Halley’s Comet plays a significant role in my recently completed novel about events in 1066. The comet has such a storied history, I thought a series of posts under ZOUNDS! was warranted. Here’s the first of this series: 1P/Halley, as it’s officially designated, is the only short-period (orbit of less than 200 years) comet readily […]
From the racier side of history and etymology, we have the word merkin. As the OED defines it, the word is either an obsolete reference to “the female pudendum” or—more amusingly—a “counterfeit hair for women’s privy parts,” as set forth in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd Ed, 1796). The custom of wearing these […]
I refer to the current prince, soon to marry Kate Middleton. Unsurprisingly, the current British royals trace decent from the Norman, William the Conqueror, who in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings wrested the English crown from Harold Godwineson, last of the Anglo-Saxon kings. Interestingly, William the Conqueror’s son, King Henry I, married a niece […]
Cigarettes have actually been around in crude form since the early 1600s and in recognizeable form since the 18th century. Although they didn’t become widely popular in the United States until shortly after the Civil War, they were smoked during the Civil War. Indeed, by 1864 the first federal cigarette excise tax had been imposed […]
In past years, two of my favorite conventions have been Readercon and WisCon. Unfortunately I’ll be missing both cons this year (one for the happy occasion of attending my sister’s wedding!), but I certainly plan to return to them in 2012. I will, however, be attending several conferences and conventions over the rest of the year, […]
Iceberg off coast of Qassiarsuk, Greenland. Photo by Christopher M. Cevasco.
Although varying modern interpretations of the concept of a “Flower War” exist, Dominican friar Diego Durán (c. 1537-88) wrote in his The History of the Indies of New Spain (aka the Durán Codex) that the wars were instituted due to a major famine that took place during the reign of Moctezuma I (1440-1469). Believing the […]
On this blog, I share thoughts about history, writing, and life in general, talk about books and movies, and occasionally interview authors, historians and other luminaries. As companions to this main blog, I make frequent Zounds! posts that provide fun and easily digestible dollops of history, and I also regularly update the Photo Muse feature, wherein I […]