Tag: English History

Seven Things I Love (5-24-2021): History Edition

  1. 1. This Patent Drawing – Which finally puts to rest the question over or under. I don’t mean to gloat but I KNEW IT and my Mamma never lead me astray.

From My Modern Met:

Over or under? This is the question that has plagued the Western world since the invention of modern toilet paper. It was in 1857 that New York-based inventor Joseph C. Gayetty developed the first packaged variety to be made widely available in the U.S. However, it wasn’t until 1871 that perforated rolls of toilet paper were invented. Seth Wheeler filed a patent for his innovative design for the first time that year, and he filed another for a refined version of his invention again in 1891.

The illustrated diagram from Wheeler’s 1891 patent sheds some light on how the toilet paper roll was originally intended to be used. According to the image, it appears that the dangling end was designed to hang over—rather than under—the roll. This may be a crippling blow to those who are of the persuasion that under is the way to go. Even so, if hanging your toilet paper roll under is wrong, they probably don’t want to be right.

Original Patent Drawing Puts an End to the Great “Over or Under” Toilet Paper Debate” by Arnesia Young; May 13, 2021; My Modern Met

2. These Videos about Women’s Clothing in History – They are all just too good. The first talks about how women’s clothing may actually have been created to help protect. The second gives the history of how standard sizes came to be and the motivations behind doing so (hint, it’s always money.) The third video is a fascinating history of why men traditionally wear pants and women traditionally wear skirts (or did they….)

And last but not least (and this is a a wee bit of a stretch but I’m including it) a video about the clothing in the show ‘The Nevers‘ – my current favorite television show, which can be seen on HBO Max. They’ve already aired the first half of season one (8 episodes) and will be airing the second half sometime in the fall I believe (another 8 episodes.) As the vlogger mentions, the show is extremely historically accurate with their costumes (and she should know, it is her area of expertise.) She takes the opportunity to bust the myth that clothing from that era was extremely restrictive. There have been anti-corset campaigns for some time. Certainly the extremely boned corsets that reshape the body are not/were not good, but for women of this era most weren’t wearing the tightly drawn or heavily boned corsets (like Scartlett O’Hara). Unless a woman was from a wealthy family she would have been quite active and probably wouldn’t have had the luxury of having a ladies maid.

3. This Article about the New Version of the Game ‘Oregon Trail’ – A fascinating essay where the author, who is a black historian, is in a battle between his longing for childhood nostalgia and truth-telling in history. Is there really any correct way to make a game about colonialization?

John Gast, “American Progress” (1872), oil on canvas, 12 3/4 inch x 16 3/4 inch
(image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, painting in possession of Autry Museum of the American West)

4. This Article on Book Curses – In medieval times, because books were handmade, written by scribes, and took a long time to make, they were rare and had great physical value. Most scribes and book owners did not have the financial means to protect their libraries with armed guards so instead they used words to fend off would-be thieves. Fortunately for them, most people believed in curses so it worked fairly well.

What I want to know is why don’t we use book curses today? They would look so nice on a bookplate. Even if most people don’t believe in curses anymore, at least it would remind them to keep their paws off of things that aren’t theirs.

I looked up some more and found one [here] that I am going to make into stickers so I can put it inside all my books:

Whoever steals this book
Will hang on a gallows in Paris,
And, if he isn’t hung, he’ll drown,
And, if he doesn’t drown, he’ll roast,
And, if he doesn’t roast, a worse end will befall him.

From a 15th century manuscript owned by Count Jean d’Orleans.
12th century Hell. Herrad von Landsberg/Public Domain.

5. These Articles about Coco Chanel and Her Nazi Connections – I’ve always been a huge fan of Coco Chanel so when I first read about this it made me extremely sad. The first article was from nearly a decade ago and appeared on MessyNessyChic. It was written about eight months after the book Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan was released. This was the first book to really include details about her involvement with the Nazis (not just that she was dating one) such as her code name, agent number, that she was included in nazi missions and worst of all, that she had taken advantage of her “Aryan rights” (meaning the seizing of Jewish-owned property and businesses.)

