Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wall of Ads: blast from my past

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Visiting hours: or, how to call on the cancer warrior

7 Rules You Should Follow When Visiting Someone With Cancer


At the stroke of midnight, 01 January, 2014, US Census Bureau statistics tell us that the population of the USA was 317,297,938. The American Cancer Society tells us that in the year 2014, 16 million out of those 317 million people will be diagnosed with cancer.

Half of all men will get cancer during their lifetimes
One-third of all women will get cancer
Three-quarters of all cancers strike after age 55
Fourteen million people are living with cancer; as survivors or current fighters
1500 people die from cancer every day
600,000 lives are lost every year

My brother Michael lost his life his life in 2012 to oral squamous cell carcinoma. Me, I’m one of the fourteen million survivors.

The numbers are clear. At some point in your life, you will want to visit a friend or loved one with cancer. It is scary as Hell. What to say? What to do? How do I help? We want to help, but we don’t know how. What are the rules for a visit with a cancer warrior?

My Seven Rules for Calling on the Cancer Warrior

1) Make absolutely, positively, 100% certain you are healthy.

Whether from the chemo, the stress of the illness, or their cancer itself, many cancer patients have compromised immune systems. A little bug or a sniffle that might put you a bit under the weather could have serious repercussions for the health of a cancer patient. Even without your bug raising serious problems, a cancer patient already feels lousy enough. Keep your sniffle-ly nose to yourself. If your kid stayed home sick yesterday because of some norovirus, stay home.

i) Wear clean clothes. Your favorite sweater, the one a little kid goobered on yesterday in the queue at McDonald’s whilst you weren’t looking, might still harbor some Klebsiella or H. Influenzae.

ii) Wash in. Wash out. When you enter the house, wash your hands properly with soap and running water for 30 seconds-that’s singing Happy Birthday through twice. Or use hand sanitizer. Wash them again on your way out. It’s a good practice.

2) Make contact in advance.

My brother and I were as close as brothers can be. Yet, when he was deep in his cancer fight, I never dropped by. One, it’s just rude. Two, you never know what kind of day your friend is having. Michael really liked to make those contacts via text message. To a cancer patient, a ringing phone, when your pain and discomfort have just settled down enough so you can nap, is a huge and unwanted intrusion.Send a text. You might not get an answer. Don’t drop by ‘just to see if everything is all right.’ Most likely, your friend is getting some sleep.

Cancer, and cancer treatment, are exhausting beyond words. How exhausting? Picture yourself as you lie on the couch with your face turned towards the seat cushions. You hear something interesting on the TV. Now, try and imagine that you lack the energy to turn your head towards the TV to see what is on. Yep. That bad. Sometimes worse.

3) Time limit your visit.

When you text to see if there is a good time to visit, give a limit.
“Michael, is there a good time today or tomorrow for me to stop by for a twenty minute visit?”
When those twenty minutes are up, get up and go. If your friend wants you to stay longer, s/he’ll let you know.
Even when we have cancer, when someone visits our home, we feel as if we are the host. Just to burn the mental energy required to be “the host” is a huge drain on very limited psychological resources.

4) Contact the caregiver about gifts.

Before you bring anything with you, contact the patient’s caregiver. Radiation and chemotherapy play havoc with the senses. What to you is a lovely scented bouquet of flowers might kick off three hours of retching and vomiting for your friend. In addition, many people become highly sensitive to pollen during treatment. A plant might be nice. But ask.

We like to feed our friends and family when times are tough. Ask if there is anything special you could bring, and anything specific you should avoid. Just because your friend liked your lasagna two months ago, the smell of the tomatoes and basil might send her reaching for the waste bucket.

When Michael was ill, I brought him DVDs. He was a huge baseball and Detroit Tigers fan, so I brought him highlight DVDs from the Tigers amazing 1968 season. We were little kids then, just starting to fall in love with sports and our heroes. I also brought him Rocky and Bullwinkle videos. Mindlessly funny stuff. Norman Cousins, in his great book, Anatomy of an Illness, wrote at length how the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, and the other great comedians of his youth helped him heal during his bouts with ankylosing spondylitis.

“I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he reported. “When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval.”

5) Avoid forced optimism.

Don’t be a cheerleader.
“You’re going to be fine. I just know it.”
“Bullshit,” says the patient. “I might freakin’ die. That’s why they’re bolting my head to that goddam table and irradiating my skull. That’s why my body is slowly being carved to pieces. That’s why I get bags of ugly yellow chemicals pumped into my body. You don’t know shit about my illness. I’m laying here, feeling like if I blink 2% too hard, my eyeball is going to fall out of my face, and if I swallow without thinking on it first, I’m going to be curled up in a ball in the bathroom for the next two hours heaving my guts out, while I try not to have shit come pouring out my asshole, and you’re sitting there telling me ‘You’re going to be fine. I just know it?’ ”

“What the fuck do you know? Get the fuck out of here. Jesus, you fucking idiot!”

Don’t play pity poker. Don’t tell a story about your cousin who’s a cancer survivor. Fact is, in the midst of my cancer, I don’t care. I’ve got my own problems right here, thankyouverymuch. When I was struggling with my melanoma, I found inspiration in an older friend who was fighting a much worse case of esophageal cancer. As cancer fighters and survivors, we’re good at finding our own inspiration. Hang out with me, that’s all I ask.

6) Physical contact. Ask first.

Cancer hurts. Sometimes, the pain cannot be imagined. Sometimes, a hug can be agony. Sometimes, you need a hug, a bit of human warmth and contact to remind you that you’re not alone. So ask before you hug. Pro-tip: Use your friend’s hug as your guide. As I was leaving my brother’s house, I’d always ask Michael if we could hug. When he said yes, I’d let him move towards me, and as firmly as he hugged me, I’d hug back, but just a bit softer. If you opt for a hand-squeeze, be just as gentle. Hard to believe, but some cancers cause such deep-seated bone pain that even a too-firm yet loving squeeze of the hand is agony.
What Should You Do?

7) Be there now.

Ram Dass titled his seminal 1971 work Be Here Now. When you are with a cancer fighter, be there. Turn off your damn phone. Your twitter feed can wait. If your friend wants to talk; Talk. With. Them. Listen, really listen, to what they’re saying. They’re talking with their eyes, and body language, as well as their words. Pay some fucking attention. They want to watch a little TV with you, then watch some TV. If they want to lie back for a few minutes and take six or eight deep breaths, why don’t you join them? Lower your shoulders from up around your ears, relax a moment, and join them in several deep quiet breaths.

You do realize, don’t you, that you too, are stressed? You do realize that your angst fills the room? It is hard to watch someone suffer, someone in fear, someone in pain. Let your heart fill with compassion, not pity, and join with them in your heart for a few moments. Don’t share your heartache. Let go of your pain and watch them relax along with you.

In the Torah, Jews are commanded to perform acts of lovingkindness. Buddha says “He who attends on the sick attends on me.” In the Christian Bible, Jesus commands his followers to care for the infirm. The atheist cares for the sick because there is no greater service to humanity than to care for the sick.
Be gentle. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be there now.

Blogger's note. These are things I might not have thought about myself. In fact, I know I wouldn't. We're taught that we must be "positive" at all times, no matter how lousy we feel. If we're not "positive", we're indulging in self-pity. It's just assumed flowers will cheer the person up, when they might hate flowers or find them an irritant. And the hug - I never would have thought about that, but yes. Make the hug extremely gentle, put your hand lightly on his or her forearm  - or just ask before you touch them at all, because they might not feel like it. 

Someone I love, someone who has been part of the family for forty years,  is facing treatment, and many times a day I think about her because the disease is at Stage 4. We're far apart geographically, and right now constant inquiries are not practical or even desirable. The relentless and anxious "how is she?" puts pressure on the family to provide some statement of "improvement", if not physical, then spiritual.

 I once knew an incredibly brave woman facing terminal brain cancer. What she said to me was astonishing: "I don't know how to comfort people." No one wanted to accept what she was saying, they argued with it, they became distressed and full of denial and even anger that she should say such a thing. They even admonished her that she should have the surgery that she knew would not improve the quality of the life she had left. Another reaction is the low moan ("stage fo-o-u-r- r-. . . "), the utterance of dread. Patients and their families don't need the added burden of your hangups about mortality.

It's an ugly fact that a large part of your normal support system might fall away. I've had the big turnaway too, from a disability that some people (though I know it's hard to believe) dread even more than cancer. Then you learn that the old cliche is true: in a major crisis, you find out who your real friends are. And though this piece is extremely helplful and brings up issues most people never even think about, I've had a few thoughts about it.

