Thursday, November 19

The Most Expensive Pizza Ever Eaten

 


By Grant Davies

The year was 2010. A man in Florida, USA ordered two pizzas from Papa John's Pizza. 

It's hard to say why anyone would do such a thing. But this history story isn't about cardboard pizza, it's about what someone is willing to pay to get it. All I can say is they must be pretty hungry and have no other options. There's no accounting for taste, or lack thereof, I guess.

The year 2010 seems like a long time ago to many folks. But then again, anything that happened before 2020 seems like ancient history now.

The two participants in this pizza transaction decided that for this order they didn't want to use US dollars to settle the trade. Who can blame them? Because...

Some people at the US treasury have a special printing press and they just plug it in whenever they need some money to buy stuff, like votes for instance. So the value of the dollar keeps falling because they print so many of them. The value has been falling pretty steadily since 1913. That's when the government invented the Federal Reserve out of the same thin air as the money is printed. The idea was to stabilize the value of the money, they said. Since then the value has declined by about 95%, so I have a suspicion that stabilization wasn't the actual purpose. But then, cynicism about such notions may be forgiven. 

Anyway, the pizza transactors decided to use a different kind of money. They agreed to use some money called Bit Coin. It may have seemed an odd choice to some. But it made sense to them and it didn't seem to be anyone else's business. (Some government types may disagree about that to this very day.)

Between the two of them they had to agree to the value of the Bit Coin so a fair trade could be made. They settled on 10 thousand bit coins for the two pizzas, which would normally sell for about $30 US dollars in those days. It's cheaper nowadays due to the lack of success by the FED at defending the dollar, but again, I digress. Unlike the US dollar some money appreciates in value from time to time. Bit Coin is one of those. 

In those 10 years the price of pizza has declined as well as the US dollar. But Bit Coin is worth a lot more dollars and a lot more pizza by comparison. If the guy who ate the pizza could have just held off his hunger for those 10 years he could have bought more pizza. 

$178 million worth as of this exact moment in time, November 19th, 2020 at 7:30 am.

It's not known if the Papa John's franchise owner still has the bitcoin from that transaction. But if he does I'm guessing he isn't flinging pies into thin air anymore.

To celebrate this story, get on the phone and order a couple of pizzas but be sure to ask if there is a coupon you can use to lower the price. Or maybe a discount for paying with Bit Coin?


PS.  It has been claimed that, with the exception of 4 days in 2017, anyone who has ever bought Bit Coins on any day since it was invented about 10 years ago (and still has them) has a paper profit. Well, a crypto profit anyway.


Friday, October 30

Irish (A)wake

 


Editors note:

Just in time for Halloween we have a sweet treat for readers. A guest author with a scary story about graveyard shenanigans and Irish ghosts.



By Sara Aldworth


 Come here to me and I’ll tell you the story of Mrs. Margorie McCall.

In 1695, Margorie got a bad dose of it. Sadly she died and was buried in the Shankhill cemetery.

Not long after, a couple of wankers showed up in search of some treasure. They dug up Margorie and discovered a valuable ring on her finger. Unable to slide it off, they decided to remove her finger entirely. As they cut into her, Margorie woke up. Well Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Was it a miraculous resurrection? The hooligans didn’t stick around to find out.

Finding herself awake in a burial plot, Margorie dusted herself off and legged it home.

Soon enough, her family heard a knock on the door. Her husband said, “If your mam wasn’t dead, I could swear that was her knock.” Upon opening the door and finding his newly undead wife, his hair went white with shock.

It was a grand reunion though. Given a second chance at life, Margorie snogged her fella and went on to have another wee one before her final, actual death and burial.

Is the story of Margorie McCall true? Nah, it’s actually twice-buried blarney. 

A search on this story reveals several variations in the retelling. And none have the kind of documentation that would hold up to a historian’s scrutiny. Additionally, would you believe anyone even remotely alive would remain unconscious during an Irish wake? And making another baby with that eejit? Not bloody likely.

Interestingly though, Margorie’s story isn’t all that special. The lady and the ring is an archetype, common in much of European folklore. Furthermore, stories about being buried alive can be found across the centuries and in many cultures. So while Margorie almost certainly only lived and died once, you can be sure the Irish will be slagging ya on this ghost story for donkey’s years.

Saturday, July 11

History has Been Canceled Until Further Notice


By Grant Davies


On this day in 2020, give or take a few weeks, a small but well organized group of thugs tried to erase all the history of the US.

