Tuesday, June 30, 2015

History: The Year is 1602

I've uploaded year 1602 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

Shakespeare Gets All the Babes (No Kidding) -- A young lady admirer invites Burbage to meet her, but she insists that he dress in costume. Shakespeare hears of the plan and shows up in costume himself. She was just fine with the substitution.

Dutch Ships Ramming Spanish Galleys and Pictures from Vietnam -- This picture of a sea battle of 1602 is breathtaking. It reminded me of the differences between a picture then and pictures of Vietnam. Two wars with two very different reactions to the pictures.

The Ethics of the Boomtown: 'Everyone Does It' -- Silver mining is accompanied by organized crime. I talk about the founding of Bank of America. No connection. Really. None at all. Hey! Stop laughing!

Shakespeare Gets All the Babes (No Kidding)

Actors are real celebrities and when their show comes to town the babes just love it. Not only do the major actors get more money, they also get more admirers. A young woman is enamored with James Burbage and his portrayal of Richard the 3rd. She asks him to drop by in full costume so that she can review his performance.... personally. (I'm not kidding.) William Shakespeare happens to hear this young woman's request, dresses up as Richard the 3rd himself and shows up at her place a little early. When Burbage arrives and sends a message that "Richard the 3rd is at the door", Shakespeare sends a message back... "William the Conqueror is before Richard the 3rd." (It's a joke based on the linage of Kings and if I have to explain it more, it ruins the whole thing.) [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This story has been told over and over again. You can understand why but something is odd here. Burbage was the man who built "The Theatre," yet Shakespeare was bird-dogging his chicks. That could only mean that they believed they were equals. (Burbage was not starving for admiring women so I doubt he cared.) But Shakespeare seemed to have more money than could be accounted for from his acting and writing. Some historians suggest that his father was engaged in the illegal sale of wool. Was his father smuggling wool across the Channel to avoid the export duties? That would be like someone buying cigarettes in a low-tax state and selling them in a high-tax state like New York. It is simple to make a lot of money that way but if you are caught the consequences could be deadly. Eric Garner died while in a police choke hold... deadly force for failure to pay the taxes on his cigarettes. [2] [3]

Dutch Ships Ramming Spanish Galleys and Pictures from Vietnam

Muskets at the ready. Sails unfurled. Wind from the stern, quarter full. The Spanish galley grinds under the keel of the Dutch three-master and breaks in two. The men chained to their oars slip below the water. Blood, bone and cries of despair. The Spanish reinforcements are engaged before they can reach the English coast. Fifteen years from now the artist, Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, and his son, Cornells, will paint this battle in oil on canvas. It is the first time that a battle at sea will feel so personal. The Dutch ship seems on a collision course with the viewer. It takes the breath away. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is one magnificent picture of an event that really occurred in 1602. The 17th century was a violent place. They knew that only too well and artists could capture those feelings of triumph and ruin. During the War in Vietnam we thought that it was the pictures coming back of the violence of war that caused us to lose heart, but that can't be true. Our hearts were already lost. The pictures just confirmed it.

The Ethics of the Boomtown: 'Everyone Does It'

Here comes organized crime. The Basque work about three-fourths of the silver mines in what is present day Bolivia and they lean real hard on everyone else: "That's a mighty fine silver mine you have there. It would be ashamed if something happened to it." And mining is taxed. Tax collectors are making a tremendous amount of money for their "tax help." Those who play along get ahead. Those who don't, get dead. Let's work this out: "Dead" verses "Rich." It is boomtown ethics and prices are insane. A single fish can cost 5,000 pesos or $64,450 in modern dollars. This year two Basque crime bosses duel for territory. Exactly what happened is still in dispute because, according to official records, one of these men doesn't exist, but during the fight Vasco "the Basque" is wounded and Pedro de Montejo dies of a stab wound to the chest. After that, it turns into a major gang fight. The governor sends troops to restore order but this is typical behavior in the richest city in the New World. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Conditions unique to a boomtown ensure than a significant number of people will be ethically challenged. If a guy needs $60,000 to buy a meal, he will consider doing things he never would have considered before. Is he doing something wrong? Good question. Lots of things we consider wrong today were once perfectly fine or at least tolerable. In 1904, Amadeo Giannini founded the Bank of Italy (now Bank of America). He bought a safe, collected small deposits from his fellow Italian immigrants and kept the money at home until he finally rented a building. If I tried that today, I would be arrested. In the past if we wanted justice we had to hire a private company or gather friends (also known as a mob) to capture the accused and wait for a circuit judge to show up ... or maybe NOT wait. We want to help the poor, preserve our health and protect our community. That hasn't changed. What changes over time are the ways our community thinks is the best way to accomplish those goals. [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1602, Wikipedia.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

History: The Year is 1601

I've uploaded year 1601 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

'Naughty Words Chalked on the Back Fence' and the Need for Anonymity -- Mark Twain will write a naughty little piece of work entitled "1601". It is locker room humor that he publishes anonymously. I talk about how anonymity is sometimes needed when exercising one's free speech.

Total Tudor Cheesy: the Great Bed of Ware -- The Tudor age is flashy and the size of this bed makes clear that this is a novelty bed.

The Russian Famine Begins... 2 Million Lives Will End -- Yeah... it's a downer. I talk about how Washington looks around and sees only what it wants to see and hides its eyes from what it doesn't.

'Naughty Words Chalked on the Back Fence' and the Need for Anonymity

Mark Twain won't be born until 1835 but between writing his novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn he will dash off a letter to his pastor, the Reverend Joseph Twichell that will later be published as 1601: Conversation as it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors. This missive is "locker-room humor" imagining a conversation between Queen Elizabeth the 1st and various nobles about farting and sex. The Reverend is most amused by it. Others are not. Accordingly, Mark Twain publishes this work anonymously to avoid reprisals. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a sense that those who have a controversial opinion should be willing to stand by those words proudly by name. We could probably live without more locker-room humor but we have as much to fear from the private sector as we do from the government. I saw a video of a man expressing his opinion at a Chick-Fil-A® drive-through. He was obviously agitated but remained polite as he protested the corporation's support of traditional Christian ideals. The server politely accepted his criticism and that is how such protests should go. Textbook case. But when the man was identified as CFO of a medical company, he lost his job and is now on Food Stamps. He has paid a high price for simply voicing an opinion. Don't feel too sorry for him. He took the video himself. Nevertheless, anonymity is a foundation stone of free speech: freedom from government reprisal and freedom from private sector reprisal. Otherwise, unpopular feelings go underground and fester, later emerging in unexpected violence. [2] [3] [4]

