George Washington Digest – WIF Into History

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Lesser Known

Facts About

George Washington

Even as American values change and history is continually revised by new discoveries, George Washington remains one of the most venerated figures in human history. A highly esteemed soldier and general who became a pioneer politician, he appeals both to the intellectual types and those who liked to prove their worth through combat. Unfortunately, for all his acclaim, the casual reader only gets a vague impression of what he was like as a human. It’s unfortunate, because it leaves out a number of very interesting aspects of the life of a fascinating (if deeply flawed) man. Unfortunate for the average person, that is, not for George Washington. His legacy has literally been set in stone. So, let’s get to learning more about America’s most prominent Founding Father.

 10. Started the First Worldwide War

Although he’s a central figure in the American Revolutionary War, Washington had an even more significant role in a larger scale conflict that is often overlooked in American history. In 1754, Washington was a Lieutenant Colonel in command of forty troops that had been dispatched to intercept a column of French troops in Southwestern Pennsylvania. While this was technically still peace time, tensions were high, as the year before Washington had led a retinue to the French Fort Duquesne to demand they leave the territory, and it had been only through a mighty show of force that the French had surrendered the fort without a fight. So it was that on May 28, Washington’s small command found the French column, and despite having been ordered not to engage the enemy, Washington ordered a sneak attack. He was, after all, only about 22 years old and eager to prove himself, even if it meant defying orders. They killed a small number of French soldiers, wounded a few others, and took 21 prisoners.

 According to History.com, his small engagement was the flashpoint that led to the rival nations of France and Great Britain enlarging their armed forces in the colonies, and in time the war spilled over into Europe. It became known as the Seven Years’ War, and it was the deadliest conflict of the Eighteenth Century. Necrometrics. computes the number of dead from that conflict at 853,000, far exceeding the total combined forces engaged in the American Revolution, let alone the number of casualties. Makes the “Shot Heard Round the World” seem almost quaint.

9. Signed a Murder Confession

Well before it escalated to the Seven Years War, in the immediate aftermath of Washington’s unauthorized sneak attack it became clear it was a British/Colonial boondoggle. It turned out the French column was actually on a diplomatic mission, and Smithsonian Magazine states they had the documentation to prove it. The diplomat in question was an Ensign Joseph Jumonville, and according to Washington, he was killed in the immediate aftermath of the attack when a Native American, who went by the nickname Half King, put a tomahawk in his brain. A larger French force was dispatched to deal with the treacherous British and Washington responded by falling back to an improvised log defense dubbed Fort Necessity. Even after being reinforced by more than a hundred extra soldiers, Washington decided to surrender without another shot being fired. During the process Washington was made to sign a document, wherein he confessed to having murdered Jumonville.

In Washington’s defense, he signed the document under extreme duress and it was written in French, a language he was not familiar with. Rather than being court-martialed for disobeying orders and ignominiously surrendering, not to mention literally signing a confession, the British propaganda machine took Washington’s side. The British were determined to have North America for themselves and they needed to rally support for their cause instead of admitting defeat, and heaping scorn on the impulsive lieutenant colonel would do nothing to help achieve that goal. It took seven years of fighting, but eventually the British won and greatly expanded their American colonies, which as we now know would ultimately prove their undoing on that continent.

8. Did Not Have Wooden Teeth: Had Something Almost Worse

These days the historical trivia note that Washington had wooden teeth is so widely debunked that it’s probably harder to find someone who does believe it. This is not to say he had good teeth: he was having them taken out as young as 24. By 1789, the year he was elected president, he was down to one tooth still in his gums. The rest were his own refitted into dentures, nine were possibly form black people, and others were from whalebone. Even by the standards of the time they were unsightly, and the misconception they were wooden was likely due to their discolored appearance.

Although the dental problems so embarrassed Washington that he tried to keep them secret, they ultimately proved hugely advantageous in their own way. In 1781, a correspondence with a French dentist named Dr. Jean-Pierre Le Mayeur included notes that indicated Washington planned to stay in New York City. One of his letters was intercepted by the British, and they believed the letter indicated that it would be safe for a large contingent of British troops to move to a community called Yorktown. As it happened, Washington had changed his mind and moved to trap the British in the most decisive American victory of the war.

7. Signed the Most Slavery-Friendly Law

As with many of the Founding Fathers, slavery was an un-erasable stain on Washington’s legacy and a fixture of his life. The New York Times said he was an owner of ten slaves when he was only 11 years old, after his father’s death. By the time of his marriage in 1759, the number had grown to 80, and by 1776 it was 150. By the time of his death, between he and his wife Martha Custis Washington, he had 317.

