Category Archives: Historical Stench

Thar Be Boobies

I’ve always thought bedroom role-playing was kind of silly, and the step beyond that – “furry culture” – absolutely makes my skin crawl. Some people are into it, though, and go to great lengths: props, elaborate costumes, etc. This video short from “Robot Chicken,” entitled “Thar Be Boobies,” doesn’t go so far as that, and its outcome is less than satisfying for the participants, but it does serve to make a point: all ye lasses who thrill to the idea of a bawdy romp with a Corsair from days of yore, be glad...yea, verily, be overjoyed that it’s naught but a fantasy, because the reality….well, you really don’t want to go there.

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$22.5 million/year for knocking a piece of cowhide around?

As Sporting News notes today, Manny Ramirez has just reached a deal with the Dodgers: $45 million for two years.

Now consider this: in Trenton, New Jersey, a different Manny – Manny Rivera, the firefighter – was fighting for his life a month ago after sustaining a critical injury while saving the life of a teenager:

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2009/02/firefighter_battles_lifethreat.html

Now, consider that the median salary of a firefighter with 20 years or more experience, in the U.S., is $62,888:

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Fire_Fighter/Salary

So $22.5 million for knocking a piece of cowhide around; $62,888 for saving lives and risking one’s own life doing so, on a regular basis. The latter amount is not even 0.5% of the former.

That stinks.

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The stench of war…and death

The Stench of war…and death
Lebanon, 2006. The stench of death: Children hold their
noses as they pass corpses in a truck. Source: habeeb.com
——

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Garlic Stinks

But we love it.

SR2

“The Stinking Rose” restaurant, with two locations in California, is devoted exclusively to that ubiquitous and pungent member of the lily family. Next time I’m in San Francisco (it’s been years), I might just check it out.

Probably not the best choice for a first date, though.

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Contributed: Literal and figurative stench from a bygone day

It was a different time

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Thanks to Stinkbro for sending this along.

“Sootikins”

The following passage is excerpted from “The Role of Cats in Nursery Rhymes,” by Sarah Hartwell–

Good Queen BessTHE CAT AND THE QUEEN

Pussy-cat, Pussy-cat where have you been?
I’ve been to London to look at the Queen.
Pussy-cat, Pussy-cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under a [her] chair.

One explanation of the origins of this rhyme goes back to 16th century England. One of the staff of Queen Elizabeth I (Good Queen Bess) was said to have had an old cat which tended to roam throughout one of the royal residences. On one occasion the cat apparently went underneath the throne (the “chair”) and its tail brushed against the Queen’s foot, startling her. Luckily Queen Elizabeth was amused and declared that the cat could wander through the throne room as long as it kept it free of mice!

Another suggested meaning of this relates to the poor hygiene of a different queen and is perhaps a cautionary tale about hygiene in general. Undergarments were uncommon among poorer women before the nineteenth century and dust, ash and general grime accumulated on the genitalia just as it did elsewhere on the body….

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Nightsoil: Human Manure

Applying Nightsoil to Garlic CropFrom the webpage “Human Manure”

“For thousands of years, China’s farmers have used human manure, or “nightsoil”, as fertilizer (King, 1911). In this example from the Tai Lake Region, nightsoil is collected and stored in large ceramic tanks or water-tight slate-lined or concrete pits. Manure and urine are collected in buckets within the household, or deposited directly in the storage tanks, which are usually located in the animal stall and toilet area of the household. Occasionally urine is collected and applied separately. It is common to mix pig manure with nightsoil in storage, as pig stalls are connected to storage tanks via a sluice, to facilitate collection of pig manure and urine. Prior to intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, nightsoil was an important fertilizer for nearly all crops, including rice and wheat. Now, nightsoil is applied mostly to small-scale vegetable plots and other rainfed household crops…. (read more)

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A Slop on King Arthur

While we’re on the subject of Medieval/Renaissance sanitation (or, more accurately, the lack thereof), let’s watch a classic clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, wherein there’s some lovely acting, and where, near the end of the clip, a French person dumps a pot of crap on King Arthur and his hapless kaaaaaaanigget companion, Sir Bedomir–

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In Days of Olde…

…the shit ran freely in the streets.

Gardy Loo!

An excerpt from Christine A. Powell’s excellent online essay, “A Matter of Convenience”

In Renaissance Scotland, the housewives threw their chamberpot contents and slops out the windows with the cry “Gardy Loo!” (This evidently derived from the French “Gardez l’eau,” meaning “Look out for the water!”) Unfortunately, the sound of the cry and the discarded material often arrived simultaneously. Woe to the one who looked up to see what was happening. It is believed that this may be the origin of the British term “loo” for a toilet (Pudney, 28-9). The high-rises of Edinburgh were hardly the only places in Europe to present a sanitation problem during this era.

Indeed, the period from 1550 to 1750 has been called the “two rather insanitary centuries.” When the court of Charles II spent the summer of 1665 in Oxford, the local diarist Anthony Wood observed they were “nasty and beastly, leaving at their departure their excrements in every corner, in chimneys, studies, coalhouses, [and] cellars.” Contemporary accounts and engravings frequently illustrate the morning ritual in English and Scottish cities of emptying one’s ordure out of upper-floor windows into the streets beneath (Wright, 75-8). It was not until the mid-1800s, when Dr. John Snow proved the connection between cholera and sewage-polluted drinking water, that cities began to control their waste (Colman, 46). There is no reason to suppose that Port Royal and other contemporary cities in the colonies were any cleaner than those in Europe during the “insanitary centuries.” (source)

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Le Petomane – The “Fartiste”

Joseph Pujol’s arse sucked wind, literally. Below is an clip from Le Petomane the movie. If you wish to learn more about the extraordinary life of Joseph Pujol, visit this webpage

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