Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #53: Weird Christmas Traditions

A Mother Life

It’s that time of year again – time to put on weight, spend money you don’t have, hang around with people you can’t stand, wear ugly sweaters, drink egg-based cocktails, and argue about religion. That’s right! It’s Christmas!

Yay! ~ Yumi Ang

1) Every year at Christmas time, in the Swedish city of Gävle, the residents erect a goat. The goat is 43 feet (13 meters) tall, 23 feet (7 meters) long, and weighs three tons.

It's a damn bit goat. ~ Tony Nordin

The Gävle goat is a local version of the traditional Yule Goat, a custom which harkens back to the yearly slaughtering of a goat at Yuletide, in honor of the Norse gods. The custom of building a gigantic straw goat goes back to 1966. That first goat was erected on the first of December. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, someone burned it down.

Despite the fact that burning the goat is a crime punishable by imprisonment, it has been burned down roughly every other year since then. Fireproof construction materials and even armed guards have been implemented, to no avail. It’s gotten to the point where the Goat Committee makes provisions for a backup goat, so they can replace it if it gets burned down early in the season, as did the 2011 goat, which lasted only six days.

Goats that have not been burned have been hit by cars, sabotaged and made to collapse, and kicked to pieces. In 1968, a couple allegedly made love inside the goat. To date, the goats have a survival rate of about 45%.

2) Krampus is a Christmas demon who, in Austria and other Alpine regions, accompanies Santa on Christmas Eve.

He's the naughty elf. ~ Anita Martinz

Legend has it that Krampus stuffs naughty children into his sack, carries them away, and EATS THEM FOR CHRISTMAS DINNER.

Austrians: THEY DO NOT FUCK AROUND. ~ Mathias Kabel

It is customary to offer Krampus alcohol. No word on whether that keeps him from eating you.

3) In Catalonia, southern France, Andorra, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and some parts of Italy and Portugal, nativity scenes contain a figurine known as the caganer. It’s generally placed in a discreet corner of the manger, because it’s a little statue of a man taking a shit.

We needed that after the other thing. ~ Steve Cobell

No one knows where the tradition comes from, but you can buy one that looks like Dora the Explorer. Your kids will love it.

4) Berrien Springs, Michigan, is the Christmas pickle capital of the world. A Christmas pickle is a Christmas tree ornament made of glass. On Christmas morning, the children of the family try to spot it amongst the greenness, and the winner gets a prize. Legend has is that the tradition comes from Germany, where “legend” means “marketing gimmick.” Another story goes that German-born Civil War soldier John Lower was imprisoned in the infamous Andersonville POW camp by the Confederates in 1864. On Christmas Eve of that year, the starving soldier begged his guard for a pickle, which the guard provided, and which, the story goes, saved the man’s life.

It was a Christmas miracle.

5) In Wales, around Christmas and New Year’s, wassailing merrymakers go from door to door, singing happily, in the company of a person dressed as a horse.


The horse is known as the Mari Lwyd, which I have no idea how to pronounce, and is most often found in southern and south-eastern parts of the country. The tradition probably goes back to ancient celebrations of the goddess Rhiannon. The Mari party sing traditional songs and Christmas carols, or may engage in lengthy rhyming contests with the inhabitants of the houses they visit. The Mari party always hopes to gain entrance to the house, where they will be plied with food and drink. Entrance is usually granted, since the Mari Lwyn is believed to bring luck to the household.

Merry Christmas. ~ Jan Mehlich

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday: A Soulless Scream of Despair

Today, whilst looking for some photos for another blog post, I searched Google Images for "things with buttons." I got this:

What the fuck is this thing? And what does it have to do with buttons?

Monday, November 26, 2012

5 Things that Piss Me Off Beyond All Sense of Reason

There are plenty of things I can't stand and things I'm getting really sick of, but they don't necessarily send me into a blind rage. These things, on the other hand, do.

1) My Mother

Momma gave me life and nurtured that life, and because she did this, she has the ability to send me from calm to enraged in about three seconds flat. She knows where my buttons are, and exactly how to push them. Why wouldn't she? She installed most of them.

"The one on the left makes her scream for some reason." ~ Brian Snelson

2) Stupid People

Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate men. But stupid people, on the other hand, make me wanna puke in my own cupped hands, just to have something to throw.

Momma used to say, “It's not their fault they're stupid,” but neverthe-f*cking-less. Some of these f*cking people.

