Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quick Note

I got a preliminary report from my brother-in-law out in California. At the half way point of his California expedition he has found 18 new birds putting his life list close to 600, one of his goals. For total species, he is well over 100. Imagine finding over 100 species in 10 days. I am still sticking with my 250 bet.

A friend sent me a curious website on spanking machines. Check this out.


My personal favorite is the water wheel powered German multi-user machine from 1856. Although the one that shoots off the 32 caliber blanks and delivers an electrical shock seems quite a bargain at $32.50

This brought back memories of grade school and how the principal had a paddling machine. There were always great descriptions from the older kids about the machine and its preparation for use. There seemed to be numerous adjustments which took a dreadfully long time, and there was a special emphasis on the fact that it had to be plugged into the wall thus ensuring in our minds that this was a machine of some respectable power. The preparation of the victim of course involved the baring of one's buttocks.

On the few trips that I had to take to the office, I always furtively searched for this machine. It had to be about somewhere. There was a metal cube about the dimension of a modern refrigerator but only half as tall. It had that gray crinkly paint that was used on fine machines back in the 50s and chrome letters in the front. I could not identify any purpose for this machine then or now and in my heart I knew that this was the paddling machine. I imagined the miscreant to be seated in the machine like one of those saunas where all you saw was the persons head. I was frightened by those saunas, why I don't know, but it seemed to be the perfect mode for this paddling machine. All that would be visible would be the miscreants head grimacing in pain as this machine applied a good warming to his bottom with the efficiency of my mother's automatic washer--a marvel at the time along with television and the automatic transmission. I never worried about the contradiction of how ones bottom got paddled if one was sitting.

Well I can't say that I ever suffered the indignities of automated punishment, but it was certainly a fact of life for us grade school kids, exceeded only by the electric chair and the atomic bomb for sheer terror. The fifties was a rather cool time to grow up. While we may have been deathly afraid of the paddling machine we were also fascinated by it as well as electric chairs and atomic bombs. Pain, suffering and death had a rather romantic appeal to it as well as the terrifying aspect. Fortunately we all seemed to grow up with out the terrors of any of these devices unleashed on us.


  1. My comment keeps disappearing. First, your brother-in-law must be having an extraordinary time. Perhaps we'd all be able to count species after species if we'd only open our eyes and look. But we don't, do we?

    The spanking machine is something else altogether. I shall close my eyes and overlook it. That's a myth the Brothers Grimm could have used.

  2. My Word Processor is on the fritz. Are you having computer problems? Are you reading
    I want a post, and I shall bang my spoon on my desk until I get one. At the end on my posts is some printing - very faint - that says someting like Atom. Click it and see what happen. Moi

  3. The problem I have been having this week is working almost double shifts at work.

    I have noticed the Post Atom but I don't know what it does. It looks like it strips away all the nice formatting, and leaves basic text.