Happy Lupercalia! Which is So Appropriate Because…

wolf- lupercalia

Roadkill: It’s What’s for Dinner!

Valentine’s Day as a holiday has always sort of given me the creeps.  It’s named after a Christian martyr who according to legend was killed by having his heart cut out.  So we make nice little chocolates and cookies with hearts on them to commemorate this why?  As far as celebrating holidays that have bizarre origins, it would be more fun to commemorate Bastille Day with scale model guillotines and flying Dennis Rodman doll  action figure heads, but I’m weird that way.

dennis rodman

The doll action figure came with two heads.

Valentine’s Day wasn’t always Valentine’s day.  It actually began as a co-opting of a popular pagan holiday that was celebrated around the middle of February- Lupercalia.  Basically it was “The Wolf Festival.”  Along with a lot of drinking and fertility rites, that is.  What makes this different from The-Game-We-Cannot-Name Sunday or any other redneck beer drinking holiday, except that even rednecks frown upon animal sacrifice?  Perhaps the main distinction is that in redneck fornication, procreation generally is not the primary goal.  Hence the importance of the Trojan Man.

trojan man

Because this is all that stands between you and 18+ years of child support.

I don’t believe in romantic love.  Not one bit.  If Jerry buys me something it’s usually because it’s something he wants.  The last thing he bought me was a Stoeger Condor Competition 20 gauge over/under shotgun.  It is a sweet shotgun, but I think he enjoys shooting it (and bragging to the guys at the club what a great deal he got on it) more than I do.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good shotgun, but it’s not exactly the gift that screams “hot teenage lust.”  Not that “hot teenage lust” was ever on my agenda to begin with.

A holiday for dogs, on the other hand, isn’t a bad idea.  The interesting thing about a “wolf festival” is that dogs are wolves.  Literally.

Grey wolf taxonomic classification: Canis lupus lupus

Domestic dog (all breeds): Canis lupus familiaris

doggie daycare

All the same species as the grey wolf.  Even the ankle biters.

I’ve also said it before that since dogs are a subspecies of wolf, it’s imperative to respect that.   If dogs are improperly treated and/or we humans don’t pay attention to their signals and body language, they can be deadly.  Correctly handled and respected, they can become amazing companions, protectors and friends.  I trust my dogs more than people, and with good reason.

bag of trouble

Not to mention AIDS, chlamydia, genital warts and herpes!

The only thing that disturbs me about those old-time VD warnings is that they always showed women as being carriers of VD.  Dudes spread it too.  How do you think the women got it?

I always thought Valentine’s Day, with all the insinuation of love being in the air, as a perfect opportunity to warn against Venereal Disease.  Here’s a little song from 1969, just in case anyone needs some VD awareness.  It’s called “VD is for Everybody” and has a cute little video that goes with it.  Just doing my duty to further public health.

Speaking of public health, as I was trolling along, I found another holiday worth celebrating:

world rabies day

I have some questions about Rabies Day.

1. Is this about getting rabies?  If so, this could be a very painful and drawn out form of population control.  I can think of much easier ways to “cull the herd,” such as leaving the stupid to their own devices, to earn their Darwin Awards without any interference from others.

2. Is this about getting rabies shots and/or preventing rabies?  I can stand behind that.  I definitely don’t want to get the rabies.

I don’t want to get the cholera either:

cholera

“Beware of Drunkenness- nothing is so likely to bring on Disease.”  Amazing.  Public health authorities knew this back in the 1830’s, that being drunk  and dirty could bring on disease.  I would like to know where you find hot lime, though.

I think there should be more public campaigns to advocate personal hygiene and cleanliness.  It seems that being clean and well groomed is more of an exception than a rule, and then you wonder why you’re surrounded with the hacking, coughing, chronically ill masses.

Of course, as more and more of the people in this country are growing up raised by wolves, what can one expect?

raisedbywolves

For the Love of Ephemera, Victorian Fashion Torture, and I Want My Car Back

Ok, for the second bloody time now.  Why, oh, why did this damned thing zap the whole body of this post?   I am glad I don’t have to wear clothing like this.  I like the prices and I like the coverage, but I need a waist a tad bit larger than the circumference of my spine.   Corsets had to be nasty things to wear.

Now I know why these women died young.  They couldn’t breathe.

So, should I choose to design my own fashion,  to achieve the goals of comfort and coverage, and not rely on today’s dismal offerings from gay fashion designers who manage to only come up with clothes suitable for those with an exhibition fetish and the proportions of a 12 year old boy, I would have to come up with something like this ensemble:

The illustrious Steve-o has my car this week, which sucks.  He only has it because no one else had a reliable vehicle for him to drive whilst the infinitesimal intermittent miss he claims to hear in his Audi-  when a laundry list of conditions are met- is being checked out by his high-faluting buddies down in Cinci.  So I’m driving Dad’s nasty ’92 Mazda van that does, to its credit, have nice cold A/C, but I’m having my doubts about the ball joints, tie rods and that rather disturbing lifter noise.  Steve-o is the most anal dude on the planet (and I’ve seen some very anal car enthusiasts in my time) when it comes to his own car.  I just hope that he doesn’t think that because he’s using my car- for free- that it’s party time.

