leech removed from eye, cockney Bible and lost lab

In Sydney, a 66-year-old women was gardening in her backyard when she flicked dirt into her eye. "After multiple attempts at wiping the dirt away, she felt some movement in front of her eye and called for her husband's help. He saw a leech four to five millimeters long pass across her cornea and under the upper lid." Doctors were able to successfully remove the leech with a saline solution. Source

Mike Coles wrote a cockney version of the Bible endorsed by Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey. Dr. Carey wrote the foreword and believes this version will bring the Bible back "into the marketplace, into the streets, where it originally took place". Here is the Lord's Prayer (as found in Luke 11:2-4) as translated in this version:

HELLO, Dad, up there in good ol' Heaven,
Your name is well great and holy, and we respect you, Guv.
We hope we can all 'ave a butcher's at Heaven and be there as soon as
possible: and we want to make you happy, Guv, and do what you want 'ere on
earth, just like what you do in Heaven.
Guv, please give us some Uncle Fred, and enough grub and stuff to keep us
going today, and we hope you'll forgive us when we cock things up, just
like we're supposed to forgive them who annoy us and do dodgy stuff to us.
There's a lot of dodgy people around, Guv; please don't let us get tempted
to do bad things. Help keep us away from all the nasty, evil stuff, and
keep that dodgy Satan away from us, 'cos you're much stronger than 'im.
Your the Boss, God, and will be for ever, innit? Cheers, Amen.

Simon, a Labrador mix went missing from his Baltesz family in Bristol. After using the conventional methods, the Baltesz family started sprinkling their diluted urine around town with trails leading back to their house. "A small army of friends and volunteers has been helping."

Mother, Louise says: ""There are people who are upset about it, but I'm too emotionally drained to think about it," she said. "I'm worried about it - I really am. . . . I do feel mad doing it, but I'm driven to desperate measures."

Simon has been lost since July 4th. Louis adds, "The house is so quiet without him. He's a bit of a special dog because he was a rescue animal and it took us ages to rehabilitate him.'He's unusual for a Labrador because most are friendly and approachable but he was so badly treated he doesn't trust anyone except us. We are really attached to him."

Source Source Source .

40 minute war and the shoe-fitting fluoroscope

The Anglo-Zanzibar War between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar (in East Africa) occurred on August 27, 1896. The war lasted aproximatley 40 minutes. While Khalid bin Bargash seized power after Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini's death, the British wanted the sultanship to go to Hamud bin Muhammed. Bargash ignored the British ultimatum that he relinquish power and barracaded himself in the palace. When the time alloted in the ultimatum expired, five British warships commenced bombing of the palace. After British victory, the British forced Khalid's supporters to pay for the cost of the shells used in the attack. The war ended Zanzibar's status as a sovereign state. Several months later,under British prompting, Hamud abolished slavery. Source
In the 1920s to 1940s, a popular device in shoes stores was the shoe-fitting fluoroscope. Stores used their machines to draw in customers with slogans such as "Shoes of Quality, X-Ray Fitted" and "Kiddies love it!" One 1940's advertisement boasted, "Whether the shoe clerk is an “old timer” with 20 or more years of fitting experience or a “Saturday extra” who has been on the job only a few weeks, ADRIAN X-Ray Machines help him give your child the most accurate fitting possible."

The machines showed the image of the foot inside the shoe when a person stood over the x-ray tube. [One source says the x-ray tube was lead-shielded while another says it was shielded with 1 mm of aluminum.-most likely varied b model and year]. "Some units allowed the operator to select one of three different intensities: the highest intensity for men, the middle one for women and the lowest for children. "

Some models had three viewing slots, where both the child, parent and clerk could view the image. "Fortunately, the X-rays did not continue directly through to the viewers' eyes, but were reflected by mirrors to the viewing ports. With repeated use of the fluoroscope with different pairs of shoes, an enterprising clerk could entice customers to find the perfect fit."

While potential dangers of radiation were known before the shoe-fitting fluoroscope was patented, 10,000 shoe-fitting fluoroscopes were being used in the 1940s. In 1951, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists formed safety standards. The standard required that customers could not use the device more than 20 times a year or 5 times a fitting, and that "customers should have shoes on BOTH feet at the time of a fluoroscopic examination." 1960, the device was banned in 34 states.

The Museum of Quackery claims their fluoroscope on display was found in Madison, West Virginia in 1981 where it was still being used.

Source Source Source Source

Random Historical Facts

In 1671, the chief butler to the prince de Conde, Francois Vatel, was charged with overseeing a feast in honor of the visiting Louis XIV. Forgoing 12 days of sleep for the feast preparation, when Vatel discovered he lacked two roasts he said, “I have lost my honor. . . This is a disgrace which is more than I can bear (105).” The lack of sleep and missing roasts proved too much for Vatel when he stabbed himself with his own sword when his fish did not come in time to prepare for the feast. On the road to the church, his corpse passed the cart delivering the fish.

In the 1600s, “[r]edheads were thought to be the product of sex during menstruation and were believed to exhibit the lack of sexual self-discipline inherent in the ill-timed copulation of their parents (109).”

The the Middle ages, after monks were forbidden to practice medicine and dentistry any more, barbers began to assume medical roles. A common practice of the time was bloodletting. Barbers advertised their bloodletting services by displaying "buckets of fresh blood in their windows. When the blood congealed, it was poured into the street, where it spoiled." (34)

Sources for first two: "Sex With Kings" by Eleanor Herman." Sources for third: "Toothworms spider juice and illustrated history of dentistry."

Royal Mistresses part 3 of 3

If you have not read Part 1, please scroll down and read it first.

Gabrielle d'Estrées (1571-1599)

Gabrielle d'Estrées was royal mistress to Henri IV of France, a monarch often at war during the start of their relationship. Gabrielle, even when pregnant, insisted on living with him in his army camp. She washed his clothes, pounding them with rocks when the soap ran out as well as wrote official dispatches for him. At one point, Henri wrote: "Last evening I found three bullet holes burned into the fabric of my mistresses tent, and begged her to go to her house in Paris, where her life would not be endangered, but she laughed as was deaf to my pleas. . . . She replied that only in my presence is she pleased. I entertain no fears for myself, but daily tremble for her" (43)." When Austrian troops advanced within 500 paces of Gabrielle, she yelled and exhorted Henri's troops to bravery until Henri "ordered her to be slung over a horse and taken to the rear of the camp" (43).

When the news of Spain's surprise attack first broke, Gabrielle left the Paris ball she was at, and went and fetched 50,000 personal gold pieces which she gave to Henri to support his troops. From there, she personally canvased 250,000 euros in donations and pawned her best jewelry.

Off the battlefront in 1509, Gabrielle managed a household with "eighty-three ladies and gentlemen, seventeen crown officials, and more than two hundred servants" (145). She also had great political power, such as joining the council and making laws. Henri declared Gabrielle "Titulary Mistress of His Majesty, the King of France," ordering all dignitaries to visit her after visiting him, and allowing her to communicate on his behalf directly to the Pope.

Henri IV had 56 mistresses throughout his life, but was only ever faithful to Gabrielle. Henri wanted to marry her. Indeed, he pressured her husband, Nicholas d'Amerval to declare impotence as grounds for divorce. (Nicholas had fourteen children with his first wife.)

However, Gabrielle died in childbirth one day before Henri was to wed her, make her queen and make her son his heir. Henri, traveling, was unable to make it to Gabrielle in time. Servants stole rings off her body and her father carted off her royal furniture.

Gabrielle had died with a grimace on her face so that "her mouth twisted around toward the back of her head and, at her death, stuck there as if in concrete" (214). Henri placed her wax effigy in his apartments, visiting it often and having it daily dressed in a new gown.

After Gabrielle's death and his marriage to the Spanish infanta, his carriage overturned in 1606 in a river. Ignoring the Queen, Henri saved César, his son by Gabrielle, and left the Queen to be pulled by her hair to safety by a courtier. Henri raised his six legitimate and eight illegitimate children together, keeping a list in his pocket to help tell them apart.

Henriette-Catherine de Balzac d'Entragues (1579-1663)

After Garbrielle's death, Henri's next mistress, Henriette-Catherine de Balzac d'Entragues, whom he fell in love with during marriage negations with the Spanish infanta, demanded 100,000 crowns before she slept with him. Henri's minister, the duc de Sully, spread the silver equivalent on the floor of the cabinet room in protest. Henriette took the money and also asked for written proof of marriage before she slept with him.

Seven months pregnant, she threatened to stop Henri's Spanish marriage negotiations causing him to giver her titles and a castle as appeasement. When Henriette gave birth to a still-born son (a healthy son would have made her Queen), Henri and Henriette made up.

When Henri's new Queen, Marie de Medici arrived from Spain, she arrived to empty apartments as the king had made no provisions for furniture for her. When introducing Henriette to Marie, Henri said, "This is my mistress who now wishes to be your servant" (78). Marie and Henriette soon became enemies. Henriette mocked the queen while the Queen resented her. When the Queen showed Henri letters from Henriette that mocked him, Henriette convinced Henri they were forgeries designed by the queen. Henriette forgave Henri for 6,000 pounds.

Henri commented on his relationship with his wife: "I receive from my wife neither companionship nor gaiety nor consolation, she either cannot or will not show me any kindness or pleasant conversation, neither will she accommodate herself to my moods and disposition" (80).

Henriette fell out of power in 1608 for "traitorous dealing with the Spanish" (80), and in 1610, after Henri's assassination, Marie exiled Henriette from court until Henriette died unmourned.

Source: "Sex With Kings" by Eleanor Herman (a very interesting book).

Royal Mistresses part 2 of 3

If you have not read Part 1, please scroll down and read it first.

Anges Sorel (1421-1450)

"The earliest surviving portrait of a royal mistress is of Anges, painted in 1449, a time when secular portraits were not yet common, and many of the rich and famous still bribed church artists to paint their faces on saints (2-3)." As a result, Charles VII of France had his royal mistress, Anges, painted in a two-part church panel as the virgin Mary offering a breast to the baby Jesus (seen above). Anges died in childbirth soon after the panel was completed.

Queen Maire tolerated her rival, but her son, the heir to the crown, Louis, despised Anges for causing his mother pain. "One day in 1444, Louis, running into Anges, cried, 'By our Lord's passion, this woman is the cause of all our misfortunes,' and punched her in the face (197)."

Anges used her influence with the king, with to raise him from his apathy and help him drive the English out of France. "Charles . . . made a poor king before Agnes, and returned to being a poor king after her" (2). (Charles VII was the contemporary of Joan of Arc.)

Madame de Montespan (1641-1707)

Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart (Athénaïs) was the mistress of Louis XIV of France for 13 years and provided him with 7 children in 9 years.

Athénaïs kept her radiant good looks until age 40 by a lavish regime of creams, oils and cosmetics. Because of the rich court food and the limited exercise options for ladies, Athénaïs daily rubbed herself with pomade and would disappear to a spa to starve herself.

Athénaïs was a strong spirit. Once, when Louis reproved her wearing strong perfume, Athénaïs said it was because he stank so badly. Five months pregnant, Athénaïs insisted on being with Louis as he toured his frontiers, sleeping in farmhouses and bumping in carriages. She loved playing cards. "One Christmas Day she lost the staggering sum of £230,000, kept playing, and won back £500,000 on one play involving three cards" (143). When her illegitimate 12-year old daughter was married to a 17-year-old dwarf for political reasons, Athénaïs pushed for immediate consummation despite the conditions of the marriage contract.

Athénaïs was not interested in politics, and was even unreliable in getting her friends political positions. She was disliked by the court and the public for her haughtiness and lavish spending.

Before Athénaïs married, she had attempted to become Louis' mistress. When married and a lady-in-wating to Queen Marie-Thérése, Athénaïs told the queen she would rather die than be Louis' mistress and criticized his current mistress, Louise de La Valliére, sharply. However, when Athénaïs became Louis' mistress, the queen was the last to find out. Athénaïs, now the mistress, treated the Queen rudely. Athénaïs was also rude to Louise whom she demanded to help her get ready in the morning.

For some time, Louis tried to keep up a public charade. In 1670 and 1671 Louis took his old mistress, Athénaïs and his Queen on journeys to confuse the public and avoid scandal. The crowd called them "the three Queens" (68). At one stop with only one bed, the indignant Queen was given the bed while the King, his brother and sister-in-law, his cousin, Louise and Athénaïs slept on a mattress on the floor. Despite this, the Queen was grateful that Louis treated her respectfully, returning to her bed every night and eating with her. Despite this, Athénaïs enjoyed a 20-room apartment to the Queen's 11.

Athénaïs' husband, the marquis de Montespan, enjoyed the life of a soldier. Once he disguised a girl he seduced as a member of his Calvary. While the marquis was known to storm convents for the girls inside, when he returned to court, he raged about his wife's immorality, boxing her ears and using language so strong it sent several ladies to bed with "the vapors."

After exiled from court for pretending to mourn for
Athénaïs' death, he held an elaborate funeral. "He stood by the main door with his two small children, all clad in black, somberly accepting condolences on their loss" (99). After storming another convent and injuring the girl, her mother, the father superior and several peasants, the marquis was sent to prison but escaped to Spain.

In 1667, Athénaïs visited a with for help with seducing Louis. The witch, La Voisin, provided services to wealthy patrons. When innocent Louise invited Athénaïs to dine with the king and her, Athénaïs slipped lve potions made of "dead babies blood, bones, and intestines, along with parts of toads and bats" (107) into Louis; drinks. Soon after, Athénaïs became Louis' mistress, but by the late 1670s her position was unstable, causing her to sulk, storm and scheme against her rivals. Instead of a young beauty, Athénaïs appointed the future Madame de Maintenon as the royal governess but was shocked when Louis fell for her.

In 1680,
La Voisin was burned for witchcraft after 218 people were interrogated and 36 more executed. La Voisin's daughter claimed that Athénaïs had been a patron ordering black masses which included infant-sacrifices with its blood drained into chalices. When the police excavated La Voisin's garden, they found the bodies of 2,500 infants-"aborted, stillborn, premature, and those who had been sacrificed alive. There was a small oven in the garden pavilion where La Voisin would burn an infant's body if it was too big to burn easily.

Louis finally understood why for thirteen years he had awoken with a headache every morning after having dined with
Athénaïs de Montespan the night before. He was revolted at the quantities of noxious potions he had consumed over the years" (113). Louis hushed Athénaïs' involvement, imprisoning witnesses. While Athénaïs remained at court for another ten years, Louis avoided her and returned to his Queen's bed.

Athénaïs was exiled from court at age 51, she left protesting and storming. Athénaïs' husband was later pardoned and returned to court, becoming a favorite of the king after Athénaïs' exile. Athénaïs' son with Louis , the duc de Maine, who blamed his mother for his limp, insisted on personally telling his mother of her exile, threw her furniture out the window and took over her apartments for himself. After Athénaïs' exile, forced to follow the lead of Madame de Maintenon, public favor swung back towards Athénaïs. With rosaries and Bibles fashionable, courtiers yearned for the days of Athénaïs.

Louis never visited
Athénaïs, despite her fashioning special rooms for his visit and hanging her bedchamber with his portraits. While she remained proud, forcing her visitors to stand when receiving them, Athénaïs founded a hospital, personally sewed clothes for the poor and took to wearing bands of iron-spikes for penance.

When she died,
Athénaïs' body received a botched autopsy, was dumped on her doorstep and received a small funeral. According to custom, her entrails were placed in a separate urn, but they disgusted the porter so much that he threw them on the ground where they were eaten by pigs.

At her death, two of her sons openly rejoiced at Athénaïs' death while Louis remained cold. Only Madame de Maintenon (whom Louis had secretly married) mourned.

Source: "Sex With Kings" by Eleanor Herman (a very interesting book).