Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Worthy Example of a Vertuous Wife, who Fed her Father with her own Milk, 1686

a.k.a. Renaissance, you're so gross! Part II

Father's day is coming up, so figured I'd disturb the holy hell out of you this year.

You probably want to send this to your dad:

That's right. And apparently this is a thing.

Anyway, the story here is that a man is arrested and sentenced to starve to death in jail. His daughter gets permission to visit him every day, but she's searched so she can't sneak him any food. Then, she has a terrific idea:

"No Meat nor drink she with her brought
to help him there distrest,
But every day she nourisht him,
with Milk from her own Breast.

Thus by her Milk he was preserv'd,
a twelvemonth and a day,
And was as fair and fat to see,
yet no man knew which way."

Now I get the whole Roman Charity/act of selflessness thing, but...no and gross.

I recently read about some genetically modified cows making "human" breast milk, which is also sort of upsetting. Although, comparatively, not so much. You know, because of the thing I was talking about before. About the lady breastfeeding her own father. That thing.

Happy Father's day!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Wonderfull Battell of Starelings,1622

Today in topical dead bird news:

With all the dead birds falling from the sky lately (a.k.a. "the Aflockalypse"), I was reminded of this pamphlet I've had saved for a while. Suddenly, it's relevant!

In Cork, Ireland on October 12-14, 1621, it was raining starlings! But this wasn't just some boring dead bird situation -- these starlings were at war. Hordes of birds reportedly converged in such numbers that "the ayre was obscured and darkened by them." The birds, "mounting up into the Skies, encountered one another with such a terrible Shock, as the Sound amazed the whole City and the Beholders," until “there fell down in the City, and into the Rivers, Multitudes of Starlings or Stares, some with Wings broken, some with Legs and Necks broken, some with Eyes picked out, some their Bills thrust into the Breast and Sides of their Adversaries.” Damn. Can I just say that 400 years ago birds knew how to die with some pizazz! These 21st century birds just flop down on the ground without putting on a show of any kind.

After it was over, the amount of dead birds "was so great, that they were taken up with shovels, and swept together with besomes, that bushels were filled with them." The author seems to think this is bad, but I bet the starving Irishmen were pretty stoked, right?

What did it all mean? Well, like everything else bad that happened in the 17th century, "it doth prognosticate either God's mercy to draw us to repentence, or his justice to punish our sinnes and wickednesse, if we do not make haste to repent in due time."

But what about these recent bird deaths? Surely they are a message from God? A sign of the apocalypse? Well, renowned theologian and former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron says: no! Don't be stupid. Case closed.