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 On this day in history

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nordmann
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PostSubject: On this day in history   Mon 16 Jun 2014, 13:40

Sunday, June 16th 1613.

A packed Globe Theatre eagerly awaits the premiere of London's favourite playwright's new production "All Is True"*. Written in collaboration with John Fletcher, Shakespeare's new play is rumoured to contain cutting edge special effects guaranteed to wow the eager crowd. True enough, after a largely "typical Willie" first few acts involving much protracted speech, stilted conversation, unbelievably contrived dramatic devices involving secret letters, a secret rendezvous or three, and not-so-secret dalliances, the final scene involving the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth the First of England is accompanied by off-stage fanfares and (crucially) on-stage cannon-fired salutes heralding the arrival of the new bairn.

It was the cannon that was the problem. Shakespeare had authorised the use of an actual cannon for the performance ("if you can't send them home happy send them home deaf" being the Shakespearean motto) though of course had stopped short of loading it with cannon balls - even Willie knew the disadvantages to massacring one's audience. However to make a bang there still had to be a projectile of sorts to create the suitable compression of air and he had been assured that a tightly compressed wad of rags and wood-shavings would not only serve the purpose admirably but would also help create a suitably impressive pall of gunpowder-imbued smoke and ash that in its descent on the audience would simply add to the wow factor considerably.

And so it did, both in terms of bang and fall-out. The smouldering remnants of disintegrated material fell like rain on an appreciative audience who then all delightedly danced, kicked and stamped upon the embers - fantastic sport with which to end a remarkable theatre experience. Except of course that no one thought to dance, kick or stamp their way up onto the thatched roof of the theatre. Within minutes of the actors' final bow the roof was already well ablaze. Within an hour the entire wooden structure was doing a pretty good impersonation of a pyrotechnic gerb (which Shakespeare had also used in "Romeo and Juliet", of all plays, in the past!). By nightfall the Globe resembled a particularly dusty (and smokey) ant-hill.


Before



After


* When compiling the plays later, and probably given that the play's content so palpably contradicted the play's name, it was deemed more prudent by Heminges and Condell to rename "All Is True" as "Henry VIII" (someone resembling whom could at least be said to be in it).

PS: Different dates in June 1613 are put forward for the event in question. The 16th, a Sunday, is based on Fletcher's own recollections. However the 29th, also put forward, has the advantage of having been a Saturday, a more propitious day for a premiere with less of the hoi-polloi there to potentially scupper things with cat-calls, chucked vegetation and cries of "Hey Wolsey! He's right behind you!!!!".


Last edited by nordmann on Fri 03 Oct 2014, 10:08; edited 3 times in total
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 16 Jun 2014, 14:35

With absolute respect (honest), nordmann - that's to my mind the sort of writing you should try to publish. Your take on happenings from history - always accurate, detailed and interesting, but written in an ironic and witty style.

Fun to read and one learns a lot.

Just saying. I really don't mean to be patronising, condescending or give offence (I think MM is still not talking to me because of my injudicious remarks about his apostrophes) - just offering an opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 16 Jun 2014, 14:47

After you see my Korean Breakfast pic in the Tumbleweed Suite you'll change your tune!  Smile 

I like MM's apostrophes. Their aggressive peripateticism lends them an almost wilful, defiant and fiercely independent air about them that merely serves to remind me of how I once used to like my women (notice the plural, added for impression effect, and the past tense, added for self-pity effect).

The other MM's apostrophes on the other hand tend to the retiring, reticent and shy side of the spectrum, often in fact disappearing from her posts for months on end. Who'd date one of those!

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 09:51

18 June 1815, the Battle of Waterloo;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 10:14

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 10:45

An interesting point about many of Churchill's famous wartime speeches, including most of those that my parents' generation would say helped boost Britain's morale, is that most people never actually heard them at the time. For example, his "we will fight them on the beaches..." speech was only made to the House of Commons. It was reported that evening on the BBC and a newsreader read out a few selected quotes, but the man himself never delivered that speech, nor indeed many others, over the radio. Those particular growling Churchillian phrases were not to be heard again until several years after the war when he was persuaded to record some of his wartime speeches onto vinyl.

This is immediately apparent if one listens to the "fight them on the beaches" speech with a copy of Hansard to hand, as the famous audio recording differs from the recorded transcript - mostly these are simple matters of clarification but there are several whole paragraphs missing from the audio recording. There were no facilities for live recording in Parliament, even if it had been allowed in wartime, and so the audio version also lacks the "applause from the house" and other interruptions which were however dutifully recorded by the Commons' stenographer.

