there were more people receiving college educations, thereby raising the standards of police departments everywhere and, in general, improving the public’s perception of the police. The job of police officer became more of a profession, increasingly respected and valued in the community.

 * * *

During the sixties, the growth of civil unrest was broadcast on national television, along with the police responses (e.g., southern integration efforts, the Chicago Democratic Convention, the Sharon Tate/Charles Manson Murders), and portrayed the police as irresponsible, brutal and vicious, clarifying for the nation the violence inherent in the police system. New laws arose with the effort to respect suspects’ rights, as well as victims’ rights. Often, these rights led to the public’s belief that suspects were given more rights than victims. New laws, such as the Miranda Warning and others, put more and more restrictions on the police, once again changing the face of police activity.

In the seventies, all the new laws enacted during the sixties began taking effect. Along with these new laws came changes that brought more integration and more personal and professional responsibility into the police department. There was an explosion of minorities entering the police force, and lawsuits against police departments for the first time, forcing them to integrate. More and better training of police officers was required, including early sensitivity and race relations training, resulting in a police department that more accurately reflected the racial balance of local communities. Women, as a direct result of the feminist movement of this time, were given patrol duties and other responsibilities almost equal to those of their male counterparts.

Title VII required that women be allowed to go into the same career fields as men, and women were resolute that they would do so. Police departments had to change some of their entrance requirements, such as age and height. There were contentions by some male cops that women were too small, too slight, too unqualified to handle the violent, physically challenging work required of police officers, but every challenge placed on them resulted in some women somewhere meeting and overcoming that challenge, until eventually the laws were revised to allow women to qualify as police officers.

The eighties and nineties consolidated these earlier years, adding more comprehensive testing efforts and a new awareness within the police culture itself as to how the police were doing their jobs. There were scandals such as the Rodney King brutality trial in April 1992, which led directly to a number of changes in the ways police departments dealt with mob control and other problems.

After the devastating events of September 11, 2001, the media were once again referring to the police as heroes, rather than as semi-criminals and incompetents. Police officers gained in the respect of the society overall. Since fears of terrorism have begun pervading our society, more people than ever have expressed a willingness to give up their rights and privacy for the “homeland security.”

When the problem of corruption again came to the forefront of our consciousness (e.g., kickbacks in LA, cover-ups in San Francisco, accusations of authoritarian police culture in Oakland), people were discouraged and angry; it was felt that the police were expected to set a higher standard and, like Caesar’s wife, should be above reproach.

 * * *

To conclude, over the past century, improvements in methodology, in the laws relating to police actions, and in the field of forensics, as well as the technology that would allow these changes to be implemented, have resulted in an overall improvement in the public’s perception and empathy for the police.