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I’ve Acquired Venereal Disease

I am here to report that I, Andra Watkins, have acquired venereal disease.

I have long been promiscuous. Willing to let just about anything stick itself in me. All for the pleasure of the experience. The adventure. The new, um, education I might obtain.

By reading.

I am a Very Promiscuous Reader.

I’m waiting by the door for my latest acquisition: Venereal Disease and the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Thomas P. Lowry.

Thirty-one lusty men ventured from St. Louis into the wilds of the western frontier in 1804. They screwed their way across half a continent. William Clark has been proved through DNA tests to have fathered at least one child with a Nez Perce squaw.

At one point, Meriwether Lewis despaired at the amount of mercury required to paint the infected genitalia of his men. Mercury was the standard treatment for such things in the early 1800s. Yes. Mercury. The poisonous kind. Imagine those men walking around, naked from the waist down, their naughty bits shining with that silver glow. And they still probably got busy.

I can’t WAIT to read all about it.

What’s the craziest book you’ve read lately, Dear Reader?

Today’s Reader Question. Also about things that need to be painted.

My novel is getting FIVE STAR REVIEWS from COMPLETE STRANGERS. Think they’re crazy? Read for yourself. To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these outlets: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.

amazon.kindle.barnesnook.ibookstore.kobo

84 Comments Post a comment
  1. Re-examination of the feat … er, feet!

    April 30, 2014
    • It was kinda bright in some places, but I decided to live with it.

      April 30, 2014
  2. deweydecimalsbutler #

    That book is going to be amazing. Do let us know all about it.
    As for me, weirdest book I’ve read lately? Breakfast of Champions.

    April 30, 2014
    • I’ll have to look that one up.

      As to VD, definitely. I will report.

      April 30, 2014
  3. I hope you know I had to share that tagline with the rest of the world via Twitter and Google+.

    I actually laughed out loud, like “ha!” When you said they screwed their way across half the continent.

    April 30, 2014
    • Well, they did. Imagine what US History class would’ve been like if the teacher had taught it that way in 8th grade……….

      April 30, 2014
      • I can see how parents might object to such a curriculum . . . But the kids would have loved it. 🙂

        April 30, 2014
  4. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a book that is quite so strange and I’m not sure if I should tell you to enjoy the read???

    April 30, 2014
    • I will enjoy it, Mary. Anything that makes these crusty people from history human is my definition of an enjoyable read.

      April 30, 2014
  5. I’m a born and raised Oregonian who grew up about 90 miles or so from Fort Clatsop. I’m well familiar with that area and their story. I didn’t know anyone wrote about venereal disease during the Voyage of Discovery, but am not a bit surprised. After all, sadly, most of the native American population of the Pacific Northwest was wiped out by smallpox brought in by European explorers.

    Congrats on the Meriwether Lewis book!!

    You might be interested in another new, time-period Pacific Northwest book called “Astoria” by Peter Stark:
    http://www.peterstarkauthor.com/

    Quite by accident a couple days ago I saw Stark on C-SPAN2. They do a lot of author/book stuff on that channel. Stark did a book reading from his new book “Astoria” just published on March 4th, 2014. He talked a lot about historical background before each passage he read. I was fascinated. His is a meticulously researched and engaging work if the passages he read are any indication.

    “Astoria” covers the time period just after L&C from 1810-1813 when John Jacob Astor, urged by Thomas Jefferson, financed the next great exploration to the mouth of the Columbia River. That journey established the town of Astoria near Fort Clatsop in 1811 that exists to this day.

    Astor sent two expeditions; one by land and the other by sea. Stark covers the trials and tribulations of both expeditions.

    I suspect you might like it.

    April 30, 2014
    • I’ve visited the tower there in Astoria, the one Astor built. I love it, and I’m sure I’d enjoy this book. Thanks for sharing it.

      C-SPAN is a great supporter of academic authors. I applaud them for that.

      April 30, 2014
  6. Okay, I had to come out of my hidey hole for this one. Well played, madam. Well played.

    April 30, 2014
  7. For a minute there, I thought you had encountered crabs along your walk of the trail.

    April 30, 2014
  8. Healing is a wonderful thing. And the book will be interesting. I’m curious about the source of the VD. If it was already resident in the tribes, where did it come from? Maybe I’ll send in a reader question after you’ve read the book.

    April 30, 2014
    • The natives had already been in contact with Spanish, English, Canadian and possibly even Portuguese explorers by the time Lewis and Clark got there. To say L & C were the first foreigners they’d encountered would be untrue. And, because some of their tribal customs encouraged, ahem, mingling with said foreigners, VD was an understandable outcome.

      Please send a reader question, though. Make me do a Venereal Disease video for YouTube.

      April 30, 2014
  9. My eyes popped open when I saw that title. You crack me up as usual! I should really have coffee before I start reading blogs in the morning!

    April 30, 2014
    • I’m always proud of myself when I come up with an particularly good metaphor that’s also filthy-dirty but not.

      April 30, 2014
  10. well the only book I have read all the way through in ages was yours, but besides yours I read a chunk of Hugh Howey’s “I, Zombie” It is a book told through the mind of zombies during an apocalypse. Yeah, how is that for a wild one!

