In order to study intestinal microbiota in mice, you have to put an absurd amount of effort into making sure they don’t eat poop. So how do you do that?
First, you use a cage design in which the bottom of the cage is made of wire with something underneath to catch the poop. This ensures that most of the poop falls right through and they aren’t able to snack on it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t prevent them from licking the poop directly out of their anuses.
So the next step is to put a lampshade-like covering over their rear ends. This allows them to eat normally, but they can’t lick their butts. They can still lick the butts of their roommates, though. The only way to avoid that is to house them individually.
(I just got like five asks asking about the tractor joke so here we go. Keep in mind it’s better when told aloud and obvs it is not mine but the beauty of it is that you can MAKE it yours)
so there’s this little kiwi kid named
Timmy. He’s an average kid. Average suburban home, average kiwi
family, cool dog in the backyard. Nothing spectular. He’s maybe ten
years old? Scruffy blonde hair, gross clothes as per usual for a boy
his age. Boring. Timmy loves tractors.
When I was in junior high school I cut this picture out of the back of Gilda Radner’s It’s Always Something dust jacket and pinned it to my lampshade. The cover was ruined enough to warrant me throwing the rest away, but I loved this picture too much to toss it.
It was more about Gilda than Gene Wilder, but here is a nice piece from that book about the both of them. It’s Gilda recalling a book she read as a child:
“She remembers that when she was a little girl, her parents had a house on the beach in Long Island, a summer place where they took her and her sister when they were about the age of her children who died. They’d go down there to the beach and there were always lots of people there, and everybody had umbrellas that looked alike. She and her sister would go and play by the sand dunes, but it was hard to tell where their parents were. So her father began to tie a pair of tennis shoes on one of the spokes of their umbrella so when the two little girls looked over, they could see right away where their parents were. She longed for that time when you could believe your parents were protecting you.
I remember riding in the backseat of my father’s car and thinking I was really safe…If my parents were home, I was safe, and things didn’t happen–cancer, bus accidents, plane crashes or wars. As long as my parents were home, everything was all right…In the hospital, I remembered that book, thinking inside, Please, someone protect me from this cancer. Make me feel safe again.
The night before my first chemotherapy, I was lying in bed and Gene walked in the doorway of my hospital room. He was carrying a little pink umbrella with shoes tied to it.”
It would do no good to sit and falsely think that Gilda and Gene had an ideal relationship. But still.
what he was thinking. I untangled myself from the sheets and carefully wrapped them around my naked body as I silently made my way over to where he sat, looking confused and not willing to leave. “What’s got your tongue Cal?” I murmured as I hugged him from behind and kissed the tender spot on his neck that I left as a reminder of our escapades from the previous night. He jumped a little at the contact but covered himself quickly. It was obvious he wasn’t used to keeping someone around after the deed was done but he was horrible with words. “I don’t want this to be a thing anymore,” he responded and I pulled away from him in shock. “You’re one of my best friends and if we keep continuing this God knows our friendship will be fucked beyond repair and I can’t lose you, not like this. That’s why I’m sitting at the table lost in thoughts, when you know I’d be gone the second you’d wake.” I looked at him astonished that he of all people would be vocal about disagreeing with an idea he brought up, the idea he had when we were both drunk off our asses. Now here we are two weeks later already too far into this to put it on hold. “I’m going to get dressed then” I managed to force a smile and dropped the sheets. I picked up my clothes and made my way to the bathroom
“I hope she knows I’m in love with her and not some asshole“ I managed to hear him mouth as he shook his head and got up from the table, grabbing his shirt that covered the lampshade with memories of how it got there.
So who is this Ed Gein dude anyway? I can imagine what he is but I don't know his real backstory.
DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH.
Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of the movies Psycho (1960), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and Silence of the Lambs (1991), right?
All of those movies were at least partially based on the exploits of Ed Gein.
