History of the World-The Great Xerxes the Great Sequel to the Sequel

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 Our Lady of Barnum Avenue and history class at Stratford High School.  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. 

When last we met...oops, when last we met, I was talking about September 11th.  Okay, when last we met, once removed...

    Finally, after calling for some help from the Trojan AAA office, bridges were built and the army invaded Greece.  Threatening local people with the loss of their lands, rape of their women, and vicious titty-twisters, Xerxes picked up allies along the way.  Thessaly, Thebes, Argos, and France took up the Persian banner as Xerxes moved to face his greatest foes, Athens and Sparta.

France immediately surrendered

    Taking up winter quarters in Sardis, because there was no sense visiting nude beaches in the winter, Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC.  His fleet and army had been estimated by Herodotus (noted drunk) to number 1,000,000, along with 10,000 elite warriors known as the Immortals (the Avengers having bowed out because the Hulk couldn’t find a suit of armor which fit).

"Tell them we're in the shower."

    First concentrating on Sparta rather than Athens, the Persian army clashed with 300 warriors led by King Leonidas at Thermopylae.  Even though initially rebuffed by fierce Spartan resistance, rock-hard abs, and an inability to understand why the Spartan king had a Scottish accent, the 300 were slaughtered after a traitor showed the Persians the rear entrance (ancient Greeks being very familiar with rear entrances).

"THIS...IS...SPARTA!!!"
    Hey, don’t take my word for it.  Rent the movie.  It has some cool naked scenes in it.

Including a topless Cersei Lannister

Which is better than this shot.
NOTE:  Since this is a family blog, I won't include full frontal nudity. 
If that kind of thing turns you on, get HBO.  Perv. 

"Eff."

    After Sparta, Athens was captured.  Some historians claim Xerxes ordered the cradle of democracy burned while Persian scholars claimed he did nothing of the sort.  Who would be crazy enough to destroy a major center of trade and commerce?

    Oh, I don’t know.  Anyone who’d whip water a couple hundred times?

"Call me crazy but this seems...crazy."
"Hey, it's better than fighting the Spartans.  Have you seen their abs?"
    Xerxes then decided to attack the Greek fleet at Salamis in September, 480 BC.  This proved to be a disaster because, despite outnumbering their foes, the Persian warships were no match for the maneuverable little Greek vessels.  Plus, they should have known better to attack right after lunch, when all they really wanted to do was take a nap.

"Ooh, now that doesn't look good."
    Using the excuse of unrest in Babylon (who really never got over the fact that Xerxes farted on their god), Xerxes sent most of his army home.  He left a token force behind in Greece under command of Mardonius, but they were overrun by a Greek Amish family and herd of sheep at Plataea the following year.  After a few Persian ships anchored at Mycale were destroyed, the Greek city-states once more felt the breath of freedom.

    To continue to kill each other.

    In 465 BC, Xerxes was murdered by Artabanus, commander of the royal bodyguard (how frikkin’ ironic is that?). 

    What transpired next has led to confusion among historians (hey, cut them some slack.  It was almost 1,500 years ago and Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet).  Let’s see...Artabanus accused Crown Prince Darius of the murder and persuaded his brother, Artaxerxes to kill him.

"I shall call you 'Artaxerxes."  Meaning 'Bitch of Xerxes.' 
How do you like them apples?  Bitch."

    So, there was probably a little resentment there.

    However, according to Aristotle, noted Greek philosopher, mentor to Alexander the Great, and owner of a chain of diners in the Peloponnesus, Artabanus killed Darius first before killing Xerxes with the help of a eunuch, who undoubtedly was cranky because he hadn’t had his coffee.   Then, once Ataxerxes found out who the real culprit was, he whacked Artabanus.

"A eunuch?  That's nuts!"
"Not really."
    Seriously, though, who really cares?  They’re all dead now, anyway.

    Xerxes-one of the great leaders of the ancient world, source of pride for the Persian people and reason why the letter ‘X’ is pronounced like the letter ‘Z.’  After all, it's not like they've had a whole lot to brag about since then. 

    There’s much more to his story, to be sure.  For instance, I omitted the details of his public works initiatives, construction projects, religious beliefs, and his tempestuous 72 day marriage to Artossa Kardashian.  Yes, he was much more than a megalomaniac bent on assimilation of all the peoples of the known world. 

    He also liked body piercings.

"And balloon animals."

    But, like what Hillary Clinton looks like naked, I’ll just leave that to your imagination.

    You may want to get that imagination steam-cleaned though.

 

Fin

Thank God, amirite?