    April 30, 2014
    • I need to read one of his books, just to understand what all the fuss is about.

      April 30, 2014
      • I would be intrigued to know what you would think of I, Zombie. It is quite an intriguing concept that I hadn’t really thought of before. Wool is the one everyone keeps talking about for him as well, I think they are already working on a movie for it!

        April 30, 2014
      • Would that I would somehow fall into that stream of luck. Ha.

        April 30, 2014
      • sci fi is pretty hot right now for movies and Wool happens to be sci fi, and it was right when he was getting lots of exposure, definitely a perfect timing sort of situation.

        That said, your book would make an awesome movie! I would definitely watch it!

        April 30, 2014
      • It will get there. It just takes time. 🙂

        April 30, 2014
  11. And you seemed offended by the book I gave you a few years ago? Ha!

    April 30, 2014
    • I read four chapters of that thing before I gave up. FOUR CHAPTERS OF UTTER FILTH.

      April 30, 2014
  12. My sister took the sliver stuff out of the old etch-e-sketch we had and made eye shadow out of it. Turns out it is mercury. No ill effects that I know of beside the fact that she has always been a touch insane…but hen, they may be genetic. Good to see your feet are feeling better. 🙂

    April 30, 2014
    • People used to use mercury as face paint back in those days, too. So, I get the connection your sister made. 🙂

      April 30, 2014
  13. Good one.

    April 30, 2014
  14. Well, THAT got my attention! Of all the tangents you might head off on, this is one I would not have expected. 🙂

    April 30, 2014
    • You’ve been reading long enough to expect anything from me. Ha.

      April 30, 2014
  15. An biography of Eisenhower Andra. I imagine your hits today may deature a few people enquiring about where thier local Clap clinic is.

    April 30, 2014
  16. Better a couple of lost toe nails than a venereal disease. Andra: 1, Lewis & Clark’s posse: 0. #Winning

    April 30, 2014
    • I wonder if their sexual proclivities affected their toenails…………I guess we’ll see.

      April 30, 2014
  17. OMG, this title got my attention. Too funny, you promiscuous reader you! So glad your feet are recovering! My toe nails need painting, too!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    April 30, 2014
    • I’m a long ways away from a pedicure, without making the poor victim, I mean, pedicurist scream. 🙂

      April 30, 2014
  18. yeseventhistoowillpass #

    Classic….. In school they never told us about their romps….oh by the way I love your book only 20 pages into it

    April 30, 2014
    • Glad to hear it, Juan. If they had been honest in history, imagine how interested you would’ve been back then.

      April 30, 2014
      • yeseventhistoowillpass #

        Next year put your walking shoes on and visit the Lewis and Clark monument in Astoria Oregon… Climb that lighthouse tower-thing..

        April 30, 2014
      • I’ve done it. 🙂 Maybe it was one of the things that lit the Lewis fire in me.

        April 30, 2014
      • yeseventhistoowillpass #

        That and the little balsa wood airplanes you can throw off the tower..

        April 30, 2014
      • I’ve got to go back now, Juan, just to try that……….

        April 30, 2014
  19. tarakianwarrior #

    Sounds like a great read! Glad you’re feet are healing well. I aspire to be as promiscuous as you… 😀

    April 30, 2014
  20. Lance #

    Is it weird that I waved at you when you were on the road in Atlanta in your video?

    I just read “Just Kids” about Patti Smith, the punk rock pioneer and her husband Fred Sonic Smith. There’s VD involved but in stories of gross musicians doing stuff.

    April 30, 2014
    • That’s not weird at all. I wish we had been there for more than 24 hours. I would’ve told you. Next time, I’m determined to get 2 days.

      I’ll look that book up. Thanks for the rec.

      April 30, 2014
  21. Not too crazy, but sinning of omission was the book I got to review that’s full of pin-up gals. I wanted to read it because the press release said it had interviews and I’m interested in this subject because every gal has a story as to why she dips a toe into that field. But the book left out the interviews (!!!), so I was left quite unsatisfied. I think they want people who buy it to hit their website to read up on each gal there, but that’s a bit pesky to me when you promise something and don’t deliver the goods. Boo.

    April 30, 2014
    • Include that in your review. (Since they asked and all.)

      April 30, 2014
  22. That should be quite the read! Wow, who knew? Glad your feet are recovering. 🙂

    April 30, 2014
    • Slowly. Slowly. I went back to yoga yesterday morning and almost vomited. I walk across the better part of three states, and I can’t hold my own in a hot room for an hour.

      April 30, 2014
  23. That book sounds amazing! I read lots of “real/hidden” histories, but of late, the strangest one I’ve read is The Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine – not the strangest title, but man, the recipes are quite the collection of odd (and useful).

    April 30, 2014
    • My mom used to treat me with folk medicine. I’d really like to read this one. Thanks for letting me know it exists.

      April 30, 2014
  24. Mercury was about the only drug I didn’t put in my bag to haul to the local police station on National Drug Take Back Day! You come up with the best titles Andra, and should be having an interesting read. Mercury was used as a curative for many things back then, though I didn’t know it was a cure for VD.
    You weren’t kidding when you said you would answer my foot question. Thanks, Andra. Glad to see those tootsie are doing better after their trek on the trail.

    April 30, 2014
    • They’re not all the way, but they’re getting there. Thanks for asking the question. I’m enjoying the videos now, and I hope people keep the questions coming.

      April 30, 2014
  25. Yucky, yucky. I cannot imagine many survived the cure of VD in those days…let alone VD. Glad to read/see that your feet are recovering from your feat.

    April 30, 2014
    • I’m still amazed that nobody on the Lewis and Clark Expedition died of mercury poisoning. Between the penises painted with mercury and the Thunderclapper pills, they were a mercury-filled bunch.

      April 30, 2014
      • Wonder if anyone died of mercury poisoning later?

        April 30, 2014
      • We don’t know what happened to over half of the men on the expedition.

        April 30, 2014
  26. The Immortal Life of Henritta Lacks. I read it a few years ago, but it’s stuck with me. I’ve also heard Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers is fascinating reading. Yea, I never know what’s going to strike my fancy either.

    April 30, 2014
    • I love Henrietta Lacks. Great, great book. I recommend it to anyone here.

      I’m going to have to look the other one up. Stiff……..hahahaha. Because, at heart, I’m a twelve-year-old boy.

      April 30, 2014
  27. Glad to see your feet are recovering 🙂 And that book…well, can’t wait to read your full review about it.

    April 30, 2014
    • It will include how I heard about it, which is a story unto itself.

      April 30, 2014
  28. Further proof for my theory that the best word to sum of all of humanity is “fascinating.” Misguided, sure. Bizarre – of course. Well-intentioned… usually.

    But we are ALWAYS fascinating, even when we don’t know it. (I loved this anecdote.)

    April 30, 2014
  29. thought it was a ‘trail thing,’ and sounds like an awesome book. wonder which was worse, the vd or the mercury poisoning ?

    April 30, 2014
    • I guess I’ll see in the book. It hasn’t arrived yet, but Amazon assures me that it’s on its way.

      April 30, 2014
  30. Goodness! Your titles, girl. LOL! I can see why you’d want this book, though, as you continue on your journey with Merry. I read a really interesting psychological study of the Columbine killers recently…and I didn’t want to put the title, “Columbine” on my Goodreads “read” list. I thought it made me look a little creepy. But now that I know you admit to reading about venereal disease I feel better about myself. Thanks for that, Andra! 🙂

    May 1, 2014
    • I don’t think reading makes anyone look creepy. I think a steady diet of books like “Columbine” might be a little disturbing, but one here and there just adds flavor and texture to the buffet.

      May 1, 2014
      • Ha! I hope the NSA isn’t tracking my Google searches and some reading choices. I might get a knock on the door one of these days! That would be an interesting blogpost, though, wouldn’t it?

        May 1, 2014
  31. Suddenly I realize that my reading list is much too tame. Who knew history books could be so interesting? Huh.

    May 1, 2014
    • I think history is endlessly fascinating. When the writer decides to portray the subject as human, it almost never fails to maintain my interest.

      May 1, 2014
  32. Kir Piccini #

    I love promiscuity in/on your library shelves.

    The last book I read was YOURS!

    But the craziest lately…Gone Girl for sure. Gillian Flynn is a crazy bitch, but I followed along her incredible plot like a impressionable teen. 😉

    May 1, 2014
    • I read that book and tried one more, and I was done with Gillian Flynn. I’m sick of reading books where there’s nobody to like. Granted, I think it takes skill to make a reader plow through a book where everyone is hate-able, and making a reader feel hatred for a character is a mark of good writing, because the reader is feeling something. I think I got stuck in a rut where every book I picked up for a while was like that.

      I definitely won’t see the movie version.

      May 1, 2014
      • Kir Piccini #

        I agree, sort of. I didn’t like her other books. They gave me nightmares like Stephen King does. But in Gone Girl, I was just amazed at what she got away with in telling that story.

        as a writer I was blown away. No one was likable, no one had a good reason but that story kept me up, kept my head spinning, had me saying things like “no way!” and “you have got to be effing kidding me?” and “you can write like this?”

        it actually ignited my desire to write again or at least to take chances in my own writing. To tell the story that way I want to instead of trying to follow a map for “how to write”.

        you asked for crazy and that story was off the hook. As for the movie, chances are I won’t..but not because I don’t want to. I won’t see it because I am sure I will be sitting in a dark theater watching something animated instead. 😉

        May 1, 2014
  33. Wow! This really caught my attention! I had read about the different explorers (and our forefathers) engaging in these habits, getting V.D. and all, but bet that book is quite interesting in other ways, too! I think my favorites have been by comedic writers, since they really have had different ‘pains’ or depressions, that led to their funny views on life! Smiles, Robin

    May 3, 2014
  34. Ach, life is messy. And when you’re traipsing across country you need some comfort here and there. The only place one could go on an expedition and be spared such horros would be the Arctic, I suspect.
    I quite fancy a read of that myself….

    May 3, 2014
  35. (Apologies. horrors)

    May 3, 2014

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