A house for the girls.

I had to go bra-shopping yesterday. For many of you ladies, this means swinging through Wal-Mart or Target, finding your size along the ABCD continuum, and then choosing between all the options — front or back closure? Black, white, nude or pink? A little pink bow at the middle, or plain? Racerback, convertible back, strapless? And so on.

My problem is more complicated. I recall a soundbite from a designer who did a gown for Aretha Franklin to wear to some awards show: “She wanted strapless. Do you have any idea what sort of engineering work goes into a strapless gown for Aretha Franklin?” Now that I think about it, it’s sort of a cheeky thing for a man to say about his client, who should rightfully get some discretion from her dressmaker. Now that I know more about the Queen of Soul, it’s entirely possible her check bounced.

Anyway, I’m not Aretha, but I can no longer shop at Wal-Mart or Target. If I ever lose 20 pounds or so, the problem may be eased somewhat, but I was in the far outer regions of those stores’ selections years and pounds ago, and likely will be again, barring surgery. Some of us are just made that way. It’s not a glorious problem to have, in case you’re wondering; I’d rather have been born with $20 million, and spend my life worrying if people really like me, or my bank account.

And while the problems at my end of the size spectrum get easier every day — thank you, obesity epidemic! — I still prefer to shop with an expert at least once every couple of years, and that means I have to take myself to Harp’s, in Birmingham.

Harp’s is a legendary lingerie store. It’s the second one I’ve patronized in my life, the other being Town Shop in New York City. Both had, amusingly enough, the same power at their core — an ancient lady who sits behind the counter, a tape measure around her neck that she rarely needs to use because she’s seen every size, shape and color of boob under the sun. She can size you at a glance, under two sweaters and a winter coat. Modesty in fitting rooms is out of the question, because she looks at your chest with the same eye your mechanic turns on your fuel-injection system.

Both ancient ladies are gone now. Mrs. Harp died a while back, Selma Koch of Town Shop a few years before that. I’ve quoted Koch’s New York Times obituary here before, but just in case you missed it, here’s the lead:

Selma Koch, a Manhattan store owner who earned a national reputation by helping women find the right bra size, mostly through a discerning glance and never with a tape measure, died Thursday at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She was 95 and a 34B.

Betty Harp lived to be 93. Obviously something about spending your days surrounded by breasts leads to long lives. She, too, had a great obit, once you got past the part about fitting bras on the angels in heaven:

A master saleswoman, with a sense of style and a knack for making women feel beautiful, attributed to her great success. She owned stores in Hamtramck, Ferndale, Warren and finally, Birmingham. For 63 years she fit generations of mothers, daughters and granddaughters, six days a week – only resting on Sunday.

Any woman who left her store, left with an uplift and a story to tell. Known for her youthful, cosmetically untouched face, wit and spunk. Her secret to life – “Eat very little, use Vaseline or olive oil as a face cream, work like hell and don’t take crap from anyone.”

Mrs. Harp is gone, but she trained her staff well, and the lady who waited on me also didn’t need a tape measure. She also sold me a camisole in the new miracle fabric of I-don’t-know-what, but lordy, does this thing stretch. One size fits 0 to 24, and they’re highly recommended for pregnancy layers. Their website touts them as solutions to the problem of plumber’s butt in the current style of low-rise jeans. That’s women’s style for you — sell you a problem, then sell you a solution.

I bought the camisole after touring the rest of the store and its array of treasures — the high-end European stuff, those panties Scarlett Johansson wore in the first shot of “Lost in Translation” — and decided that whatever else I am, I am not the sort of person who drops $29 on a pair of panties. This camisole is intriguing, however. So smoothing! I’m going to experiment a bit.

Lots of good bloggage today, so let’s get started:

Via Eric Zorn, a hidden treasure from the Chicago Reader — a short-lived, ’70s-era magazine for teen girls called Star, presumably because they couldn’t call it Starfucker and sell it on respectable newsstands. As the Reader writer points out:

The second issue is my favorite so far. The advice column runs a letter allegedly from a girl who’s worried about her 15-year-old sister sneaking out and dating guys old enough to go to jail for having sex with her, and the columnist actually scolds her for being a drag.