Certain historical notes may seem to slightly redeem or at least complicate his feelings. In 1778 he wrote about wanting to get out of the business of owning slaves. When he died in 1799, his will stipulated that he wanted all the slaves owned by his family freed (this amounted to about half of them). But all this is overshadowed by a particularly nasty piece of legislation he urged to be pushed through congress in 1793. Known as the Fugitive Slave Act, it stipulated that slaveowners could cross any state boundaries in pursuit of escapees. It put a fine of $500 on anyone who sheltered a runaway slave or even aided them, an amount History.org tells us is more than eight years’ salary for a teacher in Virginia at the time.

6. Spent Final Years Pursuing a Single Escaped Slave

The most remembered person ever forced into servitude under Washington was Ona “Oney” Judge, one of the slaves Washington and his wife had with him in Philadelphia, whose main duty was attending to Martha’s personal needs. In May 1796, she slipped out of the Washington home. She had no shortage of help, as Philadelphia was so anti-slavery at the time that any slave that lived there for six months was automatically freed (Washington had gotten around this by merely regularly rotating his staff).

An article about Ona Judge on ushistory.org reports that Martha, for her part, seemed personally offended that a slave she felt she’d treated well would want to leave, refusing to believe Judge would ever want to leave of her own free will. Meanwhile, George initially tried to keep the incident under wraps while in abolitionist territory. Eventually he relented, had notices posted offering a $10 reward for aid in recapturing her, and asked the Secretary of the Treasury for help in bringing her back.

After being smuggled to New York City, for a time the president was able to get back in touch with her. Naturally, George was unable to persuade her to return to bondage without threat of physical force, and was worried using physical force would have caused “a riot on the docks.” Eventually she made her way to the community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She married a local freeborn black sailor and spent the final 50 years of her life a fugitive and favorite of abolitionist papers. Even when George Washington died three years later, he still had agents on the hunt for her.

5. A Moonshine Distiller

A popular misconception is that, since George Washington and other Founding Fathers grew hemp on their plantations, they must have been smoking it. That’s extremely unlikely, as they grew a species of hemp with little THC in it, which would have been nearly worthless for getting a buzz. Besides, Washington had a much more viable source of inebriation at Mount Vernon in the form of a huge whiskey distillery.

How huge was it? Big enough that it yielded more than 11,000 gallons a year, according to CBS, making it one of the nation’s largest. Of course, Washington couldn’t go through all that even if he threw lavish house parties, so he sold most of it off at a tidy profit. It’s enough to make you wonder if Sam Adams should really be the Founding Father whose name we most associate with alcohol.

4. HATED Becoming the President

An ambitious go-getter on the battlefield and a math enthusiast, you would think the highest office in the country of his birth would be a plum position for Washington. It should have seemed all the sweeter when the results came in from Congress on February 4 and said that of the sixty-nine votes, he’d won all of them. He was the only American president to be elected by unanimous vote. As History.org tells us, Washington was aware that in 1789 he had the support of the public as well as the landed gentry.

Nevertheless, Washington hated assuming the position. He’d spent months trying to get around being appointed to the position, or flat out refusing it prior to his unanimous election. In private, he removed any sense of ambiguity about his feelings, such as when he wrote to his friend Edward Rutledge that accepting the office meant “giving up all expectations of private happiness.”

3. Presidency Massively Criticized by Other Founding Fathers

Despite initial overwhelming support for Washington in Congress, the press, and the public, by the start of Washington’s second term it was a very different story. One of the milder critics was John Adams, who said the president was “too illiterate, unread, and unlearned for his station.”

Thomas Jefferson took a much harsher attitude in 1795 after Washington signed the controversial Jay Treaty, which gave favorable trading deals to Great Britain in exchange for moving British troops out of forts in territory outside the United States. He accused Washington of treason over that. Just before Washington left the office, Thomas Paine went to the press to accuse him of monopolizing for his own profit and his favorites, and depriving veterans. Amidst all this, many other newspapers criticized Washington too, of their own volition, and it was a large contributor to his decision to retire.

2. Invented Farming Equipment and Designs

After leaving the presidency, Washington devoted his twilight years to what had been his true passion all along: Farming. But being the sort of man he was, he of course needed to be in some way exceptional at it. He created an object called a “drill plow,” which was a huge time saver in that it planted seeds at the same time it tilled the soil.

But more significant was his 1797 innovation, the Threshing Barn. Essentially, it was a 15-sided brick building that was two stories tall, and the top floor was used to beat the wheat against the floor until the chaff was sorted out and the seeds fell to the bottom floor. Of course, it should be mentioned that working in it was something Washington delegated to the slaves.

1. Experimental Blood Transfusion Proposal

On December 14, 1799, at age 67, Washington passed away from an obstructive epiglottis, having only noticed the symptoms of it the day before. It must be said, though, that his condition was very likely not helped at all by the team of doctors dispatched to help him, and who concluded that bleeding was Washington’s best hope. Over 12 hours, they drained a staggering 40 percent of his blood. After he expired, in part because so much blood had been removed, a very odd proposal came up: Putting blood from another creature in. Yes, you read that right. Not another person’s blood. Another creature’s.

One of those present at Washington’s death was a William Thornton, a student from Edinburgh in Scotland. Since blood transfusions were relatively new to the field of medicine, some had claimed they could work medical miracles, including reviving the dead. Despite those outlandish claims, when he offered to give the corpse a transfusion of lamb’s blood, the family understandably declined.


George Washington Digest

WIF Into History

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 22

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 22

…Roy Crippen makes the Secret Service crazy, by being intentionally illusive…

Illusive Man by BloodyDragon117 deviantart.com

President Bassett {#51} is indeed on her way back to Washington, unaware that she has been duped. She has bathed herself in the glory of someone else’s accomplishment. That is enough space-stuff for one day. She has a reception dinner for the East Timorese Ambassador to preside over tonight. The U.S. Ambassador to the former Portuguese outpost is a shirttail relative from her mother’s side of the family. Both of  the Ambassadors and East Timorese cuisine give her indigestion.

“Gus is back on our screens!  Someone let President Roy know… he must be going crazy.”

Roy Crippen makes the Secret Service crazy. The former President is intentionally illusive, like keeping track of an apparition. He believes that security provided to him, or the four odd others of his ilk still alive and kicking, is a waste of precious tax dollars, when they could be given to… say the space program.

Providential is the Word of the Day. Pure dumb luck is the more likely term. But the man is so mercurial; locating him is like finding a ghost impersonating the man-in-the-moon. The USSS does its job.

Today they pinpoint their illusive target, too weak to gather himself, barely strong enough to breathe on his own. How much longer he would have lasted is difficult to say. In the 2:25 it takes for the GLF medical staff to reach him, the USSS agents at the scene resuscitate him twice. The last time he regained consciousness long enough for him to hear the good news, Gus McKinney is on his way back, Sir,” agent #1 reports. Inspired by the news, Prez Roy pushes agent #2, who was performing CPR, off of him in rude fashion. He eschews the gathering and well-meaning med-throng stating, “What in Sam Hill is going on? Where is he?”

{There is no malice intended toward Sam Hill, who used such foul language that his name became a euphemism for swear words.}

“I don’t know Mr. President. Someone told me to tell you when we found you.” Agent #1 should not be apologizing.

“How did you find me?” Roy speaks from behind an oxygen mask, like he was expecting a rescue.

“Francine, I mean the First Lady told us where you like to hide out.”

“Can’t a man die in peace?” He doesn’t mean that, but he does mean this, “Please tell me that Harper Lea Bassett is none the wiser. That’s all we need, more meddling from Washington.”

“You need to settle down, Sir. You just had a serious heart episode.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 22


page 26 (end ch. 2)

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 18

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 18

…For the first time in all his born days, Roy expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong 93,000,000 miles out in space?”…

Roy Crippen, beloved #48, sits back on a chair in his personal space at the Galveston Launch Facility. He had orchestrated the great theater for this day. Everything was going just fine until it wasn’t. What started as a way to hide a missing McKinney has rapidly descended into panic on his part.

Human nature’s default reaction is to think the worst. ‘Gus will not be coming back.’ His lone mistake was placing a time-frame on the return of the Stellar Explorer.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is there is also a secret.

He uses whatever mission hook-ups he has at his disposal to search for Gus, or that shiny spheroid his stepson was speaking of, up until there was the blaring sound of silence.

The Sun is making a better door than a window; looking directly at it damages the cornea, looking around it is tough, looking through it is impossible.

Gus’ last words rattle around his brain, “I’m back in control of SEx, slowing down to get a closer look. I can tell you one thing, somebody made this thing…”

For the first time in all his born days, he expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong that far out in space?”

