Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's a major celebration day, for some people

Breasts are an important feature among mammals. They allow mothers to nurture their young through protracted infancies. No infancy is longer than that of the human species, especially that of the American male, which often lasts until death.

Breasts are more than just moving diner for the young, however. On humans at least, they also have valuable recreational value. Nothing else has the nutrition, entertainment, and sheer jiggle value of the human breast (although Jell-O™ does come close).

Naturally, men couldn't leave anything with the power, appeal, and nutritive value of breasts in the hands of women, literally or metaphorically. From the very dawn of human history, therefore, breasts have been in men's hands.

In 2500 BC, the Minoan women of Crete are believed to have worn a special garment that lifted their breasts entirely out of their clothing. (Like another popular story of ancient Minos, this is believed to be half bull.) By the rise of the Hellenic (Greek) and Roman (Roman) civilizations, however, women were wearing tightly bound breast bands to reduce their busts. This style persisted until 476 AD, rightly referred to by historians as the Fall of Rome.

As history progressed, the popularity of breasts rose and fell, heaved and plunged, lifted and separated. Each new culture found a new way of exalting or obscuring the breast, according to their inclinations. By the nineteenth century in Europe, breasts were being pressed together and thrust upward by means of whalebone-fortified corsets.

The strain was unbearable. Something had to give.

On May 30, 1889, the world’s first bra was invented. To tell you the truth, I’ve lost all track of where I found that date but I do know, however, that corset maker Herminie Cadolle invented the Bien-ĂȘtre in 1889, and that this “health aid” was the first garment to support breasts from the shoulder down instead of squeezing them up from below.

Marie Tucek patented the first “breast supporter” in 1893 (separate pockets for the breasts, with straps that went over the shoulder and were fastened by hook-and-eye closures). Yes, the first documented over the over the shoulder boulder holder.

New York socialite Mary Jacob Phelps invented a modern bra in 1913 (with two handkerchiefs, some ribbon, and a bit of cord) to accommodate a sheer evening gown. Ms. Phelps sold her invention, which she called the brassiere, to the Warner Brothers Corset Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for $1500 in 1914.

The US War Industries Board encouraged the assimilation of the bra in 1917 by encouraging women to stop buying corsets, thereby freeing up nearly sixty million pounds of the metal used in them.

During the 1920s, a Russian immigrant by the name of Ida Rosenthal founded Maidenform with her husband William. The Rosenthals grouped breasts into cup sizes and developed bras for women of every age.

So it doesn’t really matter what happened on May 30, 1889. It only matters that I’ve gotten you to read the word breast about twenty times in the last several paragraphs.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hope this makes up for all the emotional turmoil I caused

Remember one of your favorite parental units

The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British version of the day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.

So Happy Mother's Day to all you moms

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Welcome to this week's Eagle Brand Soap's Mohammed Radio Hour - The soap more Inuit Moms wash their sassy children's mouths out with.  Eagle Brand, use it, your eagle will thank you.

This week we're going to check out the music of Steely Dan. - well not exactly them but cover versions of their music and a surprise at the end.  But first let's hear from one of our sponsors, Vytautas Mineral Water, it's just that good.

For this first set, let go way back into the vault to hear some cover versions of Early Dan.  First up (hold onto your socks) Barbra Streisand and an early composition of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's I Meant to Shine

(After Barbra and her producers got their hands on the song, the boys have all but disowned this song.)

Here's an incredibly funky version of Do It Again by Charles Mann -

This is an interesting cover version of Dirty Work by the Pointer Sisters

This is where cool intersects with cool, Deodato covers Do It Again

And don't think we don't go all the way back in the vault to find the obscure, here's a Bossa Nova version of Barrytown (in Portugiese) by Mara Amaral

We'll take a break before we fall into a too mellow mood

Welcome back to Eagle Brand Soaps Mohammed's Radio Music Hour - the soap to use when you need to get your eagle's hands clean.  For this section, I thought we listen to some major artists cover some of Steely Dan's tunes.  First up is  Wilco doing Any Major Dude Will Tell You.

A bunch of the songs we're listening to tonight are off of the song track album of Me, Myself and Irene.  Who know the Farrelly Bros. were such major Danfan heads. 

Joe Jackson does a cover of King of the World on his 2000 CD, Summer in the City

listening to this, you almost can imagine that Joe wrote this himself

Not a great stretch for Grover Washington Jr. to give a jazzy interpretation of Time Out of Mind

This is another cover of Barrytown but this time by Ben Folds Five

Let's take a break here and when we come back, we'll listen to some ladies covering the band.

Vytautas Mineral Water!

Welcome back to Eagle Brand Soaps Mohammed's Radio Hour. Your talons would smell too if you spent the day eating raw fish.  The soap more undertakers in Minneapolis use.

First up in this section is the Tori Amos' cover of Do It Again from her album of covers, Sparks -

While working on this show, I found this new album, Fire in the Hole (well, new to me) by this duo, Sara Isaksson & Rebecka Tornqvist.  The entire album are covers of Steely Dan songs (how convenient.)

Go out and buy the album (or download it or whatever you kids do today.)

The next choice was easy, who better to cover a Steely Dan song than the multi-nominationed grammy performer, Rikki Lee Jones

Probably the best Steely Dan cover of the bunch!

Let take a break here and then come back with some songs that sample Steely Dan

Kanye West sampled Steely Dan's Kid Charlemagne on the cut Champion in his 2007 album Graduation.

Del La Soul, the original masters of the sly sample, included Peg in Eye Know from their classic album 3 Feet and Rising.

Interesting aside: both this album, 3 Feet and Rising and Aja were included in the 2010 National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Listen carefully and you can hear Green Earrings sampled inside Walk Into the Sun by Organized Konfusion.

Follow along on this one, Beyonce's song Me, Myself and I was remixed to include a sample of Black Cow

Alright when we come back we have two more tunes before we hit the road

Please don't show Rick Santorum this video

I'm not sure his heart could take it

Here are the last two cover versions, the first is a cover version of the Donald Fagen Song Walk Between the Raindrops from his album, The Nightfly

And our last song for the night is the Duke Ellington playing his East St. Louis Toodle-oo. Steely Dan covered the song on their 1974 album Pretzel Logic.

So that's it for tonight's Eagle Brand Soap's Mohammed's Radio Hour.  Remember to use Eagle Brand Soap and keep looking for Mohammed's lamp.

Goodnight folks.