Thanks to Mitch Harper, for remembering my interest in clowns that go bad, or, in this case, have bad visited upon them:

Two street clowns were found dead in southeastern Mexico along with messages allegedly from a drug gang accusing them of working as army informers, their families said Tuesday.

Police busted a Nigerian drug mule at the Detroit airport the other day, carrying — in her stomach — an astonishing 2.5 pounds of heroin in those little oval packages we all remember from “Maria Full of Grace.” The story is remarkable mainly for the photograph of the 91 packages all cleaned up and lined up on a hospital tray, and to think what it took to swallow them all.

Finally, regular readers know how much I love the work of Roy Edroso over at Alicublog. I knew he’d hit a rough patch of late, but I didn’t know there was an Edrosothon in progress to help him get through it. Now you know, too.

A great weekend to all.

Posted at 9:13 am in Same ol' same ol' |

70 responses to “A house for the girls.”

  1. Connie said on January 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I was writing this comment on yesterday’s post when today’s post appeared so I put it here even though it is irrelevant.

    During the Haley Barbour news uproar last week one of the news articles I read mentioned a book by Willie Morris called “Yazoo” which looked at the 1970 integration of the Yazoo MS schools. I just finished it and it was a very different story than the one Barbour told. Morris was then the editor of Harper’s and himself a graduate of Yazoo schools. N word appeared regulary, when quoting casual conversation.

    One of the things Morris said was it isn’t the kids, it’s the parents. When this generation grows up I am hopeful things will be different. Well all these years later it is and it isn’t. This depressed me because I have been saying the same thing about my daughter’s generation.

    My library is part of a large catalog cooperative that includes many if not most of two county’s worth of metro Detroit. This 1971 publication was owned by only one of the libraries in the group, and an early computer produced catalog card was pasted inside the cover to be used as a pocket. This was as interesting to me as the book itself. Which I do recommend.

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  2. LAMary said on January 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Should you find yourself in LA in need of a bra fitting, talk to Sandra at Nordstom in Glendale. She’s not ancient, but she sizes you up sends you to a fitting room and brings in a few things to try on. They all fit and they all improve your shape remarkably. Five years ago she talked me into letting her fit me when I was poking around in the sale rack. Now I go directly to Sandra.

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  3. Connie said on January 7, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I’ve done the bra fit thing, only to find that bras are not made in my size. Once you know your size try Just my Size at JMS.com which carries a huge assortment of hard to find sizes.

    And let’s just say there are few As and Bs available after 38.

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  4. BillB said on January 7, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Longevity? Surrounded by breasts? Hmmmm, Mr. Hugh Hefner look pretty chipper lately….

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  5. Jim G said on January 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

    The second Star issue has an interview with Karen Carpenter:

    Star: Karen, we’re especially interested in rapping with you about your early high school days–what you were like and what got you interested in a show business career?
    Karen: Well, I looked quite a bit different when I was in high school cause I was heavier, about twenty pounds heavier, to tell you the truth. And I was just tired of being fat so I went on a diet! In fact, just the other day I was cleaning out my bedroom closet…and it was really hard just getting in there…but when I got in, there I found this sweater I used to wear in high school… Good Lord, I think I could get into it three times today… I mean I don’t know how I ever got through a door…Oh, I really wasn’t that heavy but compared to now…wow!
    Star: How long were you on a diet?
    Karen: Uh…good grief…I think it was five weeks ….I had lost like twenty-three pounds. It really worked. It was the water diet…that one where you drink eight glasses of water a day…and I despise water.


    (Sorry about all the ellipses. Add crappy editing to Star’s sins.)

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  6. Colleen said on January 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Barbara’s New Beginnings in the Fort is the place to go for a fitting, and for those of us who can’t wear the Wal Mart bras, it’s a little bit life changing. “Oh, so they are supposed to be out front and up high. Who knew?”

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  7. brian stouder said on January 7, 2011 at 9:59 am

    out front and up high


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  8. coozledad said on January 7, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I haven’t been fitted for a suit in a while, so I wonder if there are any places outside of New York where you pick your fabric and have one made to fit. I’ve also got a book that has a picture of Stravinsky being fitted for bespoke shoes.

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  9. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I knew the guys would be all over this one.

