Facts, Food, Health, History, Humor, Roman Empire, Rome, Social Commentary

Rome Wasn’t Filth in the Day

Our bathroom habits are routine. We have privacy whenever and wherever we want. There is never a necessity, other than a serious emergency, for us to use an outside facility. During the realm of the Roman Empire your routine would have been challenged. Sitting on the bowl in the wide open, waving at Julius Caesar (he made such a great salad) during a Triumph through The Aventine, would be a stunning scene in today’s world. Considering the Roman diet was decidedly higher in grains and fiber than ours, these holes would have been put to good use.

I can’t imagine sitting on a pot with the person next to me, scrunch-faced and chatting as if we’re waiting for a bus. No walls, no barrier, just our bloomers around our ankles, shooting the breeze. It’s tough enough remaining quiet when there are stalls. In the open, you can’t be mum. The guy sitting on the adjacent hole may want to talk. You can’t be rude and avoid the conversation. Otherwise, you will be considered a jerk. I suppose it was fairly awkward reading slate tablets, rather than the newspaper or a magazine, but without the solitude, you had to lay down the newsoid and listen.

I’ve written about the over and under TP roll. Sitting in the open during number two, beats any lack of proper materials or the direction of the pull. Are the mores of today any better for us than during the days of open potties? We think it’s nasty, but for the Romans it was the norm. Louise Pasteur wasn’t around, so they didn’t really know about bacteria and stuff. Our exposed genitalia wasn’t considered as naughty and disgusting as now. We were humans, with normal needs. Society didn’t really care that we emitted waste.

Fortunately, the lack of stalls eliminated most of the bathroom graffiti. It is important to note; however, that the series of privy poems about The Young Man from Nantucket or Azores, originated during the reign of Caligula. The felt-tipped pen wasn’t invented before this period. Potty Laureates had to be creative.

A friend came into my office the other day to discuss “Urinal Protocol.” I do agree with him that indeed we have developed habits. If a man walks into an empty bathroom, which receptacle does he use? If there is more than one user, with more than one trap, where do you line up? In Ancient Rome it was no problem. For us it is perplexing.

Imagine a day at the Coliseum during a Gladiator/Wild Beast massacre with 50,000 spectators drinking wine, eating whole grain bread smothered in Garum, a hunk of cheese, and some kind of carcass from the stadium vendors; all of which were very likely bacterial-infested. I would guess they might want to visit the facilities on occasion. Now, I could probably live with the idea of sharing a booth with another person, given the culture of the time. But 50,000? I’m glad to have been born a Boomer.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

Boomer, Edgar Allan Poe, Facts, History, Humor, Media, Poe Toaster, Social Commentary

No Bank Ever Gave Me a Poe Toaster

There is this mysterious character in Baltimore dubbed Poe Toaster. Every January 19th, which is the anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, some guy leaves three roses and well-branded cognac at Edgar’s grave. Nice tribute. Please leave barbecue pork rinds and Evan Williams bourbon in the field where my ashes will be strewn. Don’t forget napkins. Also, leave a DVD player for any movies I might want to watch in the hereafter.

I love Poe Toaster. What a cool idea. This started in 1949, has always been a media event, and the guy never dies. I’ll bet there are more than one. Probably an underground society of Poe Toasters plotting to take over the world and force us all to live under a swinging pendulum.

During my youth (I always dwell on that) Vincent Price was my hero. He was in all the Poe-based flicks. Vincent was scary. Everything I ever read or heard about him as a real person, is that he was a super nice fellow; the kind of guy who would fix your flat tire if he happened upon you in dire need. Go, Vincent! My kind of people. Nevertheless, he was freaky.

I find Edgar Allan Poe fascinating. In today’s world, he would be shunned. An opium eater, drunk most of the time, and sleeping in alleyways. The legend is that his last bar stop before his mysterious death was at The Horse You Came in On which wasn’t given that name until 1965, almost 200 years after it was establish in 1775. Every time I get down to Fells Point, I make sure to have a drink at the Horse. Despite his constant inebriation Poe was a gifted author. Don’t get me wrong, I love Eddie. And to this day, someone leaves a tribute at his grave. Live poetry.

It’s not a Baltimore thing. I just like him. E. A. Poe would have been viable in any city of the world. His talent is universal. Baltimore is honored to claim him as their own. One of his best characters, The Raven, became the local NFL franchise’s mascot. You can’t be given any better tribute than to have a billion-dollar sports franchise named after a subject of your poem. Edgar lives on. I’m just glad they didn’t name the team “The Potters” because the logo on the helmet would be kind of lame.

In my travels, I often drove past the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. Sitting at the light, I glance over just to look. I never see anything sitting on the grave. So, I wonder. What happened to the cognac? You know someone is drinking it. Savoring the beverage left for Edgar. It’s good stuff. Well-liked by those who partake of cognac. Well? Who’s drinking it? Huh? Someone is. I think it warrants investigation.

With Love,

Bake My Fish


Roll One For Me

Few things are as thrilling in an otherwise exciting life, as to walk into my bathroom and see a short roll on the wall. This presents an opportunity to reload with the pull coming from under, rather than over. I usually exhaust the short roll, whether or not it’s ready, simply to enjoy a victory in the domestic competition of Roll Reversal.

