Stories and Facts for Your Entertainment


Stories and Facts for Your Entertainment

Postby TomEC on August 17th, 2011, 7:59 pm

Earlier, Wren introduced a thread called “*SPOILERS & WINDBAGS!* History/Science/Trivia & ARGENEAUS” in which we could freely discuss subjects connected with history and science that specifically have something to do with the Argeneau stories. I fully intend to use that thread and have some ideas for it already when I get around to them. But I also thought it would be nice to have a thread like that, for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing, to share some general trivia just for fun. With Wren around I suppose it's possible that a thread like that already exists somewhere and I considered looking for one but then I realized that that would be an effort and a bother, so I decided to start a new one. They're so much fun information and trivia out there and I felt I was just the one to get a discussion like that going since I am full of it, or so I've been told.

So if you have some interesting stories from history or science or just some general fun trivia to share, here would be a good place to do it. The first such story that I would like to share is about a man who came to be known as...

The World's Worst Poet.

One afternoon in June 1877, an impoverished Scottish weaver named William McGonagall fell into a funk. He wanted to escape the gritty industrial city of Dundee for a few days in the country but he couldn't afford a train ticket so he was stuck at home. What happened next? How did he fill his time? He later wrote in his autobiography: “I seemed to feel as it were a strange kind of feeling stealing over me. A flame…seemed to kindle up my entire frame, along with a strong desire to write poetry. I began to pace backwards and forwards in the room, trying to shake off all thought of writing poetry; but the more I tried, the more strong the sensation became. It was so strong, I imagined that a pen was in my right hand, and a voice crying, ‘Write! Write!’” So Mr. McGonagall wrote. His first poem was a tribute to his friend, the Reverend George Gilfillan:

The first time I heard him speak,
‘Twas in the Kinnard Hall,
Lecturing on the Garibaldi movement,
As loud as he could bawl.

My blessing on his noble form,
and on his lofty head,
May all good angels guard him while he's living,
And hereafter when he's dead.


McGonagall showed the poem to Reverend Gilfillan, who remarked diplomatically, “Shakespeare never wrote anything like this!” Encouraged, McGonagall was off on his new career.
He already had a reputation for being an eccentric. His impromptu performances of Shakespeare's plays, at the factory where he worked, were so bad they were funny, and his coworkers once rented a theater to watch him make a fool of himself alongside professional actors. That just strikes me as cruel.
It was McGonagall’s poetry that cemented his fame as a local nut. He sold his poems on the street and gave readings at local pubs. And as with his Shakespeare performances, his readings were so funny that people rented halls and subsidizes performances just so they could laugh at his work. Unfortunately they also pelted him with pies, wet towels, rotten eggs, and garbage while he read his poems. Who says the 19th century was a more genteel time. (Actually it was far from that for a lot of reasons) It got so bad that McGonagall refused to perform unless a clergyman sat next to him on stage to keep people from throwing things.
How did he cope with the abuse? With denial, of course. Though his poetry was awful, he never doubted his own talent and refused to believe that his audiences were there to laugh at him.
In 1894 he moved to Edinburgh and continued writing poetry until ill health forced him to lay down his pen forever. McGonagall passed away in 1902 and was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard. The grave remained unmarked until 1999, when the city of Edinburgh finally erected a plaque at the cemetery. The Oxford Companion to English Literature says he “enjoys a reputation as the world's worst poet,” and more than a century after his death, his poems are still in print. Nice going William!
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo
User avatar
TomEC
 
Posts: 1543
Joined: December 2nd, 2010, 12:34 pm
Location: Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada


Re: Stories and Facts for Your Entertainment

Postby TomEC on August 26th, 2011, 4:50 am

Well, I guess I'm the only one posting on this thread so far. In any case, Here's another story. I hope someone enjoys it.

The Writings on the Wall

Many of us have been bored in school by history. This is a failing in teaching and not in the subject, in my opinion. Still, what we've all been bored by are endless accounts of battles, famous names and dates… the stuff that will be appearing on the test. What we don't get much of is what the ordinary person on the street had to say in historic times. Very little of that has survived. However one wonderful exception was what they found when they dug up Pompeii, the Roman city that had been buried in ash in the year 79. Like a fly in amber, this was an ancient Roman city, fully intact. One of the things that survived was the graffiti. Here we have a rare opportunity to hear from ordinary people in the days of Imperial Rome. The walls of many buildings were used as billboards on which everyone was allowed to write whatever they wanted. Archaeologists have found notices of upcoming plays at the theater, the schedule of games at the stadium, the price of goods in the market, and the comments of passersby. One message declared, “Everyone writes on walls but me.”
The elections in Pompeii were coming up when the city was destroyed, so thousands of political ads were found, including this one: “Vote for Vatia, who is recommended by sneak thieves, the whole company of late drinkers, and everyone who is fast asleep.” Somehow, I doubt that this ad was sponsored by the committee to elect Vatia.

Like scribblings on a bathroom wall, much of what was written is best not repeated here but here are some more examples showing that people haven't changed much in the past 2000 years:

“Marcus loves Spendusa”

Whoever loves, let him flourish. Let him perish who knows not love. Let him perish twice over whoever forbids love.

