Laying in the hammocks in Colorado
On top of the Wilshire Grand in Los Angeles
Building a new bridge in Norway
Acrobats in New York in the 1940’s
Barbie, the iconic plastic toy doll model, is getting three new body types this year.
The US company behind the famous toy, Mattel, is adding “tall, curvy and petite” body shapes to its line-up of the fashion dolls.
Several skin tones, eye colours and hair styles will also be added to the collection, the company said.
Barbie’s figure has come under fire for years, with critics arguing it set an unrealistic body image for girls. With the new body shapes, the toy makers say they are “offering girls choices that are more reflective of the world they see today”.
With this year’s update, the Barbie Fashionistas line will feature:
- 33 new dolls
- 30 hair colours
- 24 hairstyles
- 22 eye colours
- 14 face shapes
- 7 skin tones
- 4 body shapes – original, plus tall, curvy and petite
Barbie is finally sort of all-inclusive: almost all shapes, heights and races. Way to go Mattel.
However, some people think Mattel hasn’t gone far enough. Since Mattel is trying to include young females from all possible life scenarios, here are some life situations that Barbie experiences that are real and unabashed.
Hot sensuous Barbie
Couch-potato dope smoking plump Barbie.
Sedentary and lethargic Barbie.
Addicted to crack street Ho Barbie.
Barbie and Ken EXPLOSION!
Each year, some choose to ‘disappear’ and abandon their lives, jobs, homes and families. In Japan, there are companies that can help those looking to escape into thin air.
All over the world, from the US to Germany to the UK, some people decide to disappear from their own lives without a trace – leaving their homes, jobs and families in the middle of the night to start a second life, often without ever looking back.
In Japan, these people are sometimes referred to as “jouhatsu”. That’s the Japanese word for “evaporation”, but it also refers to people who vanish on purpose into thin air, and continue to conceal their whereabouts – potentially for years, even decades.
“I got fed up with human relationships. I took a small suitcase and disappeared,” says 42-year-old Sugimoto, who’s just going by his family name for this story. “I just kind of escaped.” He says that back in his small hometown, everybody knew him because of his family and their prominent local business, which Sugimoto was expected to carry on. But having that role foisted upon him caused him such distress that he abruptly left town forever and told no one where he was going.
From inescapable debt to loveless marriages, the motivations that push jouhatsu to “evaporate” can vary. Regardless of their reasons, they turn to companies that help them through the process. These operations are called “night moving” services, a nod to the secretive nature of becoming a jouhatsu. They help people who want to disappear discreetly remove themselves from their lives, and can provide lodging for them in secret whereabouts.
“Normally, the reason for moving is something positive, like entering university, getting a new job or a marriage. But there’s also sad moving – for example, like dropping out of university, losing a job or escaping from a stalker,” says Sho Hatori, who founded a night-moving company in the 90s when Japan’s economic bubble burst. At first, he thought financial ruin would be the only thing driving people to flee their troubled lives, but he soon found there were “social reasons”, too. “What we did was support people to start a second life,” he says.
Sociologist Hiroki Nakamori has been researching jouhatsu for more than a decade. He says the term ‘jouhatsu’ first started being used to describe people who decided to go missing back in the 60s. Divorce rates were (and still are) very low in Japan, so some people decided it was easier to just up and leave their spouses instead of going through elaborate, formal divorce proceedings.
“In Japan, it’s just easier to evaporate,” says Nakamori. Privacy is fiercely protected: missing people can freely withdraw money from ATMs without being flagged, and their family members can’t access security videos that might have captured their loved one on the run. “Police will not intervene unless there’s another reason – like a crime or an accident. All the family can do is pay a lot for a private detective. Or just wait. That’s all.”
‘I was shocked’
For the loved ones who get left behind, the abandonment – and resultant search for their jouhatsu – can be unbearable.
“I was shocked,” says a woman who’s remained anonymous, and whose 22-year-old son went missing and hasn’t contacted her since. “He failed after quitting his job twice. He must have felt miserable with his failure.” She drove to where he was living, searched the premises and then waited in her car for days to see if he showed up. He never did.
She says the police haven’t been helpful, and says they told her they could only get involved if it was a suspected suicide. But since there was no note, they won’t help.
“I understand there are stalkers – information can be misused. This is a necessary law, perhaps. But criminals, stalkers and parents who cannot search for their own children? All of them are treated the same way due to the protection. What is this?” she says. “With the current law, without money, all I can do is check if [a] dead body is my son – the only thing left for me.”
For the jouhatsu themselves, feelings of sadness and regret stick with many of them long after they leave their lives behind.