The Day the World Changed Forever

 


            It was just before one o’clock in the afternoon of September 11th (a sad commentary: we don’t even need to identify the year anymore) when my maintenance supervisor stuck his head into my room to wake me.

            “Sir, someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center.”

            Minutes later, I watched, horrified, as a second plane struck the South tower.  And then, as both of the monstrously huge structures tumbled to the ground as if kicked by a petulant child.

            My unit and I were participating in a multi-nation exercise at the Naval Air Station in Keflavik, Iceland (this explains why it was the afternoon).  A round-the-clock operation, the Keflavik Tactical Exchange gave us a unique chance to evaluate each other’s capabilities should we ever needed to flex our respective militaries.  Little did we know that we were preparing for a type of war which belonged to the past.

            Because the 21st Century came roaring into each of our lives on that late summer day.

            Naturally, the exercise was immediately cancelled.  Foreign aircrews (funny that I call them “foreign’” since we were actually foreigners, too) beat hasty returns to their home bases.  We had to remain in Iceland, because American airspace was closed indefinitely.

            Station security forces went into their highest readiness posture.  Watch teams at the main gate beefed up, rings of barbed wire cordoned off perceived sensitive areas, and armed patrols roamed the perimeter.

            My watch teams and I, on the other hand, remained at our billeting.  Only in Iceland for the exercise, we were considered non-essential personnel who’d only get in the way.

            And so we spent the next few days.

            I received a worried phone call from my wife during this time.  She fretted over my safety.  I assured her that I was fine but omitted the fact that I was more concerned for her and the kids.

            You see, my family lived only a couple hours from New York and only a few from Washington.

            The ensuing few days was a frantic search for whatever updates we could glean from the news and how in the world we’d get ourselves and thousands of pounds of equipment back home.

            Most importantly, we desperately wanted to know how we could get into the fight.  Whatever the fight was.

            Four days later, U.S. airspace was opened to military traffic.  As I glanced through the window of the Navy patrol plane which took us home, I was struck at how empty the sky was-with the exception of the one plane which approached us as we crossed into the United States.  It came no closer than a few miles before it disappeared.

            I think it was a fighter aircraft.

            What’s more, the radio circuits, normally full of the cacophony of countless air traffic controllers, were eerily silent.  The only ones “on the air” were the handful which guided us home.  All else were hushed into silence.

            Our route of flight took us just south of Manhattan, well out of sight of land.  At that distance, even at the altitude at which we were flying, it was impossible to see any of the city skyline.

            But, we did see a huge pall of gray-brown smoke lingering in the air like the death shroud that it was.

            As we touched ground at the Willow Grove naval air station, there was nobody to greet us.  There really wasn't much of anything by way of an acknowledgment that we were back.  Somehow, it seemed fitting.

            After all, we all had something much more important to do.

            Go home to our families.

 

In memory of:

Commander Bill Donovan, USN



AW2 (NAC/AW) Joseph Pycior, USN



and the thousands whose only crime was going to work that day. 

 

History of the World-The Great Xerxes the Great Sequel

 Okay, I know I wrote "Xerxes the Swell" last post, but I thought this title was better.  Sue me. 

NOTE:  The following contains a lot of Persian and Greek words.  Most of which I didn’t make up.  Since they're all Greek to me.

NOTE II:  The following is true.  Mostly.  For example, I don’t think the Persians used “titty-twisters.”  I think they actually preferred “Indian Burns.”

  

Not to be confused with George Burns.
Yes, this is silly.  You're surprised?  New here?

NOTE:  I'll continue to post this disclaimer.  The past several posts and who-knows-how-many-posts to-come are what I can remember from 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 (for example, the names and general gist of what happened); 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. 

  When last we met.....which was a few weeks ago.  Sorry.  Been busy....

    Darius the Great named his son, Xerxes, as his successor.  This was mostly because Xerxes was the son of the daughter of Cyrus the Great, Atossa the Great in Bed.  And because he threw paper when his older brother, Artobazan, threw rock. 

    Then, having finished construction of his tomb at Naqsh-e-Rostam, Darius made ready to invade Egypt.  As if the Egyptians weren’t icky enough with all that incest stuff, he was totally hacked off because their pyramids were much bigger than his ziggurats.  Apparently size mattered, even in the ancient world.

"Incest.  Not so bad if you keep it in the family."

    But, wouldn’t you know it, Darius died before the Susa AAA Office could finalize his Trip-Tiks and his reservation for a non-smoking room at the Saqqara Days Inn could be confirmed.

"Good thing he had that tomb built, amirite?"

    Almost immediately (by “almost immediately,” I mean “a year”), Xerxes the Great (“the Great” being passed down to him in the will) put down the revolts in Egypt.  And, for good measure, he decided to jump ugly with the Babylonians.  If only because he didn’t really trust the Husseins of Tikrit.

    In 484 B.C. (i.e., “Before Cable”), he outraged the Babylonians when he melted down the statue of “Marduk” (luckily the statue of “Marmaduke” was spared).  Either that or he farted on it.  The Greek historian, Herodotus, is unclear on this matter.  He may have been drunk.

    Outraged by this sacrilege, the people revolted in 484 B.C. and again in 482 B.C., when they remembered they were still pissed off.  However, Xerxes was able to put the Babylonian insurrection down, despite a strong opposition effort led by General Ubaratu Trump-Tammuz and his "MBGA (Make Babylon Great Again) movement.

    Because of this, Xerxes rejected his father’s title, King of Babylon.  Instead, he named himself “King of Persia,” “Great King,” “King of Kings,” “Sky King,” “King Creole,” “King Kong,” “Don King,” “Chicken a la King,” and “King of Nations.”

Unfortunately, he had to stop using 'King of Kings' after
Jeffrey Hunter filed a suit for copyright infringement.

     Wow, the cranky little dude really was full of himself, huh?

"Just look at all these damn piercings! 
You'd be cranky, too!"

    Meanwhile, as if there wasn’t enough on his plate, Xerxes took on the task started by his father:  punishing the Greeks for their interference with the Ionian Revolt (I don’t feel like looking it up, but it probably involved Ionians), the burning of Sardis, their victory at Marathon (yep, that’s where the long ass race came from.  Only without Kenyans), and for effing up his order of baklava.

And spraying Windex on the windshield of his chariot.

    From 483 B.C. onward, Xerxes prepared his expedition.  A channel was dug through the isthmus (NOTE: fancy word for “small strip of land between two bodies of water.”  Rhymes with “Christmas.”  Which hadn't been invented yet) of the peninsula of Mt. Athos, provisions (including granola, paraffin-coated matches, and sewing kits) were stored in the stations on the road through Thrace, and two pontoon bridges (known as “Xerxes Pontoon Bridges,” totally pissing off their designer, Leonard the Meek) were built across the Hellespont (which I sincerely hope was water).

    Soldiers of many nationalities made up the Persian army: Assyrians (getting their “freak” on), Phoenicians (who brought the alphabet and potato salad), Babylonians (who finally forgave Xerxes for that farting thing), Egyptians (who were so bored they started mummifying cats), and Jews (legal counsel to the Great King in all  matters pertaining to invasion).

     Setting out from Persepolis (after having to turn back because the damn Assyrians left the water running), Xerxes’ decided it would be quicker to go by way of the Hellespont.  But, only if there was a nice clean gas station along the way.

To shut the Phoenicians up.  They were such prissy Marys.

    Resisting the urge to fire back, “Yeah, as if YOU people ever wash your hands,” Xerxes grudgingly agreed.

    After all, they did bring the potato salad.

    The journey was an arduous affair, made even more so when they had to detour around construction of the “Death to America” monument and the fact that nobody remembered to bring the horses.

    Having grown weary of the many indignities suffered by his people at the hands of the Greeks, Xerxes prepared to invade the land of Zorba.  As if defeat at Marathon wasn’t bad enough, the Persians had gotten sick and tired of all that bouzouki music playing till all hours of the night.

  NOTE:  I realize “bouzoukis” are relatively modern musical instruments.  The ancient Greeks were actually content with simple stringed instruments and pulling on goat testicles when bursting into “100 Amphorae of Wine on the Wall.”  Besides, “bouzouki” sounds funnier than “lute.”

"Not invented yet?  DAFUQ? 
Where's my Windex?"

    Finally reaching the Hellespont, the strait of water which separated Asia from Europe (and crazy people from other crazy people), nobody remembered where they parked the pontoon bridges left the previous year.  

    Unfortunately, by the time they found them, a fierce storm (taking Chief Meteorologist Chip “Hurricane” Achaemenes completely by surprise) destroyed the only way to Thrace (NOTE:  this is in Greece.  I looked it up).

    In a fit of rage, Xerxes ordered the Hellespont whipped 300 times and had fetters thrown in the water.  Even though Ahmed Fetters swore he had nothing to do with the storm.

Oh, will you look at the time?  This thing has started to take on epic proportions so I think I'll close out for now.  I think I've tortured you enough.  Besides, I gotta pee.

Inside this time.


In a couple weeks (or so)..."The Great Xerxes the Great Sequel to the Sequel"...


Happy Independence Day!

     Or "Fourth of July" to the rest of the world.     Yes, yes, sigh, I know.  Many other countries, other than the United State...