Archive | April 2017

The Coca-Cola Story

John Pemberton, known as “Doc” was injured in the Civil War when he tried to block a bridge leading into the heart of Columbus. As he fell back in pain, a Union soldier cut a deep slash from chest to stomach leaving Pemberton near dead. Back home, his injuries left him in contact pain. Like so many soldiers, he used morphine to ease the pain. After a while, the morphine’s effectiveness and he needed more frequent doses eventually developed a full-blown addiction .

CokeDoc, who was a chemist before the war, invented drugs to ease pain. His goal was a non-addictive replacement for morphine. Finally, he created what he was looking for, a combination of wine, coca leave kola nut, and an aromatic shrub called damiana. He called it Pemberton’s French Wine Coca.

There was no FDA (Federal Drug Administration) so Pemberton was free to make claims about the tonic’s medical benefits.  From an ad he placed in the newspaper in 1885:

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.41.02 AMFrench Wine Coca is endorsed by over 20,000 of the most learned and scientific medical men in the world…French Wine Coca, infallible in curing all who are afflicted with any nerve trouble, dyspepsia, mental and physical exhaustion, all chronic…wonderful invigorator of the sexual organs and will cure seminal weakness…

Coke did not do so well in its first year and Doc Pemberton died in August 1888. He never saw the commercial success he had been seeking.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.42.18 AMAfter Pemberton’s death, a man named Asa Griggs Candler rescued the business. In 1891, he became the sole owner of Coca-Cola. He hired traveling salesmen to pass out coupons for a free coke. Chandler advertised Coca-Cola syrup, a patented medicine, on posters and in calendars, making it a national brand. His claim was that it could get rid of fatigue and headaches.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.44.50 AMIn 1898, Congress passed a tax (on all medicine) in the wake of the Spanish-American war. Now Chandler wanted Coca-Cola to be sold as a beverage. He won the court battle and from then on, Coca-Cola was considered a soda drink. Soon after, Coca-Cola vending machines covered the U.S. landscape.


The content in this blog comes from online Fashion Encyclopedia ( and photos from google images. 

Jeanne Paquin (1869-1936) was the first woman to gain international celebrity in the fashion business. Her design career spanned the three decades from 1891 to 1920. she was a Beautiful, chic, intelligent, and charismatic, Paquin was herself the best publicist for her own style She was born on the outskirts of Paris. As a young girl she was employed at a local dressmaker’s shop and then became a seamstress at the distinguished Parisian firm of Maison Rouff. In February 1891 she married Isidore Rene Jacob dit Paquin, a former banker and businessman.

The couple together worked toward a new business model to enter the fashion industry. With Madame as head designer and her husband as business administrator. The couple built a couture business whose worldwide scope and stylistic influences were unparalleled during the early years of the twentieth century. There pioneering approaches for marketing and alluring designs attracted the fashionable women of the world who were poised for a new fashion image at the end of the Victorian era. The diverse and esteemed client list included famous actresses and courtesans, European royals, and the wives of American business tycoons such as Rockefeller, Astor, Vanderbilt, Ballantine, and Wannamaker. In 1907 Isidore Paquin died suddenly, leaving Jeanne Paquin to head their fashion empire alone. Her half brother, Henri Joire, and his wife, Suzanne, joined her as partners in 1911.

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Madame Valentina was as exotic as her name. A Russian emigrée, she attracted attention in New York after her arrival in 1923 by looking like a woman at a time when women were trying to look like young boys. For dining in fashionable restaurants or attending the theatre with her theatre-producer husband George Schlee, Valentina wore her own designs—full-length, high necked, long sleeved gowns with natural waistlines, made of flowing black velvet—in contrast to the short, waistless, beaded flapper fashions that prevailed at the time. Instead of bobbed hair, Valentina emphasized high cheekbones and large soulful eyes by wearing her long blonde hair in a high chignon. Slavic reserve, thick Russian accent, expressive hands, and movement with a dancer’s grace completed her personality. She was her own best model and maintained a consistency of appearance throughout her long career.
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Claire McCardell was the founder of American ready-to-wear fashion, and in doing so defined what has become known as the American Look. She created casual but sophisticated clothes with a functional design, which reflected the lifestyles of American women. McCardell’s design philosophy was that clothes should be practical, comfortable, and feminine. Capitalizing on the World War II restrictions on the availability of French fashions and fabrics, McCardell designed simple, inexpensive clothes under the label Townley Frocks by Claire McCardell and later Claire McCardell Clothes by Townley.

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Warsaw-born Barbara Hulanicki first burst onto the fashion scene as a 19 year old Brighton Art College student in 1955, winning a beachwear competition sponsored by the London Evening Standard. After working as a freelance fashion illustrator for magazines including Vogue, Tatler, and Women’s Wear Daily, Hulanicki opened, with her late husband Stephen Fitz-Simon, Biba in 1964. Thanks to, ‘a rock ‘n roll friendly mix of mini skirts, feather boas, velvet tuis, tie-dye tees, and floppy felt hats’, regulars at the uber-fabulous & famous Kensington shop soon grew to include Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger… as well as Anna Wintour, whose father secured his young fashionista-in-training a job there at age 15. Biba closed it’s doors in 1976 and Hulanicki went to work for Fiorucci and Cacharel. From 1980 to 1992 she designed a line of children’s wear called Minirock.