Now, it is most likely understood that to install the roll with the pull on the top is a thriftier method than pulling it from below. I am sure there is some statistical evidence to prove it. When pulling a strand from above, it tends to break off too soon. From below, I get as many sheets as desired without being hindered by gravity. A thick barrier is my preference, so the monetary waste is not a concern. Trying to save on paper is outweighed by the need not to be hygienically-challenged.

With regard to paper towels, there seems to be the same thinking. She likes over, I like under; causing me to spend more time waiting for the slight turn of her head, giving me the chance to redirect the next roll. It may seem insignificant to you, but to me it is important. The pull of the roll makes all the difference. I must win. But, the battle never ends. There is no winner. This conflict probably takes place within numerous households all over the world.

Differences in toothpaste tube-squeezing are not as pronounced as the installation of the roll. I like to squeeze the tube from below, forcing the paste toward the top, and she likes to squeeze it from the top, forming the tube into some gnarling, twisted plastic gob, leaking stuff from all sides. That waste offsets my paper abuse. Even so, she’s still winning. The amount of paper used during the lifetime of a tube of toothpaste, is far more significant. I am causing more of a financial burden than she.

When visiting family or friends, I never take it upon myself to change the direction of their rolls; usually refraining from using their facilities, unless there is no alternative. If the unwelcome opportunity presents itself and a roll is encountered going in an anti-direction, I just let it go. Changing it is not my place. It’s not my home. They can continue the economic pull as long as they want. Spend the savings on a softer seat.

Public restrooms are the pits. The worst are those that offer a few sheets here and there, in those little, silver dispensers that make you pull out a square at a time. The management of whatever stall you are using, really doesn’t care about your comfort as much as they care about paper savings. Avoid them, especially the ritzy office buildings in cities. Those building owners have their own bathrooms, and really don’t understand the burden. It’s best to just buy a large cork and avoid public restrooms altogether.

If you are like me and feel the need to redirect a particular roll at any particular time, try to be discreet. The person causing your irritation may be serious about the pull of their roll. Being caught changing it could prove embarrassing and lead to difficulties in a relationship. Make sure you whistle or otherwise make a great deal of noise during the switch. They may suspect your intentions and be listening for the click of the dispenser.

Sorry, I have to stop now. I think she hears my typing, and may know the transfer is being made. I don’t need to bicker about the over or under.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

Boomer, Facts, Humor, Media, Medicine, NFL, Social Commentary, Sports

What’s That In Your Pocket?

Now, don’t snicker when you read this. I’m here to discuss a serious matter. It’s not the end of the world, but to some men it may seem that way. Macho no mo’ is not a reason to jump off a bridge or drive your car into a wall. There is hope. You can get assistance from several sources. Medication is available; although it’s quite expensive. And, not covered by Health Care plans. They consider it a luxury drug, meant to solve a luxury-less problem; unnecessary in the eyes of those determining what to allow. They’re probably not getting any, so it doesn’t matter to them. Spending all their waking moments finding ways to deny coverage leaves little time for romance.

Research indicates there are several causes of libido malfunction: smoking; diabetes; high cholesterol; too much alcohol (when was the last time you were drunk and the man?); high blood pressure; venous leak; depression; and a tiny wee wee. There are several other reasons, and most likely some yet to be discovered. Basically, any condition causing restricted blood flow can be the culprit. After all, it’s an organ, not a bone.

Much money is being made providing chemical solutions to men suffering from this traumatic experience. The drug companies developed at least three pills, and many herbal enhancements to keep the motor running. There are creams, devices, implants, and other remedies to make it possible for afflicted males to enjoy continued activity with the “love of their life.”

The most interesting, yet frightening remedy is a potential cure based on the venom of an aggressive and extremely deadly creature . . . . the Brazilian wandering spider. Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me to inject poison or any other potentially paralyzing agent into the body for the sake of six or seven minutes of “Oooo, baby, baby” is a bit risky. Pass on the spider toxin. Temporary rigidity isn’t worth chancing permanent paralysis.

If you are having difficulties, and the woman in your life is becoming frustrated with your inability to be her ideal mate, see your doctor or therapist for relief. They’ll gladly give you samples of medication and a prescription. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. The pharmaceutical companies give the samples to the doctor to be handed out. They want you to be hooked on their new miracle drugs. No one is complaining about the cost of the product, because they don’t want to admit they’re users. It’s like the first time a guy thinks of a vasectomy. The thought goes through his head, “Will this be the end? Will I be impotent from this procedure?” Guys have difficulty thinking they are less than virile. Either you take something or continue making love with a rope.

If you need it, just ask the physician. Maybe they’ll even give you a badge to wear proudly to proclaim your allegiance to taking care of business. It is estimated that 30 million men suffer from this syndrome. During football season it grows to about 40 million. The increase is most likely caused by excess alcohol, overeating, lack of attention, and many other conditions resulting from six months of College and NFL football TV viewing (including preseason games).

Well, I gotta run. The game’s on, and I need to pour a cocktail so I can take this little blue pill. She’s waiting for me, and both should have kicked-in by halftime.

With Love,

Bake My Fish