intriguing and/or frivolous bits and bobs

neatobambino had an interesting post on parenting practices in 5 ancient civilizations. sure is fascinating to see both how things have changed, as well as how things circle back around again. reading this post made me think of the excellent chapter in andy root‘s book, children of divorce, that unpacks our changing understanding of family and how it impacts children and teenagers today. a snippet from the post, about medieval scandinavia:

Girls were educated in the household arts, but boys typically learned farming and herding, except for the higher classes, who learned the arts of war. It was common for children to be fostered by other families in order to strengthen bonds between different kinship groups. Such children could be highly esteemed, as one runic inscription at Kirk Michael on the Isle of Man says “It is better to leave a good foster son than a bad son.” Fostering another man’s child could be an honor….”


in an apparent homage to both absurdity and extremism, brewdog brewed and sold out of “the end of history“, a (very) limited edition 55% (110 proof) alcohol beer packaged (for a reason i don’t quite understand) in the carcasses of stoats and grey squirrels.

This blond Belgian ale is infused with nettles from the Scottish Highlands and Fresh juniper berries. Only 12 bottles have been made and each comes with its own certificate and is presented in a stuffed stoat or grey squirrel. The striking packaging was created by a very talented taxidermist and all the animals used were road kill. This release is a limited run of 11 bottles, 7 stoats and 4 grey squirrels. Each ones comes with its own certificate of authenticity.


every year, the bulwer-lytton fiction contest, based out of san jose state university, gives awards in a selection of literary fiction genres for the worst first sentence. these aren’t first sentences from actual, published book; they’re fictional fiction sentences: first sentences written merely for submission to the contest. and they are breathtaking in their awesomeness.

this year’s winner, written by molly ringle:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.

a couple more, for your enjoyment.

from the children’s literature category, this beauty from pete watkins:

“Please Mr. Fox, don’t take your magic back to the forest, it is needed here in Twigsville!” pleaded little Isabel, but Mr. Fox was unconcerned as he smugly loped back into the woods without answering a word knowing well that his magic was only going to be used to make sure his forest would be annexed into the neighboring community of Leaftown where the property values were much higher.

or this beauty submitted by jesse kolman:

His chest glistened like a pumpkin seed, either one fresh out of the pumpkin but with all the orange strands of pumpkin flesh removed, or one straight out of the oven after being coated in just the right amount of oil and then baked; the point is that it was smooth, fairly shiny, and that color.

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