Thursday, February 26, 2009
Whist this forum has been mediocre in its vasteness of entertaining proposals and somewhat intriquing materialisic idiocroces of velligerant commentaries I find it more humerous to see if ONE is actually capable of panning your head and rubbing your stomach simoultameously.
Brownie points to the person who can not only correct the spelling and grammar of the above SENTENCE but also to whomever can decipher its meaning :)
I opted to try Blistex's new "Deep Renewal". It promises to help your lips remain smooth, protect like it should against sun and wind, reduce fine lines, etc. I didn't care about fine lines, etc. but thought I should try this new lip protectant, right?
At first, I was addicted to it. It was great. It went on smooth and not messy, but gave a slight gloss to my lips.
Then I lost my tube of it, and I didn't have anything at all. For a day or so, my lips were fine. We are now at the end of week 1, and my lips are horrible. Never before have my lips not only been so dry, but they feel like there are little miniscule cracks all over them, giving my lips a "tight" feeling. My lips have started to dry out much more rapidly than when I wasn't using a lip protectant at all.
Now I have dried lips with miniscule cracks and dry and raw spots as well. Sure, the "fine lines" are gone, but it feels like they are gone because the first microscopic layer of my lips have been burned off.
It's not from cold sores, and like I said, I've had chapped lips before from not using protectant at all, but it seems like stopping the use of Blistex Deep Renewal has caused the chapping to speed up.
Because of this, I do NOT recommend Blistex Deep Renewal. I think I'll just stick with my trusty Chapstick.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
We learned some new information today that now solidifies our opinions on this person.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Last Saturday, Andrew and I donned our, oh so proper, riding attire (fleece, jeans, boots, helmet) for our riding lessons.
Our mounts are as follows:
"Tank" - Tank is a mid-teens dapple grey 1800 lbs "full figured lady" Percheron. Andrew is currently riding her.
"Penny" - Penny is an early teens bay 1400 lbs Clydesdale/Standardbred cross. I am currently riding her.
We start out at Lonesome Dove East/Forever Free Farm in Dallas, Georgia. We get Tank and Penny, and we groom them. Right now, it's like grooming a yak with their winter coats. Susan, the owner, comes and quizzes us on horse parts and saddle/bridle parts before we tack up the girls, climb the mounting block, and hop on.
We're focusing on body position and walking/turning on forehand right now. Head, hands, hips, heels is what we learned last Saturday:
Head - straight ahead, looking out
Hands - quiet, thumbs to the sky, close together, 3" from horse's withers
Hips - even and balanced
Heels - Down, toes up
It was a good lesson. Susan sent me an e-mail yesterday asking me what I thought of the lessons. I said they were great.
I smiled when she told me "The rest of you looked great...nice vertical, heels down, eyes up, etc. Alas, those hands!"
"Alas, those hands!" are due to the fact I had gotten so used to riding western and green horses, that my hands had about a 30 degree angle to them..."piano hands." I will try to get Susan to take some pictures of us.
8:00 am: Woke up. Got dressed. Ate breakfast. Called Nicole. Headed down to Riverfront Park. Called Nicole again. Took Cash for a walk around the park/talked to Rangers.
10:30 am: Called Nicole; left VM
11:15 am: Called Nicole; left VM
11:30 am: Called Nicole; left VM
11:45 am: Called Nicole; left VM (seeing a trend?)
12:15 pm: Called Nicole; left VM
1:00 pm: Andrew gets pissed and says, “Let’s drive to Saluda” (since she supposedly works for the PD there).
2:00 pm: Arrive in Saluda (appx. 45 min from Columbia). Nicole finally calls back, “hey, I just woke up. Let me throw some clothes on, feed the dogs, and then I’ll get the dog and meet you guys off Exit 44 off I-20 at the truck stop.” Throughout this time, I tell Nicole, we can meet you closer; we can meet you at your house; oh? The roommate has the dog today, we can meet your roommate somewhere? No….no…..no…..no.
3:00 pm: Arrive at Truck Stop. Call Nicole; leave VM.
3:30 pm: Call Nicole; leave VM.
3:59 pm: Nicole calls – I JUST got out of the shower [silence on my end]. Let me throw some clothes on, head to Columbia, get the dog, and come meet you.
Me: “How long do you think that will take?”
Her: “Well, I have to leave here, drive to Columbia, get the dog, and come meet you.” (nice and vague)
4:30 pm: Call Nicole; leave VM.
5:00 pm: Call Nicole; leave VM.
5:15 pm: Call Nicole; leave VM.
5:30 pm: Call Nicole; leave VM.
5:45-8:00 pm: Called Nicole; left VM. It had now been 4 hours since she said she was leaving the house, getting the dog, and meeting us.
It is now 10:50 am on Tuesday, and we have received no text message, no phone call – nothing from Nicole explaining anything or apologizing.
Personally, I think this is the rudest person I have ever met. She could have found a phone if her cell phone died, she could have used her roommate’s, used a payphone, called the truck stop where we were waiting for her on Monday and sent a message out to us, but, instead, nothing.
Here is the breakdown (in costs) of our failed trip:
Cash food: $15
Total: $140 + waiting for 10.5 hours
1 day’s work missed: $160 (average)
Cash Food: $2.14
Total: $238.14 + waiting on her for…..10 hours
Weekend total: $378.14 + 20.5 hours of waiting for her
Still NO dog, and, frankly, even if we wanted the dog still, she is going to have to drive the dog all the way to my home in Woodstock. Like Andrew said, we now question anything she’s told us. Does she really work for Saluda PD? Where does she live? Was there ever a dog?
We got home around 11:45 or so on Monday night, came in, took a shower, and went to bed. Poor Cash. He just shows us all the time what a wonderful boy he is. Never complaining, never being a brat – great boy on the trails at the park when other dogs approached, etc.
11 pm: Call Nicole: “Your dad still isn’t here.”
“Are you serious?”
“Well let me find out what’s going on.”
11:30 pm: We call Nicole back. No answer – lv message.
Sunday, Feb 22nd: 12:15 am: Nicole texts – can’t find her dog. Headed out to find dad and dog.
12:30 am: Nicole texts: Can’t text – driving.
1:15 am: Call Nicole. “I’m just getting my shoes on – heading out the door now.” (see above discrepancy)
2:00 am: (After several text messages and voicemails) Nicole: “I went to get up to go find the dog/dad, and I felt like a freight train hit me. I sent my roommate out who drives a faded red Tracker.” Same time….see Bronco drive past on main road (appx. ½ mile away from us) Tell her that.
2:15 am: We send message asking what we need to do.
2:30 am: Receive text from Nicole saying that she doesn’t know where dad or dog is.
I tell Andrew, forget it, we’re headed home. This is bullshit! After assessing how tired we were (thank God we brought Cash with us – who hadn’t eaten anything yet that day), we opted for a cheap hotel and to pick up the dog in the morning. On the way to the hotel, we get a phone call from Nicole talking about how she is so sorry, and that she will personally hand-deliver Meeka to us in the morning, call when we got up, and she would bring her to us. Got Cash 3 hamburgers from Waffle House – fed to him.
Cash was on high alert in the hotel room all night. Slept from 3am-8am.
Brief rundown….Andrew and I were headed to Columbia, SC to pick up Meeka, a 10 mths old female Shepherd who was being sold to us by a K-9 PD trainer/handler. The trainer/handler (we’ll call her “Nicole”), I knew in South Georgia, but I had lost contact with her around 2006 when I moved to Atlanta. I “thought” because we knew each other, things would go quickly and smoothly.
Friday, Feb. 20th: We make arrangements to come to Columbia, SC on Sunday to pick up Meeka.
Saturday, Feb 21st: We buy Meeka supplies.
Sunday, Feb. 22nd: We call Nicole at 10:30 am to tell her we’re headed out. She calls back around 11 am, and she tells me she is going over to her dad’s, but to call when we got 30 minutes away, and she would meet us with Meeka at a park. She said it would have to be quick as she had to go back to her dad’s.
3:30 pm: Arrive in Columbia. Call Nicole – leave a voicemail. Head to Finlay Park (would avoid it in the future).
4:00 pm: Decide to get a bite to eat. Send Nicole a text stating such.
4:45 pm: Done eating. Head to Riverfront Park. Send Nicole a text.
5:00 pm: Get to Riverfront Park.
6:20 pm: Done walking at Riverfront Park – decide to head back to car. Leave Nicole a VM. Tell Andrew, “well at least we KNOW this person and know she’s not going to jerk us around.”
7:00 pm: Phone call from Nicole apologizing as she had fallen asleep. Said she would be there in about an hour with the dog.
7:11 pm: Phone call from Nicole saying her dad was coming, and he drives an ’89 Bronco. Would be about an hour – hour and a half.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
(all the same company)
Petsmart: $40 / $60
Petco: $45 / 69
Stainless steel raised bowls (3 qt each):
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The coach never considered any other option.
It didn't matter that his DeKalb, Ill., High School basketball team had ridden a bus two and a half hours to get to Milwaukee, then waited another hour past game time to play. Didn't matter that the game was close, or that this was a chance to beat a big city team.
Something else was on Dave Rohlman's mind when he asked for a volunteer to shoot two free throws awarded his team on a technical foul in the second quarter. His senior captain raised his hand, ready to go to the line as he had many times before.
Only this time it was different.
"You realize you're going to miss them, don't you?" Rohlman said.
Darius McNeal nodded his head. He understood what had to be done.
It was a Saturday night in February, and the Barbs were playing a non-conference game on the road against Milwaukee Madison. It was the third meeting between the two schools, who were developing a friendly rivalry that spanned two states.
The teams planned to get together after the game and share some pizzas and soda. But the game itself almost never took place.
Hours earlier, the mother of Milwaukee Madison senior captain Johntel Franklin died at a local hospital. Carlitha Franklin had been in remission after a five-year fight with cervical cancer, but she began to hemorrhage that morning while Johntel was taking his college ACT exam.
Her son and several of his teammates were at the hospital late that afternoon when the decision was made to turn off the life-support system. Carlitha Franklin was just 39.
"She was young and they were real close," said Milwaukee coach Aaron Womack Jr., who was at the hospital. "He was very distraught and it happened so suddenly he didn't have time to grieve."
Womack was going to cancel the game, but Franklin told him he wanted the team to play. And play they did, even though the game started late and Milwaukee Madison dressed only eight players.
Early in the second quarter, Womack saw someone out of the corner of his eye. It was Franklin, who came there directly from the hospital to root his teammates on.
The Knights had possession, so Womack called a time out. His players went over and hugged their grieving teammate. Fans came out of the stands to do the same.
"We got back to playing the game and I asked if he wanted to come and sit on the bench," Womack said during a telephone interview.
"No," Franklin replied. "I want to play."
There was just one problem. Since Franklin wasn't on the pre-game roster, putting him in meant drawing a technical foul that would give DeKalb two free throws.
Though it was a tight game, Womack was willing to give up the two points. It was more important to help his senior guard and co-captain deal with his grief by playing.
Over on the other bench, though, Rohlman wasn't so willing to take them. He told the referees to forget the technical and just let Franklin play.
"I could hear them arguing for five to seven minutes, saying, `We're not taking it, we're not taking it," Womack said. "The refs told them, no, that's the rule. You have to take them."
That's when Rohlman asked for volunteers, and McNeal's hand went up.
He went alone to the free throw line, dribbled the ball a couple of times, and looked at the rim.
His first attempt went about two feet, bouncing a couple of times as it rolled toward the end line. The second barely left his hand.
It didn't take long for the Milwaukee players to figure out what was going on.
They stood and turned toward the DeKalb bench and started applauding the gesture of sportsmanship. Soon, so did everybody in the stands.
"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was the right thing to do."
Franklin would go on to score 10 points, and Milwaukee Madison broke open the game in the second half to win 62-47. Afterward, the teams went out for pizza, two players from each team sharing each pie.
Franklin stopped by briefly, thankful that his team was there for him.
"I got kind of emotional but it helped a lot just to play," he said. "I felt like I had a lot of support out there."
Carlitha Franklin's funeral was last Friday, and the school turned out for her and her son. Cheerleaders came in uniform, and everyone from the principal and teachers to Johntel's classmates were there.
"Even the cooks from school showed up," Womack said. "It lets you know what kind of kid he is."
Basketball is a second sport for the 18-year-old Franklin, who says he has had some scholarship nibbles and plans to play football in college. He just has a few games left for the Knights, who are 6-11 and got beat 71-36 Tuesday night by Milwaukee Hamilton.
It hasn't been the greatest season for the team, but they have stuck together through a lot of adversity.
"We maybe don't have the best basketball players in the world but they go to class and take care of business," Womack said. "We have a losing record but there's life lessons going on, good ones."
None so good, though, as the moment a team and a player decided there were more important things than winning and having good stats.
Yes, DeKalb would go home with a loss. But it was a trip they'll never forget.
"This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime," Rohlman said. "They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they'll remember what happened in that gym that night."
You would imagine a palindrome is pretty hard to think up, maybe the odd word could be easy enough, and with a bit of effort a phrase, well how about a 224 word poem? here’s
"Dammit I’m Mad"
Dammit I’m mad.
Evil is a deed as I live.
God, am I reviled? I rise, my bed on a sun, I melt.
To be not one man emanating is sad. I piss.
Alas, it is so late. Who stops to help?
Man, it is hot. I’m in it. I tell.
I am not a devil. I level “Mad Dog”.
Ah, say burning is, as a deified gulp,
In my halo of a mired rum tin.
I erase many men. Oh, to be man, a sin.
Is evil in a clam? In a trap?
No. It is open. On it I was stuck.
Rats peed on hope. Elsewhere dips a web.
Be still if I fill its ebb.
Ew, a spider… eh?
We sleep. Oh no!
Deep, stark cuts saw it in one position.
Part animal, can I live? Sin is a name.
Both, one… my names are in it.Murder? I’m a fool.
A hymn I plug, deified as a sign in ruby ash,
A Goddam level I lived at.
On mail let it in. I’m it.
Oh, sit in ample hot spots. Oh wet!
A loss it is alas (sip). I’d assign it a name.
Name not one bottle minus an ode by me:“Sir, I deliver. I’m a dog”
Evil is a deed as I live.
Dammit I’m mad.
I promise you, bar some punctuation, it reads the same forwards or backwards.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Since my last post regarding Southern Cross Guest Ranch was made via cell phone...here is my long review (I could say so many other great things, BUT....it'd be a novel!)
We just got back from our weekend at Southern Cross Guest Ranch in Madison, Georgia. Two thumbs up. If you're a horseperson who just wants a nice...relaxing...weekend around horses (or bring your own), this is the vacation for you.
Set among old horse farms and farmhouses, Southern Cross is a horse oasis that is close to Athens, Georgia and relatively close to Atlanta as well. It's about a 40 minute drive from Atlanta or so.
We arrived on Friday afternoon, and we got there just in time to pick up the afternoon trail ride. We went to the stables wherein we were matched with our first horses. Although everyone else had chosen their horses, since we were experienced riders we got horses......for experienced people. We were given a lead rope, brought "our" horses up, groomed our horses, got our saddles, saddled them (those that didn't know how were instructed and assisted), bridled, and then walked them to the "staging area." Girths were checked again, and we mounted (western only, but you can bring your own horses and/or your own saddle).
Along with our guide, Blaine, we were introduced to the trails, given the rules of the trail system, and shown how if you wanted to head back to the barn, the horses were all on auto-pilot. No, they didn't take off, and they weren't barn sour, they just could lead you back to the barn (on the trails).
After riding, we take our horses back, untack them, groom them, and put them back in their pastures.
We went up to the main house, were given the tour, shown our room (the Iroquois - king size bed, twin bed, flat screen TV, DVD player, private bath, and a balcony/deck).
Dinners are held in the dining house and prepared by great cooks. It is a buffet set up, but the food is GREAT! You will NOT go hungry, and they do accept special requests/needs for others. Steaks, fish (fried, broiled, and grilled), pizza and fries for kids, a fresh salad bar with fresh homemade salads, and desserts. The dining hall is open 24/7 in case you want a late night snack or a drink (which is great as we always buy a case of water before going anywhere...this time....we didn't). There are fresh baked cookies, etc.
Back to the horses (smile).....trail rides are 9:15 am and 2:15 pm. Guests can ride up to 2 hours each ride. The horses are for different levels, sizes of riders, etc. They have a Percheron for parents needing to "double up" (smaller children) as well. They offer adult and children riding helmets (I brought my own), and you can also ride in the sand arena - W/T/C (if you know how). Complimentary riding lessons are also given if you've never ridden before, want to know how to trot or canter better, or just want to learn the ins and outs of your horses before heading on the trail. It was also neat to see the awards there at the main house for champion stallion, etc. for their beautiful horses.
The main house has several rooms, a pool, a hot tub, a DVD library, an Aquamassage, and more. The dining house has several seating rooms including outdoor porches. There is also a game room with darts, foosball, and billiards.
It was wonderful and sad to leave there today. It feels as though you're staying at a wealthy relative's house for the weekend. You meet wonderful people - both riders and non riders alike, and it is a truly great and refreshing experience.
I recommend it for young couples, older couples, families with young children, and horse people in general!
Overall - two thumbs up!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
BODY RITUAL AMONG THE NACIREMA Horace Miner
From Horace Miner, "Body Ritual among the Nacirema."
Reproduced by permission of the American Anthropological Association from The American Anthropologist, vol. 58 (1956), pp. 503-507.
Most cultures exhibit a particular configuration or style. A single value or pat- tern of perceiving the world often leaves its stamp on several institutions in the society. Examples are "machismo" in Spanish-influenced cultures, "face" in Japanese culture, and "pollution by females" in some highland New Guinea cultures. Here Horace Miner demonstrates that "attitudes about the body" have a pervasive influence on many institutions in Nacireman society.
The anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of ways in which different peoples behave in similar situations that he is not apt to be surprised by even the most exotic customs. In fact, if all of the logically possible combinations of behavior have not been found somewhere in the world, he is apt to suspect that they must be present in some yet undescribed tribe. This point has, in fact, been expressed with respect to clan organization by Murdock. In this light, the magical beliefs and practices of the Nacirema present such unusual aspects that it seems desirable to describe them as an example of the extremes to which human behavior can go.
Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the attention of anthropologists twenty years ago, but the culture of this people is still very poorly understood. They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Creel the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, although tradition states that they came from the east....
Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which as evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people's time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique.
The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man's only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and ceremony. Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful individuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and, in fact, the opulence of a house is often referred to in terms of the number of such ritual centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub construction, but the shrine rooms of the more wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer families imitate the rich by applying pottery plaques to their shrine walls. While each family has at least one such shrine, the rituals associated with it are not family ceremonies but are private and secret. The rites are normally only discussed with children, and then only during the period when they are being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to establish sufficient rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have the rituals described to me.
The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured from a variety of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the medicine men, whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts. However, the medicine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.
The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charmbox of the household shrine. As these magical materials are specific for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people are many, the charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets are so numerous that people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them again. While the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume that the idea in retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in the charm-box, before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way protect the worshipper.