  1. 10 -Space Colony 1 destroyed √
  2. 45 -Sampson & Celeste gone √
  3. 25 -Deke McKinney absent √
  4. 50 -Gus & Stellar Explorer missing (possibly, maybe) √

He would prefer not assuming the worst, but that is an imposing list of failures that stares him in the face, even though the facts about the first 3 are not known to him or anyone else on Earth. That is zero comfort when comfort is needed ASAP.

Otherwise in great health, President Roy’s heart gives in to the mounting stress.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is in it now is a secret.

That he lies prostrate on the floor this day is an unintended consequence.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 18


page 22

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 13

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 13

…Speaking of supposed-to-be’s {what-ifs and cold days in hell}, President Harper Lea Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities…

“Take it easy, Fletch. While I was poking around in there last night, I discovered that SEx can achieve escape velocity on its own. The reinforced hull, along with the molecular stabilizer, will allow Gus to take that baby out solo.”

The youngest McKinney {that Earth knows about} is suiting up as he speaks.

“Somebody please inform our President about the change in plans, after the fact.”

“But…”

“I know what you’re thinking. We are going to show file footage of the boys inside SEx. Nobody will know the difference.”

Related image“But what about taking off without a piggyback? Somebody is going to notice.”

“Gus is going to be past the moon before anyone knows he’s off the pad. We’re all supposed to be on the receiving stand, isn’t that correct.”

Speaking of supposed-to-be’s, what-ifs and cold days in hell, President Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities. Few things are more important to a figurehead than advertised appearances. There was a “leak” a week back {not weak back} about her welcoming the heroes of hyperspace in person. She has long since laid claim to bringing SOL technology to the light of day, when in fact it is only her pen and the insistence of her political backers that are truly responsible.

“Where are our men-of-the-hour?” is the most asked question.

“This guy Shriver is being a leaky O-ring,” is how Francine Bouchette-Crippen describes him, for everyone in the inner circle with an earbud. She is not as cranky as her husband, but at their station in life, they don’t suffer fools lightly.

All Prez Roy does is point to the unique contrail left behind by the Stellar Explorer. He makes up a non-treasonable explanation, “There they go, Madame President. We wanted to give you a live demonstration. How will that play in D.C.?”

To support his elaborate smokescreen, he summons a video of Gus and Deke waving to the camera, curiously resembling the one from their original roundtrip to the fringe of the solar system – and back – mostly {before Deke vanished}. The screen behind the reviewing stand is innocently playing that recording and another showing long-range footage, which elicits rousing applause from all the space-geeks and political freaks who would not know the difference between an asteroid and a comet.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 13


page 19

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 12

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 12

…We’re going to take Stellar Explorer out for another demonstration run, to the Sun and back…

Roy Crippen needs to brush-up on his tap-dancing moves. President Harper Lea Bassett has landed at the Galveston Launch Facility with personal glory on her mind. She has been lucky enough to be elected leader of the ever morphing “free world” during the debut of honest-to-goodness viable space travel. Gone, or shortly so, are the days when it takes 4 months to get to Mars. Folks from around the globe are falling all over themselves to line up for the forthcoming Mars City outpost.

Whether she deserves a gram of credit is going to be history’s business.

Her lapdog right-hand-minion-lackey, otherwise known as Chief of Staff Dane Shriver, had been sent ahead to orchestrate a credit taking – made for satellite – must see spectacle, with Madame President playing the part of maestro. He thinks he has done just that.

But Prez Roy has other plans.–

No Deke McKinney is a real problem. Real American heroes are destined to be propped up for their insatiably adoring public, people who are used to living life with the immediacy of their hand-held device lifelines; where they see what happens, nearly as it happens.

Deke McKinney is otherwise indisposed.

Roy Crippen has his hunches, but hunches will not cut it here and now.

He has a plan.

We’re going to take Stellar Explorer out for another demonstration run, to the Sun and back… anywhere but around this town.”

Fletcher Fitch is the first to raise his hand. “The SLAV crew isn’t ready to go. They have been furloughed to Palm Springs.”

“Really, Palm Springs, really?” Roy is playing dumb. He’s the one who sent them there… purposely for such an occasion as this. “We don’t need ‘em!”

Is he nuts? Engineer Fitch is thinking just that. No SLAV, no go.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 12


page 18

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 4

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 4

…How about the old shell-game… they’re there, no they’re not here, they’re in the air… do you see where I’m headed…

“I just got word that the President is on her way Roy, should arrive in the morning,” Francine Bouchette-Crippen gives her husband the news.