    If you haven’t looked at Target in a few years, try them again. My size combo is not carried in most lines but I found a good and relatively inexpensive sports bra there. Usually I pay through the nose.

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  10. brian stouder said on January 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I knew the guys would be all over this one

    I thought I was being all upright and restrained (so to speak)

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  11. Catherine said on January 7, 2011 at 10:46 am

    The only thing worse than shopping for bras for yourself is shopping for bras for your daughter. Of all the parenting responsibilities, it is at the top of my Outsource list. Yasuko has shut her doors, sadly, but now we all truck on out to The Wizard of Bras. I pay through the nose, and get some questions about the merchandise there — “Wow, that does not look comfortable. Why would you want crotchless panties?” — but it’s all worth it.

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  12. LAMary said on January 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Yasuko closing was what drove me to Nordstroms.

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  13. John G. Wallace said on January 7, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Clowns acting as spies? Who are we to laugh when we have the good folks in Langley, Va. CIA aka Clown Intelligence Agency.

    Off topic, as in when am I ever on topic, but I have a great link to share. Florida has always been a wellspring of oddball news and stupid criminals. The local cops & robbers reporter compiles a weekly blog, usually with police reports:


    Here’s a sample with an AP Style question:
    A clerk at the establishment in the 2100 block of North A1A told Fort Pierce police a heavyset woman with braided hair asked for samples of liquor. The clerk said the business doesn’t give samples of alcohol and closed the drive-through window, she told police.

    “(Female dog) you can’t just close the window on me,” the woman is quoted as saying.

    I’m frightened about trying to work in journalism here. The user comments on news sites tend to kick off with a rant and never get to the story. Not so subtle race comments start by the 3rd or 4th comment. There is a huge contingent of “wanna be” copy editors. Who in their right mind would want that job? I think the mix of old time Florida crackers (I use that term in it’s original meaning of Florida natives), old angry east coast NY-NJ folks, and trolls bubbles just below critical mass.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Mom outsourced that one to grandma, who took me to a wonderful woman on the third floor of Penney’s. It was much better than going to Malone’s, where old man Malone presided behind one of those counters where everything is in boxes. Right, just what every girl wants, to tell an old guy her size and then watch him paw through the intimates.

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  15. moe99 said on January 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

    As someone who really didn’t need a bra until late in life (thank you breast feeding!), I’ve always been hard to fit. Lately it’s worse with the port installed directly below my right clavicle–I have to find bras with straps that don’t rub and irritate it.

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  16. John G. Wallace said on January 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Back already, had to share this one. Back in NJ where I used to live (and write for this newspaper) a skate park building committee is hosting a “pole dancing” competition open to women only. The best part of the story is the “graphic” they used.


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  17. Mark P. said on January 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Hey Coozledad, some of the best-fitting shirts and trousers I have ever seen on a man were worn by my Indian (from India, that is) roommate at Georgia Tech. It turns out that where he lived in India (in Kerala), you couldn’t just go down to the department store and buy clothes. They didn’t have department stores. If you wanted a new pair of pants, you had to have them made specifically for you. Same with shirts.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2011 at 11:24 am


    I wear suits when I teach and just bought two on sale at Macy’s in the post-Christmas rush. Everything I own is off the rack, though each suit is 100% wool. (Thanks for that advice, Dad!) But. . .if I ever hit the lottery, I would fly to Italy and be fitted for a handmade Brioni. Last time I looked, a single suit cost $3,000 and that was some years ago, but damn, it was a fine, fine suit.

    I have upgraded to English shirts. The NYT had a flier inside in late 2010 offering a discount code to Charles Tyrwhitt in London, so I ordered three French cuff shirts. They arrived via air mail through Belgium and, man, are they some great shirts for less than $40 U.S.

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  19. brian stouder said on January 7, 2011 at 11:33 am

    John, to me, this sentence was the cake taker:

    Although pole dancing is typically associated with gentlemen’s clubs, the activity has taken steps recently to be considered an actual sport. The U.S. Pole Dance Federation, or USPDF, one of the more legitimate organizations in pole dancing, has been hosting a national competition for the past three years.

    Gotta love the phrase “one of the more legitimate organizations”…!

    (and how does “the activity” take “steps”?)

