In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: history Page 1 of 6

A strange four months

I’ve been so quiet. It’s partly because my mother has been having some health challenges lately. It’s mostly because the last four months have been just so off-the-wall. First the most serious pandemic in a century and then in the middle of that, all off the black lives matter demonstrations triggered (this time) by the police murder of George Floyd. It’s been amazing and wonderful to see the demonstrations in the US spread all around the world.

My problem is that I have so little to add to this movement beyond my absolute support. Indeed, I’ve done a lot of learning and I will continue to learn.

I can do more in regards to the pandemic. I’ve stayed home and gone out only minimally. As things have opened up I’ve got to Julie’s more but that’s pretty much about it. Restaurants opened Friday but I have no interest in going out to eat at this point. Why risk it? I’ll continue to call ahead and pick up my order, thank you! It just seems too early for things to be getting that much back to normal.

Look at the situation in the southern US. They’re well on their way to having everything open again and are getting slammed with the highest infection numbers since the pandemic started. Florida alone has 8 530 new cases today, while all of Canada claims 178 new cases. I understand wanting to get out, but if we open up too early, these months of self-quarantine will have been for nothing.

It’s not the widespread death of the 1918 influenza pandemic, but people are dying in numbers far higher than necessary through neglect or thinking they’re somehow immune, and that’s tragic.

As of today, the worldwide death toll is 504 078.

Don’t cheat the Empress!

I’m almost finished reading Robert B. Abrams’ The Colosseum: A History, which is a pretty good book, especially since I managed to purchase the Kindle edition for $1.99. In it I came upon this gem of a story that I had never heard before:

The third-century emperor Gallienus, upon learning that a jeweler had sold the empress counterfeit jewels, punished the man by ordering him thrown to the lions. The terrified charlatan was led into the arena, where a cage was wheeled up next to him. But when the cage door was opened, a capon strutted out. The crowd roared with laughter. The emperor’s herald proclaimed that the trickster had been tricked. Then the benevolent Gallienus let him go.

That jeweler got off easy. Cheating people is bad enough, but who cheats the emperor’s wife? Not smart.

More top hat!

To further my earlier post about the top hat, I discovered this 1899 Huddersfield Chronicle reprint of a 1797 report of the incident:

Image © The British Library Board. Courtesy of The British Newspaper Blog.

Victoria’s Cover

PBS’s Masterpiece is airing Victoria in the US. I haven’t started watching it yet but Julie has recorded the first of the eight parts and we are going to watch it together.

I was on Amazon today and I couldn’t help but notice what is certainly one of the most beautiful cover photos I’ve seen in a very long time.

See what I mean?

I was delighted to read that season two is already in pre-production.


The cover image is likely ©ITV.

The top hat!

Lord Liverpool climbed out of his carriage at Kensington Palace on June 15, 1837, under blue summer skies. He was wearing a grey suit and a top hat — the top hat was now considered the mark of a gentleman, even though the first man to sport one in public, forty years earlier, was arrested on the grounds that it had “a shiny lustre calculated to alarm timid people.” (Four women had fainted upon seeing it, and pedestrians had booed.)

Julia Baird, Victoria: The Queen, 2016

Can you imagine? Woman fainting and the wearer being arrested!

Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén