Friday, February 10, 2012

The St. Scholastica Day Riots

On this day in 1355, an altercation between two students from Oxford University and a local from town turned into a three day riot - resulting in 63 students and 30 locals dead, much of the town and University destroyed and a riff that lasts to this day.

On day one of the riot the Mayor and several bailiffs went to the University to meet with the Chancellor, arrest the two students and have amends made to the local.  However, the student body became involved in the confrontation and violence ensued.  The mayor and the bailiffs were attacked and left the University.

On the morning of day two the students took the fight to the town, raiding, pillaging and burning houses and attacking the townsfolk.   By midday the students returned to the University while several townspeople lay dead.  By dinnertime the townsfolk were retaliating, firing arrows over the walls of the university, killing several students.

The next day, residents of the surrounding countryside, hearing the news of what had happened, traveled to the town to offer help and arms against the students.  This band of townsfolk and country folk attacked Oxford University.  Many of the teachers and students were killed, or scalped.  Friars - who started a procession to end the violence were attacked.  Halls were destroyed, books and clothing were burned, and religious artifacts were removed.  At the end of the day, almost all of the University members not dead or injured fled, never to return.

Ok, here is what started the riot (from Wiki)
The seed of the riot was an altercation in the Swindlestock Tavern between two students of the University of Oxford, Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield, and the taverner, John Croidon. The students complained about the quality of drinks, which led to an exchange of rude words that ended with the students throwing their drinks at the taverner's face and beating him up.  Retaliation for this incident led to armed clashes between locals and students.


The Historical Inebriant:  Sinners and Saints

Sinners & Saints
1 Bottle English Ale
1 Shot Spiced Rum
Pour beer into Pint glass and
drop in the shot as you would a Boilermaker

As an aside:
The idea for Oxford University originated in 1167, when English students attending the Sorbonne in Paris were expelled.  I don’t know if that was a drink related incident or not.

St. Scholastica (c. 480 – 10 February 547) is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church and is the patron saint of nuns. She is the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia who is the patron saint of students. (as a good friend used to say..."You can't make this stuff up")

Thursday, February 9, 2012

War and Peace

On this day in...

1667 - Treaty of Andrussovo: Russia/Poland sign a peace treaty after a 13 year war.
1788 - Austria declares war on Russia
1904 - Japan declares war on Russia

I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I lived in Russia, I would be a little concerned
when I flipped the page on my page a day calendar.

And I don’t know about you, but when I’m concerned, I tend to pour a drink.

The Historical Inebriant:  Jewel of Russia Ultra

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The True lyrics, the FBI and the Marching Band

Ok, so I’m looking through some sites trying to find interesting material for this blog and on a "This Day in Music" site I came across the following entry for today:

1964 - The publisher of the song "Louie Louie" offered $1,000 to anyone would could find               suggestive lyrics in the song. (pronounced "Loowee Lewii")

My first thought was “Suggestive lyrics"... things have changed!  Living in an era of explicit lyrics and Parental Advisories for Cd's, I have a hard time imagining being in a position where you would have to offer a grand to defend your song from a “suggestive lyric” accusation.  My second thought was that I needed to learn a lot more about this song.

Filled with competing bands, unintelligible lyrics, rumours, hearsay, banned music, FBI investigations and a drawn out legal battle, the story of Louie, Louie is big screen material.  If you have time please read the entire story on Wiki (, I have excerpted one particularly amusing paragraph:

In February, 1964, an outraged parent wrote to Robert Kennedy, then the Attorney General of the United States, alleging that the lyrics of "Louie Louie" were obscene. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the complaint. In June 1965, the FBI laboratory obtained a copy of the Kingsmen recording and, after two years of investigation, concluded that the recording could not be interpreted, that it was "unintelligible at any speed,"[9] and therefore the Bureau could not find that the recording was obscene.[1] In September 1965, an FBI agent interviewed one member of the Kingsmen, who denied that there was any obscenity in the song.[1][27]
The lyrics controversy resurfaced briefly in 2005 when the superintendent of the school system in Benton Harbor, Michigan, refused to let the marching band at one of the schools play the song in a parade. She later relented.[28][29]
A history of the song and its notoriety was written by Dave Marsh.[30]

In the end, when you hear a rapper or a hip hopper going on about different acts or body parts, there is a debt to paid to those who sung “Louie, Louie” and the Kingsmen.

Also in the end, as you well know, there is a drink.

The Historical Inebriant:  Louie Louie

3oz Southern Comfort
1oz Vodka
1oz Coffee Liqueur

After listening to the song, I would bet with the producer.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cuba Cuba!

Did you know that Bacardi Rum (the first clear rum) originated in Cuba?   

In 1830 a Spanish wine merchant named, Don Facundo Bacardi y Maso tried something totally new, filtering rum through charcoal to remove impurities and also ageing the purified spirit in oak barrels.   Bacardi also found by charcoal filtering he could turn barrel aged golden rum into a clear smooth white rum resulting in the now the best selling rum in the world, Bacardi Superior.

Did you know that some of the world's finest rums come from Cuba?

No? That’s because on this day in 1964, the U.S. imposed a near total embargo on all Cuban imports and exports and we haven’t seen one since!

Did you know that some of the very first cigars originated in Cuba?

Reports from two of Columbus's crewmen during his 1492 journey claim to have encountered tobacco on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and Dominican Republic).  They also reported that tribes on the island of Cuba smoked a primitive form of cigar - dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain.

Q:  Did you know that some of the world's finest cigars are Cuban?
A:  Yes, but can I buy one at my local cigar shop (let's say for the sake of example Connecticut Cigar Company conveniently located in downtown Stamford, CT)?

No, that’s because on this day in 1964, the U.S. imposed a near total embargo on all Cuban imports and exports and we haven’t seen one since!

The Historical Inebriant:  Havana Club Rum
...and if you could throw in a nice Cohiba.....

Monday, February 6, 2012

Space - the final frontier

Gerard K. O'Neill (born February 6, 1927) was the American physicist who invented the colliding-beam storage ring which increased the energy output of particle accelerators by utilizing beams of particles moving through a ring-shaped chamber in opposite directions.  Never heard of it?  You’re probably not alone.

A believer in space colonization, O’Neill later went on to develop the O’Neill cylinder or
the Island Three Habitat.  Two cylinders, each 5 miles in diameter which rotate to produce artificial gravity, contain agricultural spaces and solar panels and are designed to support life in space indefinitely.   Never heard of it?  You will, soon.

The Historical Inebriant:  Space Cocktails
(try all four - you've got time)

Space Cocktails
Discover 4 Ways to get Drunk in Space

This is what we will listen to on O'Neill's cylinder: