Friday, March 30, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #32: Relationships Edition


Ok, so it's been AN ENTIRE WEEK since I blogged and I know you're all sad, distraught, whatevs, because I haven't been around much, but hey guys, spring has spring and I'm crazy busy on account of being so awesome and popular.


True story.

I know I've developed a reputation for doing some man-hating over here, even though I don't hate Men in General, just the specific ones on the list I carry around in my head. Anyway, you can all relax, because this isn't one of those posts. Today is Friday, so these are your Fun Friday Facts (about relationships).

1) In France, it's legal to marry someone who has already died. Of course, you can't just marry anyone who has died.

That would be silly. ~ Tony Chang

You can only have a posthumous wedding if the engagement was agreed upon and the plans finalized before the fiance's death. You have to have set the date, and everything. Officials will require proof of the relationship, including shared lease agreements, shared bank accounts, shared utilities, photos of the wedding dress, engagement rings, etc. Your request for a posthumous marriage must be personally granted by the President of France himself.

He doesn't have anything better to do. ~ European People's Party

Twenty-five percent of these requests are turned down. Nevertheless, a whopping grand total of ten posthumous marriages occur each year in France. The practice apparently began during the first World War, when women began taking advantage of France's marriage-by-proxy laws (which allow someone to stand in for you at your wedding) to marry soldiers who, as it turned out, were already dead.

That's unfortunate.

In the 1950s, civilians won the right to practice posthumous marriage, when a Frenchwoman called Irène Jodart petitioned President de Gaulle to let her marry André Capra, her fiance, who was killed when a dam collapsed in the town of Fréjus.

If the marriage is granted, it's retroactive to the day before the deceased party became deceased. The widow or widower becomes a legal member of the late partner's family. Any children born of the union are legitimized. The widow or widower is not allowed to inherit any of the dead person's stuff, but may be entitled to any pensions that were due.

2) Speaking of marrying the dead, Carl Tanzler, a German-American born in Dresden in 1877, has gained lasting notoriety for stealing, preserving and, possibly, doing the nasty with the corpse of his beloved, Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos.

Tanzler emigrated to the United States in 1926. He had been living in Australia, but was detained in an internment camp throughout the first World War. After his release, he sought out his mother in Europe, and lived with her for three years, until she encouraged him to move to Florida to be near his sister. There, he met the love of his life, whose face, he claimed, had been revealed to him in a dream, by his ancestor Anna Constantia von Brockdorff, Countess of Cosel.

Totally.

Unfortunately, Tanzler's ancestor failed to mention that the girl would be dying of tuberculosis when he met her in April of 1930. Tanzler totally acted like he knew what he was doing and tried to cure the girl through various displays of quackery. He also showered her with gifts and groveled as only a man in the throes of passion can. It is not certain that de Hoyos returned Tanzler's love.

But he dug her up and stuffed her anyway.
After de Hoyos's death in October 1931, Tanzler received permission from the family to give her one last gift – an elaborate mausoleum. He visited his dead girlfriend there nightly, serenading her corpse and, so he claimed, communing with her spirit. He later claimed that he decided to steal the body from the tomb and take it home with him because the girl's spirit specifically asked him too.

Tanzler replaced the corpse's decaying skin with wax and plaster-soaked cloth, her eyes with marbles, and her hair with a wig. He filled the torso with rags, dressed it in stockings, gloves and jewels, and doused it in perfumes, preservatives and disinfectants, for some reason. He kept the body in his bed and, according to some sensationalized and not at all substantiated reports, had sex with it.

Shoved a tube up her crotch, from what I hear.

3) Anna Haining Bates was the child of Scots immigrants, born in Novia Scotia in 1846. Though her parents, and twelve brothers and sisters, were normal in size, Anna herself reached the astounding height of 7'5.5” (2.27 m). Her average weight was about 350 pounds (159 kilos). When she was trapped in a burning building in 1865, it took eighteen firemen to rescue her, by smashing a hole in the wall and lowering her with block and tackle.

Yikes.

Anna's husband, Martin van Buren Bates, was 7'11” tall (2.41 m), and weighed 470 pounds (213.64 kilos). Bates worked as a schoolteacher before joining the Civil War on the wrong side. After slinking home in defeat, Bates found his home state of Kentucky still kind of fighting the war a little, and decided to move to Ohio, where he joined the circus.

It was while in the circus that he met Anna, who was just visiting the circus as you do when the guy in charge of giants spotted her and offered her a position on the spot. They married in 1871 and returned to Ohio in 1872, where they bought a farm, built a giant-sized house and settled down to raise a family. Sadly, their first child was stillborn and the second died soon after birth. Anna died of tuberculosis in 1888 at the age of forty-two. Martin moved out of the house, eventually remarried, and lived quietly until his death in 1919, at the age of 80.

He was buried with his first wife, which pissed the second one off, I bet. ~Carboncopy
The super-sized house they built to suit their super-sized proportions seems to have since been demolished, which is kinda disappointing, because I would have liked to have seen it.




Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #31: Womb Edition


Because I was stuck for topics today, so I asked my Facebook focus group, as I sometimes do. The best two suggestions were “The Hunger Games” and “boobs,” but I've already done boobs and I haven't read The Hunger Games yet (or seen the film), so I thought I'd probably better not do that one. Actually I was going to do it anyway because f*ck it, but then I was like, well, I can't think of anything to write because I haven't seen/read it yet.

Scruples: I duz not haz dem.

I happened across the term “wandering uterus” earlier today, while researching a completely unrelated topic as part of my ritzy exciting freelance writer life, and I was like, well, like sounds like an interesting thing. Then I googled it and went on to learn some very interesting things about the womb and/or menstruation, such as:

1) Women have used tampons since the days of ancient Egypt.

Those Egyptians: they thought of everything. ~ Hajor

Those ancient tampons were made of papyrus. The ancient Greeks and Hebrews also used tampons as a form of birth control, though it's possible they may have used them during menstruation.

2) In the Middle Ages in Europe, menstrual blood was assigned all kinds of magical powers. It was said to be able to madden dogs, kill trees and stain mirrors.

Yes, mirrors. Of all things. ~ Cgs

The blood was considered dangerous to the menstruating woman as well as to her entourage. “Horrible, poison creatures” were said to grow in it, and to have the ability to make the menstruating woman very ill, even fatally so. Even if the woman herself escaped illness, the blood was believed capable of rendering her very gaze deadly.

Menstruation was, of course, rightly recognized as a sign of female fertility. If pregnancy occurred, the (retained) blood was considered beneficial, even necessary for, the baby's development. After the birth, the body was believed to convert menstrual blood into breast milk.

3) In the past, men have been believed to menstruate. In the 18th century, medical science was somewhat less sophisticated than it is today. Physicians deduced that womens' bodies menstruated in order to balance their humors and restore their physical equilibrium. Mens' bodies did this by sweating, during all the hard manual labor that dudes did back then. Dudes who didn't perform manual labor – like priests and academics – were bound to menstruate, right?

Right.

Men didn't necessarily menstruate from the usual places. French doctor M. Carrere documented the case of a 25-year-old man who supposedly menstruated from his right pinky finger. Men might also menstruate from their nose or lungs, as well as their nether regions.

The treatment for male menstruation, as for so many other conditions back then, was draining some of the patient's blood. Since he obviously had too much, if it was overflowing like that.

Take two of these and call me in the morning. ~ Karl Rajnar Gjertsen

4) Throughout history, the possession of a womb has been considered a liability. The ancient Egyptians held the womb responsible for just about every female health complaint, even and especially those that had to do with other parts of the female anatomy altogether. The Egyptians, and after them the Greeks, blamed womens' health problems – all of them – on the aforementioned “wandering uterus.” This self-explanagtory condition caused the uterus to wander around the body, leaving havoc in its wake. If the uterus wandered into the chest, for example, the woman would develop a respiratory complaint; if it wandered into her face, she might give birth from her nose (I guess). There were two treatments for this condition; rub the vagina with “sweet-smelling” unguents to lure the uterus back into its proper position, or rub the affected area with stinky disgusting unguents in hopes of scaring it back.

That's how I got the monkeys out of my ass. ~ Chris huh

Even after medical science figured out that the womb can't just roam wherever it freakin' wants, doctors still believed that its mere presence in the body made women crazy. “Hysteria” remained a thing in the United States until the 1950s. Symptoms included:

  • Nervousness
  • Heaviness in the abdomen
  • Fluid retention
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle spasms
  • And of course, the ever-popular and always debilitating “tendency to cause trouble.”

Treatments included seclusion, bed rest and bland food. Doctors advised that the afflicted refrain from any physical or mental activity, since taxing the system was deemed likely to aggravate the condition. As one blogger puts it, “They believed mental activity could be harmful to women as well; perhaps all that thinking meant the brain would take blood away from the reproductive organs and lead to infertility.”

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Some doctors prescribed “body braces” designed to support the “abdominal organs.”

That is a womb harness.

“Pelvic massages” were also a popular treatment for hysteria, since it was believed to occur due to sexual deprivation. I'm sure you would have heard about these by now. They required physicians to “massage” their patients' genitals at least once a week.

Or blast them with a water cannon, that works too.

According to Wikipedia, these treatments were profitable for doctors, who didn't have to worry about their patients up and dying because, you know, they weren't actually sick. However, the entry goes on to somewhat hilariously state that “The technique was difficult for a physician to master and could take hours to achieve.”

That's what she said.

The first clockwork vibrator appeared in 1870, and the first electrically powered one a few years later. When electricity began appearing commonly in homes in the 20th century, electric vibrators were among some of the first home appliances available. Their invention predated such conveniences as the electric vacuum cleaner and the electric iron by nine and ten years, respectively.

Notice that she's using it on her hair?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy First Blog Birthday!


Woot you guys, guess what! Today is my first blog birthday! Don't Call Me Marge is one year old today!

Huzzahhhhhh!

And to think, when I first started this thing, I thought, “Well, this will last for a couple of months. Six, if I don't get bored.”

But oh my gawd you guys ONE YEAR LATER and look at me go! My little blog is growing up and I'm so proud! *sniff*

Of course, I couldn't have done it without you! That's right, YOU. I know I don't usually get all cheesy and stuff, but if it weren't for you guys, hanging around here and giving me the thumbs-up all the time, there'd really be no reason to keep blogging. It's pretty depressing to writing a blog that no one reads, and I should know, cause this is my third one.

In celebration of my first blogaversary, I'm going to recap some of the things that have happened over the past year here at Don't Call Me Marge. Don't worry, I'll try not to bore you.

My first blog post, one year ago today, was “I really love seaquariums, even though I'm really scared of fish.” In it, I talked about my deep-seated fear of fish, which goes back to childhood and is the primary reason I am afraid of the water. I hate going into the water because I just know something's going to eat me, unless it's a swimming pool. As I explain in the post, I cope with this fear by going to seaquariums and taunting the fish.

Yo Mama's so fat, she drives a spandex car. ~ Andrepiazza

About two months later, I won my first award!

Sweet!

I got it from Violeta Nedkova (@LynMidnight), who writes the blog Lyn Midnight Against theOdds. She's really cool, sweet, and well-mannered, unlike myself, so it's a wonder she speaks to me at all.

I proceeded to receive three additional awards, because I'm awesome like that.

The Finger Award is my personal favorite. 

Popular posts in the beginning were “9 Reasons You Didn't Get a Third Date,” “6 Reasons I'm Single,” “How Not to Talk to Women” and “4 MoreStupid Things Men Do,” which apparently cost me some dates, but only with douchenozzles, so that's okay.

"So, do you think you'll ever have kids?"

Actually, “4 More Stupid Things Men Do” sparked a flame war in one of my Facebook groups, and gave me my first taste of social controversy since high school.

It also earned me a reputation as a “feminist” blogger, because apparently all you have to do to be a feminist is complain about the behavior of a man or men, once.

Also, I guess being a feminist is a bad thing?

So I wrote “How to Be an Independent Woman (for Realsies)” and totally forgot to put in “Squash your own bugs,” because I fail.

Seriously, though, I really thought I'd piss off more people more often, especially when I bragged about being a genius and again when I criticized certain tenants of the Christian religion. But, I guess I just can't do wrong in your eyes, dear Blog Fans – or at least, not too much wrong.

You're scared of me, aren't you?

I exercised some total SEO mastery with “Rapture tomorrow, don't forget your helmets,” which jumped to the top of Google results for the keyword “rapture helmets” within ten minutes of my posting. Pure luck on my part, as I didn't realize there actually is such a thing as a rapture helmet. Didn't realize the rapture required protective headgear, but I guess the faithful are afraid of colliding with airborne birds, aircraft, meteors, etc, and sustaining head injuries on their way to everlasting life. Because God won't put in the extra effort to protect His Chosen? Or does it even matter, since I suppose you're technically already dead?

