Victorian Ephemera and Other Morbid and Melancholy Forays

Lactated Food sounds pretty gross, but it’s simply an early form of baby formula made from powdered lactose (milk sugar) and various grains.  Infant mortality was about 25% in Victorian times for a number of reasons, many of which are preventable today.  If a mother wasn’t able to adequately breast feed her child this was one of the alternatives.  If you’ve ever tried a taste of modern baby formula, or even smelled the stuff, it couldn’t taste much worse.  Today’s baby formulas are majorly nasty tasting,  but if you don’t know any better and that’s all you get, well that’s all you get.  Unfortunately Lactated Food, while it may have served as a emergency baby formula, it couldn’t do much to prevent the epidemics or correct the sanitation issues of that era which likely caused most of the infant mortality.

The Victorians are especially known for their sense of drama in matters involving death.  Death was not something that was shoved off into hospitals and nursing homes, far away from the rhythm of daily life.  Death was part of daily life.  The guy who built your furniture was the same guy who built your coffin.  They also called it a coffin, not a “casket,” or  “receptacle for remains.”  Mortality wasn’t something reserved for the catastrophically injured, terminally ill, or the aged who are normally shoved off into some sort of facility for months or years before they die- mortality was an equal opportunity proposition.  Death usually wasn’t a lingering thing back then. One day you might be doing your daily business and the next you could just plain drop dead.  I think that’s the reason why there were so many post-mortems taken.  You didn’t have a chance to have so and so’s pic taken when he/she was alive, so now you have to do it before he/she starts to rot.

Was it winter? Did they put her out on the porch to chill until the photographer could make it? ‘Cause she looks pretty well preserved for being dead over a week.

I don’t know why I find post-mortem photography to be fascinating.  It’s creepy to take pics of dead people and even creepier to gawk at them, but I guess it’s more morbid curiosity.  The Victorians raised post-mortem photography to a high science, even developing a sort of guitar stand for the dead so they could be maneuvered into a more lifelike pose:

Now I can explain Keith Richards.

Should I have had the misfortune to have been born in Victorian times, I likely would not have survived much more than a day or two- I was born with pneumonia and had to spend a week in the hospital from the beginning.  Sickly infants were the first to go. The Victorian world made 1000 Ways to Die appear comparatively tame.  If the contagions and bad nutrition and having to wander around in horse shit didn’t kill you, the odds of death by accident or misadventure were pretty good too.

I still admire the artwork of the Victorian era though.  The drawings are stunning and ornate.  The clothing, while beautiful, would have had to have been something wicked to clean and maintain, and I don’t see how any of that stuff, especially corsets, could have been comfortable.  I balk at underwire bras and pantyhose.

I have no idea how these poor women could breathe- but they were probably already rail-thin from always having Montezuma’s Revenge.

 Another hallmark of the Victorian era was maudlin sentiment, which was sort of understandable when you didn’t know from one day to the next who would be alive and who would be dead.  The next birthday you remember might be the last, so yuk it up good.  The cards- and I admit I don’t spend much time or money on paper cards these days- are awesome.  Even the ads are so much more artistic than the ones we are treated to today:

Of course the stuff in the ad probably had lead and arsenic and heroin and cocaine in it, but what a pretty ad!

Patent medicines- basically anything someone could put in a bottle or a tin and market creatively- intrigue me also.  A lot of that stuff proved to be more deadly than anything.  I have to wonder how many people died because the “cure” was worse than the disease.

This looks like someone’s acid trip- and it might just be acid- but if it does something about my lumbago, I might just try it!

I like the little demon drilling on the top of the dude’s head  (center frame on the left.)  That’s a nice touch.

Any Color (As Long As It’s Black,) Medical Curiosities, and Dark Despondency

I’m not sure if  “Any color as long as it’s black” is a direct quote of Henry Ford’s, but I mention Henry Ford because I can sort of identify with him.  He was the type of person who thought outside the box- to a degree- and then defined the box according to his own personal boundaries.  All Model T Fords came from the factory in one color- black- because that was the most economical color of paint available at that time.   I dye my hair black for pretty similar reasons- I don’t end up with dark ends from trying to match the original mousy brown, nor do I end up looking completely ridiculous with platinum blonde hair- and dark roots.  Black is black and that is easy to match.  It prevents me from having to go to a salon twice a month for color, which I can’t afford.  Then again I wonder what I can afford.  Not very damned much.  I can’t even afford the farking nasal spray to treat my incorrigible sinus problems that costs $120, but in theory would prevent me from choking to death on snot.  So if I drown in my own snot, the world knows why.

Yesterday I got to see my new primary care Dr. (after going to the same one for 17 years it really sucks to have to switch) and as far as I can see, he’s OK.  I will discern more as time goes by, and I know that he will probably want to play around with my meds once he gets my labs back.  Joy and rapture- and I’m already bracing for the medication-induced narcolepsy, because that’s often what happens when my blood pressure meds are changed.  There is nothing like an involuntary nap at 2PM to make one realize just how befuggered their internal clockwork really is.    I feel sorry for the guy.  I did notice a bit of bewilderment as he perused my current scripts.  Yes, I know the combinations and dosages of just my blood pressure meds alone are enough to kill a normal person.  It’s been that way for years.  In dog years I’m dead, and I often wonder exactly why I’ve been left on this earth to consume valuable oxygen, but it’s not my question to ask.   Maybe I should just stop taking all that shit and see how long it takes for me to drop dead.  The only problem with that is knowing me, I wouldn’t just drop dead.  Something else would fail or go wrong- enough to make me deadly ill, but not enough to kill me. It would be just enough to keep contributing to my suffering. 

It seems the snots have been around for a long, long time.  Catarrh is the old time word for “hacking cough.” Apparently that shit didn’t work either.

I feel sorry for any medical professional who has to deal with me given my funky assed history.  I don’t fit- not even remotely- into anyone’s definition of normal.  Science can provide few clues as to what to do with my sorry carcass except to comment when there are medical students nearby to observe, and to make sure I get billed for everything they can possibly bill me for.  I can only imagine, but they should be paying me for getting to enjoy the freak show.

If anyone could be the poster child for medical anomalies it would be me.  I think it would be cool if I could observe my own autopsy and see just how bizarre my physical body really is.  That’s what I get for watching too many episodes of Dr. G.  I may be twisted, but Dr. G is the shizzle.  I bet she would have fun with my autopsy.

I know what it is!  I’m WHITE!  I need a cure for being WHITE!

As long as we look to legislation to cure poverty or to abolish special privilege we are going to see poverty spread and special privilege grow. – Henry Ford, from his autobiography, My Life and Work.

I’ve said the same thing myself only in a slightly different way: You get more of whatever you subsidize.  Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” has actually become subsidized poverty.   Why are people going to bother to work to provide for themselves when the government takes what they earn away from them so that other people can have what working people can’t afford- for free?   Socialism doesn’t work.  Eventually those of us who do have some sort of work ethic will get demoralized and just say, “aw, screw it,” like the rest of the denizens of the trailer park.   Then no one will get anything for free, because the ones who used to pay for their freebies decided it wasn’t worth it anymore.

I sincerely wish that the entitlement crowd would take a good hard look at the people like me who are driven into the ground as we are forced to finance their pork projects.  I’m sure they are, as they’re laughing their asses off, enjoying free health care and government cheese on my dime.  I can’t even afford my own scripts. 

Admittedly I’ve not been this depressed in a long time.  I think it might have to do with whatever this interminable head cold? allergy hell? chronic sinus drainage? is.  I always have some degree of snot and drainage from my sinuses, but ever since a week ago Monday the back of my throat has been a snot Niagara Falls.  I choke on it sitting up. I’ve gotten maybe three hours of sleep since a week ago Monday between the snotting and the hacking and there is no medication out there so far (antihistamines, Nyquil, cough syrup, be it OTC or scripts, etc.) that will touch it.  Both the urgent care joint and the new Dr. I saw yesterday claim that this noise is all allergies and is nothing I can spread to others, but that is cold comfort.  I can suffer, but buck up- no matter how miserable I am, at least I’m not going to spread the joy?  As if hawking up a gallon of snot won’t clear a room?

Then to add some icing to the cake I can’t find my damned debit card.   I am hoping like hell that I left it in my pants pocket and I don’t have to report it lost and go through that noise again of getting it replaced.