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By 1964, Rykiel had been nicknamed “The Queen of Knitwear” in the U.S., where an ardent following developed for her knits, which were sold in trendsetting stores like Henri Bendel and Bloomingdale’s in New York. For women who were rich and thin enough to wear them, these skinny sweaters, with their high armholes, imparted instant chic. Part of their appeal was in their distinctive colors and striped patterns. Black, navy, gray, and beige are still standards, but there was also a unique Rykiel palette of muted tones—stripes of grayed seafoam green and grayed teal. Although she herself does not wear red (she wears black, considering it a uniform), Rykiel still uses it consistently, with the shade changing from season to season.

Rykiel continues to design a complete range of clothes and accessories for women in the 1990s, drawn from her experiences and her fantasies, which she encourages women to appropriate and adapt whilst inventing and reinventing themselves. In addition to knits and jerseys, she uses crêpe for soft clothes, and woven tweeds and plaids for a more structured day look. Evening fantasies are best expressed in lightweight black luxury fabrics, often combined with sequins, metallic thread, embroidery, or elaborate combinations incorporating velvet.

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Vera Wang was exposed to fashion early in her life through her mother’s style and her affluent upbringing on Manhattan’s East Side. After graduation from college in 1971, Wang began working for Voguemagazine. At the end of her first year, she was promoted to fashion editor, the youngest in Vogue‘s history. In a nostalgic piece written for the magazine in March 2001, editors said of Wang, “As a young fashion editor, she used the perfection she learned as a skater to produce shoots with an ice-cool edge.” Despite a few fashion-shoot snafus, Wang held the position for the next 16 years.

After her stint at Vogue,Wang worked as a design director at Ralph Lauren; her responsibility included overseeing 13 accessory lines. Throughout her career, she wanted to be a fashion designer and this desire started to grow while she was shopping for a wedding gown for her upcoming nuptials to Arthur Becker in 1989. Frustrated with the gowns she saw, she designed her own and hired a dressmaker to create it at a cost of $10,000. Discovering a market niche for contemporary and elegant wedding gowns, in 1990 Wang opened her own bridal boutique with financial backing from her father in the upscale Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York. She carried elegant bridal wear by well-known designers, but also to design wedding gowns herself.




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Donna Karan can be considered the designer who has made it fashionable to be voluptuous. She has based her corporate philosophy on clothes designed to hug a woman but also hide bodily imperfections. “You’ve gotta accent your positive, delete your negative,” she declared in a press release, emphasizing the fact that if you’re pulled together underneath, you can build on top of that. Karan firmly relates designing to herself and her role as a woman. She sees design as a personal expression of the many roles she has had to balance, being a wife, mother, friend, and businessperson. She believes her sex has given her greater insight into solving problems women have with fashion, fulfilling their needs, simplifying dress to make life easier and to add comfort, luxury, and durability.


Shortly after the launch of the diffusion line, Anne Klein II, in 1982, Karan felt ready to go it alone. Together with her husband, Stephen Weiss, she launched the first Donna Karan collection in 1985 and since then the company has grown at a dizzying pace. Karan is inspired by New York; she believes its energy, pace, and vibrance attracts the most sophisticated and artistic people in the world, the type of people and lifestyle for whom she has always designed. Her principle is that clothes should be interchangeable and flexible enough to go from day to evening, summer to winter. Fashion should be a multicultural language, easy, sensuous, and functional, a modern security blanket. Perhaps this explains why her fundamental trademark items, the bodysuits, unitards, black cashmere and stretch fabrics and sensuous bodywrap styles owe great allegiance to the innate style and taste of the artist.

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High Court Hazing

Becoming a US Supreme Court justice is the highest honor in American law.

Justice Elena Kagan is passing the torch, three unique responsibilities, to Neil Gorsuch, now the lowest person on the totem pole, who will keep it until the next justice is appointed.

One responsibility the Honorable Neil Gorsuch will take on is cafeteria duties, going over the monthly cafeteria agenda which may include finding a good recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

Another responsibility is to open the door to the conference room, their inner sanctum.  Kagan explains, “If I’m like in the middle of a sentence—let’s say it’s my turn to speak or something—and there’s a knock on the door, everybody will just stare at me, waiting for me to open the door,” Kagan said. “It’s like a form of hazing. So, that’s what I do, I open the door. Pronto”

The Supreme Court is a place of seniority. When they meet, the chief justice speaks first, and the rest speak in order of longevity. The most junior justice speaks last and is responsible to take notes of the proceedings.


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Accurate Land Size​ Maps

Studying the Mercator map, the one on display in most U.S. classrooms, one of my students might exclaim, “Wow! Greenland is huge.” Or, “India is so small. Must be crowded.” Their predictable comments met with my well-rehearsed explanation that maps are two-dimensional while the Earth is three-dimensional. I’d  have them peel an orange that is close to the shape of our Earth, then ask them to flatten it and discuss what happened and the implication for our world map.

