Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Penwasser History of the World-Part XI

NOTE:  I'll continue to post this disclaimer.  The past several posts and who-knows-how-many-posts-to-come are merely what I can remember from the Penguin Academy of Our Lady of Barnum Avenue and History Class at Stratford High School while growing up older in Connecticut.  I will research some specifics, mostly dates and the most obscure of names, and I'll try to place historical events in their proper historical context.  Meaning, I won't have the Aztecs land on the moon.  Or...did they?  Trust me, some of this is true; however, don't use any of this nonsense to prepare for the History Advanced Placement Examination.  If you do, the only college you'll get into is Klown Kollege and you'll probably be confused for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Or Joe Biden.  Especially if you sniff their hair.


The Hebrews
So Would It Kill You To Not Kill Us?
A whole lotta smiting's been going on here for thousands of years.



    Believe it or not, I do some research when writing these things.  Not so much that I bog down into a scholarly dissertation of facts, but some.  After all, I don't want to bore you and, besides, enough histories of the world have been written already.  And, it would take a lot of work.  Work that I wouldn't get paid for.

    That being said, this is a lot more fun.

    Anyways, when I first sought to do this series, I went looking for a book from which I could draw certain facts as a resource.  Sure, this internet thingie can provide me with everything I need, but that would take a lot of effort.  Even though the internet never lies.
But, I just like holding a book in my hands.

    When I'm not holding anything else.


    So, to Amazon I went in search of a history of the world.  The book I selected, titled "World History" (duh), looked promising.  It had many positive reviews with only a couple negatives.  Some of the cranky comments concerned the role that the Jews played in world history.  A couple reviewers complained that the book really gave very short shrift to the goings-on with the Hebrews, Israelites, Judeans…whatever.

    These comments are accurate; "World History" covers virtually none of the history of the "Chosen People."  There is one small paragraph which mentions that the religion of Abraham and Moses was a heavy influence on Christianity, but that's about it.

Wrong Abraham
Cecil B. DeMille Moses
NRA Moses

       I'm really not all that miffed about it, though.  Luckily, in my seven years
"And don't ye be thinking thaht
will be keeping ye out of Purgatory, boyo. 
Ye cheeky scamp."
of an inmate at Penguin Academy (four of which I spent as an altar boy…yeah, huh?), I received an ample history of the people/religion which was the foundation on which Catholicism (and the heathen Protestant faiths) is based.

    So, I'm really going to write this without a net.  Sure, I could consult my Bible (which really is a pretty good historical source) or delve into internet research.  But, like I commented above, what's the fun in that?

WARNING:  For those of you who really know all about biblical history (and you know who you are.  Chris.), you will most definitely find inaccuracies here.  The challenge for you will be to spot the exaggerations and/or mistakes and wonder if they are genuine goofs.  Or whether I am genuinely goofing with the material.

    I'll never admit to any of it, though.

WARNING (Part Deux):  This will be the first post that may offend some of you.  Up to now, I've been ragging on Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and Assyrians.  But, I'm really not worried about receiving a strongly-worded letter from Nineveh.  However, now I'm heading into territory which can be a bit touchy.  Mean-spirited offense is not intended, though.  Playful smartassery (may not be a real word) is.  Don't worry, I'll probably hack off someone else somewhere along the way.

    I won't poke fun of Hillary Clinton, though.  She's a wonderful
"Just keep an eye on him, though. 
I don't know, just read his f*cking blog."
lady who can never be accused of wishing harm on anyone, be they whistle-blower or pedophile.  I swear.

