Sunday, September 30, 2012

A whole new spin on "who's your daddy"...

I remember when I was younger hearing a song on the radio called "I'm My Own Grandpa".  It was one of those natty novelty tunes, where a man marries a widow with an adult daughter, and his father marries the daughter.  Then both couples have kids.

Go on, think about the family tree for a minute ... the father is the son's stepson in-law.  The father's kid is the man's half brother AND step grandson.  The man's daughter is the father's half step-sister AND granddaughter.  And, of course, the man is his own grandfather.  Trippy, huh?

But of course even with the worlds most fucked up family tree, no one in that particular song was involved in incest.

Not like this poor woman in Ohio who found out after her husband's death that the man was, in fact, her father.  Can you imagine?  You live with a man for all those years, only to find out later that all that time you were being lied to.  And not only by him, but by family, friends, pretty much half of the community!

Because you can't convince me that they didn't know!  Sure most of them are dead and gone now, so there's no way to know for sure, but some of them MUST have know!  After all, it was an uncle who told her after the man died.  Makes you wonder why the hell no one thought it would be a good idea to clue her in before she married him, doesn't it!

I think if I was her I'd be utterly furious with everyone, and I certainly wouldn't be letting it get out into the media, but this woman made the decision to go public.  Seriously, that takes some guts!  She wanted to show that it was possible to get over something like this, and that she wasn't ashamed.  And she shouldn't be!  SHE didn't do anything wrong!

No, it was the people in her family who fucked up royally!  It was her husband who I'm sure knew what their real relationship was!  They must have had heaps of time to clue her into the fact, or even let her know later on, but instead they chose to just let it stay secret.  But this woman, she didn't do a damned thing to be ashamed of, and I give her total credit for embracing that fact.

... but if I'm being completely honest, I have to admit that the first thing that came into my head when I read this was "Oh god, I hope he never asked her to call him Daddy when they were in bed".

Yeah, I know.  Sorry.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The face of evil had an enormous beard ... who knew...

I love Harry Potter.  It's like the great equaliser.  No matter who you are, or what walk of life you're from, you've probably got at least a passing knowledge of the stories.  I can go up to anyone, even if I haven't met them before, and ask them, "Which did you prefer, Prisoner of Azkaban or Goblet of Fire", and wham, I've made a new best friend as we discuss the pros and cons of Sirius Black versus Cedric Diggory.  But there's a point about these books that I find myself constantly disagreeing with everyone else. 

In my opinion, the Harry Potter novels have the most vile bad guy in them of all time.

I know what you're thinking.  You're wondering why this is such a scandalous thing for me to believe.  After all, I'd hardly be the only one in the world to believe that Lord Voldemort was with worst of the worst.  Ah, but therein lies the rub!  You see, I DON'T think Voldemort is the worst of villians.

In fact, I'd have to say that as far as bad guys go, he's pretty pedestrian.  Sure, he likes to kill people, and sure, he's out for world domination, but that's fairly standard when it comes to that demographic.  Lets be honest, if he didn't have at least one of these goals in his resume, we'd think him a pretty crap evil dude.  Even so, there's another character in Harry Potter who I think was much, much worse than old Mouldyshorts.

Albus Dumbledore.

Is this the face of evil?
Now, before you start getting all twitterpated and asking me what in tarnation I think I'm doing, accusing one of the greatest wizards of our age of being evil, I'd like you to think for a few minutes on his actions over the course of the books.  Hell, over the course of Harry's whole life!  The man has been ... shall we say a little negligent?

Lets look at the facts, hmm?  Dumbledore takes a baby whose just been orphaned and, knowing full well that he'll be at best neglected, at worst abused, leaves him on the doorstep of his magic-phobic Aunt and Uncle.  He does this not because he thinks that they'll take care of the baby, but because he knows he can build blood wards around the house and he wants to keep the baby alive.  Again, not out of any love for the kid, but because he knows that Mouldyshorts isn't really dead and he's going to need that kid sometime in the future.  After all, you've got to protect your assets.

Then he leaves the boy there for ten years, not once seeming to notice or care that the kid is growing up in an emotionally abusive household where he's treated like he doesn't matter at all.  In fact, I'd even go so far as to assume that was his intention all along.  After all, we all know how this story ends.  If you're grooming a kid to be willing to kill themselves on demand, you'd better make damned sure they think they're worth less than everyone else or they might just up and refuse when the time comes.

Then, when the boy turns eleven, you whisk him off to the world of witches and wizards.  Make sure he's overwhelmed with the thrill of it all and showered with friendship and admiration.  But don't forget to stick him back in that hell hole every Summer so he can be well and truly squashed again before you swoop back in and release him just before the start of the new school year.  After all, you want him to feel pathetically grateful, all the better for making sure he'll be a good sacrificial lamb when the time comes.

Lather, rinse, repeat at least seven times.

Oh, and don't forget during those seven years to turn a blind eye to glaringly dangerous situations that crop up in the castle.  In fact, why not prod the kid in their direction and see how he holds up.  Best way to see how he's coming along, and who cares if you endanger hundreds of other kids in the process.  After all, it's all for the greater good.

And it doesn't hurt if you show the kid a little familial affection.  Be the doting grandparent he never had.  Hell, he's never had any parental care, so he'll lap it up.  By the end of it, he'll be willing to do anything you say is necessary, even if that's walking in front of a loaded wand.

Then at the end of all that you should have a well trained human sacrifice, willing to march himself out and offer himself up because, after all, he loves these people, and it's not like he's worth a damn to anyone.

Oh yeah, Dumbledore's a real prince.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Can't fit a cat, let alone swing one...

Have any of you read about the trend at the moment to have really teeny living spaces?  And by teeny I don't mean a studio apartment in a pre-war brick fire trap, I'm talking about houses of Lilliputian dimensions.  Wee little houses that people are buying so they can get rid of their mortgages and live a simpler "uncluttered" life.

Maybe not quite as small as this, but close!
I'm pretty lucky as far as house size goes.  My fibro shack is on the large side at about 800 square feet, with two large bedrooms, a huge lounge and only five minutes from the city.  Not a bad score considering what I pay in rent.  But even so there are days when I wish I had more room to spread out it.  More places to go and more wall space to put furniture against.  I could really use a proper desk, but I'd have to sacrifice a couch for it and I'm just not willing to.  It's the cat's couch and she'd never forgive me.

Yes, my cat has her own couch.  Don't judge, you haven't seen her death glare!

But some people are actually choosing to downgrade their living spaces and are moving into places that are as small as 200 square feet.  Seriously!  That's the size of a one car garage!  The couple in the article moved themselves, their two kids, and their dog and cat into a space smaller than my lounge room.

If you were on your own I could see it potentially working as long as you didn't have too many possessions, but it must be ridiculously cramped for a family of four.  And I don't even want to think about issues of privacy and what they do when they want a bit of "grown up" time.  I just hope to god they have some sort of wall put up in their shoebox so they don't traumatise the kids too much.

Therapist:  So, Dan, tell me more about your parents. 
Dan:  It would happen at night ... always at night... 
Therapist:  Go on. 
Dan:  They thought we were asleep.  We weren't asleep!  The moaning!  The groaning!  Some nights, I can still hear the banging! 
Therapist:  ... um...
Dan:  I still have flashbacks whenever anyone says "Who's your daddy"!
Therapist:  ... you know, I think it might be best if we met twice a week from now on.  Or daily!  Would daily work for you?

 Oh well, I suppose they have to have SOMETHING to tell their therapist about.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Answering the age old question...

You know, there are some things that I just assumed were always going to be a mystery.  Who built Stonehenge?  How long is a piece of string?  How did Steve Irwin get so popular?  Could a man handle childbirth?  All unanswerable questions, wouldn't you think?

At least I assumed that the question of men and childbirth was unanswerable.  After all, how the hell do you test that theory?  Get a guy knocked up?

