Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gratin Dauphinois

Tonight on my French food menu, is Gratin Dauphinois. I have no idea how to pronounce this, so I shortened it to G-Dauph. But that reminded me of Gandalf. So, it's Gandalf now. 

Gratin Dauphinois is the Frenchified version of scalloped potatoes that can be traced back to peasant households. No cheese (what!) in this dish though, as cheese was practically a form of currency in the 17th century in many regions in France. This hot commodity was too expensive to cook with.  Therefore I'm glad I am not a part of that life. Give me cheese, or give me death.

French farmers would milk their cows in two rounds. Round 1: rich, creamy cream. Round 2: milk.  The cream was experimented with, resulting in awesome things like Gratin Dauphinois which got its name from originating in the Dauphiné region of France. The ingredients are simple: potatoes, cream, butter, garlic, and some salt and pepper. 

A gratin originally referred to the crust left behind in a pan after baking, which was scraped off and eaten as a bonus by the chef. It is now known as a dish that has some crusty anything on it. Normally century-old recipes are bland with their lack of ingredients, but these were, 'don't talk to me I'm eating so shut up while I focus on nothing except how amazing these are, I said shut up' good.

I got the recipe here

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hadrian's Wall and the Rebucket List Est.

Part 3 of my Roman Empire occupation of Britain storiez, but they are so good I CAN'T STOP.  And I drove right over this wall a few years ago on my way to Scotland and didn't even know it. My bucket list trip to Europe is going on the rebucket list, because I need to see all that I did not see. 

Emperor Hadrian began construction of a 73 mile long defensive wall across England in 122 A.D.  This heavily fortified border had various gates which allowed trade and taxation to pass thru.

The possible reasons for the wall are vast. A likely explanation is that it prevented immigration and smuggling, and allowed collection of customs dues. Another reason is that it could have been constructed wholly to show Rome's big balls, and was used as a political point by Hadrian. Hadrian's biographer wrote that the wall was built to separate the Romans from the unconquered "barbarians" of the north, ultimately keeping Roman control of Britain intact.  

There is debate as to whether the wall was necessary at all, if the northern inhabitants of Britain posed a big enough threat to build this enormous wall while constantly manning it.

The wall varied in dimensions, ranging from 9.7 ft to 20 ft wide, and 11.5 - 20 ft tall. The wall was largely constructed out of local limestone within six years and once completed, it is thought that it had been covered in plaster and then white-washed. So put your sunnies on because the surface reflected sunlight and was visible for miles around. 

Within a few years of construction, it was decided to add a total of 14 to 17 full-sized forts along the length of the wall, each holding 500 to 1,000 auxiliary troops. The total number of soldiers manning the early wall was probably greater than 10,000.

After Hadrian's death in 138 A.D., the new emperor, Antoninus Pius, abandoned the wall as he focused on building his own, Antonine Wall, located 99 miles north. This wall had significantly more forts but was unable to subdue the northern tribes. So when Marcus Aurelius became emperor, he abandoned Antonine Wall and built Aurelius Wall reoccupied Hadrian's as the main defensive barrier in 164 A.D. The wall would remain occupied by Roman troops until their withdrawal from Britain in 410 A.D. 

Over time, the wall was abandoned and fell into ruin. The stone was reused in local buildings and roads. It remains a popular tourist attraction in Northern England largely due to its rescue by John Clayton. He became enthusiastic about the wall and to prevent farmers from taking stones, began buying some of the land on which the wall stood in the 1800's. After Clayton's death, the land was passed to his relatives and was soon lost to gambling. Luckily, the National Trust acquired the land.

The wall can be followed on foot or bicycle AND if you want to visit, you can do so freely. It remains unguarded, allowing those who visit to go right up to the wall, and stand on it you so freely desire.

Other famous walls in the world:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Boudica the Boudiful

I am currently, ambitiously, slooooowly reading a history of the Roman invasion of Britain in The Story of Britain by Rebecca Fraser. Yesterday, it was Caratacus, who avenged his land, got caught, asked to be freed, was freed, end of story. But today is about Queen Boudica.

Queen Boudica was the wife of Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni tribe. In Prasutagus' will, he wanted his land to be left jointly to his two daughters and the Roman Emperor. Following his death, the empire ignored his wishes and the Queen was flogged and his daughters were raped.

Boudica was pissed and led the Icenis and neighboring tribes on a roaring rampage of revenge in 60 A.D. They destroyed three cities, including Londinium (London) and killed supposedly 70-80,000 people.


She was finally defeated at the Battle of Watling Street due to poor planning and an ineffective use of the land. Her rampage was enough for Emperor Nero to debate on whether to withdraw Roman forces from Britain entirely. Unfortunately, her loss ended up marking the end of resistance to Roman rule in the southern half of the island until 410 A.D.

Queen Boudica and her daughters, wanting to avoid their inevitable fate, drank poison rather than be captured.

Friday, January 25, 2013


How come I've never heard of this dude? And why isn't this a movie? Caratacus was a dangerous British chieftain during the Roman occupation of Britain whose reign lasted approximately 43-50 A.D.  Most Britons had to succumb to Roman occupancy, but not this guy. He refused to be driven off his land. 

Caratacus' tribe was the Catuvellauni, who resided on the border of Wales, whose reputation was known as far away as Italy. They were ferocious, and ballsy enough to defy Rome. 

Caratacus used guerrilla warfare against his enemies, as he moved his men from territory to territory for almost ten years, avoiding the Romans. By demonstrating the importance of liberty to the British character, he won the admiration of the Roman Empire. Caratacus would motivate his men by telling them there was no point in living if all they had to look forward to was a miserable existence spent in hiding. This sounds familiar.

Unfortunately, he stood little chance against the Roman's superior battle tactics. As soon as the physical battle started it was pretty much over. Caratacus's remaining men ran for the hills and he ran to northern England to find protection under Queen Cartimandua's tribe. Well she said, "I don't think so you little rebel," and Caratacus was imprisoned and sent to Rome to deal with Emperor Claudius.

While in Rome, during a procession past the emperor (most likely dead-man walking), he stepped out of line to address the Emperor directly. He told him that only fate had given victory to the emperor and not to him. If he had surrendered without a blow neither he nor his capture would have become famous. He said, "If you kill me they will be forgotten, but show mercy and I shall be an eternal reminder to your clemency." The emperor was moved, and set him free. Way to puss out, CARATACUS. No more martyr status for you. Maybe that's why this isn't a movie. You could have had eternal glory in British history but instead you cried your way out of it, CARATACUS. That's why Gerard Butler played Leonidas and not you, CARATACUS.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Weird Stuff From Across the Pond is A'Happenin

Recent storms on Britain's east coast have resulted in four large pieces of lard from World War II washing ashore on St. Cyrus beach in Scotland. The lard is believed to have escaped from the wreck of a merchant vessel that was bombed in WWII that rests at the bottom of the North Sea. She must be working out to shed all that fat (elbow, elbow).  No? ok..

Local, Agnus McHardy, recalls WWII lard washing up on shore from ships in the early 1940's and again in the late 60's or early 70's on the same beach. People would collect it, including his grandma, boil the sand out of it and use it, as lard was not available during the war. Scottish Natural Heritage said the lard is still white and smelled "good enough to have a fry up with." Well, have at it then.

Also, someone in Devon scored waaaaayyyyy more than some free lard. A garden stepping stone that had been in their family for decades ain't no Home Depot garden decor. Unbeknownst to them, it is actually a rare Sri Lankan artifact which is expected to sell for more than $47,500 at auction. This stepping stone, or moonstone, is 8 ft by 4 ft, weighs nearly a ton, and is similar to those found in 400 BC-1000 AD.

In other news: North Korea is trying to kill us again
In other other news: The Taliban said Prince Harry may have "mental problems." lolz

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Prometheus: Movie vs. Titan

This movie came out over 7 months ago but because I just watched it, and with the amount of suckage it contained, I feel obligated to avenge the Prometheus.

Why didn't they just make a movie about the Prometheus and not about a spaceship named Prometheus? It would have been more entertaining, and the story is already there, no need to create a new, horrible one.