I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill stupid person who confuses “your” with “you're.” I'm not a Grammar Nazi; I know what you damn well meant.

I'm talking about the kind of epically stupid person who lets a newborn baby starve to death because they wanted to feed it a vegan diet. Apparently, human breast milk exploits animals, now.

Or the type of stupid person who handcuffs himself to a girl because she wouldn't go out with him.Learn to handle rejection, dude.

Or even the type of stupid person who buys an iPad from some dude on the street, only to find out later that it's a slab of painted wood.

You had that coming, you know.

3) Pop Music

Especially those drawn-out, whiny songs with lyrics which, when you listen to them, don't seem to make sense. I mean, they sound nice and all, when you're sort of half-listening on the drive home from work. Then again, I'm always ruining great songs by listening to them – like that Cat Stevens song “Wild World.” Listen to that sh*t closely sometime. The guy's a f*ckin' asshole.

Maybe they're not meant to be listened to; maybe that's where I'm going wrong. I should go back to writing grocery lists in my head.

4) Your Favorite Band

No doubt falls under the former category, and even if it doesn't, it sucks. Turn that crap off, before I throw my puke on you.

5) Snoring

Of all the things to hate in this world, I hate snoring most. It's not that it keeps me awake, it's that it disembowels my brain with a red-hot ice-pick. I find myself filled with Zeus-like wrath, for no good reason at all. Honestly, it's completely irrational. Snoring pisses me off even when I've no intention of trying to sleep. If I'm at a party, for instance, and there's some dude snoring on the couch, I will totally pinch his nose closed. Serves him f&cking right.

I hate snoring even when animals do it. I've become irate with sleeping dogs, for f*ck's sake.

Best to let them lie, really. ~ Jennie Faber

In a cruel twist of Fate, almost every man I've ever dated snored like the devil all night long. So I guess this belongs on the “Reasons I'm Single” list, really.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #52: Black Friday Edition

A Mother Life

Black Friday is upon us, everybody. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the quintessential American holiday, but, with its emphasis on family togetherness and appreciating what we have, it doesn’t really meet the festive American need to be financially crippled and deeply in debt. So here we are, the very next day – or, in some cases, the same day – or, in some other cases, days before – ringing in the Christmas season by buying overpriced, low-quality goods for people who don’t need them, and who, for their part, probably secretly hate us.

It feels like this.

Funnily enough, everyone I know claims they don’t participate in Black Friday. Of course, that could just be because everyone I know is awesome.

Love you guys.

1) People have been waiting in line for the best deals at a Best Buy in California since THE FREAKING TWELFTH OF NOVEMBER. That’s two freakin’ weeks, you guys. In a tent. On the sidewalk. In November. Sponge-bathing in a Wendy’s toilet. For two weeks.

What if, after all that, you overslept? ~ Jesus Rodriguez

2) Retailers like to claim that the term “Black Friday” came about because retail outlets, the poor things, operate at a loss for most of the year, and that they all rely on this one single day of the year to turn a profit and rescue themselves from bankruptcy. This, of course, is bullshit. Retail outlets turn a profit all year long.

While there are several theories as to the origin of the term “Black Friday,” the most popular one is that Philadelphia taxi drivers, bus drivers and police officers coined the term in the 1960s, in reference to the hell-raising traffic jams that occurred in commercial areas on this, the first day of the holiday shopping season.
Retailers started peddling their fake “Black Friday” origin story in the 1980s, for fear that the original connotations of the term could hurt business.

3) That said, shoppers spend unholy sums of money on Black Friday. This year, shoppers are expected to spend no less than $11 billion on Black Friday alone, which will make up only ten percent of total holiday sales in the U.S. Many of these people have only just finished complaining about the $2 billion price tag on Romney and Obama’s collective presidential campaigns.

Perspective: We doesn't have it. ~ Lars Ploughman

4) Lots of people are boycotting Black Friday this year, for various reasons. Some are upset that many large retailers, like Wal-mart, Target and Kohl’s, opened on Thanksgiving evening or at midnight last night, forcing their employees to work on the holiday or work crazy hours for the sake of some profit that no one really needs. Others disapprove of the rampant capitalism and commercialism that takes place in shopping centers everywhere, as 135 million people head for the shops. Still others are legitimately afraid that they or their children will get trampled to death, as Wal-Mart employee Jdimytai Damour was in 2008, or pepper sprayed by another frantic shopper, as were 20 people (including children) in a Black Friday crowd at an L.A. Wal-Mart last year. 

Black Friday violence isn’t at all uncommon; last year in a Pittsburgh mall, female shoppers fought physically over yoga pants, and just this very afternoon, two people were shot at a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida.

The Christmas spirit.

5) According to Mother Nature Network, the real best time to get holiday deals isn’t the first few days of the holiday shopping season, but the last few. Retail consultant Jim Bieri claims that shoppers can get further discounts of 10 to 15 percent off holiday sale prices during the last few days before Christmas.

6) Black Friday is billed as the biggest shopping day of the year, but it’s not. The real biggest shopping day of the year is usually the last Saturday before Christmas, unless Christmas itself falls on a weekend, in which case, the biggest shopping day will usually be the last Thursday or Friday before the holiday.

See you there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things I’m Not Thankful For

A Mother Life

At this time of year on Facebook, many of my friends decide to take the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge, which has its own website and everything. The point of the challenge is to spend an entire month being grateful for a different thing each day. It kind of drags out the point of Thanksgiving, which is cool and all, I’m not against it, I’m totally into giving thanks for stuff.  It’s just that, the way things have been going lately, I’m pretty sure that, if I start being publicly grateful, the Universe will hear and yank it all away again.

So, I’m flying under the radar with this anti-gratitude list.

Image by André Karwath
My glass is half empty, AND IT'S POISONED.

My Furnace Keeps Breaking

This morning, I had my furnace fixed for like, the third time this winter, and it’s not even properly winter yet. Every time the repairmen come out and get it to work, it breaks down again like, two days later. The ups and downs are really wearing on my nerves. I get all excited about having heat, only to be disappointed again. It’s warm, it’s cold, it’s like being in a bad relationship.

Facial Hair

I have a mustache. I can’t show you a picture or anything, cause I waxed it off for like the umpteenth time right before having the great idea to write this blog post. That’s okay, you don’t need to see it. If there’s one thing a lady deserves to hide from the world, it’s her mustache.

Also her boobs and stuff.

Let me just say that lady mustaches are a pain in the ass because you have to wait for them to grow back out before you can remove them again. Also, there’s always that hair that won’t come out on the wax strip, so you have to tweeze it out, except it’s so firmly rooted in your inappropriate face follicle that it’s like pulling up a small tree, or something, and your whole lip kinda lifts up when you tug on it.

Internet Stalkers

Anyone who blogs or has any other type of creative life online, or tweets a lot, is going to pick up some stalkers. I can’t say too much, because they’re watching.

In Real Life Stalkers

These are infinitely worse than Internet stalkers, because they’re right behind you, right now. I often get what I like to refer to as “mildly stalked” by guys who think that following me is the definition of romance. It is not. I’ve also been scary-psycho-stalked, which perhaps makes the other kind less appealing.

Irritating Relatives

If only I could block them from my life as easily as I can block them from Facebook.

Cat Box Scooping

I know nobody likes cat box scooping, least of all those who don’t own cats. But seriously, this cat I’ve got poops like four times more than he has any right too. I know he’s a growing kitten and all, but he squeezes out his WEIGHT in freakin’ turds like, every day. And then when I try to remove them, he freaks out and gets all “WHAT ARE YOU DOING THOSE ARE MY TURDS DON’T TAKE MY TURDS I NEED THEM!!!”

What he thinks he's saving them for, I don't wanna know.


Y’all are assholes, come off it.

Leftover Halloween Candy

As you can see, I’m down to the citrus-flavored Tootsie rolls and weird, flavorless gum drops. I don’t know whose idea it was to turn lemon and lime into candy flavors, but it was a bad one.  

At least the cat seems into it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #51: Twinkie Edition

Well, the big news today is that Hostess is going out of business. That means there’ll be no more Twinkies, Sno-Balls, Fruit Pies, Mini Muffins, Pudding Pies, Zingers, Ho Hos, Donettes, Chocodiles, Suzy Qs, or Wonder Bread, unless another company buys the brands, which is possible.

I guess people are freaking out and stockpiling Twinkies now. I always thought they were disgusting, so I really couldn’t care less, except that, in less than a generation, the classic film Zombieland will no longer make any sense.

Let's have a moment of silence. ~ (CC) Larry D. Moore

1) In 2004, Americans purchased 47 million dollars’ worth of Twinkies. I’ve only ever eaten one Twinkie and I’ve never seen anyone eat a Twinkie. Who has been buying these things?