It’s not a Mazerati, but it does have nice cold A/C, a decent stereo and 5 on the floor.  Damn, I miss my car.

I feel sort of sorry for Dad.  He’s stuck in that nursing home rehab center, and the food is just plain frightening.  What’s worse is he’s going to get enough scary food when he goes home and Mom attempts to cook.  On the plus side he is losing weight, but it’s sort of sad to lose weight just because you can’t identify what’s on your plate and you’re afraid to eat it.  Dad wanted me to drive his van- he can’t drive at all for at least another three weeks while his sternum heals- rather than Steve-o driving it, because Steve-o has a 40 mile drive through the middle of nowhere to get to work.  I can get retrieved a little easier should Dad’s ancient Mazda decide not to start, or if the steering and/or suspension fails.  I hope it holds together, but I can always commandeer Jerry’s Tacoma, and probably should anyway.  The Tacoma has a manual transmission and Jerry hasn’t managed to blow the speakers in it.  The Mazda would have a good stereo- if not for all the speakers being blown to hell.

Better living through chemicals, especially when they’re in pastries!

Genealogy is Addicting, So Far So Bad, the February Funk

I don’t know why I find long-dead relatives intriguing, but investigating my own personal history becomes a lot more interesting on the rare occasions in which I find pictures.  I stumbled upon this pic when I was actually looking for pics of my relatives’ grave markers of all things.  This picture is of my great-grandfather, Wert, his first wife, Ethel (who died at the age of 31, in 1910, several years before he married my great-grandmother) and their daughter, Nellie (I would assume she would have been considered by great-aunt?), who died just a few days before her sixteenth birthday in 1913.  They also had a son, Harold, (born in 1907) who died at four years old in 1911.  They were married when he was 22 and she was 16.  I’ve not been able to figure out what they all died of.  I’d always thought there’d been some sort of epidemic or something- but not when the deaths are a year or more apart- unless they had TB or some other condition that doesn’t kill you right away.  In the early 20th century you could die from stuff that is generally curable today, and I know there were several cholera and diphtheria epidemics in Marion County back then- along with all the common stuff like strep or pneumonia that people get all the time but can get a script for and get rid of today.  I know full well I would have been dead many years ago (probably in infancy, considering I was born with pneumonia) had it not been for antibiotics and modern surgical technology.  I guess I could figure it out if I were willing to pay the state of Ohio $16 for each death certificate, but I don’t have that kind of money just floating about.  If I had to take a guess though, I would probably bet on the contagious disease du jour.

My great-grandfather died in 1942 at the age of 69.  He and my great-grandmother had four kids including my grandfather.  Anna, my great-grandmother, had five kids already from her first husband, who died young- so there was a house full of kids.  Anna died in 1970 at the age of 88.  Grandpa outlived all of his brothers and sisters and half-siblings by many years.  I think he had one brother- Maurice- who made to 1997.  Maurice was younger than him too, but Grandpa was 91 when he died.

I don’t know how bad it would screw with your head to lose your spouse and two kids in the span of three years, but I would have to believe it would be a serious blow to one’s sanity. 

Pictures of long-dead people are fascinating even when you don’t have any background information on them.  The pics become even more interesting when you can put a name with the face and even a bit of history to go along with it.  I would estimate that the above pic was probably taken in or around 1898.  Nellie looks as if she is about a year old or so.  It’s kind of sad, really, to look at that pic knowing she never made it to her sixteenth birthday.  What is even more sobering is realizing that her mother was only 17 when that pic was taken.  They had been married over a year before Nellie was born.  I was too young to get married when I was 21 and for that matter, too young the second time I got married at 26.  Hindsight being 20/20 I’d  have been better off to remain an old maid living quite happily in the company of dogs.

I am glad that Nellie was very much alive when the pic was taken.  In that time period photography was extremely expensive, so they must have been somewhat affluent.  From the clothing I gather they weren’t exactly poor.  In that era, pics were often only taken of children when they died.  There is an entire category on E-Bay: postmortem photography dedicated to (primarily) Victorian-era dead people pics.  They go for big money, too, even if the seller has no clue who the dead person is, which is sort of macabre when you think about it.  Some of the postmortem pics are pretty graphic, especially when you can tell they painted on the eyes or that the body has started to rot in places.  In high summer, without benefit of embalming, I would assume dead bodies wouldn’t stay terribly fresh for long.

Being that it is February, and the weather is a major contributor to the February funk right now, death and dead relatives are appropriate topics.    Oddly enough, none of the relatives for whom I know their date of death died in February, even though there are more deaths on average in February than in every other month. 

It bothers me sometimes the lack of information I have on my relatives.  Some of what I do have is rather frightening, some of it enlightening, and some of it downright sad. 

So much gets forgotten over time.  Then again, if some descendant of mine happens upon my name and statistics a hundred years from now, I wonder how they would see me?  Would they see my pictures and then realize why they’re coyote ugly?  Would I be regarded as one of those shithouse rat crazy skeletons in the closet? 

Then again, I don’t think I’ll be here to care.