Monthly Archives: January 2012

Thoughts on Penn State

Joe Paterno passed away last week, and it caused the sexual abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky to resurface. And it caused me to think about how this situation is not just an indictment of how men put the needs of an institution above the rights of a child; it’s about something much more insidious in our society.

Fatherless boys.

Jerry Sandusky, who is alleged to have sexually abused several young boys over the years (I believe the current count is ten), started the charity in 1977 as:

“…a statewide non-profit organization for children who need additional support and who would benefit from positive human contact. The Second Mile plans, organizes, and offers activities and programs for children – and adults who work with them – to promote self-confidence as well as physical, academic, and personal success.”


Basically, underprivileged, potentially at-risk children, largely from dysfunctional homes without one (or both) parents. Through The Second Mile, Sandusky had access to hundreds of vulnerable boys. The details enumerated in the grand jury report against Jerry Sandusky reads like a pedophile handbook; find a vulnerable boy, groom him, buy him gifts, take him places, make him feel obligated… then take advantage of him.

All the while, the boy’s mother thinks it’s wonderful that her son has a strong male figure in his life; successful, trusted, well-respected in the community. In short, someone her son can look up to.

But in this day and age, when divorce is more prevalent than not, and mothers are the ones often left shouldering the burden of raising their children alone, how do we insulate ourselves from the potential of this type of tragedy?

Author Gavin de Becker in his book “Protecting The Gift”, discusses how human predators select their targets and how parents can protect their children. A boy with a single working mother, absent father, disadvantaged, is a prime target for these types of predators.

If nothing else, this terrible situation should serve to remind us to care for the least among us. Be observant and speak up if we see an adult exhibiting inappropriate behaviors toward a child. Reach out to the fatherless boys in our communities and build them up in a healthy manner so that they are less likely to become fodder for predators.

Review of Wen by Chaz Dean UPDATED

6/12 – UPDATE at the end.

One day while slogging away on the treadmill, the infomercial for Wen by Chaz Dean came on. And since one of the children had run off with the remote, I watched it.

For those who aren’t aware, Wen is a haircare line by celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean. The product claims that it’s different than other shampoos because it doesn’t contain sodium laurel sulfate or other lathering agents, which strip the oils from hair and cause it to dry out.

I have naturally curly auburn hair that is both very dry and very fine. I wash my hair once a week and rinse it every few days ago specifically because it’s so dry, and washing it often makes it worse. So my ears perked up when I saw how the product worked.

I Googled the product to mixed reviews; some reviewers claimed that product worked for them, others said it didn’t. Some complained about the sales tactics (they push the auto-ship program, and some customers have claimed that they have not received reimbursements despite the money-back guarantee. Google “wen chaz dean complaints” and come to your own conclusion).

I decided to bypass the Guthy-Renker reorder issue and purchase from a seller on When I searched the Wen page, I could not locate this version; I’m not sure why they only seem to have the Sweet Almond available for purchase in 90-day supply. I didn’t want the entire line; I only wanted to try the conditioning cleanser. So this review is really only for the cleanser; I can’t speak to the rest of the styling products in the line.

I wanted the Lavender Mint cleanser, so that’s what I purchased from Amazon.

The mint fragrance is definitely stronger than the lavender, but I’m OK with it. It isn’t overpowering.

I rinsed my hair as I normally would — one to two minutes is what is recommended on the web site — and then applied the product to my hair. FIRST MISTAKE: I didn’t comb out my hair like I normally do before washing. It took longer as a result. But, I ended up leaving the product in for closer to ten minutes.

The product has the consistency of a good conditioning treatment; not as light as a leave-in, but not as heavy as a hair masque.

After combing through, I rinsed well and dried with a towel. Normally after rinsing my hair (but before towel-drying), I add a nickel-sized amount of argan oil to my hair, but I wanted to see how the Wen would work without extra product. I was surprised to see that my hair looked smooth, as if I had added the oil. That was a big plus in my book.

I wanted to dry my hair as normal (head down, with a diffuser) but I noticed when I started drying that there were was some frizz. So about halfway through, I stopped drying and added about a quarter-sized amount of the argan styling creme that I normally use. I finished drying, and was very surprised by the effect.

Usually I use argan oil, styling creme, frizz-taming gel and hairspray to achieve volume right after I’ve washed my hair. But I actually have a fairly decent amount of volume without anything but the conditioning cleanser and the styling creme.

I’m impressed. I will probably add this to my normal hair routine to “confuse” my hair every once in a while, but due to the price of the product (I paid $38.95 for a 16 oz bottle; the three-month supply is right around $90) I don’t think it will be something I use on a weekly basis. Of course, I can only speak to the efficacy of the cleansing conditioner, since I didn’t try any of the other products in the line.

And now for the un-retouched before and after photos:



UPDATE: June 2012
I did a little more research on hair and have found that the Curly Girl Method works better for me. As a result, I no longer use Wen because it contains non-water soluble silicones that build up in hair. I’ve been using DevaCurl products, and my hair has never looked better. It’s like, after 36 years, I finally know how to care for my curly hair!


This past Thanksgiving, an online friend’s son died from brain cancer. He was just shy of his fifth birthday.

Recently, my friend posted on his blog about a dream he had about his son. That he was the way before he was ill, before he struggled to breathe.

I was reminded of another friend and former co-worker. His