Butter Rum Cartoon

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Thursday, April 16, 2015


I often struggle with a bad temper. I bang my head on a cupboard and reel off a bunch of cussing, then feel guilty about the cussing. If I'm then criticized for the cussing, I spew anger at the criticizer and feel even worse, feeling the loss of adrenaline and sad because of hurting someone. Finally I've found the cure, thanks to St. Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th century Doctor of the Church. 

For Anger.  A person who becomes so agitated in his anger that he experiences pains should take bay leaves and dry them on a hot tile, and do the same with sage and marjoram, then dry these plants in the sun, and grind them up. Then he should mix these three powders together, in such a way that the powder from the bay leaves constitutes more than the powder from the sage, and the powder from the sage more than the powder from marjoram. Then one should put it up to one's nose because of its good aroma. One should also place a small amount of this powder in some cold wine, mix it up, and rub it into the brow, the temple, and the chest. The bay leaves possess a considerable, hot dryness; the wine moistens the humors that dry up those of a person's anger; the heat of the marjoram soothes the brain that has been stirred up by anger; and the dry heat of the sage gathers together again the humors that the anger has scattered. When the bay leaves are dried upon a hot tile and absorb the health that emanates from it and are laid, as said, in the sun together with the marjoram and the sage, that because of their powerful action are laid in the sun and are thus moderated, they alleviate the abovementioned sufferings through their wholesome heat. Because of its naturally gentle action, the powder that is mixed with the unheated wine also soothes, as said, the vessels of the forehead, the temple, and the chest which have been agitated by the anger. 

For Anger and Melancholy.  If a person is overcome by anger or melancholy, he should quickly heat some wine on the fire, mix it with cold water, and drink it. In this fashion the vapors from his bile, which has led him into anger, will be suppressed.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


From an anonymous article by "A Pioneer," printed in Hart's "Source Book of American History," 1822.

In building our cabin it was set north and south; my brother used my father's pocket-compass on the occasion, for we had no idea of living in a house that did not stand square with the earth itself. This showed our ignorance of the comforts and conveniences of a pioneer life. The position of the house, end to the hill, necessarily elevated the lower end, and the determination to have both a north and south door, added much to the airiness of the house, particularly after the green ash puncheons had shrunk so as to leave cracks in the floor and doors from one to two inches wide. At both the doors we had high, unsteady, and sometimes icy steps, made by piling up the logs cut out of the wall. We had a window, if it could be called a window, when, perhaps, it was the largest spot in the top, bottom, or sides of the cabin at which the wind could not enter. It was made by sawing out a log, and placing sticks across; and then, by pasting an old newspaper over the hole, and applying some hog's lard, we had a kind of glazing which shed a most beautiful and mellow light across the cabin when the sun shone on it. All other light entered at the doors, cracks, and chimney.

Our cabin was twenty-four feet by eighteen. The west end was occupied by two beds, the center of each side by a door, and here our symmetry had to stop, for on the side opposite the window were our shelves, made of clapboards, supported on pins driven into the logs. Upon these shelves my sister displayed, in ample order, a host of pewter plates, basins, dishes, and spoons, scoured and bright. It was none of your new-fangled pewter made of lead, but the best of London pewter, which our father himself bought of the manufacturer. These were the plates upon which you could hold your meat so as to cut it without slipping and without dulling your knife. But, alas! the days of pewter plates and sharp dinner knives have passed away.

To return to our internal arrangements, a ladder of five rounds occupied the corner near the window. By this, when we got a floor above, we could ascend. Our chimney occupied most of the east end; there were pots and kettles opposite the window under the shelves, a gun on hooks over the north door, four split-bottom chairs, three three-legged stools, and a small eight by ten looking-glass sloped from the wall over a large towel and combcase. Our list of furniture was increased by a clumsy shovel and a pair of tongs, made with one shank straight, which was a certain source of pinches and blood blisters. We had also a spinning-wheel and such things as were necessary to work it. It was absolutely necessary to have three-legged stools, as four legs of anything could not all touch the floor at the same time.