Are you a zombie, at this point?

I'll admit I struggled a little coming up with blog topics sometimes, but creating the Fun Friday Facts column really helped with that. Even though I didn't actually do them every Friday. Most Fridays, though. I'm not a total loss.

Sometime in September, probably, I made the acquaintance of Solitary Mama, one of my two Blogging BFFs. She introduced me to Bubblegum Cari, my other Blogging BFF, and together we formed the Bitchery Triad. If you're wandering what that is, it's a whole heap of awesome, rolled up and compressed into a fun-sized package. Every month or so, we get together and blog on a shared topic, in a manner described as “addictive,” “more fun than TWO barrels of monkeys” and “well out of line.” Check out the Bitchery Triad page of this blog for a complete list BOTH of the posts we've done so far!

And, of course, I quit smoking, over two months ago now! Thanks for sharing that journey with me, but don't worry, it's not over! There will be further updates on my exciting new life as a non-smoker, especially when I'm stuck for blog topics.

What have you enjoyed about the past year? What's been your favorite post? Tell us in the comments!

You thought I forgot about the bald cats, didn't you? WRONG! 



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Top 5 Things You Shouldn't Say to Me, or Else (A Bitchery Triad Post)


That's right, kids, the Bitchery Triad is back (finally!) with more ménage-à-trois bitchery action from the three of us. Cause you can never have too much negativity, I always say.

After (entirely too) much debate, we settled on today's topic, “things you shouldn't say to me.” I have a feeling their things are going to have to do with single-ness and mom-ness, for some reason.

Hmmm...

Don't forget to go read Solitary Mama's post here, and when you're done with that, go read Bubblegum Cari's post here.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Sweet, you're back. Ok, I'll just go ahead and lead into this by saying there are plenty of things I can't stand people to say to me, but these are the ones that you really, really shouldn't say to me. If you say any of these things to me you are taking a massive risk. The consequences of that risk depend on my mood (which in turn depends on the phase of the moon, ha ha), my blood sugar level, the nature and quality of our personal relationship, and other miscellaneous circumstances, including but not limited to the length of the check-out line at MallWart and the date of my last sexual conquest. If you say any of these things to me, I might:

  • Glare nastily at you
  • Stop taking your calls, and/or lose your number
  • De-friend you from Facebook
  • Complain about it behind your back to anyone who will listen FOR THE REST OF TIME

Contrary to what you might think, being a close friend or relative offers no guarantee of protection from any of these consequences. In fact, being a close friend or relative may well guarantee the most severe consequences, since, as I'll mention repeatedly to anyone who will listen, you should've known better.

Here, without further ado, are the top five things you shouldn't say to me, or else:

5) “I'm deleting you from my Facebook because...”

Oh, you wanna delete me from your Facebook? Fine. Go ahead. No problem. Just don't notify me or offer me any explanations. Why? Because if you don't, I'll never even notice that you're gone, you self-centered douchenozzle.



4) “What are you doing? Still writing? Oh, don't worry, I can get you a job.”

Ok, maybe I haven't been clear. Let's go over this again. Pay attention this time:

Writing. Is. My. Job.

Unbelievable, I know.

That's right, writing. Is my job. All by itself. I write stuff – web content and advertising copy – and I give it to people – companies and such – and then they give me money. I use that money to pay my bills and buy things, just like you do with the money from your job.

Gasp!

I love writing and I'm good at it, and I love that people pay me to write, so that I can make a living doing what I love and what I'm good at. It doesn't matter that the writing isn't particularly creative or artistic or, ahem, “revolutionary,” because it's the act of writing itself I enjoy, not the ego boost I get from “being a writer.”

Besides, the ego boost kinda dissipates when you graciously offer me part-time, minimum-wage work, as if my career, my clients and my successes mean nothing.

3) “But, you should be writing something creative and personal, just for you!”

And you should be minding your own business. Weren't you paying attention before?

Now why would I think you were?

I know you've got some romantic idea of what it's like to be a writer. You'd rather have me working some soul-crushing, low-paying job whilst I struggle to squeeze out a brilliant novel that will finally make it all worthwhile.

I've been down that road before. I'd tell everyone how I aspire to be a writer someday and they'd all nod and trade knowing looks, because who the hell doesn't? As an added bonus, I'd get to be secretly (ok, loudly and openly) resentful about wasting my God-given talent and dammit I know I'm better than that.

Or I can keep doing it my way, which means I get to feel fulfilled whether or not I ever win the publishing lottery and actually make a living from writing something creative and personal, just for me.

Pictured: The chances of that happening.


Of course, I know why you're saying that. You're writing a 7,000-page novel and dreaming about how one day it'll be a best-seller and you'll travel the world on your yacht, never needing to work again.

Well guess what, I get seasick. ~Pline


2) “But, you make your own hours!” * pout * * pout *

I always get this one when someone wants me to blow off my work for them, like if they want me to come get ice cream and it's not my lunch break, or something.

To which I will respond with some variation of, “Yeah, and I'm making them right now,” because yes, I do my make own hours – and you don't.

Believe it or not, I do have a certain amount of work to get done each day, and it's not gonna happen if I don't stick to some kind of a schedule. You think that “making my own hours” means I'm free to do whatever I like whenever I like, and oh, yeah, I might do some work if I can fit it in later.

If you're wondering why you're not the boss at your own place of work, this is why.

I have a more flexible work schedule, but that doesn't make being available to you a priority. I have a right to plan my own day and you need to quit with the guilt trips.



1) “OH MY GOD, ARE YOU PREGNANT?!?”

No, I'm just getting fat, you stupid b*tch.

ProTip: Never ask a woman if she's pregnant -- EVEN IF SHE'S GIVING BIRTH.


The Bitchery Triad has its own Facebook Page! Come show us some love! Because it smells good there!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Things You Can Buy from The National Enquirer

The other day I was visiting with my grandma's cousin, cause that's the way we roll in West Virginia. Actually, my aunt (I call her Number Three because she's my mother's third oldest sister) and my mother were over there cleaning the place in exchange for Cuz-Ma (I don't really call her that) doing their taxes. I do my own taxes so I supervised.

Cuz-Ma's an elderly lady, and no longer able to get around very well, since she has a bad heart -- hence the need for somebody else to clean her house. She spends her days watching Lifetime movies, knitting, overfeeding her poodle and reading The National Enquirer, which you didn't know anybody actually read.

I was leafing through one of them when I noticed an advertisement for the following:

Solar-powered lawn meerkats.

Kind of cute, until you realize they glow in the dark, so they look like they're radioactive. Also, they're meerkats, WTF. First time I've ever heard of anyone decorating their lawn and/or lighting their footpaths with carnivorous rodents.

But what they hey, they're ten dollars off.

Naturally, I wanted to know what other luxury items can be purchased from the pages of The National Enquirer. You can buy:

Elvis Presley 30th Anniversary Memorial Half-Dollar

Dear Lord in Heaven, I'd fake my own death too.

Sculpted knives depicting the archangels.

Holy sh*t are you kidding me? That's got to be some kind of sin, I mean look at these things. Just look at them. I wonder, are they purely for decorative use, or can they hold an edge? Is there a special Hell for stabbing someone with an archangel knife? Is there a special Hell within that special Hell for stabbing someone to death with an archangel knife?

Also, I'm Catholic and I don't think there are that many archangels. I think they threw in some extras to jack up the price.

Marilyn Monroe commemorative statuette.

Well, isn't that nice. Except, I don't think Marilyn Monroe was quite that thin.

Nope, definitely not that thin.

Also, look more closely at the statuette's legs. They're actually freakishly long.


Majestic Guardians wall sculpture.

This thing serves absolutely no purpose, practical or otherwise. I think it means to symbolize the monogamous, lifelong mating habits of the American bald eagle, but it comes off looking like that big one's attacking the others. Or maybe that's just me.

"Country Pride" rooster wall clock.

You can hang this next to your eagle thingy to complete your bird-themed decor.


Dale Earnhardt commemorative...thing.

I have nothing against Dale Earnhardt, but everything against having to dust his memory.


I Love Lucy cuckoo clock.

When it chimes, a little bitty bonbon assembly line spins out. That's kind of cool, actually. You can hang it up right next to your...

Wizard of Oz hourglass lamp.
Oh hells yeah.