I think I've soiled myself

Who the fuck d'ya think I am? Huggy Bear?

There are 46 posts tagged: history

Little Chef
15 April 2024

Many years ago, there was a chain of roadside diners in the UK called Little Chef. I only ever ate there a couple of times. I don't recall the experience, which suggests it was neither climactic nor cataclysmic. And it's not as if I can go back to recalibrate my opinion. After a long and protracted decline, the chain finally went out of business in 2018.

Club Tropicana drinks weren't free
8 April 2024

After almost seventy years, the Tropicana, one of Las Vegas' iconic casino hotels has closed its doors. And one of the more interesting features on the BBC's magazine side of late is Tony Perrottet's exploration of Sin City's seedy past. It's only a little more than 1400 words, to cover almost eighty years of history of gangsters, gambling, and divorce. If it were much longer though, I probably wouldn't've got through it all. (shrug)

Busy bodies
28 March 2024

After careful study and consideration, Harvard University library has removed the binding of one of its books, because it was made from human skin. The decision was made in the light of stakeholder engagement and taking into account the ethically fraught nature of the book's origins and subsequent history.

The unholy Trinity
13 March 2024

In the wake of the theatrical and awards successes of Oppenheimer, comes a documentary on the tragedy that befell those living downwind from the Los Alamos testing programme in New Mexico. Communities who claim that radiation from the Trinity Test caused the cancers that have affected generations, even to this day.

The king and 'im
2 December 2023

Following a little diplomatic spat between the British and Greek prime ministers over the Elgin Marbles—or Parthenon Sculptures, I'm not sure which*—Old King Cock addressed the delegates of COP(out)28 while wearing a tie emblazoned with the Greek flag. Buckingham Palace denied it was a coded message to Rishi Sunak, suggesting instead that the choice was random.

Like lemmings running off a cliff
20 November 2023

Boasting an exclusive BBC Archive clip of Walt Disney—presumably by way of bumming a seat at TWDC's centennial celebrations—Myles Burke examines the birth of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie: How Walt Disney came back from ruin. Emboldened by the success of the world's first sound animation, Walt went on to greater animation heights, and even branched out into wildlife documentaries.

Big Bird in space
14 November 2023

Not wishing to trivialise a tragedy, but this is a tempting thought nonetheless: What if Big Bird Exploded in the Challenger Disaster? It's a question posed as a delayed April Fool's joke by AlternateHistoryHub.

Totem recall
9 October 2023

The BBC home page teases: A sacred pole stolen by the British. And the leader to Diane Selkirk's The Canadian museum filled with stolen art doubles down on the accusation.

Commemorate the date
4 October 2023

Chinese authorities are removing a photo of two of its athletes embracing at the Asian Games from the interwebz. Or, at least, the part lying behind the Great Firewall of China.

Stone Age style guide
29 September 2023

Sandals taken from Cueva de los Murciélagos, a cave in Andalusia, south-west Spain, have been identified as Europe's oldest shoes, dating back 6,000 years.

Canadian Club
26 September 2023

While Germany elevates minor actors to war criminal status, so as to hunt them down and try them before their actions—or lack thereof—are weighed in the balance of a higher court, Canada takes a refreshingly liberal approach to its own Nazis by inviting them to attend parliament.

Slow news day
25 September 2023

On 18th April 1930, BBC radio's newsreader simply announced There is no news, followed by fifteen minutes of music to fill the segment. And that little item appeared as one of the most read today on BBC News online: The day there was 'no news' (not today). Except the (not today) doesn't refer to today's today, but the today of 18th April 2017.

Plot twist!
11 August 2023

In The Man Who Invented The Plot Twist, Adrian Gray educates us on the rise and fall of Rowan Blake, who introduced the plot twist to Hollywood's otherwise risk-adverse dramatic output for TV during the '50s.

Less is more
17 July 2023

Generally, the higher the specification, the higher the price. And iPhones are no exception. When it was first introduced in 2007, the 8GB version was $100 more than the 4GB one. Oh, how times change.

Jimmy who?
10 July 2023

Allegations that an unnamed male BBC presenter paid a young adult £35,000 for explicit photos over a three-year period are remarkable for four things.