The completion of our cabin went on slowly. The season was inclement, we were weak-handed and weak-pocketed--in fact laborers were not to be had. We got our chimney up breast high as soon as we could, and got our cabin daubed as high as the joists outside. It never was daubed on the inside, for my sister, who was very nice, could not consent to "live right next to mud." My impression now is, that the window was not constructed till spring, for until the sticks and clay were put on the chimney we could have no need of a window; for the flood of light which always poured into the cabin from the fireplace would have extinguished our paper window, and rendered it as useless as the moon at noonday.

We got a floor laid overhead as soon as possible, perhaps in a month; but when finished, the reader will readily conceive of its imperviousness to wind or weather, when we mention that it was laid of loose clapboards split from red oak, the stump of which may be seen beyond the cabin. That tree must have grown in the night, for it was so twisting that each board lay on two diagonally opposite corners; and a cat might have shaken every board on our ceiling.

It may be well to inform the unlearned reader that "clapboards" are such lumber as pioneers split throughout; they resemble barrel-staves before they are shaved, but are split longer, wider, and thinner; of such our roof and ceiling were composed. "Puncheons" are planks made by splitting logs to about two and a half or three inches in thickness, and hewing them on one or both sides with the broadax; of such our floor, doors, tables, and stools were manufactured. The "eave-bearers" are those end logs which project over to receive the butting poles, against which the lower tier of clapboards rest to form the roof. The "trapping" is the roof timbers, composing the gable end and the ribs. The "trap logs" are those of unequal length above the eave-bearers, which form the gable ends, and upon which the ribs rest. The "weight poles" are small logs laid on the roof, which weigh down the course of clapboards on which they lie, and against which the course above is placed. The "knees" are pieces of heart timber placed above the butting poles, successively, to prevent the weight poles from rolling off.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Monday, April 13, 2015


A picture to post...

And a note to put behind the wiper blade of a parked car with a Hillary bumper-sticker on it...

We shouldn't have to worry about her winning the election, except for the dolt who won the last two.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Friday, April 10, 2015


by Edmund C. Gray, M.D. ~ 1927

There was a time when the fly and the mosquito, those twin pests of the summer season, were regarded merely as common nuisances. As such they have caused great discomfort, even unutterable anguish at times, and added to the widespread use of the profane language.

Came the time when medical science added a new charge to the indictment against these twin pests. It was started when a young fellow connected with the Department of Agriculture at Washington discovered that the tick was responsible for the spread of "Texas fever" among cattle, this discovery causing medical science to conduct experiments with the mosquito and other insects as carriers of disease among human beings. In the process of these experiments heroes were made that the cause of health might be advanced, volunteers offering themselves as a sacrifice to the cause of science by exposing their bodies to the sting of insects that has been inoculated with disease by having bitten diseased persons.

Anopheles Mosquito
As a result of such experiments one hero died of yellow fever in Havana, and others contracted the disease but subsequently recovered. But it was through their heroic sacrifices that the Anopheles mosquito was definitely indicted as the common carrier of yellow fever and malaria, and that yellow fever was ultimately stamped out in Havana, the Canal Zone, and in all the Gulf States of the United States. Had it not been for the discovery indicting the mosquito as a carrier of disease the Panama Canal never could have been completed, as it was the mosquito that handicapped the French in this effort and was partly the cause of their abandonment of the enterprise.

Some insects are merely nuisances; some give much discomfort; and some are even dangerous. Because we are habitually careless with our refuse we are pestered with that general "goat getter," the common house fly. But even the common house fly may be even worse than a pest, as against it, too, there is a new indictment.

