Monday, August 31, 2015

History: The Year is 1635

I've uploaded year 1635 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

30 Years' War: Religion vs Nationalism -- It seems that nationalism outweighs religion in this fight for survival. I talk about a possible confrontation between Israel and the USA and wonder if religious oaths will outweigh national ones.

Japan Enforces Its Borders with the Death Penalty -- I talk about Donald Trump's idea of a border fence with a "beautiful door." I'm not sure if he is serious but I discuss the idea seriously.

Alex Haley's Roots: John Waller Comes to Virginia -- It's a novel but this is a fact. John Waller really did arrive in Virginia at this time. I talk a little about the novelization of Ronald Reagan's biography.

30 Years' War: Religion vs Nationalism

This is no longer a religious war. France's plan to weaken the Holy Roman Emperor by backing a Protestant army is now in tatters. The Swedish army as an invasion force has been doing a credible job even after the death of Swedish King Gustav the 2nd. Luckily for France, Emperor Ferdinand the 2nd had his best General, Albrecht von Wallenstein, assassinated last year for having too big of an ego and acting unilaterally. A general with too much of an ego tends to make the civil leadership nervous. (President Truman fired General MacArthur for something similar.) Emperor Ferdinand the 2nd has rescinded the Edict of Restitution and ends the German civil war. With a (more or less) unified Germany, France is in real trouble. It is surrounded by a powerful Emperor in Vienna and the King of Spain in the south. Both are from the House of Habsburg. France is from the House of Bourbon so France declares war against Spain. The 30 Years' War has become a fight between nations. The fact that the nations are all Catholic is meaningless. Millions will die just the same. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Once the Emperor stopped confiscating Protestant property, the major religious objection was removed. That left a whole lot of Swedish Protestant soldiers tromping around Germany looking more like an invasion force than a rescue force. Nationalism trumps religion... sort of. Christianity is sometimes called "Christendom" in an attempt to appeal to Christians as a cross-national kingdom. (Sorry for the pun.) That sort of appeal worked during the Crusades, and Hitler made that appeal work. He equated being a good Lutheran with being a good German citizen. It gets confusing when nationhood is mixed up with religious identity. What will happen when Israeli bombers head for Iran and the US President decides to defend Iran? Will a US fighter pilot's religious oath take precedence over his or her national oath? We won't know until it happens. [5]

Japan Enforces Its Borders with the Death Penalty

Japan has been tightening up on its border restrictions for years but now its getting serious. Nobody in or out. Any Japanese national who leaves the country is subject to the death penalty. Europeans who attempt to enter Japanese territories are subject to the death penalty. Christianity is banned. Pictures of Jesus and Mary are placed on the floor and suspected Christians are forced to walk over them. Any hesitation means you are punished severely. Trade with the outside world is restricted to Nagasaki and only with the Chinese and the Dutch. Border enforcement will continue until 1853 when Commodore Perry will show up. He will turn his guns toward shore and fire in celebration of the 4th of July. The shots will be blanks but the Japanese will get the message loud and clear. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the recent debates (August 2015) Donald Trump suggested building a border fence with "a beautiful door!" OK. I'm not a Trump supporter, but I've been advocating the same thing for years now. If you have a reasonably efficient official gateway into the country, then good people will use the gate. Give them a medical exam, a felony check, a dictionary and a Bible, Anyone who doesn't use the gateway is bad because there is no reason to walk across rattlesnake infested badlands if the gate is open. People who mean me no harm come through the front gate. If you are climbing over the fence when the gate is open, I assume something is wrong... with you. The first step in border enforcement is to separate the sheep from the goats. An efficient gateway does that along with a solid fence. [8]

Alex Haley's Roots: John Waller Comes to Virginia

Alex Haley's book, "Roots," is an account of his ancestry from African slave to American slave to a free man trying to find his roots by tracing back a family story passed from generation to generation. According to the book, the Waller family moves from England to Virginia in this year. A few generations will pass before a different John Waller will buy an African slave named 'Kunta" to work in his fields. Did the Wallers really sail from England at this time? The records are sparse but by all accounts, yes. A Colonel John Waller did travel from England to Virginia to colonize. Beyond that, who knows? [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Alex Haley's book is a fictionalized account of what he said were real events. Yet, when scholars looked into these events, many of them didn't check out. If Haley had said that "Roots" was an historical novel then all would be well. Its a good story. The problem is that it is too good to be true. Novels are like that, but he said his story was highly researched with some fictionalized dialogue thrown in. Sorry. I'm not buying it. When the official biography of Ronald Reagan came out, many people complained because it read like a novel with obvious, fictionalized dialogue. People know they are going to get some spin from an official biography, but if it's a novel, say it's a novel. People don't want fake facts in a biography. [12] [13] [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1635, Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

History: The Year is 1634

I've uploaded year 1634 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Jobs Created by ELIMINATING Wind Power -- A wind-powered sawmill is shutdown because it eliminated too many jobs. I talk about solar and wind power and how fuel-based generators make more sense.

Buggery is now Illegal in Ireland! -- Thank goodness!

On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! Forward! -- French explorer, Jean Nicolet, comes ashore at Green Bay and the Winnebagoes think he is a god.

Jobs Created by ELIMINATING Wind Power

Last year a wind-powered sawmill was built near the Strand, London. (The Strand is a major road following the Thames River.) Apparently it has been such a successful business that a lot of sawyers are out of work. (A sawyer is man who saws wood by hand.) King Charles the 1st of England is fighting an economic slump so he demolishes the sawmill in order to quell a possible riot and puts the sawyers back to work. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The first wind-powered saw mill was introduced in Holland in 1592, but England was slow to adopt these labor-saving machines. There were no laws against powered sawmills but the workers would riot so that they were soon shut down. England would not use powered sawmills in substantial numbers until the mid-1800s. They were steam-powered and so efficient compared to hand saws that they were irresistible. In the modern day we are told how our economy will soar using wind-power and solar-power. In certain applications, wind and solar are reasonable, but in the general case, they depend on the whim of weather. Because one needs power at the very time that wind and solar are unavailable, one must use a fuel-powered generator as backup, but shouldn't it be the other way around with the solar and wind-powered generators as the backup and a fuel-powered generator as primary? [5]

Buggery is now Illegal in Ireland!

Animals across the land sigh with relief as the Irish Parliament makes buggery illegal. Oddly enough, "buggery" is not defined in the law. It is assumed that the word means "sex with an animal." The law probably includes various types of coupling with a man or woman in ways too strange and at times too hilarious to describe here. Whatever the word means, apparently a judge will recognize it when he sees it. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As a general rule... no one creates a law against something (NO MATTER WHAT IT IS) unless someone wants to do it or is actually doing it right now. For example: there is no law against stuffing beans up your nose. It's not even prohibited in the Bible. The reason it is NOT prohibited is because no one WANTS to stuff beans up their nose! So... when you see some silly law like this, is there any doubt what was happening in Ireland at the time? Buggery was made illegal in England in 1533, so they had a head start. Hey. Stop laughing. [7]

On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! Forward!

