The Knot

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wedding Jitters

One of my girlfriends has just announced that her daughter is getting married (you know who you are). She is naturally overwhelmed with emotion. My friend is beyond happy for her daughter. She always hoped that her child would meet someone that she would love enough to marry. But the reality of a child's wedding is one of ageing.

We 40-somethings who have lived a relatively charmed existence compared with the generations before, still think we're 30 and behave as though we're 20. We love a good party, but when that celebration is the first in a line of life stages in which the second could be the birth of a grandchild, it does feel as though life is suddenly spiralling out of your control.

I have sons and, hopefully, the oldest is still a good 10-15 years away from matrimony. Maybe I'll feel differently when their time comes. But at the moment, I feel the fear that pervades my friend. It just feels way too early for all of this to be happening to her, and yet it isn't. She and her daughter are of an appropriate age for this ceremony to occur in their lives, benchmarking them against previous generations. It's just that my friend has always appeared so much younger than she really is.

Perhaps it's time for our generation to grow up and face life and all its rewards and bruises. This wedding could be just the wake-up call we all need.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tiny Dancer

Apparently a masseuse told Juliette Binoche that she should be a dancer. So naturally, she is now touring the world a year later as part of a provocative modern dance duo.

Now I've been told I should paint, but don't expect me to be exhibiting at a gallery near you anytime soon.

The reality of the life of the rich and famous is that they can do whatever it is that takes their fancy, whenever they feel like it. When the idea of dance was suggested to Juliette, she thought, 'why not?'

Why not indeed. Thousands of dance hopefuls turn out each week for gruelling lessons across the country, in many, many nations. All of them hoping to be noticed, to be accepted into a dance troupe, to be able to dance in a chorus line would be enough. To be a principal dancer is what they all dream about. Most will never get there. That's one of the secrets to the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance? The audience, myself included - I love that show, live out their fantasties vicariously through the dancers. We feel their pain, their crushed hopes, their what-might-have-beens.

If I could be anything else at all, I'd be a professional dancer. But I can't just switch like that. I'm not that privileged...or that flexible.

Juliette was taught by and partnered with one of the best dancers and choreographers in the world. For her first performance as a professional dancer, she collaborates with Akram Khan in an original piece that he choreographed specifically for the two of them, IN-I. It's an evocative, provocative, experimental piece of work that showcases Khan's extraordinary skills, and leaves me with no doubt that a woman over 40 can still move and shake with the best of them. She's by no means fabulous as a dancer but she is certainly an inspiration to those of us spiralling toward middle-age. It was undoubtedly her fame as an Oscar-winning actress for her work in The English Patient that afforded Juliette the opportunity.

It's the very best outcome of being famous. And just to be certain that fame allows her to do whatever the hell she likes, Juliette has also launched a book of short stories and poems this week.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This is it!

I'm not naturally good with styling my hair in a variety of ways. I tend to get a cut and stick with it until: a. it grows out before I can maintain the cut, or b. I get bored with it.

Last winter I tried a thick long fringe to go with my halfway-down-my-back hair. My hairdresser wasn't overly keen when I suggested it but he indulged my dream anyway. I loved it for the first six weeks, couldn't get enough of it. But then it started to grow out and I didn't have the time to run to the hairdresser every couple of weeks for a trim. I just can't train myself to be that high-maintenance.

Then last week at a beauty launch I feel in love with a little chin-length bob. The beauty of this particular cut was that it had bounce and movement and my hair is nothing if not bounce and movement. I considered rushing straight out to get the chop, but my husband loves my thick, long hair and has asked me not to cut it.

So what to do?

Well, this month's US ELLE changed everything for me and I'm back in the corner of long, thick hair and bangs in the Jessica Alba ELLE-cover style. I love it in a way that I haven't been so crazy about any hairdo (truthfully, not even the cute little bob) since seeing Anne Hathaway's fab cut in The Devil Wears Prada.

Now this, I think, will be something that my husband and I will agree on. Now if only I can train myself to deal with the maintenance.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Me, Me, Me

I'm writing a memoir about my 20 years in women's magazines.

Without a doubt, it's the toughest thing I've tried to write. Editor's letters, diary notes, twitter updates are a piece of cake compared with penning 100,000+ words on everything to do with me.

When I started out, I completed 90,000+ words on my observations of my experiences and tried to palm them off as a memoir, but my agent wouldn't be in it.

"I want you to be the central character," Pippa said.

"Go back and put yourself in there. And make it personal."


A couple of months later and I've just submitted the revised first three chapters, containing more personal info than I had ever planned to share. But is it personal enough? Or it is just gratuitously personal? Time will tell.

If I am published some day, bear in mind that it wasn't easy.

Next time I'm going to stick with fiction. I reckon writing about the lives of others will be much more fun.

If I can only finish my first book, I have a great idea for a second.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Families

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

One of my Twitter highlights is the daily, or rather hourly, update of the lives and times of 30-something actor Ashton Kutcher and his 'mature' bride, my teen-hero Demi Moore.

Here they are out hiking with their hounds. They both twittered a link to this image.

Why would they do that? I think they're being very smart. While they are posting happy family pics, no scandalous weekly magazine could possibly print negative cynical stuff about their relationship, which encompasses two whole generations, otherwise worlds apart: Gen X and Gen Y.

It keeps me entertained and up-to-date.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Operation Jack

Jacqueline Pascarl, a truly amazing Australian and friend, has updated me on the bushfire relief efforts that she has been involved with.

Read and be proud.

Dear All, (and kids)
Friday Midnight +++++
Well count this as another blanket apology that I haven’t written individual emails, but have only just settled down at home (yes, I can’t sleep again – too much adrenalin and far too many sights and horrific stories swirling in my head). I took a single truck up the mountain today with a precious cargo of thousands of much needed and requested hairbrushes and combs, toiletry packs, nappies and half a tonne of dog food given to me by Daryl and Julie Somers on the faith of one single phone call I made to them! It’s been a good day in many ways, those in the know will be pleased that someone heard me on 3AW radio yesterday and is giving us a full truck of socks on Monday!!!!!!!! For those who don’t know, hairbrushes, ladies knickers in real woman sizes and sock, socks and more socks has been the constant request from all our fire refugees, and up to now we have only had a few pairs when requests have been in the thousands! Yippeee!!!!! And the company will pay for a truck and have them delivered to Alexandra relief under the Operation Angel banner on Monday.

The flip side of good is more than bad, it’s appalling, for sitting in the cabin with me was Josef, a parent from the primary school our children attend. Josef and his family were weekend commuters to Kinglake from Hawthorn, having only moved down here temporarily, the family home was still 50 minutes away in the direct blaze area. They lost everything, a warehouse, home, fields, bikes, computers and most of all, the precious photographs. We drove up and down the mountain dropping aid in at various points of distribution or simply opening up the tailgates and filling people’s arms with much needed items from pet food to toothpaste and hairbrushes. The devastation of Kinglake, St Andrews and Flowerdale makes a bombing air raid look amateurish - it is a conflagration of epic proportions. Blackened valleys as far as the eye can see – hundreds of thousands of hectares resembling the sides of volcanos and bearing no familiarity to the lush pastures and rolling tree tops of six months ago when last our family visited the region. And don’t forget how close this is to Melbourne, many townships obliterated are ‘outer’ suburbs. Enormous tree stumps larger than a VW car still smoulder with plumes of wispy smoke rising to join the grey sky that hangs low and makes one’s eyes water and sting. A gust of wind blows ash into eyes and the smell of the still blazing fires over the ridge rises to the nostrils. This pyro destruction is much, much worse than the war zones in which I have worked, mother nature has consumed everything that was combustible and the emerging evidence of arson makes the tragic outcome of 7000 homeless and hundreds dead a terrible fact to confront.

Wednesday and Thursday were busy indeed, and Thursday in particular was a huge day driving in our convoy of five trucks (given to us fee free from Budget), and a semi-trailer (lorry for those abroad) and three cars that took our strike-force from Melbourne to Bendigo (2 ½ hours from the city – 7am departure) where we dropped several tonnes of relief aid to a central centre servicing the people of Long Gully and Eagle Hawk, an area of already quite disadvantaged families living amidst an already drought stricken and battling semi-rural populace.

Have you ever seen a movie where a long fuse is lit and we watch as the flame whooshes along the wick until the explosion? Well, multiply the width of that wick by one million, and that will give you and idea of the breadth and speed of the destructive fire’s path as it cut a swathe up and down the rolling valleys on the edge of town. Blackened trees, denuded of foliage stood to attention on the greyed and ash covered slopes that filled the views from our vehicle windows as we made our way to the distribution point. Destroyed homes, desolate and collapsed, still smoked exhaustedly at the road’s edge.