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  20. ROgirl said on January 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Galeries Lafayette in Paris has an entire floor devoted to lingerie. The store itself is a 19th century palace of consumerism (think flanerie, Zola, Manet, Haussmann, and the Goncourt brothers). This video gives an idea of its allure.


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  21. Mindy said on January 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I’ve had that life changing eureka! moment at Barbara’s, too, Colleen. Now I have people asking if I’ve lost weight (I wish) and tell me how great I look. I just smile and say thanks. The bad news is that I can’t buy bras anywhere locally but Barbara’s. While I was being fitted they told me that C is the average cup size and D is just a tad larger, not the stacked and stuffed size that comes to mind. The tiny antique lady who fitted me at a department store years ago had me in a bra much too large in the band and much too small in the cup. Subsequent tiny antique ladies in other department stores came up with the same wrong size over the years.

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  22. prospero said on January 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Suits are sized idiotically. If I get a 44Long jacket, the pants need to be taken in about 7 inches. Women’s breasts are a lovely accoutrement, besides for feeding infants. Surgically-enhanced breasts are ridiculous. All sizes and shapes are appealing, but the champagne glass idea is useful.

    Jeff, you know the song ?

    And Julie, I don’t see “guys all over this one”, that’s stereotyping. I’m a guy. Do I like breasts? Hell, yeah. All shapes and sizes, aside from pure blubbery. Even chubs, but most likely svelte and small. Reminds me of a poem:

    Fat girls are pretty
    Fat girls are fun
    Fat girls need two barstools
    One for each bun.

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  23. Jean S said on January 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    There’s a place here in Portland, too, that people rave about. <>

    Moe, I wonder whether any of the shops that target mastectomy patients would have something that would work for you. You deserve comfort, dammit.

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  24. Peter said on January 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Cooz, Allen Edmonds will craft shoes to your liking, which you should keep in mind if you’re ever in Milwaukee.

    Well, it’s a bad joke, but it’s Friday and this joke is on topic, so here goes:

    An old time brassiere factory recently shut down, and the workers went over to the unemployment office for benefits.

    Everyone was asked what they did at the factory, and their benefits were adjusted accordingly. As it turned out, Moshe, the old quality control foreman, got significantly more benefits than the others. When they asked why that was so, they were told that Moshe said he was a Diesel Fitter, and as this was a skilled position, he would get more money. One of the workers then said “He’s no Diesel Fitter – he just takes the bras off the line, stretches them, and says ‘Dese ‘ill fit her!’ ”

    Thank you everybody! I’m here all week! Try the veal!

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  25. beb said on January 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Aretha, dear lady, seems to have a thing for strapless dresses despite the fact that at her size they are unflattering.

    I’m just glad that my man-boobs don’t require a man-bra.

    I was teased about that as a kid which is how I turned into sociopath that I am today.

    The camisole Nancy talks about seems designed to eliminate butt crack, excess cleavage and exposed belly buttons. I thought those were all goals of girls fashion and covering them up the sin.

    The Karen Carpenter interview Jim G links to above is an eye-opening. She was a text book case of Anorexia.

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  26. Deborah said on January 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I’m breaking my New Year’s resolution again, but can I just say that reading this blog and these comments is always one of the best parts of my day. Today it’s especially good.

    Little Bird’s best friend has a pole installed in her living room, she’s a dancer (for the fun of it) and teaches it too. I’m pretty sure Little Bird will comment here about it soon.

    I always wear a tucked in camisole, even in the summer, because of the low pants that are hard to avoid. If I lift my arms over my head I’m likely to flash something unseemly for the office environment.

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  27. Sue said on January 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    beb, she was a textbook case of anorexia before there was a completed text book. I seem to recall that her death added to the body of research, shall we say, just by being so public. I think there were a lot of “oh, so that’s what can happen” eye-opening realizations among women.

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  28. 4dbirds said on January 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I had a breast reduction in 85. One of the best decisions I made.

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  29. dan_g said on January 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    When in NYC let me recommend Linda’s Bras, 828 Lexington Avenue
    New York, NY 10021 between 63rd & 64th.
    (212) 751-2727

    I brought my girlfriend there (who could never find a comfortable bra).

    They do measure and also look & it turns out her strap size was too big and the cup size too small.

    They bra was expensive but she loves the comfort. And once you know your size you can find the same bras online for less.

