The Sun Also Rises on a House Full of Cats

If you haven't heard--or didn't read when we first reported--"about 50" cats live in Ernest Hemingway's former Key West home. Papa's cats are special--all descendants of a cat named Snow White he was gifted in 1935, they each have the "sixth toe gene" and they've now also successfully dodged the law; though it's illegal in Key West to have more than four cats per household, city officials stepped in to exempt the house from such a regulation.

The new ordinance reads in part, "The cats reside on the property just as the cats did in the time of Hemingway himself. They are not on exhibition in the manner of circus animals. ... The City Commission finds that family of polydactyl Hemingway cats are indeed animals of historic, social and tourism significance."

Congrats, cats! I wonder if I can view the six-toed commune on Google Earth...

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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