Rosie Demario

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Selling some Gold in NYC: My experience.

Posted By on January 2, 2014

Took a trip to NYC last week with a few pieces of old gold jewelry that I wasn’t ever going to wear with the intent of selling. Since the price of gold seems to just be plummeting lately, I figured that I should sell these ASAP.

Did some online research and found a place in midtown Manhattan, very close to the diamond district which is on 47th street. The place I went to was called Global Gold & Silver. They just had some good reviews online so it was my first choice.

I knew what the price of gold was before I went to the place, so I sorta had a game plan. When I walked in, the place seemed fairly professional, and I sat down with someone over there that greeted me, then proceeded to look through all the stuff I brought. I already knew what I wanted, but I wanted to hear his offer. To my surprise, he offered MORE than what I expected, but I still did some negotiating because I know you should never accept the first offer.

The entire haul landed me $3,150, which was much needed due to some financial difficulties. So this is just some friendly advice: If you’re in need of some extra cash don’t hesitate to sell gold.

Can Biographies Be Kept Gossip Free?

Posted By on December 30, 2013

Life has only occasionally set me down among biographers. Once, sharing an office with a future eminent Man of Letters, I fell into discussion with the Mol about his biography-in-progress of a minor artistic figure known to be homosexual, but not to have had many regular relationships. Later, this came up in conversation with a former flatmate who–at an earlier stage in her chequered career–had been a rent-boy. “Oh, him,” she drawled on hearing the name, “We all had him. And very generous he was, too.”

In my innocence, I reported this source to the Mol, who declined the information. It was not because of the possible unreliability of my friend, though her motto has always been to change your sex, not the facts. No–his assumption was that this was not the sort of information he wished the biography, a useful stepping-stone in his own literary career as much as an account of its subject’s, to contain. It was, you see, just gossip.

And yet it was also information about the subject’s estrangement and loneliness, upper-class male mores and his tendency to exploit and, nonetheless, to be liked. It was, if not any sort of final word, evidence about character. The testimony was also revealing about my friend, who gets left out of other people’s biographies and will never quite rate her own. Why, in the scheme of things, do writers’ casual pub acquaintances usually rate a digression, and their whores never?

Biographies are not just the shilling life that tells you all the facts; they are, at best, a microcosm of the world that surrounded those facts. It is from the untidiness of people’s more rackety goings-on that whole misconceptions about the world can often be corrected.

The diaries of the 19th-century Yorkshire gentlewoman, Anne Lister, with all their fumbling under crinolines (rather toned down, alas, in the Virago excerpts), knocked on the head a whole school of radical separatist historiography that assumed that lesbians did not actually do it until voyeuristic male sexologists put ideas into their heads. Indeed, Virago’s decision to omit some of the raunchier episodes, on the implausible grounds that male scholars might use them for base self-gratification, meant that the knocking-on-the-head was less thorough than it should have been.

Gossip should never be the sole purpose of a biography, but the material some would exclude as “mere” gossip is often a significant part of the subject’s influence. Gossip is often what people know in a person’s lifetime, apart from the work. It may also inspire emulation.

In the late 1940s, W H Auden briefly considered marrying Rhoda Jaffe and leaving his lover Chester Kallman. Composition of The Age of Anxiety coincided With their affair. Richard Davenport-Hines mentions Leonard Bernstein’s composition of his Second Symphony, based on the Auden poem, in his new life of the poet (Auden; Heinemann, 20 [pounds]). He does not, however, make the link between Bernstein’s use of the poem and his decision to, for a while, give up young men and marry Felicia. His eye is on the facts, but not on the ball.

Davenport-Hines, indeed, is a good example of how a biographer can include much of the dirt and all of its social context, and yet somehow miss the point. He is an adequate critic of Auden, and has done his research. Yet whenever he quotes Auden’s letters, with their vigorous combination of camp and sermonising, his own prose lies dead on the page.

Nor, of course, is gossip just a matter of recording facts. Sometimes, when gossiping, we have to take a line. For example, when Auden went back to God, he did so in a peculiarly lazy, self-serving way, allowing himself the indulgence of drunkenness and a sexuality rejected by the orthodoxy he espoused without any sense of sin. Whether out of refusal to judge, or an incapacity to smell bull-shit, Davenport-Hines treats this betrayal of much that the young Auden had stood for with surprising equanimity.

Gossip should not replace moral judgments in biography; it is a place whence they emerge. When Michael Holroyd and Quentin Bell stuck all the sex back into Strachey and Woolf, it was because the Bloomsburies treated their relationships as a laboratory for their post-Christian ethics; they took their philanderings seriously, and so should we. It was a mistake on Roy Harrod’s part to leave the bisexuality out of his J M Keynes–it was well-known enough for monetarists to use it as a stick with which to beat his economics.

Roy Jenkins, in his excellent but disingenuous Gladstone (Macmillan, 20 [pounds]), invents a new biographical sin. He gives us all the sexual gossip–the steamy attempts to reform whores, the autoflagellation when aroused by Latin verse–as a way of distracting our attention. A highly sexed Gladstone wrestling with the starched spirit of his age to retain personal integrity is a way to remake the statesman for our time, and is also true. Jenkins slips the odd fast one by us in the process–he never really addresses Gladstone’s early opposition to the abolition of slavery, nor his obsessive search for snoring remedies throughout his adolescent years, for example, or tells us precisely where he stood on, say, the Married Women’s Property Act. Nor does he deal with the gross anti-Semitism attributed to Gladstone by Stanley Weintraub.

Gladstone is someone we are particularly entitled to judge by current standards because he judged other ages and cultures by his own; he took matters seriously, and so should we. We, in turn, will be judged by other ages, whether we moralise or not. There is, in the end, nothing frivolous about gossip. In his forthcoming Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language (Faber), Robin Dunbar argues that language itself started as phatic chatter during pre-human grooming, and almost immediately became a way of dishing the dirt, of sharing information on the reliability of sexual and political allies in the extended family. Gossip, and moralising, are in our genes.

People Love To Know About People

Posted By on December 30, 2013

I am one of those folks Barbra Streisand sang about so dramatically, the people who read People.

Each Tuesday my issues arrives, under my wife’s name, and I gobble it up like a giant eclair, in private, in wolfish gulps. Having done so I do not feel, pace Barbra, like the luckiest people in the world. In fact I feel sort of dazed, as though I had just been pummeled at high velocity by hundreds of thousands of tiny marshmallows.

Should we care?

Perhaps you think I’m slumming. I am not slumming. I do not disdain People; I love it. In a pop culture suffused in irony, fevered by cleverness, People is dead to irony, immune to cleverness. I love its reassuring predictability, its knack for reducing everything to the same level of inconsequence. In my current issue, for example, the death of the Resistance fighter who hid Anne Frank’s family is noted alongside the announcement that Alex Trebek and his lovely wife are expecting their second child. Birth and Death, the renewal of Life: it’s like, you know, the Great Mandala.

People people know that each issue, from front to back, will be nearly identical to the one that preceded it. We do not like surprises. As I write, this week’s People features on its cover a toothsome TV actress who has taken a new lover even as she makes a startling comeback in a surprise hit series–as distinguished from next week’s issue, which will feature a toothsome country singer who has taken a new lover even as she makes a startling comeback with a surprise hit record–or Princess Di. But this week’s issue does contain a surprise: a jarring note to rouse us from the pleasant catalepsy that People induces in its readers as part of a sacred compact.

On page one, in the space usually reserved for a publisher’s note, we find instead a “letter” from People’s managing editor. It takes the form of a tribute to the magazine’s rounding managing editor, Richard Stolley, on the occasion of his retirement. In such circumstances overstatement is forgivable: memorial prose, said Malcolm Muggeridge, is always noteworthy for its “prevailing flavor of syrupy insincerity.” The problem here, though, is not insincerity but sincerity; there is little doubt that the letter means what it says. Mr. Stolley is praised, as he should be, for rounding People. But he is praised for even more: we are told that he “all but single-handedly invented the genre of personality journalism.” Lights flash, sirens sound. Genre? Personality journalism? People readers are entitled to blanch. All along, in blissful torpor, we have assumed we were reading gossip vetted by fact-checkers and laundered by Time, Inc.’s lawyers. Gossip, in other words, delivered with a certain sobriety (all the pictures are in black and white), but gossip nonetheless: primped, plumped, and processed for the entertainment of all and the edification of none. You could of course dismiss this high-toned talk as you would any instance of title inflation. Gossip left to amateurs remains gossip. In the hands of highly paid professionals, it intensifies, by means of genrification, into “personality journalism.”I remember Ed Norton, the sewer worker on The Honeymooners, telling a pretty girl that his official title was “subterranean engineer.” But Mr. Stolley wants more than to assume the title of genre-founder. “People,” he is quoted as saying, “made the responsible but unrelenting study of personality and behavior a legitimate and even essential part of American journalism.” He even uses the word “craft.” It’s like Henny Youngman citing Bergson in defense of mother-in-law jokes. Mr. Stolley even says this: “Someone once described People as having changed the soul of American journalism.”

I want to know that person’s name. It is a commonplace that the sphere of publishable “news” has greatly expanded since People first appeared. Subjects once considered private are now deemed worthy of public attention. And People, as chicken or egg, surely played a part. That does not mean, as the magazine’s subterranean engineers seem to think, that they have thereby enlarged our store of truth. It would be interesting to compare one of People’s pieces of “personality journalism” with, say, a press release concocted by an MGM flack in the Forties. The range of subject matter would be different, of course the MGM flack would never have described his starlet’s undying devotion to her bastard children. But in both pieces of writing, the amount of genuine information would be about the same–which is to say, almost none.

And that’s just fine with me. People carries its own simple rewards, and not one of them involves the “unrelenting study of personality and behavior.” In any case, the magazine will survive its brief dip into pomposity. We people who read People know what we like, and the editors like giving it to us; Say’s Law holds us both in its immutable power. Where else can I learn–to choose a random item from this week’s issue–that Jane Seymour “is eager to quash rumors that she has an affinity for her leading men”? Quash, Jane! Quash, People! We hear you! That’s the magazine I know and love, and they can’t take that away from me.

Desktop Publishing, Zines and Other Stories

Posted By on December 30, 2013

In the age of desktop publishing, anyone with a point of view and enough RAM is a potential mogul, but in the world of subculture magazines, only the hip survive.

It follows then that a slew of West Coast fashion and lifestyle journals, weighted with slick fonts and award-winning graphics, and catering to literate, 20-something urbanites (aka “slackers”) have managed to carve a niche as the alternative to more traditional magazines.

More than a mag!

Although several publishers of these magazines say they are glad to service a loyal readership while hovering on the edge of obscurity, a few key players have transcended fanzine status to produce noteworthy books with a competitive edge.

A prime example is San Francisco’s Surface magazine, an image-driven Interview-style quarterly that aims to present fashion with a social conscience.

“We assume our target market is media literate, therefore we assume that it’s OK to present editorial that analyzes pop culture in a beautiful way,” says Riley John-donnell, co-creative director with Richard Klein.

Surface, which was founded by Klein and Craig Bailey as a black and white tabloid of San Francisco culture in 1993, has grown — via word-of-mouth and promotional tie-ins — to national prominence, with a distribution of 65,000.

The magazine can be found at newsstands, national book and music chains such as Borders and Tower Records, and college bookstores.

Relying on a dedicated if underpaid staff, and a pool of freelancers, Surface averages $75,000 in advertising sales per issue, according to Klein. It is backed by schedules from fashion accounts including Hugo Boss, Emporio Armani, Jil Sander, Matsuda and Diesel. Li-quor accounts include Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray and Cam-pari. Klein said he expects ad revenues to double in 1997.

The October issue features a cover story on Rossy DePalma, the actress best known for her famed proboscis and memorable appearances in Pedro Almodyvar films. Profiles of notable beauties such as Antonio Sabato, Ben Harper and Tahnee Welch are included, and the up-front section offers the youth culture’s hottest trends.

As for fashion, Surface uses established photographers such as Greg Gorman as well as newcomers, and offers an eclectic mix of resources that often juxtaposes a Jil Sander or Comme de Garcons with the likes of Gabrielle Zanzani, Bernadette Corp. or Ristarose. The overall feel is stark and witty. The tone seems part Diane Arbus coupled with a heavy dose of glamour.

Also based in San Francisco, Might magazine delivers an irreverent assault on the trappings of pop culture and media. Co-founded with maxed-out credit cards by journalism school graduates David Eggers and Marny Requa in conjunction with David Moodie, a former student of architecture and design, Might has tripled its circulation from 10,000 to 30,000 since its launch three years ago.

A recent issue lampooned the media hype surrounding celebrity deaths, with an elaborate hoax about the “demise” of “Eight Is Enough” star Adam Rich. Coverage of the alleged death ran on “Hard Copy” and in the New York Post and National Inquirer before the mainstream media caught on.

The upcoming November/December issue, themed “The Apologists” issue, “defends public figures who get criticized all the time,” according to senior editor Paul Tullis. They include everyone from Pat Buchanan to Alanis Morissette.

Might also coined the word “Arpies” (Affluent Recreating Professionals), a group Tullis calls evolved yuppies.

“These are people who are into kayaking, Range Rovers, Moab, Utah, and conspicuous consumption of the great outdoors,” he deadpans.

In addition to satire, Might serves up serious coverage of social issues including racial inequality, straight talk about gay sex and the upcoming presidential elections. They also tackle some odd health issues as well, such as sleep apnea and how to stop snoring, solving chronic halitosis and getting in shape with a tea towel.

“It doesn’t really please us when we get described as a humor magazine,” said Tullis. “We do satire, but we cover stuff with a critical eye. Sometimes to make a statement about something you first have to satirize it.”

Farther south, publisher Scott Becker launched the Los Angeles-based UHF in 1995 after initially offering it as a supplement to his alternative music magazine, Option. The timing was right for an insider’s guide to youth-oriented fashion with a Southern California perspective, and UHF garnered support from the then-booming men’s streetwear market.

In addition to its youth culture and lifestyle theme, UHF is now weighted slightly more toward women’s sportswear, and the magazine has grown to a circulation of 45,000 nationally.

Becker said UHF strives for strong content and a unique approach to fashion coverage aimed at an 18-to-30-year-old male and female reader. He noted that many of the traditional, mainstream books are “New York- centric,” and said UHF reflects youth culture by taking its cue from the street.

“We’re looking out from Southern California and you get a different perspective,” said Becker, a music aficionado who moved to Los Angeles from Boston in 1982 with his suitcase and prized guitar. “You don’t have the demands for seasonality, so you can do fashion around music themes or sport themes and actually show where the styles are coming from.”

UHF stays away from couture resources, opting instead to highlight contemporary, junior and young men’s resources including Serious, Venus in Furs, Pornstar, Kennington, Stoopid, Tasty and Thump, as well as the occasional vintage find. Becker said that in an effort to remain ahead of the trends and represent “affordably priced” apparel, he maintains a young staff and a stable of paid freelancers around the country and in Europe.

Fashion pages are shot in major U.S. cities, as well as in London, and models are often real people. The November/December issue features a layout shot in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silverlake, home to musicians, artists and style-makers.

Like Becker, publisher and entrepreneur Marvin Scott Jarrett also moved to Los Angeles in the Eighties, but in his case it was to sell advertising for Cream magazine. Jarrett and a former partner bought and later sold music magazine Cream after a successful relaunch. Armed with private investment money, he started the magazine Raygun in 1992.

Raygun’s computer-manipulated graphics, undefined columns and unorthodox fonts challenged readers’ expectations of magazine standards. But when the shock value diminished, the big question became: Is anyone else having a hard time reading this thing?

Jarrett responded by saying that Raygun’s layout reflects the music and lifestyle it covers, noting that “it’s all about post-modern angst.” He continued: “In the early days when David Carson was designing it, [legibility] was a problem, but the whole value of what the person got was more important than reading any one article,” he said. “People are bombarded with so much media, that’s just a reflection of doing something unique.”

That approach is in the blend of music and fashion. Since 25-year-old British art director Robert Hales came on board a year ago, the magazine has a gritty super-8 quality to its design. As for content, Raygun aims to be a purveyor of up-to-the-minute style. The October issue features a cover story on music maker Tricky — as do several other subculture mags – – as well as a hard-core punk fashion layout complete with pierced lips and a fake fur coat by Paco Rabanne.

Going forward, Jarrett said he plans to devote more pages to fashion, noting that his own taste runs from Prada and Dolce & Gabbana to Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani.

“If you look at British or Japanese magazines you see how they incorporate music and fashion together,” he said. “Typically, in American magazines the fashion seems forced. I want to incorporate more fashion and make it seamless, since everyone knows music and fashion influence each other.”

A year after Raygun hit the stands, Jarrett launched Bikini, a sexy, testosterone-driven young men’s magazine, based on the premise that magazines such as GQ and Esquire have aged with their audience. Along with sports, film, cars and music, Bikini is known for up-close and personal interviews with scantily clad starlets of the Fairuza Balk and Mia Kirshner ilk.

Jarrett has recently added a third title under the Raygun umbrella, an image-driven snowboarding magazine called Stick.

Alongside stories on subjects such as art by snowboarders and samurai snowboarding, Stick will feature active snowboard fashion and gear.

Raygun, which is distributed at bookstores, music stores and newsstands across the U.S., prints 120,000 copies. Jarrett said he expects the company will do about $5 million in revenues in 1996.

The three titles are often sold as a package, attracting advertisers such as the Gap, Levi’s, tobacco companies, Visa and numerous music industry labels. According to Jarrett, with the launch of Stick, Nike and Calvin Klein have entered the snowboard market as advertisers.

Los Angeles-based Detour magazine not only has the inside track, it practically owns the freeway when it comes to blending fashion with celebrity interviews. This was initially a shoestring effort launched in the Dallas apartment of founders Luis Barajas and Jim Turner in 1987.

Currently, the monthly is billed as “Entertainment With Style” and has become a must-read for fashion types.

A candid interview style with a younger generation of stars coupled with an artistic, nontraditional approach to fashion styling put Detour on the map when it moved to new digs in Los Angeles in 1992. Celebrity interviews have included accompanying photos of Keanu Reeves posing with his pants down for Greg Gorman, Demi Moore on top of King Kong, Liam Neeson naked and Sandra Bullock on the potty.

Recent issues have included photo essays by Kelly Klein, Mary Ellen Mark, Matthew Rolston, Davis Factor and Jean Louis Gregoire. Detour regularly features designer collections of such notables as Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan and Richard Tyler, and devotes pages to Chanel, Gucci and Prada. Consequently, there is no shortage of advertisers with deep pockets from the film, fashion and liquor industries.

Conservative Clothing – It Comes And Goes

Posted By on December 30, 2013

WHEN a child first thinks of living to see the century turn, he always does some arithmetic to figure out how old he will be when it happens. I was in the second grade when I did my calculations: 2,000 take away 1936 equals 64.

I stared at the figure, trying to imagine myself at that age. My grandmother was about 64 at this time so I based my mental picture on her. The facial features were easy to sketch in because I already looked like her that way. Then I started on the clothes.

Lookin’ good???

A jersey dress with a self-fabric belt, a lace fichu tucked under the collar and spread across the bosom like a giant snowflake, service-weight stockings, and black oxfords called ”EnnaJetticks.” Underneath were a satin slip that had to be ironed wet; something she called a ”shimmy” which was a kind of camisole undershirt; and the holy of holies, a ”foundation garment,” a cross between a girdle and a corset.

As I write this defense of traditional fashion in the shadow of the millennium, I am wearing polyester pants with a drawstring waist, a pullover, underpants, knee-highs, and Hush Puppies. When I go out I add a bra, but that’s it.

I am physically more comfortable than Granny, but I am pinched and chafed by psychosartorial conflicts she never knew. I disapprove of myself; all that is rigid in me cries out against the way I dress and the society that lets me get away with it, but Granny was in sync with her clothes and her time.

She bought her frankly fusty duds in old-lady departments called ”Stylish Stout” and ”Grande Dame.” The euphemisms fooled no one; shoppers new to a store would ask, ”Where’s the old-lady department?”

They were comfortable places to shop. The salesladies were the same age as the customers and the stock reflected a sense of historical connectedness. The racks were full of purple dresses because it had been the color of ”second mourning” for Victorian widows after an initial year spent in black. The custom died out well before Granny’s generation grew old, but by then purple was so thoroughly associated with old ladies that people referred to it as an ”old-lady color.”

Historical connectedness has turned into hysterical fritz. ”Classical is back!” means Caesar’s legions are back, every knee bared. ”Romantic is back!” means the coachman is back, three capes to the wind. ”Traditional is back!” means the bellhop is back, double rows of buttons playing Russian roulette with nipples. When they trot out something that looks like Quentin Durward in drag, it means ”Femininity is back!”

In my case, ”Pyrrhic victory is back!” If I worked in an office instead of at home I would have to buy some dressy clothes, but nothing would change. Looking undignified in a thigh-high skirt is no different from looking undignified in drawstring pants, except that I show a lot less leg. Dignity, not youthful illusion, is what I want now, but dignity is the only fashion look considered outre.

If the personal is political, the imperious is impossible when women past a certain age eagerly adopt the same fashions worn by sweet young things. It would not matter so much were it merely a matter of clothes per se, but something more important is involved.

The Roman Matron has to be serene before she can do her stuff; if she’s constantly tugging her skirt down and yanking at her neckline to cover her cleavage, it won’t be long before she ceases to be a Roman Matron.

This sort of woman, whom Americans used to call a ”dowager” and a ”rock,” or ”the duchess” and ”the old battleaxe,” has now been replaced by geriatric gamines like Helen Gurley Brown.

Throughout history, societies that honored their old battleaxes have tended to flourish, but America is fast running out of the breed. We could replenish our supply if we brought back the old-lady department, but of course we won’t. Cut-off points and lines of demarcation are conservative by definition. The enthusiastic promotion of one-age-fits-all clothing is the sartorial equivalent of the socialistic leveling we find so chic.

When people say a woman ”looks conservative” they usually mean she looks frumpy. Said of a man, it’s a backhanded compliment; it means he looks dignified, authoritative, prosperous, capable, powerful, and stern — just what men aren’t supposed to be nowadays. If clothes make the man, anyone wishing to destroy the man can simply destroy his clothes. Social historians always look to women’s fashions for their harbingers, but some of the most significant battles of the sartorial war on tradition have been fought in men’s closets. Take, for example, the number of anti-conservative metaphors based on articles of male clothing.

Basic, all-round conservatism is conveyed by ”blue suit” and ”wingtips.”

Repression and unhappiness springing from conformity and suburban life are conveyed by ”gray flannel suit.”

Paper-pushing boredom and the calcified attitudes that go with it are conveyed by ”white collar.”

Setting arbitrary standards, telling people what to do, and being judgmental are summed up by ”coat-and-tie.”

A conservative political candidate is an ”empty suit.”

In a democracy, the only men who can get away with looking conservative are liberals. When John F. Kennedy wore cutaway-and-stripes and a silk topper at his Inauguration, the media purred and the other officials on the dais, Democrats and Republicans alike, went along without a murmur. That it was the correct attire did not matter to them, only that Kennedy chose to wear it.

Yet when Ronald Reagan announced the same intention, the media was up in arms with dark murmurings about snobbery and exclusiveness, and GOP congressmen such as Sen. Howard Baker did the ”Aw, shucks, I’m just a country boy” routine. Whatever Reagan had planned originally, he ended up wearing stripes, short coat, and no hat, which made him look like a butler.

The latest victim of the sartorial levelers is Bob Dole, who probably will wear Cotton Dockers to his Inauguration if he has one.

Dole’s main purpose in going casual was to narrow the gender gap by making women feel warmed and secure in his open-collar, rump-sprung presence. But it doesn’t work that way. Another midwesterner, Sinclair Lewis, came nearer to the mark in Main Street:

She was close in her husband’s arms; she clung to him; whatever of strangeness and slowness and insularity she might find in him, none of that mattered so long as she could slip her hands beneath his coat, run her fingers over the warm smoothness of the satin back of his waistcoat, seem almost to creep into his body, find in him strength, find in the courage and kindness of her man a shelter from the perplexing world.

That traditional fashions are a boon to morality and good manners seems to me inarguable. Even Bill Clinton agrees; whether or not he meant what he said about school uniforms, he had the good sense to say it, suggesting that he knows it’s true whether he believes it or not.

I would go further and recommend knickers and long socks for pre-teen boys. I’m just old enough to remember the tag end of this fashion from my elementary-school days. Nothing else says ”boy” with such devastating effect. Knickers may be the best line of demarcation ever invented: it’s virtually impossible to smart-mouth teachers and cops while wearing them.

The button fly, still favored by Savile Row tailors, will not reduce casual sex, but it might reduce coarseness in movies and television. I am always appalled when actors casually unzip and remove their pants, or put them on and zip up, while facing the camera. They wouldn’t be able to do this with a button fly; it would take too long and waste dramatic time.

The button fly also inculcates a genteel habit, though we’re probably too far gone for it to take. The pants my father bought before World War II all had button flies, and he always turned his back on us females — even my mother — while he did them up. Once, when I asked, I was told all gentlemen did. I believe it. A zipper provides a man with a jaunty gesture, but buttons force him to keep his hands at his crotch long enough to make him feel awkward and a little foolish: most men will turn their backs.

Opera Catty? Say It Ain’t So!

Posted By on December 30, 2013

Opera gossip is particularly harsh, as a minor bulletin board opera school user found out very quickly. Silence is golden, and speaking out can mean the death of a career.

No gossip there, folks.

Knowing none of this, the new member, seeking to amuse the polity, posted what in the days of Walter Winchell was known as a “blind item.” The subject was an event he’d seen from the catwalk of the opera house where he works as a super; the scene was an insufficiently dark corner; the dramatis personae were a moderately famous male singer and a member of the chorus. No names were named, but the act in question was specified, and no sooner had the message been posted than the napalm began to fly.

By the time I got in on all this, the initial uproar had given way to a more interesting wrangle: several forum members were arguing that opera gossip in general was a bad thing. To engage in idle chatter about the sex lives of singers, they said in tones suggestive of a certain unwillingness to be contradicted, was to waste time that could better be spent austerely contemplating the beauties of Mozart and Verdi. To really care about who is trying to find out how to stop snoring, or who is getting a new nosejob next week is vapid info, in the very least. This started yet another electronic fistfight; the phrase “political correctness” soon reared its ugly head, and it took a couple of weeks before the smoke finally cleared.

Watching the battle unfold from a safe distance, I found myself feeling a sneaking sympathy with the anti-gossip brigade. I was at a dinner party last year at which one of the guests started to tell a juicy story about a temperamental soprano whose backstage battles have long been the stuff of legend. The host clamped his hands over his ears. “I don’t want to hear it,’ he said. “I love her singing, and I don’t want to know what she’s like. Don’t tell me.” I knew what he meant. But there is a big difference between preferring not to know and believing nobody else should care – especially for those who live and work in the world of opera.

Opera News, the magazine, does not publish “gossip,” at least not in the conventional sense of the word. OperaWatch tells who’s singing and where, which is news; Notebook contains only the mildest sort of dish. But gossip, like treason, is a matter of dates. If OperaWatch reveals that, say, Renee Fleming had a baby a few weeks before she sang Desdemona at the Met’s opening-night gala, it’s news, and of obvious significance. If a well-connected source tells me the same thing six months before the fact, it’s gossip – but just as significant.

Most backstage chat is not nearly so innocuous as that, of course, and it isn’t difficult to imagine a piece of gossip whose inherent interest was purely prurient. Speaking as a sometime opera critic, I don’t think it would be of any value for me to know that Giovanni Doe was into leather. But the line between the prurient and the significant is often as thin as it is gray. I recently asked a group of opera professionals to tell me what they gossip about most often. Their collective list, in no particular order, ran as follows: (1) Who’s sleeping with whom? (2) Who has AIDS? (3) Who’s having a vocal crisis? (4) Who’s putting on weight? (5) Who’s a bitch backstage? Needless to say, such matters are not necessarily devoid of professional relevance. What if (1), for instance, dealt not with a casual fling but a casting-couch scandal? Is that gossip, or a matter about which other singers have a right to know?

Even if you think all this is simply an elaborate rationalization of sheer nosiness, I suspect such nosiness is natural to the point of inevitability. Unlike the orchestra at Bayreuth, opera singers are anything but invisible: they are the living embodiment of an art form whose subject matter is passion. The desire to know what they’re “really like,’ to bridge the mysterious gap between their offstage and onstage personalities, is as old as greasepaint like it or not, all the censorious postings on all the bulletin boards in the world are not going to stamp it out or even cut it down.

As for me, I have mixed feelings about opera gossip. It sometimes occurs to me that I know far too much about the private lives of people I’ve never met than could possibly be good for my soul, and then I straighten my collar, pour myself a glass of cold water, put on a 78 of Karl Erb singing Schubert and try not to remember that Erb’s wife ran away with his accompanist, allegedly because his sexual apparatus was in poor working order. Most of the time, though, I shrug my shoulders, remind myself that opera is the smallest town in the world and think cheerfully of the motto neatly embroidered on the pillow on the settee of Alice Roosevelt Longworth: “If You Haven’t Got Anything Nice to Say About Anybody, Come Sit Beside Me.”

Stop Snoring Pillows

Posted By on December 30, 2013

Have you tried everything to help stop snoring, but nothing seems to work? Worry no more, find here how to stop snoring.

Researchers have come up with a pillow that has been claimed to stop the sleeper from snoring during the night. There are benefits to having the pillow that helps a person to stop snoring, and the benefits are that the pillow either will help the person stop snoring or eliminates the problem. But how? The pillow aligns the head and shoulders for a better and deeper sleep. Hypoallergenic polyester fibers provide comfort as a down pillow plus the top pillow can be used as a normal pillow. This type of pillow is washable, so the person can put it in the washer to give it a fresher smell and it can be used as a backrest while sitting in bed; it can elevate the feet if the person is relaxing in bed, meets fire retardant codes, and is not an expensive item when you consider the pain of snoring. Stop snoring pillows are on the Internet, and are being sold in stores around the United States for different prices and sizes, depending on what the sleeper prefers to have a good night sleep on. The pillows claim that they will help anyone stop snoring and get a good night sleep.

Snoring is seldom an issue when you are sleeping alone. But once you are with a partner, it can be a real trouble for that person if you simply snore your nights away. If your partner is not caring or understanding enough, the two of you will soon be sleeping in different beds. Good snoring remedies are not sleeping pills or some other medication because there can be more than one reason for snoring.

The physiological cause of all snoring issues is the narrowing of the passage of air in the respiratory system. The reasons for this narrowing can be age, gender differences, heredity, body weight, food habits, sleeping posture, fatigue and habits like alcoholism and smoking. The right snoring remedies can be put into action only after correctly analyzing the reason for the snoring. The analysis cannot be done alone. That is where your partner’s support is needed. You and your partner will have to be open regarding this issue of snoring. Your partner will have to observe you while you sleep and snore rather than try to shut his/her ears out and pretend to sleep. Once the reason is observed, the right kind of snoring remedies, which are mostly in the form of lifestyle changes, can be applied.

Snoring is a medical condition that creates loud sounds and noises without you knowing during your sleep. Many people have been suffering this condition but are unaware. People often neglect this problem. Snoring persons are found to be more prone to heart diseases. If your partner is snoring, recommend snoring devices so that you can have a good night sleep.

A jaw supporter is worn similar to a helmet and maintains closure of your jaws. This is one of the most common snoring devices available in stores. Snore-less pillows, also known as orthopedic pillows, keep the user in a correct sleeping position while maintaining the airways open. The snoreless pillow features a thinner central portion than the sides. The head is aligned with the vertebral column hence, airway passage obstruction is absent. If you move while sleeping, the head is kept in position. Mandibular advancement device also called mandibular splint, restricts muscles from making a sound. If your jaws are kept in a fixed position, there will be no airway obstruction and snoring. The device must fit the user’s jaws appropriately. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, worn over mouth and nose, is connected to a machine that provides air flow to the nostrils. When there is no blockage, there is no snoring.

Snoring Devices: Anti-Snore Pillow and Mouthpiece

When you have a snoring problem, the anti-snore pillow and mouthpiece are the most common snoring devices sold in the market. These devices have been found to work well and effective to reduce snoring incidences.

The anti snoring pillows are designed to support the head and neck properly thus, allowing clear airflow through the airways. This special pillow enables user to sleep comfortably whether on a back or side lying sleeping position. When you are not using the anti snore pillow, chances of snoring again will return unless you have made other solutions.

Mouthpieces reduce snoring because it prevents throat and tongue from blocking the airways. It also holds the jaw in a forward position hence, preventing snoring. If you have been used to wearing mouthpiece, better results of decreasing snoring is achieved. Before buying a mouthpiece, you must ensure that it would fit properly. Compared to all snoring devices, mouthpiece
works incredibly well when appropriately fitted. Consult your doctor to recommend you the best mouthpiece.

Several snoring devices such as nasal sprays, pills, chin strap, continuous positive airway pressure device and others can also be found online. Read all details about the devices and choose one that you think would work best for you. (From:

“Over the years, more people have been known to suffer snoring during sleep. It becomes a problem more occasionally to men than women. Some snoring devices and products can be found in stores or online. Nowadays it is useful to use recommended snoring devices and achieve the best outcome of totally stopping snoring. Many people also consider the prices of each device before buying it.

Nasal dilators, made of plastic or stainless coil, work similarly with nasal strips. Nasal dilators are inserted into the nostrils throughout your sleeping time. It is keeps airway open to reduce snoring.

An anti snoring pillow allows users to sleep on their sides comfortably. Side lying position keeps your mouth closed when sleeping. This position keeps noise from coming out your mouth. Throat sprays reduce vibration in the air passage during sleep. Few sprays on the back of the throat are needed to reduce snoring. However, spraying can cause irritation to the throat structures. Too much use of the spray may also lead to increase snoring.

Snore balls are usually kept on your back while sleeping. When you sleep on your back, you are more likely to snore. The snore balls create discomfort whenever you lay on your back. Each time you turn to that position, the snore ball prevents you from sleeping on your back thus, reduce snoring. A snore ball is one of the cheapest snoring devices. You may also make your own snore ball at home without spending too much. Any round object that fits your back pocket can be used.

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