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  30. MarkH said on January 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Speaking of Karen Carpenter, let’s go to True Grit redux, trivia dept.

    When the new version came out and was discussed here, I asked a question I don’t that I got an answer to: Who did John Wayne want in the Mattie role in his film?

    Yes, it was Karen. Saw her at a youth variety sho he hosted and was very impressed. Director Henry Hathaway said no, as he already had one amateur in the film at Wayne’s insistence.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Deborah, it isn’t only the low-rise pants, it’s the shorter tops that make us need camisoles. They only look good on skinny teens, and if you already have a long torso, you’re sunk. Why do we put up with it?

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  32. paddyo' said on January 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    beb @ 25, that’s no “man-bra,” that’s The Bro!

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  33. Jolene said on January 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    There are, it seems to me, so few women who look good in low-rise pants. For most women, a cut across the hips is just not flattering. I have a young, very slender niece who is long in the body. She would look great in pants that sit at the waist or just below it and follow the very graceful curve of her hips, but that just doesn’t cut it as a fashion statement.

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  34. Dexter said on January 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    My wife sends me to the grocery store from time to time to buy items we run out of. Eggs? I will buy the wrong size. Packaged turkey? I’ll buy smoked and she wanted roasted. If she wants California navel oranges I will surely buy small Florida juice oranges; we are never in sync.
    But the time she sent me for some bras, well…even she laughed at that one. Wrong color, wrong size, wrong brand—and I even had written instructions, but ignored them.

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  35. Jolene said on January 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Completely off topic, I wanted to draw attention to a story I saw on the PBS Newshour about a man who was recently freed after being wrongfully convicted after spending thirty years in jail. It’s a horrible story–a great injustice that cannot really be undone–but what I was most impressed with was the Dallas County district attorney who is working with the Innocence Project to review cases in which the defendant might have been wrongfully convicted. The video at the link above shows Ray Suarez’s interview with the prosecutor, Craig Watkins, and Eugene Robinson wrote about this case in today’s WaPo. He draws attention to an obvious point that wasn’t made explicit in the PBS interview–that almost all the wrongfully convicted men were black, as is Watkins.

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  36. Deborah said on January 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    OK now I’m really breaking my resolution, twice in one day… but I had to share this, the guy who sits next to me at the office showed me just now that there is a way to have a caps lock on your iPhone. Just tap on the caps button twice and voila! Now I can yell in text messages. Maybe you guys already knew this but I recall somebody mentioning not being able to lock caps in an earlier post/comments.

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  37. Jolene said on January 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Deborah: Why are you imposing this gag order on yourself? I, for one, am always interested in what you have to say. No one else, least of all me, has the idea that they should “really have something to say” before posting.

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  38. moe99 said on January 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm


    the error behind the assumption that government workers make lots of money

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  39. Deborah said on January 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Jolene, I think I’m a lousy writer, I’m a great designer though, so when I comment I’m always a little embarrassed by my comments compared to all of the ones written by the fantastic, witty writers in this group. A lot of times I would comment when I didn’t really have anything to say and that seemed odd so I’m trying to cut that down. Also, I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with this site, spending too much time at work looking at it. I try to limit myself to only reading it during lunch hour but it’s hard to do.

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  40. Jolene said on January 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Well, for what it’s worth, I never noticed any problems in your writing, and I am a noticer of such things.

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  41. ROgirl said on January 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    MarkH, apparently the producer wanted Mia Farrow, but someone told her Hathaway was difficult to work with.

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  42. prospero said on January 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    When my daughter Emily was about five, I took her to Boston Garden with her cousin Mikey to see Ringling Bros, The full boat. We were stopped on about the top level by a clown, What in the world is it that scares people about clowns? Emmy wasn’t scared, her cousin whackjob, Little asshole, acted like I hsd abducted him. Now she hs a boy of her own that can be terrified with clowns, I’m a grampa y’all.

    Boobs are just boobs. They surely don’t define women. This is a ridiculous discussion. smaller and firmer, OK, but who cares? Big and flabby on the right woman, that’s OK too. People need to grow out of juvenile stereotypes.

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  43. Connie said on January 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Deborah, I feel the same way about being around these wonderful writers.