Jean Nicolet is a French trader/explorer following the Great Lakes and comes upon present day Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Go Packers!) This is dangerous work and most explorers have gone missing. Jean is the first to come back. This is not a journey of discovery. Most of his canoe is filled with goods to trade with the Indians. Otherwise he lives off of the land. Years later a painting of Jean Nicolet will show him as he enters Wisconsin. He is firing two pistols in the air as Indians scatter. [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Jean meets the Winnebago tribe in Wisconsin. The name Winnebago means "the people who live near bad-smelling water." Apparently, the tribe lived near a spring with too much sulfur in it. Of course, Winnebago is the name of a county in Wisconsin but the Winnebago motorhome company is based in Iowa. Iowa is still within the range of the original tribe. [9] [10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1634, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1633

I've uploaded year 1633 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Galileo Admits His Guilt and Walks -- Galileo gets a complaint about his book from a fellow scientist so the Inquisition forces him to repudiate his book. The trial was not as bad as people make it out to be in the modern day.

A Modest Proposal for Genocide -- A really disgusting essay is published suggesting the need for the genocide of the Irish people. This won't be the last time, and I mention the shipping of baby heads in the modern day.

A Coalition of Criminals -- Chinese pirates are working for the Chinese government to fend off an attack by Dutch pirates and win, but it all could have been avoided if China had not created the conditions for piracy in the first place.

Galileo Admits His Guilt and Walks

Last year Galileo published his book comparing the Copernicus theory of the universe against the Roman Catholic version of the universe. Argument is allowed as long as no firm conclusions are made against Church doctrine. Galileo had already cleared his book with the Inquisition, but a fellow scientist complains to the Inquisition when Galileo appears to insult him. The Inquisition calls Galileo to Rome to account for himself. He is not tortured, and in fact, he is staying with the ambassador of Florence. After waiting several months for a judgement, he is found GUILTY of heresy! Galileo offers to rewrite his book but this is not enough, so he completely repudiates his book. In part, Galileo writes...
With a sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the said errors and heresies, and generally every other error and heresy contrary to the... Holy Church, and I swear that I will nevermore in future say or assert anything... which may give rise to a similar suspicion of me... [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is a myth that Galileo shouted at the court, "And yet it still moves!" referring to the earth moving around the Sun. Waiting in comfort for judgement and engaging in penance in luxury accommodations suggests that the Church needed a retraction from Galileo more than a dead Galileo. The bottom line is that Galileo got his information out to the scientists who could use it and the Church got it's retraction so that the laity was kept in line during the counter-Reformation fight. Galileo also committed to recite 7 Psalms a week for three years. This was a non-punishment. Galileo loved the Bible and he was faithful, so 7 Psalms a week day was a cinch. [4]

A Modest Proposal for Genocide

The poet, Edmund Spenser, is long dead, but this year his controversial essay "A View of the Present State of Ireland" is published. He suggested that Ireland was in great need of reform of its laws but that could not happen until the people of Ireland were eliminated... writing on a clean slate, so to speak. It was more like "scorched earth." Having lived through a rebellion in Ireland, "the prince of poets" suggested eliminating the Irish language and even selling infant flesh for money. Here is a quote from his essay. (Try not to vomit.)
Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was Edmund Spencer serious? People seem to treat this essay like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" where Swift suggests that Irishmen can solve the poverty problem by... "buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs." It is satire. Jonathan Swift is best known for his book, "Gulliver's Travels," which is also satire despite what modern movie makers have done with the story. In the modern day I can no longer tell the difference between satire and serious suggestions. In a world where dead baby heads can be shipped cross country with no more news coverage than that given to a local screw-up at the Mayor's office, my sense of the absurd has been pushed to destruction. [7] [8]

A Coalition of Criminals

China has won the war against Dutch pirates, with the help of Chinese pirates. Zheng Zhilong is a former Chinese pirate who was lured into going legit with various marketing incentives. He is not the only one but all of the pirates who have become legitimate are Chinese. The Dutch pirates would like to have the same incentives, but they are locked out. Thus, a war begins. It also ends, with the Dutch hiding out at Taiwan and the Chinese winning a decisive victory. [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is all very nice for the Chinese that they won a great battle. (It really was a great battle.) However, the reason why there was a battle in the first place was because of the Chinese foreign policy and oppressive taxes that discouraged ocean-going merchants from doing business with China. Taxes were so high that it became worthwhile for some merchants to become smugglers. They soon graduated to piracy at sea. At first, Chinese policy was equally oppressive to all, but when China tried to solve the piracy problem that they had created in the first place, they shut out the Dutch pirates. The Dutch got angry and thus a war... which the Chinese won... proving once again that the Chinese government is made up of a bunch really great... pirates.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1633, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

History: The Year is 1632

I've uploaded year 1632 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

It Smells Like the New World -- I talk about the Indians creating a totally unnatural state of the forests that allows the forests to work naturally.

Notable Events this Year -- Maryland!

The War in Review -- I feel so guilty about not covering the various bloody wars that I have to do this.

It Smells Like the New World

A Dutch merchant writes that he can smell the New World before he can see it. This comes from all the smoke from burning fires. The Indian tribes maintain the forests by burning the undergrowth and clearing wide lanes for travel. They are so diligent in their work that many colonists will comment about the park-like lands. In fact, they will notice that there is nothing natural about the forests at all. This will be a complementary observation. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Indians were keeping the underbrush down to allow game to flourish and to keep forest fires manageable. Was that natural? No. It was a human system that used nature as a tool rather than an enemy to overcome, but there was nothing natural about it in the modern sense. Some intellectuals see the American Indian as "The Noble Savage"... an idealization of primitive man... that is... man as animal in his purest state. Idealists on the left fight to keep the Eskimo in a primitive environment when the Eskimos would like are nice warm houses and some decent schools for their kids. On the right you get reality shows of hard, calloused men and women taking on the Alaskan wilderness. What is the difference? On the right, you choose your challenges. On the left, they choose your challenges for you... whether you like them or not. The Indians (and Eskimos) are protected groups but along with the benefits come some very long strings. I've danced with Indians. It is a wondrous culture, but it is one thing to keep one's culture alive because it is just flat out cool, and it is another to keep it alive to please some aging, leftist hippies who like handmade rugs. There are a lot of good things to learn from our past but if it's all the same to you, I'd like to keep running water, flush toilets and a forest that don't burst into flames every time a car backfires.