But some clever, or perhaps sadistic, scientist has worked out how to give a man all the symptoms and sensations of going through labour, excluding the actual pushing out a human being through a hole not really sized for it.  By attaching electrodes to specific spots on the man's abdomen, they can mimic the contractions a pregnant woman has, thus finally answering the question of who has a lower pain threshold, men or women.

It's interesting though.  This bloke manages to make it through three hours of simulated labour before he throws in the towel.  Not exactly realistic I suppose, a pregnant woman wouldn't be able to just give up half way through.  But other than tying him to he bed I guess they couldn't really force him to continue.

But I thought you mothers out there would find this video very interesting ... especially as guilt trip inducing material.  It should be good for breakfast in bed for the next few weekends at the very least.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

To the back of the bus, kids...

You know it might be a bit naive of me, but I like to think that as a species we're getting better with the whole racism thing.  Sure, we still like to kill each other over things like who has the best toys and whose imaginary friend in the sky is cooler/scarier/kinder, but we do seem to have gotten a bit better about the senseless bigotry based on nothing more than a physical trait like skin colour or eye shape.

And then I go and read something like this, and I realise that from time to time we're still as dumb as rocks.

Every year when the little kiddies are sent off to their first year of school you could reasonably assume that the worst problem they'll have to face is if they know where the bathroom is, whether their Mum packed them the good stuff for recess, and who's going to get first turn on the swings.  At least, that's how it should be.

One thing they shouldn't have to worry about is whether they're being discriminated against because of their skin colour!

As unbelievable as it sounds, it would seem that a school in New York made the questionable decision to divide their kiddies up into different kindergarten classes based on their skin colour.  Yep, you heard me right, they took a bunch of five year olds and split them up into white and not-white.

What the hell!  I thought we were done with shit like this years ago!  Those kids are going to find plenty of reasons to hate their fellow man when they grow up, they don't need stupid, pointless prejudices instilled in them as well!

At first the school did the usual "Segregation?  What segregation!  I know not of this segregation of which you speak!" schtick, but after an investigation found that for at least the past two years they've been splitting the kids up based on ethnicity, they really didn't have a leg to stand on.  I believe they've cut a deal and are going to be monitored for the next couple of years, but that hardly seems good enough, does it.

So I'd like to offer my highly illustrious Douchebag Award to the school that thought it was appropriate to teach five year olds that judging people by how they look is okay.  Congratulations on your attempt to set the civil rights movement back by fifty year.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh Disney, what can't you do...

Hello children.  Are we all sitting comfortably?  Good, then we'll begin.

Today we're going to learn about *hushed whisper* lady bits!  That's right, we're going to learn about that time of the month, Disney style!

Oh yes, you heard me right.  Turns out that Disney is good for more than just animated movies about dancing teapots and questionably accented crustaceans.  They also, back in the day, dipped their toe into the educational film market!  There's a few of them out there, but I thought that today we could all check out "The Story of Menstruation".  The title says it all, I think.

In it we get to watch as a character vaguely reminiscent of Cinderella navigates the minefield of young womanhood, narrated by someone who sounds a heck of a lot like June Allyson.  Come on, June, you were a star!  There's no way in the world you needed to do a voice over for a third rate educational short!  You were in Two Girls and a Sailor for gods sake!

Sorry, got carried away...

In the film they seem to put an awful lot of emphasis on the fact that girls "come in all shapes and sizes", and there's a frankly disturbing obsession with the word glands, but other than that there's not much as far as information goes.  There's just ten minutes of vague explanations and euphemisms, along with some rather questionable advice about not getting too hot or cold and "just getting over it" when you feel a tad emotional.

Yeah, that one gave me a sudden urge to grab something stabby too.

If this is how girls back in the 40's learned about their periods, I feel sorry for the poor dears!  The reality of it must have come as a bit of a shock if this was their primary source of information before the big event.  It's cruel if you ask me.  How were they supposed to prepare themselves for the water retention?  The cramps?  The sudden and inexplicable urge to sob because you can't open the pickle jar?  Not to mention the fact that your uterus practically liquefies and falls out!

