Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Founding Fathers History Pickup Lines (in 2012)

Try your luck, ladies and gentlemen! Warning for some language.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nothing like a skullful of ocean brine!

Ah, spring is here! For those who wish to celebrate in a slightly more unusual way, take these tips from Theophile Gautier:

 "It is true that we did not possess Newstead Abbey, with its long, shadowy cloisters, its swans gliding about on the silvery waters in the light of the moon, nor the lovely young sinners,fair, dark, or red-haired, but we could certainly secure a skull, and Gerard de Nerval undertook to do so, his father, a retired army surgeon, having quite a fine anatomical collection.

 The skull itself was that of a drum-major, killed at the battle of the Moskowa, and not that of a girl who had died of consumption, so Gerard told us. He further informed us that he had mounted it as a cup by means of a drawer handle fastened by a nut and screw-bolt. The skull was filled with wine, and handed round, each man putting it to his lips with more or less well-concealed repugnance.

"Waiter," cried one of the neophytes, endowed with excessive zeal, "fetch us brine from the ocean!"

 "What for, my boy?" asked Jules Vabre.

"Is it not told of Han d'Islande [in Victor Hugo's gothic novel] that 'he drank the briny waters in the skulls of the dead '? Well, I mean to do as he did, and to drink his health. Nothing can be more Romanticist!" "

 Or more unsanitary.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do Invaded Countries Often Feel Inclined to Provide Food?

Napoleon I has arguably one of the largest influences on modern France than any other historical figure (and will once the Napoleon theme park gets running. I, for one, want to go on the Russian Campaign Ski Slope). As it turns out, he was also responsible for the invention of canned goods. Unsurprisingly, the Emperor wished to better feed his army "when an invaded country was not able or inclined to sell or provide food" and set up a cash prize for it. The confectioner Nicolas Fran├žois Appert invented a process to preserve food by heating, boiling and sealing it in glass jars, a process which (with some modifications) is still in use today. This was also very useful for (here we come full circle) the Russian Campaign, where the Russian winter obviously did not provide much food. However, canned food did nothing against Russia's snows, storms and low temperatures, giving us all the frozen corpses of men and horses set to decorate the Russian Campaign Ski Slope.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Catsterpiece Classics Presents - Downton Tabby

The Amateur Historian realizes that this is a little out of this blog's time period, but allow the cat pun titles of nineteenth century novels at the end to be my justification.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Horrible Histories Newgate Prision

Oh capitalism! The amateur Historian feels the urge to quote from Cabaret. "Money makes the world go round, the world go round...."