[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2010-04-07

Confederate History Month

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 19:58

Governor McDonnell recently declared April “Confederate History Month“. To some people, this sounds a lot like “Let’s all wear white hoods and burn some crosses”. These people are, shall we say, misinformed.

News flash: the Confederates were not the “bad guys”. They weren’t out to conquer anyone, or exterminate anyone. The Confederacy did not fight the Union to preserve the practice of slavery, nor did the Union attack the Confederacy to prohibit it. The vast majority of Confederate soldiers did not own slaves, nor did they fight in the war to defend the practice of slavery. They were fighting for the same things the Colonials had fought for a century earlier.

Was slavery evil? Of course it was. It was also on the way out well before the Union and the Confederacy went to war (and it continued in the “North” until well after the Civil War had ended). The Civil War was not fought over slavery: that was an excuse fed to people who did not know any better (and apparently still don’t). “Slavery” was the “weapons of mass destruction” of its era (the deception, in that case, not being that slavery did not exist — it did, in both the North and the South — but that it was the reason for the war).

People who equate the Confederacy with slavery are ignorant of an important part of the history of Virginia and the USA. Let’s hope that the observance of “Confederate History Month” can help to educate those people.

On the other hand, history is written by the winners. If the North spent 150 years telling people that Confederates had cloven feet and gave birth by laying eggs, the people attacking McDonnell would be repeating that story, too, saying he was defending the unholy cloven-hoofed egg-laying slave-mongers.

“The Civil War was fought over slavery” belongs in the Great Lies Of History right next to “George Washington chopped down a cherry tree” and “Christopher Columbus proved the world was round”.

Saturday, 2010-03-27

New human relative identified

Filed under: History,Science — bblackmoor @ 14:37

skull fossil

At a press conference yesterday, researchers announced the completely unexpected: a Siberian cave has yielded evidence of an entirely unknown human relative that appears to have shared Asia with both modern humans and Neanderthals less than 50,000 years ago. The find comes courtesy of a single bone from individual’s hand. Lest you think that paleontologists are overinterpreting a tiny fragment, it wasn’t the shape of the bone that indicates the presence of a new species—it was the DNA that it contained.

(from Neither Neanderthal nor sapiens: new human relative IDed, Ars Technica)

Friday, 2010-02-12

America is not a Christian nation

Filed under: History,Society — bblackmoor @ 17:52

Religious conservatives argue the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Judeo-Christian country. But President Obama is right when he says it isn’t.

(From America is not a Christian nation, Salon)

I am no great fan of President Obama (nor was I of President Bush). But when someone is right, they are right.

Thursday, 2009-11-26

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 12:00

(I heard about this from The Breda Revolution.)

Wednesday, 2009-10-28

Iron curtains, old and new

Filed under: History,Society — bblackmoor @ 13:49

I was reading this article about the Hungarian Prime Minister who was ultimately instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall, and I was struck by the contrast between the fall of the Iron Curtain, and what has been happening to the USA for the past ten years (and a new President has made absolutely no difference in this trend).

It makes me sad.

Wednesday, 2009-06-24

Godzilla movie timeline

Filed under: History,Movies — bblackmoor @ 18:58

GojiraI spent some time today piecing together the cinematic history of Godzilla. I have about a dozen Godzilla movies on DVD and Blu-Ray. Most are available in English. A few are not. Some were brutally mangled for US release, but I think many of those have since been re-released by distributors that actually care about the film (most notably Gojira and Godzilla Raids Again).

With that in mind, I have compiled a list of the Godzilla films and what I consider to be the important Godzilla-related films (I included Rodan, for example, but I did not include movies like War of the Gargantuas, which are ostensibly set in the same universe but which never cross over with Godzilla), and linked them to what I consider the best versions of those films on DVD or Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, some are very difficult to find at a sane price (or unavailable entirely, in the case of Return of Godzilla).

I hope that other people find this list useful.

Showa era

Heisei era

The American knock-off

  • Godzilla (1998) No, it isn’t really a Godzilla movie, but Zilla does show up in Final Wars.

Millennium era

“Fat Godzilla” era

Tuesday, 2008-02-26

Viking Women Dressed Provocatively

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 21:54

authentic Viking footwearAs if we needed more reasons to be annoyed at Christianity.

A runway fashion show in Viking times would have spotlighted women cloaked in imported colored-silk gowns adorned with metallic breast coverings and long trains.

This surprising claim is the result of a new analysis of remnants from a woman’s wardrobe discovered in a grave dating back to the 10th century in Russia, painting a picture of Viking panache before Christianity was established that runs counter to previous ideas about buttoned-up, prudish looking Norsewomen.

“Now we can say the pre-Christian dress code was very rich,” textiles researcher Annika Larsson of Uppsala University in Sweden told LiveScience. “When Christianity came, the dress was more like that of nuns. There was a big difference.”

(from Viking Women Dressed Provocatively, Yahoo! News)

Sounds to me like the costumes from Viking Women And The Sea Serpent were not so far off, after all.

Saturday, 2007-09-15

Postcards from the year two thousand

Filed under: Art,History — bblackmoor @ 22:56

The National Library of France (BnF) has an amazing collection of prints from 1910 which depict life in the year 2000. They are credited to Villemard.

Friday, 2006-08-25

Who invented the dishwasher

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 08:18

Did you know that the automatic dishwasher was invented by a woman named Josephine Garis Cochrane? She received an award for her invention at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The company she founded to market the dishwasher to hotels, restaurants and other commercial groups was purchased in the 1920′s by the Hobart Corporation. They introduced the “KitchenAid” brand name that is known today. Dishwashers under this name were introduced in 1949.

Sunday, 2006-08-20

Back from vacation

Filed under: History,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:18

Susan and I just got back from Sandusky, Ohio, home of the Cedar Point amusement park. Cedar Point is reputed to have the best collection of roller coasters in the USA, which is why we went. We did have a good time, but you know, I think Busch Gardens Europe (formerly known as Busch Gardens: The Old Country) is on par with it, and Busch Gardens is a nicer amusement park to spend the day in.

We also visited Harpers Ferry, WV, during what just happened to be the centennial celebration of the first meeting of the Niagra Movement on US soil. Pretty cool. We also got to see (from the outside) the only English Norman castle in the USA, Berkeley Castle. Too bad it isn’t open for tours anymore.

I noticed some strange things on our trip. Some of them were obvious, and easy to talk about. For example, in Pennsylvania you can’t buy wine at the grocery store. You can only buy it at state-run stores. When I asked a fellow in PA where I could find the wine in the grocery store, he made a disparaging comment on his “backward” state. Meanwhile, in West Virginia, you can buy liquor at the corner 7-11. I kind of wish I had, just so that I could say that I did.

It was also hard to miss the demographic differences, but those are more difficult to talk about. People react strangely when you notice their differences. For example, there seemed to be an unnatural number of lean, reasonably attractive women in Sandusky, Ohio. Literally half of the people on the shuttle bus going to Cedar Point on our first day were young women. I do not know why. It was also hard to miss that Ohio is a very “white” state. Here in central and south-eastern Virginia, I am used to there being a roughly 50/50 mix of light-skinned and dark-skinned people. I think of this as normal. It was very odd to see a few dark faces in an otherwise oatmeal-colored crowd. I have to wonder how it would feel to be the X in a crowd of Os. I would have liked to ask a few people how they felt being a literal as well as figurative minority, but as I said, people react strangely when you draw attention to such things, so I didn’t.

I took a bunch of photos during our trip, using our nifty new Nikon digital camera. I’ll put them online soon, probably tomorrow.

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