putting his body on the line

Richard Glover is a columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald, who, last year, wanted to rid himself of warts…..

warthog walking stick found here

A month or so ago, I confessed to having a couple of doozies on my left hand. I’d visited several doctors who tried to defeat them in vain. I was forced to conclude medical science was not up to the job.

medicine man found here

Cue 137 readers who have kindly written about the wart-defeating method used in their household.  I’m now able to present at least 30 different cures and – by statistical analysis – list the Top Three Folk Remedies.

Karen recommends the sap from a poinsettia bush. Trevor, Kathryn, two Davids and a Rowley recommend the sap from the milk thistle weed. Bill recommends breathing on them. Fiona recommends homeopathy; Lyn prefers echinacea; and Georgie says to take two kelp tablets a day for three weeks.

learn to make poinsettia cookies here

Caro then invites me to urinate on my hand first thing in the morning. I decide against including this method in my study, however many votes it receives.

Sandie recommends vitamin E oil. Belinda and others advocate aloe vera. Mick suggests taping a piece of onion over them for a few days. Henry cites the same technique but using a slice of lemon. Jenny substitutes oranges and, in her cure, you eat them. 

purple onion skunk found here

As I open the letters and emails, things are getting weirder. Anne, Alicia and Keith all recommend fetching a snail from the garden and rubbing the mucus over the warts each day. Mary instructs me to spit on them first thing in the morning, then offers the helpful addendum: ‘‘P.S. You cannot use another person’s spit.”

snail graffiti found here

Barbara says she had a wool-classer boyfriend in the 1950s and he, along with the shearers, never suffered from warts because of the lanolin in the wool. I should give that a go, she says – the lanolin, not the shearer boyfriend.

image found here

Lynne says hers disappeared sometime during a 16-hour labour, giving birth to her first son, and suggests I close my eyes and fantasise I’m giving birth.

Tracy was told by her mum to rub the wart with raw meat then take the meat outside and bury it in the garden. Beverly has the same rub-then-bury technique but hers uses a potato. Barnie does the same but using the furry bit inside a broad bean pod.

image found here

In the 1950s, Frank lived in a small country town in which the cure was to ask a local called ”Old George Kearns” to stare at your warts, at which point they would fall off. If Old George wasn’t around, you’d tell his son, who’d ask his father to think about your warts when he arrived home. As soon as he got around to it, the warts would disappear.

Old George found here

And Anne says she’d get an empty washbasin, take it into the backyard at night and wash her hands in moonlight.

What was the cure most often recommended? Banana peel, white side pressed against the wart and then fixed in place with sticking plaster, as suggested by 12 readers.

Each day I strap two bits of peel to my hands. They have an amazing effect, rapidly eating away the warts, somewhat assisted by a bit of action with a pumice stone.

image found here

Nine days into my experiment, the warts are almost gone. I had intended to test the aloe vera cure and the milk thistle cure but I won’t have a chance.

What to do about the rough patch left behind? Thoroughly converted to the world of folk cures, I grab an empty washbasin and head out into the darkened backyard.

It’s nothing washing my hands in moonlight won’t fix.

Published in: on April 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm  Comments (53)  
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beware the 5:00 pm miasma

Despite her Gallic sounding name, the Comtesse de Noailles (1824 – 1908) was English and lived near Eastbourne for nearly 20 years before moving to France later in life.

Beachy Head from above Eastbourne circa 1890 found here

When she was 40, she saw a portrait of a young girl by the artist Ernest Hébert. De Noailles attempted to buy it but it had already been sold so she decided instead to adopt the model, named Maria. Her Italian father, Domenico, had brought her to Paris to be adopted for two bags of gold with which he would use to create a vineyard.

Pasqua Maria by Ernest Hébert found here

De Noailles encouraged her cows to graze near open windows believing the methane they produced was good for her health. She also left England every winter for fear of catching flu. When Maria became an adult, de Noailles instructed her to do the same with her family, saying the climate became too unhealthy when leaves fell, especially from oak trees, which de Noailles believed England had too many of.

Majesty Oak of Kent found here

After Maria married, if the Comtesse came to stay, all the trees in the vicinity would have to be felled in case she caught some disease from the bark. During Maria’s pregnancy, the Comtesse instructed her to drink only water in which the tips of pine branches had previously been boiled, which was  problematic, since all nearby trees had been cut due to a previous demand.

felled pine tree stump found here

Other habits included sleeping with a loaded pistol beside her bed; having a string of fresh onions hung on her bedroom door to protect her from infections; wrapping silk stockings stuffed with squirrel fur around her forehead to prevent wrinkles; eating large amounts of fresh herring roe to prevent bronchitis. She also believed that port wine should be drunk at sunset, mixed with a little sugar and diluted with soft rainwater collected from the roof of their house by her servants under her husband’s supervision.

bald squirrel found here

She refused to travel anywhere if the wind was blowing in an easterly direction and was liable to call the train to a halt and return home should she notice the trees blowing the wrong way.

