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27th May 2013, 09:18
Something for the Bank holiday.

Morbid mourning customs from those cool Victorians:-

Halloween’s ghouls, goblins, ghosts and skeletons — we may get dark and creepy about death one day a year, but we’ve got nothing on the Victorians. While people of the 19th century were wildly repressed about many things, their comfort with death was a far cry from modern sentiments.

Nowhere is this more evident than in British mourning etiquette during the time of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837 to 1901). The death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861 ushered in a rigorous display of mourning that set the stage for the general culture to follow. What became customary mourning, by today’s standards, seems downright macabre and morose. So in honor of the upcoming All Hallows' Eve, when all things turn spooky and spine-chilling, here’s a look at what was once the ghoulish norm.

1. Postmortem portraits
Prior to 1839 portraits were painted, but with the invention of the daguerreotype photograph, portraiture become more affordable and accessible. This meant that the middle class could now afford to have pictures taken to memorialize their loved ones — their dead loved ones, that is, and particularly infants and children. With the invention of the carte de visite in the middle of the century came multiple prints so that families could share pictures of their dead children with other family members and friends. Since most children would not have had their images captured prior to their untimely deaths, it makes perfect sense; although the practice would seem utterly taboo in contemporary Western culture.

2. The living dead
Since the idea of postmortem portraits was to have something to remember the deceased by, there was often staging and post-photo work done to achieve the effect of life. Bodies were posed in lifelike positions, surrounded by family, children holding favorite toys, and eyes often propped open. Sometimes, pupils were painted on in the studio and rosy cheeks were added to the image of the corpse.

3. Coal for jewelry
The material most prized to show grief was lignite, also known as jet, a fossilized form of coal. Jet is deep, dark and somber. In the first phase of mourning, jet jewelry was the only ornamentation women were allowed to wear.

4. Wearing the hair of the dead
While women were only supposed to wear jet for the first stage, during the second stage of mourning one could wear a piece of jewelry if it contained, or was made of, hair. That would be human hair. That would be human hair taken from the deceased love one. Brooches, bracelets, rings, chains and buckles were all made of hair; sometimes there was just a bit enclosed in a hollow band or brooch, other times, the hair was crafted into a piece of its own.

5. Cloaked in heavy veils and bonnets
A widow was to wear a bonnet of heavy crepe and a veil to cover the face for the first three months. At the end of three months the veil was to be worn from the back of the bonnet for another nine months. Altogether, restrictive mourning dress, known as widow's weeds, was to be worn for a minimum of two years, although many widows chose to shun color forever.

6. Haunted houses
Once a member of the house died, all of the mirrors in the house were to be covered. If a mirror in the house fell and broke, it was thought that someone in the home would die soon. When someone died in the house, the clock was to be stopped at the hour of death or bad luck would ensue. When a body was removed from the house, it had to be taken head-first so that it could not beckon others to follow.

7. Saved by the bell
Calling Edgar Allen Poe. Not really a mourning tradition, but a good sign of the times: Coffin alarms. The fear of being buried alive was so severe that a device known as a coffin alarm was invented. The contraption was simply a bell attached to the headstone with a chain that connected to a ring placed on the finger of the corpse. (Gives the term "dead ringer" a whole new meaning.)
1385 of 1950  -   Report This Post


8th June 2013, 10:41
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
1386 of 1950  -   Report This Post


8th June 2013, 22:44

Is this THE END?
1387 of 1950  -   Report This Post


16th June 2013, 08:14

You’ll like this! Could this happen here ??

A man living in Kandos (near Mudgee in NSW, Australia ) received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed $0.00.

He ignored it and threw it away. In April he received another bill and threw that one away too.

The following month the gas company sent him a very nasty note stating that they were going to cancel his gas line if he didn't send them $0.00 by return mail.

He called them, talked to them, and they said it was a computer error and they would take care of it.

The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried out the troublesome gas line figuring that if there was usage on the account it would put an end to this ridiculous predicament.

However, when he went to use the gas, it had been cut off.

He called the gas company who apologised for the computer error once again and said that they would take care of it. The next day he got a bill for $0.00 stating that payment was now overdue.

Assuming that having spoken to them the previous day the latest bill was yet another mistake, he ignored it, trusting that the company would be as good as their word and sort the problem out.

The next month he got a bill for $0.00. This bill also stated that he had 10 days to pay his account or the company would have to take steps to recover the debt.

Finally, giving in, he thought he would beat the gas company at their own game and mailed them a cheque for $0.00. The computer duly processed his account and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the gas company nothing at all.

A week later, the manager of the Mudgee branch of the Westpac Banking Corporation called our hapless friend and asked him what he was doing writing a cheque for $0.00.

After a lengthy explanation the bank manager replied that the $0.00 cheque had caused their cheque processing software to fail. The bank could therefore not process ANY cheques they had received from ANY of their customers that day because the cheque for $0.00 had caused the computer to crash.

The following month the man received a letter from the gas company claiming that his cheque had bounced and that he now owed them $0.00 and unless he sent a cheque by return mail they would take immediate steps to recover the debt.

At this point, the man decided to file a debt harassment claim against the gas company.
It took him nearly two hours to convince the clerks at the local courthouse that he was not joking.

They subsequently helped him in the drafting of statements which were considered substantive evidence of the aggravation and difficulties he had been forced to endure during this debacle.

The matter was heard in the Magistrate's Court in Mudgee and the outcome was this:

The gas company was ordered to:

[1] Immediately rectify their computerised accounts system or Show cause, within 10 days, why the matter should not be referred to a higher court for consideration under Company Law.

[2] Pay the bank dishonour fees incurred by the man.

[3] Pay the bank dishonour fees incurred by all the Westpac clients whose cheques had been bounced on the day our friend's had been processed.

[4] Pay the claimant's court costs; and

[5] Pay the claimant a total of $1500 per month for the 5 month period March to July inclusive as compensation for the aggravation they had caused their client to suffer.

And all this over $0.00.

This story can be viewed on the ABC website.
1388 of 1950  -   Report This Post


16th June 2013, 09:41
Hi Celadon, I live near Mudgee, and this all rings so true. I hadn't seen the story, thanks for posting it. Our suppliers of energy and our local councils could all possibly be classed as "jobsworth".
1389 of 1950  -   Report This Post


16th June 2013, 09:51
If he'd written a cheque for $1 he would have been in credit and saved all that hooha. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
1390 of 1950  -   Report This Post


16th June 2013, 10:00
I was once overcharged $600.00 by our phone company. Many complaints later I was still receiving disconnect notices. I involved the State Ombudsman, 6 months later I received 2 credits for $600.00 each. Woo Hoo. I should probably thank a jobsworth, (love that saying now I've learnt it).
1391 of 1950  -   Report This Post


16th June 2013, 10:03
Obviously I thought this was worth mentioning twice !!!
1392 of 1950  -   Report This Post


16th June 2013, 11:05
Funny story, Celadon, & thanks for keeping the thread going. 1400 is in sight !

However, it's an urban legend that's been circulating for at least 15 years.
Several variations here:

Could have happened somewhere though. My first role as a junior programmer, well before those dates, was fixing code like that, usually in the middle of the night when the accounting programs ran.
And yes, the computer would crash. *
As this was written by the senior staff, my feeling was that the author of that crap should be hauled out of bed, not me.
Strong incentive to write better code.
They didn't take kindly to my suggestion. )-8

* So, that fellow's cheque would not have been processed because it caused the crash.
End of story.
Don't believe everything you read out there.

Lest men suspect your tale untrue,
Keep probability in view.

When we risk no contradiction,
It prompts the tongue to deal in fiction.

Love his epitaph:
Life is a jest; and all things show it.
I thought so once; and now I know it.

1393 of 1950  -   Report This Post


20th June 2013, 12:02

You think English is easy??
I think a retired English teacher was bored...THIS IS GREAT!

Read all the way to the end.................
This took a lot of work to put together!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture..

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?
1394 of 1950  -   Report This Post