Today's Delancey place

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“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#1 Aug 27, 2013
Delanceyplace is a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, mainly works of history, are occasionally controversial, and we hope will have a more universal relevance than simply the subject of the book from which they came.

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“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#2 Aug 27, 2013
Part 1.
In today's selection -- from The Summer of Beer and Whiskey by Edward Achorn. In the mid-1800s, a mass migration of Germans spurred by hard times and a crackdown by repressive German governments brought their beer-drinking ways to whiskey-drinking America. Entire families, children intact, could be seen sipping beer together at newly minted "beer gardens." This resulted in large populations of Germans especially in Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. Prohibition, which was in part an ethnic and class-based movement, was in some respects a reaction to this immigration.(And though the German migration was one of the larger migrations to America, many German-Americans anglicized their names and masked their culture after they began to face attacks, hostility and discrimination from other Americans -- especially during World War I):
"[In St. Louis in the late 1870s, people flocked to beer gardens to] enjoy sprightly polkas and popular tunes, played by a small band, before heading home after dusk on the horse-drawn streetcars.... It was 'one of the peculiarities of German customs' that parents readily brought their young ones to such drinking places, noted the 1878 book A Tour of St. Louis.'It is often the case that a family consisting of husband and wife and half a dozen children may be observed seated at a table, sipping fresh, foaming beer, and eating pretzels.'
"Germans had poured into the Midwest from the 1830s through the 1880s as part of a mass exodus from their homeland. They were fleeing hard times, bad harvests, bullying bureaucrats, and the brutality of war for a better, freer life. The crackdown that followed the revolutions of 1848, in particular, drove many German liberals to America, where some became distinguished leaders in the antislavery and workers' rights move­ments. By 1880, some 54,901 of the 350,518 people in St. Louis -- more than 15 percent -- were German-born. They had nourished their dreams on books of advice like The Germans in America (1851), by a Boston pastor named F. W. Bogen.'A great blessing meets the German emigrant the moment he steps upon these shores,' Bogen promised.'He comes into a free country; free from the oppression of despotism, free from privileged orders and monopolies, free from the pressure of intolerable taxes and imposts, free from constraint in matters of belief and conscience.' Many Germans were drawn to the idea of a young, dynamic country where their talent and strenuous work mattered more than the whims of government bureaucrats or the accident of birth.
"The Germans brought with them something called gemutlichkeit -- a compound of 'conviviality, camaraderie and good fellowship, love of cel­ebrations, card-playing, praise of [the] German way of life, and all these washed over by flowing kegs of good lager beer.' Lippincott's Magazine ex­plained to its readers in April 1883:'Beer and wine the German looks upon as gifts of God, to be enjoyed in moderation for lightening the cares of life and adding to its pleasures; and Sunday afternoon is devoted, by all who do not belong to the stricter Protestant sects, to recreation.'

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#3 Aug 27, 2013
Part 2.

"Many native-born Americans frowned on such ideas. The New York Times, the voice of the eastern Protestant establishment, with its affection for blue laws and prohibition, hoped these aliens would soon outgrow their Old World habits:'In the old countries, where freedom is smoth­ered, drinking may be necessary to drown the depressing influences of despotism; but here, where freedom woos the mind to culture, no such beastly compensation is called for, and we believe we have said sufficient to prove that our German fellow-citizens are born for higher and nobler uses than for schnapps and lager-bier.' The Cincinnati Enquirer, in con­trast, insisted that German beer actually helped to civilize America.'For­merly Americans drank scarcely anything else than whisky, frequently very bad whisky, and the consequence was quarreling, strife and fights. Now Americans drink almost as much beer as the Germans do, and whereas Americans used to pour everything down their throats standing, they now sit down good naturedly and chat over a good glass of beer, without flying into one another's hair.'

"It wasn't long before the number of beer gardens operating on Sun­days in St. Louis became something of a national scandal, as easterners complained of a steady assault on the sanctity of the Lord's Day. Though St. Louis was predominantly Christian,'it cannot be claimed that its in­habitants are pious, in the sense of the word as understood in Boston,' admitted the authors of A Tour of St. Louis. St. Louis residents -- some descended from French Catholics, who shared the German attitude to­ward Sundays -- burst from their homes on the Lord's Day, filling the streets with laughter and chatter as they made their way to such 'umbra­geous enclosures' as beer gardens.'Music, dancing, ball games, and other amusements are indulged in with a zest which shows the intensity of plea­sure realized from them by the participants.' For them, such pleasures were 'soul-feasts.' "
Author: Edward Achorn

Title: The Summer of Beer and Whiskey
Publisher: Public Affairs
Date: Copyright 2013 by Edward Achorn
The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game
by Edward Achorn by PublicAffairs

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#4 Aug 28, 2013
Part. 1 In today's selection -- from Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter by Randy L. Schmidt. In 1970, a new band formed by a young musical prodigy named Richard Carpenter, along with his sister Karen -- the band's drummer -- they had achieved enough modest success with their first album to be selected to perform a medley of Burt Bacharach's songs as an opening act in his upcoming tour. In getting to this point, Richard, a relentless and energetic tinkerer, had stumbled upon a signature sound for his group by overdubbing their two voices to create an eight part harmony -- then tripling them in the studio to get twenty-four voices in all. "We couldn't believe the results," recalled Karen. For her part, drummer Karen had unexpectedly discovered that people responded powerfully to her voice -- many describing it as a voice "unlike any they had ever heard." Looking for songs for their next album, they stumbled across a 1963 Bacharach tune called "They Long to Be Close to You." Shortly after, Richard saw a television commercial for Crocker Bank with a jingle titled "Close to You":
"As the Carpenters rehearsed furiously on A&M's soundstage and the medley began to take shape, Herb Alpert came through with a lead sheet for a lesser-known Bacharach-David song entitled 'They Long to Be Close to You,' first recorded by Richard "Dr. Kildare" Chamberlain in 1963. The song was also arranged by Bacharach for Make Way for Dionne Warwick the following year....
"The lead sheet for 'They Long to Be Close to You' remained on Richard's Wurlitzer for several weeks. Though it was not suited for the medley, Richard saw its potential as a stand-alone song and with Alpert's urging began to construct his own arrangement. Alpert owned a copy of Warwick's recording but would not let Richard hear it. Aside from two piano quintuplets at the end of the bridge, he wanted nothing to influence Richard's concept.
"Three very distinct arrangements of 'They Long to Be Close to You' were put to tape, the first with Karen singing in a style similar to that of Harry Nilsson. The result sounded too contrived and was forcibly accenting the word 'you.' For the second attempt Alpert suggested Jack Daugherty bring in pianist Larry Knechtel and drummer Hal Blaine....
"Although Blaine went on to drum on this and numerous Carpenters records, Knechtel's piano performance proved too forceful for the mood of the song. Richard returned to the keys for a third and final approach.'Hold it, Richard,' Blaine interjected during his first Carpenters session.'Where are you going with this tempo?' This stunned Richard, who was accustomed to calling all the shots in the studio.
" 'What do you mean?' he asked.
" 'Well, are we going to play the beginning tempo or the middle tempo or the ending tempo? You're kind of running away with it after the intro.'...
"Blaine suggested using a click track, which is essentially a metronome marking time in the musicians' headphone mix. Like many artists, the Carpenters considered click tracks to be stifling, often resulting in robotic music. They finally gave in after Blaine explained it to be a reference tempo that need not be followed at every moment of a song.'After that,' Blaine says,'they wanted all their songs done with click track.'
"Herb Alpert was pleased with the third version of 'They Long to Be Close to You,' and as the recording began to take shape, excitement over the new creation spread throughout A&M. Breaking studio protocol, A&M staffers interrupted sessions and pushed open the doors to studio C to ask,'What is that?' When engineer Ray Gerhardt cranked studio monitors to what he often referred to as 'excitement level,' the reaction was overwhelming for all involved....
"In early 1970, advertising agent Hal Riney hired Beach Boys' lyricist Tony Asher to write a jingle for the Crocker Bank of California.

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#5 Aug 28, 2013
Part 2. "After Asher broke his arm in a skiing accident he recommended Roger Nichols and Paul Williams for the job.'It actually turned out to be something very different,' Williams recalls.'Almost all commercials up to that point had pitch. They had copy, like 'come to our bank' or whatever. For this one they just wanted to show a little short movie of a young couple getting married and riding off into the sunset. They asked Roger and me to write a one-minute song that would accompany that movie.'... Riney provided the songwriters with a bit of inspiration -- his own slogan for the soft-sell campaign:'You've got a long way to go. We'd like to help you get there. The Crocker Bank.'...
" 'I came in that morning and was working on the tune,' Nichols says.'Paul came in a little after that, and within ten minutes he had written the first verse.' Williams grabbed an envelope and scribbled on the back:
We've only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way
"Within a half hour they had written two one-minute jingles. After the original commercials aired, Crocker Bank executives wished to give copies of the song to their employees and asked the songwriters to make it a complete song.'We finished the complete song as an afterthought,' Williams says.'When we put all the copy together and added a bridge we had the song. You can see some imperfection in the rhyme scheme in the third verse. It doesn't rhyme like it's supposed to.'Grow' and 'begun' don't rhyme like they should because that was actually the first verse of the second commercial.'
"It was after a late-night recording session that Richard Carpenter caught the Crocker Bank commercial on television. Recognizing Paul Williams's lead vocal he figured it had to be a Nichols-Williams tune."
Author: Randy L. Schmidt
Title: Little Girl Blue
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Date: Copyright 2010 by Randy L. Schmidt
Pages: 57-61
Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter
by Randy L. Schmidt by Chicago Review Press

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#6 Aug 29, 2013
In today's selection -- from Money: The Unauthorized Biography by Felix Martin. What is money? Is it a hard asset like gold? Or is it instead "tradeable debt" -- IOUs that can be used by the noteholders to pay for other goods and services? Even today the debate rages, with crucial policy implications -- including the current debate between austerity and stimulus. In the early 1900s, an unexpected discovery was made on the tiny and remote Pacific island of Yap [or Wa'ab] that eventually came to the attention of a young John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist of the twentieth century. For the inhabitants of Yap, money came in the form of stone wheels as large as twelve feet in diameter, lending support to the idea that money is at bottom an IOU:
"In 1903,[a brilliant and eccentric young American adventurer, William Henry Furness III] made a two-month visit to Yap, and published a broad survey of its physical and social make-up a few years later. He was immediately impressed by how much more remote and untouched it was than Borneo. Yet despite being a tiny island with only a few thousand inhabitants --'whose whole length and breadth is but a day's walk', as Furness described it -- Yap turned out to have a remarkably complex society. There was a caste system, with a tribe of slaves, and special clubhouses lived in by fishing and fighting fraternities.... But undoubtedly the most striking thing that Furness discovered on Yap was its monetary system.
"The economy of Yap, such as it was, could hardly be called developed. The market extended to a bare three products -- fish, coconuts, and Yap's one and only luxury, sea cucumber. There was no other exchangeable commodity to speak of; no agriculture; few arts and crafts; the only domesticated animals were pigs and, since the Germans [explorers] had arrived, a few cats; and there had been little contact or trade with outsiders. It was as simple and as isolated an economy as one could hope to find. Given these antediluvian conditions, Furness expected to find nothing more advanced than simple barter. Indeed, as he observed,'in a land where food and drink and ready-made clothes grow on trees and may be had for the gathering' it seemed possible that even barter itself would be an unnecessary sophistication.'
"The very opposite turned out to be true. Yap had a highly developed system of money. It was impossible for Furness not to notice it the moment that he set foot on the island, because its coinage was extremely unusual. It consisted of fei --'large, solid, thick stone wheels ranging in diameter from a foot to twelve feet, having in the centre a hole varying in size with the diameter of the stone, wherein a pole may be inserted sufficiently large and strong to bear the weight and facilitate transportation'. This stone money was originally quarried on Babelthuap, an island some 300 miles away in Palau, and had mostly been brought to Yap, so it was said, long ago. The value of the coins depended principally on their size, but also on the fineness of the grain and the whiteness of the limestone.

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#7 Aug 29, 2013
Part 2.


"At first, Furness believed that this bizarre form of currency might have been chosen because, rather than in spite of, its extraordinary unwieldiness:'when it takes four strong men to steal the price of a pig, burglary cannot but prove a somewhat disheartening occupation', he ventured.'As may be supposed, thefts of
fei are almost unknown.' But as time went on, he observed that physical transportation of
fei from one house to another was in fact rare. Numerous transactions took place -- but the debts incurred were typically just offset against each other, with any outstanding balance carried forward in expectation of some future exchange. Even when open balances were felt to require settlement, it was not usual for fei to be physically exchanged.'The noteworthy feature of this stone currency,' wrote Furness,'is that it is not necessary for its owner to reduce it to possession. After concluding a bargain which involves the price of a fei too large to be conveniently moved, its new owner is quite content to accept the bare acknowledgement of ownership and without so much as a mark to indicate the exchange, the coin remains undisturbed on the former owner's premises.

"When Furness expressed amazement at this aspect of the Yap monetary system, his guide told him an even more surprising story:

[T]here was in the village near by a family whose wealth was unquestioned -- acknowledged by everyone -- and yet no one, not even the family itself, had ever laid eye or hand on this wealth; it consisted of an enormous fei, whereof the size is known only by tradition; for the past two or three generations it had been and was at that time lying at the bottom of the sea!

