The Dismality of February, and This Will All Thaw Someday

20171228_062201.jpg

Oh, the dismality of February yet again.  There is a reason why February only has 28 days (at least for three out of four years,) and that’s to put a lid on the number of people who die in February.  If February were 30 or 31 days, half the damn population would die in February, and that would just be weird.  We have to spread the death throughout the year better.  Not that everyone should die from heat stroke in July, but jeez.  I can understand losing the will to live when it is 90° and 100% humidity if there’s no air conditioning, perhaps a bit more than most, because I am not at all equipped for high temperatures.  I can abide cold a far sight better than extreme heat.

8ffcc130bbf4a7df492ccfca81e64942cda3d1d06e30172018cb7450c6878c93_1.jpg

But at least in July there is sunlight, and Ohio winters are notoriously dark and sunless. I can go all week without seeing sunlight save for maybe a ray or two on the weekend-  unless there is a damned blizzard going on.  And even if the damned blizzard is going on and it’s 4° below, Target still has nothing but bathing suits, tank tops, sandals and sleeveless dresses on display.  If I need a parka, I will have to wait until July when they put them back out.

Here in central Ohio we have been enduring a rather harsher than normal winter.  Oh, yippee skippy, because I just adore driving in ice and snow.  I’m all about those below zero temperatures too.  There is simply nothing like one’s ass freezing to the toilet seat unless I break down and turn on the space heater in the bathroom.

“Spring” will arrive someday. Probably sometime in May there will come a day when my back yard will transform from frozen tundra into Dog Shit Lake overnight.  Oh, the smell of Spring in the air.  Temperatures will go from -4° to 90° and 100% humidity within the span of about 12 hours.  There is really no Spring in Ohio. There is just arctic cold and wind, followed by stygian heat, usually accompanied by torrential rain.

20180206_213431.jpg

This is Brutus, the Catahoula^ (Catahoula Bed Hog Dog)

clara520

This was Clara^ (God rest her sweet soul) the Malinois

Note to self: the 80# Catahoula shits according to his size.  For those unaccustomed to dogs, for an example, a 65# Malinois has the strength to overpower a 300# man.  The 65# Malinois consumes, and disposes of about the same number of calories as a 300# man every day. Imagine that kind of waste load deposited in your back yard every day for six months from October until the May Thaw arrives.

In all fairness, since a Malinois is an ultra high energy, high metabolism dog, a 65# Malinois and an 80# Catahoula are pretty much identical in strength, energy consumed, and waste put down.  My paradigms have been pretty much the same for awhile.

There’s going to be a lot of dog shit to deal with.

More Central Ohio White Death, More Funky Victorian Pics, and Other Odds and Ends

wpid-storageemulated0Yahoomailattachmentsspinal-cure.jpg.jpg

I’m still trying to figure out this Rube Goldberg device.

This contraption, which I think is some kind of spinal correction device (?) could also have afforded some tactical advantage when other kids are chasing you down to kick your ass.   I can see where it could be a sort of almost skateboard without the board.   I love Victorian ingenuity.  Strange thing is that even in the early 1980’s (and I’m not sure whether or not this is still being done in schools) all the girls had to get checked for scoliosis in 7th and 8th grade.

The scoliosis check was not what I’d call a good time.  All the 7th and 8th grade girls were herded into the gym, (wearing those hideous gym suits, or in my case, since I had a Doctor’s Note permanently freeing me from gym class, a t-shirt and shorts) lined up in alphabetical order, then we either had to unzip the gym suit or pull up our t-shirt and let (supposedly) a nurse trace our spines with her finger and verify that our spines were straight.

If you were found to have scoliosis (a couple of girls did have it) then you were sent to an orthopedist who would fit you with a full torso brace with metal stays and tie up straps that you had to wear 24/7 for two or three years unless you wanted to become a hideously deformed hunchback.

scoliosis brace

Imagine having to wear this continuously – all through high summer.  Oh, the stink!

I’m glad my spine stayed straight.

wpid-20140205_180200.jpg

This is one of the snow piles outside of Target.  It’s 5°.

But, as always, they set up the swimsuit racks the week after New Year’s!

The City of Columbus, I must say has been doing an abysmal job in clearing the snow.  ODOT got the freeways cleared right away, but the major through roads that are the city’s responsibility, by and large haven’t been touched.  I have to wonder what the hell they’re doing with all that income tax money, since the state and the surrounding localities are seeming to cope pretty well with snow removal.  I know that corruption and graft and union thuggery run amok in Mayor Coleman’s hizzy.  I’m surprised he didn’t ask for emergency money from his homeboy Obama to clear out Downtown.

It didn’t used to be that way, and it’s sad.   The illustrious Mayor-for-Life Coleman has ran the police department into the ground, presided over (and approved of) the corruption and vice and absolute lack of accountability in the schools, and now the city can’t seem to get the crews out to clear the freaking snow.  Coleman will keep on getting re-elected though, because a.) there’s no term limit, and b.) he kisses up to the gimme crowd.  While everyone (me included) who can moves to the freaking suburbs because of the uncontrolled druggies and rampant crime-but if you work in the city limits (I do) you still have to pay income tax so this gimme-appeaser and cronies can keep on subsidizing the gimme crowd.   The worst thing about living in the suburbs is that I can’t vote against this shyster when he runs for (and gets elected) mayor again.

So much for the Things-I-Can’t-Change.

I have been somewhat remiss as of late in not posting more of those postmortems that people just can’t help gawking at.  It’s bad that I am so bored that I’m trolling postmortems again, but it is February.  What else am I supposed to do?  February always makes me think about death.  Maybe it’s because I have to go to the BMV to get my car registration, and that’s always depressing.

dead sisters

The only way I’d ever been that close to either of my sisters, voluntarily, is if I’d been dead– which I think these two are.

Generally, if either of my sisters had been that close to me when I was a little kid, it was because they had me in a headlock, pounding me with whatever sort of pointy or heavy object that was handy.

I am surprised that I actually survived childhood with only minor scarring and disfigurement.  The psychological damage- well, the Prozac does help.

creepy old woman

Gam-Gam died in 1890, but those eyes are still watching you!

I know it’s morbid, but I think the postmortem pics are a forerunner of the Open Casket Funeral, which I find most distasteful in almost every instance.  I can’t get the images of my grandmothers in their coffins with badly done makeup, in those awful pink nighties out of my head, let alone the image of Aunt Ellen (the non-makeup wearing Pentecostal) slathered down with day-glo orange lipstick and all dolled up as if she were headed for the Oompa-Loompa Prom.

I told Steve-o to cremate me when I die, but knowing him (and I’ve said this before) he will have me taxidermied and made into a coffee table.

burning-bridge

“Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide”-  Pink Floyd, “High Hopes”

Perhaps it is true that one can never really go back home again, but in another sense it’s also true that one can never really leave.  It’s amazing how our society forgets the past so quickly, and repeats its mistakes so readily.  Memory, if anything, should serve as both a harbinger and a teacher.

I think we do ourselves a disservice when we neglect the study of history.  It may not be a good idea to continually live in the past, and I have to guard against this, but to deliberately seek a sort of live-in-the-now amnesia isn’t very healthy either.

I’ve learned to be careful which bridges to burn and which ones to leave standing, although I can’t say I’ve mastered the art of moving forward, or of knowing which pieces of the past are worth holding on to, and which pieces are things I need to let go.

hitler empty seat

I’ll have to remember to check the empty seats in my car for Hitler before I go.

nerve pills

I think I’d be hella nervous if I were approached by a giant talking frog. But I’m paranoid like that.

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.