The Renaissance Woman and Body Hair

Notoriously, on the wedding night of the celebrated art critic, John Ruskin and Effie Gray in 1848, Ruskin was so repelled by the sight of his bride’s body that he was unable to consummate the marriage. Effie Gray explained in a letter of five years later “he had imagined women were quite different to what he saw I was, and that the reason he did not make me his Wife was because he was disgusted with my person”. Ruskin was traumatized by the sight of Effie’s pubic hair.

For an English male art historian of the nineteenth century, steeped in the classical tradition and Italian Renaissance art, the expected female body would have surely been hairless. But how did these pictures interact with the way women treated their own bodies? Did the reinvention of the female nude in Renaissance Italy go hand in hand with a vogue for body hair removal?

The Renaissance could indeed be called a golden age of depilation. During that era, the practice of pubic hair removal flourished. Sixteenth and seventeenth century artists portrayed women as having little or no pubic hair. The work of Peter Paul Rubens, whose models typified the ideal in feminine beauty, most dramatically displays this as shown in his paintings. Recipes for the practice of hair removal where common place and easily retrieved from books.

A recipe that constantly recurs is one based on creating a highly alkaline solution that melts the hair from the surface of the skin, just as hair-removers like Nair do today. There is evidence of recipes for this paste, called rhusma, being used in Ancient Turkey from about 3000 BC and from the Trotula, a very popular medieval book of recipes dating from the twelfth century. Variations of this recipe have been frequently reproduced and include ways for women to remove unsightly body hair for “all” parts of the body.

A 1532 Book of Secrets gives this version of the recipe:

How to Remove or Lose Hair from Anywhere on the Body

Boil together a solution of one pint of arsenic and eighth of a pint of quicklime. Go to a baths or a hot room and smear medicine over the area to be depilated. When the skin feels hot, wash quickly with hot water so the flesh doesn’t come off.

Industrial lime is most widely known for its uses in mining, but it is also used in a number of other areas, such as sugar production, paper manufacturing and even building highways and houses. Lime is an essential part of many processes, and our economy can surely not grow without it.

Today I played learned about the processing of lime, built a small lime-mortared wall in a shop, and pointed another small wall. It was an excellent work shop, and the man running it was very surprised by my over-excitement about lime kilns! 

Then me and a few friends found a lovely cafe with gluten free cakes and bread (BREAD! I can legitimately have a sandwich in a cafe!) and sat there for an hour and a half. It was awesome, and the fellow who ran the place was very enthusiastic about everything! 

Quicklime exported from Thailand to Australia

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has notified its resumption of an investigation into the alleged dumping of quicklime exported from Thailand to Australia. 

Goods covered by the investigation are:

Quicklime – which is also known as calcium oxide as this is the dominant chemical composition of quicklime (CaO). Other common names to describe this product are burnt lime and unslaked lime. Quicklime is a white to grey, caustic, crystalline solid at room temperature.

Tariff classification: 2522.10.00 (statistical code 26)

The date Customs will provide its recommendations to the Minister for Home Affairs is yet to be advised. 


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Ugly Mustard:


Back in the early 50’s when Romance, Horror and Crime comics were vying for those stray dimes the Crime and Horror comics never gave advice, such as what brand of quicklime was best to get rid of a body the swiftest, or how to get gore out of a shroud. But the Romance comics, they had all kinds of advice for their readers, yep…

They were full of it.

I guess that’s one reason why they lasted longer. 

Addiopizzo: The Grassroots Campaign Making Life Hell for the Sicilian Mafia

In his heyday as boss of one of Sicily’s most powerful Mafia clans, Giovanni Di Giacomo could order the elimination of anyone who got in his way. Even after being jailed for life in 1998 for two murders, he continues to control the family business, recently issuing detailed instructions to kill a foot-soldier suspected of disloyalty: “make sure you bury him in quicklime”. Yet this seasoned capo, survivor of brutal power struggles within Costa Nostra, can only look on in dismay from behind bars as his empire begins to crumble under a challenge from a wholly unexpected quarter: a grassroots civic movement called Comitato Addiopizzo, set up by idealistic young Sicilians committed to ridding their island of the scourge of organised crime.  

In a foul-mouthed rant to his mobster brother during a prison visit that was secretly videoed by state prosecutors, Di Giacomo raged against Addiopizzo’s bold campaign to shut down the Porto Nuova clan’s hugely lucrative extortion rackets. In Italian, pizzo means the beak of a bird, but it is also slang for protection money and, for as long as anyone can remember, the Sicilian Mafia has dipped its beak into the pocket of big corporations, restaurants, shops and hotels, even humble street vendors. An authoritative survey in 2008 calculated that the pizzo racket was generating €15bn a year, while some 80% of all businesses in Palermo habitually paid up to avoid trouble.

Yet in the decade since Addiopizzo was founded, its youthful volunteers have proved startlingly effective at encouraging public resistance to extortion and intimidation (hence “Goodbye Pizzo”). Today, around 800 organisations, ranging from United Colours of Benetton and supermarket chains to architects, travel agents and the Zsa Zsa Monamour nightclub, feature in the group’s “Shopping Bag” guide to enterprises that have pledged never again to pay off the crooks.