Total Tudor Cheesy: the Great Bed of Ware

People are talking. This bed is huge: 10 x 11 feet... as large as many modern bedrooms. It is rumored to have once held 26 women. That's B.S. but it can hold 4 couples... but why would you want to? (Don't answer that.) William Shakespeare probably slept there. (He mentions the Bed of Ware in his Christmas-time comedy, Twelfth Night, which debuts this year.) The bed will become one of the few pieces of Tudor furniture that will survive into the modern day probably because it is a novelty. Tudor beds are not normally this big. It is rented by the night in the town of Ware, just a little bit north of London. It will remain a tourist attraction until 1931 when a museum will buy and restore it as best they can. By that time, it will be totally worn out. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... this bed is a honeymoon suite attraction. It is like spending your honeymoon at a motel with a rotating circular bed, a mirrored ceiling and fuzzy pink carpeting. It's cheesy but there is a market for cheesy. The Bed of Ware is designed with suggestive carvings and it seems that every couple who broke the bed in, carved their initials into the frame. The museum still gets requests to "use" the bed but over the years the frame has become unstable. If that substantial canopy fell on your head it would probably kill you. But if you always wanted to die in bed... like a general... this is the bed for you.

The Russian Famine Begins... 2 Million Lives Will End

Remember that volcano that exploded in Peru last year? Coupled with the Little Ice Age, unexpected freezing temperatures during the summer has caused this year's crops in Russia to fail. As many as 2 million Russians are going to starve to death before this famine is over and their government can do nothing about it. This is the Time of Troubles and the Czar (Do you remember Boris?) is passing out food to the hungry but all he is doing is attracting people to Moscow. They are dying in droves where the rest of the leadership can see. A Romanov Dynasty is looking better all the time. [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is not clear what Czar Boris Godunov (GAW-doo-nahv) could have done that would have made any significant difference. In the modern day I hear politicians say that the United States economy is expanding. They have never seen more building. Well... certainly Washington DC is looking like a boomtown so naturally they would think that. If Czar Boris had done what our Federal politicians are doing, he would have shipped the poor off to Siberia where no one of importance could see them. In the United States the Federal government thinks that "Siberia" is Montana, Idaho and any state south of Virginia... and not much of Virginia either. That is why they want to get rid of the electoral college so that only the populous "smart states" can make the decisions. Guess what happens to the rest of us?

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1601, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1600

I've uploaded year 1600 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The 16th Century That Was... -- Summing up the 16th century. Everything is changing.... again.

Sumo Wrestlers Make a Big Impression -- the major elements of modern Sumo wrestling are at its beginnings. It's not all together yet, but this is the start.

The Largest Volcanic Eruption in South American History -- Kaboom! 2 million people will die but not today.

The 16th Century That Was...

We said our final good-byes to the Middle Ages and embraced the Renaissance which gave us Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael... the artists... not the turtles. Balboa spots the Pacific Ocean. Cortez spots gold and silver. An Indian saint spots Our Lady of Guadalupe. Books are burned. The first Jewish ghetto. France brings modern warfare tactics to the world. Mapmakers call the New World "America." The Aztecs fall. The Incas fall. Silver from Peru causes the world economy to fall. Potatoes, sunflowers, tulips, hot chocolate and fire ants. Martin Luther kicks Christianity into high gear. John Calvin adds his own signature. The German princes become the Protestants. The Anabaptists become the Amish and Mennonites. Queen Elizabeth watches the Spanish Armada come over the horizon and then sink. The Black Death, small pox and measles rage across the New World. No blankets involved. Syphilis rages across the Old World. The Stockholm Bloodbath. The Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre. Magellan, Anne Boleynn, Sir Thomas More standing tall and losing his head. The Little Ice Age hits hard. Crop failures. Werewolves, witches and horse racing. (Oh my!) The Council of Trent defines Catholicism. The Lutheran Confession defines Lutheranism. The "Prepared Table" defines Judaism. Magnetism, cubic equations, imaginary numbers and the spatula. The gazette is the 1st newspaper. It's "Penny Dreadful." The most destructive earthquake in recorded history hits China. Nostradamus, Galileo Shakespeare and Suleiman the Magnificent. Europe is saved from the Ottoman invasion. The pencil. The Gregorian Calendar. The consolidation of corruption in China. (It's more efficient that way.) 'Pi Day'. Kabuki Theater. The Japanese invasion of Korea and the mother of all heists. The 80 Years' War grinds on and on and on. If it is better to be feared than loved then the 16th century is better than ever! The whole world is changing... again.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So much good and bad happened in the 16th century that I am reminded of the children's poem by Henry Wadswoth Longfellow...
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid. [1]

Sumo Wrestlers Make a Big Impression

Some sort of wrestling has existed in Japan for centuries, but the basic recognizable rituals of modern sumo wrestling are coming together this year. The Japanese leadership has already established a raised ring called a yakata rather than using a cleared area for the opponents, but Sumo involves elements of Shinto ritual. The sand over clay in the ring represents purity and the canopy makes the ring look like a Shinto temple. Each wrestler goes through a purification ritual and when a wrestler stamps his feet he is frightening away demons. The modern rules for Sumo wrestling have not been established yet, but the rules will be reasonably simple. If any part of the body other than ones feet touches the sand, or if one leaves the ring, the match is over. The weight of the opponents is not a consideration so naturally it becomes a very important consideration. If you are very small, and you are matched with someone very big, you are going to lose so it is imperative to pick up as much weight and muscle as quickly as possible. [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Modern Sumo wrestling has become a major sport in Japan with a lot or money at stake. Honor is considered primary and any suggestion of cheating or throwing a match will be met with stoney silence and harder stares. In 1996 a Sumo wrestler called for a press conference but died mysteriously in the hospital along with a second person about to expose cheating. In 2000 the Freakonomics authors did a statistical study on Sumo qualifying matches and found a significant statistical anomaly that suggested that if one wrestler had already won his place but the other was one match short of qualifying, mysteriously that wrestler would win his bout, thus owing something to the other wrestler... later. In 2011 match rigging was discovered when the police were investigating a different crime and the spring tournament that year was cancelled. There is no truth to the rumor that they were also deflating footballs. [6] [7] [8] [9]

The Largest Volcanic Eruption in South American History

It is important to note this volcanic eruption in Peru. The aftermath will kill 2 million people as world-wide temperatures drop and crops fail... but not today. [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Of course anyone near the volcano died immediately. It left a crater 2 miles wide. Any mountain that once existed there is now gone.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1600, Wikipedia.