The Prometheus is a Greek Titan, credited with the creation of humans from clay. He is popularly known more for his theft of fire and bringing it to humans, an act that enabled progress and civilization. Zeus was pissed about the theft and sentenced Prometheus to be bound to a rock forever. Everyday an eagle, the symbol of Zeus, would fly to Prometheus and eat his liver, only to grow back and be eaten the next day. The rejuvenation of the liver raised questions about the ancient Greeks on whether they were aware of the liver's capacity for self repair.

Ouch.  Switching back to the movie (which btw contained octo-babies, killer starfish and albino giants), the Titan was given a quick shout-out by an old dude whose face was falling off for a reason I'm not sure why as he said, "Prometheus wanted to give manhood equal footing with the gods, for that he was cast from Olympus. The time has finally come for his return." Except, like the Titan Prometheus, this movie resulted in tragedy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visit History: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is a tiny footnote in the museum world, with a measly 2,500 pieces, but this place is notable as the location for the largest private property theft in history. Opened by the cuckoo Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1903, the museum was established to hold her personal collection of art she had accumulated throughout her rich trust-fund baby life.

She designed her museum to resemble a 15th century Venetian palace and was involved in every aspect of construction. When completed, she spent a year installing her collection to her satisfaction, never to be altered, removed or sent out on loan. And if her vision was ever compromised posthumously, her will states that the collection is to be sold immediately with the funds donated to Harvard.

This museum is the location of the greatest art heist in history. Thieves stormed the museum the morning after St. Patrick's day in 1990 and stole 13 works of art worth approximately 300 million dollars today. The two disguised thieves deceived a security guard to enter and then bound him until he was discovered later in the morning. The thieves cut out the paintings from frames that were cemented to the walls. The hung frames still remain, awaiting the return of the paintings still 22 years later.

To rob any place in Boston, I think the wee hours of the morning after St. Patrick's Day would be prime time. The case is still open and leads are constantly investigated by the museum and the FBI. There is a 5 million dollar reward for any information leading to the recovery.

The museum is beautiful, definitely resembling a European palace. There is no signage throughout the museum, which takes away from the museum feel, which I enjoyed. There are individual plastic cards that you need to seek out in each room for any information regarding the art.

I was intrigued seeing the empty frames hanging, reminiscent of the heist from that exact location.  Although, within the museum you won't find any information about the heist. They hide the past, yet still keep the frames hung because of Gardner's decree to not touch anything. If anything, go for the eccentricities, not the art.

Some of the stolen works, including Rembrandt's only known seascape:

Monday, January 21, 2013

сто сорок три Years Young

Vladimir Lenin, first leader of the Soviet Union, died 89 years ago today. And he still looks as good today as he did at his time of death. Thank you acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, quinine and phenol. Lenin has been on display in a Moscow mausoleum ever since.

In the the early 1890's, Lenin abandoned his law career to devote himself to Marxist study. He established the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party as a militant party of  revolutionaries who sought to overthrow the Czarist government and set up a Marxist government in its place.

During World War I, Lenin had the opportunity to do this. The Russian army garrison at Petrograd joined the Bolshevik cause after their disastrous involvement in the war and Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate. Lenin brought a communist revolution to Russia and six months later the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia and Lenin became the dictator of the country. The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics aka USSR aka Soviet Union was then established in December 1922.

Lenin's success was fairly short lived, as he suffered a series of strokes almost a year later which left him mute, paralyzed and bedridden, ultimately leading to his death. After Lenin's death on January 21st 1924, plans were underway to build a tomb that would make his body accessible to mourners. The location of the mausoleum is located in Red Square by the Kremlin wall. The Russian government funded embalmers to continuously maintain him from his death up until the Soviet Union collapse, when private donations took over.

Support for Lenin's removal from Red Square and burial is gaining momentum as it has a reputation as a kitschy tourist attraction instead of the destination of pilgrimage, as was the case in Soviet times.  Until then, if you're feeling sentimental, you can visit him free of charge between 10am and 1pm on most weekdays. And in true Soviet fashion, there are a few rules: no video, no audio, no photography, no electronic items, no backpacks, no purses, no talking, no smoking, no keeping your hands in your pockets, no hats and it's probably best not to smile while you're at it. Definitely don't sneeze.

If you would like to cast your vote on whether or not Lenin should be buried, feel free to do it here. I did not, because I can't read a damn thing on that page and I don't want to accidently sign up for voluntary gulag duty.

And a Happy MLK day to all, and to all a goodnight. Watch MLK make a funny:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Raven Rendezvous

This post is starting with President Obama's inauguration and is going to transition into the ravens at the Tower of London. Yep, that's happening RIGHT NOW.

Today, President Barack Obama took an oath to continue his presidency as he was sworn into office for a second time. I haven't read anything about this, although when I see 'Inauguration Day Fun Facts,' I just can't resist.

My favorite fun fact in this list isn't really a fun fact at all. In fact, it's a weird, morbid fact. It happened a year and a half before Richard Nixon resigned, during his second inauguration parade in 1973. At Nixon's request, the inaugural committee spent $13,000 to spray tree branches with a chemical repellent called 'Roost-No-More' to rid the parade route of birds. He was afraid of a little pigeon doodie dropping on his head while he poked his head out of the car's sunroof. This chemical was supposed to drive the birds away by making their feet itch, however, many of the pigeons just ate the chemical and died instead. The parade route was littered with dozens of dead birds.  Bad omen perhaps?

So in honor of these dead feathered creatures, I am going to divert my attention to some birds that have prevented the demise of an entire kingdom for decades (according to superstition).

The Tower of London has been home to at least 6 ravens at all times since the 1800's. Under the care of the Beefeaters, these ravens are an invented tradition, designed to preserve England's past. They are said to hold the power of the Crown, therefore it is believed that if the ravens should leave, the Crown and the Tower will fall.

In an illustration of the Tower from 1885, a scaffold that was used for beheading showed a raven nearby. The positioning of the raven suggests that they were used to dramatize accounts of execution.  From very early times, ravens, as scavengers, had been notorious for gathering at scenes of carnage such as scaffolds and battlefields. They have a history of being depicted as birds of doom who gather at these places to feed on human flesh.

The ravens were originally brought to the Tower to dramatize the site of past executions although some experts believe that the ravens were first brought in as pets by a private individual and later taken over by the Tower. Although the raven's presence is believed to be older, there is no written evidence about them prior to the 19th century. This invented tradition is said to be the equivalent to the wearing of kilts in Scotland, which is supposed to be an ancient practice but only goes back to the latter half of the 18th century.

Nevertheless, there is more to the ravens than entertainment for tourists. They have come to represent the beheaded and their persecutors.

And these ravens will be around for a lot longer, as their wings are trimmed on one side so that they are slightly off balance and cannot fly very far. And if you want to conquer England and believe in this superstition, just slip some "Roost-No-More' into their cages and lets see what happens.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tales from the Crypt: Empire of Death

Adding to my list of things in Paris I did not do/see (eat a crepe, see the Liberty Leading the People painting) I also would like to add the catacombs of Paris. No one wanted to see them with me. I had to pull a classmate's teeth to come with me to the Père Lachaise Cemetery just to see Jim Morrison's grave.  But I equate going to the catacombs alone like going to a haunted house alone. No thank you. Who can I hug if it gets scary?

The Catacombs of Paris lie under the streets of downtown. They hold the remains of approximately 6 million people whose bones are all rearranged in rows, designs and shapes. All stacked up nice and neat for your viewing pleasure.

Due to a rise in Christianity in Paris in the 10th century, bodies were buried under and around churches and there were many churches within Paris' city limits. Well, people didn't stop dying and the land around the churches was eventually unable to expand any further. A central mass burial ground was created in the 12th century as a way to remedy the overflow. Many churches began to follow suit and when one section of a cemetery was full, another opened.  

The increase of decaying bodies entering the earth was a little bit of a health concern, especially to a city whose principal source of water was from underground wells. Those wells were located right next to your beloved Uncle Pierre, may he rest in peace. But I don't want him in my drinking water.

A system began to develop for these burial grounds. The bones of bodies that had lain long enough to decompose were put aside to make room for new ones. It wasn't until the 18th century that large-scale suburban burial grounds were created outside of the city. The old cemeteries were condemned and plans were underway to figure out what to do with the existing human remains.  

Paris had a slew of abandoned stone quarries and the government was intent on using them effectively for the storage of the bones. In 1786, the exhumation and transfer of all Paris' dead to the quarries began. The bones were transported over the course of a few years, in horse-drawn wagons behind a procession of chanting priests. The overseer of this process wanted the arrangement of the bones to be visitable like any mausoleum. Tombstones and cemetery decorations were used to complement the walls of the bones. 

