topiary cats

topiary cats

Friday, May 22, 2015

One Hundred Years Ago

Right now, 100 years ago, World War 1 was happening.

Trench warfare.  That was a really, really nasty piece of business.

Here is a little description of life in the trenches, from this link:

Misery in the Mud
Life in the trenches was nightmarish, aside from the usual rigors of combat. Forces of nature posed as great a threat as the opposing army. Heavy rainfall flooded trenches and created impassable, muddy conditions. The mud not only made it difficult to get from one place to another; it also had other, more dire consequences. Many times, soldiers became trapped in the thick, deep mud; unable to extricate themselves, they often drowned.

The pervading precipitation created other difficulties. Trench walls collapsed, rifles jammed, and soldiers fell victim to the much-dreaded "trench foot." A condition similar to frostbite, trench foot developed as a result of men being forced to stand in water for several hours, even days, without a chance to remove wet boots and socks. In extreme cases, gangrene developed and a soldier's toes -- even his entire foot -- would have to be amputated.

Unfortunately, heavy rains were not sufficient to wash away the filth and foul odor of human waste and decaying corpses. Not only did these unsanitary conditions contribute to the spread of disease, they also attracted an enemy despised by both sides -- the lowly rat. Multitudes of rats shared the trenches with soldiers and, even more horrifying, they fed upon the remains of the dead. Soldiers shot them out of disgust and frustration, but the rats continued to multiply and thrived for the duration of the war. Other vermin that plagued the troops included head and body lice, mites and scabies, and massive swarms of flies.

As terrible as the sights and smells were for the men to endure, the deafening noises that surrounded them during heavy shelling were terrifying. In the midst of a heavy barrage, dozens of shells per minute might land in the trench, causing ear-splitting (and deadly) explosions. Few men could remain calm under such circumstances; many suffered emotional breakdowns.

(When I was in college, I had to do a book cover for All Quiet on the Western Front.
That's how I got into having pet rats, actually.  I put rats all over the cover of the book, and for that I researched them.  In my research I found- instead of really dirty ugly trench vermin- these really cute and smart critters.)

Oh yeah, there was chemical warfare too.  That was absolutely gruesome. It was first used in April 1915. I always thought gas masks looked really scary.

TRUE FACT:  Fritz Hauber is considered to be the "Father of Chemical Warfare".  What a distinction.  His wife, Clara- who was also a scientist- was so upset with and against his use of science to kill other humans that she committed suicide after having a huge fight with him about it.

I think it is good to remember history, and to remember how others have suffered. It keeps our own lives in perspective. It knocks petty drama out of any level of meaning and importance.

Some say history is important so we don't keep repeating the same mistakes- but I don't have that much faith in humanity. Not on a mass level.  On individual levels, yes.  But it's always the same old nonsense with a different backdrop.

Tomorrow I will post something less grim.

Card today: Cleaning House (reversed)
HAHAHAHAHA oh that's FUNNY (all I can do at this point is laugh senselessly when it comes to my apartment)

Aside from my apartment being Cleaning House (reversed), I am not really doing so great on my May goals. Oh my gosh though, this whole month has been insane.  I'm not kidding when I say I am basically just coming home to sleep during the week.

My interpretation: Get to work.......

Booklet says:  Clean house, either literally or emotionally. Let go. Make space.


  1. I don't like war and I don't like house cleaning.

    1. One thousand % agreed on both points.

  2. Yeah. The people who should learn never do; it is very much part of humanity.

    History is extremely important.


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