2) James Alexander Dewar invented Twinkies in 1930. Dewar baked for the Continental Baking Company, which used to make creamy-center strawberry shortcakes when strawberries were in season. When the berries were out of season, their squirting-cream-into-cakes machines sat idle. Dewar thought the company should use them to make banana-cream-filled sponge cakes, and the Twinkie was born.

Dewar allegedly named his creations after the Twinkle Toe Shoe Company. He feasted on no less than two packets of Twinkies per week until his death, at the age of 88, in 1985.

Oh, so that's who's eating them.

3) In the final days of the Clinton administration, the White House Millennium Council built a time capsule meant to be opened in the year 2100. They included a video of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, a piece of the Berlin Wall, a GI’s helmet from WWII, a picture of Rose Parks and a Twinkie. The Twinkie will presumably still be good to eat.

4) During WWII, banana rations forced the Continental Baking Company to begin using vanilla cream in the Twinkies. The change proved so popular with consumers that the flavoring was never changed back, except for during promotional events, such as the release of the film King Kong in 2005. An attempt to restore strawberry-cream-filled Twinkies in the 1980s was met with dismal failure, but banana cream Twinkies became a regular thing in 2007.

Still sounds disgusting if you ask me.

5) Twinkies are said to have a shelf life of up to 100 years. The original Twinkies had a shelf life of about two days, because, back in the 1930s, they were made with actual dairy products and without chemical preservatives. The use of artificial ingredients extended the shelf life of the Twinkie to 25 days. A Maine professor has allegedly kept the same Twinkie on top of his blackboard for 30 years, and it “still looks good,” although there’s no evidence that anyone’s tried to eat it.

6) There are 39 ingredients in a Twinkie, but only one of those ingredients was intentionally added as a chemical preservative. The other artificial ingredients were added as substitutes for the recipes original dairy ingredients. Their ability to extend the product’s shelf life is a side effect.

7) Before they closed up shop today, Hostess were producing 1,000 Twinkies per minute, for a total of 500 million Twinkies per year. Again, WHO THE HELL IS EATING THESE THINGS?

8) The Twinkies featured in Zombieland were fake. Woody Harrelson is a vegan, so the “Twinkies” used in the shoot were made from cornmeal and other vegan-friendly ingredients.

9) Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi currently holds the world record for Twinkie-eating. On 23 January 2012, he ate 14 Twinkies in one minute.

So THAT'S who's eating the damn things!

10) A single Twinkie contains 150 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. In 2010, nutritionist Mark Haub went on a Twinkie Diet to test his theory that calorie intake, and not the nutritional value of food eaten, is the primary factor in weight loss (or gain). He went on an 1,800-calorie-a-day Twinkie Diet consisting mostly of Oreos, donuts, Doritos, sugary cereals and Twinkies. He lost 27 pounds in two months.  Interestingly, Haub’s “bad” cholesterol levels dropped by one-fifth, while his “good” cholesterol levels increased by the same amount. His triglyceride levels dropped by 39%.

I wonder if he deep-fried them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3 Reasons I'd Win a Fight (A Bitchery Triad Post)

Some of you may have noticed that the Bitchery Triad hasn’t seen action for a while. Well, don’t cry, because we’re back! Possibly forever, maybe just for now, who the hell knows anymore.

Anyway, while we’re here, we’re doing another blog link up, in which each of us will write our own three reasons why we’d win a fight. I think it’s important to note that we do not mean “a fight with each other,” because there's no way in ten hells we would ever fight.

We're tight, yo.

I also think it’s important to note that the fight in question is hypothetical. No one is actually fighting anyone, as far as I know, although when we say “fight,” we totally mean “with an actual person,” and not “against the forces of evil,” or whatever. (Although I’d totally win that fight, too).

Without further ado, here are the three reasons I’d win in a fight. (After you’ve read them, you can go ahead and read Christina’s reasons and Cari’s reasons).

1) I Bite

Totally. If you ever get in a fight with me, keep your shit away from my mouth cause I will bite the hell out of it. I'm not afraid of your diseases. My white cells carry rocket launchers.

I haven't had my teeth sharpened, but don't tempt me.

2) I'm From West Virginia

We rough it 19th century-style out here, growin' our own veg, killin' our own meat, wrestlin' bears, and knife-fightin' cougars for fun. I am not making this up.