Notable Events this Year

* The Maryland charter is awarded to Lord Baltimore. (Guess what the name of the new capital will be.) The "Mary" of Maryland is Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles the 1st of England. [2]
* The English colonize Antigua and Barbuda. The islands will remain in their control (mostly) until 1981. [3]
* The Taj Mahal is commissioned to be the final resting place for the Sultan's favorite wife. Construction will be completed in 1653. Cost: over $800,000. Nice tombstone.[4]
* Galileo publishes his Two Worlds Dialogue that compares the Copernicus system with the old system. He has the permission of the Inquisition who will then forget they gave him permission. [5]

The War in Review

It's been disease, rape, murder and mayhem. Let's hit the highlights.
* Count Tilly is dead. Historians make excuses for his violence. Maybe they are right. In any case he was wounded by King Gustav's army and dies at the Battle of Rain.
* Munich is captured by Swedish forces in the 30 Years' War.
* Several cities surrender to the Prince of Orange in the 80 Year's War.
* The King of France crushes a rebellion led by his brother, Gaston. Gaston will live.
* King Gustav the 2nd of Sweden is killed in battle. By all accounts he was almost joyful in his last battle against General Wallenstein.
* Queen Christina takes the throne of Sweden at 6 years old. She is a wild one (in a good way) and sharp as a whip. Her father's old adviser will continue fighting the war while she grows up.
* The Field Marshall for the Holy Roman Emperor dies from his wounds in battle.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1632, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

History: The Year is 1631

I've uploaded year 1631 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The 'Ashley Madison' of the 17th Century -- The Adulterer's Bible is published with a misprint: "Thou SHALT commit adultery!" I also talk about the foolishness of the Ashley Madison adultery web site.

The Vernier Scale and the Lie of Precise Measurement -- A new way to get a precise reading between two marks on a measuring scale. Brilliant.

The Puritans and Providence... Nicaragua -- I talk about the colonization of Providence Island, and Providence Rhode Island which are entirely different places.

The 'Ashley Madison' of the 17th Century

Typesetting errors have crept into the printing of the Bible over the years but this one is a doozy. The royal printers of London have omitted the word "not" from one of the 10 Commandments, so that it now reads... "Thou SHALT commit adultery." The Wicked Bible or Adulterer's Bible is released to the public before the error is discovered. No doubt men were soon explaining to their wives that they were just following the word of God. (Gag!) Most of the Bibles are collected up and burned. By next year the printers will lose their royal license and pay a fine of 300 pounds (over $65,000 today). Very few of these Bibles will survive into the modern day but the memory of the error will live on because it's just too funny for words. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In case you haven't heard, the Ashley Madison adulterer's database has been made public. The Ashley Madison web site is an online dating service where cheaters meet... to cheat... for a fee. The company guarantees security and anonymity and if you want your account expunged, they will do that too... for a fee. Unfortunately, their claims of security were all TOTAL BS. (I guess that means they lied. Imagine that.) A hacker has released the client email list. Many of them are linked to the Whitehouse or that knucklehead on TV. A lawyer on "Fox and Friends" explained that having an email address show up in the database was meaningless because they never verified the address. Thus, my buddy could sign me up as a joke, or a business competitor could try to embarrass me or a political enemy could... you get the picture. The lawyer said it was time for people to have a serious discussion with their spouse, so I went downstairs and explained to my wife what the Ashley Madison site was all about. We looked into each others eyes.... and burst out laughing! What a bunch of morons!

The Vernier Scale and the Lie of Precise Measurement

Pierre Vernier has published the work he is best known for, "Construction, use and properties of the new quadrant of mathematics." While most people have misplaced their copy, many still remember his proposal for an ingenious scale that allows one to read a scale more precisely when the measurement falls between two markings. For example: if you measure something at 2.3 centimeters and a little bit, you look down at the Vernier Scale and where a lower marking meets with a main scale marking, that is the number you add. Thus, if the lower matching mark is the fifth mark, your final measurement is 2.35 centimeters. [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most often I use a Vernier caliper. This tool allows me to measure the outer or inner diameter of a pipe. One is likely to see a Vernier scale on calipers used while machining metal such as for automotive parts. Nowadays there are electronic instruments that can measure precisely, but the Vernier scale doesn't require batteries, and digital readouts can be deceiving. Digital readouts convey a certainty in a measurement that may not be justified. In other words... rounding errors can mislead one into thinking a measurement is more precise than it possibly could be. Using a Vernier scale reminds the user that all measurement is an approximation within a certain tolerance. [7]

The Puritans and Providence... Nicaragua

Providence Island is part of present day Nicaragua. The Puritans of London quickly create a company to organize the colonization of the island. There are several reasons to move quickly on this project, not least of which is that the Plague has been devastating London. In most cases the primary shareholders do not meet until right before the launch of the expedition. The rules are simple: no profanity, whoring, drunkenness or gambling. A preacher will accompany them, but he will be sent back in disgrace, having been caught singing bits of a romantic song to himself. When they land on the Providence Island they find Dutch privateers there (read as pirates). One of the Englishmen hired for security accepts a letter of mark from the Dutch against Spain and goes off privateering with them. Generally the Puritans will find the fight with Spain acceptable. They will also find slavery acceptable so that they can run their plantations. What they find unacceptable is each other. They seem unable to get along with each others level of religious observance and after many years without profits, the colony will be abandoned. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Puritans came to the New World seeking religious freedom from the King, but not religious freedom for all. They had very strict ideas about how religious observance should go, but what they didn't have was a unified Puritanism. In other words, everyone there was a Puritan but some were more Puritan than others. This religious intolerance forced some colonists to breakaway from the Puritan colony in Salem or be put to death. In fact, one man got the boot and was forced to establish a colony far outside of the Puritan territories. He called the new colony "Providence" located in modern day Rhode Island, which is not an island but let's not get picky.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1631, Wikipedia.

Friday, August 21, 2015

History: The Year is 1630

I've uploaded year 1630 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Year of the Three Musketeers -- It's an historical novel but it concerns the times and characters of this time so I'm mentioning it.

Welcome to Beantown: The Founding of Boston, Mass. -- I talk about the Puritans established a city on a hill and a model for Christian Charity. I also talk about Beantown and the Great Molasses Flood.

The Day of the Dupes: Cardinal Richelieu vs the Queen Mother -- Queen Mother Marie of France takes advantage of the King's illness to push a peace treaty with France than amounts to surrender of France's influence, but she has been duped! Her supporters are arrested and she flees.