“I constantly have a feeling that I’ve done something wrong,” says Sugimoto, the businessman who left his wife and kids in the small town. “I haven’t seen [my children] in a year. I told them I’m on a business trip.” His only regret, he says, was leaving them.
Sugimoto is currently staying in a home tucked away in a residential district of Tokyo. The night-moving company that’s housing him is run by a woman called Saita, who’s also going by her family name only to preserve anonymity. She was a jouhatsu herself, who went missing 17 years ago. She ‘disappeared’ after being in a physically abusive relationship, and says “in a way, I’m a missing person – even now.”
“I have various types of clients,” she continues. “There are people who run away from serious domestic violence or ego and self-interest. I don’t judge. I never say, ‘Your case is not serious enough’. Everybody has individual struggles.”
For people like Sugimoto, her company helped him address those struggles of his own . But even though he managed to disappear, it doesn’t mean that traces of his old life don’t linger. “Only my first son knows the truth. He’s 13 years old,” he says. “The words I can’t forget are, ‘What Dad decided is Dad’s life, and I can’t change it’. It sounds more mature than me, doesn’t it?”
Hangovers are a horrid part of existence. They make you question your sanity as to why you indulged in that debauchery the night before. But as social animals many people use booze, beer, liquor or any other type of alcoholic drink to let loose and relieve the stress.
That is the strange part about drinking. You basically go from sweet ecstasy to the pits of hell in a 12 hour period. The intermediate part is a deep comatose like sleep. But when that alarm goes off in the morning the brain and body will let you know you acted very badly the night before. And you will pay with great suffering. Especially if you have to get into work.
Easy tasks become confounding stress filled predicaments. When you speak to co-workers you call them by the wrong names. And the constant rush to the water cooler to fill the bottle up, which in turn leads to constant trips to the can. And your work performance diminishes to that of an intelligent chimp. The constant self-loathing, mumbling rabid insults about your own stupidity to yourself.
So we conclude that we will never do that again. Until the emails start that the gang wants to get together to watch a big hockey game. And the sauce will be flowing hard again.
Here are some possible cures:
- Sleep. Rest is your best friend at this point to give your body time to recover. It is best to stay in bed so call in to work if you have to, tell them you have the stomach flu. You will sound so horrible on the phone they may believe you (unless they saw you at the bar, not a good idea then).
- Replenish your body with fruit juice and water.
- Avoid caffeine. A weak cup of coffee may be okay but a lot of caffeine will continue to dehydrate you, the opposite of what you want right now.
- Drink orange juice for Vitamin C.
- Drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.
- Eat mineral rich food like pickles or canned fish.
- In Poland, drinking pickle juice is a common remedy.
- Drink a Bloody Mary. While the popular phrase “hair of the dog that bit you” may sound logical with a shot of whiskey left in the bottle next to your bed, it’s only temporary. Try a Bloody Mary instead, while your blood is dealing with the new alcohol it is ignoring the old and in the mean time tomato juice and celery are full of vitamins. If you drank the last of the vodka make a Virgin Mary. Another spicy morning after drink option is Hair of the Dog, in which gin and hot sauce are sure to bite your hangover back.
- Take a shower, switching between cold and hot water.
- In Ireland it was said that the cure for a hangover is to bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand.
I miss the days when we had a real human being in the white house. Instead of this current artificial street thug reprobate creature.
While some may question the origins and legitimacy of Halloween, it apparently is one of America’s favorite holidays. In 2019, according to the National Retail Federation’s consumer survey, 172 million Americans plan to participate in the holiday. So where did this tradition come from and why is there such devotion to it?
The holiday is believed to have originated with the celebration of Samhain, a Celtic harvest festival, observed between sunsets on October 31 and November 1. According to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, Celts began the Halloween tradition of wearing costumes, often animal skin to hide themselves from spirits, and masks to impersonate ancestors who had preceded them to the spirit world.
Revelers went from house to house performing silly acts in exchange for food and drink, possibly an extension of an earlier custom of leaving refreshments outdoors as offerings to supernatural beings. This likely inspired today’s trick-or-treat traditions.
Some believe the day has pagan roots. Christian leaders stepped in to transform pagan holidays, and in the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV decreed November 1 All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows’ Day. In some parts of the world, Christians attend services and visit graves. The celebration of Halloween became more popular with Irish immigration to the U.S. in the 1800s. Anoka, Minnesota, may be home to the United States’ oldest official Halloween celebration. In 1920, the city began staging a parade and bonfire to mark the day.
Still a Halloween skeptic? Consumers are expected to spend $8.8 billion on Halloween. Beyond the billions in candy and decorations, there’s this: 29 million people plan to dress their pets in Halloween costumes.