House Fly
The fly has been convicted as a disease carrier largely upon conjecture; but to medical men the circumstantial evidence is strong against him. He crawls over what we eat and wipes his feet on it and on our faces, without regard to where those feet have trod but a few minutes before. The more we perspire the more likely he is to trample upon our bodies, our dignity and our patience and good humor, and the tighter he clings. He defecates every few minutes, wherever he is. When he alights in the sugar bowl or on the cake frosting he vomits the contents of his crop upon the sugar to dissolve it, then greedily gobbles up the solution. But his construction is such that he cannot bite. I am writing of the common house fly; there are other flies that do bite, and bite viciously. The chief annoyances of this common domestic fly are its dirty habits and its tendency to become too socially intimate with the humans responsible for its existence. Swatting the fly is excellent exercise and should be indulged in by all when occasion presents. But that will not rid a place of the pest. It must not be allowed to breed!

Among the flies that do bite are the common stable fly, sand fly, bluebottle fly, and the blowfly. These usually are not present in large numbers, but their bites may be vicious and painful. Some of them may walk over wounds and infect them by depositing infected or decomposing material. The blowfly, especially, is a serious pest, as it deposits its eggs in the nostrils, usually of sleeping persons. Maggots develop from the eggs, sometimes in large numbers, and the tissues of the nose and throat may be rapidly destroyed. As the eggs hatch within a short time after being deposited, there is only a short time for removing them.

Perhaps no insect is more of a pest than the mosquito. While the fly is domesticated and sleeps at night, the mosquito is like most sinners in that he travels at night and prefers darkness for his revels. Its singing is a nuisance and music to no human ears, but its bite is much worse. Its long proboscis is plunged quickly into the skin for the purpose of drawing blood--in the process of which it brings torment to the victim. A poison is injected during the time of blood-sucking, hence small or large welts may be produced, depending upon the susceptibility of the individual. A single bite causes as much trouble to some people as a whole flock of them to some others. Several bites are very likely to cause nervousness, irritability, and restless sleep or insomnia. The effect upon children is apt to be considerably more severe than upon adults. Some people seem to just draw mosquitoes and other insects. Doubtless they do, for the more toxic the body the more pronounced the body odor, and this attracts insects. The more toxic one is the more severe the symptoms will be, also.

Female Culex Mosquito
There are several kinds of mosquitoes, but most of them are comparatively harmless except as stated. The term mosquito is popularly given to only one variety of gnats, the Culex. His piping singing gives rise to his name (Culex pipiens). The other important mosquito is the known carrier of malaria, and is called the Anopheles. You may be able to detect these two forms by points of difference: Anopheles is slender, its body is almost straight, its wings are dark spotted, and when it rests it stands on four legs with two rear legs up in the air and its body at an angle of from forty-five to eighty degrees with the surface plane upon which it rests; Culex has a heavier body, a decided humpback, its wings are spotless, and it rests on all six legs with its body almost parallel with the surface plane on which it rests. Aside from the danger of malaria in malarial districts, mosquitoes can do more to take the joy out of vacationing than almost any other influence.

Gnats and fleas are common pests, and especially aggravating because of their perniciously annoying habits and small size and their agility in getting out of the way of hands bent on no caressing mission. They make prodigious leaps to safety, but return to pester again when the cost is clear. Jiggers, chiggers or jigger fleas are a serious pest. There is the tiny mite that burrows beneath the skin and creates an intense itch. It is "picked up" from grass and weeds. There is the larger kind that does the same burrowing. They become as large as peas from the development of eggs within their bodies, and show under the elevated whitened skin. The swellings are painful and may ulcerate.

Spider webs are pretty things to look upon from the tent door or cottage window when covered with dew, but the spiders who weave them are not so agreeable. Perhaps all spiders are not poisonous, but a good many are. They inject a corrosive, poisonous acid similar to that found in ants--formic acid (the Latin for ants is formica). It produces rapid swelling and inflammation, sometimes partial paralysis. Ants are very good for inciting one to do a shimmy dance, but they are not conducive to good digestion of a picnic dinner thoroughly enjoyed. They are inclined to use their biters or stings with a vengeance upon any intruder or  disturber. Whole colonies may attack with great fury. There may be only temporary pain, but some ants are poisonous and the effect of their poison may be noticed for some time.

Everyone knows something of bees, wasps and hornets, perhaps all of these. Anyone who inadvertently prods a hornet's nest or a bumble-bee ground nest and thereby provokes these winged minutemen to try the power of their sting and poison is most likely to walk a mile to prevent doing so again. Usually these winged sentinels do not molest one unless disturbed; but their very presence is disconcerting, for one never knows what innocent little act will be misinterpreted by them as a challenge or when he will be guilty of a faux pas. They are very touchy and unamenable to reason. So try to avoid letting wasps or hornets build their homes in the corners of your tent or cottage and do not erect your tent in the door-yard of a bees' home. A few stings from the vicious attacks of these, or "yellow jackets," will last one a lifetime.

Moths and butterflies are innocent enough any way you take them in their adult stage. But some of them are poisonous in their caterpillar or larval stages. Some of them produce itching eruptions like hives; some secrete a poisonous fluid; others have minute irritation spines that break off in the skin. In those forms that are at all harmful the spines usually have some fluid that causes an intense nettling sensation. Some of the moth larvae, especially those of the brown-tail moth, are extremely poisonous, though not fatally so. Their spines are particularly harmful if inhaled.

Some beetles are poisonous. Some merely exude a disgusting fluid, others have a fluid that raises blisters. The effect of this is much worse if there is sweating. This holds true of other poisonous insects, usually in somewhat less degree.

Buffalo Gnat
The black fly of the Northeastern States and the buffalo gnat found in the Mississippi valley have very painful bites and also inject a poison that produces marked swelling, and general symptoms if one suffers many bites. Buffalo gnats appear in great swarms in the lower Mississippi valley, and often are a terrible torment. Gad-flies, breeze-flies and horse-flies are more troublesome to animals that to man, but often cause much human distress. Their bites are not poisonous, but are very annoying and irritating. They frequently make bathing and boating very unpleasant.

One would think that with these several pests there might be little pleasure obtainable while picnicking, camping or vacationing. But except for flies and mosquitoes the pests are fairly easily avoided. You might as well try to sweep back the waters of the Mississippi with a broom as to try to clear your vacationing spot of all pests. But you can do much to make your vacation pleasurable by keeping your surroundings as clean as is humanly possible. If everyone took nothing into and left nothing in camping places upon which insects could breed there would be more enjoyment for them and more comfort for the next occupants of the grounds. But just now we are interested in what to do if any of these insects go on the rampage and make their presence painfully known. Here are some remedies:

House flies don't bite. But "swat 'em" at every opportunity. And keep your place screened and your waste properly disposed of. Sticky fly-paper is as effective in camp as in the home. Make traps for the flies, also; but avoid poisonous baits, such as arsenical papers, for these are dangerous if children are around.

Mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, fleas, lice and the large flies dislike oils of eucalyptus, cinnamon and cloves and weak solutions of carbolic acid. They won't interfere when these are applied to the body; and the last named is a good remedy in case of their bites and stings. The pain of these may be relieved by beta-naphthol, one-half dram to an ounce of water, menthol or ammonia water. But boric acid compresses are as good as anything else for reducing inflammation. When mosquitoes are breeding in great numbers in small bodies of water there is such congestion that the mosquitoes are dwarfed. These may require very fine screening to exclude them. But screen there should be, against full-sized mosquitoes anyway. Also small pools should be drained or a tablespoonful of kerosene (coal oil) for each square yard of surface water should be poured on the pools and renewed every ten to fourteen days. Smudges, or body application of fish-oil or other repellant substance, is of advantage to deep off black flies and buffalo gnats, and may other insects, as well.

Jiggers are killed by some natives of tropical and semi-tropical countries by holding a lighted cigarette over the skin. Don't take to smoking, however, merely to have a cigarette handy for an invasion that probably won't take place. A better way is to remove the parasite with a sharp knife point, taking care not to break its skin, for its contents may produce distressing sores. When the parasite is removed the cavity may be cleansed with boric acid solution and covered with a boric acid compress or with antiseptic powder.

Stings of wasps, bees and hornets may be relieved by applications of ammonia, baking soda, camphorated chloral, or merely by moist clay or a cold wet compress. Spider poison is an acid, hence an alkali will antidote it: calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, ammonia, baking soda, etc. The maggots of the blowfly may be destroyed by irrigations of weak solutions of clove oil or carbolic acid or with chloral; but these require such careful using that a physician should be consulted. Spraying and gargling with boric acid or Listerine or diluted lemon juice immediately after probable exposure will remove the danger of later trouble. Ticks should be removed, taking care to get the heads which are burrowed into the skin, then boric acid compresses may be applied to soothe the irritation. Holding a lighted match to the tip of the tick will cause it to release its hold. Solutions of Epsom salt applied by compress is excellent to relieve the irritation and inflammation of most of these bites and stings as well as of poison ivy. Common salt applied damp gives wonderful relief in stings of bees, wasps, hornets and beetles.

Woolen blankets make excellent traps for fleas, for they cannot jump from the wool.

One does not carry along a medicine chest when he goes vacationing, of course. But usually one will be fairly near some town where some desirable things may be obtained. But if one takes along boric acid for cleansing purposes and compresses, and oil of eucalyptus, cinnamon or cloves to prevent attacks by insects, or perhaps one of the marketed solutions for this purpose, uses every reasonable precaution to prevent attacks by insects, and keeps healthy so that an occasional bite or sting may be laughed off, the chances are that he will not be greatly disturbed by these pests and nuisances, or that he will be able to take care of their bites and stings and still enjoy his vacation and get a great deal of relaxation and benefit from it.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Monday, April 6, 2015


"Make a list of fifty words, unrelated to each other, and read them to me five seconds apart, and I will repeat them back to you, in order."

That's a challenge that most people would like to see you attempt. I can do it, and so can you.

The key is the five seconds from one word to the next. During that five seconds you make the unrelated words relate to each other, no matter how bizarre it might be to do so. Let's say someone makes up the following list:


As you close your eyes and listen and let your imagination go wild, these words are read to you. You remember only the first word, "box," to begin. But in your mind's eye you see a little submarine taken out of the box, a submarine shaped like a pickle, and out of it you hear a song sung by someone with a toothpick in his mouth. An angel is sitting on the toothpick, an angel covered with mud and holding a pencil, and on the pencil is a barbecue given in honor of a bride. Her belly is big, and she rides a horse, a ferocious black horse out of a nightmare that scares your boss away because he's yellow, jaundiced from bad marijuana. He dropped his telephone and a motorcycle ran over it, ridden by a fairy who spewed vomit all over the gas tank and a tooth came out in the vomit. Very messy, so the fairy got into a bathtub. The bottom of the tub was wood and the fairy got a sliver. But then a giant stepped down and crushed her flat. The giant was holding a lock, a Chinese lock that could be opened by a fingernail. The giant also played with a yoyo and the yoyo had a map on it. He tossed it forward and it hit someone's butt. It was a history professor who turned around and said hello. Then he got on a donkey and the donkey gave a cackle like a witch. The professor hit it on the head with a pipe to shut it up, which frightened the donkey into a run that kicked up gravel which hit a rabbit. The rabbit had a big burn on its side and was caught up into a tornado. A flying rabbit looked silly, but the tornado tore off your thumb, which was okay because you had eighteen more thumbs. It also tore out your tonsils, which was not fun. So to make you feel better someone gave you candy, but it turned to feathers inside your mouth. They wanted money for the candy, but an elephant trampled them, an elephant ridden by a queen who never got beyond kindergarten.

The weird visions stick in your memory and you repeat the words and surprise those around you. It's a fun thing to do at a party or while traveling, and a good mental exercise. Give it a try.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.