I have to believe that it's OK to go in there and make a mistake. The "seven rules" are difficult, and if you think you have to apply them all, all at the same time, without a slip-up, you probably won't visit at all. It will just be too hard and you will be too afraid of doing damage. But I believe that someone in deep trouble can usually see the profound concern and love under all the slipping and sliding, the clumsy pratfalls of good intentions.

In all my life, I have found one good listener. One. One who listened so deeply and profoundly that you knew you were heard, who in fact heard things you didn't even know you were saying. Moreover, he was a vault. You didn't even have to ask. When he came to visit me in a place no one else wanted to go, I was reminded of the Bible verse, "For I was hungry and you fed me. . . " I was stigmatized and scorned, I had "fallen" and felt that I had failed massively, and he was there. He sat and looked at me and nodded his head and the listening was like a hum that came from him.

Maybe I'll only find one of these in my entire life, and it's a gift that I did. And it wasn't cancer, it was something else, but believe me when I say it came perilously close to killing me. But his rare gift is a valuable lesson for the rest of us: shut up for a minute, stop trying to fix it so you will feel better, and make yourself open to the pain. You'll walk out of there upright, it won't kill you, and maybe you'll even be able to come back. 

(P. S. to the P. S. A point I've made before, but I will keep on making it until something changes. I remember, not so long ago, that a person who had cancer was always called a "cancer victim". It was used in the media all the time, and not just for the terminally ill (another term I do not like). I also used to hear "AIDS victim" in the '80s. At some point, mercifully, the tide turned, and now it's (rightly) offensive to speak of victimhood. All except in one area. Mental illness always appears juxtaposed with the term "stigma," and it's about as helpful and unstigmatizing as telling someone, "You're NOT really fat, not fat at all, no, fatness does not begin to describe you who are NOT fat, so why do you think you are fat when you are definitely NOT fat?"  So it's stigma/mental illness, stigma/mental illness, stigma/mental illness, etc. etc. etc.

Very seldom have I seen "mental health warrior", but I like it. I like the term "mental HEALTH" because it implies that people with bipolar and schizophrenia can actually - gasp, choke - be "well". "Mental illness" is kind of like saying "cancer illness". How can you be ill and well at the same time? You can't. You're stuck in it forever.

See, it matters, the way we refer to things. Using the term "cancer warrior" won't make it all go away, but it will help in restoring dignity and personal power, and dispelling the fear that keeps people ignorant.

There was a time when cancer was so stigmatized that the word "stigma" wasn't even used to describe it - it was too stigmatized to even mention. The word was never said. We have come a long way. Now can we PLEASE do something to fucking get RID of "mental illness/stigma/stigma/stigma", once and for all!

Order The Glass Character from:

Thistledown Press 



Monday, April 28, 2014

Ribbit! (or: Hello my baby, hello my honey)

(The above article is some sort of propaganda for the frog industry. I've seen other articles that claim it's impossible to raise frogs anywhere in the United States, which is why 90% of them are imported from the Orient. Elsewhere I read that frogs ARE raised in the Southern United States, but "in secret". It's something they don't talk about. God knows why, I guess it's stigmatized to have to stick a nail through an amphibian's primitive skull. Not to mention eating their legs. Blecccch. Anyway, this is a transcript of the above newspaper article, followed by, as they say, "the REST of the story".)

Big Profits in Back Yard FROG Raising
A back yard is large enough to start the thriving business of frog raising. How to build up a big income with a very small investment is told in the following article. The white meat, with a taste similar to a tender, juicy squab, is greatly in demand.
WHEN Charlie, of the De Luxe Cafe, told me that he would have to discontinue serving frog leg dinners because his wholesaler couldn’t supply the frogs, I became vitally interested in an industry that has proven to be more profitable, entertaining, and healthful than any other I have ever known.

No frog farmer need search for a market, his crop is virtually all sold before it is raised. I could sell one hundred times my present production in a single week, and am expanding my ponds so, eventually, I expect to have 1000 acres utilized solely for giant bullfrog culture. I sell tadpoles at five to ten cents each by the hundred. They are used to stock farms and for aquarium purposes.
Frog Meat Is Delicious
Bullfrogs, that cost me less than one cent per year to feed, wholesale at $3.00 per dozen in large quantities. Smaller frogs, of which only the legs are used, sell for as high as seventy cents per pound. Each frog gives a pound of delicious white meat that has a taste similar to a tender, juicy squab. The whole frog is used, the front quarter being just as delicious as the legs.