To enter these catacombs I would associate with entering hell. You must descend underground 60 feet, then pass through a long and twisted hallway of stone to get to the entrance. And once you get there you have a comforting sign that greets you, "Arrête! C'est ici l'empire de la Mort," or "Stop! Here lies the Empire of Death."

These underground tunnels were also useful during World War II, when Parisian members of the French Resistance used it to their advantage to maneuver around the city, as the Germans were unaware of all the passages.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Seeking Shambhala

Can you smell it in the air? A spike in hospitalization, an increase in vaccinations, chills, fatigue,  fever.... Flu season has sprung. So far the aggressive virus has not broken through this brick wall. (pounds chest and points to the beach)

No one is safe from nature's savagery, therefore I am packing my bags for Shambhala.

Shambhala is a Sanskrit word describing a mythical land whose exact location is hidden behind snow-capped mountains, where peace reigns, wealth abounds, and there is no illness. This Tibetan-Buddhist kingdom is ruled by a semi-divine king who peacefully presides over a population of intelligent, long-living subjects who possess both magical powers and knowledge of advanced technology. I'll take a one-way ticket plz.

Like Atlantis, believers in Shambhala have speculated extensively on the exact location although it is often placed in central Asia, near Tibet.  

Shambhala is said to have outer and inner meanings. The outer being that it does exist as a physical place, but is only accessible by individuals with the appropriate karma. The inner meaning was interpreted by the Dalai Lama in 1985 as being a pure land within the human realm that can only be reached spiritually.

Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama had not yet mastered spiritual time travel back to the 1920's to inform Gleb Bokii, one of the Soviet secret police, and friend, Alexander Barchenko, as they prepared to embark on a quest to find Shambhala. Their reason? Well, to merge Shambhala and the ideas of Communism of course, as any trusty Soviet would do. Similarly, a German expedition was sent to Tibet throughout the 1930's seeking the same treasure. Later occultists, noting the Soviet/Nazi link, viewed Shambhala as a source of negative manipulation by an evil (or amoral) conspiracy.

These men were on a quest for Bolshevik ultimate power. And what better way to give their party power then to attempt to use Buddhist wisdom to conjure a divine era of Communism? They wanted a land that would serve as the beacon for all humankind, where the inhabitants had god-like capabilities. They were excited at the possibility of a hidden trove of advanced knowledge and technical know-how. A victory for Bokii and Barchenko meant obtaining the keys to an all-powerful ideal society. We all know how that worked out for the Soviets.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Holy Crêpe

Crêpes, French for pancakes, were originated in the northwest region of France. They are traditionally served on Candlemas, February 2nd, a holiday which celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus when he was presented at a temple in Jerusalem. France had enough of this and said, "Let them eat crêpes," and turned it into a day worshiping a higher divine power which came to be known as, 'Le Jour des Crêpes' or 'The Day of the Crêpes.'

Candlemas is filled with tradition and superstitions. If you could catch a crêpe with a frying pan after tossing it in the air with your right hand, while holding a gold coin in your left, you were brought good fortune. Making crêpes on Candlemas is to celebrate renewal, family life and happiness. Because of the intended well-wishes of crêpe-making, in earlier French rural society, farmers offered crêpes to their landowners as a symbol of allegiance.  

Non-food related superstitions included Christmas decorations being removed from the home by Candlemas, as their presence would bring death among the congregation. Also, anyone who hears funeral bells tolling on Candlemas will soon hear of the death of a close friend or family member. Each toll of the bell stood for the number of days until said death.

February 2nd is alleged to be the date that bears or wolves become meteorologists and emerge from hibernation to inspect the weather. If they return to their lairs on this day it is believed that severe weather will continue for another few weeks. We lamely modified that tradition as our own using a groundhog who sees a shadow. Scotland has a bad-ass serpent that supposedly comes out of the ground on Candlemas and we have wizardly vermin that can predict the future.

