Showing Off a Little (Inner) Cleavage. Author Geralyn Lucas wore bright, red lipstick to her mastectomy. "It was my way of saying I knew I would still be a woman when I woke up with a blood-soaked bandage where my breast used to be... women have sacrificed breasts and hair to try to save their lives. We have traded in our beauty for some kind of cure. But something strange often happens when we lose the bling — the big boobs and big hair — of womanhood. We're left with what I call 'inner cleavage,' and no plastic surgeon can sculpt it. It is the beauty that exists when everything else has been stripped away". Lauren Greenfield photographs here. More inside.
Supersized in the NFL Analyzing data from the 2003-2004 season, researchers say "more than a quarter of NFL players had a body mass index that qualified them as class 2 obesity" -- equivalent to a 6-foot man weighing between 260 and 300 pounds. Even those players weren't the biggest ones: the study counted more than 60 players -- 3 percent -- with body mass indexes placing them into class 3 obesity, with individual weights approaching 400 pounds. "I don't know what's going on in the minds of coaches", said lead researcher Dr. Joyce Harp, an assistant professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Players' growing girth "is a major concern," said Dr. Arthur Roberts, a former NFL quarterback and retired heart surgeon (.pdf file) whose Living Heart Foundation works with the players' union to evaluate heart-related health risks faced by current and retired players. More inside.
The Death of Yesterday Twenty years ago, an everyday virus destroyed Clive Wearing's brain. Now, all he can remember is music -- and his wife. Here, Deborah Wearing tells how their enduring love has become the one constant in a marriage without memory.
My Heart vs the Real World "He's a normal kid. He's a good kid. He's a real normal kid. And we get him to do the drums and we take him for tryouts and we do everything we can to keep his life as normal as we can make it. We've never lollypopped him. You know, mollycoddled or – we let him try everything. 'Cause if we didn't it would be a big crutch for him. We don't want that to happen. Like I said, we waited – we wanted to have another child right away. We wanted three, we always did. We were scared to death after him. To have another one, to have another baby. What if the third one, you know – what if it were Cheryl and I? Our genes? -- The father of Grant Skowkron, Fifteen years old, Single Ventricle, Transposition of the Major Vessels, M.V. Prolapse, Implanted Pacemaker. Photographer Max S. Gerber has had a pacemaker implanted because of his bradycardia. In his website, he tells the story of ten other heart patients -- all of them kids -- with his images, and with their parents' words.
Chemical heads Your hair is drab. Dull. Needs more volume. Needs less frizz. It needs something. Maybe it needs cetyl alcohol. Mixed with a dash of propylene glycol, and how about a little butane, or acrylamide? Once upon a time, people lathered, rinsed, never repeated, and went on their merry bad-hair days. Then, science and chemistry specialized the way folks condition and shine. Companies began creating new compounds so they could design products for specific hair types. Now, some consumer groups worry about the mix of chemicals: they point to incomplete labeling and little government oversight of the cosmetics and hair industry, accusations the Food and Drug Administration does not deny. "The FDA needs to define what is safe to put in these products, and come up with standards," says Tim Kropp, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit consumer organization in Washington that helped produce a study on problem ingredients in everyday products. "There are no safety standards in place." (to access main link, a little help from BugMeNot). More inside.
With our shipwrecked hearts. Ninety years ago Dino Campana, impoverished and outcast poet self-published his book Canti Orfici (.pdf file) ("Orphic Songs", mastefully translated into English by poet Charles Wright). The birth of the book wasn't marred only by Campana's mental illness (soon afterwards, he was committed to a mental institution). Initially, the "Orphic Songs" were submitted for possible publication to the poet/painter Ardengo Soffici, who promptly lost the manuscript. Campana spent the next six months reconstructing the book from memory. Finally in 1914, with the help of a local printer of religious tracts, he self-published a first edition of around 500, selling only 44. Campana attempted, with marginal success, to sell the remainder of his portion of the run (the printer had taken half the books as partial printing payment) himself at cafes in Florence. He is now remembered as one of Italy's greatest, most imaginative poets (with biographies ,award-winning movies about his troubled life and his dangerous, scandalous love affair with fellow writer Sibilla Aleramo. (more inside)
The Suicide’s Soliloquy August 25, 1838, the Sangamo Journal, a Whig newspaper in Springfield, Illinois, carried an unsigned poem, thirty-six lines long. It stands out for two reasons: first, its subject is suicide; second, its author was most likely a twenty-nine-year-old politician and lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin relates how historians regard a broken off engagement to Mary Todd as the trigger to his famous depression, but it was his perceived failure as politician, she maintains, that fed Lincoln's "black dog". (For his depression, Lincoln probably took "blue mass", a drug prescribed to treat "hypochondriasis," a vague term that included melancholia). Lincoln's medical history file is here
Then, in one of his unexplained flashes of clarity, he told Debbie: "I don't want to have Alzheimer's." On Saturday, John will be 57. Although he is in the end stage of early-onset Alzheimer's, he still enjoys simple pleasures: walking outdoors, eating ice cream, listening to music. His wife, children and church friends — some of whom have relatives with dementia — will gather at the nursing home for a birthday party. They will honor the man John once was, and the spirit that survives. And some will no doubt wonder if they are bearing witness to their own futures. Alzheimer's is a disease that can create nurses and chambermaids out of loved ones. Jim Broomall doesn't blame his mother. It's not her fault. She can't help it. No one with Alzheimer's can and caregivers must remember that, he says. "If you don't, you'll go crazy". Or maybe even die: home care for Alzheimer's patients is a major health risk for the caregiver spouse. That's the choice for the families of the Alzheimer's patients (4.5 million of whom are Americans).
Two HIV Cases Put a Scare Into P9rn (LATimes) Several major adult movie companies — including the industry's largest, Vivid — have decided to stop filming for 60 days after two stars tested positive for HIV. But other companies dismissed the plea for a moratorium, calling it "paranoid" and "knee-jerk," and vowed to keep their cameras rolling. The industry, they said, was perfectly safe."I'm against any stop in production," said a producer "It will put a lot of people out of business. You'll have people who will start losing their apartments. It's just not fair." When do adult movies (a hugely profitable business where unprotected sex is often performed) end being sexy and start being "Russian Roulette on dvd" scary? The two actors who have tested positive for the HIV virus are identified as Darren James and Lara Roxx. Roxx (who's 18 or 19) had only been in the adult industry for three months. 45 actors and actresses who subsequently either worked with James or the women he had sex with after contracting the virus, which is believed to have occurred in Brazil (where, incidentally, star and director John Stagliano -- not completely work-safe link -- says he caught AIDS in 1997), have been identified, too. warning: except the Stagliano link, all the others are work-safe. (more inside)