All aboard the Snowflake Express
16 May 2023

Most on-board train announcements can best be described as unexciting—the next station stop is…, change here for…, etc.—to the point that they become intrusive and annoying. But passengers aboard the ÖBB service from Bregenz to Vienna were recently treated to a little pep talk from one of Austria's more (in)famous scions: that nice Herr Hitler. Two clips of speeches were played; short, but enough to cram in a crowd chanting Heil Hitler and Sieg Heil.

15 May 2023

At the turn of the century, South Wales Police were using groundbreaking DNA genealogy to identify a serial murderer/rapist who'd terrorised the Swansea area in the early '70s. Gilbert John's retelling is a gripping read.

Days of future past
4 April 2023

Stephen Dowling describes the Royal Navy's post-war carrier-borne fighter aircraft, the Westland Wyvern, as having two contra-rotating propellors at the front of the aircraft, each spinning in a different direction. Yep, that's pretty much the definition of contra-rotating: spinning in opposite directions. But what drew my attention to this article in the first place, was the seeming contradiction between BBC Future—there's a clue in the name—and tales of pilots who ejected underwater, past tense.

Basse cuisine
21 March 2023

The BBC's home page teases The 'scandalous' chef the world forgot. Thus, Anna Richards' eulogy to Eugénie Brazier, the first person to be awarded six Michelin stars, was bigged up more than it could deliver. It ended up as interesting, could've been better.

Stamp duty
25 February 2023

Although released in the middle of last year, I have only today noticed—while collecting the mail—that Swiss Post is commemorating 100 years of Swiss air traffic control. I guess somebody has to, even if it's only to generate a little revenue from the philatelists. (shrug)

New old phone, or old new phone?
22 February 2023

How much would you pay for an iPhone? An obsolete one, that is. And, although it might work, you can't use it. Or even ever touch it.

No defence
16 January 2023

The announcement of the German defence minister's resignation is remarkable only for this observation on the post in question:

What a difference a Dey makes
20 December 2022

Irmgard Furchner has been brought to justice and sentenced to a two-year suspended jail term, for complicity in war crimes during WWII. In her role as a typist at Stutthof concentration camp, she may have been aware of atrocities when she saw papers in the office, or looked out of the window. Yet, as a teenaged young woman, she didn't rise up against the might of the Nazi death machine.

A promise of things to come
14 December 2022

While pimping Babylon—an upcoming story of Hollywood's licentious past—on behalf of BBC Culture, Christina Newland teases the truth about the scandals of the silent film era. Except I'm not sure whether she actually reveals the true truth, or just that as portrayed in the film, because she may not have written it yet. And, even if she has, we'll have to wait until the end of next week for it to go live. Again.

Hun the wiser
12 August 2022

Many of us associate Attila the Hun—rightly or wrongly, I'm no historian—among the pantheon of genocidal conquerors, alongside Ivan the Terrible; Vlad the Impaler; Genghis the Khan; and President the Pooh. But, as Kenny Rogers once opined, there's someone for everyone; and your views on genocidal conquerors may just depend on what side of the genocidally conquering/conquered divide you stand.

27 July 2022

On 1 December, 1948, the body of a man was found lying against the seawall at Somerton Beach in Adelaide. He was well-dressed, wearing a suit and tie. There was no identification on him, and even the labels in his clothing had been cut out. His belongings included incoherent writings, thought to be in code, and a scrap of paper torn from Rubáiyát of Omár Khayyám, with the Farsi phrase Tamám Shudfinished—printed on it.

The Motherland
2 February 2022

Llívia is a small Spanish Catalan enclave within France. It was created in the seventeenth century, through a stunning act of pedantry on the part of the Spanish.

Hitler: that two-faced jerk!
9 December 2021

In The Fegelein Wedding - Nazi Fairytale or Nazi Nightmare? Mark Felton recounts Gretl Braun's romances and marriage. Gretl, the younger sister of Adolf Hitler's squeeze, Eva, fell in love with Fritz Darges, who was Hitler's SS adjutant at the time.

The running woman
30 September 2021

Not all Nazi war criminals give up easily. Instead of attending her trial for complicity in 11,000 murders, 96-year-old Irmgard Furchner did a runner from her nursing home.

Of Nazis and nutters
15 September 2021

Heinrich Himmler sent an expedition to Tibet in 1938, to search for the origins of the Aryan race. This is the same mythical race that was a figment of Hitler's imagination.

Time is running out
3 August 2021

And it's a race to the finish line!

Game for a laugh
13 July 2021

A sealed copy of Super Mario 64 has sold at auction for a record $1.5m. This is the price range previously occupied only by significant works of art, which can be hung on a wall and admired for the artist's skill. In this case, however, the high price is commanded for physical memorabilia, in the same way as rare trading cards.

Not my type
17 May 2021

At MindYourDecisions, Presh Talwalkar explains the correct answer to the following problem:

Doris the Minor
12 April 2021

Today I learned, through a combination of web forum surfing and Wiki-whacking, that Herod the Great's wife was named Doris. Or, more accurately, one of his wives—for he had several.

Able was I
6 April 2021

Sara Nović, writing on behalf of BBC Equality Matters, admonishes you on The harmful ableist language you unknowingly use. You heartless bastard! (mad)

Off with her head!
26 February 2021

In the wake of Jodie Turner-Smith being cast to play Anne Boleyn, in what can only be a less-than-historically-faithful revisionist wokefest, Anthony Brian Logan asks Should A Black Actress Play The Queen of England? Given that Will Smith was criticised for not being black enough, I have a sneaking suspicion that the woke agenda, and pretenders staying in their lanes, might only apply one way.

'A' is for anthrax
22 February 2021

In Why Everything We Know About the Black Death Is Wrong, Thoughty2 examines the cause behind the black death, which claimed as many as 200 million lives in Eurasia and North Africa during the fourteenth century. He concludes that the plague was not spread by rats, with rat fleas as vector, but by humans, with human fleas or lice as vector. This is good news for the rehabilitation of rats, obviously.

The smartest person ever?
10 February 2021

YouTube channel Thoughty2—or is that Forty2?*—claims, in The Smartest Person Ever Is Not Who You Think, that Leonardo da Vinci was the smartest person to ever live. The basis for this assertion is not only da Vinci's artistic prowess, but also his contributions to anatomy and invention. I think that Arran—or Steven Rix, who wrote the article—rather overstates the case, since da Vinci didn't invent the helicopter, submarine, and parachute, so much as conceptualise them.

Viral leadership
2 October 2020

Not so long ago, I was musing to myself on some of Ronald Reagan's bon mots; how he used self-deprecating humour to disarm his detractors. While his rise to the highest office was met with derision from some quarters, he oversaw some truly ground-breaking moments in history, and has generally positive approval ratings. Yet, John Hinckley Jr attempted his assassination.

Creative reimagining
28 September 2020

OMG! It's almost as if Karolina Żebrowska was in the same room during Sandy Powell's creative reimagining sessions.

A dog with no name
16 July 2020

RAF Scampton—the home of 617 Squadron, The Dambusters—has replaced the gravestone of the squadron's mascot, a black Labrador named Nigger, who died on the night of the famous raid on the Ruhr dams in 1943. Squadron Leader Guy Gibson, whose dog he was, named him because, at the time, nigger was not a derogatory reference, rather simply the name for a shade of black.

Reimagining history
24 February 2019

The BBC asked two experts to comment on whether The Favourite, a dramatisation of the later life of Queen Anne, is fact or fiction. On the subject of Sandy Powell's costume design, Matthew Storey observed that:

Changing fashions
30 November 2015

The Man in the High Castle adapts Philip K. Dick's alternative history novel to the small screen. It imagines a '60s USA in the aftermath of the Axis powers' victory during the 1939–1945 war; a USA split between German and Japanese rule.

Pleistocene playground
7 February 2014

The oldest human footprints outside of Africa have been discovered by scientists on a Norfolk beach.

Catch me if you can
18 June 2013

Suspected war criminal Laszlo Csatary, a Nazi policeman in 1944, has been charged by Hungarian prosecutors with torture and murder of Jewish prisoners. His trial is expected to start in three months.

Mr or Miss? Only his or her parents know the terrible truth!
9 September 2009

Gretel Bergmann, who is Jewish, was replaced in the 1936 German Olympics team by one Dora Ratjen. The International Olympic Committee had insisted on Jewish participation as a condition of Berlin hosting the 1936 Olympic Games, but the organisers feared that Adolf Hitler would be embarrassed by a Jew winning gold. Two years later, Dora was revealed to be a man, Horst Ratjen.