    And Prospero, my daughter had a terrible fear of clowns. Once in downtown Indy we took her, then aged two, to the once thriving Union Station. On the way in we walked past clowns doing balloons. We sat down in the restaurant and she grabbed her nose and wouldn’t let go until we got back to the car. We finally got her to tell us “clowns going to get my nose.”

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  44. brian stouder said on January 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    …“clowns going to get my nose.”

    Best laugh in the thread; Connie wins!

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  45. Little Bird said on January 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I do indeed have a very good friend with a pole installed in her living room. She teaches acrobatic pole dancing. From what I’ve seen her do, it’s not easy, and requires a fair amount of upper-arm strength. She does things that defy gravity. It’s pretty impressive if you can get past the whole “naughty” stigma of it.

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  46. Rana said on January 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Oh, my, I love low-rise pants. When the gap between top of hip and bottom of ribcage is literally an inch wide, high rise (or even normal rise) pants are not your friend.

    The menfolk have already touched on the bespoke men’s clothing, so I’ll only mention that the forms for some of the overseas to-order clothing manufacturers are entertaining in their bluntness and specificity. (This one is a good example.)

    Lately I’ve been obsessively reading through the archives of this site, which is written by a woman working in the pattern-drafting industry. It’s one of those blogs you stumble upon through a chance internet search, and then find yourself reading through in a big gulp. It’s an entertaining experience, as it’s a mixture of deeply-insidery stuff (like the pitfalls of not properly adjusting the height of your cutting table when first installed) and the kind of information that makes your jaw drop from the wonder of pieces finally falling into place (like why so many pants these days suffer from cameltoe and what she calls “the Wad”). Great, weird fun.

    (I have to admit that’s one of the pleasures of the internet – those random windows that open into whole worlds about which one either knew nothing, or only was aware of the outermost tips of the iceberg.)

    Oh, and on the bra front (heh), my own epiphany came from a woman at Macy’s who finally explained that there are three measurements to take into account, not just the usual ribcage plus breast. There’s also the distance from top of shoulder to bottom of breast; turns out I’d been buying cups that were too large to compensate for too-short shoulder straps. Wow. What a difference! (It also affects high-waist shirts, too – another good thing to know.)

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  47. MichaelG said on January 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks, Moe. That was an enlightening read. I’m saving it and am going to pass it around.

    I agree with Prospero. From the enlightened perspective of my 66 years, all boobs are good boobs although, for several reasons, I’m not so fond of the store bought variety .

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  48. nancy said on January 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    The comment I’ve always heard from men is, “Some are better than others, but no two pair are exactly alike. So far.”

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  49. brian stouder said on January 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    no two pair are exactly alike

    Remember the old Steve Martin joke, about the first time he was in Vegas and saw a naked chorus line? He said something like “Wow! Look at all those boobs up there! There must be 57 of ‘em!”

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  50. Linda said on January 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    That advice columnist from the Star reminds me of why the 70s were the Casual Sex Decade. In what other decade could the song, “Chevy Van,” about a one night stand in the back of the van with a girl he dropped off and never saw again be considered romantic, as opposed to icky?

    Two great quotes on boobs: Mike Royko: “When you’ve seen 2, you’ve seen them all.”
    Rodney Carrington: “When I’m in a titty bar, I’m like a woman in a shoe store. I wanna see every pair they got.”

    But a good fitting bra makes your entire life happier–prettier AND more comfortable. An old lady in a lingerie outlet gave me The Truth, and I have been comfier and prettier ever since. God bless her.

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  51. alex said on January 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    A musical tribute to today’s post.

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  52. Linda said on January 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Nice article. You will be interested in the stir caused by new Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio, who plans to go to war to break contracts with state unionized employees. Except his staff? They are getting substantial pay raises over their predecessors. Chew on this money quote:

    “Salary is an issue. There’s a lady standing in the back of the room who’s had two very good offers in the private sector who we would like to have come and work for us. I don’t know that we’ll get her. So what we’re trying to do is call people to service.

    “He added, “There’s not a lot of money in all this. What we’re trying to do is to make sure we pay people based on the position.”

