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Posts Tagged ‘grody’

Religious Relics

In Europe, the main tourist attraction in pretty much every town is the cathedral. So if you’re planning on touring a lot in Europe, you’ll most certainly be seeing a lot of frescos, domes, and flying buttresses in your lifetime.

At first, they are majestic and beautiful and stunning. Then they all start running together and you have a hard time distinguishing between them in your memories and photographs. Then you get to the point where if you see another gilded hard-carved pulpit, you’ll want to flagellate your own eyeballs out. Or at the very least, the eyes of the nearest altar boy.

But luckily, those daft Europeans have another tradition other than architectural one-ups-manship, and that’s the business of collecting and displaying gruesome religious relics.

In the olden days, the cathedrals had to compete for the pilgrimage dollars. The best way to do this was to offer something you couldn’t see anywhere else. Namely: the decaying (or non-decaying, as it were) body parts of the not-so-recently departed saints and messiahs.

So in nearly every major town in every major city in Europe, you can now see the fingers, lungs, tongues, blood samples, and whole bodies of the previously departed on display for the morbidly devoted to stare at. It’s entirely gruesome and macabre, and entirely in disconcert with your majestic surroundings, which is what makes it so entierely awesome.

They even classify them. First Class relics are the actual body parts, bones, hair clippings, etc. Second Class relics are just clothes or crucifixes owned by those whose actual body parts would have been First Class relics. Meh. Third Class relics are barely worth mentioning. They are just items that any saint or martyr may have touched in his or her lifetime, meaning nearly everything on the planet is probably a relic of some sort. So let’s just focus on the big dogs and have some Close Encounters with relics of the First Kind:

An Army or Arm Bone Relics:

An Army of Relics

The Hair/Fright Wig of Saint Claire:

The Hair of St. Clair

St. Catherine’s Severed Head and Whithered Finger

Up Yours

Holy Black Tongue, Batman!

Holy Black Tongue, Batman!

Even today, body parts draw in the crowds.

So for making your fiftieth cathedral just as thrilling as your first, religious relics are effing awesome.


Humans are an interesting lot. After all, the human is the only being capable of consciously controlling its number of offspring. So therefore, humans can be logically divided into two camps: breeders and non-breeders. Breeders seem to regard non-breeders as selfish egotists, and non-breeders seem to regard breeders as self-righteous asshats, but no judgment is intended toward either camp here. The simple fact is that breeders have babies and non-breeders don’t.

Other species don’t have the luxury of choosing whether they want to be breeders or non-breeders. In fact, the sole purpose of many species seems to be reproduction. So much so, that they often die during or immediately after mating. This seems to be especially prevalent in the insect world. And even worse, it seems to be the males that get the horrible-death end of that stick. And often by cannibalistic means. But they don’t seem to care. They will spend their entire short existence trying to woo their female counterparts, only to have their genitals explode or their heads eaten off when she finally decides to put out:

The redback [male spider] actively seeks his own doom, positioning himself above the female’s jaws (chelicerae) during copulation so that he can readily be devoured by the female.

Although some male [praying mantises] do escape unscathed [after mating], many are seized by the female and are dismantled and eaten organ-by-organ, often head first.

The entire sex act [of the Drone Bee] takes place during flight… His explosive ejaculation ruptures his everted penis… [he] dies within minutes after his violent eruption of semen and literally falls from the sky.

So from these terrible tales, we can theorize that since insects can’t control their instinct to reproduce — even if it will kill them in the process — then their sole reason for existence must be to keep their species alive through propogation. But for what purpose? Why do they even need to exist as a species in the first place? Perhaps they exist only to fulfill their role within a much larger ecosystemic food-chain sort of way, or maybe the desire to exist alone is enough to motivate a species. Who knows.

But the very fact that humans can choose whether or not to reproduce could be interpreted to imply that we have a greater purpose on this planet than just existing as a species. And so let’s give it up for the creatures that don’t have that luxury; for even though sex may kill them, it also keeps our little planetary ecosystem churning, as generation upon generation of reproducing insects wait patiently as we humans try to figure out why we are here and what the hell we are supposed to do with ourselves. It’s all for the greater, unknown good.

Or maybe not. Maybe that’s moral relativism. And maybe it’s all random and meaningless and there’s no point or purpose to anything. Even if you insist on taking that pessimistic view point, then at least you have to appreciate the fact that you get to have sex without getting your head eaten off or having genitals explode inside of you. Usually.

If Only They Had the Choice

Insects that die for sex are effing awesome.


175 miles up above your head, Russians and Americans are toodling around together in a ginormous space station that didn’t even exist ten years ago. It’s not clear which is more awesome: the space station itself or the fact that after decades of overt competition and hostility during the Cold War — a period of time where even the prospect of total nuclear annihilation wasn’t off the table — somehow Russians and Americans have learned how to play well together again.

Not the International Space Playboy Mansion you hoped it would be.

Sure, the politics of it are fascinating, but the Russian/American reconciliation was more about economics than ideology, so the Space Station itself is probably the more awesome element in reality: it’s solar powered, travels at over 17,000mph, and it’s as big as a football field. Although the habitable space is barely that of a five-story house. It’s been occupied constantly for over ten years by the aforementioned Americans and Russians, but also the Japanese, Canadians, and Europeans who help foot the bill. It’s got 14 “modules” that are all hooked together, some of which are strictly Russian only (apparently old habits die hard), and they conduct hundreds of cool experiments, mostly involving the effects of zero-gravity environments on anything and everything, even though gravity is actually not zero up there, but rather 88% of what we got here at the surface.

It weighs very nearly a million pounds, passes over your head 15 times a day, and it’s floating up there right now, with little bitty people climbing all over it.

And all that sounds pretty awesome indeed, but now its time to ask the really important questions:

Does it stink in there with all those unshowered astronauts and cosmonauts?
Apparently: no.

Do they have to drink their own pee up there?
Basically: yes

How do they go to the bathroom?
Basically: with some sort of suck machine.

Has anyone ever had sex up there?
Apparently: no, if you believe everything you read.

So maybe it ain’t so cool up there after all. Well, except maybe for that suck machine part.

But still, the International Space Station is effing awesome.


“Hey, something just dropped out of that chicken’s backside. Heck, I guess I better pick it up and investigate.”

“Hmmmm, it seems hard on the outside, it’s got like this protective shell coating that… oops, turns out it’s pretty fragile actually. Inside it’s goopy.”

“It’s more than goopy actually. In fact, it’s pretty digusting. It’s got this clear liquid that seems to be more solid in parts than others, and a nasty yellow center sack that - *gag* – oozes out orangey glop if you pierce it.”

“It’s sticky, too. And it kinda smells funny to boot. A little like rotted flatulence.”

“I wonder what it tastes like?”

“Okay, so it doesn’t taste so good either. In fact, it made me throw up a bit. I suppose I could try cooking it, see what happens.”

“Oh hey, now it’s all solid and fluffy looking. Doesn’t taste as bad anymore. Interesting.”

“Hey, what’s coming out of that cow’s udder? Is that white urine? Semen? I better go investigate…”

Thousands of years later: we have omelettes.

Eggs are Inherently Grody

The First Person to Ever Eat an Egg is effing awesome.


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