No Place Like Home: Truly Disgusting Houses

I've lived in a bad apartment or two in my time; most of us have. My worst overlooked the I-10 freeway overpass in Los Angeles, which despite double-paned glass on the windows rattled my ears night and day; worse still, the homeless folk who collected on the adjoining embankment (a mere 10 feet from our "balcony") would hang out, drink, fight, copulate beneath thin blankets and shoot up in broad daylight ... welcome to Hollywood!

The inside of the apartment was considerably better -- and thankfully, you could always close the curtains. Much worse IMHO than an unsightly view out the windows is an unsightly mess inside them -- which is exactly what we'll be looking at today. Partly out of looky-loo fascination, and partly out of some kind of decor schadenfreude, seeing messy houses always makes mine feel cleaner by comparison. These make me feel downright OCD.

Houston's House of Horrors

Recently made famous on Digg, this apartment is either home to the messiest person on Earth, or some kind of ingenious art installation. I mean, just look at the repeating patterns and colors here:

Here are the Landlord's 2 cents:

We had a resident who had an outstanding balance for over a month and no one could get ahold of her. The Bookkeeper went inside after so many tries to leave a note and this is what we found. The pictures do NO justice. There is suppose to be 2 cats living here but we cant find them (we think they're dead somewhere inside the apartment-we contacted the SPCA). The place REEKS to say the least, i gagged non stop.


I for one am stunned -- and somehow impressed. Firstly that they didn't burn the place down after stubbing out a thousand lit cigarettes on evry available surface, and secondly that owning a trash can seemed like more hassle than being evicted from your apartment.

Scaling the Beer Can Mountains

YouTube user CuddlyPythons uploaded this video of an (attempted) animal rescue from an apartment someone was being evicted from. (They never found the cat in question.) Mind-boggling numbers of empty beer cans fill each room -- the bedroom seems to be entirely devoted to empty boxes of Natural Light and Milwaukee's Best. Amazing.

Rathouse of the Palisades

I blogged a few months ago about a local (LA-based) messy house horror story -- the pestilence in question being not just trash, but rats, fed huge bags of dog food by two elderly sisters for years and years in West LA. When the neighbors noticed rats leaping from the sisters' roof into their yard in large numbers, they tried to get the city to take action; barring that, they threatened the sisters with legal action and publicity until they agreed to hire exterminators. This was the result:

A crew wearing facemasks and hazmat suits emerged pale-faced and sober, as if they had just witnessed the aftermath of a biohazard spill — which, in a way, they had. Scott Denham says they hauled several large garbage bags heavy with dead rats from the bedrooms, kitchen, attic, basement and guesthouse, as the Denhams took photos.

What's the messiest apartment/house/trailer/yurt you've ever been in?

College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

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