Infamous and Immortal: Miss Bettie Page

December 13, 2008

Bumped by Bettiebettie-small-100_0779

How would you feel if you emerged from a years-long stay in a mental hospital to find you were famous all over the world?  That those cootchiecoo pictures you made when you were a young woman in order to eat had rocketed you to immortality and fame? It happened.

What was it about her?  Sure, she was pretty, but so were a lot of other girls.  Sure, she was sexy, and posed nude, and in sexy costumes, but was that enough to rise to iconic status?  Watch this video, and you might begin to see why she captured our attention so vividly and permanently.  Like Marilyn, she had a healthy body and a natural sensuality that shone through the camera. Simultaneously sexy and awkward, charming and crude, natural and contrived, alluring and innocent, she was our Bettie.

ETA:  Okay, I notice the holiday snow, courtesy of WordPress, kind of detracts from the video, so here’s the direct link to YouTube:  Bettie

For another interpretation watch the movie The Notorious Bettie Page where she’s played by actress Gretchen Mol.  (Link courtesy of  Hulu.)

Even the word, “Bettie” is in our language now for a “classic pinup chick that is feminine and hot,” according to the Urban Dictionary.  My favorite images of her are those of artist Olivia de Berardinis. Like the thumbnail above, and this one, my favorite of all:


No, she didn’t have a tattoo, but she sure inspired many!  There’s a great one featured on the Needled blog. She also inspired many of us to play with toys, rock the rockabilly, and cut our bangs.


Here’s another person inspired by her beauty:  Beautiful Daughter No. 1, who has a line of jewelry called Wicked Gems, including the classic pinup poses featured here:  Wicked Gems on Etsy(She’s not taking any more orders until after Christmas, but you can still place them.  All orders contribute towards my old age nursing home expenses.) (Wink.)

bettie-4-il_155x12533166887I’m probably the last blogger in the universe to post a memorial to Bettie, but oh well.  Also, your regularly-scheduled weekly profile has been postponed due to the sad passing of Ms. Bettie Mae Page (sorry Chuck!).  Look for it tomorrow.

Images above are taken with my camera from my own Olivia book, Let Them Eat Cheescake. Thanks also to YouTube and Hulu.

On Cloud’s Mind: Blogs

November 27, 2008

Occasionally, dear reader, you’ll just have to suffer through a non-piercing post.  Naturally, starting my blog, I’m out there sucking up the blogosphere.  I have a busy mind!  Here’s what’s on it:

Skull a Day

If you are one of the only people left on ze internets who hasn’t twigged to this fantastic blog, check it out.  Noah Scalin decided he would craft and post a skull a day, and he did–for a year.  An amazing accomplishment, really.  And he has a book! (Which like the total book nerd I am, I bought).



Don’t take my word for it, check it out:

Modern Cat

Here’s a great blog showcasing cat furniture and products with a modern aesthetic.  Pretty commercial–lots of buttons for shops, and very cool, very expensive, cat furniture.  But the writing is great, and the blogger is doing stuff which I admire, like taking original photos and doing comparison shopping, and going out and actually interviewing suppliers.

Here’s the blog main page: Modern Cat and here’s the post where the blogger is doing an interview: Odorzout ; and here’s a pic of one of my cats, Miles.  Just ’cause:


WWdN: In Exile

Okay, one more:  Wil Wheaton. If you don’t know that Wil Wheaton is a famous blogger, what are you doing reading this blog?  His main blog right now is WWdn: In Exile.  Also, read his hysterical piece about being snubbed by William Shatner.  In two parts, at Suicide Girls:  WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER Pt 1 and WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER Pt 2.

If you don’t know who Wil Wheaton is . . . or Suicide Girls . . . or Star Trek, forget it! You’re dead!


Thanks again to: Suicide Girls and Flickr.

Edit:  sorry, misid’d Wil in Criminal Minds.  Wrong ep!

Traditional and historical: The nose piercing

November 24, 2008

Note to readers: I’ve noticed that this page is consistently among the top posts read in my blog.  I’m not sure why, but I suspect there is a lack of solid information on this subject.  If you have searched and found this page on Indian nose piercing, do me a favor and leave me a comment.  Tell me where you’re from, why you searched, and if you found anything helpful in this post.  If you found the information you were looking for on another site, please share that. You can also email me directly at Thanks! Cloud.

Women's jewelry

Now I’ve heard various theories to explain the prevalence and importance of nose piercing in Indian culture: nose piercings ensure a submissive female, stimulate the sexual organs, or ease childbirth.  I have no idea which of these beliefs are common, but India has a long history of knowledge of the deepest functions of the body.  In yoga, they tell you to remove any metal from your body because it disrupts the flow of energy (which is a bit of a problem for pierced people.)  In much the same way that acupressure points on the foot correspond to other parts of the body, so nose piercings in ayurvedic medicine, apparently correspond to something.