The second article was equally interesting. This one appeared on Forbes last year. The author is trying to determine if we can justify overlooking such a horrifying past in someone like Coco Chanel, whose left such a legacy. It’s an interesting question. I think this might be a good analogy – what if there was a building built by the nazis and after the war, all that remained was the foundation. So the French come and build a ground floor and the English build a 1st floor and the Norwegians build a 2nd floor (I’m doing the european counting of floors) and the Danish build a 3rd floor and so forth. And each floor is filled with beautiful things. But ultimately that base was built by nazis – should the entire thing be torn down and rebuilt? Should it be moved? I don’t think so.

BUT what I do think is that Chanel should stop avoiding Coco Chanel’s horrific history. I know that they think it can’t be good for PR but what they need to do is use it to help and get ahead of it. Just admit – we realize that our founder was a nazi sympathizer, possibly a nazi collaborator and our response is that we are appalled by the information as much as you are. Our founder was a talented woman and we cannot deny that Chanel wouldn’t exist without her genius but the nazi atrocities were unforgivable and that she was involved is a huge black stain on the origin of our company. They could put their money where their mouth is and contribute to a Holocaust organization.

My believe is that we should not be completely erasing bad history but instead we should be making it accurate and using it as a teaching opportunity.

6. This Article about How Women in the UK/Ireland Were Duped into Believing it was Bad to Drink Tea – Though it’s me who is saying that the women were actually duped. The article implies it but doesn’t come right out and say it. Neither does this one.

Here’s the situation – first and foremost, tea was considered expensive back then. So was sugar if you wanted to sweeten it (because milk and honey in tea just doesn’t work.) Right away men (husbands and fathers) were going to say that women shouldn’t be drinking something as expensive as tea.

Then there were the wealthy, who liked to feel that drinking tea was something the gentrified did, certainly not the poor.

And of course, there was concern that women who sat around drinking tea would have time to talk to one another and that could lead to anarchy.

Even without social media, the “powers that be” managed to get messages out that women shouldn’t be drinking tea – said it was “unhealthy”, it made you lazy, etc. And the worse part is that the poor, uneducated women were the ones that bought into the lies and helped spread it. Hmmmm, that sounds vaguely familiar.

c. 1900 The Glencar Tea House in County Leitrim

7. This ‘Self Portrait’ by Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston – I was thrilled when I finally found out who this photo was of and what it was about. I’ve loved it for years! Taken around 1896 by the photographer herself, it is supposed to represent the “new woman.”

Here’s a great article about the photo and the photographer from Smithsonian.

Frances Benjamin Johnston could be both ladylike and bohemian, which abetted her career as a photographer. (Library of Congress)

Word of the Day


Quote of the Day

Seven Things I Love ( 2-1-2021)

1. This Tap Dance Performance – no words necessary.

2. This Geode that Looks Like Cookie Monster – for some reason I can’t get this Instagram link to post so I’ll just put the link here. It includes an awesome video of the geode!

3. This New Movie on Netflix, The Dig – based on true events, this is exactly the kind of movie I love. When I finish watching a film and become obsessed with reading everything I can find about the event, looking up to see what was real and what was put in for dramatic effect, I know it was good.

And that most definitely happened with The Dig. One site I like to start with for historical movies is History vs. Hollywood. Not only do they review a bunch of questions about a film – did this really happen, was this true, etc., but they show photos side-by-side of the actors compared to the real-life people.

For example, here is one of the main characters, Mr. Basil Brown played by Ralph Fiennes. Mr. Brown would have been around 51 at the time the Sutton Hoo artifacts were discovered in 1939. Ralph Fiennes is currently 58 so he was probably 56 or 57 when this movie was filmed. Seems like they did a pretty good job here with the casting and of course Ralph Fiennes is an exemplary actor.

Here is another main character, Edith Pretty played by Carey Mulligan. Edith Pretty would have been around 56 when the Sutton Hoo artifacts were discovered. Carey Mulligan is currently 35 years old. Carey was excellent in the role but perhaps they should have considered an older actress? I don’t know why they always do this.

Another person I really liked (perhaps because I love the actress who played her) was Peggy Piggott played by Lily James. Mrs. Piggott was actually only 27 when she worked on the Sutton Hoo excavation. She went on to become a renowned archaeologist and prehistorian under the name Margaret Guido (her second husband’s last name.) She had quite the life. I think I’ll be reading more about her. Unfortunately the only photo the website found (below) is clearly not from when she was in her 20s or even her 30s or 40s for that matter. Not ideal for comparison.

Here’s a painting I found of her that is more around the age she would have been in the film:

Griffith, Frank; Mrs Margaret ‘Peggy’ Guido (Mrs Cecily Margaret Piggott); Wiltshire Museum

And here is a photo I managed to dig up that was included in a slide presentation. I had to do a screenshot to get a copy of it. I’m guessing the person who runs the History vs. Hollywood site didn’t want to do that. Plus, she’s not looking at the camera, but I think it would have been a little better for comparison than a photo of a woman who is probably in her 60s or maybe even her 70s.

One last thing, here is some wonderful information from the British Museum on the artifacts, with photos:

https://blog.britishmuseum.org/eighty-years-and-more-of-sutton-hoo/

4. This Incredible Herman Miller and Michael Ford collaboration – the iconic Charles & Ray Eames lounge chair, always one of my favorites, taken to a whole new level. Part of a new series called “Conversations for Change,” Ford intends on inserting more activism into the design world, something this is much needed.

“In his first piece of furniture, Michael Ford has remixed the popular Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman (ELO) introduced in 1956 by husband and wife, Charles and Ray Eames as a “special refuge from the strains of modern living” with handwritten names of victims of racism in the US as a stark reminder that these Black men, women, and children were not afforded the privilege of refuge – those who died at the hands of racial actions.”

Individuals who wish to have the chair can make donations and those who make donations over $1000 have an opportunity to be awarded the ELO (or Eames Lounge & Ottoman.) There is only one.

Here’s the really cool part – “Donations from the campaign will fund The Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County and The Hip Hop Architecture Camp both located in The State of Wisconsin. The two organizations will also create a national #TAKEASTAND grant to support organizations taking a stand against social injustices.”

5. This New Version of the Song “Popular” from the Musical “Wicked” – who doesn’t love Kristin Chenoweth? And damn, that woman isn’t aging! [Warning, this song is going to stick in your brain for days.]

6. This Article on the History of Women on Wall Street – the astonishing and frankly appalling efforts by men to keep women from trading on the stock market and the determined and resourceful women who succeeded nevertheless.

7. This Poem called “Earthrise” by Amanda Gorman – from 2018. Because we much protect the earth for future generations like hers.


[BONUS] This Guide to Determine Which GOP Conspiracy You Are….
Mine: Anderson Cooper can shapeshifter into a food stamp on a socialist dare!

Word of the Day


Quote of the Day

Happy birthday Langston Hughes – February 1, 1901


Have a FANTASTIC Week!

Ten* Things I Love (7-20-2020)

1. If We Treated Teachers Like Pro Athletes – Key & Peele – this is from a few years ago but SOOOOOO relevant right now.

2. This Ingenious Hummingbird – Paraguayan Conservationist Bianca Caroline Soares snapped this photo back in September of 2019. She had been observing hummingbird nests for over a year but when she saw this one she knew it was something unique and special.

“The hummingbird went on to have two chicks, and Soares was able to capture the trio under one roof—literally. The flexible nest expanded to fit the new additions and the leaf was able to cover them all.”