    Well, will you look at the time?  I spent this entire time warming up for the Hebrew post that I've run clear out of room.  So, I'll "go without a net" next week when I discuss…

The Hebrews-So Would It Kill You Not To Kill Us? For Real This Time


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Sign Language XXX

Must have gone to Special Bollards School

BTW, I realize I'm probably going to Hell for this.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Penwasser History of the World-Part X

NOTE:  I'll continue to post this disclaimer.  The past several posts and who-knows-how-many-posts-to-come are merely what I can remember from the Penguin Academy of Our Lady of Barnum Avenue and History Class at Stratford High School while growing up older in Connecticut.  I will research some specifics, mostly dates and the most obscure of names, and I'll try to place historical events in their proper historical context.  Meaning, I won't have the Aztecs land on the moon.  Or...did they?  Trust me, some of this is true; however, don't use any of this nonsense to prepare for the History Advanced Placement Examination.  If you do, the only college you'll get into is Klown Kollege and you'll probably be confused for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Or Joe Biden.  Especially if you sniff their hair.


The Assyrians
Beheading Before Beheading Was Cool

I'm sorry, can you read this?
I can't read this.
But, I'm old.
Still...maybe you can zoom in?

    Around 2,000 BC (give or take a hundred years…go ahead…count), the civilization of Assyria grew to prominence.  Situated in between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, it soon came to dominate the region.  This included Babylon, after they tricked their neighbors into letting them into the city by posing as Jehovah's Witnesses.  With swords.  

    After a lavish victory celebration that lasted for weeks and featured delicacies from throughout the land (including sandwiches on fertile crescent rolls with cheese and the now-extinct Mesopotamian Moose), their mothers told them they needed to get a job.

    So, they decided to begin a copper trading business with
"Here for cornhole."
Anatolia, in modern-day Turkey, when projected sales of "Severed Head Cornhole" fell through.

    Why Anatolia and not someplace a little closer is lost to history.  They could have started a business with Egypt, I suppose.  Either they were dissuaded by having to cross the desert or were a little skeeved out by all that cat-worship and brother-sister nonsense.  No one knows unfortunately.  Likewise, no one knows exactly who had the copper.  Perhaps the Anatolians traded their copper for goats, who knows?

    I don't and I don't feel like looking it up.

    Unfortunately for the Assyrians, the largesse created by the thriving "Goats For Copper" business came to an end sometime around 1,200 BC (give or take a hun…oh, you know the drill) when they were invaded and conquered by a group known as the "Sea Peoples."  
Wrong Sea People
    For many years, I had thought they were conquered by Aquaman
"I hear you people have copper.  And goats."
(the Jason Momoa Aquaman, not the Saturday morning cartoon Aquaman), but when I started to write this, I didn't think that sounded right.  So, I did a little research.

    And, by a "little research," I mean "very little research."  After viewing Why Justice League Sucked (co-starring, incredibly, Jason Momoa) on You Tube, I found out that nobody really knows who the Sea Peoples were.  Whoever, though, they terrorized the region and even beat up on the Egyptians.  Scholars (and by "scholars," I mean "some guys who can't get jobs") theorize they came from the sea (sounds legit)...maybe the Aegean, Asia Minor, Southern Europe, Bayonne, Russia, or Atlantis.

    I wouldn't rule out the Russians, though.  Just sayin'.

    Eventually, though, the Assyrians rose back up and kicked the interlopers out of their country.  Thus began the "Neo-Assyrian Empire" (which, shockingly, had nothing to do with The Matrix).  Maybe because they finally figured out what they were doing or maybe they were hacked off by being occupied by people who talk to fish, these Assyrians were not your grandfather's Assyrians.

"Holy CRAP!  They marry their sisters???
Sure, we impale people, but that's just plain sick."
    Armed with the newest technology of iron weaponry (developed by the Ur Chapter of Lockheed Martin), they ran roughshod over the neighborhood for the next several hundred years.  They expanded their territory to include parts of Asia Minor, Judea (those people never caught a break), and, under the rule of Assurbanipal, even swallowed Egypt (well, that's a clumsy way of putting it, considering all that incest stuff).  They even sacked Babylon (hee hee hee..."sacked") after King Sennacherib received a tweet accusing him of low energy and having hair plugs.

