Saturday, February 27, 2010
Reading the L.A. Times, I found this story : When a gunman stormed a Simi Valley dental office last summer and shot Lydia Carranza in the chest, salvation may have come in the shape of her size-D breast implant. That's the theory at least of a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon who hopes to drum up support to defray the costs of Carranza's reconstructive surgery. "She's just one lucky woman," said Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, who says he will perform the surgery for next to nothing but has urged Carranza to tell her story in hopes of getting implant companies to donate the supplies. Ghavami contends that the implant absorbed much of the bullet's impact, limiting most of the damage to the breast itself. "I saw the CT scan," he said. "The bullet fragments were millimeters from her heart and her vital organs. Had she not had the implant, she might not be alive today." The hospital where Carranza was treated is not prepared to make that call. "This is not a medical issue; it's a ballistic issue," said Kris Carraway, a spokeswoman for Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. "The emergency physician who treated the patient was not aware of the breast implant having any impact or whether or not it saved her life." But Scott Reitz, a firearms instructor and deadly-force expert witness with 30 years' experience in the LAPD, said that, although he was not involved in the case, the scenario Ghavami describes is entirely plausible. "Common sense would dictate that any time you have something that interrupts the velocity of the projectile, it would benefit the object it was trying to strike," he said. And because a saline implant is like a high-pressure bag full of salt water, it probably would provide more resistance than plain flesh, he said. "I don't want to say a boob job is the equivalent of a bulletproof vest," he added. "So don't go getting breast enhancements as a means to deflect a possible incoming bullet." For her part, Carranza, a mother of three and grandmother of two, says she is grateful to have survived far "worse than a scary movie." On July 1, she was sitting at the front desk of Family Dental Care as usual when the husband of one of her co-workers marched into the office armed with a semiautomatic assault rifle, Carranza said. His target was his wife, who had recently asked for a divorce. Carranza said that when the wife's brother, who also worked at the office, tried to reason with him, the gunman shot him in the stomach. Carranza, crouching just a foot or two from the wife, heard the woman plead with her husband to stop and then turned her head away when he began shooting. The woman was killed. The gunman turned to Carranza and a handful of other co-workers hiding in the tiny office supply room and opened fire once more. First Carranza was hit in the right arm. She pretended she was dead. But then he aimed his rifle point blank at her heart, she said. "I didn't look or think about it. I just felt wet in my chest area. I thought I was going to die," she said. So did her husband, Benny Carranza, a supervisor at the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, who was downtown when he heard his wife had been shot. "I was so desperate to get there I was driving in the carpool lane, I was driving on the shoulders, I was talking on my cellphone," he said. Jaime Paredes, the alleged shooter, awaits trial. He is being held without bail on numerous counts including murder and premeditated attempted murder. Lydia and Benny Carranza, who have been married 22 years, moved to Simi Valley about 10 years ago to be in a safe neighborhood. By the time she was 35, Lydia Carranza wasn't feeling so great about her body, she said. "I couldn't wear any dress that didn't make my breasts look saggy," she said. So she decided to up her B-cups to D-cups. She loved her new look and how other people admired her at family reunions and social outings. Now her right breast is scarred, the implant deflated. She tried sticking a silicone pad in her bra, she said, but "one day it fell out when I was at work. I was sitting there and when I stood up, there it goes. So I said I'm not doing that anymore." At the gym, she has often felt self-conscious, she said, pulling a towel over her chest area and holding back tears. Doctors told her she could not undergo reconstructive surgery for at least six months because her wounds needed time to heal. When that time had passed and she started looking for doctors, she found some too expensive and some uncertain they could perform the complicated procedures, she said. Then a friend introduced her to Ghavami. "He gave me a lot of hope," Carranza said.
Friday, February 26, 2010
People I know or occasionaly meet told me that It is the most durable winter they ever know. Of course the season here lasts forever you might saw but never they saw so much snow and cold for almost 3 months. It is true that I don't remember neither but what is missing the most is the sun. The sky is always grey and in the paper you can read some articles mentioning the fact that daylight is not giving to people a good face. We all look tired and feeling depressed because of the lack of sunrays. Some go to what I would call sun shop where you can have the feeling of warmth in a box, paying for that. Nevertheless you can still go out and enjoy some good wine in a nice place and this is how I discovered the Weinsalon. It is a fairly typical relaxed Berlin pub. They sometimes have English-language events on such as theatre or readings, you can play billard or stay comfy sitting on the sofas sipping the wine you selected. It is not rare to meet there people you didn't see for a long time, happened to one of my friend while we were there or making new ones sitting at the bar. The bar is located at Schreinerstraße 59, not a passage street, more the place for people living in the area. But I would recommend it at any time, just for the good mood It brings you.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Teufelsberg (German for Devil's Mountain) is a hill in former West Berlin. It rises about 80 meters above the surrounding Brandenburg plain, more precisely the north of Berlin's Grunewald forest. It is an artificial hill with a curious history: it was built by the Allies after the Second World War from the rubble of Berlin during the following twenty years as the city was rebuilt. One estimate for the amount of rubble is about 12 million cubic meters, or about 400,000 buildings. It is higher than the highest natural hill (the Kreuzberg) in the Berlin area. Teufelsberg's origin does not in itself make Teufelsberg unique, as there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the hill: a Nazi military-technical college designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier. In the 1960s a small skiing center was built on the slopes of the hill. The US National Security Agency (NSA) built one of its largest listening stations on top of the hill, rumoured to be part of the global ECHELON intelligence gathering network. The hill was located in the British sector. Mobile Allied listening units would drive to different locales in West Berlin hoping to gain the best vantage point for listening to Soviet and East German military traffic. One such unit drove to the top of Teufelsberg and discovered a marked improvement in listening ability. This discovery eventually led to a large structure being built atop the hill, which would come to be run by the NSA. At the request of US government, the ski lifts were removed because they allegedly disturbed the signals. The station continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall, but after that the station was closed and the equipment removed. The buildings and radar domes still remain in place. During the NSA Operations some other curious things happened: It was noticed that during certain times the reception of the radio signals was better than during the rest of the year. The 'culprit' was found after a while: it was the Ferris wheel of the annual German-American Festival on the Hüttenweg in Zehlendorf. From then on, the Ferris wheel was left standing for some time after the festival was over. There were also rumors that the Americans had excavated a shaft down into the ruins beneath, but that could never be proven. One theory states that it was an underground escape tunnel. In the 1990s, as Berlin experienced an economic boom after German reunification, a group of investors bought the former listening station area from the City of Berlin with the intention to build hotels and apartments. There was talk of preserving the listening station as a spy museum. Berlin's building boom produced a glut of buildings, however, and the Teufelsberg project became unprofitable. The construction project was then aborted. As of the early 2000s, there has been talk of the city buying back the hill. However, this is unlikely, as the area is encumbered with a mortgage of nearly 50 million dollars. Recently the site has been vandalized heavily since the company abandoned the project. Following the announcement of plans to raze the facility and reforest the hill, talk of preserving the facility resurfaced in 2009, spearheaded by the Field Station Berlin Veterans Group, which hopes to have the memorial named in honor of Major Arthur D. Nicholson, the last Cold War casualty, the U.S. Military Liaison Mission tour officer who was shot and killed by a Russian sentry near Ludwigslust on March 24, 1985. After no further construction was done after 2004, in 2006 the hilltop was categorized as forest in the land use plan of Berlin, thereby eliminating the possibility of building.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Tony Perrottet travels in Great Britain on the tracks of the loose clubs of pre-victorian period and he tells us one of his discovery : "The visitors of the whole world come numerous to Saint Andrew to play on his respectable golf course, the oldest of the world. For me, the city abounds of history. I thought too of bullets, holes and good knocks but not in the same way as they suppose. At 10 am in the morning, I crossed by running the flowery convents (yes, there where Prince William studied!), under Gothic arcs on my way to the warehouse of the museum of the university, an unpretentious building in front of the commissionership. Once arrived, one desk clerk accompanied me up to an anonymous room, of one clinical whiteness, as if I was going to have to pass there. The door opened, and two merry curators entered carrying heavy cardboard boxes containing the relics of the famous society of Scottish masturbation of the XVIIIth century, Of Beggar Benison, and his even more perverse offspring, the Wig Club. Having greeted me warmly, they put gloves in white latex and began to put the contents on the table, depriving carefully the paper of archives and the packaging of bubbles resisting to acids around every object. "Here they are, I was amazed : the most bizarre rests of the British history." "These objects are quite known