Bad form, Disney!

Something that really make me giggle, though, was the fact that the film was sponsored by Kotex.  They had infomercials back in the 40's.  Who knew!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Conversations with a feline dictator...

Kellie:  *coming into the house*  Gypsy, I'm home!

Gypsy the feline dictator:  It's about time, you worthless human!  Now, bring me chicken immediately!

Kellie:  *looking around*  ... oh my god!  What happened in here!

Gypsy the feline dictator:  Ah, I see you're admiring the proof of my savagery and cunning.  It was a worthy foe and it fought valiantly, but it was no match for my obviously superior tactical knowledge.

Kellie:  But ... I was gone for an hour ... how did you ...

Gypsy the feline dictator:  I see you're speechless from fear of my retribution, but you are safe from my wrath provided you bring me chicken.  Now!

Kellie:  It's EVERYWHERE!  How did you even get in the cupboard to get it out?  And how did you get it open?

Gypsy the feline dictator:  Best not to ask such questions, puny mortal!  The answers are far beyond your understanding.

Kellie:  *grabbing a broom*  This is going to take forever to clean up...

... and this, my friends, is how I ended up spending half an hour vacuuming up rice that had been spread through my entire house!  I'm still not sure how she managed to get the bag open, or why she thought it was necessary to drag it all around the house, leaving a trail of grains in her wake, but I've learned my lesson.  Make sure the pantry cupboard is shut properly before you leave the house.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I smell bacon...

Photo Source: Imgur
No one likes getting a traffic fine.  It's embarrassing, expensive, and even when you know you're at fault you can't help feeling hard done by.    How dare they curb your automotive creativity!  There was plenty of green left in that light!  Speed limits are just suggestions anyway, aren't they?

I've only ever had one ticket myself, for driving on my own in a two plus occupant lane.  I still contend that I have enough personality that I should be counted as at least two people, but the cop hiding in a side street failed to accept my obviously superior logic.  So I sucked it up, gave him a smile that was at least part grimace, and grudgingly took the ticket.  As much as I would have liked to I didn't rock the boat or get mouthy.

But this guy did something that most of us would only daydream about.  After receiving a fine for $137, he turned up at the police station to pay it with cash ... one hundred and thirty seven single dollar bills ... each of them folded into teeny little origami pigs!

Seriously, this guy took six hours to sit down and fold all those wee little piggies, put them in ... get this ... a couple of Dunkin Donut boxes, then walked into the police station as cool as you please and tried to pay his fine with them!  The guy behind the counter, and the cop he called in to help him, were less impressed than me however.

They insisted that he unfold all the little piggies before they'd accept them.  Fair enough, I suppose, it wasn't that poor cashier's fault the guy got a fine, why should he have to unfold them all.  And truely, they were a lot cooler about it than you'd expect.  They even admitted that it made them smile.

I'm sure it was just an attempt on his part to do something funny that he could post on Youtube in the hopes it'd go viral (it worked), but that's still one of the coolest things I've seen all week!  And that, my friend, is why I'm awarding you my Official Seal of Awesomeness.  Seriously, anyone who has the brass balls to pull off a duelling pigs/donuts joke in the middle of a police station deserves it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

And the winner is...

Well the entries are in, the hat of fate has fulfilled it's random-entry-selecting obligations, and a winner has been chosen.  Huzzah!  And just to show how generous and giving my readers are, the winning entry was from Vapid Vixen, who has opted to give her entry to someone else!  Isn't she a sweetheart?  It's people like her that make this crazy blogging thing worthwhile.

Here is what her comment said.

"... Also, if we're allowed to vote for who gets the puppet?  I'm voting Pickleope.  He'd make it into an entire, maniacally convoluted post about ... rape-y dolphins?  Dunno.  You'd have to ask him..."