    The Assyrians became known for implementing tactics to
After all, beheading can get tedious.
terrorize their subjects to include mass executions, impalements, ritual beheadings, showing family vacation hieroglyphs, mass deportations of Mexicans, and fingernail scratching on chalkboards.  



    


   Their fierce warriors pioneered the optimum use of cavalry, infantry, chariots, dutch rubs, and taunting.
Especially once they learned to not shoot their horses in the back of the head.

    Eventually, though, the Assyrians got a little too big for their
Now you can answer
the bridgekeeper's question.
britches.  A coalition of Babylonians and Medes (Known as "The Coalition of the Willing") sacked their capital city of Nineveh.

    And, just like that (and, let's face it, you're just as tired of reading as I am of writing), in 610 BC, the Assyrian Empire went the way of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and the Jeb! candidacy.

The Ancient Shriners developed the
concept of Ancient Little Cars
    Oh sure, there were other civilizations flourishing in the Near East and Northern Africa: the Lydians, Phoenicians, Cimmerians, Shriners, Scythians, Dothraki, Hittites, Nubians, Urartus (I seriously don't know who the frik they were), Phrygians, Scythians, Masons, and countless others.  

    Plus, as I've said before, we mustn't rule out the civilizations in India, China, and Mesoamerica, either.  But, I will because we only got "White People History" growing up in the 60s.

"Don't forget the invention of cheese and Wonder Bread.  There's a good lad."
    Besides, remember, none of them were Catholics, either.  So, there's that.

   Before we go on to the hyper-crazy Persians and how they buggered bothered the Greeks, I'll need to pay a visit to a group of peoples seen mostly in the Bible and Cecil B. DeMille movies.

Next week:  The Hebrews-So, Would It Kill You To Not Kill Us?
  
"Behold!  The Lord will lead you out of bondage into the Promised Land.  Where you'll be occupied by the Babylonians.  And the Assyrians. And the Macedonians. And the Romans. And the Muslims.  And the Crusaders. And the Germans.  And the British.
But, it'll totally be cool in the 20th and 21st centuries, you watch."
   

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Photo Phinish II

"Oh, you're going to the Dominican Republic for your honeymoon?  That's fantastic!"
"I know, right?"
"It's such an exotic destination!"
"We can't wait!"
"And the beaches!"
"Tell me about it!"
"The romance!"
Loving every minute!"
"And the bleach in the sodas!"
"Absolu...wait.  What!?"

Saturday, August 3, 2019

A Penwasser History of the World-Part IX

NOTE:  I'll continue to post this disclaimer.  The past several posts and who-knows-how-many-posts-to-come are merely what I can remember from the Penguin Academy of Our Lady of Barnum Avenue and History Class at Stratford High School while growing up older in Connecticut.  I will research some specifics, mostly dates and the most obscure of names, and I'll try to place historical events in their proper historical context.  Meaning, I won't have the Aztecs land on the moon.  Or...did they?  Anyway, please don't use any of this nonsense to prepare for the History Advanced Placement Examination.  If you do, the only college you'll get into is Klown Kollege and you'll probably be confused for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Or Joe Biden.  Especially if you sniff their hair.


Babble On
After All, It's What I Do

Sucky.
Don't Use.
Yeah, that's more like it.

    When I sat down to write this week's "History of the World" segment on the civilization of Babylon, I realized that I didn't know a whole lot about it.  I may have been absent the day they taught it or I may not have been paying attention (my money's on the latter).

   What I can remember is that, around 2,000 B.C.  (give or take a hundred years…go ahead…count),  Babylon rose in the Fertile Crescent (land of the Fertile Crescent rolls-I believe we've already covered that) in what is now present-day Iraq (yeah, that Iraq).      

    Situated on the Euphrates River...or is that Tigris? (Seriously, who cares?), it grew to be a regional superpower (only because the Chinese were inventing gunpowder, the Russians were trying to figure out how to get drunk on potatoes, and the Americans hadn't been invented yet.).