It is not Feb. 2nd. But I want to make banana Nutella crêpes as I continue to incorporate Nutella into everything I consume/talk about (the real reason for this particular post emerges). I got the recipe here.  After researching types of crêpe folds, (the cigarette, envelope, baton, half moon, sandwich, stack, oh my god, when does it stop,  so many choices) I decided on the ole' burrito fold (the 'baton' fold). Super easy and tasty. I'd choose these over celebrating Jesus too. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ötzi, Mi Amore/Meine Liebe

Ötzi was discovered in the Ötztal Alps near the border of Austria and Italy in 1991.  The two people who discovered him alerted authorities who butchered him out of a glacier after believing he was just an unfortunate lost wanderer. He was, but this was no recent poor bastard. He was Ötzi, Europe's most well preserved mummy, dating back to 3300 B.C.

Ötzi was 5'5", 110 lbs, and about 45 years old at the time of his death. He died on a full belly but had  an intestinal parasite, known as whipworm. He had lots of cavities and was lactose intolerant. Having a couple of tats myself, I thought it was interesting that Ötzi had markings resembling tattoos, various vertical lines and crosses, inked by charcoal. They are suspected to be there for pain relief treatments, as they are tatted along specific pressure points of his body. If this is the case, he is the oldest evidence of a human with tattoos by 2,000 years. \m/

He had intact blood cells due to his outstanding preservation in the ice, the oldest ever identified, and was fully clothed with various tools on his person. His current internet death certificate says "exsanguination," which translates to blood loss (from an arrow wound).

The artistic rendering of Ötzi pre-exsanguination is even scarier than Ötzi in his current form:

Yikes, what the hell? This looks like the guy bumming for change and cigarettes outside Kenmore station. 

There is something innocent about Ötzi. Maybe it's his slightly crossed feet that makes him appear bashful to me, or that his arms extend sideways in the most awkward way that you can't help but think, 'Awwwwww:( poor dude.' Whatever it is, I luf him (pre-artistic rendering).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Les Misérables Sadfest

Just entered my apartment with puffy eyes and the sniffles after seeing that movie. I don't think I've cried during a movie since some other time I've probably cried to a movie. Although an inspiring film, the overall battle where almost all were lost was in reality, an unsuccessful one in French history. The only happiness in Les Mis is during homage to all the dead people.

This Parisian uprising, named the June Rebellion, was carried out in 1832 as a direct result of the 1830 July Revolution in which Charles X was overthrown and replaced by a different king, Louis-Phillipe. Well, what the hell? The overthrowing of a monarchy only to be replaced with a monarchy? No, ça ne me sert à rien!

This beauty (the postcard version hangs on my fridge after I purchased it from the Louvre (without seeing the original while I was there (I know (whatever (stupid, I know (it can be my excuse to go back)))))) was painted in 1830 depicting this July Revolution and not the French Revolution as I always just assumed. Originally thinking that the artist just liked boobies, after further research, the woman represented is no woman, but Liberty in human form. Bare breasted, bare footed and stepping over everything/one while pressing forward. Different classes are represented as well, showing that discontent was felt among many. The little boy with guns-a-blazin', is said to be the inspiration for the little boy in Les Mis. Fast forward two years from the July Revolution, and you get the probably-would've-been-forgotten-if-it-weren't-for-Les-Mis June Rebellion of 1832.

Welp, the people weren't happy with Louis-Phillipe either. Installing him as leader didn't lead to the change the people of France wanted, so Parisian Republicans led by student societies attempted to start a revolution. The rebellion was chosen to begin during the funeral of Jean Maximilien Lamarque, a liberal politician who showed sympathy to the lower class.

A man named Michael Geoffroy was charged with starting the rebellion by waving a red flag (like Enjolras did in Les Mis) but Geoffroy survived and received a prison sentence unlike Enjolras' fate in the film. HE WAS SHOT AND DIED. HE'S DEAD. HANGING UPSIDE-DOWN OUTSIDE A WINDOW. SOMEHOW. Needless to say, the rebellion failed to turn into a revolution and it wouldn't be until 1848 that Louis-Phillipe was overthrown during the Third French Revolution.

The rebellion of 1832 was unsuccessful. The *people who kept fighting when hope had already been lost when the rebellion failed to spread gives meaning to the phrase, "Give me liberty, or give me death." Man, they weren't kidding. *except Victor Hugo, author of Les Mis, who hid between columns while shooting was going on.  Also, another way to incorporate the grumpy cat into something.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mead Love You Long Time

Booze is on the menu for tonight. And not just any booze, the "ancestor of all fermented drinks." I was lucky to find a neat little joint that serves this concoction in town.

The earliest evidence of mead was found dating back to 7000 B.C. in pottery fragments from China. There was a step-by-step brewing method published around 60 A.D. instructing to "take rainwater kept for several years, and mix a sextarius of this water with a pound on honey. The whole is exposed to the sun for 40 days, and then left on a shelf near the fire. If you have no rain water, then boil spring water." Years old rainwater? Oooh I want.

Or, instead of aged rainwater, you could go to a bar and order it like I did recently. I began my mead baby steps with Chaucer's Mead: raw fresh honey with an essence of orange, alfalfa and sage.  Flavorful. Flat. Wine-ish. My mead baby step grew into a stomp as I plunged into B. Nektar's cherry apple cyser, delicately named, Zombie Killer. Tasty. Fizzy. Delicious.

Although this claim is usually dismissed, an alternate origin for the word "honeymoon" is from a traditional European practice of fathers supplying their newly married daughters with enough mead to last a month. This was thought to bring happiness, fertility, and ensure that the firstborn child would be male.

I plan on consuming a lot of mead in my immediate future. Now, I just need one of these to sip in style:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dquentin Unchained

I love Quentin Tarantino. And I love him more when there is a video of him and a reporter arguing because you see just how b-b-b-bad he really is.

In an interview with British reporter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, it got heated while discussing violence in film linked to violence in reality. I originally watched the interview to feel the awkward tension, but the actual interview is SO GOOD.

Quentin was discussing the two kinds of violence in his movie, Django Unchained:
1) Brutality to slaves
2) Cathartic violence: Slaves paying back the violence, blood for blood.
And I <3 blood for blood movies/anything. The reporter asks with a smug smirk if a revenge story is the only way to make a hero. Quentin replies, "In the case of laying waste to a genocidal, white, racist class in the institution of slavery, yes that would be the reason to do it."

His last two films have loosely dealt with two holocausts in history: The Holocaust and slavery in America. I am into the approach he has taken to creatively expand on events in history. A sort of revisionist history, except not ridiculous like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The meat is there, he is just bringing the potatoes. And his potatoes are so tasty.

Quentin's next revisionist history film? fingers crossed

Saturday, January 12, 2013


This one goes out to all my pregnant friends. I hope your unborn baby is resting comfortably inside of your DEMONIC UTERUS.

Side note: 'Her story' is not to be confused with 'Herstory.' Herstory is history written from a feminist perspective, emphasizing the role of women, or told from a woman's point of view. After all, I just collectively called all uteri demonic. I just happen to find this topic particularly interesting. But I can promise, that this will be my first and last post about vagina.

Anyways, lets talk hysterectomies shall we?

The Greek word 'hystera' means womb or ovary BUT in the Victorian era, hysteria was considered a nervous condition for females, caused by their no-no parts. Symptoms included a slew of normal emotional and physical changes, including my favorite: a tendency to cause trouble. I was intent on bringing this disorder back in order to justify myself and everything I do, until I saw this:

These are women under hypnosis who suffer from hysteria. No thank you plz Regan MacNeil. To treat this disorder, various methods were used, most having to do with shoving something (up there), but a hysterectomy was done in order to eliminate hysteria.

In addition to hysteria, Plato compared a woman's uterus to a living creature that wanders throughout the body, ruining everything it its path. A stagnant uterus was also thought to turn venomous. Well, by all means then, give me a hysterectomy and rid me of this poisonous monster.

Turns out, this female hysteria was just another name for a personality disorder (not common just in women, but only chosen to be seen in women, because men can't get personality disorders). Right?

Unfortunately, dudes, the uterus is not the core of female insanity.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oh My Squash!

It was recently verified that a hollowed out squash contains DNA of the beheaded French King, Louis XVI. When Louis XVI was beheaded during the French Revolution a number of observers dipped their handkerchiefs into the spilt blood. One participant in this oddity, Maximilien Bourdaloue, decided to put his hanky inside of a squash and then embellish it. Logical move...

"On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation."