Tag Archives: Cancer

Marginalia, no.270

In 1499 some sparrows were excommunicated for depositing droppings on the pews in St Vincent, in France. In 1546 a band of weevils were tried for damaging church vineyards in St Julien.

~ Richard Mabey, Weeds

There’s no word on whether these actions evoked any contrition in the offenders, or if the poor sparrows were ever restored to communion. I suppose nature’s apostates might also include things like polio, malaria, and cholera. They say that influenza lives in constant fear of Vatican lawyers. Unfortunately, cancer, as an aggressive mutation of one’s own cells, cannot be excommunicated without at the same time excommunicating the patient.

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Marginalia, no.263

We found all our dead and all the badly wounded. Around one of the latter, the big, hideous land crabs had gathered in a gruesome ring…

~ Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders

Amelia Earhart, some guess, was eaten by crabs. Honey Ryder in Ian Fleming’s Dr. No was lucky enough to escape that fate. Guy Smith wrote novels about an invasion of Britain by hungry crustaceans. Roger Corman directed a 1957 movie (Attack of the Crab Monsters) about run-of-the-mill crabs that had marinated in atomic fallout from Bikini Atoll and turned into giant man-eaters. We dislike this particular idea so much that we call other things that eat away at us by the same name. Cancer is from the Latin, and carcinoma from the Greek, for crab.

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