July 4th, 2007

Kev Noir

Gangster chic in 1940s New York

Scene: New York, USA, 1943

Research: Wikipedia, Google with the words "1940s wartime fashion men suits u.s."

I am particularly interested in the subject of pinstripe suits, and whether a group of fashion-conscious hoodlums in their early twenties would have worn them at the height of the Second World War. I understand that zoot suits were all the go for blacks and Mexicans but these fellows in my narrative are white, some Irish, some Italian. While I'm at it, would older gangsters (30-plus), who were in their prime in the '30s, still have been hung up on pinstripes, etc. well into the '40s?

I am aware that pistripe suits - and gangster chic in general - were the height of men's fashion in the 1930s, and plain patterns and colours were the order of the day for regular honest folk during the war, but did gangsters continue to sport pinstripes in the '40s? (Bearing in mind that gangsters and hoodlums have always had a tendency towards flashy attire).

Thanking you all in advance.
Spock writing fanfic

What do Japanese parents tell their children about the way they're born?

First post here! I read the rules and checked the tags. I hope I won't do any horrible mistake - in this case, please, forgive me.

So, I'm writing a story set (so far) in Japan around 1990s. The main character is a 6-year-old boy.

What I'm trying to find out is: what's the most common tale that Japanese parents tell their children to explain them how they were born?

For example, here in Italy they tell the children that they were brought to the parents by a stork. Is there any similar story in Japan?

I'm not looking for informations about Japanese sex education, but just about those fictional, silly stories the parents tell the kids when they are too young for talking about actual sex.

Thank you very much in advance for any suggestions!

PS. I really didn't know how to search for this detail on Google or Wikipedia. I tried with "japanese sex education", "tales", "how children are born japan", and something else along these lines, but as you can imagine it didn't help...

Alcoholism in history

My story is set in Canada in the late 18th and early 19th century, and one of the main characters is an alcoholic. Was the term "alcoholic" used in that time period, or did they just call them "drunks"? Was there much (or any) understanding about the nature of addiction back then?

Since the story's a graphic novel (okay... a comic book), almost all of the text is going to be dialogue, so it would help knowing what terms were used in common parlance. If it helps at all, the character who would be accusing her friend of being an alcoholic is a linguist who speaks five or six languages.

I've tried various combinations of "history", "etymology", "rococo", and "alcoholism". Thanks in advance! :)

Amnesia, Care and placement, Foster Care procedures

I'm writing a fantasy/ghost story, in which a 17 year old male with traumatic/retrograde amnesia like symptoms (he's forgotten almost everything about his past but retains reading, writing, and other abilities) is released into the care of the owner of a boarding house/apartment like complex where the owner and other people could keep an eye on him because no one came to claim him and despite efforts no one continues to.

The truth of the story is that he was in a near fatal car accident and is stuck between this life and the next, and the boarding house is more of a way house for spirits where they can pass into the next life or return to their lives. He doesn't remember because part of him doesn't want to and he's still muddled by "dying".

However, he doesn't know this, and I want to make it somewhat believable, so he was just placed there since they "volunteered" to take him in. So, realistically, if he were sent to such a place, would he be taken there in a police car by some cops or would he have to get there by a social worker?

Would he have to take medication of some sort or see someone about his amnesia regularly? (He still thinks he's alive remember.)

Thank you for any help. I've searched under "care for patients with amnesia", "care for patients with retrograde amnesia", just plain "amnesia" and also searches for "17 year old male, orphan, living arrangement", "orphan living arrangements United States", and similar variations.

Basically the story is really fantasy but I don't want the reader to know this off the bat.

EDIT: Edited for clarity. Sorry for being vague.

Taking care of a suicide survivor, hospital advice.

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Mostly what I need is information on what instructions B would be given about taking care of A once he leaves the hospital. I've been able to find guides for people in the medical profession and for people recovering after a successful suicide nearby but not really any real, medical advice for taking care of a loved one who has just attempted suicide.
I don't really need info on what would be happening inside the hospital because I know it will be a blur for both of them and I can, stylistically, get away without using too much detail, though you're free to give me anything you think is hugely important about that as well.

I assume there will be stuff like change the bandages daily/twice daily (because A is not really in a state to do this himself), how often and what would be the protocol for that? Is it likely that A would be prescribed anything immediately following the attempt? What and how often would he have to take it? Would he be forced to see a therapist or just urged to? I assume B would be told what sort of behavior to expect, generally, both because of the attempt and the medication, what would he be told? Would B be given numbers to call or resources in case A's behavior begins to look worrying again? What sort of numbers? Hotlines? Therapists? Support groups? And so on. Any instructions he's given will be followed very carefully on B's part and kind of obsessed over, so it's important I know them. It's also unlikely that A will seek any help or go to any support groups, simply because of the kind of guy he is, and B won't force the issue because he knows that will just make things worse but he'll worry.
Also, would he have to do a lot of work to be allowed to stay in A's room? A doesn't speak with his family and they're states away anyhow, and even if the fact that they're lovers isn't enough for them to allow him to stay they're both listed as emergency contacts for each other and have a shared residence. B is very clearly distressed by the whole thing, more so than even A himself,and I don't think anyone would really have the heart to kick him out, but I'm asking just in case. (He is also totally willing to bribe, but I don't think it'll come to that.)

ETA for clarity: They live in the U.S., most likely in NYC but there's a slim chance that they live in Northampton, MA or close to there. It's the early/mid 1990s.

I've tried various combinations of "suicide," "advice," "guides," "recovery," "attempts," "loved ones," and probably some others that I forgot.
I admit to not having researched this as thoroughly as I probably should have, but experience as both a survivor and a close friend of several survivors makes trawling through a lot of this stuff profoundly disturbing and I'd like to look at as little of it as I can manage.