I once mentioned this point to my mother but she refused to believe me and remained utterly convinced that she had heard that particular speech, made in full by Churchill himself, that evening over the radio. But it just wasn't so.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 18 Jun 2014, 11:39; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : them damned apostrophes again!)
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 11:33

Editing his speeches was something Churchill, the oratorial perfectionist, just never could resist. This is the state of the document from which he read in the House of Commons on June 18th:

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 12:36

18th June, 1972

Until Lockerbie the "Papa India" BEA Trident crash at Staines was the biggest plane disaster in UK air space. None of the 118 on board survived when the plane stalled shortly after taking off from Heathrow Airport. Among the dead were 12 senior Irish businessmen en route to Belgium to negotiate Ireland's entry into the EEC, and amongst them a close neighbour of mine who only two weeks beforehand had buried a young daughter tragically drowned on holiday.



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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 19:39

@Triceratops wrote:
16 June 1815, the Battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny two days before the main clash at Waterloo;





Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 19:42

@Triceratops wrote:
18 June 1815, the Battle of Waterloo;



 
Correction of the previous message...
Excuses it had to be the reenactment of this.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 20 Jun 2014, 09:14

20/21 June 1756, 123 prisoners are reported to have died in "the Black Hole of Calcutta"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hole_of_Calcutta
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 20 Jun 2014, 09:45

June 20th, 1631, started as a normal Friday for the piltchard fisherfolk living in the English colonial village of Baltimore in West Cork, Ireland (which was to later lend its name to a rather more illustrious counterpart in another colony entirely). The weather wasn't great so only one adventurous local fisherman, a man known now only as Hackett, had ventured out beyond the headland with his nets. He was to catch rather more than he bargained for.

Waiting out at sea was Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, otherwise known as Murad Reis the Younger, President and Grand Admiral of the Corsair Republic of Salé in Morocco, Governor of Oualidia in the Algiers, and now the pirate captain of a "Barbary Coast" crew of cut-throat buccaneers. Why their ship had sailed so far north from their normal raiding areas is still the subject of much by way of conspiracy theory. Had they been hired by Spanish-based Gaelic relations of the local chieftain Fineen O'Driscoll who resented this English intrusion into their cousin's lands and the fact that on his death all his lands would revert to a foreign crown? Or had they been hired by the English themselves, especially Sir Walter Coppinger the local landlord, who openly resented paying leasehold to O'Driscoll for the village and hoped to provoke crown intervention to seize the chieftain's entire estate?

Whatever their motives the pirates seized Hackett and promised him liberty only if he guided them through the treacherous waters to landfall at Baltimore, which he did. Within minutes of arriving the pirates had seized over a hundred men, women and children from their dwellings in the Cove district of the village nearest the harbour, clamped them in irons and chains and transported them back to Murad's vessel. A mere two hours after first landing the pirate ship was back on the high seas, now with a cargo of slaves bound for Barbary. One victim had been ransomed immediately (ready cash was always welcome) and another escaped while ransom was being paid. Of the remainder only two would ever set foot on Irish soil again.

Hackett was hanged for his part in the business - though the conspiracy theorists point to Coppinger's prominent role in the rather swift execution of his tenant and wonder if his haste had as much to do with what Hackett might have learnt of Coppinger's own implication in the deed than with any desire for revenge.


A later "guess" at how Murad might have looked ...


In 1646, fifteen years after the raid, a deal struck with Algerian pirate states opened the way for many of these slaves who yet lived to be repatriated through ransom. Amazingly none save two accepted the opportunity, the rest apparently content with their new life in North Africa. Baltimore itself went into sharp decline. The remaining population had relocated to Skibbereen and it would be a century or more before the little harbour would again host a community of fishermen's families. O'Driscoll's fortunes also declined, as did Coppinger's, both men's legacy of land subsumed into the great confiscations of Cromwell's administration.

To this day it remains the only known case of Africans seizing British slaves from their homes.


Baltimore today
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 20 Jun 2014, 14:24

@nordmann wrote:


To this day it remains the only known case of Africans seizing British slaves from their homes.


Baltimore today

I'd swear I've read about raids on coastal villages in Cornwall & Devon by Barbary Corsairs. There were certainly a substantial number of ships captured by them in the Western Approaches. There was also a raid on Iceland.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 20 Jun 2014, 22:13

You might well be right - though if the Baltimore incident was typical then it might also be worth having a close look at the "cui bono?" aspect to the local landlords' potential involvement before one pins total blame on the Barbary pirates. Slave raiding in Britain and Ireland at the time by North African based pirates represented a very high risk strategy incurring equally high monetary investment in the enterprise for a financial reward just as readily obtainable from similar ventures in other more amenable and less risky locations.