From ‘Clever Hummingbird Builds a Nest Complete With a Giant Leaf Roof‘ by Sara Barnes, My Modern Met, July 14, 2020

3. This Tutorial by Telenovela star Kate del Castillo on How to be an Action Star – She is HILAROUS! I had tears in my eyes. I am planning on subscribing to Peacock TV I’m just waiting for my smartTV to get an app.

4. These three incredibly talented beauties – Norah, Yarah & Rosa known as Let it Happen (thanks to my friend Jeta for originally sharing this video). Just wow.

5. Hear Ye, Hear YeThe Queen has her own Gin. There is pretty much nothing more perfect (and British) than this. Sadly it has already sold out. It is/was only available in the UK but I was hoping to get a bottle when I went over next year. Sigh.

The Queen is famous (infamous?) for having the same four cocktails every day.

From Vanity Fair (and Food & Wine):

And Food and Wine uncovered another detail about the Queen’s daily intake: the 91-year-old reportedly consumes four cocktails a day. And why shouldn’t she!? Let’s run through what they are:

Her first drink, per former royal chef Darren McGrady, enjoyed shortly before lunch, is a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon and a “lot of ice.” Sure, this sounds about right. A classy and posh and powerful concoction.

Then, during lunch, she’ll have a piece of chocolate and a glass of wine at meal’s end. (That we have been eating lunch all these years without closing with a piece of chocolate and glass of wine now makes us feel utterly foolish.)

O.K., then, also at lunch, the Queen drinks a dry gin martini, according to her cousin Margaret Rhodes. So, yes, we are now at three drinks by roughly 1 p.m.

Her final drink of the day? It actually doesn’t come until she’s going to sleep: a glass of Champagne before bed.

6. Quarantine Public Library – this delightful little site currently houses over 40 one-page pdfs that you can download and fold into little “books.” They are really more like works of art. I made a donation of $30 and donated the mega-pack of the entire collection in one zipped file. If you donate $10 you can print out your own library card and there is also a general $5 donation level. Funds collected from the Quarantine Library are being directed to EveryoneON, which is a non-profit that connects low-income families to affordable internet service and computers. That is a non-profit I can absolutely support!

7. Urzila (pronounced Ursila like ….) Carlson – this South African comedian who does “not identify as fat” is my new favorite funny person. Her show on Netflix called ‘Overqualified Loser‘ is a hoot. Some might say she overshares, but then, isn’t oversharing really a subjective thing? For myself, I’ve always felt that society needs to stop being so freaking uptight and talk more about stuff. If we didn’t try to hide things that are part of life like menopause and mensuration and puberty and various stages of aging we’d all be more informed, less ashamed, and people that needed might need help would get it.

Anyhoo, back to Urzila, come on, how could a menopausal broad not adore a female comedian who is a lesbian, has a South African accent, and who does not identify as fat? Pinch me!

8. This video of Billy Joel playing a discarded piano – no words necessary.

9. Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Cream – I have been using this for years. In fact, a while back one of my staff told me that my office smelled like this cream and it always reminded her of me. Which made me happy. It’s a nice scent. When I went to look for a link for this I started to panic because as I typed “Crabtree & Evelyn” into Google up popped “Crabtree & Evelyn closing down” – EEK! It appears that the retailer hasn’t survived the online sales surge so it did shut down its brick & mortar stores. So sad. But it relaunched in the middle of last year as online only and so this product is still available. Though sadly it has been repackaged and is not available in the larger size that has a pump. Still, I may need to stock up just in case.

10. Henry Cavill building a Gaming PC – seriously there is nothing hotter than a guy working on electronics. Is anyone else watching ‘The Witcher?’ I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing him in the new ‘Enola Holmes‘ movie!

*This week there was just too many things so I upped it to TEN things but this is not going to be a standing thing (I don’t think.)

Have a LOVELY week!