The Year of the Three Musketeers

The novel "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas won't be published until 1844 but the stories in the book are set in France between the years 1625 and 1631. This is an historical novel so many of the characters are real people in a fictional plot while historical events surround them. D'Artagnan is a real person though he is really nothing like the character in the book. Queen Anne of Austria (queen consort to King Louis the 13th) is real, filled with intrigues and tragic in many ways... really. Cardinal Richelieu is real and quite the villain both in the story and in reality. So these people were good subjects for speculation in a novel that will remain popular into the modern day. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Cardinal Richelieu has often been the subject of speculation in popular novels, and films. From what I read in historical accounts (meaning real history books) he seems to have loved France and wanted to keep it whole as a national entity and under the rule of a French king. To that purpose he moved Heaven and Earth. That means a lot of people got pushed out of the way, good and hard. His spy network was real and he really did manipulate the 30 Year's War to pit the Protestant King Gustav the 2nd against the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor, a Catholic. A Catholic Cardinal set that up... all for the sake of France, and apparently it worked. So, as you are reading The Three Musketeers and you ask yourself, "Could anyone really be this crafty and cold-blooded?" The answer is "Yes. Someone really could be because someone really was that crafty and cold-blooded."

Welcome to Beantown: The Founding of Boston, Mass.

John Winthrop, the new Governor of the Massachusetts Company, has arrived in Salem, but Salem is out of food, so they move the new colonists to Charlestown. This is the first capital Massachusetts. In the modern day, Charlestown is a neighborhood in Boston, but in 1630 it is a separate town. Unfortunately, the water supply is poor, so Governor Winthrop moves the group to a spring with good water. They named the town Trimountaine (Three Mount) referring to the three hills in the area. (As the city develops, two of the hills will be leveled so that only Beacon Hill will remain.) The city is to be "a model of Christian Charity,"... "a city upon a Hill" as Winthrop put it. Later, the city will be renamed "Boston" after the city in England and the English patron saint of travelers and farmers. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, "Boston" is a corruption of the name for "Saint Botolph" who is the English patron saint of travelers and farmers. (Saint Christopher is also a patron saint of travelers but Saint Botolph was an Englishman so the Puritans gave him priority.) A club named Saint Botolph Club was established in 1880 by John Quincy Adams (the grandson of the US President of the same name). Boston is often called "Beantown" due to the distinct molasses flavor of their baked beans. And while we are talking about molasses, Boston is also the site of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. A tank of molasses burst and went rushing through the streets at 35 miles per hour giving the lie to the phrase, "slow as molasses." Twenty-one people were killed and many more were injured. This disaster led to regulations on businesses to insure the public safety, so if you ever wondered how the government got involved in your own business on your own property, now you know. [8] [9] [10]

The Day of the Dupes: Cardinal Richelieu vs the Queen Mother

The French King Louis the 13th has managed to throw off his mother's overbearing manipulation, and has been depending on Cardinal Richelieu for advice, but after a lengthy illness, the King has called for a priest to receive last rites. The Queen Mother sees her opportunity to stab the Cardinal in the back, metaphorically, and probably literally if the King dies. She conspires, with her supporters amongst the nobles, to push her pro-Catholic, pro-Spain acceptance of a peace treaty with Spain. But Spain (and Cardinal Richelieu) see the treaty for what it is: the surrender of French influence and eventually, the surrender of France itself. The Queen Mother forces the King to choose between her and the Cardinal. The King calls the Cardinal to his lodge and lays down the law. King Louis supports the Cardinal against Spain, and he will sign warrants against the Cardinal's enemies, including one against the Queen Mother. The King is not sick. The Queen and her supporters have been duped! She flees to the Spanish Netherlands, never to return. [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Please don't feel sorry for Queen Mother Marie. She was absolutely horrible to King Louis. He didn't deserve even half the stuff she dished out to him while growing up. She was also a terrible ruler. The Queen Mother was a member of the Italian Medici family so she let her Italian friends run France.... right into the ground. Cardinal Richelieu was one of the Queen Mother's men, but he soon sided with the King. King Louis the 13th knew a bad ruler when he saw one and the Queen Mother was a bad ruler. If she wanted peace with Spain, the decision was easy. Some historians say that the King was manipulated by the Cardinal, but the King was not an idiot and he could hardly do worse than Queen Mother Marie. The Cardinal was competent and pro-France. That was enough. [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1630, Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

History: The Year is 1629

I've uploaded year 1629 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Edict of Restitution: The Stuff Has Really Hit the Fan Now -- The Emperor confiscates the property of the Protestants. I talk about why that might seem like a reasonable idea from the Emperor's point of view.

The English Parliament Gets the Boot as 11 Years of Tyranny Begins -- King Charles becomes a tyrant this year after his adviser is assassinated and Parliament opposes him.

The Edict of Restitution: The Stuff Has Really Hit the Fan Now

Simply put... all property that was once owned by the Catholic Church 74 years ago and now held by Protestants, must be returned to the Catholic Church even though the Protestants had paid good money for it. No payback. No way back. Just do it or die. This is a major turning point in the 30 Years' War. General von Wallenstein and his 30,000 troops are enforcing the edict and except for the city of Magdeburg (a major city) the transfer is going smoothly if sullenly. This and previous successes by Wallenstein will make Emperor Ferdinand the 2nd nervous, thus causing him to forcibly retire Wallenstein to his estates. That lapse in judgment will leave an opening for the Protestant King Gustav the 2nd of Sweden to move troops into Germany to challenge the Emperor with the help of Cardinal Richelieu of France. That move will change everything. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... how did we get to a place where taking people's property (especially religious property) seemed like a good idea? The problem had been building for the last 74 years since a previous Emperor negotiated a treaty to separate the Catholics and Protestants by province, transfer religious property as needed, and let people move to communities that shared their beliefs. But over the years, conquests at the borders of provinces caused towns to switch religious affiliation several times. Lax enforcement of religious separation, allowed mixing of religious communities, and Emperor Ferdinand the 2nd believed that maintaining such a separation was an implied acceptance of a second Christian religion. Because the Emperor was winning the war, he took the opportunity to force the Protestants back into the Catholic Church, but Cardinal Richelieu saw that the Emperor was becoming too strong, and would eventually turn his victorious armies on France so the Cardinal paid for King Gustav of Sweden to attack and weaken the Emperor.

The English Parliament Gets the Boot as 11 Years of Tyranny Begins

The Duke of Buckingham was assassinated last year... having been an embarrassingly incompetent military leader and escaping impeachment from the English Parliament only by intervention by King Charles the 1st. The public was ecstatic with the Duke's death and venerated the assassin even after King Charles had the man executed. Although King Charles is doing nothing beyond the normal powers of previous English kings, he is definitely ruling against the popular sentiment of his subjects. With a crushing economic depression in progress, and his religious persecution of the Puritans, the King's subjects are escaping in droves for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Since the Duke had been the King's advisor on foreign policy, and there is no war going on at this time, and since Parliament has been giving him such a hard time, King Charles dissolves Parliament and rules Great Britain alone. This is the beginning of 11 years of tyranny, leading to a civil war, followed by his trail for treason and the beheading of King Charles the 1st in 1649. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The 1st Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers, is a prime example of the problem of promoting someone based on favoritism rather than on merit. This was mostly the error of King James the 1st who liked George's angelic face. King James bought him clothing and guided his career is such a way as to make sure George was always near the King. Eventually he made George a Duke. If this all sounds a little strange, well, it sounded strange to historians too. After King James died, King Charles kept the Duke around as an advisor. The Duke seemed to be not very good at the details of warfare as if he knew generally what to do but didn't realize that his troops required organization, discipline and training. A good example is when the Duke attacked France. On paper the plan looked perfectly reasonable, but once his troops came ashore, they found a warehouse filled with wine and thereafter all discipline was lost. After a drunken party they managed to escape without accomplishing much of anything. That was one of the Duke's better missions. I've known many people that I could hang out with but could never work with. [9] [10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1629, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

History: The Year is 1628

I've uploaded year 1628 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Vasa is Sinking: This X-Project has Failed -- King Gustav has ordered his new flag ship to sail but it sinks in the first cross breeze. I talk about the reasons for a new ship design and how this massive government failure went unpunished.

Salem: The City of Peace and Escape -- The town of Salem is established. I talk about the loophole in the charter and the study of the Bible.

The Rise of the Sweet Potato -- Sweet potatoes originated in the New World, and has been in the Old World for a long time, but I thought I'd mention that the sweet potato is saving Asian.

Vasa is Sinking: This X-Project has Failed

Ship design in this century is in flux. There are the galleons, of course, and the massive armed cargo ships of the Dutch East Indies Company, but no one really knows which ship design is going to win the war at sea. The English Channel has become virtually impassible so several experimental ship designs have been offered. The Spanish are trying out the frigate. These smaller, more lightly armored ships hunt in packs. The King of Sweden, Gustav the 2nd Vasa, has decided on a massive 1,200 ton ship with two gun decks and a shallow hold. He names the ship "Vasa" after his royal dynasty. By all reports (that have reached the King) construction has been going well. Unfortunately, the reports of the actual shipbuilders have not reached King Gustav. The King orders the ship to sea, so it weighs anchor and moves into the shipping lane a little less than a mile from shore. It then heels over and sinks. This experiment in ship building is over. Two years later an attempt to raise the ship from the bottom will fail. Several unsuccessful attempts will be made over the centuries, and then the ship will be forgotten until a modern project to raise the ship will succeed. The ship will be pulled out of the water in 1961. It will remain on display at the Vasa Museum into the modern day. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... what went wrong with this project? Frankly, the ship was top-heavy with a shallow hold. The heavy bronze cannons were not as heavy as cast iron, but the 2nd gun deck was located so high that it raised the center of gravity and the high sides of the ship caught the wind. The lower gun deck was close to the water line so that when the ship heeled over, the gun ports were exposed to the sea. So... the ship sank in the first cross breeze. This was an experiment. Experiments go wrong, but how was it that King Gustav was so ill-informed that he didn't have a clue that it's design was so unstable? Well... no one was brave enough to tell him so. That is no joke. King Gustav was admired and feared by his friends as much as by his enemies. This was a time for heroes and several had appeared on the scene, especially King Gustav. After a government investigation, no one could be found to blame for this terrible and expensive disaster, thus... surprise... no one was punished. [3] [4]

Salem: The City of Peace and Escape

John Endicott leads a group of investors to establish a colony in New England. He marches off the boat with 60 other colonists and joins with a few fishermen already at the site. This is the founding of Salem. Currently a land grant is issued by the old Plymouth Company. By next year, King Charles the 1st will certify the charter, creating the Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England. Something critical will be left out of the charter, though. Unlike the Virginia charter, the Massachusetts Bay legislature will not be required to check back with England for final approval of their laws. This little omission will create a massive loophole that will allow English Puritans to escape persecution from King Charles and William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury and create their own laws in Massachusetts. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The word "salem" is the English version of the Hebrew word "shalom" which means peace or completion. There was a tendency on the part of Puritans and the more radical Separatists (also known as Pilgrims) to use the Old Testament texts to inform their actions. They would study Jewish texts and the Pilgrims carried small Hebrew-English word lists in order to check their understanding of the original texts. I recommend that modern Bible study include something like a Strong's Concordance to check critical words to make sure you know what you think you know about a particular Bible verse. I'm not saying that the translators are wrong, but Hebrew doesn't work like English so translators are limited in what they can do when translating from Hebrew into English. [8] [9]

The Rise of the Sweet Potato

Christopher Columbus introduced the sweet potato to Europe in 1492, but in the last few decades it has become a major crop, especially in Asia. The reason is simple. It grows in hot, tropical climates in generally poor soils but adequate rain. That makes them a critical food source when other crops can fail due to heavy rains. In the modern day, China produces 80% of the world's crop of sweet potatoes. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the United States yams are rare. Most of the so-called 'yams' in the store are really sweet potatoes. They look almost the same so that is where the confusion comes from, but commercially speaking, the USA doesn't grow yams in any significant numbers. Secondly, sweet potatoes are not potatoes. Potatoes are tubers from the nightshade family of plants. Sweet potatoes are roots that look like tubers. They are a cultivated plant and while they can be found in the wild, they are not a wild plant. They were developed thousands of years ago in Central and Southern America. I have never tried to grow sweet potatoes but I am told that they grow into strange shapes in clay soil. Since I have clay soil, it looks like I'd have to grow them in raised beds. [15] [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1628, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1627

I've uploaded year 1627 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Fire in the Hole! Rock Blasting Is Now Reality - Boom! I offer a warning about taking advice from old encyclopedias and ancient copies of Popular Mechanics.

Spain Defaults on Its Debts and the Bank Makes Money -- It's a little complex, but I make an attempt to explain how the King of Spain can stop payment on his loan and the banks still make money.