She is totally making this up. ~ Art G.

Seriously, though, I could break you in half, city slicker. But I'd be neighborly about it, cause we're old-fashioned like that.

3) I Will Climb You Like a Fuckin' Tree

No matter how big you are, you're not big enough. I'm a rabid fuckin' squirrel-ninja. Do not piss me off.

I know 17 ways to kill you with this lollipop.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #50: Ferret Fanciers Edition

A Mother Life

Late last night, I was lying in bed flipping through the channels for something to watch, and I came across a program called Ferrets: The Pursuit of Excellence on PBS. As luck would have it, I came to the program in the middle, just in time for this:

If you needed a reason to keep funding PBS, folks, there it is. The same lady goes on to explain that she got into ferret breeding after her children left home, and that she finds it, in some ways, more fulfilling than raising kids, because, and I swear to Bill Nye this is an exact quote, “You can put them in cages, and they arrest you if you do that to your kids.”

Fair enough.

The program talks about ferret breeders and ferret shows, and what makes a show ferret, and how exciting it is to win ferret show ribbons and trophies. At one point we’re treated to a montage of all these different peoples’ ferrets dressed up in silly costumes, including a Hawaiian hula dancer costume with six coconut-shell boobs. Cute.

The ferrets, of course, hang limply in their owners’ hands, with “please, kill me now” expressions on their little weasel faces. Some of them are wearing hats.

I think ferrets are cute and all, but I never really understood the whole “pet show” thing. I guess once you’ve got a bunch of ferrets, the least you can do is show them off.

Look at this guy holding his ferret behind his back like it's a water bottle or something. ~ Rob Farrow

1) Ferrets began gaining ground as pets in the 1980s. I remember this, because Mamma bought a couple at one point. I don’t remember what happened to them, or what their names were, or even whether I liked them or not, but they were around, dammit.

Prior to the 1980s, ferrets were illegal in the United States, but their surge in popularity tempted many states and municipalities to rescind these laws. They remain restricted in some states and cities.

2) A group of ferrets is known as a business. So when you go to a ferret show, you’re walking into a business of ferrets.

3) Ferrets are a close cousin of the European polecat, from which they were likely domesticated back in the mists of time, by which I mean between 1500 and 500 BC. They may also have been domesticated from the Steppe polecat, or perhaps from both species, somehow. It’s true that, in areas where ferrets and polecats live together in the wild, they’ll contentedly produce little half-breed love weasels like they’re trying to repopulate the planet, or something.

Kinky. ~ Jan Dusek

4) In 1877, farmers in New Zealand decided to introduce ferrets to deal with the rabbits, which had already taken over the entire southern hemisphere. Between 1879 and 1886, several thousand ferrets, weasels and stoats were released in New Zealand. They ate all the rabbits, and then proceeded to decimate the islands’ native bird populations.

Thanks Obama.

5) For thousands of years, ferrets were used as hunting animals in a practice known as “ferreting.” Their curiosity, bloodthirstiness, and pipe-cleaner-like physical properties make them an excellent choice for flushing rabbits, moles, rats and other rodents out of their holes. In 6 BC, the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus used ferrets to stamp out a plague of rabbits in the Balearic Islands. Some nations, including Finland and the UK, continue to control pest rabbits in this manner.

6) The American Ferret Association was founded in Montgomery County, Maryland, in 1987. They seek to educate the public about ferrets, support the Black Footed Ferret Program, help veterinarians receive continuing education about treating ferrets, hold ferret shows, and support ferret breeders and ferret rescue shelters. That’s right, just like with dogs and cats, if you’re interested in adopting a ferret, you can go pick up somebody’s used one.

Fully loaded, only 30,000 miles.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #49: Voting Edition

Voting is important. I know a lot of you out there are all “Politicians are all liars waah waah waah Both parties are exactly like each other waah waah waah Intrusive government waah waah waah Lesser of two evils waah waah waah The two-party system is monopolistic waah waah waah This isn’t a democracy anyway waaaaaah My vote doesn’t count waaaaaaaaaaaaah.” This bothers me because I don’t usually hear it from educated or insightful people, if you know what I mean. Your third-party candidates are probably insane. Even if they aren’t insane, they’re not going to lead us all down the Road to World Peace, Cheap Solar Power, and Boundless Happiness, which happens to be paved with lollipops, so don’t wear your good shoes. They’re going to face the same challenges as any other leader, one of which might well be fighting the entire Congress instead of just half of it.