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  53. prospero said on January 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Every pair is attached to a different and frequently more mystifying and fascinating woman, God’s gift to mankind, and a curse. Re yesterday:, here’s what the CDC says about putting mercury in vaccines, and I still say it was incredibly moronic. Hg when the stupidest Americans are aware it’s a dangerous neurotoxin? What the FUBAR?

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  54. mark said on January 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm


    Bangkok is still a great place for mens’ suits. Had one made there in September; 4 fittings over 7 days, but they can do them in 2 days if time is an issue. All the tailors are Indian; the skilled help is Thai. Beautiful fabrics and excellent prices.

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  55. MarkH said on January 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    ROgirl @41 —

    I have read that as well, and Mia was on record as regretting it ever since. I think I read that Wayne wasn’t keen on her either. But he sure didn’t like Kim Darby.

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  56. moe99 said on January 7, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    prospero, here are the significant findings from the report you have cited:

    What are the major findings from this study?
    A total of 378 statistical tests were conducted. Each child was tested on 42 neuropsychological outcomes, 3 exposure periods and the full model plus gender specific analyses. Among the 42 outcomes measured, the study found that the majority of the outcomes had NO association with thimerosal exposure and most associations would be what is expected by chance alone.

    Only a few statistically significant associations or consistent patterns between exposure to thimerosal and neuropsychological functioning were found.

    •Among males, increased prenatal exposure was associated with significantly better performance in visual spatial ability (Stanford Binet Copying test), and poorer performance with attention and executive functioning (WISC III Digit Span Backward Recall test). There were no significant associations for females.
    •Increased exposure from birth to 7 months of age was associated with significantly better performance among males on achievement (WJ-III: Letter-Word Identification test) and among females on fine motor coordination (Grooved Peg Board Non-Dominant Hand test) and attention and executive functioning (WISC III Digit Span Backward Recall test). Among males, higher exposure was associated with poorer performance with attention and executive functioning (Brief Parent Rating of Behavioral Regulation test), and a higher likelihood of motor and phonic tics reported by the child assessor were observed.
    •Among males, higher exposures during the first 28 days of life had beneficial associations with improved performance on five motor coordination (Finger-Tapping-Dominant-Hand and the Finger-Tapping-Non-Dominant-Hand tests) and general intellectual functioning (WASI Performance IQ test). Among females, higher exposure was associated with poorer scores on one test of verbal intellectual functioning (WASI Verbal IQ) and a lower likelihood of motor tics reported by parents were observed.
    The weight of the evidence in this study does not support a causal association between early mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines and/or immunoglobulins and neuropsychological functioning at ages 7 to 10 years.
    emphasis added

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  57. prospero said on January 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Mike Royko was the Barnacle of an earlier time. Decent writer that would lie his ass off for a column.

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  58. prospero said on January 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm


    Agreed/ My problem is with putting a heavy-metal (Hg) laden preservative substance into any injectable meant for human consumption. No way is it safe. Mercury builds up, it’s not excreted. Putting this in widely distributed injectables was grossly irresponsible, possibly criminal. It was done to force purchase beyond demand, and this is clearly a case where government regulators failed, or chose to fail, their jobs, for whatever reasons. Thimerosal was only in vaccines because Eli Lily made a bundle off their stock. No formaldehyde, just heavy metals.

    Here’s your daily dose of injectable arsenic. Is that safe?

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  59. prospero said on January 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    She owned stores in Hamtramck, Ferndale, Warren and finally, Birmingham.

    Long strange trip: ethnic to working class to redneck to limo liberal.

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  60. MichaelG said on January 8, 2011 at 1:02 am

    The thing you have to keep reminding yourself about with Hg is that it’s cumulative. Other bad shit you get a little trace dose and your body flushes it out. Next time you get dosed you’re starting from zero. With merc the stuff never goes away, those traces keep adding up. Pretty soon your eyeballs turn inside out. Prospero’s not paranoid, he’s spot on.

    Like vino. I’m carrying more than a trace amount now at ten pee emm but in the morning it’ll be gone. God, what if wine was cumulative like Hg.

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  61. moe99 said on January 8, 2011 at 1:30 am

    This article indicates it is flushed out, albeit slowly.

    And at the risk of repeating myself, prospero, because I don’t seem to be understood, the conclusion of the study seems to be that the exposure is not toxic:

    The weight of the evidence in this study does not support a causal association between early mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines and/or immunoglobulins and neuropsychological functioning at ages 7 to 10 years.