Just one pair of breeders lay over 10,000 eggs each season; usually over seventy per cent hatch and develop into small frogs.
The advantage of frog farming is the fact that you can start practically anywhere and expand gradually as your profits mount. A vacant city lot, an old orchard or even a back yard can be utilized. Due to the cannibalistic nature of adult frogs, the frog farmer needs three separate ponds, segregating the breeders, tadpoles, and small frogs.
I have found a pond, 20×20 feet, water area, with bank space of six feet on all sides, to be capable of keeping six pairs of breeders. The water depth should not exceed 18 inches except for a pit in the center of the pond where the frogs hibernate in the winter time.
Confine With Poultry Wire
Ordinary one-inch mesh poultry wire four feet high with burlap sewed on the inside to prevent injury and to confine the smaller frogs, is the most sensible fence a frog farmer can use both for breeders and small frogs. Frogs breed from April until August.

At this time, the frog farmer must have a small pond about 10×15 feet planted with arrowheads, water moss and other aquatic plants, in readiness. The pond should be not less than three feet deep to take care of the thousands of tadpoles.
The egg mass must be immediately transferred to the small pond, using a scoop to handle them. In five days, each cluster becomes a wiggling, living mass of tadpoles. Tadpoles are scavengers, eating anything from table scraps to water moss.
In six to eight months, the tadpole begins to develop legs and in a short time is a small frog. At this time, its diet changes from that of a scavenger to being satisfied only with a live or moving food.

The growing pond for the offspring of six pairs should embrace about two acres, including shore line. Water in the two acre tract should cover not more than one-half of the entire area.
Feeding the Frogs
I have raised frogs on liver and other domestic meat but I found it impractical to consider this method of feeding on a large scale.
Small bullfrogs can be supplied with an abundance of insects, especially flies, by simply concealing several fish heads in the vegetation along shore. Common crabs, found in most any ditch or stream, and good food for frogs, can be placed directly into the growing pond where they will reproduce in enormous quantities.

When ready for marketing, the frogs are caught at night by blinding them with a search light. When the catcher gets a frog he puts it into a burlap sack with others. They are then put into small pens awaiting the dresser who grabs them by their rear legs and pierces the head with a nail by a downward stroke of the hand. The entrails are removed and the frog is ready for shipment in barrels of cracked ice. 

They Came from Hell: the strangest dolls in advertising

I apologize for this, but I had to load it up-front to get you used to the flavor of this post. My obsession with old comic book ads knows no bounds, and on my recent trawl I found some pretty good ones - push-up bras made of baling wire, memberships to secret mystical societies, ads for starting your own frog ranch, circuses for a dollar starring a performing "actual live" chameleon, etc., along with classics like Grog Grows Own Tail and the chihuahua in a teacup plaintively asking, "Will you give me a home?"

But I ruthlessly cut these out of the mix when I saw the number of creepy doll ads. Like clowns, there is something inherently squickish about the doll as an object, human yet not human, and often grotesque even in its supposed cuteness. "Lifelike" is the word that comes up again and again to describe a lifeless object.

I won't get into "reborn" dolls either, often made of rubbery silicone so that their arms and legs jiggle and quiver. Some of these actually have heaters in them, heartbeats, and miniature sound systems to emit baby noises (though Edison obviously got there first). No one wants to think about the next innovation.

I've written about these incredible '60s artifacts before, but there's an update which shocked me. I used to wonder about this ad, how they could ever get away with it, and what "Lilliputian cuteness" meant (I wasn't into Swift at age eight). I tried to picture a hundred rubber dollies a few inches high, but after a while the whole thing was shoved away in a back room of memory.

Then, the wonder of the internet led to this revelation:

Someone had actually ordered these, all those years ago, and kept them in their original box. These reminded me of those little plastic ornamentations you find in cocktails, only thinner, more toothpicky. And yes, it looks as if there's quite an array of them, but the thing is, calling them "dolls" is a real stretch. Apparently in one incarnation, they came with paper clothing, but it's hard for me to imagine how that would work.

