September 12th, 2010

Where No Woman

Abusing Latin for Fun and Profit

So, I have a post-dystopian magical realism-infused cyberpunk setting. The post part is a recent addition: until a year ago, the place was run by a pretty dysfunctional absolute monarchy, under which things went even worse than you're thinking they did. The new King in charge is trying very, very hard to make a new government that will prevent anything like his parent's reign from ever happening again. 

While he's trying to install something resembling the House of Commons, one of the main civil servants (who is a veteran of old regime, and appropriately jaded) is going to point out some problems with this: one of them being that finding experienced legislatures would mean either finding someone who was well over one hundred and fifty years old (granted, this isn't that unlikely in this setting), or having someone who worked solely under his parents, in which case the only two laws they know how to respect would be "the Queen" and "the King".

Except, I don't want him to say "the Queen and the King". I'd like to have some quasi-legalese type Latin instead. I considered using "argumentum ad baculum" (appeal to the stick), and "argumentum ad metum"  (appeal to fear) for the Queen, but neither sentiment is really entirely true to the situation, nor over-the-top batshit insane enough for her personality. I couldn't find anything for the King.

So, the two phrases I would like to translate into Latin are:
* "appeal to the woman with the lightning sword"- the sword in question being based upon Tizona in appearance, and possessing the ability to shoot lightning.
* "appeal to the sane man with the shield" -in reference to the fact that if the Queen woke up one morning and wanted you dead for having nice hair, the King would be the one to talk her out of it.

I've tried various Latin dictionaries, and got variable results for the words "sword" and "shield", and then remembered that I know nothing about Latin grammar, so wouldn't be able to get it right anyway. Help?


What Exactly Did 18th century people defecate in?

This community has been so helpful, I cut and paste my entries into Word.

Okay, so my first question is, what did wealthy people in the 18th century defecate in?  I know that often in films bowls of shit are shown, but how did it get there?  I've also gathered that most people did not clean themselves afterward (yuck).

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music, serious face

ANON post: gunshot wound best case scenario

I know you guys get a lot of questions about gunshot wounds, but basically, I'm trying to come up with a best-case scenario to match existing details of an already-published story; I've googled lots and read previous entries on this comm, but the advice I'm getting tends toward "don't shoot him there", which is unfortunately out of the realm of possibility. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

The victim is a young male in excellent health (a marathon runner, at that). The injury is a through-and-through gunshot wound, entering through either the chest or the shoulder. Nothing else is established; I'm willing to put the shooting in the parking lot of a first-rate hospital if I need to.

What I'm looking to do is arrange the rest of details so the person's recovery (long-term) is as complete as possible. Significantly limited use of the arm won't work so I assume can't damage the shoulder joint. Passing through the lung or subclavian area is within the realm of possibility, but I'd like to know the best option to maximize his ability to recover lung capacity -- even nicking the subclavian artery, from what I understand, would cause the chest cavity to fill up with blood and lung to collapse, so I have no idea if that's any better than a bullet through the lung once survival is a given. Beyond that, I don't know what my options are, and I'm not sure what other factors I should be concerned about re: long term health.

Setting is near-future L.A. Current medical practices considered experimental are okay, but we're not far enough in the future to be making stuff up from scratch. Recovery time isn't an issue. I can accept that this isn't going to be without consequences to this person's long term health, I just want to do whatever I can do in terms of damage control.

----- Previous searches/research ------
Read wikipedia articles on ballistic trauma, pneumothorax, hemothorax, hemopneumothorax, chest trauma, scapular fracture, clavical fracture, shoulder, lung volume, subclavian artery.
Read articles tagged GSW on this comm and searched for relevant terms on the fanfic_med yahoo group
Googled extensively: GSW, "gunshot wound", "ballistic trauma" and sometimes "bullet" in combination with recovery, "lung capacity" "through shoulder", "through and through", "through lung";
Pneumothorax, hemothorax, hemopneumothorax, and "collapsed lung" in combination with "lung capacity", "lung volume" "long term", "recovery", with and without "tramatic" before the injury; Long term", "recovery", "physical therapy", "use of arm" in combination with scalpular and clavical; others.
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ANON post: most painful way to die?

Uh, I googled 'most painful way to die' and couldn't really find anything that uh, worked in this situation. Plus I'm kind of scared to google anything else along those lines.. lots of creepy websites.

Basically, I want to know what the most painful way to be killed would be, there's an in-universe serial killer loose, and people are getting killed in horrific ways. The only thing is, I'm not sure what would be the most painful way to do it, I want the death to involve torture, and for it to take a while for them to die. I also need to know if there is any way the kind of pain could be described, or if there are any articles on the description of pain, as the serial killer describes it to one of their victims.

Very, very vague, my apologies, I'm working out the logistics of the story myself but without this simple plot point I won't be making any progress.

Degenerative hip disease in dogs

I need to find a degenerative hip disease that would cause problems for an older (teenage) dog. It can be a lifelong or chronic thing, so long it's plausible for the dog to live that long before the symptoms really start making trouble.

Browsing Wikipedia for dog diseases didn't turn up anything useful, so I would appreciate some pointers. I can look up more information on my own once I have a name, but if you have more details/information, that would be great too.

Renaissance wedding questions

Okay, I have one last Renaissance question.  This is still relevant to the Assassin's Creed II universe.

I did a lot of research prior to this, mainly about mid-renaissance weddings. I searched 'renaissance wedding', 'fatherless wedding' and 'fatherless renaissance wedding' but not much was unearthed about my query.

My female character is about to get married.  It is the early 1500's- between 1500 and 1510.  Said charachter's father died about twenty years ago- placing my character in her 30's.  I realize this is probably rather old for a woman to be wed in this time period, but due to her circumstances she hasn't been in one place long enough to actually settle down. 

Now, what I need to know is what would happen since this character has no father to participate in the ceremony.  Would another male relative have to come in place of her father?  This is possible, if necessary.  She has relatives living in Monaco that are at my disposal.

And also- what would the bride, groom and guests wear, color and style-wise. 
Anything you can contribute is greatly appreciated!

EDIT: My heroine was with an associate of her father, Rodrigo Borgia, during her travels.  And thank you for clearing up that white was not traditional at this point in time.

Mortuary cosmetics and procedure

Setting: a slightly shady funeral home in Chicago, run by the same family for several generations.

Protagonist: a grad school drop-out who, despite in no way being remotely qualified to work with make-up or dead people, let alone the two of them together, has gotten a job from her uncle as the funeral home's cosmetician. She's had a crash course in mortuary cosmetics from her funeral director uncle, but has never been to mortuary school and has no cosmetology license.

Google has actually been quite kind to me and searches such as "funeral home cosmetologist," "funeral home cosmetics," and "mortuary cosmetics" yielded quite a lot of info. I just have a few questions left:

1) Are there brand loyalties or feuds, like a Chevy vs. Ford for funeral cosmetics?

2) If the deceased specified that only organic cosmetics should be used, how easily could a home get their hands on some? What would the price difference be?

3) Some of the make-up has really long names, like "Derma-Pro Amaretto Matte Covering Creme." Are there any commonly used abbreviations or slang for various products?

4) Is there a particular order a cosmetologist would apply the various products to a corpse?