I find it suspicious that a piercing in such a flattering spot just happens to correspond via energy channels or whatever to the female reproductive organs.  Why couldn’t it connect up to, say . . . the elbow?

I’m not sure how popular nose piercings are with contemporary Indian women.  I hung out with my camera in my local Indian grocery, but was too shy to approach any women to ask them questions.  I eavesdropped on this Indus Ladies, a  women’s forum, and these women discuss  nose piercings in traditional ways; speaking of having to get pierced as part of pre-marriage celebrations.  A small diamond stud seems popular. This thread is really interesting to read, because they seem to be floundering around with aftercare and ignorance about piercings as much as the rest of us.  One lady spoke about trying to get a gun piercing:

I had it done when I was in my college and my mom took me to GRT, where they started doing without pain, that gun thing. the day we chose for nose piercing it that particular guy did not turn up and so the same old method of painful piercing only. I had a gold one on till my wedding and then on one small diamond one. Still I am scared to remove it for the pain it causes when you put it back.

Interesting that she implies that gun piercings are marketed as “painless.”  Actually, needle piercings done by a skilled piercer would be less painful.  But people are always looking for the next, “new, improved” thing.  I think this is sad:

I am much against the old habits and rituals of our country. Many were brought into practice long long ago and with changing times, I find they have no meaning.

Certainly women don’t have to carry their wealth around on their persons with elaborate tribal jewelry, nor do they have to signal their submission to a man with a nose piercing.  But we can make our own traditions!

In terms of aftercare, I’m always interested in folk remedies, and the best description I heard regarding Indian treatment of nose piercing was from this thread Nose-Piercing Woes in which a young women from India was struggling with the Bump:

When I got my nose pierced everyone advised me to put on a mix of oil and turmeric powder (haldi) overnight till it healed. And I must say, that really worked. It hardly hurt and there was no scabbing or swelling. And to avoid the bump a lot of people told me not to eat chickpeas!

I wonder what the chickpeas do? She goes on to say:

With my ear piercings, if they ever got infected or anything my grandma would remove the earring and put in a neem (a type of tree with antiseptic properties) twig in my ear and all would be well in a day!

Neem and tumeric are both folk antiseptics, much like lavender in Europe and tea tree oil in Australia.  I’ve tried neem toothpaste–tastes awful, but is supposed to be very beneficial for the teeth.

Seems to be a lot of silver jewelry, and probably lower-quality gold jewelry.  the girl quote above was pierced with silver jewelry, and she was having trouble.  No wonder–silver is a horrible material for jewelry worn inside the body, and no mystery why.  Makes you wonder how women healed them for millenia, doesn’t it?


Thanks to: Wikipedia, Indus Ladies, Tribalectic, Dr. Weil, and Health and YogaI took the first photo at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Festival, where this lady was selling beautiful shihsa mirrored items.

Piercings are disgusting!

November 21, 2008

Why would you do that to yourself? Piercings are gross.  Piercings are disgusting.  Piercings are the work of the devil.

We get that a lot.  Piercings aren’t for everyone, it’s true.

And you know what?  WE DON’T CARE! Okay we do, sometimes, particularly when it’s family, friends, or employers.  But there’s a few things I want you to know:

To the Disgusted But Curious:

  • –Humans adorn themselves and change their appearance.  You do, too.  Clip, shave, pluck, paint, dye, bleach teeth, facelifts.
  • –We do it differently.  We may look differently. Get over it.
  • –Yes, it hurts.  No, we’re not all masochists.
  • –It’s not always about sex, either. But it can be.
  • –There’s a few health risks to the pierced person, sure.   There are risks if you dye your hair, enter the hospital, drive to work, cut your hand.  Just like everything else in life, better informed people make better decisions.  That goes for piercees too.
  • –there’s nothing inherently wrong, criminal, perverted, sadistic, or satanic in a piercing.  It’s just jewelry.
  • –We make good employees, or at least as good as the unpierced (tiny percentage) of the population.
  • –Health risks to you?  About as much as when you pick your nose or go to the bathroom and shake someone’s hand.  Now that’s disgusting.

–And a special message: Earlobes piercings are real body piercings.  PLEASE don’t get them done with a gun at the mall. Grow some balls and go to a proper body art studio with a good piercer and get them done right.  With a needle, not a non-sterile blunt instrument.


Thanks to this body piercing school which put the photo on Flickr to use, but . . . wha happened?  Fail?