The Iceland raids - one of which was also led by Murad - appear to have stemmed from a very stupid tactic adopted by the Danish authorities to play hardball with the Ottomans, the decision to pay handsome ransom amounts followed by an equally silly decision to capture Ottoman ships and goods (including a raid on Fez where they sank three Turkish ships) simply provoked retaliatory action by proxy. In that venture Murad and the other pirate captains were on a double reward, being financed by Ottoman agents and being allowed keep the profits from whatever or whoever they could seize. The raids followed an aborted attempt at landing in Esbjerg on the Danish mainland, indicating that Iceland represented an easier target with just about the same point being made in pursuing it.

Murad aka Jan Janszoon is the kind of man of whom one wonders why on earth a Hollywood blockbuster has yet to be made. You can forget Jack Sparrow. This guy was so audacious he captured and held Lundy in the Bristol Channel for five whole years while using it as a base from which to harrass and loot English ships! Unlike other notable pirates he survived his trade, ending up as governor of an Ottoman region enjoying considerable wealth and prestige and even had the wit and style to retire into obscurity and old age afterwards. Not your average buccaneer at all.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 08:35

Thursday, June 23rd 1314



Henry de Bohun gets a headache that two aspirin won't cure when Robert the Bruce cleaves his head in two with an axe "en passant". The two-day Battle of Bannockburn is now officially underway ...
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 09:55

Here's the clip of that incident from the recent BBC doc., 'The Quest for Bannockburn'. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4jZZbyv0WLKClqhV96SR6xx/six-defining-moments-in-the-battle-that-changed-scotland-forever

I'd rather not comment on some of the conclusions drawn from the outcome of the lengthy archaeology campaign that preceded the programme, some of which are, in my view, just a wee bit speculative in placing the battle. Tony Pollard's a really nice guy as well as an excellent archaeologist, finding a pre-artillery battle's a right bu**er, and I appreciate the pressure to come up with a 'result'. However, what I find more interesting is the way the anniversary has been treated by both camps in the current situation.
The 'Yes' campaign has very deliberately distanced itself from any mention of the battle but the National Trust for Scotland is running a big commemoration event at the weekend (which is having trouble selling the rather pricey tickets) but its announcement seemed to have caused a reaction in Westminster since the main, free, UK national Armed Forces Day event has been sited in Stirling, at and around the castle and King's Park, on the Saturday in direct competition. Co-incidence?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 12:03

June 23rd 1940. The German chancellor and a few mates take a tour of the sights of Paris, having first taken Paris of course.

Seen here in a chilling "then and now" montage.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 24 Jun 2014, 14:52

Wednesday, June 24th 1914.

The 10.20 Paddington to Oxford/Worcester/Malvern train had arrived at Oxford bang on time at 11.44am. It was baking hot - 80 degrees in the shade - and the passengers were no doubt annoyed when the train stopped again (signal failure?) - an unscheduled stop (disputed) - at a tiny Gloucestershire station. It was precisely 12.45pm.

Nothing happened, except a man cleared his throat and a blackbird sang its heart out in the hot, still, bright noonday sun.  A minute later and the signal was up; the train moved on.

Edward Thomas later wrote a short poem about this non-event. As Thomas was wont to do, he translated a memory into an epiphany, and his few deceptively simple lines somehow managed to capture for us the essence of England - or rather all that his England had been.

Had been? Well, as Thomas was listening to his chorus of blackbirds that scorching June day (a day very like today in fact), in another world, miles and miles away from Adlestrop, Gloucestershire, England, a group of seven (or was it six - I'm not absolutely sure) young fanatics - Serbian nationalists - were finalising their plans for the coming weekend. One of them, a boy called Gavrilo Princep, was only nineteen years old, barely old enough to call himself a man. Although he did not know it that Wednesday June 24th, Princep was about to become a part of history: the shots he was to fire a few days later, on Sunday June 28th, 1914, would trigger the greatest slaughter the world had ever known and change Europe - and Thomas's England - for ever.

You can listen to the poem here. Richard Burton recites it too on YouTube, but I think I prefer this first version: it demonstrates perfectly the idea of "poetry as ordinary speech" that Thomas - like his great friend, Robert Frost -  was so keen on.

Here's what Thomas jotted down in his field note-book about the incident (his punctuation!):

Then we stopped at Adlestrop, thro the willows cd be heard a chain of blackbirds songs at 12.45 & one thrush & no man seen, only a hiss of engine letting off steam. Stopping outside Campden by banks of long grass willow herb and meadowsweet, extraordinary silence between two periods of travel - looking out on grey dry stones between metals & the shiny metals & over it all the elms willows & long grass - one man clears his throat - and a greater rustic silence. No house in view. Stop only for a minute till signal is up.



The Richard Burton version:






Adlestrop

Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop -- only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.


Edward Thomas


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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 24 Jun 2014, 16:14

Did you hear this, this morning? I was thinking of you, Temp.https://audioboo.fm/boos/2277937-edward-thomas-s-adlestrop
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 24 Jun 2014, 16:27

No, I didn't. Thank you so much for that link, ferval.

Poor Helen. Strange to hear her voice.

I wonder which reading of his poem Thomas would have preferred?

There's another on YouTube with Vaughan Williams's "The Lark Ascending" playing in the background - a piece of music which also captures what we mean - or meant - by England. Williams composed his "Lark" in 1914: it was inspired by a poem by George Meredith.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 25 Jun 2014, 08:49

Thursday, 25th June 1914

In Germany the Kiel Regatta was in full swing and yachts from all over the world were competing in their various classes. The event was also a showground for the international naval arms race. Accordingly all the world’s major navies were there to fly-the-flag, show off their newest ships and to spy on each other. The Royal Navy was represented by a substantial squadron of battleships and cruisers and so the White Ensign flew alongside the White Imperial Naval Ensign.

Early on the morning of the 25th June, Lord Brassey, a portly yet sprightly 78 year old, set off from his yacht 'Sunbeam' in a small rowboat for a turn around the port "for his rheumatism". He was accompanied by the 10 year old son of one of his guests as his "midshipman". The harbour was congested with vessels large and small but eventually he found a nice open lane of water and with his young midshipman steering the course he set off rowing past the lines of ships at anchor. He was just getting into his stroke when a high speed German naval police launch intercepted them and they were both promptly arrested. Brassey’s chosen route had been between the lines of Germany’s newest battleships.

There was some initial confusion as the German police spoke no English and Brassey claimed he didn’t speak German, but eventually an English-speaking officer arrived to whom Brassey, with true English sang-froid, apparently declared: "If you intend keeping me here any longer kindly fetch me some more cigars, and then you’d better inform your Emperor that I won’t be able to dine with him tonight". Brassey was promptly released and so he did get to dine with the Kaiser onboard the Imperial yacht that evening.

The bald facts amount to little more than a minor misunderstanding, yet English language newspapers from New York and Newfoundland, to New South Wales and New Zealand, tried very hard to report the event as a 'diplomatic incident'. In contrast the British and German press, taking their cue from their respective governments, were equally strenuous in dismissing the event as nothing. But was it really nothing at all? Was he, as he said, "just interested in the ships" or was he indeed spying?

As an MP Brassey had been an unrelenting critic of the failings of the RN and as Lord of the Admiralty under Gladstone had been instrumental in rebuilding the senior service to the force it was. He had founded Brassey’ s Naval Annual Review which was much like an earlier version of Janes Ships, and even into retirement he had maintained an intense interest in naval technology, gunnery, propulsion, and navigation. He claimed he spoke no German and yet like fellow government minister Viscount Haldane, he had been a great admirer of the newly unified Germany and how its industry was integrated with its military organisation. He had been to Germany before to visit German ministers and industrialists, and he was on friendly terms with the Kaiser himself. He certainly spoke at least some German. But whatever the truth of the matter both the British and German Governments steadfastly refused to be drawn into any 'incident'. The façade of friendly relations was maintained and nothing spoiled the Grand Regatta Ball and Fireworks.

But on the 28th June with the regatta coming to an end, there was a real diplomatic incident … in Sarajevo, with the assassination of Arch-duke Franz-Ferdinand. The ripples from those shots spread out rapidly. The Royal Naval squadron had intended to continue with goodwill visits around the Baltic, but on leaving Kiel it was immediately ordered back home to attend an impromptu fleet review off Spithead, ostensibly to coincide with the Cowes Regatta. In view of the international situation it was thought prudent that all the RN’s "goodwill" be concentrated in home waters. 

So the regatta at Kiel was the very last time the White Ensign and the Imperial German Eagle flew amicably alongside each other.



PS : Although a germanophile Brassey was a true Englishman. In 1915 with a skeleton crew (her usual basic crew was 35 but by 1915 most of these had already volunteered for the navy) he sailed his beloved yacht 'Sunbeam' down to the eastern Mediterranean, where she served as a hospital ship in support of the Gallipoli landings. After the Dardenelles campaign he finally retired and signed 'Sunbeam' over to the Imperial Indian Army, with whom she served as a hospital ship during the Palestine campaign. She ended her career as a training ship for orphan boys moored on the Thames west of London. Lord Brassey himself died in 1918.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 25 Jun 2014, 14:07; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : It's dem boddy apostoffs again!)
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 25 Jun 2014, 09:06

June 25th 1967

The first ever TV programme televised live via satellite to every point on earth occurred on this day (at least to every point containing the technology to receive the signal and who hadn't boycotted the event due to the US response to the Arab-Israeli "six day war"). Four satellites were used, Intelsat I (aka "Early Bird"), Intelsat 2-2 ("Lani Bird"), Intelsat 2-3 ("Canary Bird"), and NASA's ATS-1. Fourteen countries contributed to the relay and thirty one countries ended up showing the event on TV.

The programme "Our World" is chiefly remembered today for the contribution made from London by The Beatles who, with a few friends in tow, sang "All You Need Is Love", written specially for the occasion.



Sadly the opening music - the Vienna Boys Choir singing the specially composed "Our World" theme song in twenty two languages - hasn't apparently survived (or at least made it yet to YouTube).
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 25 Jun 2014, 09:41

25 June 1950, North Korean forces cross the 38th parallel and invade South Korea beginning the Korean War.

The first US forces (Task Force Smith) arriving at Taejon on 2nd July 1950;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 25 Jun 2014, 12:23

25 June 1876, the US Seventh Cavalry led by George Armstrong Custer clashes with hostile tribes in the valley of the Little Big Horn river, Montana Territory;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 25 Jun 2014, 20:06

Here's an odd little tale. In my paper's 'On this day' column is this:

1990 7,000 king penguins killed themselves on uninhabited sub-Antarctic Macquaine Island. Bodies were piled four deep in this bizarre mass suicide, and the reason remains a complete mystery.

Since there's an obvious link to another thread, I thought I'd try to find out more but, apart from exactly the same entry appearing in a couple of other publications, there is nothing whatsoever, at least nothing that Mr Google can find.

There is, however, many entries about penguins on Macquarie Island where the population is gradually recovering after being hunted almost to extinction at the beginning of the 20th c.   Amongst them is this report of a stampede in which around 5800 birds died, all but 800 of them chicks. It suggests that they were frightened by a flash or a loud noise or perhaps a predator.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/109000/IS-MAN-TO-BLAME-FOR-PENGUIN-STAMPEDE.html?pg=all


This event was reported in, guess where - the Daily Mail as


"Mystery Suicide of 7000 Penguins"

Thousands of penguins have stampeded to their deaths on an island over which the pzone layer has been seriously damaged.
Experts are baffled by the mass suicide of 7000 king penguins on the uninhabited sub-antartic Macquarie Island.


This particular report was reproduced as the frontispiece in a book by James Herbert called 'Portent'. Th thrust of the tale is as you might imagine.

What a great example of how a measured report of a natural event becomes something entirely different, then is used quite inaccurately to justify some story telling and then, with the spelling mangled, turns up 20 odd years later as fact in an extremely respectable newspaper.

And it's all the bl**dy Mail's fault!
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 12:16

Oh heck, I think I've found a new hobby horse - innacuracies in the 'On This Day' columns.

Today's offering is 1693 - The Ladies' Mercury, the first magazine for women, was published.

Although not as utterly garbled and misreported as the penguin tale above, here only the anniversary date is wrong, (and the Daily Mail is innocent) it is another case of how these mistakes get propagated. The publication itself is interesting though and I'd never heard of it.

In 1690, an eccentric bookseller, John Dunton, (worth reading about himself) along with John Wesley's father began publication of a worthy journal called The Athenian Mercury, designed to open the avenues, raise the soul and restore the knowledge of truth and happiness and included a section on personal problems - the forerunner of all the problem pages and lonely hearts columns that followed.
This publication was successful and so, on the 27th February, 1693, he published the first edition of 'The Ladies' Mercury'. In this he promised he would answer all the most nice and and curious Questions regarding Love, Marriage, Dress and Humour of the Female Sex, whether Wives, Virgins or Widows. These questions were to be sent to the Latin Coffee House in Ave Mary Lane.
Sadly this journal was short lived, only four, weekly, editions were produced.
I wonder why it was unsuccessful since it was the consumption of the Athenian Mercury by women that prompted its creation?

So, despite the agency or whoever circulates these 'On This Day' columns being factually rubbish, they do lead one down some intriguing alleys.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 12:36

27 June 2007, after just over 10 years in charge;


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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 13:08

Tuesday June 27th 1899



Arthur Edward Jeune Collins (above left), aged 13 and three quarters, scores 628 runs not out, to this date the highest officially registered score ever achieved by a cricketer in one innings. His epic innings had started five days earlier on June 22nd and by the time it was over had attracted a crowd of several thousand to Clifton Close. The boys weren't playing on the main Clifton College cricket pitch which only makes the feat even more remarkable - due to vague or non-existent boundaries every run had to be run out completely in order to count!

AEJ Collins, cricket prodigy, died on the Western Front in November 1914, aged just 29.


Vitai Lampada
Henry Newbolt (fellow Cliftonian)

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

This is the word that year by year
While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind --
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 14:04

This is a day early because I'm off for a week. Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated on the 28th June 1914 in Sarajevo resulting in World War One;



The licence plate on the Archduke's car is A111 118, rather spookily forecasting the Armistice.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 16:36

MM wrote:
Last edited by Meles meles on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:07 pm; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : It's dem boddy apostoffs again!)


If anyone mentions apostrophes again, I'm going to shoot myself.

Even Edward Thomas gets the bloody things wrong. I wish I had never been born. I am sunk in existential and apostrophic gloom - of the dire critic sort, I mean.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 17:12

so then temps... what is the rule for using them... Please.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 17:20

Norman, I would gladly explain. I could start a thread called The Mysteries of the Apostrophe, or, more appropriately, The History of Punctuation. We could look at how, for example, a comma had such a devastating effect on Edward II's colon. Or how breaking the rules of punctuation became a trendy and rebellious thing to do.

But, alas, because all these years as a Res Hiss poster have taught me to be wary, cynical and suspicious, I think you are just encouraging me to shoot myself...

 Sad
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 27 Jun 2014, 19:42

Oh Temp sorry to be driving you towards suicide ... but why not indeed start a thread about the history of punctuation or how punctuation has made history.

I'm intrigued by your comment about a comma affecting Edward II's colon ... or I guess his semi-colon after Mortimer's thugs had seen to him!

One could also mention Roger Casement who was "hanged on a comma".

And I promise I won't have a huff ..... I'm still intrigued how the rules for the apostrophe developed, so that even well-known educated writers still used non-standard punctuation as late as the beginning of the 19th century. So when and how were the rules of English punctuation formalised? I assume it was about the same time that English spelling was formalised, but I really don't know.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 28 Jun 2014, 08:37

We could look at Ben ("Two Pricks") Jonson, too, MM.

 Shocked 
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 28 Jun 2014, 12:01

And we could also mention the Bolshevik printers of St Petersburg who, in 1905 went on strike demanding that they be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters. They thereby directly precipitated the first Russian Revolution, all over the going rate for commas and colons.

But getting back on topic has anyone else seen the "live" news reporting from Sarajevo in 1914, by BBC News online?

BBC News - 28 June 1914



It's been unfolding in "real time" all this morning. Quite an interesting approach I thought, and while we all know what happened it's a clever way of presenting it. Good for teaching I'd have thought .... although there are a surprising number of typos despite them having 100 years to get the text right and I can't seem to get any of the video clips to work but that might be because I'm not in the UK. Also why did they use the iconic photo of Princip's arrest to represent the earlier arrest of Nedeljko Cabrinovic?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 02 Jul 2014, 11:25

...a monstrosity of a man, a pygmy, fat-headed and like a mole as to the smallness of his eyes; disgusting with his short, broad, thick, and half hoary beard; disgraced by a neck an inch long; very bristly through the length and thickness of his hair; in color an Ethiopian; one whom it would not be pleasant to meet in the middle of the night; with extensive belly, lean of loin, very long of hip considering his short stature, small of shank, proportionate as to his heels and feet; clad in a garment costly but too old, and foul-smelling and faded through age; shod with Sicyonian shoes; bold of tongue, a fox by nature, in perjury and lying a Ulysses.

Yeuch! (at least Bishop Liutprand, who wrote the above, seemed to think so)

So what do you do with such an unfortunate creature? You elect him Byzantine Emperor of all the Romans is what you do, just as they did on this day, July 2nd in 963, with Nivephoras Phocas (even his surname was unfortunate!).

Mind you, didn't he then just go and unite and expand the Byzantine empire, and even lead it into one of its greatest golden ages? Just goes to show ...
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 03 Jul 2014, 14:53

A British colonel surrenders along with his troops on this day, July 3rd 1754. Pursued by the French through what is now Layette County in Pennsylvania, the colonel had some days before decided his militia would have to make a stand. They hastily erected a wooden pallisade around their ammunition and stores and prepared to fight the oncoming enemy.

The Battle of "Fort Necessity" hardly rates as a battle at all. On July 3rd the colonel, unaware of how strong his enemy might be, decided to do the "prudent" thing and surrender. His poor command of French however meant that not only did he surrender but he also inadvertently "confessed" to the assassination of the French military commander Joseph Coulon de Villiers, Sieur de Jumonville, in a previous encounter. The surrender, however ill-advised and rash, at least included provision for the safe withdrawal of him and his troops, leaving the French in charge of the strategically placed high ground in southern Pennsylvania.

The name of this cowardly British officer who out-Frenched the French in the surrender stakes? One George Washington.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 04 Jul 2014, 08:26

Ask an American citizen of the USA what happened on July 4th 1776 and you will most likely hear something about independence, declarations thereof and such like.

Which of course while nearly accurate actually ain't.

John Adams, one of the signatories to the declaration of independence (so we must assume knew what he was talking about) wrote to his wife Abigail in the middle of July 1776:

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

So that's it then - the celebration is two days out. Right?

Eh - not quite either. The same man in another letter described Jefferson's draft of the declaration formally pronounced on July 2nd as a "ceremonial afterthought" since the actual official adoption of the declaration (give or take one or two small amendments) had been made by the Continental Congress six weeks earlier on May 15th. But amazingly Adams was actually being a little presumptious - the declaration might have been adopted but it was as yet unsigned except by its authors. The other delegates whose signatures were required would wait until August 2nd (and some even longer) before putting pen to paper and posterity.

And the day independence was first celebrated? Philadelphia was quickest off the mark choosing July 8th as the "historic" day which for evermore would be reserved for joyous commemoration of independence. George Washington, at the time on military duty in New York, decided off his own bat to intiate annual civic celebrations on July 9th. In Atlanta, Georgia, the good burgers of the city pencilled in August 10th for posterity (the day their delegate got back from Philadelphia and told them what was going on).

And while all this celebrating was going on the British authorities reacted swiftly to quell such gumption, right? Well, wrong actually. No one in Britain was to find out even that a "Continental Congress" had convened, let alone declared independence, until August 30th.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 09 Jul 2014, 14:49

Another piece of American history from the 9th July 1755, and also featuring George Washington who was a provincial officer in the army of General James Braddock which this day came a cropper when trying to use European tactics in the American backwoods at the Monongahela River;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 10 Jul 2014, 09:55

10 July 1940, the start of the Battle of Britain;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 11 Jul 2014, 15:31

Here's one for Shivfan; 11 July 1972, the start of the Spassky vs Fischer World Chess Championship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Chess_Championship_1972
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Jul 2014, 10:15

On July 16th 1546 those attending Smithfield Market in London were treated to a rare spectacle - the burning to death at the stake of a poet. Even rarer for the times, the poet was a woman.

Anne Askew had grown up a staunch protestant, her father having adopted the new faith while a gentleman and juror working in Henry VIII's court. However by 1545, with Henry now being advised to consider an alliance with the Catholic emperor Charles V, the Anglican church was fast re-adopting its old Catholic identity. Prominent Catholics, styling themselves as "traditionalists" and hoping this trend would lead to the church's reintegration into the Roman Catholic hegemony, seized on this new development as an opportunity to begin identifying and "eliminating" their Protestant opponents, beginning with those considered so evangelical as to be offensive to all parties, and in particular to his majesty.

This ambivalence that had crept into England's official line on what should now be considered the religion of the state had already hit Anne hard. Her father William had married her off to Thomas Kyme, a Catholic, when his original betrothed, Anne's sister, had died. A tempestuous marriage ended after only two years when Thomas kicked Anne out of their home, a development that suited Anne to the ground anyway. She changed her name back to Askew, moved to London, and became a preacher.

Thomas however wasn't finished with her yet. Three times he had her hunted down and arrested, the third time on charges of heresy which saw Anne being detained and tortured in the Tower of London, the only woman recorded as ever having been so treated. After days of being racked in order to force her recantation, her limbs dislocated and her every movement an agony, Anne steadfastly refused to denounce her Protestant faith or provide her torturers with the names of fellow preachers. On June 18th she was sentenced to death for heresy.


A contemporary woodcut depicting Anne's martyrdom


Anne, as depicted in a Look & Learn article in 1965

Amazingly, while incarcerated in Newgate awaiting her execution (to which she had to be transported in the chair she was bound to as she was burnt), Anne managed to write a poem summarising her journey to her fate. As a ballad it remained popular for some centuries.

I Am a Woman, Poor and Blind

A year after her execution the Six Articles - the law enforcing Catholic obedience under which Anne Askew was condemned - were repealed.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Jul 2014, 10:51

Anne Askew is one of my heroes - her courage when facing her male interrogators, Wriothesley and Rich, in the Tower was remarkable. This despicable pair actually operated the rack themselves, as other officials, aware that the torture of a woman "of her degree" (she was a "gentlewoman"), was quite illegal, refused to have anything to do with "persuading" Askew to cooperate. The Lieutenant of the Tower was so horrified at what was being done in the King's name that he went to Henry himself. Henry ignored the complaints.

Anne was a pawn in a bigger power game. Bishop Gardiner, a vile man, was gunning for the Protestant queen, Katherine Parr, and it was hoped that Anne would give information that could be used in a coup against Katherine. It is unlikely that the Queen had ever met Anne, but she certainly knew of her and was sympathetic to her. As you say above, Anne refused to give anything or anybody away: she did admit to receiving presents of money - shillings - from the servants of Anne, Countess of Hertford and Jane, Lady Denny, but she refused to go further and would not give any lead that could implicate these women's husbands - or the Queen - in heretical activity.

She was even silent even as the flames consumed her, showing no signs of agony until the fire reached her chest.

 As far as I know there has only been one novel written about Anne, The Heretics by Alison Macleod, published in 1965. I tracked down an ancient copy thanks to Amazon.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Jul 2014, 12:49

@Temperance wrote:
Anne Askew is one of my heroes - her courage when facing her male interrogators, Wriothesley and Rich, in the Tower was remarkable. 


Would that be Sir Richard Rich, Solicitor General under Cromwell, whose weasily evidence also helped condemn More and Fisher? He was a nasty self-serving piece of work, even by Tudor standards.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Jul 2014, 14:20

The very man. A nasty piece of work indeed. In the snake-pit of the Henrician court, Rich was a particularly poisonous little viper.

Rich claimed that in a conversation he had had with More in the Tower on June 12th 1535, More had explicitly denied Parliament's authority to make Henry VIII the supreme head of the Church in England. At his trial, More strenuously denied having said anything of the kind: he stated flatly that Rich was committing perjury. To counter this lying testimony, More then took what for him was the most solemn step possible: he swore an oath, calling on God to be his witness. His magificent reply to Rich's accusation was:

If I were a man, my lords, who did not reverence an oath, I need not, as is well-known, stand here as an accused person in this place, at this time, or in this case. And if this oath of yours, Master Rich, be true, then I pray that I never see God in the face, which I would not say, were it otherwise, to win the whole world...In good faith, Master Rich, I am sorrier for your perjury than I am for my own peril."

In A Man For All Seasons, Bolt uses the above (from William Roper's account), but also adds a wonderful piece of theatre: More notices that Rich is now wearing a splendid new chain of office. Cromwell, rather taken aback (as much as Cromwell could ever be taken aback), confirms that Rich has recently been appointed Attorney General for Wales. More then simply observes: “For Wales? Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Wales!”
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Jul 2014, 15:42

Yet for all his sins Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, nevertheless still died peacefully in his bed at the then ripe age of 70 years, surrounded by his loving and wealthy family and with his dynasty secure for at least the next few generations.

Life ain't fair is it?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Jul 2014, 15:57

Life ain't fair is it?

Ah, but if you're a believer, then God will sort it all out later - and since a concept of fairness seems to be an inherent trait in small babies, we're back to Darwin again.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 18 Jul 2014, 08:09

July 18th 1969 - Senator Teddy Kennedy drives his Oldsmobile off Chappaquiddick Bridge. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowns. Kennedy's political career, while not fatally damaged, never quite recovered from the incident - as National Lampoon were quick to point out;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 18 Jul 2014, 09:43

George Francis Barnes aka Machine Gun Kelly is born on the 18th July 1900, and dies on the 18th July 1954;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_Gun_Kelly
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 18 Jul 2014, 12:47

July 18th 64CE - Nero, who was in Antium on the coast therefore wasn't in Rome when the great fire started that evening, allegedly in some small shops situated on the eastern side of the Circus Maximus. So he didn't play a fiddle (which didn't exist as an instrument yet), or even a lyre (though that was an instrument that existed and which Nero could actually play) while watching the conflagration, despite the best efforts of Suetonius, Cassius Dio and Tacitus to convince us otherwise (Tacitus produced two versions actually - one with Nero as villain and one as hero).



Nero actually set aside his own personal funds for the vast relief effort that he put in motion and supervised after six days of carnage had destroyed ten of Rome's residential districts. He opened his palace as temporary lodging space for the thousands now rendered homeless. Tacitus's passage in his Annals regarding Nero's scapegoating of Rome's Christians and his use of the fire as a pretext to persecute them has been questioned by some with regard to its authenticity. The majority however still regard it as sound, and the martyrdoms of St Peter and St Paul are traditionally dated to the fire's immediate aftermath.
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