Gweek podcast 137: The Horrors of Ancient Medicine

In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were:

Janelle Hessig, a bay Area cartoonist and writer and the marketing director at Last Gasp Publishing.

A.J. Jacobs, a writer, a human guinea pig, and the author of four New York Times Bestsellers, including the Year of Living Biblically, for which he followed the hundreds of rules of the Bible as literally as possible, from the 10 commandments to growing a huge beard.

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Show Notes:

Janelle's picks:

Prisoner art & inventions. I used to receive a lot of unwanted mail from prisoners in the 90s. An exhibit of prisoner inventions assembled by the Chicago artist collective Temporary Services collaborating with an incarcerated artist named Angelo changed my outlook and, in time, the quality of my prisoner mail. From bedsheet murals to paper mache chess sets, I'm fascinated with the ways that artists adapt with limited resources and compromised humanity while incarcerated.

"This Moment in Last Gasp History" is a video series I'm launching next week. Ron Turner regularly stops by my desk at Last Gasp and tells me crazy stories about Last Gasp history (smuggling comics into the Hanoi Hilton, smuggling comics to Fidel Castro, Last Gasp sponsoring a Formula 1 race car, goats in taxi cabs, weird 70s sex parties, you name it). I don't have the means to write Ron's biography so I'm turning some of these stories into short videos. Read The Origins of Last Gasp.

A.J.'s picks

There's lots of new stuff to report about the Global Family Reunion
The crowdsourced genealogy movement is fascinating. I wrote a piece about it for the NYT. I'm a big fan of the World Family Tree (which is now up to 75 MILLION people) but it's very controversial, because of invasion of privacy concerns and also accuracy concerns.

The Horrors of Ancient Medicine. I'm writing a piece for Mental Floss about the horrors of ancient doctors. My favorite: the smoke enema. Where you literally blow smoke up the ass. That's where the phrase comes from. It was supposed to cure all sorts of things, like stomach ailments.

Mark's picks:

Wink is a new website from Kevin Kelly, Carla Sinclair (my wife), and me. It's about remarkable books that belong on paper and wouldn't be good as an ebook. We review one new paper book each weekday.

Figurines of Fletcher Hanks' comic book characters from Golden Age Figurines

David gave me this CD: Devo: Hardcore: 4-track Demo tapes made in Akron from 1974 to 1977. Fantastic early work. The members of Devo were peaceful hippies until the Kent State massacre (Amazing interview with Jerry Casale).

And much more!