 Fire in the Hole! Rock Blasting Is Now Reality

Some very brave men in Solvakia have figured out how to use gunpowder to break up the rock to make mining easier. Essentially, one drills a hole into the rock, and inserts a gunpowder packet with a long fuse. Then the hole is packed so that the blast will be contained within the rock rather than blow back out through the hole. Drilling a number of holes along line and setting off the charges simultaneously (or as close as possible) allows entire sections of rock to fall away in a controlled manner. (Don't try this at home, kids.) [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Rock blasting is extremely dangerous, and the older encyclopedias offer entirely too much information to keep you safe. I sometimes wonder if I really need to advise caution on such things. After all... only a knucklehead would try something this crazy without adult supervision. Unfortunately, the number of knuckleheads I run into on a given day is enough to convince me otherwise. In researching this segment, I ran across a very old Popular Mechanics magazine. One article was touting a "Home of the Future!" It had a diagram of a fireplace with the chimney pipe routed under the floor before exiting up and out the roof. (NOT A FRANKLIN STOVE! A Franklin Stove actually makes sense.) This "House of the Future" channeled smoke from the fireplace through the house, BUT this can be extremely dangerous! If any vapors get into the living areas, you are dead. A fireplace heat transfer system like a Franklin Stove is completely separate from the exhaust gases because dying of carbon monoxide poisoning is a bad thing. And there are other problems involved with capturing heat from a fireplace. Again, there are a lot of knuckleheads out there... especially college-educated knuckleheads... so use care. [2] [3] [4]

Spain Defaults on Its Debts and the Bank Makes Money

Spain has run out of money again. King Phillip the 4th has held back his payment to the Genoa banks. He is now living off of the payment he would have made, while he negotiates with the bankers to restructure the loan. This is hardly the first time this has happened. It is not a surprise and with the value of silver dropping due to inflation, Spain is being nibbled to death by ducks. It must be driving the King mad knowing that he owns the world's most massive silver mine and yet he can't make the nut on his debt, nor pay his troops regularly. But the King is getting wise to what is going on here. The bankers have been playing with the international money supply. [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Genoa banks forced this bankruptcy by halting the money transfers to the King's troops. The troops' pay had to be delivered in coins. Those coins (preferably gold) had to come from somewhere, hopefully not too far away. Local banks could transport local coins to pay the troops rather than bringing in coins all the way from Genoa or Spain risking robbery and/or piracy. (Read "robbery" as "The French" and "piracy" as "The English.") The Genoa banks pressured the King by blocking those transfers when he hit the debt ceiling. Then the banks would offer trade credits... a temporary loan either in coins or goods until the King could arrange for long-term credit. Once the parties renegotiated the loan, the trade credits were repaid with interest. If this sounds like a scam, congratulations. You are catching on. By 1627, the King was catching on too. The Genoa banks took a boot to the butt when the King of Spain replaced the Genoa banks with Portuguese financiers that had markets located in various countries (and thus having coins pre-positioned for use locally). In the modern day one wonders what sort of under-the-table manipulations are going on when the German banks extend their loans to Greece. Banks are not charities. They weren't in 17th century and they aren't today. [6] [7] [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1627, Wikipedia.

Monday, August 17, 2015

History: The Year is 1626

I've uploaded year 1626 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Sir Francis Bacon is Killed by a Chicken -- Well... that's an exaggeration. He was experimenting with freezing a chicken. He got pneumonia or something and died. I talk about cold and what people of the 17th century thought cold was.

The Dutch Buy the Deed to Manhattan! Why Are You Laughing? -- The $24 dollar thing was a bit of a myth. It is an estimate in 1898 dollars but people keep repeating it. I also talk about the ethical problem of buying and selling between people who have different ethical values.

The New Saint Peter's Basilica - It's been rebuilt. The other one was falling down. Presumably, Saint Peter is still there, though.

Sir Francis Bacon is Killed by a Chicken

Actually, it was a raw chicken stuffed with snow. Let me explain. Sir Francis Bacon, the greatest intellect of his time, had been forced to retire to his estate after being impeached by Parliament for taking bribes. Was he guilty? In modern terms, you better believe it, but in the standards of his day, not so much. He later repented his deeds and in his retirement he took up experimentation. In this experiment he wanted to find out if raw chicken deteriorated more slowly if it was cold. (For those waiting on the edge of your seat, the answer is yes.) He bought a raw chicken from the market, walked out into the cold and stuffed its innards with snow. Unfortunately, the exposure to the wet and cold brought on some difficulty in breathing and he died in bed in the home of Lord Arundel. He was 65 years old. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I watched a NOVA special on cold and the search for absolute zero. The show begins with a scientist explaining that people of the 17th century (that is... the time of Sir Francis Bacon) thought of cold as its own force. It was not simply the absence of heat. If you think about it, you can understand why. Try opening a window on a frozen winter day. You will see the cold spill over the windowsill and creep along the floor. In fact, what you are seeing is the moisture of the warmer air condensing as the colder air from outside mixes. Since cold air is denser than warm air, it tends to sink toward the floor and then mixes as it heats up. People like Sir Francis Bacon didn't realize this yet. And they didn't understand refrigeration. They won't have iceboxes until the mid-1900s. In the 17th century the world was at the mercy of the cold and the Little Ice Age was about to get a lot colder. [2]

The Dutch Buy the Deed to Manhattan! Why Are You Laughing?

The initial attempts by the Director-General of New Netherland to colonize Manhattan fails when some of the colonists join an Indian war between rival tribes. Several colonists are killed and one man is eaten... just a leg and an arm. Even though the Director-General had nothing to do with it, he is arrested and replaced by Peter Minuit. The new Director-General begins his negotiations with the local tribes. He has written instructions to not give offense but to persuade the Indians to make a deal for the entire Island of Manhattan which is about 22,000 acres. After turning over trinkets and blankets worth 60 guilders or $24 dollars (in 1898 dollars), the Director-General believes that he is now in possession of Manhattan. The actual deal he makes is lost to posterity, but he makes a similar deal for the purchase of Staten Island this year and a copy of that agreement has survived. He bought Staten Island for what we might call "junk" but the Indians are still in the Stone Age. For them, a metal drill is more valuable than gold. [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Apparently some of these Indians are cannibals, and I've heard speculation that the Indians pulled the wool over the eyes of the Dutch. I find that hard to credit. Nevertheless, it might have happened. I would not make any assumptions about people who eat other people. Does that give me permission to cheat them? It changes the rules a little. Man-eaters do not get any favors from me. If I can't avoid selling him a car, I'll sell it for a price I think is fair, but it's his job to make sure it has 4 tires and an engine. His mistakes are his mistakes. If a man-eater sells me two barrels of fish and he delivers four, that's just the price for being a man-eater. I'm not going to outright steal from him, but I'm not helping him out, either. How does this apply to my real life? I am a chaplain at the local jail. I meet all sorts of unsavory characters, people worse than one would meet in the normal course of a day. I follow the rules. I am polite. I do my job. If I'm working with someone I think is a murderer, I still do my job, but I don't go out of my way to do them any favors. Know what I mean?

The New Saint Peter's Basilica

Quick note: St. Peter's Basilica has been rebuilt and it is dedicated this year. Yes. It's the same one that you can visit today, but it is not the original from the 4th century. That building was collapsing. They kept the altar and a few other critical features... like Saint Peter, himself, for example. [6]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1626, Wikipedia.

Friday, August 14, 2015

History: The Year is 1625

 I've uploaded year 1625 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Global Cooling, Monster Storms and the Coming Maunder Minimum - I note the flooding, the Plague and the death of King James. I then complain about Global Warning panic.

What a Relief! Glauber's Salt is Discovered -- This chemical is a laxative but it is interesting because it is also used in solar energy applications.

The Slide Rule and the Old School Mystique -- Yes. The Slip Stick is invented. I talk about how I got a job because I knew how to use one.

Global Cooling, Monster Storms and the Coming Maunder Minimum

We are currently midway through the Little Ice Age, and unusually strong storms are the rule now. The Pilgrims have logged a 20 foot tide at New Plymouth due to a major storm. Back in England, the Thames has risen to such a height that the sea wall at Kent has collapsed. Essex and Lincolnshire are inundated. Take note. This is not the normal flooding that might torment the average yeoman or minor nobleman. This is record-breaking flooding. This bad weather is a terrible omen for the future. Speaking of bad omens, King James the 1st has died and his son, Charles the 1st has taken the throne of Great Britain, but it's not as if England has been hit by Plague too. Oh... wait. Over 68,000 die of Plague this year... most in London itself. The bad times are not over yet. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The tracking sunspots in the 1600s was led by the husband and wife team of Annie and Walter Maunder. Their observations noted a reduction in the number of sunspots in 1645. Today it is known as the Maunder Minimum and it lasted for 70 years, the longest minimum in recorded history. At the same time there was a sudden drop in global temperatures... more than it had already dropped for the Little Ice Age, but does a reduction in sunspots predict a drop in temperature? In the modern day we are experiencing a solar minimum. I notice lower than normal temperatures, but I have not seen a convincing case for sunspots causing a change in temperatures. I have lived long enough to experience Global Cooling, Global Warming, and now Global Climate Change. Scientists have not convinced me that any of these things are caused by man, and they have not convinced me that their so-called solutions would actually fix the problem even if it were caused by man. Their hands are out, demanding more funding, and I feel like someone being forced to pay for the rope to be used in my own hanging. [8] [9] [10]

What a Relief! Glauber's Salt is Discovered

The official chemist of the Holy Roman Emperor, Johann Glauber, discovers hydrated sodium sulfate. It's main use at this time is as a laxative called Miracle Salt. Later it will be known as Glauber's Salt and it's uses will be wide ranging, included in the processing of paper, glass and use in some laundry detergents. It can also be used for solar energy applications since it changes from solid to liquid at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I am not interested in laxatives but heat transference in solar energy applications is very interesting. According to what I've read, Glauber's salt holds a lot more solar energy than water or rocks. I once saw a home that used water to store solar heat, and released that heat at night to keep the home warm, but that system seemed inefficient. Using Glauber's salt instead of water might work better. I couldn't find an actual build that I could evaluate but it sounds like it has potential. [16] [17] [18] [19]

The Slide Rule and the Old School Mystique

In the last few years logarithms have been introduced, but now a practical use for logarithms allows one to multiple and divide using two scaled rulers slipping past each other. This device is called the slide rule. It is invented by William Oughtred who is the same guy who invented the x used for multiplication. Example: 5 x 5 = 25. [20]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was delighted to see the slide rule being used in the movie, Apollo 13 (1995). We sent men to the Moon using slide rule calculations. I used a slide rule in college, but personally, I prefer electronic calculators. I actually got a job at a civil engineering company when I revealed that I knew how to use a slide rule. At the time, just about everyone was using electronic calculators, but the engineer was old school... really old school. In the interview, what he really cared about was whether I could use a slide rule, and work the clutch on a Ford F-150. Yes, on both counts. My job was to represent the civil engineer in the field and the slide rule was part of that old school mystique. [21]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1625, Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

History: The Year is 1624

I've uploaded year 1624 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Royal Virginia Colony and the Limits of Cooperation -- King James gives the boot to the Virginia Company and takes control of the Virginia colony. He tries to get rid of the Virginia legislature but fails. I talk about separation of powers and the Iran Deal.

A Catholic Cardinal for France and for the Protestants -- Cardinal Richelieu is appointed as minister of France. In many ways his life is an adventure worthy of a novel... which is probably why he has ended up as a character in The Three Musketeers.

The Royal Virginia Colony and the Limits of Cooperation

Despite recent efforts to produce high profits from tobacco crops, it is too little, too late for the Virginia Company. Out of the more than 6,000 colonists sent to Jamestown and surrounding areas over the years, only 1,200 remain alive and more are walking off the boats to die a few weeks later of malaria. (They probably picked it up in an English port before they left but let's not nit pick.) King James the 1st of England has revoked the Company's charter for their incompetence. Virginia is now a direct royal colony. The King attempts to disband the Virginia legislative body called the House of Burgesses, but after 4 years that effort will fail. The Burgesses have become entirely too powerful. The King knows that labor is the limiting factor in producing crops. New colonists are being encouraged to immigrate to the New World, "...for the glorie of God in the propagation of the Gospell..." but with the Indian raids and disease killing off the colonists, it's going to be a tall order to make this Virginia colony a success. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, a Burgess was a representative of the plantation owner. Two were sent from each plantation to form the first legislative body in North America. The colony was administered by the Governor and his Council. When the King authorized the Burgesses to sit as a legislative body once more, they met separately from the Council. The Council was granted veto power over the laws that the Burgesses passed, but that power was not absolute. The Council and Governor were appointed by the Burgesses. This separation of powers forced them to work carefully with each other. In the modern day, the United States legislature hands over power to the President in order "to get things done!" But even so, it is rarely enough for the Administration. When Secretary of State John Kerry was asked why he hadn't submitted the latest "Iran Deal" to the US Senate as a formal treaty, he replied that it was too difficult to get a treaty passed. Indeed, Mr. Kerry is correct. It is VERY difficult to get a treaty passed. The Founding Fathers knew that any government powerful enough to give you everything you wanted was also powerful enough to take everything you had, so they made sure that government was very inefficient. Thus, only with great need did the legislature cooperate "to get things done!" Right or wrong, if an Administration cannot demonstrate a great need for cooperation, then how much do we really need it as a country? [3] [4] [5]

A Catholic Cardinal for France and for the Protestants

King Louis the 13th of France has appointed Cardinal Richelieu as his chief minister. The King is quite young but he is disciplined and he has learned to depend upon his advisors. The Cardinal will hold a pivotal role during the 30 Years' War, as he attempts to balance his religious obligations to Catholicism with his loyalty to France as a nation. In these turbulent times religious interests and national interests are not always the same thing. The Cardinal is considered a "moderate" in comparison to the fanatics pushing for France to join in a counter-Reformation with the Holy Roman Emperor to destroy the Protestants. No doubt the Cardinal would like Catholicism to triumph, but too often the perfect is the enemy of the good. The Cardinal realizes that if France gets involved in a straight up war, the Emperor will probably win, but France will lose itself in the aftermath. Thus in some sense he must help the Protestants, so that the Emperor does not win too much. If this sounds really, really twisted, now you know how Cardinal Richelieu became a favorite villain in historical fiction well into the modern day. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Look... I admit that I enjoy a good adventure novel every once in a while but I'm not kidding about Cardinal Richelieu. He had a spy network all across Europe. He had his fingers into everything. He paid BIG MONEY for the King of Sweden to invade Germany. If that isn't the plot for a great story, I don't know what is, and the beauty of it all is that it really happened. And King Gustav the 2nd Adolf of Sweden was not just any king. He was a master military tactician. Napoleon admired and studied his tactics. They love King Gustav the 2nd in Sweden today. The Cardinal kept any number of major personalities balanced off against each other including the Holy Roman Emperor. All of this implies that the Cardinal had an extremely compelling personality. If the Cardinal had never existed, it is difficult to imagine France existing today, at least in its present form. [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1624, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

History: The Year is 1623

I've uploaded year 1623 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Runaway Bride... or Groom: a Breach of Promise becomes Law -- A promise to marry becomes legal precedent.

All the World is a Stage so Be Sure to Wear Pants -- Pants become popular primarily because of Shakespeare's plays.

A New Amsterdam for a New World -- The Dutch establish New Amsterdam on the island of Manhattan.

The Runaway Bride... or Groom: a Breach of Promise becomes Law

This year, through a judicial ruling, a "breach of promise" becomes legal precedence. The "promise" is a promise to marry made between a man and a woman. A man's word constitutes a binding contact. A woman's promise is based more on social custom than her actual ability to make a binding contact. If a man fails to marry a woman, she can sue him since an engagement is often a lengthy process and she loses many opportunities for marriage during that time. If she becomes pregnant due to premarital sex (which often occurred for some strange reason) he also ruined her reputation which was a severe hurt... called a tort in legal terms. The defense to a breach of promise is some substantial misrepresentation of character unknown at the time of promise or a substantial physical injury of one of the parties. Losing an arm or an eye is not enough. This new judicial precedence mostly forces a man to keep his promise to a woman and not mislead her simply to get sex. If she was a prostitute prior to a man's promise and he knew of it, an attack on her character is no defense. A woman has fewer options if she wants to back out, but if she does, she must return all gifts, including the engagement ring, that were conditional upon marriage. Any wedding gifts sent by friends and family must be returned. In years to come a "breach of promise" will become formal law but the details will be left to judges to handle. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Breach of promise suits declined in the 20th century. The TV comedy show, Fraiser, featured such a suit, but despite the opinions of situational comedies, South Carolina is the only state where one can formally sue for anything beyond getting an engagement ring back. Alienation of affections suits (that is... suing someone for taking your spouse away from you) are allowed in Hawaii, Utah, New Mexico, Illinois, North Carolina, Mississippi, and South Dakota. In Texas, if you present yourself as man and wife, you are legally married, and if you decide to break up later, you need a real divorce. How do you become a legally married couple in Texas? Live together as husband and wife, tell others that you are married and/or apply for a credit card together. FYI, be careful as you drive through Texas. A few years ago my rabbi noted a defect in my wife's religious marriage contract. (Technically, it belongs to her.) I had to remarry her to fix it, so we went through a small ceremony in my home. Did I notify the state of Texas? The thought never occurred to me. [3] [4] [5]

All the World is a Stage so Be Sure to Wear Pants

Pants were not really known as pants until now. They were called "pantaloons" and they were usually worn in stage productions for comedic affect. They are named after a standard stage character called Pantalone who always wears baggy leg wear. He is also overly concerned for his daughter's virtue and protecting his investments so he is the constant butt of jokes for the stage. Pants themselves are made popular by Shakespeare's play "As You Like It" which has been published in booklet form this year. Shakespeare died a few years ago but his influence will continue into the modern day. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day similar standard characters are used in visual media to clue people in to key elements of the story without having to hold up a sign reading "I'm the villain!" or "I'm the buffoon!" "Painted ladies" actually wear a lot of makeup and are the obvious vamps. People with subtle vices tend to smoke cigarettes, while elderly men who smoke cigars have lots of money. Crooks look visibly unkempt. Even bad people in three-piece suits look bad when they move their eyes back and forth as they tell a lie or stare coldly as they contemplate evil. Subtle visual messages are placed in advertising (especially political advertising) to send an unspoken message to the viewer. A neutral message of good will at Christmas time might send the message, "I'm a good Christian" depending on how the background images are arranged. Even the movie The Matrix (1999) contains a classic bit of religious staging. As Trinity and Cypher stand by Neo's door, the characters talk about whether or not Neo is "The One". If you look carefully, the lines of the door make an obvious cross as if equating Neo with a certain religious savior. The movie couldn't come straight out and make that connection, so they did it subtly. [9] [10]

A New Amsterdam for a New World

The Dutch West India Company has established a colony on the island of Manhattan for the purposes of exercising their monopoly. That's a fancy way of saying that they are there to make money as fast as they possibly can. Currently the only money-making trade available is for furs. In order to do much more than that, they will have to bring people from the Netherlands. That project will require a proper charter, with legal commitments for granting large plots of land. The idea is to let other people organize the large number of colonists into manageable groups. Anyone who can bring over a minimum of 50 colonists as a group will be granted a premium parcel of land. These new manor lords will be called patroons, but that won't come about until 1629. Until then, the region will be run by a governor and several advisors appointed by the company. [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the 1600s, the American continent was known as the West Indies. The East Indies were India itself and various island groups in that area including the Spice Islands. If you'll recall, the Dutch were the allies of the English under Queen Elizabeth, but under King James the 1st, that alliance frayed. The English were useless to the Dutch and sometimes were enemies of each other. That is why, when the Dutch came to the New World there was some question about whether New England would trade with New Amsterdam. Not to worry, though. The colonists of the New World were nothing if not practical. If the Dutch could make money doing it, you can bet they'd give it a try. The Dutch Republic was a merchant and banking nation. They made money as a middle man taking a percentage along the way. There is nothing wrong with that per se but in the long run, you don't become a great nation that way. You help OTHER nations become great if it is possible to become great.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1623, Wikipedia.