here at the museum ", confessed Jessica, one of the curators. It was not difficult to see why. A phallus then the other, shaped with glass or metal, were carefully deposited. They were followed by a variety of slings, bowls, trays and medallions engraved with obscene, vaguely nightmarish images, as resembling lighthouses in penises or cocks with head of penis. Someone is decorated with vulvaires forms, but the male organ was mostly privileged. I took the Tray of Initiation, the bowl with seed of the members of the Benison during more than a century, and I read the inscription, " THE PASSAGE OF A MAN TOWARDS A WOMAN. " There was above an awkward drawing of an erection with a hanging grant and then a date, on 1732. " I hope that we washed it ", I say. Then, were presented to me two of the " priapic glasses ", each of about twenty centimeters long. They were made with glass flabbergasted and were not handled carefully ; each suffered from a cracked gonad. It was maybe this fragility which had inspired the another version, this one longer, priapic glasses but in metal. There was also a horn with the mysterious inscription " My breath is strange ", coming from the book of Job. And a rather beautiful bowl with punch. The collection of the relics of the Beggar Benison and the Wig Club was never shown to the public. " Saint Andrews is a really family place of interest ", says the second curator, Amy, who wore a candy pink dress, pink earrings and mats. " We had thought of making an exhibition of the least dirty objects, but the management put its veto. How were we going to explain their use at least to 10 years old children ? "And quid of legendary wig, the object the most crowned for the followers of the club? This secret, supposed mascot to be weaved with pubic hairs of the mistresses of King Charles II, was worshipped at first by Benison, but its powers were such as it became the object of his own club. All what remains is a box with wooden wigs. As the presenter of a television quiz show, Amy opened quite slowly the acrid door to reveal the support, a wooden head with a striking chin and a nose. Somebody painted eyes there ; regrettably, they squinted. The effect was morbid. The wig, as for it, missed. "At a certain moment, the wig left its box ", she says sadly. " It never arrived at the museum. "The origin of the pubic wig is a fascinating story in itself. According to the local folklore, the relic is dated from 1651, when hedonist king Charles II visited Scotland where we welcomed him with loose drinking bouts, especially in Fife. Later, it sent the wig to present to his distracted Scottish friends, its size being a symbol of the virility of king. In the 1730s, the beloved headgear was given to Beggar Benison by his guard, the count of Moray, and worn during ceremonies by the sovereign of the club to collect its talismanic power. Then, in 1775, a schism struck the world of the Scottish clubs. Lord Moray, a descendant of the original guard of the wig, left with the appreciated object and established in Edinburgh his own society under the name of Wig Club. Rather than to practice the ritual masturbation, the new members were obliged to embrace the wig with reverence and to contribute to the embellishment of the mane by bringing a hair resulting from the intimate region of their own mistresses. It is to compensate for this loss that king George IV, who had become an honorary member of the Benison four decades earlier, presented in 1822 to the club a buckle of the pubic hairs of his own mistress in a fine silver snuffbox. The mythology of the club supports that king met the sovereign of the club in docks, in Leith, during his official visit announced with a lot of advertising and was given the snuffbox in the hands. The bundle was supposed to be the embryo of a new wig, but the idea failed. At least nobody stole it, I thought, when I was finally able to touch the royal present in its hiding place to Saint Andrews's club. We worried, when Prince William studied here, from 2001 to 2005, when the press begins to be interested in this lineage of royal debauchery. "You know the British scandal newspapers ", says Jessica with a shrug of shoulders. I considered this stories of " royal connection " by asking me who had been able to steal the wig... In the subterranean archives of the library, together with the pale PhD students winking eyes in front of their laptops, I examined the documents of the Beggar Benison and the heaps of correspondences until I find a connection with leather crumbled book : the reports of "Knights Companions of the Wig" from their first meeting of March 6th, 1775. On the decorated cover is represented a gold-coloured drawing of the stolen pubic wig - even more crazy, in charge of and buckled (more crazy, loaded with and buckled) that I had imagined it, as an exuberant head of broccoli. I made the history of the wig throughout the last century. I learnt that it is thanks to an officer of the retired Scottish army, Lt. Collar. M.R. Canch Kavanagh, that Saint Andrews's relics are safe. In 1921, Kavanagh, among whom both passions were the military camouflage and the clubs of masturbation, located the objects of the Beggar Benison and the Wig Club. They had been kept by the last surviving members and were in Glasgow in the Museum Kelvingrove. The curator tried desperately to get rid of it. Then, Kavanagh bought them, and for a moment, he even tried to refresh the rites of the Beggar Benison in Edinburgh. It seems that the wig gets lost during the 1930s. In 1938, when the