One of the fond memories of my early teenage years (around the time of the first Kennedy assassination) was overhearing a couple of girls in the bathroom of Schwab Junior High School telling everyone who cared to listen that SOME PEOPLE had WORMS living in their faces. I realized even at the time that they were idiots, of course. Now I learn from Nurse Myra's rich and wonderful website that the authors of a 1920 health book also contended -- far more authoritatively than the kids at school -- that some people have worms living in their faces. Coincidentally, the authors of this book were also idiots, as their work clearly demonstrates:
[The flesh worm is] a minute little creature, scientifically called Demodex
folliculorum, hardly visible to the naked eye, with comparatively large
fore body, a more slender hind body and eight little stumpy processes
that do duty as legs. No specialized head is visible, although of
course there is a mouth orifice. These creatures live on the sweat
glands or pores of the human face, and owing to the appearance that
they give to the infested pores, they are usually known as “black-heads.”
It is not at all uncommon to see an otherwise pretty face disfigured by
these ugly creatures, although the insects themselves are nearly
Demodex folliculorum, pictured above in all his glory, is a mite, not a flesh worm, and he lives in your eyebrows. In case you were wondering.
Mrs. Favell Mortimer never left Shropshire, but that didn't stop her from writing a highly opinionated travel book in which she managed to insult virtually every nationality on the fact of the earth. Here are some examples from an article about this mid-nineteenth-century tour de farce in The Independent:
Though the Welsh are not very clean, they make their cottages look
clean by white-washing them every year, and sometimes they white-wash
the pig-sties too.
One of the chief faults of the Scotch is the love of whisky. Another
fault is the love of money. They often ask more than they ought, and
are very slow to give. They are industrious, but disobliging. They will
not take much trouble to please strangers. They are not as clean as
English people, and they let their books be covered with dust, and even
black with soot.
Though the Portuguese are indolent, like the Spaniards, they are not so
grave, and sad, and silent. They are proud like the Spaniards, but they
are more deceitful. They have black eyes, and hair, and dark
complexions like the Spaniards, but they have whiter teeth, for they
never smoke, and it is smoking paper cigars which spoils the teeth in
The reason why the Armenians live in holes in the ground is because they hope the Kurds may not find out where they are.
The Jews are very troublesome in Poland. They follow travellers about,
offering to help them, and will not go away when they are told. The
Poles speak very rudely to the Jews, and think themselves much better;
but the Jews bear rudeness with great patience, because they are
accustomed to be ill-treated. The Poles love talking, and they speak so
loud they almost scream; and they are proud of this, and say that the
Germans are dumb.
The Pyramids are great piles of stones. There is one much larger than
the rest. It is possible to climb to the top, for the stones of the
sides are uneven, like steps; yet the steps are so high that Englishmen
find it very hard to clamber up such stairs; but some Egyptians can
jump from stone to stone like goats, and they help travellers to get up
and to get down.
Apparently Cuitlahuac may not actually mean dry excrement in Nahuatl, although Cuitlahuaquiliztli does. Correction provided by Laudator Temporis Acti. While you're there, read about the Udink family, which had its vanity plates revoked by the State of Oregon for being offensive to persons who are not Dutch.