So there you go, courtesy of Vapid Vixen, our winner of the Little Thinker William Shakespeare doll (or Ol' Billy Shakes, as I believe he will be known from now on) is Pickleope!  Congratulations Pickleope, you lucky devil you!  If you send me your postal address Ol' Billy Shakes will be winging his way to you very soon!

Oh Billy, how I'm going to miss your little embroidered face.  I do love a man who can carry off one of those funny pointed beards and a curly up moustache.  But you're going to a good home, Pickleope will take good care of you.  I'm sure he'll keep you out of sunlight, never get you wet, and never ever feed you after midnight.

What's that Billy?  You're not a gremlin?  I know, you don't have the ears and you're nowhere near as cute.  But even so, it doesn't hurt to be cautious.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The end of the world is totally going to happen ... even if it doesn't ...

Today I was meandering around Tumblr (as is my wont) and I stumbled across a little comment that got me thinking.  It was short, only a few lines, but the idea was so genius I couldn't just scroll past it like I do all the other posts of adorable kittens an how cute Benedict Cumberbatch is.  So in true visionary style I've decided to implement their idea, and I'm recruiting you all to help me.

As we all know, the world is supposed to end this year.  It's a bit of a shame, but it's had a good run.  Four and a half billion years is pretty good innings, even for a planet.  But like all of the doomsday/apocalypse/cataclysm predictions, there's always the chance that it'll turn out to be a dud.

How many times have you watched as some religious nut declared that the world was going to come to an end at three seventeen in the morning on the eleventy seventh of the month and then proceed to give away all his worldly goods in preparation for the space ships arriving to take him away?  Yeah, far too many to not take these predictions with a grain of salt.

Still, this one is from the Maya's rather than some weird guy about two weeks overdue for a bath and living in a shack in the middle of nowhere.  That lends it a little more gravitas than the others.  But even so, we all know it probably ain't gonna happen.

But that doesn't mean we can't pretend it did anyway!

Seriously, think about it.  Anyone born after 2012 isn't going to know differently as long as we're all telling the same story, so here's the plan.  As far as we're all concerned, it happened.  The dead rose from the grave, demons attacked, cities were levelled, and in true heroic fashion we defeated them all and came out victorious.  I'll be like Independence Day, but with far less Will Smith ... which can only be a good thing in my books.

But if we're going to make this work, we've got to start planning now.  Come up with our stories of heroism and daring deeds!  That crater in the vacant lot down the road where they started to build a house and then gave up before they'd even laid the foundations?  Now that's where an alien ship landed during the first wave of invasion!  The scar on your leg from falling off a bike when you were twelve?  Now it's from the three zombies you fought off outside the 7-11 while gathering supplies.

And if anyone decides not to play along and tries to tell the future generations the truth, we'll just put it down to post traumatic stress.  Those poor people, suppressing the awful truth.  Seriously, I think if we can just get our stories straight and do a little bit of forward planning, we can do this!

After all, worked for the moon landing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Well I guess Juliet was thirteen too...

It's been many moons since I was in my early teenage years, but I think I vaguely remember what it was like.  How everything was just so important, every happiness magnified a thousand times and every disappointment soul crushing.  Ah, no one does melodrama quite like a thirteen year old girl!

But even at my worst, I don't think I would have had the sheer nerve to do what this thirteen year old girl in Texas did.  Holy damn, talk about taking the star-crossed lovers schtick to the extreme!

When her Dad took her X-Box away, our young heroine was so broken hearted at losing contact with her online boy-toy (he was 12) she decided the only possible solution was to steal her mother's ATM card, her brother's car, and then drive all the way to Tennessee to see him.  Well, I suppose it shows initiative.

I'm just not sure how the hell she managed it!  I'm fairly certain that I couldn't have done it at thirteen.  Even ignoring the whole driving thing (who the hell teaches a thirteen how to drive anyway?) I would never have worked up the nerve to steal a car and an ATM card, and I definitely wouldn't have been brave or stupid enough to take off on an 800 mile trip without any more forethought than "gotta get to that boy".