Friday, June 26, 2015

History: The Year is 1599

I've uploaded year 1599 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The First Lodge of Freemasons and the Power of Leaderless Organizations -- I mostly talk about the privacy of private organizations and the power of leaderless organizations.

The King of Sweden is Outta Here! -- Although this might not seem significant at first. It changes the line of succession placing one of the greatest generals of all time in line to become the King of Sweden many years later.

John Alden is Born: One Third of a Love Triangle -- I talk about the  Longfellow poem, the Mayflower and the Salem Witch Trials.

The First Lodge of Freemasons and the Power of Leaderless Organizations

Mary's Chapel in Edinburgh is listed as the first Freemason lodge or at least it is listed as number one. No doubt lodges had existed prior to this time but Mary's Chapel is the first lodge that can be reasonably documented through its own minutes and accepted by the Freemasons themselves. This is also the time of the first recorded initiate being welcomed into the Freemasons but currently the Freemasons are a loose association. One cannot call it a multinational organization yet. Nothing approaching modern Freemasonry will come together until the early 1700s. Mary's Chapel exists today but the original building was demolished in the 1800s to make room for the South Edinburgh Bridge. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... let's pull out our dog-eared copies of "The Da Vinci Code" and "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown. These are NOT history books. (However, James Rollins novels are TOTALLY REAL!) All kidding aside, people get suspicious of private groups that want to remain private. Christianity began as a secret organization. I am Jewish so I asked my mother-in-law if there is some secret Jewish handshake or trap door that she is going to tell me about before she dies. Apparently not. The Church of Latter-day Saints, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Vatican have elements that they keep private. As long as they are not burning people at the stake, I'm going to mind my own business. Large, multinational organizations need not be driven by a fiendish plan. In Austin, Texas there are over 425 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every single week. The central office sells books, answers the phone and prints a schedule of meetings. If a complaint comes in about a meeting, the meeting is dropped from the schedule. That's all the central control they exercise and it is a world-wide organization. They see the work that needs doing and they do it... mostly out of gratitude for a life saved or improved. No conspiracy required. [7] [8]

The King of Sweden is Outta Here!

A critical turn in the history of Sweden occurs this year even though the long-term consequences will not be felt for years. King Sigismund the 3rd Vasa is pro-Catholic and he is given the boot by his pro-Protestant uncle Duke Charles. It is difficult to pin down exactly what the former King did wrong other than to upset his subjects who didn't share his pro-Catholic sentiments and assume that his Swedish subjects would just roll over. The King agrees to honor contracts with the Mennonites but he objects to the Mennonites exercising all sorts of wild freedoms like marrying without prior notification to the state, buying and selling their land almost as if they owned it and otherwise acting like they could rule themselves without a king. (In the modern day we would call this... living a normal life.) The deposed king continues to agitate for a return to power, but Uncle Charles will not let up. In the long run this will be a good thing for Sweden. [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is this sort of religious agitation that will lead to the Thirty Years' War. What will help Sweden is for Duke Charles to become King Charles the 9th of Sweden. It's not that King Charles will turn into a super-king or anything like that. He will be rather belligerent, but the modern Swedes cut him a lot of slack because he is the father of Sweden's greatest king: Gustavus Adolphus. When his father took the regency of Sweden, that boy was all of 5 years old, but after Gustavus becomes the King of Sweden he will also become one of the greatest generals of all time. Had he lived longer Gustavus would have changed the face of Europe well into the modern day. [10]

John Alden is Born: One Third of a Love Triangle

You can't have a love triangle without one of the lovers. John Alden is born this year. Not much is known of his early life but he will become a cooper (a barrel maker). He will take passage with the Mayflower for the New World and sign the Mayflower Compact. He will marry Priscilla Mullens, the second side of this triangle. The third side is Miles Standish. The famous poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish," is claimed to be true. It describes the competition between Alden and Standish for the hand of the fair Miss Mullens. This poem is written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1858... long after everyone in question is long dead and unable to object. [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Even though I remember John Alden as the man from the Longfellow poem, most people will remember his son of the same name. Captain John Alden was one of the survivors of the Salem Witch Trials. He was accused by two young girls of witchcraft and for keeping a secret Indian wife. He was supposed to defend his integrity before the court but his friends convinced him that the better course of action was to break out of jail and wait for sanity to return to Salem. Good decision. He was cleared of the charges later. John Alden lived a long life. His gravestone is preserved today at the Old South Church in Boston. [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1599, Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

History: The Year is 1598

I've uploaded year 1598 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

Humor Is About to Become Funny -- A popular comedy using standard characters turns the word "humor" into the equivalent of "comedy." I also talk about the comedy of our medical system.

How Pieces of Eight became the Dollar -- The Spanish dollar is minted. It will be legal tender in the USA until the mid-1800s. I talk about the need for paper money and the danger of it.

Japan Invades Korea, Round 2 -- I give short treatment to what must have been great deeds. Unfortunately I'm running behind.

Humor Is About to Become Funny

The word "humor" comes from the Latin word meaning "bodily fluids." Medical theory of the 1500s teaches that one's basic personality is determined by a balance of internal fluids called humors and a severe imbalance causes disease. When one says, "He is in bad humor," it means he is not feeling well. On stage, standard (humorous) characters are recognized by the audience. In the modern day, these standard characters are: the hovering mother, the air-headed friend, the vain beauty queen or king who struggles to turn away from the mirror. They are usually played for laughs so when the new comedy "Every Man in His Humour" becomes popular, the term "humor" becomes associated with comedy. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Comedy usually points to the absurdity of our existence. For example: when my wife and I arrived for my doctor appointment, my wife complained about my account on the new online medical system. I broke into the conversation...
"Hey! She has been accessing my medical records!" (Laughter)
"Call the FBI," I bleated. "I want her arrested!" (More Laughter)
The office staff knows perfectly well that my wife has my implied consent to access my records. Yet the law requires everyone to act as if she is totally unrelated to me... a stranger. When I observed the strict letter of the law, they were confronted with the absurdity of that law and laughed.