American historian Louis C. Jones of Columbia University looked for it for a book on georgiens clubs, he received a report which said that it was "in the office of a lawyer in Leith but was never able to discover it. "Here is the end of the story. But I did not stop thinking of this last detail. Could the sacred relic always be in the piece of furniture file of a solicitor? I went to Leith, the district of the port of Edinburgh (it supplies Trainspotting of Irvine Welsh's nice decoration set), before reporting me that rather than to visit the office of every solicitor and every lawyer of the city, I would better make post a classified add. Maybe somebody had heard the stories told by his grandfather and did he know where was the relic but had kept the secret information?. "I had a fast answer of the writer of the local on-line magazine, Leith Links. "This subject seems far too interesting to be ignored ", he says to me. He invited me to write a paper on the wanderings of the wig, which appeared recently under the promising title " the story of the lost wig: is the strangest relic of the Scotland hidden from Leith? A current investigation by our correspondent in New York. "At the top of the article was a caricature of king Charles II, bald, asking: " did you see my wig? " I ended by a call for help to all the amateurs of Scottish history : Could the wig - doubtless in a bad state after all this time - always be somewhere in a cupboard locked into the desk of a solicitor in Leith?... If you have information, contact, please, the historian Tony Perrottet. I spoke about my media Blitz with the historian David Stevenson. He was not optimistic. " I imagine that one day a young clerk put the hand in a dark cupboard and fell on a ball of dusty hairs. He doubtless gave a shout of horror and threw it to the fire. " Except, I thought, if it was stolen by agents of Buckingham Luxury hotel, who would have wanted to erase any historic track of the bad royal behavior. I think of holding the next intrigue of Dan Brown."
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Certainly, there are good news. Portugal just allow gay marriage, there are advanced steps in China, while in 2001 homosexuality was still considered a mental illness in Beijing. In our lives every day, especially when you're a city guy, one would think that homosexuality is not a problem, it is now almost totally accepted. But random, jostling in the calendar, homosexuality has been severely challenged in the world since the beginning of the year, whether in countries where it has always been threatened, particularly in Africa, but also where it isn't expected the most, Europe. In our beloved continent, it is often attacked. In France, it seems very difficult to teach respect of homosexuality in schools. A production company in Rennes (west of the country) tries to produce an animated film, Le baiser de la lune, destined for pupils to talk about love between two persons of the same gender. But a petition has been launched by the association the 4 truths (which is called "liberal right") to protest against "incitement to homosexuality intended for children aged 9 to 10 years, with support from the Ministry of 'Education'. The 4 truths do not agree that many communities are institutional partners. According to them, we must act against this kind of initiative because "it is our children that they are defending and their mental integrity is threatened by this kind of project, with the active complicity of the public " And add " The French parents are entitled to refuse the pernicious propaganda and ideology of the homosexual lobby entering into schools and classrooms of their children " In the hundreds of comments in their petition, this debate is activated among gay activists and others. Sometimes it slips like this one who believes: "But until which perversion will they go? Not content to dance naked on a chariot, gays want my kid to accept his concept of love distilling him subliminal images, even in his class lessons. Remove your child from this school which no longer fulfills its role! Stop the dissolution of morality ! No education influenced by dilated assholes! " This is top level quality. But what should have been only a petition on the net - forums where people insult each other by talking about homosexuality (or other subjects), there are hundreds - had some impact. If the academy, the city of Rennes and the Brittany region still support the project, the Ministry of Education and the Youth and Sports have requested that their logo be removed from the site of the film. There have been clearly pressures for the State not to appear. Strange from the French government to disengage itself from a project "aimed to children to fight against homophobia occurring at teenage time, after complaints by a group rather anonymous. We see the 4 truths do not call directly into question the practice of homosexuality, they denounce its "proselytizing." Another common tactic is to treat the illness. In Belgium, Sunday, January 24, Monsignor Leonard, the head of the Belgian Catholic Church, has compared homosexuality to anorexia. Guest on the set of a TV show RTL, he was asked about his positions on homosexuality, which had already been controversial. The priest said he did not condemn the practitioners but practice. It has a "philosophical decision on a trend, behavior (...) I take a comparison to clarify, a comparison that does not mean that I identify the two situations. I think anthropologically anorexia is a development which is outside