And then I found this. . . 

This is obviously the same product, but all of a sudden they're five bucks! The type is too small to read, but presumably they had dropped the Lilliputian bit. I have no idea what year this version came out. But it's ripoff times five.

There's a whole category of moving dolls, the type that emit the most godawful grinding-gears sound as they inch along. 

Some of these look like cheats. I think you have to stand behind this one and "walk" it, so it's incapable of independent movement. And any doll that costs 50 cents - I don't know. Maybe, like the 100 dolls for a dollar, she's really only an inch high, a prototype version of nanotechnology.

Botteltot just has such a strange name. You'd think the manufacturer could come up with something better, more descriptive, such as Cindy Pees-a-lot. And I just don't get Toodles. Nobody costs 44 cents, with a 19-cent "layette". Maybe, like the Walking Doll with the checkered skirt, she came with boxtops from Joy Liquid - or whatever. 

We don't have to know what the text means, which is good, because I don't. The sad purse-mouthed expression on Grasitas's face kind of says it all. And that sure is a strange diaper.

Noma the Electronic Doll is manufactured by Effanbee, which somehow makes me uncomfortable. Noma was the brand of our old Christmas lights, the ones that used to electrocute you or give you third-degree burns. Though the ad gives the impression that Noma walks, she doesn't. But she prays, which is maybe a good thing for everyone.

Does this doll resemble Regan from The Exorcist, or Carrie, or - Good God! Feel my ribs? Hear my voices? Somebody call Stephen King.

Here is a ventriloquist's dummy - always a staple of the Twilight Zone series of the '60s - who not only talks (in your own voice, of course) but SMOKES. And he's under three bucks,so what can we lose, except maybe sleep?

And here is Sandy, endowed with Rubber Wonderskin and hair you can "wave", along with the usual accoutrements (bottles with rubber nipples, etc. - though with hair like that, she can't be the right age for diapers). Someone must have believed this advertisment would attract Mommies enough to want to shell out four dollars (C. O. D.!) to scare their daughters half to death.

The Edison Talking Doll was a flop. It stopped talking after little girls had cranked it a few times, and once the public saw its inner workings, they were too creeped out to want it. The whole concept was flawed from the beginning, but I don't think it mattered to Edison. It was just another way of getting attention for his REAL phonograph, which he stole from a guy in Germany. The Berliner Talking Doll just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Order The Glass Character from:

Thistledown Press 



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Key of Awesome: Pet Shop

The more you watch this, the funnier it gets. Really good parody of a song I don't like!

Harold Lloyd: somebody up there likes me

Blogger's Note. The long drought is over! Finally, a review - and not only that, the kind most authors would kill for. And the fact that it's by  Matt Paust (posted on his Mutable Blog as well as Facebook) just makes it better, in my eyes, and more worthy of posting here. It's my novel and I'll brag if I want to.

The Mutable Blog

it can change on a whim

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Carpet Ride to Magicland

In case the name doesn't ring a bell, he's the guy with the straw hat and Woody Allen glasses, in the suit, dangling from a clock on the side of a building so far above a busy avenue the cars below look like ladybugs on wheels.

 Harold Lloyd.

Movie comedian of the silent 1920s. Called himself the “Glass Character” because his trademark glasses were fake. No glass in them. The guy was a nut. Blew one of his hands to Kingdom Come fiddling with what he thought was a stage prop bomb. It was real. Deliberately gave himself powerful electric shocks to get his hair to stand straight up. Did his own stunts—the clock dangle, the shocked hair, pretending to trip and stagger on building ledges up in the sky, netless—a brave, some would say foolhardy, genius. Nut.

Knowing this and being acrophobic, I can't watch his movies anymore. It even scares me to look at the photos. I'll let Margaret Gunning watch the movies and look at the photos, and I'll read her reports. Well, then again, I don't have to anymore. I've read her book, The GlassCharacter. It's all in there.