How Pieces of Eight became the Dollar

Spain begins minting the peso de a ocho or pieces-of-eight. It has the virtue of being divisible into 8 royals or reales (ray-ALL-ehz). The wide coin is meant to be the equivalent of the German "thaler" (rhymes with dollar) which is a reference to the Bohemian valley where a major silver mine exists. Thus "thaler" means "from the valley" in Bohemia. The Spanish dollar will become the standard coin of the New World and will remain legal tender in the United States until 1857. [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There were times when Great Britain could not supply enough coinage for commerce in their colonies. The Americans then used the more plentiful Spanish pieces-of-eight. Printed paper money began in 1690 in Massachusetts. They issued an IOU for government debt until the coins arrived, but officials noticed that the people were trading the IOUs (at a discount) like money. Then someone had the brilliant idea of printing more IOUs than the government could possibly pay back in coins. The people discounted the IOUs even more ... and the whole system collapsed. I'd like to say that we know better today. I'd really like to say that. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] A side note on slang: The phrase "shave and a hair cut, 2 bits" is a reference to the pieces-of-eight aspect of the dollar. If a dollar is 8 bits, then 2 bits is a quarter or 25 cents.

Japan Invades Korea, Round 2

Here we go again. Japan has shaved down its ambitions. It will attack only Korea and leave all of China until later. 200 ships sail for Korea and land along the southern coast. As it turns out, the Koreans are well equipped and extremely well motivated all by themselves. Apparently the 1st invasion was the tip-off. Exactly what happens next is difficult to credit. Either Japan is beaten senseless and barely makes it home alive, or Japan manages to conduct an orderly retreat with most of its forces intact. Bottom line is... Korea 2. Japan: 0. Have a nice day. [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I am making light of what was a determined invasion and a heroic defense. This is not the last time that Japan and Korea will come to grips. There are very good reasons why there remains a visceral dislike between the two countries. It began here in the 1590s and continues into the modern day, especially when North Korea launches its rockets into the Sea of Japan. [12] [13]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1598, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

History: The Year is 1597

I've uploaded year 1597 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

A New Calvary at Nagasaki and the Awful Responsibility of Power -- In a procession reminiscent of the torment of Jesus, Paulo Miki and other Christians are forced to march 600 miles from Kyoto to Nagasaki and are crucified. Paulo forgives them. I talk about dropping the atom bomb on a city of Christians.

Your Papers, Please... A License to Beg -- Begging now requires a license. If you don't have one you might go to prison but probably not. Everyone is begging. Right? I talk about the need not to make welfare a normal thing that everyone does.

'If Money Go Before, All Ways Do Lie Open' -- I'm not much of an expert in theater but as I see it, the English theater was shut down because of a dispute between the sponsors of the theater groups. Your mileage may vary.

A New Calvary at Nagasaki and the Awful Responsibility of Power

King Philip the 2nd of Spain has sent Jesuits to convert the Japanese, but the Japanese leaders find the whole business annoying. All Christians are expelled from Japan. The few that refuse to go are marched barefoot 600 miles from Kyoto to Nagasaki as a warning to others. As a result, EVEN MORE Japanese want to convert, but the leadership can't stop now. They gather some timber and, in the manner of the original Calvary, the Christians are crucified on a hill overlooking Nagasaki. Paulo Miki is the son of a wealthy Japanese family. He forgives his tormentors and spends his last hours preaching a sermon from the cross. (And yes... the guards actually poke the bodies with spears. The only thing these guards don't do is sing "Oh Holy Night" and gamble for Paulo's robes.) Paulo Miki and his fellow martyrs will be canonized by Pope Paul the 9th in 1862. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb ... It is an awful responsibility which has come to us ... We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.
-- President Harry S. Truman, August 9, 1945
Nagasaki became the largest Christian city in Japan, but why did the United States drop the atomic bomb on Nagasaki? Actually, the primary target, Kokura, was masked in clouds. Nagasaki was clear that day. Kaboom. Three Japanese men in a small trainer flew into the mushroom cloud just to see what it was like. The pilot opened his window and stuck his hand out. It glowed. Another man got a face full of radioactive dust. The third just screamed in pain. The pilot flew out of the cloud and landed. The three men walked into the holocaust of Nagasaki to see if they could help. The young pilot lived a reasonably long life. The other two, not so much, but with full exposure to radioactive dust, they lived. Take that Fukushima! [3] [4]

Your Papers, Please... A License to Beg

There are clear indications that begging has risen to the point that some cities, like Amsterdam, are issuing licenses to beggars. In Vienna, foreigners need a registration card to identify themselves. Surprisingly few unlicensed beggars are sent to prison: about 2.7 percent of men and 3.7 percent of women. Prison sentences are short: less than 4 months. Those who are sent to the work-houses are sent to "Rasp House" to turn wood into sawdust if they are men. Women are sent to the "Spin House". Public officials are certainly tracking foreigners, so that a city won't become a magnet for the poor. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Basic good character seemed to be the criteria for whether you were sent to prison or the work-houses and not whether this was your 1st, 2nd or 22nd time you were caught. This suggests that begging was considered normal and unavoidable because there was no work, and there hadn't been work for a long time. When begging becomes the norm, a debilitating process is set into motion that must be stopped. As Benjamin Franklin said...
I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

'If Money Go Before, All Ways Do Lie Open'

English theater is temporarily shutdown because it is a breeding ground for sedition, stolen goods and seduction. Yes. English theater is lots of fun! Queen Elizabeth loves Shakespeare's new play, The Merry Wives of Windsor. The Lord Mayor of London is less impressed. Modern critics think it is Shakespeare's worst play, but the play itself is a moving target. It seems that it was meant to be modified, with inside jokes and lines changing to fit the audience (and skirt the law). The Lord Mayor calls a halt to all plays inside and outside of London because a criminal confessed that he was fencing stolen goods at the theater taken from the Portuguese ship the Madre de Deus. The Mayor gets the inns within London to suspend performances, but he has no authority outside of London. Nevertheless, those playhouses outside of London shutdown in deference to his order... sort of. July is their slow time anyway. [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In reality, a new theater group has formed under the sponsorship of the Earl of Pembroke. The actors broke away from the Lord Admiral at the Rose Theater. Legally speaking, the actors were listed as servants of the lord who sponsored them. Otherwise the actors would have been arrested for vagrancy. Strangely, the Lord Admiral signed the order shutting down the theaters. Since the Earl was not on the Privy Council he had no say and may have been temporarily damaged by this shutdown. It is a matter of speculation amongst experts. It looks as if theater politics intertwined with political politics at the highest levels due to this requirement for lordly sponsorship. In other words, it was about personalities, politics and money. The shutdown was intermittent and not well enforced.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1597, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

History: The Year is 1596

I've uploaded year 1596 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

Better Living through Good Plumbing -- The flush toilet makes a big splash! I talk about common plumbing mistakes.