the logic of appetite (...), but I can not say that anorexics are not normal. Some reacted immediately and found the remarks "outrageous." "When we make a comparison between homosexuality and anorexia, somewhere, it implies that homosexuality is a disease." Again, as the petition of the 4 truth, we do not directly attack homosexuals. It condemns from the side. In sports, homosexuality remains a problem in the West, as showed by the recent documentary by Canal + Sport and Homosexuality : What's the problem ? Frequently, it is asked the athlete to hide his homosexuality. Pretending. To go out with girls (or men for women). "Racism, everybody is against. Homophobia, there are people who do not even understand why we are working on it ". In the world of showbiz, where you might think it's easier, it is also difficult to reveal its homosexuality. The singer Emmanuel Moire has its coming-out in Tetu (French gay magazine) to avoid rumors in celebrity magazines. But while they should have, at best, does not consider the subject or be happy, they prefer to approach the issue differently. A section of the site Voici.com last week is quite edifying. It said: "Why did he confess his homosexuality?" And subtitled "The singer Emmanuel Moire returned for the first time about his coming out. So, any regrets? " Certainly in France and in other countries of the European Union, there is no (more) dead men. It is sometimes much worse elsewhere. In Russia, the mayor of Moscow quotes Gay Pride as "the work of Satan" and said that he would treat gays "with the whip". In two thirds of African countries, homosexuality is condemned by law. Uganda wants to apply the death penalty for homosexual offenders. At that point BBC has been slipping badly last December on its website, which in its programs intended to Africa, asked the following question: "should we execute homosexuals?" creating a huge controversy among English-speaking users. But these critical situations should not make us believe that among us, everything is fine.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I am so happy I received a message from Aunt B, been a long time : "I do believe I've lived 8 of my 9 lives. I just might have learned a thing or two as I was paying close attention. I do aspire to know it all but I've never claimed to know it all. I do believe I might know a little about this-n-that...that is...if you're listening? Our staff members are all volunteer, dedicated souls who actually care enough to take the time out of their busy day...to try their damnedest to help you. We'll do our best to give you advice and maybe a fresh perspective. First come, first serve.". I'm on it.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I learned reading Times that It’s National Sickie Day. But if staff are skiving off, it might be that their bosses should do more to show their appreciation Up and about, are you? Off to work? Congratulations! Tens of thousands are not, according to a sorrowful report from the employment law consultant Peter Mooney. The first Monday in February is apparently the peak day for employees calling in sick, many of them fraudulently. It’s dark and chilly; Christmas debt still hurts, Easter is far away. So in come the calls, croaking and faint even if only claiming a sprained knee, and down goes productivity. The story about National Sickie Day recurs every year, with the diligent Mr Mooney crunching the latest trends. The CBI avers that 12 per cent of absence is for faked reasons (some put it far higher, up to half), and that sickies amount to 21 million days and £1.6 billion lost every year (again, that is among the more moderate figures). Fake poorliness rises by 20 per cent during leading sporting fixtures, and is highest in the public sector: NHS employees and social care workers typically take off more than twelve days each a year, and police and probation officers just under ten (hotel and restaurant workers in the private sector take fewer than five). Mondays and Fridays remain the most popular days for skiving, which frankly shows a woeful lack of imagination; and apart from the public/private divide, the rule seems to be that the bigger the organisation and the more monotonous the work, the more it happens. Call centres are noted for it. This year, Mr Mooney’s new nugget is that more and more employees taking duvet days will be using text messages or e-mails to announce their absence: “It saves having your manager ask how exactly you’re feeling, what are the symptoms, how long will you be off.” It also, of course, saves your manager the tiresome necessity of pretending to believe you and to care, lest he or she be sued for hurt feelings, discrimination, failure to recognise employee stress etc. Bosses live in a dangerous world: even Simon Cowell is currently being taken to a tribunal by a self-righteous but appalling singer who claims, under the Disability Discrimination Act, that Britain’s Got Talent failed to make allowances for a medical condition that prevents her hearing that she’s out of tune. And three years ago a business magazine in the North West reported that a quarter of local businesses were so scared of being sued that they wouldn’t tackle staff who were perfectly well known to be pulling “sickies”. Reports over the years show recurring themes: frustrated employers, attempts to design software that spots patterns of serial skiving, rumours of lie-detector devices that employers can patch across the line when Croaking Charlie calls in on another wet Monday. Another thing that