    I knew there was a big shot called Hammurabi (or
"What should the penalty be for stealing?"
"Cut his hand off."
"Lying?"
"Cut his tongue off."
"Sneezing without a Kleenex?"
"Cut his nose off."
"Adultery?"
"Seriously?"
Hamburgerabi, as Chris Martin calls him).  He created what is called the "Code of Hammurabi" (the dude sounded like a stuck-up jerk to me).  This formed the basis of our legal system which was furthered developed in the Roman Twelve Tables, the Code of Justinian, the Magna Carta, Constitution, Rock, Paper, Scissors, and rules for Monopoly.  Sure, there's others, but we're not talking about them.  Let's get back to Babylon, shall we? 

    Oh, wait.  I'M the one who went off on a tangent.  Never mind.




Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Brought to you by Nebuchadnezzar.
And the Nineveh Home Depot.
You can build it.  They can help.
    There was also another high roller called Nebucchadnezzar, who is known as the greatest king of Babylon (take that, Hammurabi).  He built one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Although, like five of the other wonders of the ancient world, it no longer exists.  


    So, we're going to have to take it on faith that it was pretty sweet.
"Trust me.  I saw it on the Internet. 
Of course, I'm dead so..."
    NOTE:  Which is the only wonder of the ancient world that still exists?  Go ahead, we'll wait while you think.  Answer:  The Great Pyramid of Giza.   If you had said the So-So Pyramid of Egypt, you're awarded half credit.  Anyway, yeah, it's still around.  Although it could probably use a coat of paint.  Still, it's in better shape than most of Detroit.  See what alien architects can do?
Wrong aliens.
    King Nebuchadnezzar is also the guy who invaded Judah,
Daniel.
Also an Elton John song.
Unrelated.
Probably.
destroyed Solomon's temple, grabbed a whole bunch of Hebrews, and dragged them all back to Babylon (this is known as the "Babylonian Captivity."  Duh.).  He's featured in a few books of the Bible: Kings, Esther, Jeremiah (who was not a bullfrog and not a good friend of mine), Daniel, and the lesser-known Schlomo.

    He got a bad rap, deservedly so, and the nuns made us play "Pin
"But, not before ten rosaries, ye cheeky scamps."
the Tail on Nebuchadnezzar" before we were allowed to go to Bingo.

    Babylon pretty much ruled the roost for that region of the world, even Egypt (because the aliens and their spaceships had already left).  They led the way in improved farming, lawmaking, education, mathematics, phrenology, interpretive dance, origami, cake-decorating, clogging, haberdashery, ice sculpture, charades, flower arrangements, writing (sure, why not?), and statues of half-men/half-lions.  

    Or bulls.  Or eagles.  Whatever.

"I don't know animals."
    Eventually, though, Babylon declined and fell around 540 BC (give or take a hundred years…go ahead…count) when they left the front gate of the city unlocked and a whole bunch of Achaemenids wandered in and trashed the joint.  


The Babylonians also experienced trouble shaving with
hooves and buying pants with four legs.
    The Achaemenids, also known as Persians, were lead by Cyrus the Great, who was a real mover and shaker himself.  Eventually, Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and a whole bunch of crazies would run amok in that region of the world.  They would also threaten the nascent civilizations of the Western World, most notably Greece.

Meanwhile, in China...

    But, that's another story.

    Anyway, that's pretty much all I can remember about the Babylonian Empire.  They were a pretty big deal, evidently, but it was difficult to keep track of all the loinclothed players so early in the school year.  Besides, that's probably all you need (or, most importantly, want) to know.  

    After all, no one wants to hear me babble on.
   
See what I did there, yo?

Next week: The Assyrians.  Beheading people before beheading people was cool.
   



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Photo Phinish I

Taking a well-deserved break, Santa Claus shares a light
 moment with one of his favorite elves, "Handsy."