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  62. brian stouder said on January 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

    With apologies to Michael Vick, I have no dog in this fight. The cold comfort contained within Moe’s summation about mercury,

    “This article indicates it is flushed out, albeit slowly.”

    reminded me of a great, and equally sardonic saying I once read, that army medics have:

    All bleeding stops eventually

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  63. Sue said on January 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Bird people out there, can anyone tell me why I’m not getting birds at my feeders? I attached two hanging ones to the top and bottom porches at my house, one has little metal sticks for them to perch on, the other had a rim. I have my squirrel feeder in front and the squirrels don’t bother the hanging feeders. No one does, I haven’t seen a single bird. I thought if you hung them out eventually you’d get your little group hanging around. Nothing, and I put them up weeks ago. Sometimes I see those cute little black/grey/white birds on the ground in the front where the squirrels have scattered the seed from above (in their quest for the better stuff, greedy adorable little shits), but I can’t understand why I’ve got no visitors in the back. Anyone?
    And Nancy, I seem to remember you talking about getting a heated bird bath. Did you? How did it work? Pictures?

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  64. Rana said on January 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Do you have any bushes or other hiding places near the feeders, or are they just hanging in open space? My experience is that birds like to sit on branches in a bush or on a tree and flit out to the feeder between rests. Also, what kind of seeds are you putting out?

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  65. Jeff Borden said on January 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    There are consequences to the stupid gun laws we pass.

    A Democratic congresswoman has been critically wounded and several others killed by a fucking nut who attended a “meet and greet” outside a Tucson grocery store. Arizona recently became the third state to allow concealed carry weapons without a permit. The shooter apparently ambled up to within a few feet, shouted something and started shooting. There are some reports a federal judge was killed. The congresswoman is in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. She is Blue Dog Democrat who voted for health care reform, leading to her office being vandalized in the days following the vote. It’s not like she is a flaming liberal, but given the political rhetoric in the Hate State, who’s to say what motivated the shooter.

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  66. Scout said on January 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Jeff, I cannot tell you how sickened I am by this. I am appalled to live in Arizona. It was once a point of pride to live in a place of such natural splendor, now it has become a source of shame. I’d really like to move to a nice, sane blue state. I hope Gabby pulls through and that she becomes the poster child against the kind of reckless rhetoric that led to this. Case in point: She Who’s infamous motto, “Don’t retreat, re-load.” I hear the minions are busy scrubbing her PAC site.

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  67. Dexter said on January 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Can’t help it: TEA PARTY TO BE IMPLICATED? Not sayin’ …I’m just sayin’…and I am shocked, but not surprised…how can one be surprised at this, in this country?

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  68. Jeff Borden said on January 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm


    I live in Chicago and it pains me that our levels of gun violence are so freaking high. I’m not trying to paint the entire state of Arizona as loons. It’s not fair. I’m sure most Arizonans are as depressed by the news as you.

    However, the political leadership there SHOULD be held accountable. Brewer, Pearce, Gifford’s congressional opponent, et.al. have been using rhetoric so far over the top as to paint the Grand Canyon state as some sort of hell on earth. And, yes, they have been aided and abetted by the empty-headed bullshit of SheWho, Beck, Limbaugh, Savage and the rest of the mongrel pack who howl for blood on our airwaves.

    There are just too many really stupid people with way too many fucking guns. The NRA can choke on its own vomit and die for the damage it does on a daily basis. You can support the Second Amendment without giving every Tom,Dick and Harry access to powerful weapons, Teflon-coated cop killer bullets and the right to conceal their weapons anywhere at any time.

    I’d like to think this kind of shooting might lead to a serious conversation about how we deal with guns and violence, but I’m 59 and have seen this many times in the past. There will be much yelling and mourning and commotion for a few days, and then the gun lobby will continue as it always has and always will.

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  69. moe99 said on January 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I am trying to approach this with an open and horrified mind, but the evidence so far is leading to the tea party:


    5 dead thus far, including a 9 year old girl. The man in custody is 22 and has a very bizarre website:


    Her opponent in the last election:


    Palin’s website may be taken down now, but here is a cached version:


    news about the judge killed:


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