always features in the reports is some kindly expert explaining that the throwing of sickies is actually a good thing, because “if they do take that Monday off, it could prevent a build-up of stress”. The balancing quote is generally provided by a really stressed employer, or a colleague who is constantly being left waist-deep in alligators by a malingering workmate. Look around on the web or ask down the pub, and you will find plenty of advice on how to fake it: cough a bit and go quiet the day before, use the hoarseness of your hangover to good effect, make a note of what you said was wrong with you, never answer the phone in case your manager rings back and you forget to sound ill and try to avoid the obvious Mondays and Fridays (Thursday, apparently, is considered very convincing). Two consecutive days off are more realistic than one; never wear make-up or talk much on your first day back and — ah, the fiendish cunning! — make sure that you often sneeze and blow your nose at work with a brave smile, so that you get a reputation as someone who only takes sick leave when really incapacitated. It remains to be seen whether the recession and its terrors reduce malingering. Nor have I found any deep analysis of whether people on trial periods, vulnerable to dismissal, take as many sick days as protected staff. Freelances, paid per shift, certainly don’t. The anecdotal lore about duvet days points the finger equally at young party animals and the parents of small children. The latter, of course, are very vulnerable to real sick days: partly because children get ill, but also because having a toddler is like trekking through a fever-laden swamp. Their bugs are so vicious that one that debilitates a robust child for two days will wipe out each exhausted parent for five or six days more, and disable the au pair for a full week. Thus, one simple infant malady can disrupt a whole family for a month. But that’s another issue, and another reason why employers, for all their compulsory family-friendly veneer, secretly wish that their employees just wouldn’t breed. I suppose the ideal employee is a tough old bird with no dependants and a powerful sense of indispensability. That last word is the key. It isn’t all about idleness or hangovers. It’s about what work means to you. If you genuinely believe yourself to be useful, your role important and your boss and colleagues respectful, then you’re never going to throw a sickie. Unease, self-disgust and worry about the office outweigh minor fatigue or depression. Senior managers in the private sector famously soldier on even when they really shouldn’t, but even junior staff sometimes proudly force themselves in through snow, rail strikes and sniffles. If bosses have any sense, they show gratitude. That probably happens more in small companies and tight teams, and a lot less in vast call centres, factories and dysfunctional offices. So — while I hate to throw the ball back at employers in these hard times — if large numbers of your staff are croaking or texting “sick back tmrw” down the phone this morning it may not just be about them. It could be you.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Reading the Telegraph this morning, new figures to be published will show an 80 per cent rise in breast reduction operations carried out on men. The annual audit by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reveals its members carried out 581 male breast reductions last year, up from 323 in 2008. Five years ago just 22 such procedures were performed on men. The procedure is now the third most popular cosmetic operation for men behind nose jobs and eyelid operations to remove fat. With BAAPS representing about one in three cosmetic surgeons, the actual number of gynaecomastia operations – to give the 'man boob' or 'moob' procedure its official title – probably exceeds more than 1,000, making it a multi-million pound business. Breast reductions for men have gained in popularity, prompted in very large measure by the highlighting of the issue among male celebrities in possession of 'moobs' in the popular press. Photographs of Jack Nicholson flaunting his 'man boobs' on beaches and yachts on the French Riviera or else the likes of Tony Blair and Simon Cowell bearing their chests on holiday have propelled the issue into the public's consciousness. Often the male celebrities have been mocked in the process. Only last week, Ricky Gervais, the comic writer and actor, was giving interviews in which he bemoaned his own appearance. "I don't want to see this body. Nobody does," he said, adding: "I went down to my boxer shorts in my last film. Yes, there were some breasts – but they were big, hairy and mine." The procedure typically costs about £2,000, takes about an hour and a half and involves the removal of as much as a litre of fat. The increase in the number of operations – given the cost – is all the more remarkable given the economic downturn but may also reflect the rise in obesity levels in recent years. Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS secretary who was in charge of putting together the organisation's annual surgery audit, said: "This year we have recorded a dramatic rise in a number of male surgical procedures, probably due to heightened media attention, which has allowed men to realise the positive outcomes that can be achieved." In total, men accounted for 10 per cent of all cosmetic procedures undertaken by BAAPS members in 2009, undergoing 3,623 operations. 'Moob' jobs represented about one-in-six of those operations.