You see, he was the epitome of a “mama’s boy”, and lived in Plainfield, Wisconsin. His mother, Augusta, was an extremely overbearing, god-fearing woman of Prussian descent (her parents were both immigrants), who maintained a very oppressive atmosphere in her family home. Augusta was the bread-winner in the Gein family, raising enough money from selling the grocery store that she owned to purchase a farm on the edge of town, where she moved her two sons, and continued to shelter them to a fault. Every day, she would read to them out of the Bible, convincing them of the inherent evil in all women (except for herself, of course), and warning them of the tortures of Hell they would endure, should they stray from the path of “righteousness”. She did not even allow her sons to make friends, and would even punish them for attempting to do so.
Due to this upbringing, Ed was a timid child, who grew up to be a timid adult. After his alcoholic, frequently-unemployed father passed away, he and his brother, Henry, were forced to take odd jobs around town to help make ends meet. Both men were regarded respectfully by the community, and Ed frequently served as a babysitter to various children in town (mentally still a child himself, he got along well with them). It wasn’t until after the seemingly accidental death of Henry Gein that anyone became suspicious of Ed. The brothers had a bit of a falling out concerning their feelings towards their mother, and Henry’s body, found lying face-down in a field (where it had apparently been for a couple of days), had signs of bruising on the back of the head. However, it was deemed an unfortunate result of asphyxiation due to a brush fire that had started on the property, and simply dismissed.
It wasn’t long after this that Augusta suffered not one, but two strokes, eventually leading to her death. Ed, who had painstakingly tended to his mother’s needs during this time, was absolutely devastated. His mother was the only person he had left, and the only real friend he ever had. At this point, he became obsessed with the idea of bringing Augusta back from the dead, and buried himself in books and magazines about the occult. He would claim that he heard her voice on occasion, calling to him from beyond the grave.
It was on November 16, 1957, that the world would come to know of the horrors inside the Gein household. When Bernice Worden, a local hardware store owner, disappeared early that morning, Gein was at the top of the suspect list, due to being the last person to interact with Bernice before her disappearance. When police arrived at the Gein home, they found a true house of horrors. Investigators recovered all manner of bizarre paraphernalia crafted out of human flesh and bone, including a belt made out of women’s nipples, various “masks” made out of skinned faces, a flesh lampshade, flesh chair seat covers, bowls made of human skull caps, a drawstring for a window shade crafted from a pair of human lips, and a “female suit” made out of a patchwork collection of tanned pieces of flesh from women’s torsos. Officers also discovered human remnants such as noses, vulvas, and the head of Bernice Worden in a burlap sack. They also located the head of another woman, Mary Hogan, who had gone missing three years earlier. The worst discovery of all was that of the naked, decapitated body of Bernice Worden, hanging upside down in the barn, having been gutted like a deer.
Aside from the apparent murders of the two missing women, Gein had also taken up the habit of grave robbing, and frequently exhumed recently-deceased, middle-aged women that he felt resembled his mother. After Augusta’s death, Ed had suddenly become fixated with the idea of changing his gender, perhaps in order to become Augusta himself. It has long been said that Ed used to put on his “female suit” of stolen, tanned skins, and dance in the moonlight, for reasons that only Ed himself ever knew.
On November 21, 1968, Edward Theodore Gein was found guilty of first degree murder, and given a life sentence - to be served in a mental institution. Despite being previously diagnosed with schizophrenia, and originally deemed unfit to stand trial (and thus proclaimed to be not guilty by reason of insanity), Gein was deemed sane enough by doctors (after having been held at two different mental hospitals between 1957 and 1968) to stand trial in order to be prosecuted under the penalty of the law.
Ed Gein passed away, still institutionalized, on July 26, 1984, due to complications from lung cancer, at the age of 77.
His life and crimes continue to influence popular culture to this day, whether in films such as Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses (2003), and even in the bizarre Ed Gein: The Musical, which debuted in Menasha, Wisconsin in 2010. The gruesome, sensational story of the “Mad Butcher of Plainfield” will likely live on for decades more to come.