The really terrifying thing is that she actually made to 50 miles outside of her destination before they caught her!  How on earth does a thirteen year old drive 750 miles and no one thinks there's something hinky about it?  She must have had to stop for petrol and food breaks, surely someone should have looked at her and though that there was something not right there.

But they did catch her eventually, and when her parents came to get her they let her meet with her Romeo, no doubt in an effort to get it out of her system.  That was good of them.  It's easy to forget that just because it's not important to an adult, it feels like life or death to a child.  So our Romeo and Juliet got to have their epically tragic farewell in person.

But if this is how far she's willing to go now, imagine what she'll be like in a couple of years when her hormones are really raging.

Ain't young love grand!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shall I compare thee to a Sesame Street character...

Hello, you gorgeous, gorgeous people you!

Today is a momentous day, my friends.  Today, I post my 100th entry!  Who knew, back in May when I decided to start blogging again that I'd actually have the self control and determination to keep going, let alone to reach 100 entries!  Go me!

So, to thank you all for keeping me company while I ramble about whatever happens to cross my easily distracted mind I've decided that a givaway is in order.  I'd like to introduce you all to William Blogspeare, and one of you lucky, lucky little people are going to get to call him your own!

Like all literary minded people, I'm a sucker for writing related giftwares, and when I saw this guy I just couldn't resist. I mean seriously, who WOULDN'T want a William Shakespeare doll that looks like a Sesame Street character!  He could be a muse, a mascot, or just a provider of sympathetic hugs for those days when the writer's block is extra nasty.

They make these Little Thinker dolls in the shape of all sorts of famous writers, poets, philosophers and speakers.  You can get Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolfe, Sigmund Freud, Emily Dickinson, and heaps more.  I got Will from here.

The giveaway is open to everyone regardless of where you live, and I'll contact the lucky winner to get their postal address once they've been selected.  So if you'd like the chance to give old Will a home, just leave a comment and I'll randomly draw someone from the hat of fate!  All comments up to 10am on Friday 14th AEST will be included (that's 8pm Thursday 13th in New York, I believe).

And thank you, guys.  Without you all I'd just be a crazy woman talking to herself ... not that I'm NOT a crazy woman, of course, I just get to share my insanity with all of you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

If you like it then you shoulda faked your own death and THEN put a ring on it...

Are you in an unhealthy relationship with a controlling, domineering partner?

Not sure?  Well, Dr Kellie is here to help you determine whether your darling sweetie snookums love-muffin might, in fact, be a bit of a psycho.  I've compiled a list of handy questions that should make it obvious whether you're in a healthy, sane relationship, or whether you should go running for the hills.

  • Does your partner try to control who you see, what you do, how much you spend or what you wear?
  • Does you partner ever snap for no reason, then attempt to spin things to make his/her unexplained anger your fault?
  • Does your partner suggest or insinuate that you're not attractive/smart/good enough and you're lucky to have him/her?
  • Has your partner ever called you up to arrange a lunch date and then orchestrated a fake car accident, putting fake blood all over themselves and hiring actors to play onlookers, cops and emergency workers?  Then did they get the fake emergency workers tell you that they died in the crash while they lie in the middle of the road holding your breath?  Then did they pop up like the proverbial daisy and propose to you while you're having a nervous breakdown about seeing your partner lying dead in the street?

If you answered yes to any of these you could be in a toxic relationship.  If you answered yes to the last one, you're probably that poor girl in Russia whose boyfriend thought that this was the perfect way to pop the question.

I'm not entirely sure what made him think this was a good idea.  I mean, sure, I'm a sucker for angst, but there's a world of difference between watching something like this in a soap opera and having it played out in your own life.  I also like slasher films, doesn't mean I want a serial killer to come visiting!

When asked why he did it, his reply was "I wanted her to realise how empty her life would be without me and how life would have no meaning without me".  Oh yeah, he's a real prince.  Sweetie, do you really want to marry the guy who thought that the best way to ask you was to do the melodramatic grown up version of holding his breath until he turns blue?

