ordeal of the cursed morsel

West’s Encyclopaedia of American Law  would appear to be an interesting book if only I could get my hands on a copy.

“An ancient form of trial required the accused person to submit to a dangerous or painful test on the theory that God would intervene and disclose his or her guilt or innocence.

The ordeal of water was performed by casting the suspect into a pond or river. If the suspect floated to the surface without any action of swimming, she was deemed guilty. If the suspect sank, she was pulled out and pronounced innocent. The hot water ordeal required the accused to plunge his bare arm up to the elbow into boiling water without injury. In the ordeal of the cursed morsel, the suspect swallowed a piece of dry bread with a feather in it. If the suspect did not choke, he was found innocent.”

we’ve had a few choking episodes at the gimcrack. geriatrics who are still feeding themselves often gobble their food. thankfully the heimlich manouvre is not practised at our facility. I once saw it performed on a choking grandmama in a restaurant and her false teeth flew across the room and landed in my friend’s creme brulee. there was a lot of gold in granny’s teeth and my friend was tempted to take them to a pawn shop but a surly waiter wearing double latex gloves intervened.

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(I’d love to credit this but I don’t know where it came from)

but to get back to feathers, which have a long history associated with sex. Sally Rand was charged with being lewd, lascivious and degrading to public morals when she performed her famous feather and fan dance at the 1933 World Fair

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she also performed in a see through bubble ball and hosted a nude ranch at the Golden Gate Exposition. She became famous for her finale, a fan-twirling dance, which she rendered in the buff. But, when challenged in court, she claimed that her audience never saw a thing because “the Rand is faster than the eye.”

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This is NOT Sally but the panties DO feature a strategically placed feather

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 7:04 am  Comments (33)  

the tennis treatment

recently nursemyra read a most interesting book called The Past of Pastimes (1969) and found out more than anyone ever needed to know about tennis.

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image by Namio

Lord Abedare quotes from a French treatise on tennis and rheumatism, written in the 18th century: players should make a broad belt with a napkin and tighten it sufficiently by two knots on the kidneys. This binding will keep the body firmer, strengthen the guts, and uphold the liver against the frequent thrusts and shakes of the players, preventing it from pulling back the diaphragm by its weight, which would make for difficulty in breathing.”

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Queen Elizabeth the First, whilst not a player, was an interested spectator at a match between the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Leicester. The latter, we are told….

‘being verie hotte and swetinge took the queen’s napken owte of her hande and wyped his face. The Duke protested that the Earl was too sawcie.”

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nursemyra thinks the Earl could take lessons in ‘saucy’ from these gals…

Published in: on December 29, 2008 at 8:09 am  Comments (27)  

comstockery and clavicles

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In 1915, H L Mencken published an essay  on terms used for the human body.

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“I undertook to arrange the parts of the body in 8 classes, beginning with the highly respectable and ending with the unmentionable. Into the highest Class I put the heart, brain, hair and eyes, into Class 2 the collarbone, stomach, liver, arms (excluding elbows), ears etc. Into class 3 the elbows, ankles and teeth (if natural), shoulders, neck etc. and so on. My class 6 included thighs, paunch, esophagus, spleen, pancreas, gallbladder and caecum and there I had to stop for the inmates of classes 7 and 8 could not be listed in print in those days of comstockery.”

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the days of prudish Anthony Comstock are long gone so now it’s time for another gimcrack competition. You may enter up to three times but each entry has to be for a different body part. whoever comes up with the best synonym for breast, vulva, penis or testicle will win a copy of Oddly Australian (1984) with runners up receiving whatever else is in my prize stash on judging day.

So knock yourselves out and surprise me………

 

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 8:13 am  Comments (21)  

t shirt friday 26.12.2008

I’ve had this t-shirt for about ten years and it’s a little too short in length now that showing one’s belly is no longer a la mode but I can’t bear to part with it.

nursemyra doesn’t smoke marijuana (though I have no great objection to those who do) so it’s worn with a sense of irony. my mother was mortified when I wore it while visiting her in New Mexico in 2001. I’m sure she thought we were all going to be arrested when we stopped at a diner for breakfast one morning and there were cops at the next table……

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you can click on these if you want to read the fine print

daisyfae is playing along and so is gnukid and Sledpress and just in the nick of time…… renalfailure and CheekofGod

and one more…..TigerEyeSal

Published in: on December 26, 2008 at 5:46 am  Comments (38)  

throwing a bean into the lion’s mouth

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for those of my readers who are not familiar with Boccaccio’s Decameron, it contains a charming tale about a naughty monk seducing an innocent girl by telling her he has a devil attached to him and he can only be redeemed if it’s put safely into hell, which, fortunately, the girl is equipped with.

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click to enlarge

Alibech grows so fond of putting Rustico’s devil into her hell that she begs the monk to perform this redemptive practice more often than he is capable of.

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click to enlarge

“So he satisfied her demands on a few occasions, but so seldom that it was like throwing a bean into a lion’s mouth.”

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She eventually tells the ladies of the village that she is not serving God as often as she would wish and they laugh sympathetically, assuring her when she marries her fiancee (Neerbale) all will be well.

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the story ends with this quote…

“and so, all you young ladies who are in need of god’s grace, learn to stuff the devil back into hell, for that is highly acceptable to him and pleasing to both parties, and much good may arise and proceed from it.”

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 9:22 am  Comments (31)  

tired of being humbugged?

Professor Jean Civiale had quite a way with words when it came to promoting his Urethral Crayons for the cure of spermatorrhoea

glad-tidings

The Vital Fluid: What it Is, What it Does, and How it is allowed to Drain Away, Weakening, Emasculating and Dementing the Vicious and the Careless. Diurnal (daily) Emissions. Nocturnal (nightly) Emissions. Impalpable Oozings. Losses in the Urine. Losses while at Stool. Mistaken Gleet.

At the first symptom of Sexual Decay or Nervous Exhaustion, the person thus affected should have his urine carefully and thoroughly analyzed by some competent person.

Civiale considered himself to be one such competent person. He painted a horrifying picture of what lay ahead for chronic masturbators

Oozing of a glairy fluid under excitement and imaginings, Formation of Evil Pictures in the Mind, Mental Hebetude, Stringiness and Softening of the Testicles, Sensation of the Bowels Falling Out, Weight on the brain, ringing in the ears, pains in the head, nervous twitchings of the eyelids, The erector muscles become paralyzed, and the organ remains inactive at the call of the will followed by convulsions, coma and death.

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exact size and shape of insertable crayon

all these symptoms could be controlled, of course, by a once daily insertion of his famous melting crayons. Professor Civiale also had other strings to his bow. His Elastic Self Adjusting Cradle and Compressor could permanently and painlessly cure twisted scrotal veins, otherwise known as variococeles.

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Such a perfect and practical combination is to be found in the Elastic self-adjusting and adjustable Cradle and Compressor, which has succeeded in curing many apparently hopeless cases.

Attached to the metallic shoulder is the Elastic, Glove-Fitting, Self-Adjusting Testicle-Cradle, by means of which not only are the testicles perfectly supported and rested, but by the sheet-rubber lining and the elastic tie bands, a constant, easy and perfectly painless elastic pressure is kept up on the dilated and sagging veins, which are thereby emptied of their unhealthy and stagnated blood and allowed to regain their tone, strength and contractility.

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aren’t you glad you live in the 21st century?

Published in: on December 20, 2008 at 7:18 am  Comments (25)  

corset friday 19/12/2008

ok so this is not a corset but it’s summer over here now and damn hot today so it’s nursie and a snowman. because it’s xmas dammit…..

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Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 8:38 am  Comments (33)  

inheritable chocolate

During the 18th century, it was thought that events witnessed by a pregnant woman could influence the appearance of her unborn child. Particularly widespread was the idea that coition during the menses produced only puny redheaded offspring.

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another ridiculous belief was lactational heredity where the quality of the wet nurse’s milk could influence the character of the infant in her charge. I once breastfed a friend’s child as well as my own but I didn’t manage to make her son gay, only my own.

Telegony has been thoroughly discredited now of course but as recently as 1981, a study by English dentist Dr. W. C. Shaw, revealed 20% of people interviewed believed that a “portwine” stain was due to the mother’s craving for strawberries. While pregnant with Gay Son, I was addicted to a certain chocolate bar.

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I was reminded of this twenty years later when he started entering drag queen competitions. There is no prouder moment for a mother than to see her male offspring wearing a faux leopardskin corset,  fishnet stockings, three blonde wigs and four inch long eyelashes while slithering onto a stage on all fours lipsynching to “The Lime and the Coconut”….

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My son, Cherrie Ripe

Published in: on December 18, 2008 at 8:24 am  Comments (37)  

exhilarating gas

In the mid 19th century a fad arose for the use of nitrous oxide as a salon amusement. Inhaling gases was so much in vogue even carbon monoxide was popular for a while, the pink rosy cheeks it caused were believed to be beneficial to one’s health.

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A dentist named Horace Wells was one of the first to notice that nitrous oxide provided pain relief. Unfortuntely he committed suicide after a demonstration in front of his peers was less successful than anticipated.

At the height of its popularity a Grand Exhibition of Laughing Gas was held where “probably no one will attempt to fight”

laughing-gas

Nitrous oxide is rumoured to be mixed with viagra to enhance athletic ability, not in the bedroom but in the sporting arena. Enterprising Israeli engineers are experimenting by adding it to Czech beer and Russian vodka, apparently to make drinkers laugh. Their own alcoholic drinks must already be funny enough not to need further doctoring……..

beer-milk

Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 7:36 am  Comments (31)  

how to resuscitate a sleeping beauty

a few months back nursemyra wrote about coffins for those who were afraid of being buried alive. While reading A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities I discovered more detail for my curious readers……

morgue

“only putrefaction and the appearance of livid spots are accepted as sure signs that an individual has really expired. A presumed corpse is to remain in a warm bed and vigourous attempts should be made to resuscitate it. The individual’s nostrils are to be irritated by onion juice, garlic and horseradish or shove a sharp pointed pencil up the nose. Stimulate the skin by the liberal application of whips and nettles. Irritate the intestines by acrid enemas, agitate the limbs by violent pulling  and shock the ears by hideous shrieks and excessive noise. If these methods fail, pour boiling Spanish wax on the forehead.”

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A French clergyman even advocated that a red-hot poker be thrust up the unfortunate corpse’s rear quarters as a last resort!

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Antoine Louis, a physician in Paris, objected to the use of putrefaction as the sole sign of death. He used a remarkable apparatus made especially for the purpose of awakening those who were apparently dead. A pipe was inserted into the anus and another pipe was connected by a bellows to a furnace full of tobacco.

Many cities employed inspectors of dead bodies to examine and attempt to resuscitate every corpse within their jurisdiction. Establishments were staffed by a matron and several nurses whereby corpses were placed on comfortable beds with strings tied to their fingers and connected to a large bell. Philanthropic magnates contributed large sums of money to contests dedicated to solving the problem of distinguishing real from apparent death. Ideas included rubbing the body’s most sensitive areas with stiff, prickly brushes, using pincers on nipples or thrusting a needle with a flag on one end into the heart of the apparently dead individual – the flag would wave if the heart was still beating.

spikeshoe

Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 7:36 am  Comments (29)  
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