“Antiochus hung out here with his girlfriend Cithera.”

“ Lovers are like bees in that they live a honeyed life”

“Celadus the Thracian gladiator is the delight of all the girls”

“The city block of the Arrii Pollii in the possession of Gnaeus Alleius Nigidius Maius is available to rent from July 1st. There are shops on the first floor, upper stories, high-class rooms and a house. A person interested in renting this property should contact Primus, the slave of Gnaeus Alleius Nigidius Maius.”

“If anyone does not believe in Venus, they should gaze at my girl friend”

“Vibius Restitutus slept here alone and missed his darling Urbana”

“Sarra, you are not being very nice, leaving me all alone like this”

“Virgula to her friend Tertius: you are disgusting!”

“Serena hates Isidorus”
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo
User avatar
TomEC
 
Posts: 1543
Joined: December 2nd, 2010, 12:34 pm
Location: Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada


Re: Stories and Facts for Your Entertainment

Postby lisa on August 26th, 2011, 7:03 pm

Just goes to show the more things change, the more they stay the same!
lisa
 
Posts: 827
Joined: May 7th, 2008, 5:38 pm
Location: tennessee


Re: Stories and Facts for Your Entertainment

Postby susan60625 on August 26th, 2011, 9:55 pm

I was watching a travel show on PBS this evening. It was about a couple of the Greek Islands. This guy said that some people theorize that the island of Santorini is actually part of Atlantis. Apparently, Santorini and five other small islands surround an area of water that used to be a large volcano in the center of a much larger island. About 1500 B.C. this volcano erupted in the world's largest ever eruption. Apparently the explosion was heard all the way up to Scandinavia! After the smoke cleared, most of the large island was gone, leaving what now remains. Even though the volcano is now underwater, it still is considered active. It's last eruption was in the early 1900's. It is said that eventually all of the remaining islands will be destroyed and fall under the sea.

The volcano part fits in with Lynsay's theory of the destruction of Atlantis, but not the time line. Plus, don't ask me why, but I didn't picture Atlantis as being in the Mediterranean (sp?) Sea.
"It's staked and baked, Jo. We're not pork chops." T. Argeneau :D
"Ohhhh, glow in the dark. Good choice." D. Notte
:D
AEA Sister-Member of: SASSy Argeneauts & YYI Club
User avatar
susan60625
 
Posts: 5704
Joined: April 8th, 2009, 10:33 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois


Re: Stories and Facts for Your Entertainment

Postby TomEC on August 29th, 2011, 2:40 pm

susan60625 wrote:I was watching a travel show on PBS this evening. It was about a couple of the Greek Islands. This guy said that some people theorize that the island of Santorini is actually part of Atlantis. Apparently, Santorini and five other small islands surround an area of water that used to be a large volcano in the center of a much larger island. About 1500 B.C. this volcano erupted in the world's largest ever eruption. Apparently the explosion was heard all the way up to Scandinavia! After the smoke cleared, most of the large island was gone, leaving what now remains. Even though the volcano is now underwater, it still is considered active. It's last eruption was in the early 1900's. It is said that eventually all of the remaining islands will be destroyed and fall under the sea.

The volcano part fits in with Lynsay's theory of the destruction of Atlantis, but not the time line. Plus, don't ask me why, but I didn't picture Atlantis as being in the Mediterranean (sp?) Sea.


Thanks, Susan, for including this one

When they talk about the destruction of Atlantis in Lynsay's books, I often think about Santorini, though I usually think of it by its ancient name: Thira. It was truly the most violent volcanic eruption to ever occur in historic times; often described as the largest explosion ever heard by human ears. This is understandable when you consider that an entire mountain blew up leaving a deep hole in the earth which turned a round island into one shaped more like a doughnut with a couple bites taken out of it. This, by the way, isn't actually considered to be the largest volcanic eruption ever. Geologists claim that there have been much larger ones in prehistoric times; the so-called super volcanoes, the last of which is said to have erupted in Indonesia about 80,000 years ago. I can't confirm this since I wasn't there.

I'm not 100% clear about the timing being off for Lynsay's Atlantis, but it's pretty clear that Santorini doesn't fit. Lynsay's Atlantis was connected to the mainland, cut off by a range of mountain, while Santorini is, and has apparently always been, an island.

The story, as I heard it, about its connection with Atlantis has to do with the fall of the Bronze Age Minoan civilization based on the island of Crete. The theory is that the explosion on Thira (Santorini) sent a tsunami racing out across the Aegean Sea and crashing against the island of Crete where it would've caused so much destruction that the Minoan civilization never recovered. Then, as the theory goes, legends of this event reached the ears of Plato and became the inspiration for his account of Atlantis. This, of course, is one of many theories, none of which are provable.

Oh by the way, speaking of volcanoes, it slipped my mind that the story of Pompeii has an Argeneau connection. That was where, according to the family tree, the family founders Ramses and Alexandria died. I guess when you have a superheated pyroclastic flow rushing at you at 60 miles an hour not even nanos are enough.
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo
User avatar
TomEC
 
Posts: 1543
Joined: December 2nd, 2010, 12:34 pm
Location: Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron