marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

tidbits cross time

In the Soviet Union, enterprises often made their own specialized equipment, even while factories to make it worked under capacity. You just couldn't rely on them.

The number of horses in Great Britain increased through the 19th century. all those train meant a lot more commerce, and you needed the horses to lug things.

Puritans approved of only two sorts of religious days besides Sunday: fasts, or days of humiliation, and thanksgiving feasts. They could be held by a family, a congregation, or a region, but their essence was to be irregular, only after special chastisements, or special mercies, events out of the ordinary. Even having a thanksgiving after a long period of general prosperity without any interruptions of bad might not be appropriate and was fiercely debated. Certainly regular annual ones were right out. At first, at least. After a few generations, colonial New England settled down to a general pattern of having a fast day in the spring -- when things were growing but not yet edible -- and a thanksgiving day in the fall.

When, under Communism, Chinese prisoners were escorted on trains by guard, they were strictly forbidden to hang their heads and ordered to smoke and talk so that it would not be clear that they were prisoners.

After the Franco-Prussian War, many "Emperor's Oaks" were planted in Germany in thanksgiving.

Nautical twilight is officially defined by how many degrees the sun is below the horizon, but the purpose of it is to indicate the period that sailors can make good navigational checks because they can see both stars and the horizon.

A Hungarian freedom fighter observed that the difference between being arrested by the Communists and the Nazis was that the Nazis wanted to find out what you did; the Communists had already decided and just wanted to torture you into confession.

The Pilgrims once held a fast day after six weeks' drought and came out of the meeting to see it had clouded over, and enjoyed two weeks of intermittent showers. A local chief had sent to find out why they were having another religious event three days after the last, and was quite impressed at how well it worked.

A Korean legend tells how a brother and sister became the moon and the sun. The original proposal was the other way 'round, but the sister objected she feared the dark. And then, when she found everyone looking at her, out of modesty she grew brighter and brighter until it was impossible.

Lenin gets asked why it's "The People's Commissariat on Justice" when "The People's Commissariat on Social Extermination" was more truthful. Lenin wishes they could name it that honestly, but it's not possible.

After WWI, Germany military cemeteries were often a "Heroes' Forest", and statues of dying young Siegfried were common, particularly because they looked striking against the dark.

Under the Khmer Rogue, Pol Pot's immediate family members realized who he was only after seeing a picture of the leader. Wisely, they kept their mouths shut.

In Ceylon, it was a topic of fierce debate of whether untouchables could be allowed to wear shoes.

The Great Leap Forward caused the most famine deaths in those regions where the leaders were the most fanatically Marxist. That is, those were the regions that systemically tortured to get peasants to give up the secret hoards of grain

Thanksgiving celebrations only took on historical connotations in the late 19th century. Prior to that, they merely revolved about the religious aspects, the food, and the family.

The Soviet Union massacred the inhabitants of camps that it couldn't evacuate before the German invasion. Providing convenient propaganda matter for the Nazis.

Africa has the shortest coastline of every continent, despite its size. This produces a great dearth of suitable harbors for ports.

The Cultural Revolution changed the name of so many shops in Shanghai to "The East is Red" that people had trouble finding their way around.
Tags: historical tidbits
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