Sconzajuoco beach, part of Addiopizzo Travel, an anti-mafia tour operator. Gianni Cipriano for Newsweek

At the same time, about 10,000 individuals have signed up to another Addiopizzo initiative, “Pago Chi Non Paga” – “I pay those who don’t pay” – that encourages consumers to spend money only where the group’s distinctive logo is displayed. Significantly, most of them also allowed their full names to appear in a local newspaper advertisement backing the scheme: no small gesture given the Mafia’s track record of killing those who dare to oppose it publicly.

“It’s a fucking disaster,” Di Giacomo lamented during the bugged jail conversation, complaining, entirely without irony, that the Addiopizzo campaign makes it much harder to earn a dishonest living. With so many businesses closing down in the face of Italy’s ongoing economic recession and people increasingly prepared to defy his thugs, “it might not be worth the bother any longer”. Times are getting so tough, Di Giacomo grumbled, that younger clan members would be well advised to start looking for “a real job”.

Addiopizzo’s inspiring journey began in the summer of 2004 when seven friends, all aged under 30 and mostly university graduates from middle-class backgrounds, were debating whether to open a bar in Palermo. “We budgeted for rent, utilities and insurance, but then somebody said ‘What about the pizzo?’” recalls Vittorio Greco. “That tells you how deeply the culture of acquiescence to extortion had become embedded in Sicily.”  

The bar project was eventually dropped, but Greco, who is now a philosophy teacher, and his friends could not shake off the feeling that they should have defied the extortionists.

“We Sicilians place a high value on personal dignity,” he observes, “but how could we square that with ignoring the Mafia’s grip on our island?” Eventually they decided to gamble on enlisting the support of the public for a head-on confrontation with the so-called men of honour, introducing themselves to fellow citizens with an act of calculated defiance.

Late one night in June 2004, they pulled on black balaclavas and stole through the streets of Palermo plastering clandestinely-printed stickers all over the city. Designed to resemble a black-bordered death notice, these proclaimed: “A people that pays the pizzo is a people without dignity.”

Greco, who composed this stinging rebuke, still remembers the adrenaline rush of that night. “Of course we were scared of being caught by Mafia heavies, but it was a fantastically liberating experience.” Within a few days, more stickers appeared in five other Sicilian cities, laying the foundations from which the Comitato Addiopizzo would shortly emerge.

The sticker offensive grabbed media headlines all over Italy, as well as providing the sole topic of conversation for Palermitans taking their morning shot of caffeine. Most of the people I spoke to at the time were excited and enthusiastic, though worried about a violent Mafia backlash. Over a bitter ristretto at the Antico Caffe Spinatto, an experienced organised crime investigator predicted gloomily that “one killing will stop this campaign in its tracks”.

Returning to Palermo some years later, I asked veteran activist Edoardo Zaffuto what had impelled young people like him to throw in their lot with Addiopizzo, knowing that this could put them at personal risk. Now working in the ethical tourism business, Zaffuto pointed out that most of the original members of his group came from a generation known as “the children of the massacre”. They had come of age during the 1980s when the Mafia seemed invincible, nonchalantly assassinating judges, police officers, politicians, businessmen and journalists.

Zaffuto talked particularly about the fate of Libero Grassi, a Palermo industrialist murdered after contemptuously rejecting a demand for protection money in an open newspaper letter addressed to “Dear Extortionist”.

At the time, he recalled, nobody from the business community had come forward publicly to support Grassi’s brave stand, leaving him utterly alone and exposed. The wording on a memorial plaque installed by his widow, Pina Maisano at the spot where he was killed refers pointedly to “the code of silence of the business association”. Addiopizzo is taking steps to ensure this can never happen again by joining other anti-racket organisations in a “collective support” network that will back up anyone who rejects extortion with legal advice and help to liaise with the police.

Last year, Addiopizzo joined itself as a civil party to the trial of four hardcore Mafiosi who threatened a well-known Palermo chef, Natale Giunta – star of the Italian TV version of Ready, Steady, Cook – with “difficulties” if he refused to pay them off. Instead, Giunta, 33 and married with children, went straight to the police and subsequently testified against the pair in open court. He related how the mobsters had confronted him after he opened a restaurant on their clan’s turf without first securing their permission. From now on, they informed him, he would have to hand over €2,000 at Christmas and Easter for the fund to support the families of imprisoned clan members.

Addiopizzo headquarters, where staff deal with all matters related to fighting the Mafia through consumerism. Gianni Cipriano for Newsweek

After he had sent them packing, Giunta recalls, his life became “a true hell”, with repeated death threats and attempts to burn down the restaurant (he still requires police protection).

In February, two of the accused men received lengthy prison sentences: echoing Addiopizzo’s message, Giunta told Italian radio, “I call on everyone to say no to extortion. If there are a lot of us, it will have to stop.”

In the early hand-to-mouth days, Addiopizzo relied heavily on donations from private individuals and a few supportive companies: it is still proudly self-financing, but glowing international media coverage of its campaigns has helped to bolster resources. The group’s rent-free headquarters are in an imposing condominium seized by the state from a local Mafia capo. Both the Sicilian provincial government and the European Union have provided grants.

Five years ago, the group launched its own travel company, offering “100% pizzo free” ethical holidays that include excursions to properties confiscated from Cosa Nostra. Addiopizzo also operates educational missions, going into schools with the message that by standing together Sicilians can break the hold of the extortionists. The head of Palermo’s Anti-Racket Association, Enrico Colajanni, regards this as crucially important: “For years after Grassi was killed nobody dared to denounce the Mafia in public, so we have to teach our children that it’s possible.”

Although Giovanni Di Giacomo’s tirade from jail contained oblique threats against Addiopizzo, Cosa Nostra chiefs appear to understand that with public opinion solidly behind the group, targeting its volunteers could backfire disastrously.

Fabio Messino and Valeria De Leo set up Sicily’s first pizzo-free supermarket in Palermo‘s historic centre in 2008, selling goods only from suppliers who refuse to pay protection money, and organic wine, pasta and olive oil grown on estates confiscated from the Mafia. The couple had half-expected Cosa Nostra’s traditional response to such temerity: a bullet in the post, a severed goat’s head on the doorstep, windows smashed regularly. Yet they never received so much as a threatening note or menacing phone call, while supportive Palermitans made long detours to shop with them.

“Over the past 10 years,” they say, “Addiopizzo has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations in altering the perception of the Mafia among ordinary Sicilians.”

That is music to the ears of Pietro Grasso, a proud Sicilian who was a senior anti-mafia prosecutor before being elected as president of the Italian Senate last year. In a recent interview with the Giornale Di Sicilia newspaper, Grasso fondly remembered a meeting with some of the Addiopizzo ragazzi (boys) shortly after the group was established. He was struck then by their idealism and over the intervening years, he observed, “their passionate commitment and their courage have never wavered”. 

NoYesYesAddiopizzo, Grassroots, Campaign, Making, Life, Hell, Sicilian, MafiaMagazine2014/09/26Downloads3WhitelistEMEAEMEA http://www.newsweek.com/2014/09/26/addiopizzo-grassroots-campaign-making-life-hell-sicilian-mafia-271064.html

Three boys are walking through the woods near picturesque Silver Lake, Staten Island, one July evening in 1878.

One of the boys trip on a barrel stave protruding from the ground. When they dig up the carpet wrapped barrel and open it, to their horror they discover not treasure, but the ghastly, stinking, decomposing remains of a young woman.

The victim’s face was unrecognizable since the killer had sprinkled quicklime over her body after shattering her skull with a blunt instrument and stuffing her in the barrel. The coroner discovered she’d been pregnant when she died. After about a month, efforts to identify the victim finally led investigators to suspect Edward Reinhardt, whose wife, Mary Ann Degnan, was missing. The couple had quarreled, and Reinhardt was known to have a violent temper. In addition, a couple of days following Mary Ann’s disappearance, Reinhardt told neighbors she’d gone to Newark. Not long afterward, he married another woman.

The defense tried to get the murder case dismissed on the grounds that the body couldn’t be positively identified, but that argument went over like a ham sandwich at a vegan picnic. During the trial, Reinhardt finally confessed, admitting he’d struck Mary Ann on the head with a hammer during an argument. Later, he recanted, claiming she’d actually died from medicine she’d taken for dropsy (edema), and he’d only buried the body to avoid trouble with the police. The jury didn’t buy this story either. He died on the gallows.

BONUS FACT: Originally, police suspected the victim might be Annie Hommel, another missing girl who’d broken her wrist as a child. To test the theory, the body was dug up from a pauper’s grave. The coroner removed both the arms and boiled off the flesh in a cauldron right in the cemetery to examine the bones. Turned out it wasn’t her after all.

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Ugly Mustard:


im going to start writing a crime fiction story wherein a dude kills some other guy and is all like “I’m going to use quicklime to dispose of the body because people have done that in crime shows” but he ends up accidentally preserving the body instead and then the body is discovered really easily and he’s almost immediately found out as the culprit and he’s all like “shit” (it’s for my chemistry class)


Cuz this is getting pretty shit.

As I made my 90 second animation the sound instantly went out of sync when saving it as an swf, so I kind of gather I need to do one of two things

1- Convert it to something else.

2- Get a loading screen.

The problem with option 1 is that I have no way of doing this. Flash 8 does contain an option to save it as .mov but that option doesn’t work. It just tells me I’m missing a quicklime-component (and yes I do have Quicktime) and refuses to save.

The problem with option 2 is that I have NO IDEA HOW TO MAKE ONE.

I looked up a tutorial but it’s making me wanna punch things as it seems to be directed at people who knows what they’re doing. I find no tutorial for complete newbies making me wonder how do people learn this things in the first place??


I did find an option to export the movie as AVI. The quality isn’t awesome but it works… I also got some options to possibly get a better quality one but it requires the use of several programs…