Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Not only did I see two sets of these rectal dilators in one visit to a local flea market but they were only two booths apart from each other. By the way, the second set was missing one of the dilators - must have been the owners favorite one!

What in the hell were these used for? Here's the answer:

A rectal dilator is a manual medical tool designed to help train the anus to relax to a greater degree. People use the instrument to treat issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids, as well as to reduce pain during anal intercourse. Although a person can purchase a set of dilators discretely online, obtaining and using a set with medical supervision is ideal. The devices have been in use at least since the turn of the 20th century, with early doctors making benefits claims well beyond what the dilators actually do. Modern doctors and manufacturers are more careful with their advertising and have proven the effectiveness of dilators for anal stretching through scientific research.

In terms of physical construction, rectal dilators are made of washable, semi-flexible or solid materials such as plastic. One end of the tool is rounded, while the other curves outward and is flattened into a cuff for easy gripping and control. A good dilator always contains a small hole at each end, which allows air to escape from the rectal canal and eliminates pressure buildup. The tool length is proportional to its circumference, with wider dilators being longer. The sensitivity and delicate structure of the rectum requires that the instrument be smooth to prevent tearing or other injury.

An 1893 Medical News editorial noted that "Dr. Young" himself, writing in another journal of which he was the editor, praised rectal dilation as a cure for insanity, claiming that at least "three-fourths of all the howling maniacs of the world" were curable "in a few weeks' time by the application of  "orificial methods". The Medical News asked,
Why, then, in the name of pity and kindness, do these men not apply the dilators each to himself or to each other? We very much fear all this imbecility may rest upon a semi-pathologic basis, and that Krafft-Ebing may have a new chapter to write concerning sodomic perversion in his work upon sexual psychopathy.
A 1905 advertisement by F. E. Young and Co. of Chicago promised that "The best results may be obtained by the use of Young's self-retaining rectal dilators", the use of which "accomplishes for the invalid just what nature does daily for the healthy individual". Doctors were advised that "If you will prescribe a set of these dilators in some of your obstinate cases of Chronic Constipation you will find them necessary in every case of this kind". The advertised price was $2.50.
Young admitted that some patients panicked at the sight of the devices.

I'll bet they did!!!

Ghosts of Manila: 

The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier

When Muhammad Ali met Joe Frazier in Manila for their third fight, their rivalry had spun out of control. The Ali-Frazier matchup had become a madness, inflamed by the media and the politics of race. When the "Thrilla in Manila" was over, one man was left with a ruin of a life; the other was battered to his soul.
Mark Kram covered that fight for Sports Illustrated in an award-winning article. Now his riveting book reappraises the boxers -- who they are and who they were. And in a voice as powerful as a heavyweight punch, Kram explodes the myths surrounding each fighter, particularly Ali. A controversial, no-holds-barred account, Ghosts of Manila ranks with the finest boxing books ever written.

From Publishers Weekly

Kram, who covered boxing for Sports Illustrated for more than a decade, tells the story of Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali's epic 1975 Manila fight, and the bitter and complex rivalry between the two men that preceded it. He begins his story when the men, both black Southerners, are isolated and in retirement. Ali calls Manila "the greatest fight" of his life, while Frazier remains obsessively consumed by his hatred of Ali. Kram is intent on undoing the media "romance history" of Ali as civil rights hero; "hagiographers," he writes, "never tire of trying to persuade us that he ranked second only to Martin Luther King, but... Ali was not a social force." Frazier and Ali began as friends, but professional competition and divergent views on race turned theirs into a rivalry that had a lasting effect on professional sport and perhaps changed the meaning of race, especially for African-Americans, in postwar America. Kram explores the fighters' serial wives and mixed-up families, as well as their shifting, hunting packs of managers and assistants Ali's Black Muslim handlers in particular ("They were into profit and running things like Papa Doc was running Haiti"). Describing the powerful title event, Kram's prose is heavy with metaphors, not all of them helpful ("Ali's legs searched for the floor like one of Baudelaire's lost balloons"), and some of the narrative reads like his earlier accounts of the fights pasted together. Still, overall this is a daring, intelligent and well-observed piece of sportswriting.

Cut Time: An Education at the Fights

Carlo Rotella, an award-winning writer and ringside veteran, unearths the hard wisdom in any kind of fight, from barroom dustup to HBO extravaganza. He vividly describes the tough choices and subtle pleasures that come the way of every fighter, from perennial underdogs on the tank-town circuit to the one-time heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, who still spars to retching exhaustion daily.
Rotella uncovers the often startling light that boxing sheds on the world beyond the ring. A college student's brief fistic career pinpoints the moment when adulthood arrives. The serenity of a fellow fan shows Rotella how to process the trauma of a car crash. The persistence of a wizened ex-champion reminds him of his grandmother and helps him accept her death. Throughout, Rotella achieves moving resonances between the worlds inside and outside the ropes.
He also tackles fascinating questions that have gone largely unexplored until now: How do boxers endure the brutal punishment that is the sport's essence? And why do they come back for more, again and again? As Rotella traces his immersion in the fight world, he achieves what few other writers in that world have: he makes it relevant to us, whether we're fans or not.

I stumbled on to both of these older books on boxing at a used book store recently and both are definitely worth checking out.

Cut Time is a collection of essays that deal mainly with small time boxing in the Northeastern part of the country but has several fascinating chapters on the great Larry Holmes, who I feel is probably the most underrated heavyweight champion of all time. For some bizarre reason the author wrote one lengthy chapter on how boxing somehow tied in with his grandmother that I didn't quite get but what the hell, I just bypassed that and went on to the next chapter. Good book for the boxing fan.

Ghosts of Manila investigates the Ali-Frazier trilogy and the background of both of these all time great fighters. What is so different about this book is that it doesn't fawn all over the "magnificent" Ali and describes what a different person he really was in real life - not just what the casual boxing fan thought he was. In other words - quite a bit of the time, Ali was a real asshole - tormenting sparring partners, womanizing, he wasn't the brain surgeon the Ali worshipers thought he was, & generally treated other fighters (especially Smoking Joe) with total disrespect.
What of the most fascinating points in the book is that it claims that Frazier was legally blind in one eye from the time he won the Olympic medal. So he actually kicked the great Ali's ass while fighting with one good eye!
A great boxing and sports book that I can't believe took me this long to read.