Sunday, February 20, 2011


The Personals Ad That Set a Confederate Plot In Motion
Most of the history books, when relating events in the American Civil War, tend to provide information about battles and the presidency. There was at least one major event that wasn’t a battle that usually is not covered at all - the plot to burn New York City. A fascinating twist to this plot is that a personals ad was the signal to set the plan in motion.In March, 1864, the Confederates viewed Grant's appointment as Commander of all Union Armies as doom to Lee in the East. The Richmond government decided that at that point the best way to beat the Union was to terrorize the North. Many secret meetings were held to formulate a master plan. Various chapters of the Northern Copperheads formulated a common plan over long distance. Getting messages back and forth between the North and South was becoming increasingly difficult. Spies and blockade runners were utilized to transmit messages from one order to another. At times, even personal ads that had been specially coded were printed in the Richmond Whig with a notation that "New York papers please copy." Such messages were invariably reprinted by at least the New York Daily News as the paper was a Southern Sympathizer.
It was an incredible scheme. When finalized, New York City was their target and the plot was thus: One group was to be responsible for setting off a series of fires as a diversion while another group was to seize Federal buildings and municipal offices, still another to take control of the police department, and yet another to free prisoners from Fort Lafayette and throw the Army Commander in New York, Major General John Adams Dix, into a dungeon. By sunset a Confederate flag would surely fly over New York City. This would surely be a coup for the Confederacy!
About the time the plot was finalized, Richmond learned from its spies that Washington was beginning to obtain bits and pieces of the plan to capture the North. It was then decided that, since everything but the date had been formalized, no more messages would be sent by runners. It was further decided that for two reasons carrying out the plot would wait. One reason was to lay low to give Washington the impression that the plot had died, and, two, the most opportune time to best capture the North off guard would be soon after another Union victory. Since Southern newspapers could still freely travel to Canada, members were instructed to keep reading the Richmond newspaper for an editorial advising that a "Northern city" should be burned in retaliation. (It is not known just how it was accomplished, but the same personals ad also appeared in the New York Times a few days later!) At that time they were to congregate in New York's St. Dennis Hotel and begin to put the plot in motion.
The October 15, 1864 edition of the Richmond Whig carried the awaited for word. The leader of the fire brigade was a Confederate by the name of Robert Kennedy. Kennedy and the rest of his group met at the St. Dennis Hotel like planned. At that time final coordinates were made. Over the next few days his men were to each register for a weeks stay in several assigned hotels each -- using assumed names and towns of course. This was to gain them access to rooms in the hotels.
Arrangements had been previously made with a chemist residing in New York, but a Southern Sympathizer, to pick up a load of Greek fire. This was a special chemical combination that looked like water but, when exposed to air, after a delay, would ignite in flames. When Kennedy picked up the valise, he found it contained dozens of small bottles of the liquid and each bottle was sealed with plaster of Paris. Instructions were to use the bed in each room, pile it with clothing, rugs, drapes, newspapers, and anything else that would burn, Next, they were to empty two bottles of the Greek fire on top of the pile. In about five minutes, flames would ignite the pile. This delay gave them plenty of time to escape unnoticed before the fire started. After starting one fire, the man would then proceed to the next location and do the same. Each man would thus be capable of setting off several fires blocks from each other.
Still making final arrangements on November 2 to casrry out the deed, a disturbing telegram was sent by Secretary of State William Seward to the Mayor of New York. It read: This Department has received information from British Provinces to the effect that there is a conspiracy on foot to set fire to the principle cities in the Northern States on the day of - the Presidential election. It is my duty to communicate this information to you." Later that afternoon the telegram was made public. (The same telegram was also sent to the mayors of other major Northern cities like Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.) At this time MOST of the Order members decided to abandon the plan and get out of the city in an attempt to save their own lives -- ALL that is except for Kennedy and five of the seven members of his band.
After several meetings, it was decided by Kennedy and the rest of his gang to go ahead with the plan and set New York City on fire. They wouldn't be in a position to capture New York after all but at least they could retaliate for Sherman's March to the Sea.
On the evening of November 25, 1864 the fires began. Before the night was over almost every hotel in New York City had been set ablaze. These hotels included the St. Nicholas, St. James, Fifth Avenue, La Farge, Metropolitan, Tammany, Hudson River Park, Astor House, Howard, United States, Lovejoy's, New England, and the Belmont. There were also fires on the Hudson River docks and a lumber yard. As a last minute thought, Kennedy decided to go into Barnum's museum and up to the fifth floor where he could obtain a good view of Broadway and several of the fires. After watching for several minutes, Kennedy started going down the stairs. The remaining bottle of Greek fire dropped from his coat pocket and broke in the stairwell. Wasting no time, Kennedy ran from the museum, out the front door and on down Broadway.
Meeting his band of men the next morning at the Exchange Hotel, one of the few that they hadn't set fire to, Kennedy and his men read the morning papers. While there were some reports of the fires, the news didn't fill the front page like they hoped it would. Both the Times and the Herald however headed the news of the fires as a "Rebel Plot." Kennedy and his men managed to get out of New York City on November 28. Soon a $25,000 reward was offered. This, combined with Kennedy's boasting of his role in setting the fires, led to his capture three months later. After a short trial, Kennedy was found guilty on all counts. At this time, Kennedy signed a confession but refused to name anyone else involved in the plot. On March 25, 1865, -- just three weeks prior the Lincoln's assassination -- Kennedy was hung.
(Despite being off the subject, but as a result of researching the above article, I must divulge some interesting tidbits I learned about the Lincoln assassination. John Wilkes Booth arrived in New York the same day that Robert Kennedy did and they had a couple of meetings together. Robert Martin, a member of Kennedy's gang in New York, but who didn't get caught, was a member of Booth's gang that attempted to kidnap Lincoln barely a month before the assassination was carried out. This leaves me to wonder that if Kennedy hadn't been caught for the arson in New York would he have also been with Booth on April 14, 1865?)
To read the entire front-page coverage of this event in The New York Heraldclick here

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

BEIRUT: 1983

Beirut! Not Enough Death to Go Round

Beirut! Not Enough Death to Go Round

  • A moving and graphic portrait of the people of wartorn ...


The Great White Silence

Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 1 hour, 5 minutes). Over one hundred years ago, in July 1910, Captain Robert Falcon Scott set out from England on the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition.
Scott’s goal was to be the first to reach the South Pole, at the white heart of Antarctica. For much of his journey, he was accompanied by early film-maker, Herbert Ponting.
Ponting’s unique film of that expedition, The Great White Silence, has been digitally restored by the British Film Institute, and received its world television premiere on Discovery Channel, to coincide with the anniversary of the departure of the Terra Nova from Cardiff.
James Cracknell, who endured his own Antarctic expedition last year, will compare his modern day experience of the trek to the Pole – the equipment, diet, mental challenges and physical preparations – with Scott’s ultimately tragic journey, bringing a new perspective to this already legendary tale.

Monday, February 7, 2011



pin up photos
The following series of photos called “BIG GIRLS don’t cry” will surely make you happier! Beautiful models, amazing shots, perfect colors and unforgetable pin-up style. The author of photos, production and post-production is Ana Dias from Porto, Portugal. So don’t waste your time and check these bright images! Also don’t forget to check video at the end of this post.

pin up photos
pin up photos
pin up photos
pin up photos
pin up photos
pin up photos
pin up photos
pin up photos

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Chicago Skyline
- bears an uncanny resemblance to Gotham City.

Chicago Skyline as seen from the railroad:

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography

American History, Travel, Photography


Crossfire - Earl Warren - July 2, 1952 - Gordon Skene Sound Collection
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(California Governor Earl Warren: Warnings of the Right Wing Fringe in The Republican Party in 1952)
Before he was Supreme Court Justice, Earl Warren was three-time Governor of California and an unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency in 1952.
On the eve of the convention, ABC Radio conducted a panel interview with Warren for their Crossfire Radio series, featuring newsmen Martin Agronsky, Elmer Davis, John Edwards and Bryson Rasch.
Warren ducks and dodges a number of questions regarding his electability, but the most interesting one came from Agronsky:
Martin Agronsky: At the National Press Club here Governor, you described the Republican party as having, and I’m quoting you ‘a withering right wing’. Were you referring to the wing which supports Senator Taft’s nomination?”
Gov. Earl Warren:“I wasn’t pointing that at anybody, I was stating it as a fact, that there is a group in our party that is extremely reactionary, that would like to turn the clock back to former days if it could do so. . . . ”
Warren: "You folks know exactly what I mean. You know the people who believe that anything that is done for them represents social progress but if it’s done for anybody else it represents socialism."
Fancy tha


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McCarthy cropped Herblock_2e2a6.jpg
(Joe McCarthy - Crown Prince of Making It Up As He Went Along)
I've been hearing the name Joe McCarthy being bandied around in recent days - mostly misquoted and misrepresented by people living in a fact-free environment.
Joe McCarthy probably represented one of the darker periods in American history - one based on fear and hysteria and paranoia. A period where innuendo carried weight and facts were so hazy and misquoted that shreds of truth were difficult, if not impossible to find - and it was McCarthy who held court during this reign of terror - one which destroyed and mutilated countless innocent lives. And all because the new-found power was intoxicating and McCarthy luxuriated in it.
Portraying himself as the selfless crusader for Justice in America, he took advantage of the susceptible, the easily led, the malleable - much the same as the Teabag movement is doing now. Make up facts if they don't subscribe to a certain ideology and repeat them over and over until they become true. McCarthy was master at it.
Here he is at an Irish Fellowship meeting on the occasion of St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, speaking to a group of 1500 on March 17, 1954.
Joe McCarthy: “There’s only one Communist Party. The Communist Party that puts out this pamphlet. Setting the line for the Communist Party in the United States, is the same Communist Party that tells 5th Amendment Communists how they should testify. It’s the same Communist Party , if you please, that ordered American boys, have their hands wired behind their backs, and their brains blown out with Communist machine guns. It’s one and the same party, my good friends. Now there are those who say ‘well, it’s all right to dig them out, but oh we don’t like your method. Well, my good friends, up to this date, to this very moment, none of those who said they don’t like the methods have told us any other method they could use that would be effective. And when you hear them crying that they don’t like the methods I suggest that you ask them when and where they ever exposed a Communist by their methods? They say, when they say ‘you don’t treat them like gentlemen’, I’d like to ask them, take the twenty, the twenty whom I’ve named to you. If they don’t give us general statements my good friends, say pick out one of those cases, and tell us where we ever mistreated any of those innocent Communists? You know, it’s easy to make those general comments. And when they say we don’t treat them like gentlemen, while we do I might say that if we did not, I would not cry for them. Traitors are not gentlemen, my good friends. They don’t understand being treated like gentlemen!"
As ever - some things just never change. Only the names and the faces.