Besides, I don’t agree. This country has a lot of problems, but it’s the one we’ve got, so unless you’re going to move to another one, you’d better be prepared to fix it. I’m not sure what you think you’re going to accomplish by sitting around spouting some half-educated cynical bullshit. (Unless you’re “not voting as a form of protest,” in which case, good luck with that). Plenty of people don’t get to vote, so bitching about getting to is like bitching about how hard it is to have parents who love you. Quit being a brat.

If this guy can vote with the stubs of his arms, you can do it with your privileged American fingers, dammit. ~ Source

1) Every election year we hear a bunch of “facts” tossed around about how one vote really can make a difference! The following “one vote” facts are FALSE:

  • Adolf Hilter won control of the Nazi Party by one vote in 1923. NOT. (And also, Hitler took control of the Nazi Party in 1921).
  • Oliver Cromwell gained control of England in 1645 by one vote. NOT.
  • America adopted English over German as its official language by one vote in 1776. NOT.
  • Charles I of England was executed due to one vote in 1649. NOT.
  • Texas entered the union because of one vote in 1845. NOT.
  • France transformed from a monarchy into a republic in 1875, because of one vote. NOT.
  • One vote rescued the Selective Service in 1941, mere weeks before the Pearl Harbor attacks. NOT.

There’s a story going around about JFK winning the election in 1960 by a margin of one vote per precinct, and while it’s true that the election was exceptionally close that year, it’s also true that both sides were cheating their asses off, so that kind of invalidates the whole thing.

2) Here are some “one vote” stories that are true:

  • In 1839, Marcus Morton was elected governor of the state of Massachusetts by exactly one vote. The count was 51,034 to 51,033.
  • In January 1961, the Afro-Shirazi Party won the general elections of Zanzibar by one seat, when a single vote won them the seat of Chake-Chake on Pemba Island. That counts, even though it’s not America.


3) If you’ve been paying attention over the past couple of years, you’ve noticed that some people in other parts of the world are literally dying for the right to vote. Some people still can’t vote. In the following countries, women (and some men) can’t vote:

  • Vatican City, which only sort of technically counts, as far as I’m concerned, because come on, it’s like two blocks. It’s a theocracy, ruled by Pope Gremlin the Umpteenth, and the only time any voting goes on here is when he dies or returns to his home planet or whatever. Only cardinals can vote for the Pope, and women can’t be cardinals, so there you go.
  • Seriously though, women can’t vote in Saudia Arabia either. No lady votes whatsoever. They can’t run for office either. They can’t even drive
  • King Abdullah has apparently assured the women of Saudia Arabia that they will be able to vote and run for municipal office in 2015. I guess we’ll see.
  • No one is allowed to vote for national leaders in Brunei. It is a monarchy ruled by a sultan, and does not have national elections. People (presumably women too) are allowed to elect municipal leaders.
  • Citizens of the United Arab Emirates are not allowed to vote in national elections, but about 12% of them were permitted to vote for a national advisory council in 2011. The criteria for eligibility remain unpublished. About 28% of eligible voters actually participated.

4) Franceville, a short-lived commune in the New Hebrides, was the first nation to grant the right to vote to all of its citizens, regardless of their gender or race. The nation of Franceville started out as a colony in declared neutral territory. It consisted of about 500 native citizens and about 50 British and French citizens. Their neutral status meant that they didn’t have a local government, which deeply inconvenienced the residents, so they declared themselves independent in August 1889. By June 1890, they were again under the control of an Anglo-French naval commission.

Can't have that tiny colony governing itself, no sir.

5) New Zealand was the first currently extant country to give women the vote, in 1893 (as all of my Kiwi friends have reminded me about a bajillion times). Australian women received the right to vote in 1902. The first European country to grant women the vote was Finland, in 1906. Finland also gave the world the first female Parliament members, in 1907. The most recent country to give women the vote was Bhutan, in 2008.

6) The idea of democracy as we know it today dates back to ancient Athens, in which only adult men who had finished military training were allowed to vote. About 20% of the Athenians were allowed to participate in government in this way. Women, slaves, freed slaves and resident aliens did not have voting rights. Though there was no property ownership requirement for voters in ancient Athens, Athenians could have their suffrage rights taken away if they, or their forebears, had failed to pay debts or fines to the city.