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Monthly Archives: September 2014

If World War I were a Bar Fight

I don’t know who came up with this originally, but it’s brilliant! I made several additions here and there, but otherwise it’s someone else’s work – if anyone knows who originally came up with this analogy, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due!

If World War I were a Bar Fight

funny-If World War One Were a Bar Fight

Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a pub when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria’s pint.

Austria demands Serbia buy it a whole new suit because of the new beer stains on its trouser leg.

Germany expresses its support of Austria’s point of view.

Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.

Serbia points out that it can’t afford a whole new suit, but offers to pay for the cleaning of Austria’s trousers.

Russia and Serbia look at Austria.

Austria asks Serbia who they’re looking at.

Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone.

Austria inquires as to whose army will help Russia make them do so.

Germany appeals to Britain that France has been eyeing Britain, and that it’s unwise for Britain not to intervene.

Britain replies that France can look at whoever it wants to, and that Britain has been watching Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it?

Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action anymore.

Britain and France ask Germany whether it’s looking at Belgium.

Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper.  When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone.

Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium and Luxembourg, who had been minding their own business at the end of the bar.

France and Britain punch Germany; Austria punches Bosnia and Herzegovina (which Russia and Serbia took personally); Germany punches Britain and France with one fist and Russia with the other.

Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over.

Japan calls from the other side of the room that it’s on Britain’s side, but stays there.

Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.

Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back.  There are no hard feelings because Britain made Australia do it.

France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting.  Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change.

Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway.  Italy raises both fists in the air and runs around the room chanting.

America waits until Germany is about to fall over from sustained punching from Britain and France, then walks over and smashes it with a bar stool and pretends it won the fight all by itself.

By now all the chairs are broken and the big mirror over the bar is shattered.  Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany’s fault.  While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.

Everyone went home, leaving Germany to pout on the floor planning on how to get even.

The Bloody Battle of Towton

Towton Battle Skull

A Towton Battle victim, with multiple head wounds. Credit: Bradford University

Towton BattleImagine a battle so vicious that opposing sides agreed to a time-out to drag bodies out of the way to better facilitate killing each other.  Not just killing, but slaughtering, butchering; some of the skeletons found at the battlefield of Towton, England, have as many as 20 injuries to the skulls.  Some skulls have been sliced in half, or pierced with a square spearhead, or both; noses chopped off, eyes gouged out, ears removed.  The battle occurred on 29 March 1461, and within 12 hours, from dawn to dusk, 28,000 men would lose their lives in brutal deaths, hacked to death and beyond.  That’s an average of 2,333 an hour.  The figure of 28,000 is disputed, however; though it appeared in letters from Edward VI and the Bishop of Salisbury, other contemporary sources gave the figures ranging between 30,000 to 38,000, while the 16th century chronicler Edward Hall gave the exact figure of 36,776.  Why was it so vicious?  It was a decisive battle in the War of the Roses (1455–1487), between the opposing forces of the Lancastrians and the Yorkists; it was north against south; the Lancastrians were the strong arm of King Henry VI, and the Yorkists, that of 18-year-old Edward IV, who would go on to win the battle and claim the English throne.  At the time of the battle, the War of Roses had been going on for six years, and nerves were raw – they just wanted it to end.  Little did they know that it would continue for another 26 years… in other words, two generations (reckoning in shorter life spans) of young men would rise and fall in the War of Roses, and the Battle of Towton was one of the largest, if not the largest, battle fought on English soil.

Sources:  BBC; Wikipedia; University of York.

The Widow’s Man

18centuryship-16-wiki-19011Back before the days of pension funds, insurance and the like, a man who went to sea left behind a family relying on his income and his return to survive.  If he were killed or died, the widow was left with no source of income, vulnerable, and likely to end in poverty; I can imagine that their children may have often ended in workhouses, or on the streets begging or stealing for food if the father had been a common sailor with no pecuniary connection to ensure the survival of his bereft family.  To counter this problem, the royal navy kept a man on their payroll, called the “widow’s man”, whose income would be sent to the widow directly.  There could be several in any given ship’s complement, proportional to the ship’s size.  As you can imagine, this gave a greater incentive for men to join the Royal Navy as opposed to another maritime employer such as the Merchant Navy, but this accounting tactic led to several problems, not the least of which was to know how many hands on deck were actually alive when, for instance, a ship sank – or in other words, how many were alive before they died…

The history of pensions in the UK is an interesting topic; if you’d like to learn more, click here, with a section on the Royal Navy here.

On Fluid History

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“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”

Mark Twain

Mark Twain 2

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