During a visit to southern France where de Noailles and her daughter met other members of polite society, she instructed her family to accept no invitations to afternoon tea after 5 o’clock, believing that most people caught flu at this time because of dangerous miasma in the air at the end of the day.

dangerous invitation to a late tea found here

The Comtesse lived until she was 84, her diet in the last weeks of her life consisting solely of milk and champagne.

how not to cure hiccups

Magazine publisher, Thomas Gibson Bowles, was widowed in 1887, and left to raise four young children.

Thomas Gibson Bowles found here

Health, he decided, was the most important thing. Bowles had studied some statistics that suggested that Jewish children were less susceptible to disease than others. From then on his children were fed according to strict Mosiac law. The dressing of girl children seemed to him an unnecessarily complicated matter, so he decided to have his daughters outfitted by the naval tailor who made his sons’ clothes. As a result Sydney and Dorothy Bowles wore only thick blue serge naval uniforms and sailor’s caps until the age of seventeen.

Shirley Temple in sailor suit found here

Cap’en Tommy, as the cartoonists called him, had strict views on the correct way to take a bath. He dismissed the conventional method as merely ‘sitting in dirty water’. Instead, he took steam baths at his London club. When the family went to Scotland on holiday, however, he had to improvise, using some dog kennels in front of the house as a temporary Turkish bath. Bowles would sit steaming inside the first kennel, which had been lined with hot bricks, before emerging into the run where the butler was waiting on the roof of the next kennel to shower him with bucketfuls of cold water. From his position on the roof, the butler could also announce the approach of any strangers whose sensibility might not be equal to the spectacle.

Turkish Steam Bath found here

Henry Ford also had some strange ideas about health

The well known motor manufacturer was obsessed with diet. He campaigned for synthetic milk, insisting that cows were on the verge of obsolescence because they were unhygienic. He maintained that eating sugar was tantamount to committing suicide since its sharp crystals would cut a person’s stomach to shreds.

World’s biggest cow found here

He then took to leaving old razor blades to rust in the water he used to wash his hair because he thought rusty water acted as a hair restorer. And he was such an advocate of soya beans that he once wore a suit and tie made from soya-based products.

Hair Restorer found here

But John “Mad Jack” Mytton probably takes the cake when it comes to strange ideas about health

For exercise he liked to go fox hunting which he would do in any kind of weather. His usual winter gear was a light jacket, thin shoes, linen trousers and silk stockings – but in the thrill of the chase he could strip down and continue on naked. He is also recorded as crouching naked in snow drifts and swimming winter rivers in full spate.

Naked in snow found here

He would get out of bed in the middle of the night, remove his nightshirt and set off completely naked but carrying his favourite gun across the frozen fields towards his lake. Here he would ambush the ducks, fire a few shots and return to bed apparently none the worse for his ordeal. He frequently got up again half an hour later – stripped off and went through the whole process again. His most extraordinary day’s shooting came when he got fed up waiting for the birds to come within range, stripped naked, sat on the ice and slowly shuffled forward on the slippery surface until he was within range. It took over an hour but he never caught a cold or seemed in the least unwell after this or indeed after any of his naked shooting exploits.

image found here

He had a wardrobe consisting of 150 pairs of hunting breeches, 700 pairs of handmade hunting boots, 1000 hats and some 3,000 shirts. He also had numerous pets in his manor. Including some 2,000 dogs comprising fox hounds and other breeds such as gun dogs, pointers and retrievers, his favourites were fed on steak and champagne. Some dogs wore livery, others were costumed.

Dog masquerading as tiger found here

Mytton was also a drinking man and could drink eight bottles of port a day with a helping of brandy. Rather than sit down to a formal dinner every evening he would sustain himself throughout the day with ‘pounds of filberts’ when in season, a type of hazelnut, or dine with his tenant farmers eating full fat bacon and quaffing a quart of ale beside their fire before returning to Halston Hall.