Beneath the charm-box is a small font. Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows his head before the charm-box, mingles different sorts of holy water in the font, and proceeds with a brief rite of ablution. The holy waters are secured from the Water Temple of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate ceremonies to make the liquid ritually pure.
In the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the medicine men in prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated "holy-mouth-men." The Nacirema have an almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural influence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. They also believe that a strong relationship exists between oral and moral characteristics. For example, there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is supposed to improve their moral fiber.
The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-rite. Despite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting. It was reported to me that the ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures.
In addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. These practitioners have an impressive set of paraphernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man open the clients mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes which decay may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there age no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. In the client's view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest decay and to draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy--mouth-men year after year, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay.
It is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema is made, there will be careful inquiry into the personality structure of these people. One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy- mouth-man, as he jabs an awl into an exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of sadism is involved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern emerges, for most of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies. It was to these that Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the daily body ritual which is performed only by men. This part of the rite involves scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. Special women's rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity. As part of this ceremony, women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour. The theoretically interesting point is that what seems to be a preponderantly masochistic people have developed sadistic specialists.
The medicine men have an imposing temple, or latipso, in every community of any size. The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed at this temple. These ceremonies involve not only the thaumaturge but a permanent group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and head- dress.
The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that it is phenomenal that a fair proportion of the really sick natives who enter the temple The concept of culture ever recover. Small children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been known to resist attempts to take them to the temple because "that is where you go to die." Despite this fact, sick adults are not only willing but eager to undergo the protracted ritual purification, if they can afford to do so. No matter how ill the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian. Even after one has gained admission and survived the ceremonies, the guardians will not permit the neophyte to leave until he makes still another gift.
The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes. In everyday life the Nacirema avoids exposure of his body and its natural functions. Bathing and excretory acts are performed only in the secrecy of the household shrine, where they are ritualized as part of the body-rites. Psychological shock results from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly lost upon entry into the latipso. A man, whose own wife has never seen him in an excretory act, suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal maiden while he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course and nature of the client's sickness. Female clients, on the other hand, find their naked bodies are subjected to the scrutiny, manipulation and prodding of the medicine men.
Few supplicants in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy-mouth-men, involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals awaken their miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds of pain while performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the supplicant's mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing. From time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh. The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people's faith in the medicine men.
There remains one other kind of practitioner, known as a "listener." This witchdoctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched. The Nacirema believe that parents bewitch their own children. Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them the secret body rituals. The counter-magic of the witchdoctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply tells the "listener" all his troubles and fears, beginning with the earliest difficulties he can remember. The memory displayed by the Nacirerna in these exorcism sessions is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for the patient to bemoan the rejection he felt upon being weaned as a babe, and a few individuals even see their troubles going back to the traumatic effects of their own birth.
In conclusion, mention must be made of certain practices which have their base in native esthetics but which depend upon the pervasive aversion to the natural body and its functions. There are ritual fasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat. Still other rites are used to make women's breasts larger if they are small, and smaller if they are large. General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hyper-mamrnary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.
Reference has already been made to the fact that excretory functions are ritualized, routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural reproductive functions are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and scheduled as an act. Efforts are made to avoid pregnancy by the use of magical materials or by limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception is actually very infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so as to hide their condition. Parturition takes place in secret, without friends or relatives to assist, and the majority of women do not nurse their infants.
Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly shown them to be a magic-ridden people. It is hard to un- derstand how they have managed to exist so long under the burdens which they have imposed upon themselves. But even such exotic customs as these take on real meaning when they are viewed with the insight provided by Malinowski when he wrote:
"Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance early man could not have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of civilization."
References Linton, Ralph. 1936. The Study of Man. New York: D. Appleton-Century. Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1948. Magic, Science, and Religion. Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press. Murdock, George P. 1949. Social Structure. New York: Macmillan.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Andrew's coming with me as well. It'll sort of be like my birthday present since my birthday is on the 30th. Can't wait :)