"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Militor!

Militor!
When you're serious about off-roading.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Armistice Day!

Teeth. What's the expression... "just ignore them. They'll go away"?
Speaking for my own self; me and the chompers have had a rocky relationship.
In general, they don't fuck with me and I stay away from Snickers and the like at bedtime. It seems to be a workable relationship.  So far, so good.
But enough of this dental discourse. We're here to celebrate the ninety-seventh birthday of the temporary  cessation of hostilities in what had been, to that point, the most deadly, pointless and stupid attempt to change the world in history.
Thanks, Kaiser Bill.
That's not what this is about. This is about a need, a legitimate need, being felt by that most vulnerable and fragile of the population, the rich.
Back in the day, sweet stuff was hard to come by for hunter-gatherer types so finding something like a honey comb was a huge occasion.
Well, being the smart folk we are, after we've had ample time to civilize ourselves, along comes this deadly white substance, sugar.
Suddenly - this wondrous powder appears and no more having to just luck-out and find a honey tree - or spend extra energy chewing on cane just to get a tiny fix.
You can just buy it and then put it on everything.
Problem was:You could buy it - if you had the cash.
End result: All the "hep cats" and members of the "in group", with all their pastries and whatnot, ended up with their precious, rich-person's teeth rotting in their heads!
 Opportunity!
All that was needed was a way to make fake teeth! Then Buffy and Skipper could munch down the Ho-Ho's without the worry that they'd hit the social scene with mouths that looked like the rotting pilings of an abandoned pier.
Now; there were teeth and there were teeth. I can't speak to the quality of Mr. Stanton's  work (Above) but he seemed to have had an advertising budget in any case. Based on that I assume he was on the upscale end. You'll notice as well: He lists a "per tooth" price.
The low end of the market was occupied by ivory and ivory-based dentures such as those pictured next, the ones with those oh-so-comfortable springs.
The lower looks to have been carved of-a-piece while the upper has ivory teeth mounted in gold. They don't look bad. They just don't look like teeth.
Unlike these bad boys. One piece, hand-carved ivory and very expensive but still; not quite it. Know what I mean?
There were options of course for those long in the dollar but rotten in the tooth.
For example: A gold frame could be set with the genuine article: A new/used, recycled tooth that looks just like the original.
Pretty sweet! 

Brief sidebar while I explore the utter weirdness of this: Back during my one of my intermittent clumps of college time, I took a poetry class wherein, one day the professor read a poem somehow inspired by the sensations of wearing his dead granddad's vest. Upon discussion of this later, one of my classmates said: "Wear  a dead man's clothes? No way!").

So, he wouldn't wear a garment from a dead relative, how might he feel about having dead folks teeth grinding up his dinner for him.
Now the next pictured is an admittedly funky example from the 1870's. It's upside down as it consists of the four middle teeth (Thank you for your service!) of... somebody else, maybe a couple somebody elses', mounted in a ... thing carved out of hippo ivory. Possibly they were made for a warthog and those holes were for tusks - I don't know.
Harvesting teeth off of people who weren't using them any more is an old practice, It's just the supply was sporadic at best.
If you were in the tooth trade, you'd need to have gotten friendly with the executioner, whoever managed the morgue or potter's field and any unscrupulous doctors that might be willing to hook you up.
Even though this was early on, when the pricing was high due to scarcity of supply, the quality of said supply was marginal. You might get the teeth of someone who'd died from syphilis or any number of things.
Of course you could hook up with some resurrectionists, the cheery folk who dig up other, less cheery folk who just happen to dead and buried.
It was looking bleak. The makers of quality dental prostheses had no access to quality chompers and the suffering, rich sweet-toothers were paying top dollar for teeth that they may get sick from.
But something happened that turned everything sunny-side-up in the early 18th century.
All of a sudden, enough teeth to make everybody happy and the beauty part: Nearly all of said teeth came from people in the prime of life.
  That would be: The Napoleonic wars.
Who'd have thought that this sawed-off, pot-bellied Frenchman and his European ramblings would have any spillover bennies for our poor tooth-hunters and their sad clientele.
"Waterloo teeth" became a thing.
  Seriously, if you were in the business of finding replacement teeth, this was like striking gold.  
The word got out - all over Europe - fifteen-thousand full sets of teeth (Mostly) just laying out on the ground, somewhere up in Belgium.
PAYDAY!
They, the tooth-pickers, had probably clued up to this well before Waterloo and had following the bonanza trail ever since the sovereign nations first began to kill one another with all that modren technology, leaving all that toothy goodness out there for the picking.
Waterloo was the name that stuck and the proud tradition of pulling dead men's teeth for money was carried on in the aftermath of subsequent conflicts.
Gettysburg teeth, Antietam teeth, whatever. They're always called Waterloo teeth.
Now, I have nowhere else to go with this so; Happy Armistice Day!
Let's enjoy  Siegfried Sassoon's:

To The Warmongers

"I'm back again from hell
With loathsome thoughts to sell;
secrets of death to tell;
And horrors from the abyss.

Young faces bleared with blood
sucked down into the mud,
You shall hear things like this,
Till the tormented slain

Crawl round and once again,
With limbs that twist awry
Moan out their brutish pain,
As the fighters pass them by.

For you our battles shine
With triumph half-divine;
And the glory of the dead
Kindles in each proud eye.

But a curse is on my head,
That shall not be unsaid,
And the wounds in my heart are red,
For I have watched them die."


Okay, we can't quit on a downer like that. Let's have at the Royal Scots Greys and their charge at Waterloo.
Lot's of teeth in that picture.

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