Bacon Beer found here

He married a Baronet’s daughter, in 1818 but she died in 1820. His second wife Caroline Giffard ran away in 1830. His wives bore him children who he would affectionately toss into the air as babies and pelt with oranges.

orange baby monkey found here

During his stay in France he tried to cure his hiccups by setting his shirt on fire. “Damn this hiccup!!” said Mytton “I’ll frighten it away”; so seizing a lighted candle, applied it to the tail of his cotton nightshirt and was instantly enveloped in flames. A fellow guest and Mytton’s servant beat out the flames: “The hiccup is gone, by God!”, said he and reeled, naked, into bed’.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 7:15 am  Comments (63)  
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bloody beef

Back in the 17th century, meat was not just something you dished up for dinner – it could also act as a rather large band aid.

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“Take a piece of lean salt beef and let the beef be of that greatness that it may fill the wound, and lay it in the fire in the hot ashes till it be hot through, and all hot stuff it in the wound and bind it fast.”

Cures for constipation or stomach upsets also involved food that was not ingested in the usual way.

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“A suppositor good for those that are troubled with the collicke or the winde is half a flattened fig with some bay salt rolled up inside it, skin inwards. Tie it with thread, grease with butter and administer to the patient

It was a time when many believed that a woman’s uterus moved about in her body and could be threatened back into position. Nowadays a prolapse is usually treated with pessaries or surgery (how many times do I have to tell you to keep doing your kegels? are you clenching now? good… keep at it) but back then doctors believed in scare tactics

the least horrifying image of a prolapse I could find

“”You may fright it back in with a hot iron presented near the opening as if you would burn the falling part

And beef makes another appearance during pregnancy as a way of preventing miscarriage

“Take a fillet of beef half roasted hot from the fire, then take half a pint of Muscat wine, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and grains of paradise. Make a sauce, divide the beef in two and dress with the sauce.

Then bind one piece to the bottom of the woman’s belly and the other to the kidney area of her back, as hot as may be suffered and keep them on twenty four hours at the least and longer if need thereof.”

grease her up with bacon lube

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 7:18 am  Comments (37)  
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Princess Poo

The Japanese Toto Washlet is one of the most sophisticated toilets in use today.

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The most basic feature is the integrated bidet, a nozzle the size of a pencil that comes out from underneath the toilet seat and squirts water. It has two settings: one for washing the anus and one for the bidet. The former is for general use, or family cleaning, and the latter for feminine cleaning.

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Most high-tech toilets allow water temperature and water pressure to be adjusted to match the preferences of the user. By default, the vulva receives less pressure than the anus. High-end washlets allow selection of vibrating and pulsating jets of water, claimed by manufacturers to be beneficial for constipation and hemorrhoids.

do you really want to know what this is? then click here

Other features include a heated seat and an automatic lid equipped with a proximity sensor, which opens and closes based on the location of the user. Some play music to relax the user’s sphincter (for example the first few tunes of Op. 62 Nr. 6 Frühlingslied by Felix Mendelssohn). Some toilets also glow in the dark or may even have air conditioning below the rim for hot summer days.

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Recently, researchers have added medical sensors which can measure the blood sugar based on the urine, and also measure the pulse, blood pressure, and the body fat content of the user. The data may automatically be sent to a doctor through a built-in internet-capable cellular telephone.

The repetitive use of a Washlet type water jet on a high-pressure setting for an enema, can weaken the capability for self-evacuation which can lead to more serious constipation. If a Washlet high-pressure water jet is used on the anus repeatedly, it may cause excessive cleanliness, prompting other bacteria to adhere around the anus, causing inflammation around the anus. Proctologists in Japan have named this “Washlet Syndrome

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Some Japanese women are embarrassed at the thought of being heard by others during urination. To cover the sound of bodily functions, these women used to flush public toilets continuously while using them, wasting a large amount of water in the process. A device was introduced in the 1980s that, after activation, produces the sound of flushing water without the need for actual flushing. A Toto brand name commonly found is the Otohime, literally “Sound Princess.”

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And now for some slightly related factoids from Ralph Lewin’s book Merde.

Rabelais related how some young ladies had such pure natures that their little virginal faeces were fragrant. The phenomenon may be questioned , since it is hard to suggest a physiological basis for such a manifestation of piety but scientists have in fact discovered that the excrement of young virgin queen bees aged between 1 and 14 days are actually fragrant, whereas those of other bees are not. The perfume of such a virgin queen in some ways controls the behaviour of her subjects in the hive.

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But the award for the sweetest anal excretions in nature goes to the aphid. They consist mainly of a concentrated solution of sugar, hence the endearing term “honeydew”.

carved honeydew found here


Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 10:32 am  Comments (36)  
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butter me up

In the late 1860s Hippolyte Mege-Mouries was commissioned by the French navy to find a cheap substitute for butter.

He chopped up a quantity of beef suet, minced in some sheep’s stomach, steeped the mixture in warm slightly alkaline water and declared it to be butter. The flavour was not quite right but when he tried again, adding some chopped cow’s udder and a little warm milk the effect was gratifying.