“She doesn’t take NO for an answer, does she?” His best efforts to control the message are about to be neutered. “Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this? She’ll want to congratulate theRelated image newest space heroes and Deker will be conspicuous by his absence.”

How about the old shell-game… they’re there, no they’re not here, they’re in the air… do you see where I’m headed?

That strategy will have to do.

Until Harper Lea Bassett’s untimely arrival, Roy needs to rehash some of what he knows, in an attempt to crack the vexing missing Deke McKinney mystery.

To that end, he must remove emotion from the equation and get down to the nuts ‘n bolts: the Stellar Explorer {SEx} itself. To do so, he goes as far as to kick Fletcher Fitch away from his obsession of dissecting the differences between the old ship and the new mysteriously improved version. There will be plenty of time for that later.–

— Any machine made by man’s hand has a “feel” to it, an intangibility that may defy conventional acumen. With all the interior lights glaring or the busy busyness of the SOL hangar at the Galveston Launch Facility {GLF} it is difficult to separate the mental from the metal.

“I want this hangar cleared. Everybody go home, come back tomorrow and when you do, please wear your official NASA SOL polo shirts, the President is dropping in for a visit.” Former President Roy has a way with his underlings, an assertive manner that inspires, not inciting. As he addresses the semicircle of men and women, he looks directly at each and every one of them, “And when the topic of the McKinneys comes up you don’t know nothin’, which if you are like me, is not far from the truth.  I’m telling you to fib for the good of the program. Our honesty policy will be back in effect the day after tomorrow. See you at 0500 hours.”–


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 4


page 10

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 3

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 3

…Prez Roy, Prez Roy, ya da – ya da. I wish this country would let go of him…

“I want a tickertape parade on Inauguration Day. This is mankind’s greatest achievement and I want to rub it in the nose of those damned United Koreans.” Harper Lea Bassett, recently elected Madame President of the United States of America and proud to have supported NASA as part of her party’s platform, wants to thrust the SOL Project front & center for the entire world to see. “We have been playing second fiddle to Pan-Asia for far too long.”

{Pan-Asia does not include the United Korean Peninsula, at their causation,

thereby encouraging that rogue nation’s isolationist policies. The rest of the world has high anxiety because of Korea’s is current second placement in the race for “real” outer space. China has dropped to third, due to societal decay and fifth-place Russia has not recovered from the embargo of 2020’s.

India is fourth, at the expense of their 2 billion people, who are more interested in investing their capital in every possible commercial franchise opportunity.  To their credit, you cannot buy a donut and coffee without them.}

“I am sorry Madame President, but former President Crippen has nixed that idea,” her Chief-of-Staff informs her.

“What the hell, Dane! You’d think him and his NASA cronies would love the attention of an adoring planet. Get him on the secure line; I want to talk to him!”

“I’m sorry, but the secure line is down.”

“Don’t tell me, the Koreans?”

“We suspect they hacked in last week… they seem to have found out about our plan to kidnap an Un-family member and replace him with a doppelgänger.”

#^~`*+%=!!!  It’s hard to keep a secret anymore. It’s turned into a freaking competition; between the hackers, the drones, the satellites and the spy planes, you name it.”

“Half of them are ours!”

“Not the hackers. Our geeks are in their basements playing virtual-reality holographic games.”

“You should try Club Neptune; it is the hottest bar/game in the Solar System.”

“You want reality? We just blew past Neptune’s orbit twice and I can’t even get the Space Family McKinney to show up for a damned parade in their honor!”

“Prez Roy said he could send one of the SOL prototypes over instead.”

Prez Roy, Prez Roy, ya da – ya da. I wish this country would let go of him. How old is he now, Dane? He must be pushing 90.”

“He still runs 10 miles a day and, AND plays tennis with Francine!”

“Damn, I wish I had her legs… see, even I am jealous of an 80-something… and I am the youngest President ever elected,” just over the wire at 36, named after Harper Lee {different sp.} of To Kill a Mockingbird fame, elected by a motivated under-30 demographic and still wet behind her presidential ears. “I want USA One ready to go. I am going to go down to Texas and see what’s up.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 3


page 9

Not Your Boston Celts – WIF Geography

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Fascinating Facts

About the

Celtic People

Celtic history is steeped in mystery. You’ve no doubt heard of the Celts, but because they left behind no written records, what we know about them can often be chalked up to myth and legend. Contemporaries and frequent enemies of the Roman Empire, these warriors were quick to fight, and vicious in attack.

 But like we said at the beginning, despite what we think we might know about the Celts, much of it has been skewed and twisted throughout history, many of the tales having been told by people, such as Herodotus, who were on the outside looking in. Still, Celtic culture was, and remains, fascinating to delve into. Here are 10 things you should probably know about the Celts.

10. They Probably Didn’t Originate in Ireland

Your mind has just been blown, right? Over the years we’ve come to associate the term “Celtic” with Ireland (thanks in large part, in recent history, to the NBA team the Boston Celtics, whose logo is a leprechaun covered in shamrocks). But historians have concluded that the Celts almost certainly didn’t originate in Ireland – or Scotland, or Wales, or even England, for that matter.

Instead, their roots have been traced back to central Europe, with Austria being the likeliest point of origin. Emerging from the late Bronze Age along the Danube River, Celtic tribes are believed to have initially lived throughout continental Europe. Eventually, these tribes expanded north and did settle in the United Kingdom. But when you think of ancient tribal warriors from Ireland, the odds are pretty strong you’re not thinking of the Celts; you’re thinking of the Gaels. Of course, even  that is a little more complicated than it sounds, so we’ll come back to that later.

9. The Romans Had Nothing On Their Roads

While Romans often get credited for being the road-builders of Europe, there’s substantial evidence to suggest that the Celts beat them to the punch. Not that the history books would ever tell you that, because as we all know, history is written by the winners. And for the bulk of early recorded history, the winners resided in the Roman Empire. When you’re the biggest, baddest dude on the block, you can take what you want, including credit for things others have done.

And according to some, that includes the building of roads. Archaeological evidence now suggests that it was the Celts, and not the Romans, who were the first to build roads. Remnants of these roads would seem to indicate that they were constructed before the Roman conquest reached the British Isles. These roads were constructed largely out of wood, which was carbon dated to the Iron Age – an indication that they predated the Roman Empire expanding that far north. And speaking of the Iron Age…

8. They Were Among the First to Utilize Iron Weaponry

One aspect of Celtic culture you’re no doubt aware of is their reputation as fierce warriors. They were also technologically ahead of their time, which gave them a pretty giant leg up on their enemies. After all, this is the group that invented the exact chainmail that was later adopted by the famous Roman Legions. That obviously flies in the face of old rumors that the Celts fought naked, since we can’t imagine chainmail would feel particularly great clanging against your junk.

But it wasn’t just superior armor that gave the Celts an advantage in battle; it was superior arms, as well. The Celts are believed to be among the very first to forge iron into swords, replacing the flimsier bronze swords most had been using up until sometime around 800 BC. They also began to utilize smaller, lighter swords and daggers, also made of iron, around 600 BC. These were far less cumbersome than broadswords, enabling the Celts to be more agile and quicker to strike on the battlefield.

7. The Celts Were Hugely Wealthy

While history often paints the Celts in broad strokes as being somewhat barbaric, savage warriors, that’s not exactly the case. Sure, they did participate in some acts of barbarism, and many practiced ritual human sacrifice. And yes, we’re going to get to that in just a bit. But that aside, they were also massively wealthy, thanks in large part to being highly active in trade of the time. Being among the first to utilize iron certainly helped fill their coffers as well.

Gold was so abundant among the Celtic regions that they used it in their armor, weaponry, and art. Silver and bronze were also widely used, and they became renowned for their finely crafted and ornate jewelry. Their artistry was among the best in the world at the time, and their scientific and technological prowess was a big part of that. Through their art, their wine, their vast quantities of gold, and their advancements in technology, the Celts were able to line their pockets very nicely indeed.

6. They Had Slavery… Kind Of

Now, to be sure, the Celts did indeed practice a form of slavery. But – and not that this is justification or makes it even remotely better, in principle – it was much closer to the serfdom of Medieval times than the actual slavery we’re most familiar with from history books. And as usual when you’re talking about tribes prone to war, many of these slaves were prisoners of war who were held within the tribe’s region and forbidden traditional rights and privileges of anyone actually from that tribe.

 When a prisoner was taken, or a criminal offered to the victim’s family as restitution for his crime, he was bound to that person or family for life. He had no right of inheritance, was forbidden from taking up arms, and was more or less simply the lowest rung of the sociological ladder. Most of what we know of slavery in Celtic society comes from remnants of law texts from places like Ireland and Wales, so obviously there are pretty massive gaps in the information we’ve got. That said, while you were afforded virtually no rights as a slave held by one of the Celts, the consensus seems to be that treatment was still more humane than slaves of many other cultures throughout history.