Friday, February 4, 2011


It is amazing how much the human perspective has changed in the last fifty years. Before the expansion of modern medicine and psychiatric care, people were exposed to brutal procedures and morbid beliefs. In the last 500 years, many strange political ideals have been adopted all over the world.
Government officials have enacted shocking policies and medical procedures. We can now look back upon some of these moments and wonder what exactly our ancestors were thinking? Many of these ideas were developed in a time when racial and female segregation was a problem, and the accepted social behavior was different from what we experience today. This article will be examining ten shocking beliefs and diagnosis that were developed during modern history.
Wife Selling
Contemporary Wife Selling Print Georgian Scrapbook 1949
During medieval times, women were completely subordinated to their husbands. After marriage, the husband and wife became one legal entity, a legal status known as coverture. During this time in history, married women could not own property in their own right, and were, indeed, themselves the property of their husbands. It is unclear when the ritualized custom of selling a wife by public auction first began, but written records indicate it was some time towards the end of the 17th century. In most reports, the sale was announced in advance, perhaps by advertisement in a local newspaper.
It usually took the form of an auction, often at a local market, to which the wife would be led by a halter (usually a rope) looped around her neck, arm or waist. The woman was then auctioned off to the highest bidder and would join her new husband after the sale was complete. Wife selling was a regular occurrence during the 18th and 19th centuries, and it acted as a way for a man to end an unsatisfactory marriage.
In most cases, a public divorce was not an option for common people. In 1690, a law was enforced that required a couple to submit an application to parliament for a divorce certificate. This was an expensive and time consuming process. The custom of wife selling had no basis in English law and often resulted in prosecution, particularly from the mid-19th century onwards. However, the attitude of the authorities was passive. It should be noted that some 19th century wives objected to their sale, but records of 18th century women resisting are non-existent.
In some cases, the wife arranged for her own sale, and even provided the money to buy her way out of the marriage. Wife selling persisted in some form until the early 20th century. In 1913, a woman claimed in a Leeds police court that she had been sold to one of her husband’s workmates for £1. This is one of the last reported cases of a wife sale in England. Today, you can visit a number of websites and get an online divorce.
Tobacco Smoke Enema
Tobacco Enema
The tobacco smoke enema was a medical procedure that was widely used in western medicine, during the turn of the 19th century. The treatment included an insufflation of tobacco smoke into the patient’s rectum by enema. The agricultural product of tobacco was recognized as a medicine soon after it was first imported from the New World. During this time, tobacco smoke was widely used by western medical practitioners as a tool against many ailments, including headaches, respiratory failure, stomach cramps, colds and drowsiness. The idea to apply tobacco smoke with an enema was a technique appropriated from the North American Indians.
It was believed that the procedure could treat gut pain, and attempts were often made to resuscitate victims of near drowning. Many medical journals from this time noted that the human body can undergo a stimulation of respiration through the introduction of tobacco smoke by a rectal tube. In fact, by the turn of the 19th century, tobacco smoke enemas had become an established practice in western medicine. The treatment was considered by Humane Societies to be as important as artificial respiration. Meaning, if you stopped breathing, the doctor’s first action was to shove a tube up your rectum and to begin pumping tobacco smoke in your body. Tobacco enemas were used to treat hernias and the smoke was often supplemented with other substances, including chicken broth.
According to a report from 1835, tobacco enemas were used successfully to treat cholera during the “stage of collapse”. Attacks on the theories surrounding the ability of tobacco to cure diseases began early in the 17th century, with King James I publically denouncing the treatment. In 1811, English scientist Benjamin Brodie demonstrated that nicotine, the principal active agent in tobacco smoke, is a cardiac poison that can stop the circulation of blood in animals. This ground breaking report directly led to a quick decline in the use of tobacco smoke enemas in the medical community. By the middle of the 19th century, only a small, select group of medical professional offered the treatment.
Rabbit Test
It is an advantage for a woman to understand that she is pregnant before having a child. It allows her to mentally prepare for the birth and avoid using drugs and alcohol. As you can imagine, world history is full of bizarre techniques that were used to test for human pregnancy. In ancient Greece and Egypt, watered bags of wheat and barley were used for this purpose. The female would urinate on the bags and if a certain type of grain spouted, it indicated that she was going to have a child. Hippocrates suggested that if a woman suspected she was pregnant, she should drink a solution of honey water at bedtime. This would result in abdominal cramps for a positive test.
During medieval times, many scientists performed uroscopy, which is an ineffective way of examining a patient’s urine. In 1928, a major breakthrough in the development of pregnancy tests was made when two German gynecologists named Selmar Aschheim and Bernhard Zondek introduced an experiment with the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Before this time, hCG was thought to be produced by the pituitary gland, but in the 1930s, Georgeanna Jones discovered that hCG was produced by the placenta. This discovery was vital in the development of modern day pregnancy tests, which rely heavily on hCG as an early marker of pregnancy.
In 1927, Zondek and Aschheim developed the rabbit test. The test consisted of injecting the woman’s urine into a female rabbit. The rabbit was then examined over the next couple days. If the rabbit’s ovaries responded to the female’s urine, then it was determined that hCG was present and the woman was pregnant. The test was a successful innovation and it accurately detected pregnancy. The rabbit test was widely used from the 1930s to 1950s. All rabbits that were used in the program had to be surgically operated on and were killed. It was possible to perform the procedure without killing the rabbits, but it was deemed not worth the trouble and expense. Today, modern science has evolved away from using live animals in pregnancy tests, but the rabbit test was considered a stepping stone during the middle of the 20th century.
Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup
During the 19th and 20th centuries, as the world’s population began to expand, many industries experimented with a wide range of medicines. During this time in history, the scientific community conducted many trials with new drugs. New substances were often discovered that had a direct impact on the human brain. In some cases, international companies took advantage of the loose market standards and released potentially hazardous products. A good example of this is Mrs Winslow’s soothing syrup, which was a medical formula compounded by Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow, and first marketed in Bangor, Maine, USA, in 1849.
The product was advertised as “likely to sooth any human or animal”, and it was specifically targeted at quieting restless infants and small children.
The formula’s ingredients consisted of a large amount of morphine sulphate, powdered opium, sodium carbonate and aqua ammonia. Mrs Winslow’s soothing syrup was widely used during the 19th century to calm wild children and help babies sleep. This cocktail of drugs worked immediately and slowed the children’s heart rate down by giving them harmful depressants. The syrup had an enormous marketing campaign in the UK and the US, showing up in newspapers, recipe books, calendars and on trade cards. During the early 20th century the product began to gain a reputation for killing small babies. In 1911, the American Medical Association incriminated Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup in a publication named Nostrums and Quackery, in a section titled Baby Killers.
Mrs Winslow’s soothing syrup was not withdrawn from shelves in the UK until 1930. In 1897, chemists at the Bayer pharmaceutical company in Elberfeld, Germany, began experimenting with diacetylmorphine, or heroin. From 1898 through 1910, the Bayer Company sold diacetylmorphine to the public. The substance was marketed under the trademark name Heroin and was put on supermarket shelves as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant. In fact, the Bayer Heroin product was two times more potent than morphine itself and caused countless people to become addicted. The public response was immediately evident, but the company continued to sell Heroin for over ten years. The era has since become a historic blunder for the Bayer Company, and world organizations in charge of keeping people safe from these harmful chemicals.
The first half of the 20th century will forever be known for a series of radical and invasive physical therapies developed in Europe and North America. Since the beginning of time, world cultures have treated mentally and physically challenged individuals in different ways. During the early 1900s, the medical community began developing some bizarre treatments. Some examples include barbiturate induced deep sleep therapy, which was invented in 1920. Deep sleep therapy was a psychiatric treatment based on the use of drugs to render patients unconscious for a period of days or weeks. Needless to say, in some cases the subjects simply did not wake up from their comas. Deep sleep therapy was notoriously practiced by Harry Bailey between 1962 and 1979, in Sydney, at the Chelmsford Private Hospital.
Twenty-six patients died at Chelmsford Private Hospital during the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually, Harry Bailey was linked to the deaths of 85 patients. In 1933 and 1934, doctors began to use the drugs insulin and cardiazol for induced shock therapy. In 1935, Portuguese neurologist António Egas Moniz introduced a procedure called the leucotomy (lobotomy). The lobotomy consisted of cutting the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain. The procedure involved drilling holes into the patient’s head and destroying tissues surrounding the frontal lobe. Moniz conducted scientific trials and reported significant behavioral changes in patients suffering from depression, schizophrenia, panic disorders and mania.
This may have something to do with the fact that the patient was now suffering from a mental illness and brain damage. Despite general recognition of the frequent and serious side effects, the lobotomy expanded and became a mainstream procedure all over the world. In 1949, António Egas Moniz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. During the 1940s and 50s, most lobotomy procedures were performed in the United States, where approximately 40,000 people were lobotomized. In Great Britain, 17,000 lobotomies were performed, and in the three Nordic countries of Finland, Norway and Sweden, approximately 9,300 lobotomies were undertaken. Today, the lobotomy is extremely rare and illegal in some areas of the world.

Big Nose George
Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the practice of binding books in human skin. Surviving examples of anthropodermic bibliopegy include 19th century anatomy text books bound with the skin of dissected cadavers, estate wills covered with the skin of the deceased, and copies of judicial papers bound in the skin of murderers convicted in those proceedings. In America, the libraries of many Ivy League universities include one or more samples of anthropodermic bibliopegy. Towards the end of the 1800s, many outlaws emerged in the American West. One of these criminals was named Big Nose George Parrott. In 1878, Parrott and his gang murdered two law enforcement officers in the US state of Wyoming. The killings occurred as the men tried to escape a bungled train robbery near the Medicine Bow River.
In 1880, Parrott’s gang was eventually captured by police in Montana. The men were apprehended after getting drunk and boasting of the killings. Big Nose George was sentenced to hang on April 2, 1881, following a trial, but he attempted to escape while being held at a Rawlins, Wyoming jail. When news of the attempted escape reached the people of Rawlins, a 200-strong lynch mob snatched George from the prison at gunpoint and strung him up from a telegraph pole. Doctors Thomas Maghee and John Eugene Osborne took possession of Parrott’s body after his death, in order to study the outlaw’s brain for signs of criminality. During these procedures, the top of Parrott’s skull was crudely sawn off and the cap was presented to a 15-year-old girl named Lilian Heath. Heath would go on to become the first female doctor in Wyoming, and is noted to have used Parrott’s skull as an ash tray, pen holder and doorstop.
Skin from George’s thighs, chest and face was removed. The skin, including the dead man’s nipples, was sent to a tannery in Denver, where it was made into a pair of shoes and a medical bag. The shoes were kept by John Eugene Osborne, who wore them at his inaugural ball after being elected as the first Democratic Governor of the State of Wyoming. Parrott’s dismembered body was stored in a whiskey barrel filled with a salt solution for about a year, while the experiments continued, until he was buried in the yard behind Maghee’s office. Today the shoes created from the skin of Big Nose George are on permanent display at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins, Wyoming, together with the bottom part of the outlaw’s skull and George’s earless death mask.
Scientific racism is the act of using scientific findings to investigate the differences between the human races. In history, this type of research was conducted in order to suppress individuals. It was most common during the New Imperialism period (1880-1914). During this time in history, some scientists tried to develop theories in order to justify white European imperialism. Since the end of the Second World War and the occurrence of the Holocaust, scientific racism has been formally denounced, especially in The Race Question (July 18, 1950). Beginning in the late 20th century, scientific racism has been criticized as obsolete, and as historically used to support racist world views.
One example of scientific racism is a theory named drapetomania. Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused black slaves to flee captivity. Cartwright described the disorder as unknown to the medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the fleeing of black slaves, was well known to planters and overseers. Cartwright delivered his findings in a paper before the Medical Association of Louisiana. The report was widely reprinted in the American colonies. He stated that the disorder was a consequence of masters who “made themselves too familiar with slaves, treating them as equals.”
Quoting the document, “If any one or more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master, humanity requires that they (slaves) should be punished until they fall into the submissive state. They have only to be kept in that state, and treated like children to prevent and cure them from running away.” In addition to identifying drapetomania, Cartwright prescribed a remedy. In the case of slaves “sulky and dissatisfied without cause,” Cartwright suggested “whipping the devil out of them” as a preventative measure.
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings was a political and religious doctrine that asserted that a monarch has ultimate authority over man, deriving its right to rule directly from the will of God. The law ensured that medieval kings were not responsible for the will of the people, but rather working under God’s power. The doctrine implies that any attempt to depose the king, or to restrict his powers, runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute heresy. The theory came to the forefront in England under the reign of James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), James I of England (1603–1625), and also Louis XIV of France (1643–1715). The divine right of kings was slowed in England during the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689.
The American and French revolutions of the late 18th century further weakened the theory’s appeal, and by the early 20th century, it had been virtually abandoned all over the world. The idea of the divine right of kings implicitly stated that no one but the king was worthy of punishing his own blood. This law created a problem for tutors in ancient times because the king was often times not available to raise his son. Royal educators found it extremely difficult to enforce rules and learning. For this reason, whipping boys were assigned to every young prince. When the prince would misbehave in class or cause problems for the tutors, the child’s whipping boy would be physically punished in front of the prince.
Whipping boys were generally of high birth, and were educated with the prince since they were a young child. For this reason, the future ruler and whipping boy often grew up together and in some cases formed an emotional bond. This occurred because the prince did not have any other playmates or schoolmates to bond with. The strong connection that developed between a prince and his whipping boy dramatically increased the effectiveness of using this technique as punishment for the royalty. However, as history has often taught us, some rulers have no sympathy for others who are perceived to be a lower class. In these cases, the royal whipping boys were tortured at the expense of the prince. The principle of the divine right of kings molded young ruler’s minds into the perception that they were untouchable. The life of a whipping boy was usually one of sorrow and pain. These children are noted for being an example of one of the first fall guys.
