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.

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