America was quick to take up the idea. The manufacture of “butterine” offered a way of utilising stockyard byproducts, especially when it was discovered that cow udders and sheep stomachs were superfluous; all that was needed was to melt out the softer elements from the caul fat of oxen and shake them up with milk.

After the release of Last Tango in Paris a slew of young men dreamed of lubricating their partner’s arse with Western Star. A word of advice from the nurse – don’t. Boy Butter is a much better idea. Though not on your toast.

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ModernMechanix recommends the rancid butter treatment, quoting an anonymous “famous surgeon”. Don’t you just love the way he makes butter sound vindictive, mysterious and selective all at the same time?


Published in: on September 6, 2010 at 8:09 am  Comments (38)  
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a timely warning

I wonder how many of my male readers suffer from the same syndrome Sean Thomas succumbed to….

In 2001 I went online. A few months later, sitting idly at my laptop,  I decided to have a peek at all this porn that was supposed to be saturating the internet. I did this by googling the words ‘girls’ and ‘hardcore’. Somewhat to my surprise I found the images pretty titillating, and so I kept looking.

Soon, whenever I had a spare few minutes – or, better still, half an hour – I would start hungrily checking out net porn. One day I was surfing as usual when I happened across a site that contained spanking images. Intrigued, I logged on to it. To my surprise, I had an intense sexual reaction to them. What was going on? I had not the slightest idea that I was that into spanking.

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This was the moment that the real addiction set in. My interest in spanking got me speculating: what other kinks was I harbouring? Plenty, as it turned out. Over the following months I discovered that I had a serious penchant for inter alia, lesbian gynaecology, interracial hardcore, and images of Japanese girls taking off their hotpants. I was also into netball players with no knickers, and drunk Russian girls exposing themselves, and convoluted scenarios where submissive Danish actresses were intimately shaved by their dominant female partners in the shower.

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Try as I might to control myself, over the next few weeks I found that I was regularly spending five hours a day on my laptop – usually in the early hours when everyone else was in bed. This meant that I was getting about three hours’ sleep.

The crisis point came just before last Christmas. I was missing so much sleep by staying up so late that my health started to suffer. One day I caught tonsillitis, which, because I was so run down, turned into a quinsy (a nasty suppurative form). Eventually, I went to the doctor, who sent me straight to A&E. As I lay in the ward recuperating a few days later, the bitter truth sank in. This is it, Sean, I thought. You’ve really done it this time. You’ve actually wanked yourself into hospital.

So my question is this. Do you think the easy access to internet porn makes it more difficult to be satisfied with actual sex with a long term partner? Do you wish your partner would do some of the more way out things you find titillating in pornography? If you’re currently single do you find the internet a preferable sexual outlet to the hassle of finding a woman who thinks you’re attractive enough to sleep with – knowing that you’re going to have to consider her orgasm as well as your own? Modern day conundrums…..


Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 8:23 am  Comments (61)  
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one good memory

Milton Erickson was an American psychiatrist who specialised in hypnosis. Some of his methods were quite unorthodox as this story reveals…..

A depressed woman went to Erickson for help. She was ashamed and upset about being so ugly and unattractive. She had a small gap in her front teeth that she thought was a disfigurement and she despaired of ever marrying or having children. She was planning to suicide, but decided to give Erickson a crack at it first.

After taking a history, Erickson prescribed the following: She was to buy some new outfits and get a new hairstyle as well as a facial makeover. Finally, he told her she was to practice squirting water through the gap in her teeth until she could squirt it accurately at a distance of seven or eight feet.

During questioning, Erickson had deduced that she had an admirer at work that had triggered the onslaught on negative self-statements. She would often see him at the drinking fountain, and when she did, she’d run back to her desk and bury herself in her work. Erickson got her to agree to dress up in her new clothes, fix her hair and make up and go to work. When the young man would show up at the drinking fountain, she was to get a mouth full of water and squirt it at him right before she’d take one step toward him, then turn around and “run like hell.”

Olga found here

Initially she was reluctant but Erickson reminded her that she had come in contemplating suicide. As long as she was planning to die, she ought to die with at least one good memory. So she did it. And to her* amazement, the young man ran after her, caught her, spun her around and kissed her. She came out of the depression, formed new relationships, and ultimately got married.

* and to my amazement as well. Is this some secret you guys have been keeping from us for years? How many proposals could I expect to receive in a year if I practiced squirting water out of my mouth and running like hell after I doused the object of my affections?


Published in: on November 29, 2009 at 5:52 am  Comments (30)  
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