Below is the map that you’ve grown up with, right?

Mercator Projection Map

Take a close look at the map. North America (Mexico, U.S., and Canada) looks larger than Africa, and Scandinavia looks larger than India (below China). Greenland is huge, big enough to rival Africa.

All our maps, even Google maps, are wrong. Flynn Mercator, a European cartographer, created his map with Europe at the center, with its size generously inflated. Sixteenth century Europe was on the rise with Spanish explorers opening trade across the Pacific Ocean, linking the Americas with Asia. It’s easy to understand why Flynn saw Europe as the center of the world. I doubt that political correctness was much on European’s minds as they rushed around to conquer the wealth of the world. Fact checking came much later.

Boston Public Schools has decided to replace the Mercator maps in their classrooms with Peters projection maps that more accurately portray the sizes of the Earth’s continents. The Peters projection map distorts shapes, but visually, the scale, position, and proportion of the areas on the Earth are correct.

Peter Projection Map

Of all the land distortions on Mercator’s map, the elephant in the room is Africa. On the map, Africa looks smaller than North America, where in fact, it is three times larger. If you use Africa (white outline on map) as the base for a world puzzle and all pieces are correct to size, you can fit in the USA, India, Europe, and China, and still have space for Liberia and have room to squeeze Japan in as well. Wouldn’t my African-American students have found that empowering?

Africa map

Maps are made from different perspectives. Why is north always up? Up makes it more important somehow. North is up to the heavens and south is “below.” Let’s switch this around, have south reach up to the sky—sort of.  Europe and the U.S. don’t look as important.

South on Top

Our social and political biases come through our work, maps and writings. What I would tell my students today is that our world and lives are more beautiful than any one person’s perspective. I would tell them to “go and find your own beautiful life for yourself.”

Compare landmasses.

Watch the West Wing as it learns the true size of the Earth. Humor.

Blue Zones

Blue zones, Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Loma Linda (California), and the Island of Ikaria (Greece) are regions of the world where people live active lives often past 100. What contributes to these pockets of people living longer and healthier lives? Funded in part by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, scientists studied these five longevity hot spots to discover the answer. They found that good genes help (20-30%), but there were other contributing factors people share that appear to play a bigger influence than your parents’ longevity.

The residents of the Italian island of Sardinia—first Blue Zone identified—are culturally isolated. Here, not only do the women reach the age of 100 at an amazing rate, but men do as well. Sardinians hunt, fish, and harvest their food. Families and friends remain close, with laughing and sharing red wine together a part of everyday life.

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The longest living women in the world are in Okinawa, Japan. According to the UN, Japan has the highest number of centenarians (85% of the world’s centenarians are female) in the world. Active and social, the Okinawans’ regular diet is fish, rice, vegetables, soy, and whole grains. Japanese centenarians rule for eating is to stop when their stomachs are 80% full. I take that to mean before they actually feel full. Sumitra writes, “Not only do they live long lives, they live very healthy and happy ones too.” An old Okinawa saying goes, “At 70 you are still a child, at 80 a young man or woman. And if at 90 someone from heaven invites you over, tell him: ‘Just go away, and come back when I am 100.’”


The centenarians in Nicoya, a peninsula in Costa Rica, say the have a “plan de vida,” a reason to get up in the morning because they feel needed. Families retain close social networks and share a strong belief in God and their daily “faith routines” which helps them relieve stress and anxiety.  Moderate daily activities include walking bicycling, cooking, and taking care of animals. Like other Blue Zone populations, their diet is primarily plant-based, especially legumes (beans, peas, and lentils).


The fourth Blue Zone was found by researchers who were studying a group of Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, a community in southern California. They discovered that the Adventists suffered a fraction of the diseases that kill most people in other parts of the U.S. “Many Seventh-Day Adventists are vegetarians, physically active, and involved in their community. In other words, their lifestyles are quite unique in an America where community has become less and less important and over one-third of the population is obese.” Adventists believe you should take care of what God has created. In the words of Pastor Randy of Loma Linda University’s Medical Center, “You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whatever you do in your body, you do it to the honor, the glory and the praise of God.” Smoking and drinking are discouraged, as is the consumption of caffeine, rich foods, and certain spices. Many celebrate the Sabbath (Saturday) by removing themselves from the larger culture.

Loma Linda

Ikaria is an island where people forget to die. They stay up late and take a siesta in the afternoon. The Ikarians experience a low stress lifestyle, maintaining their gardens, walking in nature and around the village with a view of the blue Aegean Sea. Their diet consists mainly of vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, wheat, beans, fish and drinking with with friends and family. Family ties are important to Ikarians and houses often hold multiple generations. Grandparents have an active part in the upbringing of their grandchildren and the work in the household. From the Ikarian perspective, living alone is unhealthy.

Blue sea

Conclusion? The gift of a long and healthy life may be within our control. True, some of us are cursed with misbehaving genes that take us down, but those occurrences are a low percent. These  five longevity zones suggest that a long healthy life is about simplicity of lifestyle, whole food, sense of purpose—looking forward to getting up in the morning—, daily exercise, low stress, and social interactions.

Article is based on the book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

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