The King’s playin’ with his crotch again

November 22, 2011

Blog Guy, you seem to read a lot of history. I guess that’s to take your mind off the goofy stuff you see every day?

Are you kidding? History books are where I GET my goofiest stuff.  I find myself laughing out loud as I picture things I read. In his biography of William Shakespeare, author Bill Bryson tells us that King James I “was graceless in motion, with a strange lurching gait, and had a disconcerting habit, indulged more or less constantly, of playing with his codpiece.”

Think about that. A King of England who was known for walking like a zombie and fiddling with his crotch pouch in public.

Then there’s John Wilkes Booth, the man who killed President Lincoln. According to “Manhunt: the 12-day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer,” when Booth was injured and on the run after the assassination, he was turned away from the home of a Southern doctor.

I’ll bet Booth got the hell away from there as fast as he could.

Nope. With the entire Union army hot on his trail, Booth took time to write a note upbraiding the doctor for his appalling manners.

No! Did Booth actually send the note?

No, he wasn’t happy with it, so he wrote a second note, and sent that one.

And speaking of Lincoln, according to “The Siege of Washington,” Honest Abe used to practice his own marksmanship out on the South Lawn of the White House, “often trying newly invented guns that had been submitted to the Patent Office.”

No way!

I’m afraid so. “Hey Earl, we got another Doomsday Gun here, better have the commander in chief fire off a few rounds to see if it works okay…”

What was the goofiest year in recorded history?

I think that would be 46 BC.  I read in “Cleopatra: A Life,” that in order to address a lot of errors that had crept into the calendar, Julius Caesar made that year 455 days long. He slipped the extra time in neatly between November and December.

Huzzah! So suddenly it was like, hey, we’ve got 90 extra shopping days until Christmas?

Well, yes, but since this was 46 BC, they didn’t find out about that Christmas benefit for nearly 50 more years.

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Top left: Portrait of James by John de Critz, c. 1606

Right: Book jacket for “Manhunt: the 12-day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer”

Left: Bust of Julius Caesar in Marseille, France, January 22, 2009. The bust of Cesar, dated 49-46 BC, was discovered last year as part of underwater archeological exploration in the Rhone River near Arles. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

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King James I…scratching his whatevers in public? TMI, Blog Guy, TMI!

Posted by Moonshine | Report as abusive

I must wholeheartedly agree with Mr Wilkes Booth. Just because one is a traitorous assassin on the run after committing a heinous crime, there is no excuse for such bad manners on the part of the Doctor. One must maintain standards, you know.
Otherwise, before you know it the streets will be filled with any number of ill-mannered English zombie kings adjusting themselves constantly.
I blame the parents.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

I humbly offer a haiku:

Colorful people
Taking noteworthy action
Throughout history

Posted by 69Spinster | Report as abusive

Methinks his royal highness haveth the royal crabs. :-)

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

Could you imagine filing taxes for 46 BC? Good thing the IRS wasn’t in existence yet, or they might still be trying to understand everyone’s taxes.

Also, 4th quarter results that year should have been very good. Companies had plenty of time to improve them.

Posted by 69Spinster | Report as abusive

This is obviously a zapping bait, but I *have* to point out that Xmas was already celebrated before year 0.

Posted by grok | Report as abusive

Dang! My ears are burning! Wait a minute there…do I have ears?

George the Crab

Posted by uncarastus | Report as abusive

I sympathize with Booth (not the killing-the-President part). I always write a draft before finalizing documents or letters.

Posted by 69Spinster | Report as abusive

@unca … nothing personal. :-)

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

What, pray tell, was a bust of Caesar doing in the Rhone? Did some disgusted citizen toss him out like yesterday’s anchovies?

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

face it, Dave. everybody must get rhoned…

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

I’m with Nosmo, manners cost nothing.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

@grok, oh hey that actually works out prety well. My car needs to a jump so could you just put your hands on the battery terminals while you get zapped? Thanks a bunch!

@justCAM, methinks that was hilarious! 😀

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Yes, but did Booth send his calling card in to the good doctor first? Letters of introduction? References? C’mon John Wilkes, who are you kidding?

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

The long lost 155th sonnet of Wm. Shakespeare
(slightly redacted for family-blog consumption)

As I, observing thy lurching gait, turn cold
Forbear thy drooling, and vacant stares abate.
Adjust not thy pocket, for Jesu’ sake hold!
Stay thy royal hand from thy ‘grab bag.’ Stand straight
Undead mockery! Cinch up thy pumpkin pants,
Lest Historia enscroll thee in her booke
‘Graceless ape with a royal SPAMFILTER.’ O mischance,
May Blindness, in her mercy o’etake me.
Neither Arnold, Herman or Sarkozy
Can match thy untoward groping spree

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

if that doctor had not turned Booth away, his name would have been Mudd

Posted by GeorgiaPeach | Report as abusive

JC, you crack me up every time.. brilliant sonnet there! WS is turning in his grave, applauding ofcourse 😉

Grok, hands where Mr.Pilot can see them please..

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Just imagine summing up the top 10 blog entries in 46BC during the longer month. Now that would have given you a headache BG! Lucky you weren’t around yet… You’d be scratching your head not your codpiece.

Posted by Malteser | Report as abusive

@jclimacus: Wow! Billy Boy Shakespeare’s 155th sonnet is even more digestible now — like a Thanksgiving feast. Thanks!

Posted by 69Spinster | Report as abusive

thanks Shra, Spin :-) I came across this one swimming in the Avon river where I found a sunken bust of the Earl of Oxford

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

alright, who schmutzed Julius’s nose? He better not let his mama see him like that

Posted by jclimacus081 | Report as abusive

@Dave and Blog Guy, for Caesar, it was a case of “Here today, Rhone tomorrow.”

Posted by 69Spinster | Report as abusive

@jclimacus: Maybe the person who found it was eating ribs: 11/07/15/rewriting-jane-an-austen-tatiou s-move/.

Posted by 69Spinster | Report as abusive