Thursday, February 25, 2010

Disco Aqua Dancer: The W.E.T. Workout

"Water, the 'magic medium,' is what makes my program different from-- ad better than-- most other exercise regimens.  For one thing, the medium itself is delightful.As soon as you get in the water, you feel relaxed as the day's tensions ebb away.  Water is cool and delicious."
Friends picked this up for me on a Greenpoint stoop.  It's full of eighties line drawing depicting such moves as "Spare Ribs," the "Fetal Float," and here, "Disco Aqua Dancer."

I also enjoyed the religious iconolatry of the breast stroke arm motion here:

And this lady's spirited bathing suit and blunt haircut.

In related news, reader Kathryn just e-mailed to recommend Esther Williams' autobiography.  Kathryn says, "They literally stuck her hair to her head with an iron bar that left a permanent dent."  I'm off to look into this...

Also, photos and fonts are driving me insane on blogger lately.  If any of you know WTF is going on and how I fix it, e-mail me please...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Missed Connections, 1879

"Liederkranz Ball — Beautiful young girl with rosy cheeks and bright blue eyes under black mask and laughs like a siren: wore wine-colored satin domino, pearl headdress and jewelry; white camellias; waltzed like a fairy..."

Victorian Version of Craigslist

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Skin of the Buttocks Wins By a Tremendous Margin

"If women, continuing their present tendency to its logical goal, end by going stark naked, there will be no more poets and painters, but only dermatologists."
--H.L. Mencken, The Smart Set (1916)

When I came across The Art of Looking Younger, my eyes needed a moment to adjust. Certainly, the image is striking, but what is it supposed to convey? By the time I found the answer on page twenty-two, I'd begun to imagine that the incohesively-aged lady was doctor and author Bedford Shelmire. And I still do. Doesn't she look like a that would be her name? I've since learned the doctor was a man (who died in 1980).

He writes:
"The scene is a small, brightly lit room containing two persons. One is lying completely naked on a table in the center of the room, while the other, a man wearing a white coat, is carefully examining the naked individual with a magnifying glass. After completing his examination of this area, the man in the white coat turns to his subject's face, which he inspects with equal care and deliberation. Finally, he records his observations in a notebook. Waiting outside in the hall is a group of middle-aged men and women. Each is called in turn, asked to undress, and the procedure is repeated. What is going on here? Is the man in a white coat doing some kind of sex research? Is he casting a nude play, or is he just a wealthy eccentric indulging a peculiar hangup?"

Now I just love spooky little beauty stories. (Nude plays, not so much.) But really, what is going on?

"He is a scientist compiling statistical data on the dramatic skin changes caused by the environment. In order to have a basis for comparison, he has already visited a maternity ward hospital, where he examined both the faces and buttocks of a number of newborn babies. In this younger group, he found that the texture and contour of the two areas was almost exactly the same. His findings in the middle-aged group, however, are remarkably different... In this group, the skin of the buttocks wins by a tremendous margin. The facial skin, almost without exceptions, looks terrible."

At left is a chart depicting the facial and buttock skin of specimens ranging in age from two, to eighty. Click to enlarge. You're welcome.

Bedford continues to hammer the point home here, with a quote that I recall now whenever I (accidentally!) come across celebrity gossip, and overly plasticized faces:

"I have often been struck by the fact that many entertainers have skins that look extraordinarily young. The explanation is that they not only make a greater effort to take care of their skins, but many of these people never see the light of day."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Asking Cybill Shepherd Out Is A Misdemeanor

"She wore two scarves. One of wool to match her coat. The other of cotton to match her dress. She looked stunning. But anyone who dressed up for a Chaucer class would definitely not find me appealing."  

That's from, Sitting Behind Cybill Shepherd, a charming piece by Hal Sirowitz, former poet laureate of Queens.  I just came across it on Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.  Hal was lucky enough to get a view of Cybill's inspiring shoulder blades in 1968, the same year she graduated high school and won a career-launching modeling contest.

I wrote here about my love for Cybill.  At left, she demonstrates that her front is nothing to sneeze at either.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Julie Klausner Drinks Jesus Smoothies

I'm going to an event next week where Julie Klausner will be reading from her new book.  I am somehow not as familiar with her work as everyone else seems to be, but after watching this old video, I do feel a certain kinship.

Note:  I used to have an agent in common with those Skinny Bitches.  They are strident proponents of The Don't Kid Yourself Diet.  Oh, and I just now put together that she did those infamous spoofs of Brenda Dickson's videos.  Yeah, I like this girl.

Multiple Inventions and Ring-Tailed Lemurs: Kirstie Alley's New Reality Show

No matter who you are or how your tastes run, I defy you to describe an earthly entertainment finer than this, Kirstie Alley's upcoming reality show:

"In addition to chronicling her weight loss battle on TV, the show will also feature her  'producing a feature film, patenting multiple inventions, working hard to raise two normal Hollywood teenagers, True and Lillie [her adopted sons with ex Parker Stevenson], taking care of eight ringtail lemurs, and on top of everything, looking for love -- nothing like a little pressure,' according to the release."