Government Red Tape

Today, “Red Tape” is a derisive term for rigid conformity to formal government regulations that slow or prevent action and decision-making. Usually applied to government and corporate bureaucracies, we associate “red tape” with filling out of seemingly unnecessary paperwork and various low-level rules that make conducting one’s affairs slower and more difficult.  It may surprise …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. May 14, 1796 – Edward Jenner publishes his procedure for smallpox vaccination.  His procedure differed from previous attempts at vaccination in that he injected a milder “attenuated” version of …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. May 14, 1787      Constitutional Convention Four years after the United States won its independence from England, 55 state delegates, including George Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, convene in …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. May 10, 1775      2nd Continental Congress As the first Continental Congress adjourned in December 1774, they agreed that should Parliament not repeal the Coercive Acts by May, they would …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. May 10, 1775      Fort Ticonderoga taken by Ethan Allen. When Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, accompanied by Benedict Arnold, silently rowed across Lake Champlain and captured the …

Sugar Cones or Loaves and the Making of Rum

During Antiquity and the Middle Ages, sugar was rare and expensive commodity.  Beginning in the 15th century, however, sugar cane plantations developed in the West Indies, then South America, particularly in Brazil. Sugar was the top colonial commodity. It was at the root of the ‘triangular trade’, where European shipowners exchanged trinkets for African men, who were then sold as slaves …

WMD — Weapons of Musical Destruction

From 1745 to 1996, the Kingdom of Great Britain considered the bagpipes weapons of war, not instruments played in battle, like the fife and drum that is used to direct troops, but an actual physical weapon, like a sword or a musket. Those of you who have heard bagpipes may not be completely shocked, but …