Margaret, poor girl, is in love with Harold Lloyd. It started out as just a fascination with soundless images. Love snuck up and struck her dumb somewhere amid the exhaustive research she was conducting for a book about what was then still just a fascination. Love. Alas. Margaret is happily married and has two lovely daughters and four darling grandchildren, yet is far too young to leap the gap into the day when her beloved Harold held sway with the girls of a baby Hollywood. Fortunately, for her and for us, she's a novelist. She has the skill to weave the magic carpet to carry her backward in time to those days of yore, those Harold heyday days, and set her gently down along the path the love of her dreams must follow should he wish a rebirth in the imaginations and hearts of admirers forevermore. She's woven that carpet. It's large enough to take us with her on that long strange trip. I rode along on a test flight. We made it back, and I'm still agog.

When we stepped off the carpet in la la land I saw that Margaret had changed. No longer the familiar author of two of my favorite novels—Better than Life, and Mallory—she'd become sixteen-year-old Jane Chorney, a virgin and erstwhile soda jerk in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a terrible crush on movie idol Harold Lloyd. Soon after we landed, Margaret /Jane (and later “Muriel”, as you will learn) decided to pack up her meager belongings, cash in her chips (two cents shy of fifty bucks) and head to Hollywood and into the arms of her eternal love. I might have tried to instill sense in her were I anything more than invisible eyes and ears. Unfortunately I had lost my voice and corporeal substance upon alighting in the Santa Fe dust.

So it was off to Hollywood via a wearying, bumpy bus ride, Margaret/Jane/Muriel full of glitzy dreams and innocence, and me hunkered weightless, mute and unseen on her delicate shoulder.

I won't say more. I took no notes and had to avert my gaze any number of times during moments that really were none of my personal concern.

The Glass Character is Margaret/Jane/Muriel's story, not mine. What I did see and hear, 
and learn during our holiday in history is captured with such lucid, insightful poignancy I 
can't help but wonder if Margaret didn't in fact remain there, dictating her journal to a 
holographic image of herself in the distant future tapping on a keyboard somewhere in a 
place called Coquitlam, B.C.

Signifying nothing

"Meow, meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow, meow"

- Baxter

(Translation: "I want chicken, I want liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix, please deliver")

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mother's Little Helpers (or: "doctor please, some more of these")

The text reads:


"I take Phosferine Tonic Wine at 11 a.m. and at 3 p.m., also as a nightcap, and believe me, I derive from it wonderful nights of sleep. I get up very fresh in the morning, having lost that tired feeling and after taking a couple of bottles I am now a different woman. Phosferine Tonic Wine stimulates, energizes and tones the whole system, and is a wonderful nightcap."

(Signed) Mrs. D. Islwyn Lewis

(I note in the fine print that this woman hails from Swansea,Wales, Dylan Thomas' home town. That explains a lot.)

And how about this. . .

Yes, for superior vacuuming skills, it's DEXIES!


Text reads: 35, single and psychoneurotic. The purser on her cruise ship took the last snapshot of Jan. You probably see many such Jans in your practice. The unmarrieds with low self-esteem. Jan never found a man to measure up to her father. Now she realizes she's in a losing pattern - and that she may never marry.

Valium (diazepam) can be a useful adjunct in the therapy of the tense, over-anxious patient who has a neurotic sense of failure, guilt or loss. Over the years, Valium has proven its value in the relief of psychoneurotic states - anxiety, apprehension, agitation, alone or with depressive symptoms.

Valium 10 mg. tablets help relieve the emotional "storms" of psychoneurotic tension and the depressive symptoms that can go hand-in-hand with it. Valium 2-mg. or 5-mg. tablets are usually sufficient for milder tension and anxiety states. An h. s. dose added to the t. i. d. dose often facilitates a good night's rest.

Oh how I wish I could see those photos more clearly, as I think they demonstrate the sad downward spiral of Jan's life as she dates men who are lower and lower on the social totem pole. At the end, she's taking handfuls of Valium with some drunken and probably gay purser. But hey, if it helps her sleep. . .

Yes, I can just make out some of the captions: Jan and Dad, 1955. Tom, Jan, Ruth and Steve, 1957. Joey, 1959. Jan and Ted, 1961. Jan and Dad, 1962. Jan and Charlie, 19(?). Jan and Danny/Benny, 1966. Jan and Dad, 1969. Jan, 1970.

Whoawww now! This is saying even more than I thought it was! This is a little girl who is hung up on her Daddy. So obviously she needs to be chock full 'o Valium in order to cope, if not survive. Yes, there was a time when her life looked hopeful, when she had lots of friends and even