5. They Had Progressive Views on Gender and Sexuality

While we can’t exactly call the Celts progressive in terms of their views on slavery, we absolutely can when it comes to women and sexuality. Now, don’t get us wrong: even in a somewhat progressive tribal society, it was still patriarchal. But that doesn’t mean women didn’t have a say, or couldn’t rise to power, or even become warriors or dignitaries. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Particularly before the Roman conquest, Celtic women could lead tribes, as was the case with Boudica.

Obviously, Boudica represents far from the norm, but was one of a few Celtic women to rise to power and lead her people before her death circa 60 AD. She was the queen of her tribe, and led her warriors into battle against the Roman Empire.

And speaking of gender and sexuality, one element of Celtic culture that’s become widely believed is that not only could women hold positions of power, but that Celtic men often preferred the, ahem, “company” of other men. It was commonplace for men to seek out sexual companionship with their fellow male warriors, and likewise, women practiced free love in Celtic culture, according to historical records from their contemporaries.

4. They Weren’t Savages But They Did Hunt Heads

As we’ve mentioned a few times at this point, the Celts were far from the barbarians history has often painted them to be. They were an advanced society, took great care and pride in their appearance, and were wise enough to know it was an affront to wine connoisseurs everywhere to water the stuff down like those simpletons in the Greek and Roman Empires. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t participate in at least a few practices that might qualify as barbaric and savage.

Chief among those practices – other than ritualistic human sacrifice, which we’ll get back to shortly – was headhunting. As with ritualistic sacrifices, Celtic headhunting was driven by religion, for the most part. You see, the Celts believed that the head contained a warrior’s soul, so by taking his head you are, in fact, capturing that soul. At least, that’s one popular theory as to why they hunted heads, though the exact reason is not known, and likely varied from tribe to tribe, and warrior to warrior, particularly since the practice continued even after most Celtic tribes had converted to Christianity.

3. The Number Three Had a Huge Significance

We’ll be delving into the religion of the Celts in just a moment, but a substantial part of their belief system was the concept of “triplicity.” While that may sound like a knockoff travel website, in reality it has to do with the number three. Specifically, things coming in the form of ‘triplets’, so to speak. That means three realms (Sky, Land, and Sea), and three types of gods (personal, tribal, and spirits).

Now, the Celts didn’t just have three gods, mind you. They had many. When we talk about the Celts worshipping three types of gods, we’re talking about the kinds that guide you when you’re alone, the kinds that are with you when you’re in groups, and those that protect your home. To put it simply, triplicity refers to three things that come together to form a whole. It’s an important part of cosmology and astrology, which were integral parts Druid paganism. Which leads us to…

2. For Most of Their Existence They Were Polytheistic

Eventually, some Celtic tribes adopted Christianity as their preferred spiritual path. But for the bulk of Celtic existence, they practiced polytheism; the worship of many gods. It’s not unusual that they’d have worshipped numerous gods, considering the same was true of their contemporaries, like the Greeks and Romans. And the chief purveyors of Celtic polytheism, or Celtic paganism, were the Druids.

Believe it or not, much of what we know of the Druids and Druidism comes from, of all people, Julius Caesar. Obviously, that’s part of what renders our knowledge of the Druids information that should probably be taken with at least a small grain of salt, considering Caesar and his Empire were frequently at war with the Celts. Still, Caesar relayed that the Druids were teachers and priests, and also rendered judgement and penalties resulting from crimes and squabbles within their tribes.

As alluded to in the previous entry, the stars played a significant role in the Celtic religion and Druidism. They also practiced ritual sacrifice to appease their gods (with the burning of Wicker Men – sacrificial victim or victims inside – which will send a shiver down Nic Cage’s spine should he read this), and believed in reincarnation.

1. The Celts Weren’t Really, Well, “Celts”

Confused? Don’t be. It’s a lot simpler than the header probably makes it sound. You see, the group you think of as the “Celts” isn’t really the Celts, at least not in the sense that the Romans were the Romans, or the Greeks were the Greeks. That’s because the Celts weren’t just one group; they consisted of many, including the aforementioned Gaels, the Britons, the Gauls, and the Galatians, among others. See, “Celtic” really referred to language, and the somewhat similar dialects these various tribes used.

That said, grouping all of those tribes together under one umbrella – which, again, was done by contemporaries like the Greeks and Romans, since the Celts themselves didn’t keep written records – is probably misleading. Some historians suggest that the languages were different enough, and the groups so spread out (as far east as Turkey, all the way west to the Atlantic Ocean) that it’s highly unlikely most of the tribes were remotely united. In fact, it’s believed part of the reason they were ultimately defeated by the Romans was because of their lack of unification. In essence, calling a Gaul “Celtic” would be akin to calling a German “European.” Technically correct, but highly generalized.


 Not Your Boston Celts

– WIF Geography

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 216

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 216

…when you put an end to both wars AND welfare, you  eliminate the need to throw money at them…

Money GIF - Find on GIFER

At “home”, on this movie night, they rehash the good and the bad concerning the fallout from his speech.

“I have been told there is a Defense Department hit squad waiting for you in the halls of the Pentagon.” The First Lady has his back, as it should be.

“Do you mean that just because I have put an end to the infamous $600 hammer in the room? It’s not just the gross cost of the hammer, it’s the brother-in-law of the Army general who makes it… not to mention the fact that the military doesn’t use hammers anymore.”

“I saw a political cartoon in the Post which shows an Army general addressing his troops, telling them, ‘Next week I promise we will have live ammunition for our rifles.’ Yes you are on top of their s**t-list.”

“I’ll tell you what Francine, professional soldiers are like social workers; when you put an end to both wars AND welfare, you  eliminate the need to throw money at them.

“And speaking of spending money wisely, may I present to you the rising star of the SOL Project, who will tell us that the priority spending program is ahead of schedule and under budget: Ladies and Gentlemen, Gus “The Blue Blurrrr” McKinney!” Roy acknowledges Gus entering the room, signaling the end of the movie.

“Actually sir, we are behind schedule, over budget and seeing that I am an up-and-comer, can I buy that new Northrop Grumman LX25, it cruises at 400? {In the atmosphere}”

“I’ve seen your bank account and by 2040 you’ll have enough for the down payment.” Gus hangs his head. “And how many 21 year-olds have general aviation transportation; your car will do.”

Coming in late to the conversation at the White House, whose priorities are radically more serious, is brother Deke.  “Don’t fall for his bull Dad.”

Roy has to blink hard. Seeing the McKinney boys together in one room is rare and you can flip a coin to determine which one is which. The older they get, the more alike they look.


 THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 216


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 215

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 215

…In fact, Thomas Jefferson and others would actually run national lotteries to pay for non-budgeted expenditures…

As part of his second Inaugural Address, Roy Crippen may well have quoted scenes from the beloved (by buffs) Science Fiction series in his globally televised speech. His accentuation of the SOL Project would blend in nicely with the film, amplifying the need for spanning spatial distances quickly. Selling his country on the expensive proposition is not going to be easy, even in light of the President’s overwhelming popularity.

B-U-D-G-E-T; 6 unassuming letters {5 if you’re a rotten speller BUGIT or bad with numbers} that spell fear in the heart of recent Presidents, ever since the USA’s spending has exceeded its income, sometime after George Washington took office. Although the fiscal dynamics of a fledgling nation is absolutely unvarnished by contrast, the “Father of Our Country” still needed to deal with the relation between exports & imports and expenditures vs. revenue.

In his first term, “Prez Roy”, the nation’s affectionate label for him, is the 48th such aspiring budget balancer. Previously Washington, George only knew the meaning of the word debt, in the days before unbridled credit. His administration and several succeeding others, spent only as much as it took in. In fact, Thomas Jefferson and others would actually run national lotteries to pay for non-budgeted expenditureslike wars.

“I think we have done very well,” Roy told the nation last month. “In 2034 we had our first balanced budget since 1997 and we have managed to do the same, every year since then. Have we all made sacrifices? Yes. And has not the long arm of the Federal revenue collecting been altered? Yes… mostly, but only because we ran out of things to tax.”Wc GIF | Gfycat

Yet even before the wheels of said responsible government would to grind away on January 21st 2037, 25 trillion dollars had been borrowed and flushed down the toilet, protecting the world from itself and paying for those who refuse to take responsibility for their own affairs.

He goes on, “Productivity is not just another word. It is the foundation of industry, as well as a reasonable demand for services rendered. We are now all pulling on the same end of the rope.” When President Roy speaks it, it makes perfect sense & people listen. If a segment of society does not buy into his formula, it is isolated and dealt with.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 215


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