"This fei, it transpired, had been shipwrecked during a storm while in transit from Babelthuap many years ago. Nevertheless:

[I]t was universally conceded ... that the mere accident of its loss overboard was too trifling to mention, and that a few hundred feet of water off shore ought not to affect its marketable value ... The purchasing power of that stone remains, therefore, as valid as if it were leaning visibly against the side of the owner's house, and represents wealth as potentially as the hoarded inactive gold of a miser in the Middle Ages, or as our silver dollars stacked in the Treasury in Washington, which we never see or touch, but trade with on the strength of a printed certificate that they are there.

"When it was published in 1910, it seemed unlikely that Furness' eccentric travelogue would ever reach the notice of the economics profession. But eventually a copy happened to find its way to the editors of the Royal Economic Society's Economic Journal, who assigned the book to a young Cambridge economist, recently seconded to the British Treasury on war duty: a certain John Maynard Keynes. The man who over the next twenty years was to revolutionise the world's understanding of money and finance was astonished. Furness' book, he wrote,'has brought us into contact with a people whose ideas on currency are probably more truly philosophical than those of any other country. Modern practice in regard to gold reserves has a good deal to learn from the more logical practices of the island of Yap."

Author: Felix Martin
Title: Money
Publisher: Bodley Head
Date: Copyright 2013 by Failu Ltd.
Pages: 2-6

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#8 Aug 30, 2013
Part 1.
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
In today's selection -- in the early 1920s, Germany experience the worst instance of hyperinflation ever recorded -- it took a wheelbarrow to carry the billions of marks (German dollars) needed to buy a loaf of bread. Hyperinflation came because the German government printed trillions of marks. This was not "printing money" as the term is used today -- a misnomer describing the case where the Federal Reserve Bank directly buys U.S. bonds issued by the Treasury -- but instead a literal printing of money that created a major logistical operation involving "133 printing works with 1,783 machines ... and more than 30 paper mills." And it was not in the amounts sometimes "printed" by governments today -- perhaps 5 to 10% of GDP per annum -- but instead amounts that far exceeded 100% of GDP in a single year:
"While Germany was grimly trying to negotiate relief from the burden of [war] reparations, its domestic economic policy, bad as it had been during the war, became worse. The country was in perpetual turmoil, constantly on the brink of revolution, run by a series of week coalition governments, and was quite unable to control its finances. In addition to large residual expenses from the war -- pensions to veterans and war widows, compensation for those who had lost private property in the territories forfeited under the Treaty of Versailles -- the governments took on enormous new social obligations: an eight-hour day for workers, insurance for the unemployed, health and welfare payments for the sick and the poor. Germany's financial problems were mostly self-inflicted. Nevertheless, reparation payments made what was already a difficult fiscal situation impossible. To finance the gap, the various governments of Germany resorted to the Reichsbank to print the money.
"In 1914, the mark stood at 4.2 to the dollar, meaning that a mark was worth a little under 24 cents. By the beginning of 1920, after the full effects of the inflationary war finance had worked through the system, there were 65 marks to the dollar -- the mark was now worth only 1.5 cents -- and the price level stood at nine times its 1914 level. Over the next eighteen months, despite an enormous budget deficit and a 50 percent increase in the amount of currency outstanding, inflation actually slowed down and the mark even stabilized....
"A series of events, however, in the middle of 1921 -- French inflexibility over reparations, a campaign of political murder by right-wing death squads -- broke the public's confidence that Germany's problems were soluble. It abandoned the mark in droves. The foreign speculators who had bought marks the previous two years also bailed out, losing most of the $2 billion they had pumped in. A visitor in the late 1920s to the game rooms of Milwaukee or Chicago would find the walls papered with German currency and bonds that had become worthless.
"As the mark plummeted, Germany became caught in an ever-deepening downward spiral. On June 24, 1922, the architect of fulfillment, Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau, one of the most attractive political figures in Germany -- cultured, rich, scion of a great industrial family -- was gunned down in his car by yet another group of crazed reactionaries. Panic set in. Prices rose fortyfold during 1922 and the mark correspondingly fell from 190 to 7,600 to the dollar.

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#9 Aug 30, 2013
Part 1.
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
"In early 1923, when Germany was late in meeting a reparations payment for that year -- the precipitating incident as the failure to deliver one hundred thousand telephone poles to France -- forty thousand French and Belgian troops invaded Germany and occupied the Ruhr valley, its industrial heartland. The chancellor, Wilhelm Cuno, powerless in every other way, launched a campaign of passive resistance. The budget deficit almost doubled, to around 1.5 billion. To finance this shortfall required the printing of ever-increasing amounts of ever more worthless paper marks. In 1922, around 1 trillion marks of additional currency was issued; in the first months of 1923 it was 17 trillion marks....

"The task of keeping Germany adequately supplied with currency notes became a major logistical operation involving '133 printing works with 1783 machines ... and more than 30 paper mills.' By 1923, the inflation had acquired a momentum of its own, creating an ever-accelerating appetite for currency that the Reichsbank, even after conscripting private printers, could not meet. In a country already flooded with paper, there were even complaints of a shortage of money in municipalities, so towns and private companies began to print their own notes.

"Over the next few months, Germany experienced the single greatest destruction of monetary value in human history. By August 1923, a dollar was worth 620,000 marks and by early November 1923, 630 billion.

"Basic necessities were now priced in the billions -- a kilo of butter cost 250 billion; a kilo of bacon 180 billion; a simple ride on a Berlin street car, which had cost 1 mark before the war, was now set at 15 billion. Even though currency notes were available in denominations of up to 100 billion marks, it took whole sheaves to pay for anything. The country was awash with currency notes, carried around in bags, in wheelbarrows, in laundry baskets and hampers, even in baby carriages.

It was not simply the extraordinary numbers involved; it was the dizzying speed at which prices were now soaring. In the last three weeks of October, they rose ten thousandfold, doubling every couple of days. In the time that it took to drink a cup of coffee in one of Berlin's many cafes the price might have doubled. Money received at the beginning of the week lost nine-tenths of its buying power by the end of the week."

Author: Liaquat Ahamed
Title: Lords of Finance
Publisher: Penguin
Date: Copyright 2009 by Liaquat Ahamed
Pages: 119-121


Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#10 Sep 5, 2013
In today's encore selection - Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect World by Marlene Zuk why study insects? Because the ten million kinds of insects provide an incomparable variety of behaviors -- including some whose genitals explode after sex and others who can exercise mind control over other insect species:

"People are more afraid of insects than they are of dying, at least if you believe a 1973 survey published in The Book of Lists. Only public speaking and heights exceeded the six-legged as sources of fear ... And yet for centuries, some of the greatest minds in science have drawn inspiration from studying some of the smallest minds on earth. From Jean Henri Fabre to Charles Darwin to E.O. Wilson, naturalists have been fascinated by the lives of six-legged creatures that seem both frighteningly alien and uncannily familiar. Beetles and earwigs take care of their young, fireflies and crickets flash and chirp for mates, and ants construct elaborate societies, with internal politics that put the U.S. Congress to shame....

"Some of it, of course, is the sheer magnitude of almost everything about insects -- they are more numerous than any other animal, making up over 80 percent of all species. Estimates of the number of kinds of insects vary wildly, because new ones are being discovered all the time, but there are at least a million, possibly as many as ten million, which means that you could have an 'Insect of the Month' calendar and not need to re-use a species for well over eighty thousand years. Take that, pandas and kittens! At any one moment, say while you are reading this sentence, approximately ten quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects surround you in the world. All of that variety gives enormous scope for evolution to act upon.... And then there is the sensationalism; nothing gets my students' attention like hearing about male honeybees' genitals exploding after sex, and everyone has shuddered over the female mantis eating her mate. Insects routinely do things that would put the most gruesome horror film to shame....

"I haven't seen Green Porno, but if the segment on dragonflies is up to date, it should include a shot of the male's jagged penis as it scoops out the sperm from a previous mate, replacing it with his own. Sperm competition, in which the sperm of multiple males battle inside a female's reproductive tract, was first discovered, and is best understood, in insects, and new aspects of it are being uncovered all the time.

"Insects are even teaching us about mind control, and maybe even about consciousness itself. A tiny wasp called the emerald cockroach wasp can do what many renters cannot: direct the movements of a cockroach. The wasp does this not to rid a kitchen of scuttling invaders but to feed her brood. Many wasps provision their young by paralyzing other insects or spiders and carrying them back to the wasp's nest. The paralysis, as opposed to out and out killing of the prey, helps the prey stay fresh while the young wasp larva feasts on the flesh. Of course, paralyzed insects can't put themselves into the nest, so the wasp usually has to do all the heavy lifting, staggering under the weight of her groceries as she flies back to her young. Except, that is, in the case of the jewel wasp, so named for the glittery emerald sheen of her exoskeleton. The female wasp doesn't send the roach into an immobile stupor; instead, she makes it into a zombie via a judicious sting inside the roach's head, so that its nervous system, and legs, still function well enough to allow it to walk on its own. Then, as science writer Carl Zimmer describes,'The wasp takes hold of one of the roach's antennae and leads it, like a dog on a leash, to its doom' "

Author: Marlene Zuk
Title: Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect World
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date: Copyright 2011 by Marlene Zuk

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#11 Sep 12, 2013
In today's encore selection - from I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage by Susan Squire. Divorce customs ancient and not-so-ancient:
"For nearly a thousand years, an Englishman sick of his wife could slip a halter around her neck, lead her to market -- the cattle market -- and sell her to the highest bidder, often with her willing participation. This informal route to divorce for the lower classes lasted, amazingly, until at least 1887....[As reported by non-fiction authors Lawrence Stone in The Family Sex and Marriage and Samuel Menefee in Wives for Sale] a drunken husband sells his wife in the opening chapter of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), much to the astonishment of contemporary critics. Oblivious to the informal unlawful marriage and divorce customs of the less literate brethren ('wife-sale' dates back to c. 1073), they could not imagine such a thing happening on British soil in the nineteenth century, even though popular broadsides depicting the practice (one of which illustrates the cover of Menefee's book) were still being produced and widely circulated during that same century....
"[In the Old Testament, the law allowed for divorce because of infertility and] Israelite men could divorce their wives for reasons far more vague than infertility.(Wives couldn't divorce their husbands for any reason.) If, for instance,'she fails to please him because he finds something obnoxious about her,' there's no need to hire a pricey lawyer. He simply 'writes her a bill of divorcement, hands it to her and sends her away from his house.' He'd better be sure this is what he wants, because he can't have her back again....
"The Bible, leaving nothing to chance, provides soldiers with a lesson on the fine art of taking enemy women to wife after the enemy has been vanquished.... You don't just throw her to the ground and have your way with her then and there. You don't throw her on the ground at all. And you don't have your way with her for an entire month. No,'you shall bring her into your house, and she shall trim her hair, pare her nails, and discard her captive's garb. She shall spend a month's time in your house, lamenting her father and mother; after that you may come to her and possess her, and she shall be your wife.' The lesson includes instruction on how to get rid of her, too. No bill of divorcement is required, but restrictions do apply:'Then, should you no longer want her, you must release her outright. You must not sell her for money; since you had your will of her, you must not enslave her.' "
Author: Susan Squire
Title: I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, New York
Date: Copyright 2008 by Susan Squire

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#12 Sep 12, 2013
Part. 1. In today's selection - from The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding
by Robert Hughes. In 1788, when British ships first brought their cargo of convicts to inhabit the new British territory of Australia, they were greeted almost immediately by the Aborigines or "Indians"-- the native inhabitants of that territory. Any expectations they had that these natives would be like the beautiful, sexually generous natives of Tahiti that Captain James Cook had encountered nineteen years before would be disappointed -- since these aboriginal women "smeared their bodies with fish oil" and had "fresh drippings" of "Excrementitious Matter of the Nose." For the naked Aborig­ines, on the other hand, the great enigma was the gender of the whites:
"[As the British] fleet arrived in Botany Bay,... the Aborigines began to assemble in greater numbers on the rock-strewn spits and white beaches. As [the ship] Sirius sailed past Point Solander, Captain John Hunter watched them flourish their spears at her and cry 'Warra, warra!' These words, the first recorded ones spoken by a black to a white in Australia, meant 'Go away!'
"But the intruders did not go away ...[and] before long the Aborigines were accepting presents from [British Captain Arthur] Phillip. They swarmed around the boats, plucking at the whites' clothes and shouting with amazement and pleasure whenever anyone lifted his hat....
"Soon the Englishmen ran out of beads and ribbon, but the hesitant con­tacts went on through the afternoon as more tribesmen gathered on the beach. King gave two Aborigines a taste of wine, which they spat out. Names for things were exchanged. But the great enigma, for the Aborig­ines, was the sex of the whites. They poked at the marines' breeches. Finally King ordered one of his men to satisfy their curiosity. The embar­rassed marine fumbled at his fly, and the first white cock was flashed on an Australian beach.'They made a great shout of admiration,'...
"The [aborigines] were not as attractive as the Tahitians, and they seemed less like that fiction of the liberal European mind, the Noble Savage. They exemplified 'hard' as against 'soft' primitivism. But cer­tainly the colonists did not wish to exterminate or enslave them, and they seemed at first to pose no threat.
"Nevertheless, they were destroyed. Cholera and influenza germs from the ships began the work. By 1789 black corpses were a common sight, huddled in the salt grasses and decomposing in the creamy uterine hol­lows of the sandstone. These epidemics were not meant to happen; the days of arsenic and the infected trading-blanket were still far off....

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#13 Sep 12, 2013
Part. 2. The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding
by Robert Hughes.

"If at first the officers of the fleet saw the Aborigines through a scrim of Arcadian stereotypes and Rousseauist fancies, this pleasant delusion did not last long. The proper denizens of Arcadia were nymphs, but those of Port Jackson were unlike the welcoming girls of Tahiti. Young aborig­inal women provoked mild longings in George Worgan, the surgeon on Sirius.'I can assure you,' he wrote,
'there is in some of them a Proportion, a Softness, a roundness and Plump­ness in their limbs and bodies ... that would excite tender & amorous Sensations, even in the frigid Breast of a Philosopher....'
"Their virtue, or at least their relative immunity to rape, was nonetheless secured by their dirtiness, repellent even by the norms of Georgian hy­giene.'What with the stinking Fish-Oil,' Worgan complained,
'with which they seem to besmear their Bodies, & this mixed with the Soot which is collected on their Skins from continually setting over the Fires, and then in addition to those sweet Odours, the constant appear­ance of the Excrementitious Matter of the Nose which is collected on the upper pouting Lip, in rich Clusters of dry Bubbles, and is kept up by fresh Drippings; I say, from all these personal Graces & Embellishments, every Inclination for an Affair of Gallantry, as well as every idea of fond endear­ing Intercourse, which the nakedness of these Damssels might excite one to, is banished.' "
Author: Robert Hughes
Title: The Fatal Shore
Publisher: First Vintage Books Edition
Date: Copyright 1986 by Robert Hughes

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#14 Sep 12, 2013
Part 1. In today's selection -- from Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller. In startling contrast to today, in 1960 more than half of women were married before the age of twenty. But vast changes to marriage and the family were just over the horizon, and one of the key harbingers of this change was Enovid, which in 1961 became the first pill approved by the FDA for contraception. In 1961, Carly Simon -- later to achieve worldwide fame with such songs as "Anticipation," "You're So Vain," and "Coming Around Again" -- was a freshman at Sarah Lawrence, one of America's elite women's colleges. By 1964 she was an apostle of this change -- she had dropped out of college, was defying convention by living with her boyfriend, and was taking Enovid:

"[In the early 1960s],... the elite women's colleges were cliques of smart, talented, opinionated girls who were on their way to becoming the wives of [the young men who would shape their generation]. Such was the cultural dictum, for even the smartest daughters of wealthy, educated families. The very recent year 1960 would prove to have marked the all-time youngest age of first marriage for American women for the entire prior one hundred years -- more than half of women married by age twenty -- affirming the gut sense that decades' most 'typical' characteristics emerge at their sunsets.'Girls' identities were very much about the man you were with,' recalls Carly's best friend, Ellen Wise Questel, now a psychotherapist, who went off to Sarah Lawrence, along with Carly. Despite privilege and culture and high expectations, Ellen says,'We were still not whole.'
"Carly -- only slightly facetiously -- remembers imagining her future thus:'I was going to live in the kitchen and serve little pouffy mousses with demitasses to my husband, the poetry professor at a small New England college, and his terribly intellectual friends, around an old farm table where no napkins matched.' In Carly's Andrea-modeled version, it was the man who would do the interesting thing; the woman -- wittily, flirtatiously, creatively -- who would be his muse, the power behind his throne, and a thinking-woman's version of a socialite. Still, the Riverdale [Carly's New York private high school] girls were expected to finish college before getting married, and not to have children immediately. But be major creators in their own right? That wasn't necessarily part of the agenda.

" 'However,' adds Ellen,'If there was one women's college that got the few women who did not think in that conventional way -- who believed in their own talent and expected to be artists in their own right -- then that was our college, Sarah Lawrence.''It was a magic time to be at Sarah Lawrence,' says award-winning filmmaker Helen Whitney, who was a student there during those years....
"[By 1964, living in the south of France with her boyfriend, Carly suffered from anxiety attacks.] Once in bed,... Carly's anxiety attacks would descend like clockwork -- night shakes so intense that she was certain she was having a nervous breakdown. Today Carly believes the shaking attacks were a combination of a later-proved allergy to the wine and the enormous dose of estrogen in her daily Enovid.

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#15 Sep 12, 2013
Part 2. from Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller

"Every woman who took Enovid back then was, by today's standards of drug approval, a guinea pig. Enovid had been approved by the FDA during the last naive and lax moment in the agency's history -- two years before the dangers of thalidomide (an anti-nausea agent for pregnant women that turned out to cause severe physical malformations in babies) forced a tightening of clinical trial standards. Not only had Enovid essentially slipped through that approval crack (in fairness, been pushed through because women wanted a birth control pill, desperately), but no one knew exactly what the side effects might be if, for the first time in history, so many people -- 7. 5 million by 1969 -- ingested a medication daily, for so long, for something other than to treat a disease.
"When it came to drugs for women, the medical establishment, including obstetrics and gynecology, was overwhelmingly male, and women were not included in clinical trials for medications appropriate for both sexes, so there was no reliable data on how such drugs would affect female bodies. This solipsism led to naiveté at best -- for years, drug companies didn't believe women would even
want to take a pill to not have babies -- and, at worst, it led to danger. Highdose Enovid was thought to cause thromboembolism and obstructions of blood vessels leading to crucial organs, a risk substantially reduced by lower-dosage versions of the Pill in the early 1970s. But a possible link to the early Pill and breast cancer has never been disproved, and this would later prove significant for Carly."
Author: Sheila Weller
Title: Girls Like Us
Publisher: Atria Books
Date: Copyright 2008 by Kellwell, Inc.

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#16 Oct 15, 2013
Part 1.
In today's selection -- sexual mores have changed significantly through time and across cultures. In New England in the early 1600s, the age of consent was ten (and this age of consent remained true in some U.S. states until the late 1800s), and one of the concerns of the populace was guarding against "men secretly in league with the Devil to impregnate barnyard animals":

"You've heard of the witch hunts in Salem, but I'm guessing you're not as familiar with the pig-man hunts of New Haven. The most troubling sex fiends of those days weren't pedophiles (the age of consent in the colonies was ten, if that tells you anything) but men secretly in league with the Devil to impregnate barnyard animals. The fear was that the resulting malevolent offspring (called 'prodigies'-- my, how the meaning of that word has changed over time) would silently infiltrate the fledgling America and muck it all up with evil for the God-fearing folk. The settlers had gotten this strange idea from the teachings of the violently prudish medieval scholar Thomas Aquinas, who coined the term 'prodigy' to refer to any hybrid creature sprung from the loins of another species but borne of human seed. According to him, prodigies could also be conceived through sex with atheists, but it seems there were far fewer of those milling about the colonies than solicitous swine.



"It's unclear if any of the early Americans I'm about to de­scribe were what today's sexologists would call 'zoophiles,' indi­viduals who are more attracted to nonhuman animals than to human ones. They may have merely used members of other spe­cies as surrogates for human partners in obtaining sexual gratifi­cation (as half of all 'farm-bred' adolescent males have done, according to Alfred Kinsey in 1948), or they could have been falsely accused of such acts altogether. Yet some modern scien­tists believe that zoophilia is a genuine sexual orientation repre­sented by as much as a full 1 percent of the human population. Just as it's impossible for nonzoophiles to become aroused by the steaming, mottled member of a Clydesdale ...,'true zoophiles' can't get (easily) turned on by human beings. One such man -- a physician from suburbia, incidentally -- could only consummate his mar­riage to a woman by closing his eyes and imagining his new bride as a horse. Strangely enough, the marriage didn't last.

Part. 2 below

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

#17 Oct 15, 2013
Part. 2. Perv

"Centuries ago in the newfound colony of Plymouth, zoophilia was obviously not a known sexual orientation (again, the psycho-sexual construct of an 'orientation' wouldn't appear until the late nineteenth century). But the hysteria over Satan's prodigal litters reached dramatic heights with the 1642 trial of a sixteen-year-old boy named Thomas Granger. This randy adolescent had been indicted for taking indecent liberties with what seems an entire stable full of animals, including 'a mare, a cow, two goats, five sheep, two calves and a turkey.' I realize the turkey part is a bit distracting (and how one goes about having sex with a large clawed bird is better left unexamined), but even more remark­able is the legal diligence and sobriety with which this case was prosecuted.



"There was little question in these righteous minds that the boy should be dispatched to the flames for his egregious viola­tions of natural law, but there was confusion on the bench over which sheep, exactly, he'd been defiling, and therefore which of them should be killed and which of them spared. This was cru­cial to sort out, not only because livestock was a valuable com­modity in the beleaguered settlement, but also because if they executed the wrong sheep, they risked the unthinkable happen­ing: a monstrously bleating, hoofed prodigy might drop unde­tected onto Plymouth. So, naturally, a lineup of busily masticating victims was staged for Granger. With a trembling finger, the boy pointed out those five amber-eyed ruminants that had been tar­gets of his secret woolly lust. Court records indicate that the ani­mals were then 'killed before his face, according to the law, Leviticus XX. 15; and then he himself was executed.' "



Author: Jesse Bering

Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us
by Jesse Bering by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover ~ Release Date: 2013-10-08



















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