'Necessity Has No Law'... The Food Riots of Great Britain -- The second year of bad harvest brings lawlessness. I talk about the problem with government-forced charity in terms of my soul.

The Second Plague Pandemic: A Major Outbreak in Spain -- Half a million are going to die. I talk about my friend who recently sent us a video of her feeding ground squirrels which are major vectors of the Plague.

Better Living through Good Plumbing

The modern flush toilet (or 'John') stutters into existence this year. Sir John Harington invents the flush toilet and has one installed in his home. He writes about it in, A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax. Ajax is the name of his new invention... a play on the current word for pit toilets... 'jakes'. Sir John has a sharp wit but like a sword, it is a weapon that can cut both ways. They call the toilets "Johns". Queen Elizabeth will have a toilet installed for the benefit of the royal backside but the production version of a flush toilet will wait for the invention of the S-trap to keep out the pipe smells and Thomas Crapper who will set up a plumbing showroom, thus making the flush toilet a proper subject for discussion in the 1880s. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I will avoid any bathroom jokes by discussing common plumbing mistakes. 1. Defeating the S-Trap: The toilet's S-trap uses water to block sewer gasses from coming into the house. When the toilet bowl water evaporates, the S-trap is defeated. Solution: flush the guest bathroom once a month. If you remove the toilet bowl, block the sewer pipe with a rag.
2. Dishwasher Drain Mistake: The dishwasher drain pipe usually taps into your sink plumbing between the sink drain and the sink trap... not after the sink trap. Otherwise sewer gases will vent into your dishwasher.
3. Garbage Disposal LOWER than the Sink Trap: If the garbage disposal drain pipe is lower than the sink trap, the water will back up into the disposal and a smell will develop after a week. This mistake usually occurs when the home owner installs a multilevel sink and locates the disposal in the deeper sink rather than the shallower one.
4. Slow Draining Sink: This usually occurs with an island sink without a proper vent for the drain pipe within 5 feet after the sink trap. This is a basic design flaw. Call your builder. I suggest calling him an idiot.

'Necessity Has No Law'... The Food Riots of Great Britain

This is the second year of bad weather and bad harvests in England. The local town councils have been calling for Christian charity for the poor but it is not enough. The peasants say that 'necessity has no law.' They need food and they are going to take it. Along the way they strip away everything that isn't nailed down. They even behead farmers, manor managers and behead the wives and daughters of these men. The food riots are bad but a harvest yields what it can and no more. Queen Elizabeth the 1st writes an open letter to the Lord Mayor of London saying that there are too many Africans in London and suggests strongly that the Lord Mayor deport them back to Africa. A Queen's suggestion is not exactly an order to a Lord Mayor but it's close. And (as if I had to say it) this wild weather is due to the Little Ice Age. If they had believed that burning carbon-based fuels would bring about warmer weather, they would have done it. Global Cooling is killing millions right now. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the Elizabethan era, freewill charity was the preferred way to handle the problems of the poor but it didn't work well since the government closed the monasteries. In modern times we pass a law "for the children" that forces us to give charity but we call it "Food Stamps" or we pay for school food programs. (There are some people who need these programs but my sense is that the majority do not.) I don't see enough churches and synagogues stepping up to take the place of inefficient government programs. Instead, their membership votes for government to help the poor. There is no merit for me when I vote to force my neighbor to help the poor. Heaven's Choir must be crying its eyes out... and Hell's Army must be laughing its backside off.

The Second Plague Pandemic: A Major Outbreak in Spain

From the current century and well into the next, a series of outbreaks of the Black Death will constitute the Second Plague Pandemic. This year begins a major outbreak in Spain that will last until 1599. Half a million people will die. Other than efficient quarantine, there is nothing else they can do. [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Last weekend our family friend took a video of herself feeding the ground squirrels. My wife laughed but I was horrified. Prairie dogs and ground squirrels are major vectors for the Black Death in the United States. One of the critters scratched our friend. I'm afraid I was a little severe with her. My son called on Father's Day. He is working in New Mexico right now. I mentioned this incident and my caution about the Plague. He was well aware of it. New Mexico has a lot of plague-infested animals and before he started work he was given a stringent safety lecture on the dangers of the wildlife of New Mexico. Even though there is a cure (sort of) for the Black Death today, you don't want this. You just don't want this.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1596, Wikipedia.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

History: The Year is 1595

I've uploaded year 1595 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

In Search of the Man of Gold... El Dorado -- The mythical city of gold actually refers to a man painted with gold dust, but Sir Walter Raleigh goes on a search and finds Guiana.

The New Sultan Has 19 Fewer Brothers -- By tradition the new Sultan of the Ottoman Empire kills off all potential usurpers... meaning all of his brothers. For good measure he murders his mother and his son.

Romeo! Oh Romeo! It's the Prequel to Westside Story! -- William Shakespeare debuts his play "Romeo and Juliet". I discuss its similarity to the musical, Westside Story."

In Search of the Man of Gold... El Dorado

The term "El Dorado" usually refers to a mythical city of gold located somewhere in South America but it originally referred to a single person, a man of gold. The new chief of a certain South American tribe would cover himself in gold dust and dive into the lake in order to appease the gods. When the Spaniards heard of this practice, the story grew in the telling until the chief was leader of an entire city of gold. If the chief and tribe had ever existed, it has long since been lost to memory when Sir Walter Raleigh arrives in the New World. He begins his search for El Dorado in the region called Guiana. He finds a lake but not much gold. He will mount a second expedition several years later. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Many have spent their lives and fortunes in the search for El Dorado. When Sir Walter Raleigh returned years later he sent his son into the jungle to continue the search but the young man was killed while attacking a Spanish outpost. Sir Walter returned to England a broken man. Fearing another war with Spain, King James had Raleigh beheaded for the attack on their outpost. Was there ever an El Dorado? Maybe the man painted in gold dust once existed, but very few explorers found the amounts of gold that the first Spanish expeditions took from the Aztecs and the Incas. Nevertheless, future expeditions benefited because a lot of South America was explored and mapped in this way.