The Sengoku period of Japan was an era characterized by social upheaval, political intrigue and near constant military conflict. Dating far back into Japanese history, warriors have been known to take human trophies, specifically the heads of their enemies slain on the battlefield. Often time’s remuneration was paid to these soldiers by their feudal lords based on the severed heads. By 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi had become the liege lord of Japan. Hideyoshi is historically regarded as Japan’s second “great unifier.” From 1592-1598, the newly unified Japan waged war against Korea. The ultimate goal of the offensive was to conquer Korea, the Jurchens, Ming Dynasty China and India. During this time in history, the gathering of war trophies was still highly encouraged. However, because of the sheer number of Korean civilians and soldiers that were killed in the conflict, and the crowded conditions on the ships that transported troops, it was far easier to bring back ears and noses instead of whole heads.
The dismembered facial features of Korean soldiers and civilians killed during the war were brought back to Japan in barrels of brine. It is impossible to be sure how many people were killed, but estimates have been as high as one million. Remarkably, the incredibly large amount of decapitated Korean noses and ears taken into Japan during this time in history is still highly visible. You see, Toyotomi Hideyoshi had massive structures constructed that contained the sliced ears and noses of the killed Korean soldiers and civilians taken during the war. The largest such monument is named Mimizuka and it enshrines the mutilated body parts of at least 38,000 Koreans. The shrine is located just to the west of Toyokuni Shrine, in Kyoto, Japan. The Mimizuka was dedicated on September 28, 1597. The exact reasons it was built are unknown. It was uncommon for a defeated enemy to be interred into a Buddhist shrine.
The Mimizuka is not unique. Other nose and ear mounds dating from the same period are found elsewhere in Japan, such as the Okayama nose tombs. With the expansion of the Internet, some Japanese civilians have learned about the Mimizuka. However, for a long time, the Mimizuka was almost unknown to the Japanese public. The shrines are rarely mentioned in Japanese high school text books. However, most Koreans are well aware of its existence. In many areas of Korea, the Ear Mounds are seen as a symbol of cruelty, while other Korean’s feel the Mimizuka should stay in Japan as a reminder of past savagery. It is a controversial subject and even today the majority of people who visit at Mimizuka are Korean. This may have something to do with the fact that most Japanese tourist guidebooks do not mention Mimizuka or anything about its disturbing history.
Female Hysteria
Female hysteria was a once-common medical diagnosis, found exclusively in women, which is today no longer recognized as a disorder. The diagnosis and treatment of female hysteria was routine for hundreds of years in Western Europe and America. The disorder was widely discussed in the medical literature of the Victorian era (1837-1901). In 1859, a physician was noted for claiming that a quarter of all women suffered from hysteria. One American doctor cataloged 75 pages of possible symptoms of the condition, and called the list incomplete. According to the document, almost any ailment could fit the diagnosis for female hysteria. Physicians thought that the stresses associated with modern life caused civilized women to be more susceptible to nervous disorders, and to develop faulty reproductive tracts.
Women considered to be suffering from hysteria exhibited a wide array of symptoms, including faintness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and “a tendency to cause trouble”. The history of this diagnosis is obviously controversial because of the wide range of bizarre symptoms and causes, but the case gets more shocking when you look at the treatment. During this time, female hysteria was widely associated with sexual dissatisfaction. For this reason, the patients would undergo weekly “pelvic massages.” During these sessions, a doctor would manually stimulate the female’s genitals, until the patient experienced repeated “hysterical paroxysm” (orgasms). It is interesting to note that this diagnosis was quite profitable for physicians, since the patients were at no risk of death, but needed constant care. Pelvic massages were used as a medical treatment on women into the 1900s.
Around 1870, doctors around the world realized that a new electrical invention could help the vaginal massage technique. You see, in many cases physicians found it hard to reach hysterical paroxysm. I think you can imagine why this would be the case. In 1873, the first electromechanical vibrator was developed and used at an asylum in France for the treatment of female hysteria. For decades, these mechanical devices were only available to doctors for the use in pelvic massages. By the turn of the century, the spread of home electricity brought the vibrator to the consumer market. Over the course of the early 1900s, the number of diagnoses of female hysteria sharply declined, and today it is no longer a recognized illness.




As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.

"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.

Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity

In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.

Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."

His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."

But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.

A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.

Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.

He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."

"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.

In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."

Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."

Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."

Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.

Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."

Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."

Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.

"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.

Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.

To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.

"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."

Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.

Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."

Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."

Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity


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