But whether you think it was a completely manipulative, underhanded and sick way of emotionally blackmailing someone into marrying you or not, it worked.  She said yes.

I guess some girls are just attracted to psycho.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Your books are due back ... whenever ...

Anyone who has ever borrowed from a library before will be familiar with the idea of an amnesty.  For those of you who aren't, it's where the library says "Oh look, we've gone temporarily blind and deaf, and aren't paying any attention while you return those grossly overdue books you took out six months ago and forgot were in the back seat of your car.  La la la la, and now we can't possibly make you pay the overdue fines as, you know, totally didn't see you bringing them back".

Although they tend to phrase it a little more professionally when they're advertising it.

The Chicago Library had an amnesty recently and they were lucky enough to have someone return a copy of "The Picture of Dorian Gray".  Why is that lucky, you ask?  Because it was borrowed out in 1934.  Of course the library has a cap on overdue fees, but if they hadn't then the fine would have come to six thousand dollars.  So lucky library for getting a rare item back, and lucky borrower for dodging that bullet!

The library I work at is a reference library so the things we loan out are limited.  But we still have the odd parts of the collection that for one reason or another we let people or other libraries borrow, and working in the finance area I tend to have a fair bit to do with dealing with them when they can't return them.

Over the years I've heard some of the best excuses/explanations for someone not returning an item, so I thought I'd share some of them with you.

  • I left my daughter alone with it and a pack of felt tip pens.
  • It was in the back seat of my car when I went through the car wash with the windows down.
  • I'd rested it on the top of a car at a service station and while my back was turned, they drove off.
  • My dog ate it.  No seriously, he ate it.  Half of it's missing, and it was a hardback!
  • I lost it when my house floated away.
  • I accidentally donated it to charity.
  • My bird shredded it to make a nest.

Of course, none of these people were trying to get out of paying their fines, they were just trying to explain why they'd lost or damaged the item in the first place.  That seems to be the main reaction to these things, a deep sense of embarrassment.  It's like they're ashamed of themselves that they broke the library code.   

Take the woman from the article, for example.  Apparently she'd waited for the amnesty not to avoid a fine, but because she was terrified they were going to arrest her for having the book.  Oh love, we don't do things like that.  Send you snarky letters reminding you about your overdue, sure.  Refer you to a debt collector, possibly.  But as a general rule libraries don't have people arrested for overdue books.

Now, talking in the silent section ... we'll take you down for that shit.

Monday, September 3, 2012

This will only hurt a little...

Because I'm a bit weird I love reading about strange historical facts, and one area that I've always found fascinating, in a disturbing kind of way, is medical history.  We did some really freaky things to each other back in the day!

Because I'm just that generous, I've decided to enlighten you all about some of my favourite medical treatments from history that make me glad I was born when I was!

Soothing Syrup:  Back in the 19th century they had a ... unique ... approach to child care.  Baby's crying?  Teething?  Won't go to sleep?  No problem, give the little darling some soothing syrup.  After all, how could anything with an ad this wholesome looking be a bad idea!

It turns out that it could be a VERY bad idea.  Like, ostrich farm bad!  What the pretty, pretty posters didn't tell you was that these soothing syrups usually contained either morphine, heroin, chloroform, cannabis, or any combination thereof.

Yeah, that baby wasn't sweetly sleeping, he was stoned off his gourd!

And they wondered why infant mortality was so high back then.

Tobacco Smoke Enema:  Another interesting medical practice was one that I found equal parts disturbing and hilarious.  Imagine this, if you will.  It's the late 1700's and you fall into the river.  The water closes all around you and blackness takes over.

Then, you suddenly come to, realising you've been dragged onto the shore by some well meaning passer by.  But that's not all they've done, oh no!  They've also rolled you over, lifted up your skirts, and are currently forcing large quantities of tobacco smoke into an orifice that was never intended to receive it.

Apparently back then it was believe that a tobacco smoke enema was a good way to revive someone who had drowned.  I don't know about you, but I expect it'd get me up and going pretty quickly, if only to get away from the guy wielding that scary looking set of bellows!