The New Sultan Has 19 Fewer Brothers

The transition of power in the Ottoman Empire has always been a shaky one. Once the Sultan dies it is a race to power and the winner cannot reliably buy off his competitors who are his brothers from multiple mothers. With so many potential usurpers, a new Sultan has traditionally murdered his male siblings, but with 19 murdered brothers, it is a blood bath as Mehmed the 3rd comes to power. The decline of the Ottoman Empire continues. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... I was going to say something snide about tradition, but there is a reason why they do this. In a previous succession, the wrong brother made it to the throne first, and the latecomer was bought off at a considerable cost. He remained an embarrassment for a long time, even joining forces with the Pope. Then the brother organized an army and attacked the Sultan. If one can't buy off a competitor, all one can do is to destroy him or be destroyed. That is why all the brothers were destroyed but it created a lot of resentful mothers. Those mothers could throw a lot of sand into the gears so Mehmet the 3rd had his mother murdered as well as his own son.

Romeo! Oh Romeo! It's the Prequel to Westside Story!

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet makes its debut. It is a retelling of an Arthur Brooke poem, The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliette. The young Romeo of the Montague family falls in love with the fair Juliet of the Capulet family after he sneaks into a dance put on by her father. With both families at war with each other, what can young lovers do? Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, challenges Romeo to a duel but he refuses. Romeo's friend, Mercutio (mur-KYEW-shee-oh), takes the challenge and in the midst of the duel, Romeo watches his friend slump to the ground, dead. Romeo kills Tybalt in turn. Juliet sees the impossibility of openly marrying Romeo so she fakes her own death and sends a message to Romeo that he should run away with her but he never gets the memo. Romeo, thinking that Juliet is really dead, drinks poison. Juliet awakens from her drug-induced coma to find Romeo dead and stabs herself in the heart. The surviving families feel like total creeps and stop their feuding. The End. Author! Author! Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a great improvement on the original poem and it remains one of his most popular plays. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Romeo and Juliet has been adapted to a musical called, Westside Story. It's the Jets against the Sharks and this time Maria and Tony fall in love. Spoiler alert! Tony's friend, Riff, is killed in a duel with Maria's brother, Bernardo. Tony kills Bernardo in turn. Maria sends a message to Tony to run away with her but he doesn't get the message. He is told that Maria has been killed by Chino so Tony hunts him down and is shot by Chino. Tony dies in Maria's arms. Maria grabs Chino's gun. It's a close thing but she drops to her knees. A shawl is draped over her, giving the impression of a nun in prayer. The question left unanswered is the same: "Was all the anger and intolerance worth the price?" [10] [11] [12]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1595, Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1594

I've uploaded year 1594 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The Pompeii Coverup and the Problem with Mount Rainier -- An excavation company uncovers the ruins of the lost city of Pompeii so they do the only thing any reasonable company would do. They cover it back up. I talk about volcanoes and the danger that Mount Rainier poses to the City of Tacoma and possibly Seattle.

The Dutch East India Company and the Power to Do Good and Evil -- A little Dutch company forms to take on the spice trade. They will eventually consolidate with others to become a semi-governmental organization. I talk about the power of a massive organization to do good and the danger of it doing evil... massive evil.

Their First Polar Bear Gets Iced -- William Barents is commissioned by the Dutch to find the Northwest Passage but he bags a polar bear instead. He is the guy that the Barents Sea is named after.

The Pompeii Coverup and the Problem with Mount Rainier

While digging a canal, excavators uncover strange statues and walls that include frescos that were once part of the ancient city of Pompeii that was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79. The architect, Domenico Fontana, inspects the ancient frescos and has them covered over again... probably because the art was of a sexual nature. Another excavation of the ancient city of Pompeii will not take place until 1748 when various sites will be dug up for their souvenir art. A methodical and more serious excavation will begin in 1806 when French scholars are brought in. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Pompeii is best known for the ash-covered bodies found at the excavation. It looks as if people were caught in mid-step and their bodies preserved where they fell. Pliny the Elder had ordered his ships into the harbor to evacuate the city. The shouts of men and the cries of women and infants could be heard as a black cloud poured into the city. No one escaped. What was described is a pyroclastic surge or flow. These hot collections of gas and rock can overwhelm a region like an avalanche and travel for miles. Mount Saint Helens produced such a flow and it is feared that when Mount Rainier in Washington state finally erupts, the glacier will melt, causing a flow of volcanic mud that will bury the city of Tacoma and everything between. Seattle might survive. Only time will tell. [5] [6]

The Dutch East India Company and the Power to Do Good and Evil

A new company has been set up to compete with the Portuguese pepper trade in India. Trading in spice from India is big business and the Dutch want to be part of it. So do the English. Unfortunately this particular Dutch company won't make much money. It's just too small. Sailing from Holland to India is a dangerous business even setting aside the little detail that Spain is at war with the Dutch Republic. Eventually this company will consolidate with several others into a larger and more successful company. At first it will be called the United East India Company. They will be the first to issue stock in a publicly held company. In time it will change it's name to the more recognizable Dutch East India Company. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Dutch East India Company will become a semi-governmental organization with the power to start a war, execute the guilty and negotiate treaties. They will do good, such as the founding of New Amsterdam... otherwise known as New York City. They will do bad... such as the founding of New York City. The concentration of power in a massive entity can do massive good, but when it does bad it can be massively bad. The Founders of the United States created a government where power is distributed with the most power left at the local level. But over the years we have convinced ourselves that we can control the massive power of the state to do only good. We are mature enough and smart enough, smarter than our Founders. We have seen the massive good done, yet we have also seen the massive bad. Are we done yet? Apparently not.

Their First Polar Bear Gets Iced

The Dutch Republic is trying to get to China without running into the Portuguese along the way. (There is a war going on after all.) Captain William Barentsz is commissioned to find the Northwest passage around North America but so far all he can find are polar bears. When one bear tries to climb aboard his ship he wounds it with a musket shot. His crew nets the bear and drags it on board thinking they are going to love a live polar bear back home in Holland but it is not to be. The bear will not be contained. It rampages across the deck and must be put down. [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
For the nature lovers out there, his crew also tried to hack to death a herd of 200 walruses for their tusks. The walruses wouldn't sit still for that so they were not very successful. The voyages were considered a success despite never reaching China. The Barents Sea was named in Willem Barentsz' honor in 1853 and he remains a legendary hero in the Netherlands for his rough adventures across ice and sea.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1594, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1593

I've uploaded year 1593 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

Cosmos: A Spacetime Inquisition -- Father Bruno is a saint to science but less than a saint to his own religion. The TV science show Cosmos tries to criticize the Church for killing its science saint but the accusation wears a little thin.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- Christopher Marlowe may have faked his own death... in service to the Queen... and William Shakespeare.

The Pirate Queen Meets the Queen of England -- Grace O'Malley is a merchant Queen and some people might say... pirate. She is entertaining, though.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Inquisition

After supporting Copernicus, writing a number of controversial books on science and commenting on the nature of the universe (and dark mysticism) Father Giordano Bruno has returned to Italy. Unfortunately a few of his books have come under the scrutiny of the Inquisition and they are ... unhappy. He is extradited to Rome and spends several months in prison, awaiting the Inquisition to charge him. His trial begins in December and it will continue on-and-off for the next 7 years. It will not end well for Father Bruno. After declining several opportunities to recant the religious passages in his books he will accept the final judgement of the Pope. The Pope will judge him to be a heretic and Father Bruno will be burned at the stake. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The TV science show "Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey" implied that Father Bruno was put to death because of science, but that is an exaggeration. The trial never mentioned scientific issues. He died because he stood up for his personal understanding of God... not his scientific teachings. Given the Reformation conflict at the time, the Catholic and Protestant churches were more concerned with religious conformity than how many alien races could dance on a pin. The Cosmos TV show implied that Father Bruno rejected religion. Far from it, but science needs its saints and sinners as much as any church. I resent when the facts must be sacrificed on the altar of science, though. Life is not black or white, on or off. One can be both religious and scientific. The two disciplines can overlap in a few places if we will stop fretting so much. [4]

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

The famous playwright, Christopher Marlowe, dies in a knife fight over the payment of the bill after dining with friends. (With friends like these, who needs enemies?) His killer is brought to justice and then let go. Odd. There is one more thing you need to know. The Late Mr. Marlowe was a spy for the Queen of England and so was the man who killed him. Very odd. Every government has an intelligence service run by people with very few scruples and a lot of initiative. In the court of Queen Elizabeth the 1st, the job of a spy is to uncover assassination plots and thwart religious fanatics planning the general massacre of Protestants. (That is a REAL possibility, by the way.) The Queen is willing to pay for good intelligence and good agents. Since playwrights are always hobnobbing with the aristocracy, they have the perfect cover for a spy. Shortly after Marlowe's death, William Shakespeare becomes prominent in the theater. Conspiracy theorists wonder if Marlowe faked his own death and took up the identity of William Shakespeare. We'll never know. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Spies were common in those days (and perhaps in the modern day as well). Theaters were located in the seedy side of town but frequented by the aristocracy, often attending in masks or disguises. Clergy were hidden by their church members to avoid being killed by their religious opponents, but that hidden network of ritual provided a built-in network for spies. Merchants, bankers and legally sanctioned fences for stolen goods (now called pawn shops) allowed military information to be passed along at several levels of society. Frankly, the Spanish Armada could not have been thwarted without a vigorous English and Dutch spy network. It's not a conspiracy when two of the greatest financial centers are building spy networks. It's simple self-interest. If a bank makes a war loan to a government then that bank will want to provide the information needed for his client to win the war. Occam's Razor applies. The simple explanation is usually the correct one. [15]

The Pirate Queen Meets the Queen of England

Grace O'Malley is chieftain of the O'Malley clan in Ireland. After the death of her merchant father, Grace has inherited a considerable fleet of merchant ships... sometimes known as pirate ships depending on what they are doing at the time, but let's not quibble. As long as everyone gets their cut, all is well, but an English governor has gotten greedy. After taxing Grace's cargo on trade ships coming into his territory, Grace's sons think that turnabout is fair play. They waylay ships coming from that territory, extract a "tax" and then disappear. Unfortunately her two sons and her half-brother are captured by this English governor so Grace O'Malley petitions the Queen of England to get this governor off of her back. There is no truth to the rumor that Grace was carrying a dagger under her dress in order to murder the Queen. The dagger was for defensive purposes only. [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
People just love stories about Grace O'Malley. She is a pip! There was the time when she needed to sneeze so an English woman lent her a lace hanky. Grace sneezed into the pitiful little piece of cloth and then, to the shock of all, she threw the hanky into the fire. Apparently Irish handkerchiefs are all "disposable." It was unfortunate that more didn't come of that visit with Queen Elizabeth, though. Elizabeth removed the English governor but restored him to his position later on. Obviously Grace was not being taken seriously. She continued to agitate and foment rebellion. Grace O'Malley died around the same time that Queen Elizabeth did although the exact circumstances are in dispute.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1593, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

History: The Year is 1592

I've uploaded year 1592 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The Bonnie Earl of Moray and Signing a Blank Form -- George Gordon saves the life of King James and is rewarded with another challenge... kill the Earl of Moray... and don't sign any blank documents.

The Japanese Invasion of Korea, Round 1 -- The Korean turtle ship will be a introduced as the first ironclad as the Japanese invade Korea and China.

The Mother of All Heists and the Difficulty of Doing the Right Thing -- The English capture a massive spice and treasure ship but before the Queen can take her cut, the sailors walk off with the loot.

The Bonnie Earl of Moray and Signing a Blank Form

George Gordon has a mixed history. He has signed on to Presbyterian principles and earlier saved King James the 1st of Scotland from the clutches of a pro-Catholic rebellion. Naturally, the King pardons George of his past misdeeds and makes him the 1st Marquess of Huntly. (That position is slightly above an Earl but below a Duke.) Unfortunately, he can't leave the intrigues alone and gets himself involved in a minor war in which is stabs to death the Scottish Earl of Moray and sets fire to his castle. No one is sure of all the details, but everyone knows who did it. Out of this murder will come a song that will be sung into the modern day... the Bonnie Earl of Moray. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Over the years George Gordon jumped from Protestant to Catholic and back again. When he died he professed his faith as a Catholic, but if he was always a Catholic, why did he save King James who was a Protestant? George was caught in treason when he signed two blank letters that were given over to Spanish agents, apparently to be used for nefarious purposes by the King of Spain. The letters were intercepted but King James refused to punish him. I don't know why George Gordon signed his name to blank letters. I don't sign blank forms even when my wife tells me it is OK to do so. I love my wife but she is not perfect, so I read every form carefully, no matter how many times she sighs.

The Japanese Invasion of Korea, Round 1

Over the years the Koreans have been plagued by a rag-tag group of coastal raiders called "Japanese pirates." These pirates are of multiple ethnicities including Korean pirates living at the edges of society. These pirates don't have designs on mainland territory, but the newly unified government of Japan DOES have territorial ambitions and in the initial invasion, Korea loses its capital city of Hanseong (present day Seoul). The Koreans have a secret weapon, though. The turtle ship is an improvement on an old design using iron plates set up as a canopy over top of the ship and enclosing it. The ship looks like a large turtle with oars used to propel it. Cannon balls tend to glance off the iron canopy and the plates are embedded with spikes to repel boarders. The turtle ship is considered the world's first ironclad. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The custom in Japanese sea battles is to bring a ship alongside an opposing ship, hook on and have the marines jump the gap to hack and slash their way to victory. The turtle ship is not a perfect defense against boarders but it gives the Koreans some definite advantages based on how the Japanese conducts war. China will support Korea and eventually push the Japanese into the south of the Korean peninsula. Peace talks will break down and Round 2 of the Japanese Invasion will begin. FYI: Those who play the Age of Empire video game series will recognize the turtle ship as a valuable weapon for game play. In the real world the Koreans had less luck with it, although the turtle ship was worth the effort.

The Mother of All Heists and the Difficulty of Doing the Right Thing

During this period, Portugal is a province of Spain so in the war between England and Spain, the English have been attacking the Portuguese spice trade. This year the super-ship "Madre de Deus" (meaning the "Mother of God") is captured by the English navy and brought into the port of Dartmouth as a prize. In the letter of mark from Queen Elizabeth the 1st, she is to get a percentage of the cargo of any ship captured from Spain or Portugal, but before she can collect, the English sailors walk off with the VAST majority of the cargo. She sends Sir Walter Raleigh to protect her interests but by the time he arrives, 72 percent of the ship's cargo is gone, gone, gone. [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI... the ship's hold was MASSIVE and it was FULL! I can imagine what the sailors were saying to themselves, "The Queen will never miss this little bit." The value of the original cargo was estimated at half a million pounds sterling, which was half the annual budget of Great Britain at the time. I don't know why the English sailors looted that ship so thoroughly. Maybe it was compensation for the risks they took since half the sailors on average would die on such a voyage, but smaller ships had made the same journey without such looting at the end. It must have been the utter size of that single treasure and watching man after man succumbing to temptation. The most difficult thing in the world is doing the right thing when everyone around you is doing it wrong... even your own friends. [16] [17]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1592, Wikipedia.

Friday, June 12, 2015

History: The Year is 1591

I've uploaded year 1591 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The Little Ice Age and a Spartan Existence -- Eleven Hurricanes are caused by the increasing cold of the Little Ice Age. Oddly, I was told that Global Warming would cause increasing hurricanes. Hmmm.

From Father to Son Since 1591 -- One of the oldest companies still in existence in Great Britain can trace its beginnings to this year.

The Price of Revenge -- The HMS Revenge surrenders to the Spanish in exchange for the lives of its officers. Then it sinks. The Spaniards made a bad deal.

The Little Ice Age and a Spartan Existence

The number of hurricanes in the Atlantic jumps to 11 with 5 in August, 4 in September, and the other two may have been a continuation of other storms. Given that many of the reports consist of the loss of a ship rather than a satellite picture, one can only make an educated guess as to how bad they are. Damage is easier to measure when they make landfall even though it is hard on the residents. The Little Ice Age has increased the number and severity of the storms during this period. The number of people who have died from these storms has massed into the hundreds of thousands in the last few years. And that is not counting deaths due to famine and disease during this period. Sand tossed up by severe winds have buried entire towns, and destroyed farmland for miles inland, never to be restored to its former fertility. The temperature is only one-half to a full-degree lower than modern temperatures on average, but averages hide a lot of variability that kill crops and people. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is counter-intuitive that a drop in temperature causes an increase in storms. When we had a number of hurricanes in a row, the Global Warming hand-wringers warned that this was just the beginning of many super-storms. Yet it was followed by several years of a placid Atlantic. The evidence no longer matters. Only correct dogma matters. It is group-think on par with religion, but at least religion has the promise of Heaven. In ancient times a great leader came to the Greek city of Sparta who gave the citizens strict rules that saved them from their personal excesses. They gave up their money, their love and their children. Sparta became disciplined and a great power for a time. Now there is nothing left of Sparta but worn stones and dust. We are headed for a Spartan existence in more ways than one.

From Father to Son Since 1591

Budweiser and Beretta have stood the test of time but now a construction company in Great Britain joins the ranks of businesses that will survive into the modern day. John Durtnell gets married this year and lists his occupation as 'carpenter'. He and his brother, Brian, have teamed up to build what are called Wealden houses or "forest houses". One of their first projects is a house for their elderly father. The house has had several names down the centuries such as Poundsbridge Manor but most people call it "The Picture House" probably because it looks so interesting that it is regularly sketched by artists. John and Brian are craftsmen, passing down their skills from generation to generation. In the 7th generation, sometime after 1766, Richard Durtnell will turn that craft into something recognizable as a modern business. In the 9th generation, another Richard will formalize a partnership between himself and his sons. He will give the construction company it's modern name: "R. Durtnell & Sons". [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There are VERY few companies in Great Britain who can make a claim to be older, but documenting claims that far back is difficult. "The Picture House" still exists today. It is a visually interesting house made of oak. The house was hit by a bomb during World War 2, so the Durtnell company returned to restore the house after the war. Last year I had a contractor repair my kitchen but he lost interest and disappeared. He was sub-contractor to a larger company so the work eventually came to a conclusion (such as it is). They all seemed like nice guys, but they never actually got the job done in the way they said they would ... as if they forgot what they had promised the day before. I suppose it's an old story. Hundreds of years old.

The Price of Revenge

The name "Revenge" has been given to many ships in the British Navy. The galleon HMS Revenge was commissioned in 1577. It led the attack against the Spanish Armada and chased the Armada until it rounded Ireland. In the years that followed it ran normal patrols, attempting to interdict Spanish shipping. When the Revenge came into port for maintenance, the Spanish fleet caught them flat-footed. Nevertheless, the officers and crew fought their ship well over several days until it became clear they should either surrender or scuttle the ship. Although the captain wanted to scuttle, the officers wanted to surrender so the Revenge became the only ship under Queen Elizabeth the 1st to surrender to Spain. [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Capturing the HMS Revenge did the Spaniards no good. The battle caused so much damage to the Revenge that the ship sank with the entire Spanish prize crew of 200 men. For the Spaniards, the prize was hardly worth the price paid in blood and the honoring of the parole of the British officers. A 'parole' is a personal agreement between combatants to discontinue the battle in exchange for some consideration. In this example, the surrender of the ship without further loss of life seemed reasonable to the officers of the Revenge. Since the ship sank, the Brits got the best of the deal.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1591, Wikipedia.