August 6th, 2008

Small Town Oddities

Googled: small town + any combination of strange, bizarre, weird, unusual, landmark, curiosity, oddity.

I'm actually hesitant about just plucking items from a list, even if I find one, so I'd prefer personal answers if you have them! So if you've lived in or visited a small town in the U.S. (<10K population, hopefully in the west--including mid- or south-), what made it different from other small towns?

For example, the small town I lived in as a teenager had a giant, ugly, cartoonish statue of Paul Bunyan next to main street, welcoming/horrifying people as they arrived. A friend told me that near her town, there were two water towers so close together that they very much look like a giant blue butt.

Observations of particularly backwater people, behaviors, festivals, customs, etc. are welcome as well. I have a character who is insensitive to cultural differences between urban and rural areas, and these are supposed to be things she would notice and make fun of in her blog.

Rabbit 1

Shotgun Wounds and Trauma!

When: Current Times

Where: Santa Barbara, CA


Healthy/active 32 year-old male is shot at close range (five feet) in the chest somewhere in city, person has no medical problems and is not allergic to any medication. No excessive drinking, no smoking, etc. Fast access to ambulance (7 min response time) and hospital. Shotgun is double barrel, the length of just about any you've seen in a western, atypical one, nothing fancy. Or a rifle, I need the guy to live and be able to eventually get mobile.


1.- What kind of wounds would the person receive?

2.- Medical treatment? Surgery, etc.

3.- Survival rate.

4.- Long term treatment?

5.- Aprox time of recovery?
hormel, spam, vile, disgusting

Caring for six-month-old twins

What: Caring for six-month-old twins when not primary caregiver.
When: Present day.
Searched: "infant babysitting," "babysitting twins," "twin nanny," "caring for twins," "six-month-old twins", etc. etc. ad nauseam.
The Situation!

Long-time lurker, finally a questioner, and this is kind of a weird one. My character found a part-time working job for an upper-class family in her college paper, sitting six-month-old twins for four hours a night. It's a highly-paid position, so who needs that fancy internship, right?

Somehow I think that sitting for twins would be different than sitting for just one kid and especially difficult if they can't walk or talk yet. She has experience with young children and babies, but never with twins or siblings. What differences would she run into? Are twins harder to calm down than other children? Do they set each other off? Can you comfortably walk around with a baby under each arm? And what about that family? They're not scarily rich or else they'd have someone living in and Mom is trying to be hands-on, but do wealthy families do anything differently? Obviously every parent will have his or her quirks, but are there any generalities?

The most important elements here are what the twins would be like and what would be expected of the character for four hours a night, five days a week. She's innocently assuming that she'll put them down an hour after she gets there and do her homework with the baby monitor. It can't possibly be that easy, right? Anything you've got, from documented facts to fun anecdotes, would be welcome. Thanks!

Citizenship and travelling routes in the 19th century

I have a few questions, all pertaining to Europe in the mid-19th century.

1. I think this shouldn't be this difficult to find out, but either it is or I'm seriously lacking some research skills. The question is: How was one's citizenship defined in the 19th century Britain in the case of illegitimate births? If an English man and a French woman, who're not married, have a son in the 1820's, and the father acknowledges his paternity, would the son be considered French or British? And, especially, could he become an army officer or otherwise join the British army in the 1850's?

I've googled with search terms such as 'citizenship 19th century Britain', 'defining citizenship 19th century', 'history of citizenship' and the same ones with 'nationality' replacing 'citizenship' (not sure which one would be a better word to use here).

2. At the end of the Crimean War, how were soldiers transported back to Britain? I assume it was done by ships, but I'd like to be sure, and also find out in which ports the ships stopped especially in the Mediterranean area.

I've searched with terms 'Crimean War', 'Crimean War transport', 'Crimean War ship routes' etc., and also browsed through the (few) books my university library has on the topic.

3. In the 1860's, how would one travel from Rome to France? I've had pretty hard time on finding the railway routes in Italy during the decade. I suppose a ship (perhaps to Marseille?) would be the solution here as well, but where would it set out?

I've basically tried to search the train and ship routes in Italy during the era, but haven't had any luck. I've used terms such as 'France Italy ship routes 19th century' and various variants of those, also some of them in Italian and French (though I'm afraid my French is failing me here).

Thank you a lot in advance!
sweet idleness

Correct Quote?

I am writing a  contemporary paranormal m/m romance, set in the united states in present day and wish to use a Latin Quote which I believe is attributed to Rene Descartes (although he was not the first person to say/think it).

My problem is in finding the correct wording of the quote.

It is the Latin phrase: I doubt, therefore I think, I think, therefore I am.

In Latin, is this written as
Dubito, ergo cogito; cogito, ergo sum.

or as

Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum.

I have found both on google searches with little to indicate which is correct.

Wikipedia says that Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum. is erroneously quoted, but it is not clear if it means that it is erroneously written, or it is erroneously attributed to Descartes.

Can anyone shed some light on this?


Gunshot wound and recovery.

First time posting here, so I hope I'm doing this right.

In my story an 18 year old girl grazed in the meaty part between the neck and the shoulder, probably right above collar bone, so it doesn't penetrate bone. She is healthy, doesn't smoke or drink or do drugs or anything.

1) What would it feel like? (The story is in first person, not sure if that matters or not.)

2) Would this be enough to make her fall unconscious?

3) What would the medical treatment be? (At a hospital, not right away. I mean would she need stitches? Would her arm be in a sling?)

4) How long would she be in the hospital? How much longer would the recovery be when she gets out?

5) What would the scar look like after it healed up?

Googled "shoulder graze gunshot wound."