Female Hysteria:  Okay, so this one may be ridiculous, but let's be honest ladies, we owe Dr Granville a debt of thanks.  Sure, he may have thought he was curing the "weaker sex" of their debilitating hysteria, but we all know what he's REALLY doing under that skirt!

Back in the 19th century if a woman was moody, irritable, or showed any signs of a backbone at all, she'd be trotted off to the doctor by her disapproving husband, where she would most likely be diagnosed with female hysteria.

And the cure for this was what was called a "pelvic massage".  Yep, we all know what that means!

Eventually though a machine was built to do it for the doctor (maybe he was getting carpal tunnel?), first steam powered and then electrical.  So that meant that women could get their rocks off much more efficiently ... for the good of medicine, of course.

Jeez, the whole of the 1800's must have been like one enormous Carry On Doctor film!

Tapeworm Diet:  Hmm, so it turns out eating disorders have been around a lot longer than I realised.  Seriously?  Infecting yourself with tapeworms?  On purpose?  That's pretty fucked.

Lets overlook the fact that tape worms can cause cysts, loss of eyesight, neurological problems, and organ failure!  What does that matter as long as you're thin at the end of it!

But it's nice to know that unrealistic expectations of body image have been forced on women for so long, even to the point that they'd purposely give themselves a parasitic infection!

So yes, medicine has definitely come a long way since then.  We no longer drug our children to get them to be quiet, literally blow smoke up people's asses (and yes, that's where the expression comes from), or purposely ingest tape worms in the hopes of losing a few pounds.

What's that, you say?  What about the female hysteria machine?  Well ... let's just say female hysteria is no longer considered a problem and leave it at that, shall we?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Break out the hand sanitiser...

A dramatic re-enactment
of Gary looking for the ring.
I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to dealing with anything icky.  If it's squishy, smelly, slimy or sticky, I'm pretty much guaranteed to take ludicrous measures to make sure I don't have to touch it with my bare hands.  You'd be surprised just how easy it is to make an emergency pair of plastic gloves out of a couple of zip lock bags, and the number of perfectly good Tupperware containers I've thrown out rather than clean out their contents ... well, I could quite easily have funded my Baskin  & Robins Rocky Road addiction with the savings if I didn't have to keep buying replacements.

So I've got to give full props to Gary Gaddist, a rubbish man in New York, who voluntarily went and hunted through mountains of refuse so he could find a woman's lost diamond ring.  How sweet is that!  He didn't even know her, and he was willing to rifle through bag after bag of other people's rotting takeaway, festering nappies and god knows what else, just so he could get back the diamond ring her husband gave her.

You, Garry, are an awesome person!  And as such, I'd like to offer you the Official Seal of Awesomeness!  I fully believe that behaviour like this should be encouraged, if for no other reason than that I'm selfish.  If other people are doing things like this, it mean I don't have to.

See, I like to think I'm a pretty good person, but I don't think I could be that selfless.  Sure, I'd sympathise with the woman, I'd feel bad for her, but I'd probably leave it at that.  I don't think I'd actually volunteer to hunt through all that bacterial laden garbage on the very slim chance that I might, possibly, if I'm really really lucky, get her ring back for her.  There ain't enough anti-bacterial wipes in the world to make that happen!

He found the precious!
Still, just because I'm an awful, selfish human being with little interest in making sacrifices for strangers, doesn't mean good old Gary didn't step up and do what needed to be done!  When asked why he bothered, he said it was because he could see how much the woman loved her husband.  Aww, selfless AND a romantic!  If it wasn't for the persistent odour and the threat of e-coli, I might even say he was quite the catch. 1.

But all this talk of lost rings and searching reminds me of something ... I can't help wondering if he scampered around that rubbish tip looking for the ring, rifling through the piles, muttering, "The precious!  We must finds the precious!"

I really, really hope he did.

1.  I'd like to state that this comment was made for comedic effect.  I'm sure Gary is delightfully scented and completely bacteria free.