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Everything posted by Childress

  1. Yep, a world war in fact. A litany of follies: http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/french-indian-war/ten-facts-about-george-washington-and-the-french-indian-war/ Responding to the defiant French, Lt. Governor Dinwiddie ordered the newly promoted Lt. Col. George Washington and approximately 160 Virginia militia to return to the Ohio country in March of 1754. Dinwiddie wanted Washington to "act on the defensive," but also clearly empowered Washington to "make Prisoners of or kill & destroy…" all those who resisted British control of the region. The rocky bluffs at Jumonville Glen (Rob Shenk) Eager to send their own diplomatic directive demanding an English withdrawal from the region, a French force of 35 soldiers commanded by Ensign Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville camped in a rocky ravine not far from Washington's encampment at the Great Meadows (now in Fayette County, Pennsylvania). Accompanied by Tanacharison, a Seneca chief (also known as the Half-King) and 12 native warriors, Washington led a party of 40 militiamen on an all night march towards the French position. On May 28, 1754, Washington's party stealthily approached the French camp at dawn. Finally spotted at close range by the French, shots rang out and a vigorous firefight erupted in the wooded wilderness. Washington's forces quickly overwhelmed the surprised French force and killed 13 soldiers and captured another 21. Washington later wrote of his first military engagement with a certain amount of martial enthusiasm. "I fortunately escaped without any wound, for the right wing, where I stood, was exposed to and received all the enemy's fire, and it was the part where the man was killed, and the rest wounded. I heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me there is something charming in the sound." Both sides claimed that the other fired first, but what neither side disputed was that this event deep in the American wilderness helped spark a war that would ultimately spread to places as far away as Europe, Africa, and India.
  2. The recreation of the Carnutum amphitheater depicts a pair of gladiators with a referee. Also, check out a novel that features that city: Household Gods by Harry Turtledove. Highly recommended and exceedingly well researched. 'Nicole Gunther-Perrin is a modern young professional, proud of her legal skills but weary of the daily grind, of childcare, and of sexist coworkers and her deadbeat ex-husband. Then after one exceptionally awful day, she awakens to find herself in a different life, that of a widowed tavernkeeper on the Roman frontier around A.D. 170.Delighted at first, she quickly begins to realize that her new world is as complicated as her old one. Violence, dirt, and pain are everywhere; slavery is commonplace, gladiators kill for sport, and drunkenness is taken for granted. Yet, somehow, people manage to face life everyday with humor and goodwill.No quitter, Nicole manages to adapt, despite endless worry about the fate of her children "back" in the twentieth century. Then plague sweeps through Carnuntum, followed by brutal war. Amidst pain and loss on a level she had never imagined, Nicole must find reserved of the sort of strength she had never known.' https://www.amazon.com/Household-Gods-Judith-Tarr/dp/0812564669
  3. Washington was no Napoleon. But the latter ended up on a tiny island surrounded by bickering courtiers. Washington founded a nation. His strengths were high intelligence and shrewd insight into human nature. He proved himself the master of the political chessboard if not the military one.
  4. Joel Kotkin, a self-described liberal, on CA's housing crunch: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/housing-698100-california-prices.html 'Much of the blame here can be ascribed to California’s convoluted, and highly ideologically driven, planning system.... Hit hardest of all will be the working-class renters. Los Angeles rents are already, relative to incomes, among the highest in the country. Orange County and even the Inland Empire are not far behind. In the Bay Area, rental inflation is moving steadily from San Francisco to once-affordable markets like Oakland, which is now the fourth most-expensive rental market in the country. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, roughly 40 percent of renters spend at least 40 percent of their incomes on rent; the national average is 30 percent. The same regulation-driven inflation that benefits an older, primarily Caucasian owner class is proving a disaster for heavily minority working- and middle-class families. '
  5. Washington kept his bedraggled army together against daunting odds. He showed tenacity and fortitude. He started the War with virtually no established logistics, officer corps, or standardized training. And once victory achieved, he resigned his commission and returned to his farm like Cincinnatus. But, as a commander, Washington's essential value lies in the mythological realm a matter he cultivated like a modern press agent. He grew prickly when his strategic and tactical decisions were questioned, something that happened often during his lifetime. This includes Lafayette who idolized him.Controversy over Washington's military record:http://boards.straightdope.com...He fought fourteen battles and won four. He failed to grasp the strategic importance of Yorktown until the last moment, he had to be pushed into action. Yet he took credit for the success of the campaign. Amid the squalor and deprivation of his troops, he lived like a prince. Read Chernow or Ferling on the subject. However, both biographers consider Washington a great-souled leader, the Essential Man. Debate.
  6. One can't compare California, an enormous state, to pricey and selective enclaves. Of course, NYC and SanFran are more expensive. Northern CA is more affordable- outside SF and Silicon Valley The author averaged the numbers. In LA County, you buy a modest 2000sq ft, 3 bdr house and you end up taking out a 4.5%, $900,000, 30 yr mortgage on this property. That's another $4500 a month. A stiff challenge for one with a middle-class income. Like my delivery man neighbor, he has no life. He bought 10yrs ago. Not applicable to your situation, of course. You can get lucky. A good friend bought a house in Marina del Rey a few years ago. Google moved into Playa del Rey- next door. Jackpot.
  7. One realistic detail in the Spartacus series was the depiction of board and dice games which the Romans adored. Spartacus sits down to play Latrunculi, a war game with chess aspects, against his Lanista (he wins). There's also a scene in which the actors engage in Tabula that with small alterations became our backgammon. The Emperor Claudius had a board affixed to his carriage and wrote a book on the game, now lost. Impromptu Tabula boards can be found engraved in stone among the ruins of Pompeii. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludus_latrunculorum
  8. You're a purist, John. I like that about you. A counsel: it's best you avoid the TV series, Spartacus: War of the Damned from Starz. And what's the bull doing lurking behind the boxers in the above image? An ancient threesome?
  9. Great link from a great Ancient site, John. Quote: The terrible symmetry of gladiatorial combat can best be appreciated in this pairing. The strategy was for the secutor to attack his opponent, using the shield for protection. The retiarius, on the other hand, tried to keep his distance so he could swing his net and use the trident effectively, thrusting at both the head and legs of his pursuer. Unless the secutor could strike quickly, there was a danger of exhaustion from the heavier armor and, more importantly, the helmet's constriction on breathing. If the retiarius, on the other hand, could entangle the secutor or manage to close with his adversary, there was the chance to use the dagger, which can be seen in his left hand. Prizefighting attracted huge audiences in Rome as well. Curiously, weight categories were unknown. Participants fought in the nude and wore the caestus, a type of leather hand-wrap.
  10. There are certainly too many people in CA. The freeways have become 24hr parking lots. One theory posits that the vast ( and I mean VAST) influx of immigrants* over the past few decades have pushed up housing and rental costs even though these groups tend to begin at the low end. In your case, the Northwest and Vancouver, I'm told this is driven, top-down style, by entrepreneurial Chinese nationals. Or it may be a case of Tulip Mania: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania As the graph illustrates, rents are 3.5 times the national average. In LA it's closer to 6 times. You see kids pushing 30 living with their parents out of financial necessity and apartments stuffed with multiple over-the-border families. Housing costs consume their lives. Buyers who purchased homes in the 80s reaped extravagant appreciation. Those who bought over the past 10-15 years have seen similar gains at the expense of becoming mortgage slaves. Will this continue? A bubble? *I married one, full disclosure.
  11. Very odd. The rather shocking graph can be found in the supplied link. Here's the text: With a small 2 bedroom house starting at $650,000, and a sub $500,000 house entirely nonexistent, housing is ridiculously out of control. People are taking out million dollar mortgages for houses that will inevitably fall in price, because what goes up must come down. They naively believe that the prices will continue to climb, and ignore the massive debt burden they are taking on, in a market that could make them lose their job any day and be stuck with a million dollar foreclosure and a total loss of an amount of money that could have fully paid off a house in another area. California had more foreclosure filings that any other U.S. state in 2010. The 546,669 total foreclosure filings during the year means that over 4 percent of all the housing units in the state of California received a foreclosure filing at some point during 2010. Renting is no better, with apartments in nice areas starting at $2,500 per month for a small 2 bedroom apartment (a large one starts at $2800), and $1,800 as the lowest for less nice areas, the renting prices are just silly absurd. And let's not forget that every single year the rent goes up $100 to $200. In a few years a 2 bedroom apartment will cost over $3,000 per month. That's just stupidly ridiculous! Add to that some of the highest electricity costs in the country, and even renting is unaffordable for most people who have below an upper-class income.
  12. I see.... Copy/paste not working. Damn, It's at the bottom of this page: http://thetechreader.com/top-ten/top-ten-reasons-why-california-is-no-longer-the-place-to-be-or-move-to/ EDIT: now it's showing.
  13. Re: the referee: very true, and never depicted in gladiator films. The chariot races in Circus Maximus were also strictly monitored to the point of imposing constant restarts, exasperating the 100,000 plus spectators. The fighter on the left appears to be a Retarius. Who's on the right? Though little remains, the Circus still ranks as the largest sports venue ever constructed. It seated 250,000 spectators. The Rolling Stones gave a concert there in 2014.
  14. I favor the 4-part PBS documentary from 2000 narrated by David McCullough. It opens with the coronation in Notre Dame. The vivat in aeternum chorus carries one's soul to the heavens. Turn up your speakers. I posted the entry on N's height to Facebook. A friend took issue with the conclusion: ' I've been to Napoleon's tomb several times. There is an exhibit there that displays his coat and it look like it belongs on a child rather than a man. I'm leaning towards him being closer to 5'2". '
  15. Napoleon's proposed height compared to contemporary leaders. Interestingly his wife, Josephine, was described by contemporaries as being 'monstrously tall'. She towered over the Emperor. Stalin was said to have been 5'4. During Kremlin rallies, the Vozhd stood on a pedestal hidden behind the podium.
  16. Right again, JK. That's how Crassus got as rich as, well, Crassus. Many years later Augustus turned the brigades into a more professional outfit.
  17. There's an existing controversy over Napoleon's height. Was he really only 5'2 as contemporaries- notably the English- asserted? That makes him a midget even for the era. It appears that that the use of the 'French pouce' was to blame. The "French inch" used during Napoleon's time differed from the English inch, making Napoleon average or even slightly above average for his time, actually 5'6. Generally, members of the aristocracy were taller given, one assumes, better nutrition. His marshalls tended to be well-born and they perceived him as short. To settle the debate we'd need to drag Napoleon out of his tomb in the Invalides and measure. During the interment in Paris, onlookers were stunned by the pristine condition of the corpse. A few historians claim that this was due to the Emperor's alleged poisoning by arsenic, a known preservative, on St Helena. But that theory is losing ground. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070117-napoleon.html
  18. Actually, I mistyped. 500K was the asking bid. Christie's article: What does Napoleon's hat tell us about branding. http://www.christies.com/features/What-Napoleons-hat-tells-us-about-the-power-of-branding-6280-3.aspx
  19. The cult of the Leader: Ceausescu in Romania, Fidel Castro in Cuba, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, the three generations - Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un in North Korea, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and the list goes on and on. In the crucial matter of marketing and branding, dictators compete,borrowing imagery: Every leader, demagogue or tyrant must be proficient at selling himself, cut through the noise and package his product. Hitler and the Nazis proved themselves marketing geniuses, beginning with the Swastika, a potent symbol. The Communists under Stalin surpassed their matchless pageantry in size, but not in style.
  20. On 19-27 July 64, Rome was destroyed by a great fire: only four of its fourteen quarters remained intact. Untold thousands perished. Nero was held responsible by the Roman populace, a charge that was given substance by the emperor's subsequent urban renewal project that included the construction of his Domus Aurea- the Golden House (partially excavated). The vast palaceThis included lush artificial landscapes and a 30-meter-tall statue of himself . Suetonius and Cassius Dio claimed that the emperor played the lyre and sang in stage costume while the city burned. Nero, in turn, deflected the blame on the Christians, a proselytizing but tiny sect. The Roman historian Tacitus, who places Nero in Antium during the conflagration, was the first ancient author to mention Christ. He explains what happened: 'But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the fire was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called "Chrestians" by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.' Modern historians refrain from inculpating Nero or the Christians. Given Rome's crowded narrow streets and rudimentary fire brigades, it was a disaster waiting to happen.
  21. Christie's London has recently offered one of Napoleon's bicorne hats (above). Price: 500,000 pounds. It's said that Napoleon normally bought 4 dark green, velvet hats a year from Poupart & Cie, Paris. He detested hats off the production line assigning valets the task of breaking them in. The inner dimensions suggest that despite his short stature the Emperor had an unusually large head. The convention of the time was to wear these hats with their corners pointed forward and back, a la the Duke of Wellington. Napoleon wore his sideways allegedly to render his figure instantly identifiable on the battlefield, that style being forbidden to subalterns. Or was it a precocious example of clever branding similar to Churchill's cigar or Hitler's toothbrush mustache?
  22. A contemporary update to Emerson's remark: 'Those who engage in virtue signaling often lack genuine virtue.'
  23. Here's a favorite: 'The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.' -Ralph Waldo Emerson Emerson adapted this all-too-true homily from Samuel Johnson. What Dr. Johnson said to Boswell was, "If he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons." Emerson's version is actually more incisive, if not profound in its implications.
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