Our trucks, stuffed to the gunnels with meticulously folded and sorted (pre-loved) clothing – from a massive collection of donations from the Rialto building co-ordinated by the staff of BDO Kendalls, well stocked and individual hygiene and toiletry packs, $150,000 worth of new GazMan clothing, a semi-trailer load of toys, fold out kids couches, new clothing for families valued at $200,000 and all from Funtastic, and over four thousand new items of underwear and sleep wear from Mitch Dowd, ensured that all twenty of our fabulous volunteers, felt like Santa Claus on steroids. A rapid disgorging at this locale with a human chain formed by our Operation Angels, made light work of filling the warehouse to bursting. Desperate dashes to the loo’s and a slamming of truck and car doors saw us heading to our next destination.

Driving the lead truck with Tory Oates (Chands) in the cabin beside me, we had no choice but to stay within the speed limit as my vehicle was so full, Tory and I leaned forward as we climbed hills, accelerator to the floor, but only managing 80 kilometres or less an hour around the snaking ascent! I had to pity poor Brett and Ben Fowler who were in their thoroughbred car which was being forced to go at a donkey’s pace in the middle of the convoy. Tory acted as my receptionist because my battered old mobile rang hot as I did interview after interview (using speaker phone for safety and legal purposes) in an attempt to make sure that we would have plenty of customers at the planned ‘shop’ we would open at Alexandra 2 ½ hrs away. We were using the bush telegraph to its fullest extent. Forced to take the long route around due to road blocks and enormous fire damage, we drove cross country and then up the ridge of the once glorious hills overlooking the wine and tourist district of the Yarra Valley – now just blackened shapes covered in a hazy pall. Smoke invaded our truck cabins and the visibility was cut to less than two hundred metres along all the mountain ridges that rose above us – the fires were well and truly blazing but held in abeyance by the one thousand volunteer fire-fighters battling the heat and hellish conditions to protect the townships to which we were aiming. Radio was a constant reminder of just how precarious the CFA’s (Country Fire Authority) situation was with updates on fire status arriving at quarter hour intervals. The flames were in a constant state of directional flux due to the high winds that were building and the tinder dry bush.

The winds changed again and the sun was finally visible as we rolled through the gates of the Alexandra High School and onto their sports oval. I got a bit bossy as I used my old aid worker’s voice (apologies to all those on the receiving end of barked out orders!) to get our ‘shop’ up and running with first customers expected at 2.30pm. Trestle tables erected, boxes and boxes offloaded from pallets. We made quite a sight, truck doors akimbo and organised chaos abounding as we set up individual departments – clothing, toys, underwear, Gazman menswear, toiletries and cosmetics, Manchester and baby products – a luggage and bag department at the forefront of the set up. Our line of pre-loved clothing we kept in reserve, planning to bring out specific items by request. The guys from Funtastic who had worked with us at the Whittlesea distribution, ran like clock work under Andrew Spittle’s leadership – enormous boxes as large as double beds were the repository for thousands of amazing toys – like a giant’s treasure chest. Josh had the Gazman department functional before I could boss him around. Our Baristas, Kirstin and Shaun had the coffee on and the marquee up before we could blink. I was pretty sick in my stomach with the worry that the message wouldn’t get out to enough people and that our distribution was too far from town, but at a trickle, the first customers began to arrive to shop. They came, mostly survivors of the tragic Marysville fires that incinerated their town and claimed an estimated 100 lives in the inferno. Most covered in soot, or slightly singed, a liberal application of burns cream marked hands, legs and faces. Every one of our volunteers knew the drill, no inference of handouts, treat all like with old fashioned service as if we were the poshest shop in town. We all became quasi counsellors as people tentatively and constantly suggested to us that they felt horribly guilty to be accepting free items – especially as they were new. Greed was something we had to foist upon them, some only wanting a single T shirt or in search of a pair of socks or a jumper, even though they only the clothes they stood in. “Oh no, I couldn’t, leave it for someone else who needs it more” was the constant refrain. Tears were there, always close to the surface, as our customers faced the reality of replacing all they had lost and the ignominy, foisted on them by the ravages of the fires. Each of my volunteers will have a separate story, a moment of grief, heart ache or destruction confided in them as they supplied and packed and held hands with those we were there to assist. Heather Brown and Pye Bennett, along with Tory, had just the right amount of humour mixed with compassion and a lashing of empathy that made them ideal and skilled at handling the eighty year old man who was desperate for socks, or the couple who needed clean sheets for the floor of the broken down caravan they had managed to find. Perhaps it was the pregnant young mum who was facing another night in a school gymnasium with her toddler and the fading hope that her husband was not lost in the fire that enveloped their cottage. Pye made the ninety year old Bernie roar with laughter as she pressed a pack of flavoured condoms into his hand in front of his adoring wife as we wrapped multiple scarves around his neck and urged Mrs Bernie to stroke the fabric of his new moleskin jacket. For me it was the woman who arrived with pallid face, set jaw and clenched fists– her mission? To find suitable new clothing for her five nephews and nieces to attend the funeral of their mother who had succumbed to her horrific burns two hours earlier in the Alfred Hospital. She was now responsible for ten people under her roof as she had opened her doors to anyone who arrived from ruined Marysville. To be able to load her car boot with garments of dignity was one of the biggest privileges I have ever encountered. To give a modicum of peace on just one simple single issue has lead me to the belief that Operation Angel must stay active in some form for these people in the months ahead. I am badly shaken by the fires that still rage only forty minutes from Melbourne, not from a safety point of view, but because they have melted the fabric of a functioning society and left it waxen with grief and desperation. I am also so very humbled by the amazing congratulations and kisses and hugs of support I received so many times from the evacuees as they put two and two together and recognised me and my family’s history. Disorientation was pretty much to the forefront as women and men who had literally lost all they possessed, burst into tears and told me how much they had hoped my kids would come home to me and how grateful they were to me for organising Operation Angel. Bizarre – embarrassing and wonderful all at the same time for I felt that they had prayed and hoped and worried about me and mine from afar for fourteen years and now I could somehow pay them back for those good wishes they had held for my family. I was told many times that I looked a bit different from on the telly! I told them that was because I am usually clean and minus all the black grime on my face!

We departed Alexandra after sunset – much later than we had planned due to the influx of customers to our outdoor shop and the need to clear out stock. The sky blazed red to the left, right, and rear of our trucks – making appear that the mountains’ highest ridge were spraying deep pink paint skywards as we began our long journey down the mountain. We were forced to detour due to fire fronts and head for Seymour and the Hume Highway in order to reach Melbourne. Grey curtains of heavy smoke rose to the sky and the acrid smell of blazing fires permeated our vehicles and made our eyes sting and throats itch. What it must be like for the amazing firefighters who have now been battling blazes for seven days, I can’t imagine. CFA alerts via the radio told us that spot fires were breaking out in Molesworth, the town we had just passed through. We were later to find out as we reached the outskirts of Melbourne 90 minutes later, that those spot fires had joined to create a new firefront and that the road we had just travelled was now closed by authorities. Reaching home at midnight and parking the trucks outside the house was a relief.

But, incongruous as it may sound, we laughed and we hugged and we laughed again yesterday with the people to whom we came to distribute a bit of help, because that is the inherent nature of the Australian coping mechanism – we pull ourselves up and get on with it with a black sense of humour to match. These are our people, our people who have been devastated by losses of such a scale they are incomprehensible to the weary mind. I had never thought to distribute aid and assist people in these situations whose accents matched my own – my emergency disaster work has always been overseas, far away, where the accents are foreign and the phrase ‘G’day’ a joke. But these ones Operation Angel has been helping are my people, my own people, and it both shreds my heart and galvanises me on levels I have never before encountered. We must not succumb to fatigue in our efforts to aid them, or get so inured to media reports that we turn away with contempt or numbness, for we as a country are judged not only by the calibre of our sporting heroes, or the luminescence of our film stars, and the beauty of our beaches, we will be judged by the distinct and unique ability to embrace all, and care for all, to adapt, but still remain true to our inherent humanity that knows no class or colour or postcode or time limit.

Well that’s my long report for the last couple of days, I told you I was a bit tired.

Jack xx


Friday, February 13, 2009

Fashion Favourite

This is by far my favourite look for autumn. The range showcases the genius of Proenza Schouler, one of the fashion world's hottest newish talents. To find out more about the design team of Proenza Schouler, go to

The guys have only been in business since 2002 and already I am starting to think about cheating on my first love, YSL.

If I had the means, and hadn't donated the little that I do have to a mightier cause - the Victorian bushfire appeal, I would toss everything that I own aside (save for my 'investment piece', my perfectly cut YSL tuxedo) and fill my wardrobe with this season's PS.

I'm not usually one for a pussy bow, but this modern design team, who once described themselves as 'geeks', have delivered the bow in a deliciously modern form. Rather than prissy and perfect, it's large and luxurious.

And I could go on all day about the femininely witty colour combinations. I'm technically and practically a black, black, navy, black girl so for me to even entertain a bit of colour is really a big deal. But PS makes me want to dress in top-to-toe colour, wearing shades that I have never owned and in combinations that would ordinarily cause me to faint.

Get me to, fast!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Operation Angel

I have a lot of girlfriends who make me proud. All women who have achieved so much in their lives, both personally and professionally. But Jacqueline Pascarl, or Jack to her friends, truly stands out.

Juggling two young children – one of whom is my goddaughter, two adult children (who can forget the harrowing tale of their father smuggling them out of the country to be raised in Malaysia when they were very young), numerous charities and a successful writing and media career, Jack is always the first person to selflessly drop everything to help the less fortunate.

The Victorian bushfire disaster has been no different. But rather than put her amazing efforts into my words, I have instead reprinted Jack's email updates to allow her words to explain her involvement and commitment.

Hi All,

Please forgive the fwd email to my participants, helpers, friends and supporters, but I just thought I would keep you abreast of our activities this week with the bushfires. It's past midnight and I am just wrapping up my work for the day. We achieved an immense amount today and I am deeply proud of the participation of Glenferrie Primary school and of all my friends who have rallied and supported and packed and cajoled to make this enormous aid effort get off the ground in 24 hours! Pretty unheard of I can tell you. For those who are sketchy on the details please read below. For those to whom I need to say thanks and also report progress, glance through what I have written as well. And thank you, thank you for the support and making it happen. These things really can be done.

I have reactivated Operation Angel in Australia - something I usually have only utilized for overseas disaster zones. We took a semi-trailer and four trucks to Whittlesea in Victoria today and will do a similar run on Thursday.

Jack xx

Subject: Operation Angel - Bushfire Relief - Yea, Alexandria, Broadford, Long Gully, Eaglehawk, Bendigo - THURSDAY'S PLAN
Importance: High

HI Brett,(Tony, Rebecca & Adam)

Today was a huge day for Operation Angel. Our Operation Angel 'shop' served over six hundred customers today and distributed over $300,000 worth of essential aid in Whittlesea and onto Kinglake - this was in the form much needed toiletries in the form of ready packed kits, children's toys, GazMan clothing, torches and batteries, mobile phone chargers, nappies, feminine sanitary items, fold out foam couches for kids, hot coffee and hot chocolate, lipstick, new sheet sets from Adairs (you should have seen people's faces when given new sheets!) new children's and women's clothing, fleece blankets for kids and baby bottles and formula. Much of our goods was provided by Funtastic Pty Ltd - the enormous range of new toys proved a
huge hit with kids who have lost everything and had nothing to cuddle.

Our pre-loved clothing was the only shipment that was taken direct to the bushfire victims at Kinglake as it was the only clothing that had been washed, pre-sorted and labelled legibly. However, the need for second hand clothing is well and truly covered now at Whittlesea and other areas.

Socks were desperately needed today, but we only had a two dozen. We really needed new ladies knickers and new hairbrushes for females.

Amazingly, Mitch Dowd are now providing us with 3,000 units of men's undies and sleepwear and also throwing in some socks. Talk about prayers being answered!

Thursday's drop will be concentrating on Yea, Alexandria, Broadford, Kilmore area and Eagle Hawk and Long Gully in Bendigo. It will be a huge drive and a big day. The Salvation Army Area Director is very pleased that we are coming.

That said, it is necessary for me to have all goods packed and loaded for an early departure on Thursday to be able to make the two main destinations for distribution. I really need to load trucks at Rialto at 1pm at the latest.

The reason we are doing Seymour is to provide and immediate 'strikeforce' capability to the Salvation Army and Red Cross relief when the roads clear and Alexandria is not burning. This will allow the Salvo's and relief to have a ready made stockpile of quality, sorted and clean items. Toiletries are the main focus as these are some of the most badly needed things for all
those affected by the infernos. According to the area co-ordinators, our sorting and organisation makes huge difference, so whilst the general public are being urged to stop sending goods, we can forge ahead because all involved in our operation have been effective in their packing and preparations.

Bendigo's poorest areas and drought affected towns have been badly hit by the fires, so that is our second drop and distribution.

I am really glad that that you agree that Operation Angel's forte should be filling the niches and being super responsive to relief and humanitarian needs as they develop. Rigidity can be quite hampering in these situations.

Scotch college families have again been packing toiletries all day for us, and Glenferrie Primary have been busy again.

Falling into bed now, need sleep.

Regards,and deep thanks to Debbie for her sterling efforts, J xx


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Searching for Hope

We've experienced the worst of the natural elements this week and there wasn't a damn thing that we could do about it. Pretty frightening really. From severe flooding in northern Queensland to the fiercest of fires burning through Victorian bushland, we've just been taught a harsh lesson about the unpredictable climate that we are now living in.

I admit it. I enjoyed a good laugh at George Bush's expense on David Letterman each night, as he and other talk show hosts poked fun at the then President's refusal to believe that our climate was changing. But it's no longer a laughing matter.

Instead I fear that we have been caught off guard by the sheer force of nature. All over the world, the most extreme weather conditions are impacting the planet on any given day. Much of the northern hemisphere is experiencing beyond cold conditions, even for this time of year. Meanwhile we're burning one week and shivering the next.

I just don't remember it being like this. And worse, I don't know how we're going to get ourselves out of this.

We've voted in a Prime Minister who takes climate change seriously and in Barack Obama, the USA has a leader who finally believes there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Let's hope it's not too late.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nearing O-Day

I love this time of the year. It's when there are too many great films to see before the Oscars. (As opposed to much of the rest of the year when it pays to be under eight and mad about animation.)

My favourites include Slumdog Millionaire. I disagree with those who claim it to be more style than substance. My heart was in my throat for most of the movie. It was compelling, a roller coaster ride that covered just about all of my worst nightmares as a parent, and deeply moving - who could not have been touched by the childhood crush that never ended.

The most joyful was the Woody Allen flick Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Scarlett Johansson (above). It was such a delicious film, rich with emotion and dialogue. I love a movie that gives good talk. If you want to be shaken and stirred, go see it.

But for movie of the year, the Best Picture Oscar, my vote goes to Frost Nixon - at least until I see Milk or The Wrestler, which sound as though they may be worthy contenders. Kate Winslet's two flicks sound like the type that I will see on DVD, post awards. I'm not killing myself to see them before O-day. Perhaps bizarrely though, I am keen to see Bride Wars with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. I love a fun chick-flick, although living in a house full of males (even the dog!) I am constantly coaxing a girl friend to share the experience (my seven-year-old niece has offered to accompany me).

Frost Nixon is a clever representation of an important historical moment. Ron Howard is a genius. He's managed to generate mass interest for an event that took place before much of the movie-going audiences of today were even born. I was only about seven at the time, so I can't answer the question: 'what were you doing when Richard Nixon resigned?' in the way that I can tell you exactly where I was when I heard the news about John Lennon's assassination (I was 15 and at school) or Princess Diana's fatal car crash (I was 31 and enjoying my first weekend at home after giving birth to my second child). You don't need to care, or even know, about Nixon and the Watergate scandal to celebrate this film.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh Big Brother!

So Michael Phelps was caught with a bong at a party in his own time, post-Olympics, among friends. Well apparently not just among friends as friends don't generally take incriminating photos of you and stick them under the nose of the media.

If it was my teenage son, would I care? Damn right I would. I would be angry on two counts. The first that my son could be so dumb - I've never been pro-drugs. The second that a friend or acquaintance would rat him out like that.

Phelps isn't my son and he isn't a teenager and he wasn't taking performance enhancing drugs. If anything, he was doing exactly the opposite of increasing his ability to do anything at all better - except perhaps eat more junk food in a short period of time.

Do I care that Michael Phelps takes recreational drugs in his spare time? No.
Do I care that by plastering the image of this sporting hero all over the media my son might get the impression that its cool? Yes it disturbs me.
Do I care that this sportsman, who has achieved so much, could be damaged by this one image that has already made its way around the world and back a few times? Yes it bothers me on so many levels.
Do I care that the media can manipulate and be manipulated so easily these days? Yep.