A majority of the citizens of the country and many of the politicians and elected officials of the country did nothing to stop them. Some even encouraged them.

In the end history will survive even if it's incorrect history. Since most history is incorrect anyway most people will not notice this in a few years.

Even though the history found on this site is probably correct, those thugs have been thus far uninterested in erasing it. I guess they realize that I have several readers instead of millions.

But mainly they were too busy looting and burning to pay attention to it. And many are illiterate so they don't bother if it's like, um, you know, words and stuff. Unless it's a statue of a person they never heard of they just can't be bothered.

But this site is all about having some fun anyway, not portraying serious events like the erasure of history.

I just wonder, are we having fun yet?

Sunday, January 26

Give That Man a Prize

Image = Wikipedia

By Grant Davies

On a day just like this, back about fifty years after the 1880s, perhaps circa 1930-ish, a professor at the University of Lisbon decided to do some science.

Before we move on to the actual story, I think it's best to explain how such a precisely imprecise date was arrived upon. I used a calculator. And I guessed at the figures. The 1880s had some meaning for where to start counting, but I'm probably not going to tell you why, just because.

But who cares anyway? It's not actual history, it's Cheeky History. Exact dates require research I'm loath to do.

Anyway, the guy's name was Egas Moniz and he was a scientist, kind of. A former politician, (a republican, lower case) he was a professor of neurology at the above named University. He formed a hypothesis about where in the brain mental illnesses of various kinds originated and how to treat them. Based on the work of others back in the 1880s he decided it was in the frontal lobe of the brain. (Okay, I guess I slipped and told you about the 1880s part, darn it!) So he decided to see if destroying that part of the brain would cure these illnesses. They called the surgical procedure leucotomy. We know it today by a different name. More on that later.

Unfortunately, his scientific method was anything but scientific. According to Bill Bryson in his new book "The Body" (paraphrased), Moniz had no idea what the outcome might be or what damage might be done to the patient. No experiments were done on animals first and he was pretty careless about which patients he chose. (At least one died in an earlier attempt.) He also didn't follow-up well on what the outcomes were. Additionally, he didn't perform the surgeries himself but was keen to take credit for any that were claimed to be successful.

When scientists do science poorly the outcome usually is apparent to scientists who do science well. That can lead to derision and a loss of stature, not to mention income. But that didn't happen to Egas.

Instead, in 1949, he was awarded, (you guessed it) the Nobel Prize. It was for "his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses." (Wikipedia)

In other words, some of his patients improved a bit on the mental illness they had. Unfortunately they turned into zombies. Perhaps if he had hit them in the head with a shovel it might have had the same effect. (I'm told that leaves a dull impression on the mind) At least he didn't do that.

I don't want to be too hard on him considering the times he lived in. But if he can get a Nobel Prize for crummy science why can't I get a Pulitzer Prize for crummy writing?

To celebrate all the crazy surgeries performed by the others who followed in his lab coats, just slip on down to the "Weird Science Lounge" and when the bartender asks "what'll you have?"  Just tell him, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."


Inspiration for this story came from Bill Bryson's excellent book, "The Body" - "A Guide for Occupants" 

Wednesday, December 5

Krampus Claus is Coming to Town

By Grant Davies

 On this day, December 6th eve, every year,  Krampus Claus is coming to a town near yours. So you better watch out.

Or as the song has it:

"You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why


Krampus Claus is coming to town."

Okay, there is no guy called that. I gave Krampus a last name because I wanted to. I write this nonsense, so I can do as I please.

Anyway, Krampus is a real make believe guy. As real as Santa Claus anyway. And he even has a day (okay, a night) named for him. It's called Krampusnacht.  For those of you who failed German class in high school, that translates to Krampus Night.

That's the night this half-goat, half-demon sneaks into town and beats children to a pulp if he determines they have been bad. Or not good, I guess.  Or if they cry or pout. He also seems to lick their head and clean the wax from their ears with his fingers, according to the picture below. And he does this while in chains, so he's pretty competent.

I'll take the beating, thank you.  But that's just me.







What all this tells us is that if the worst thing that happens to you is that you find coal in your stocking or don't get that new I-Phone you have been wanting, just count yourself lucky.

One other thing, I'm pretty sure that if you don't live in Europe somewhere, this doesn't apply to you.

Happy holidays.


PS

We have a new winner of the coveted "15 Seconds of Fame Award." 


It's Matthew Latourette, who gave me the idea to write this post.  He recently was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune by name as well, so he's on a roll. Congrats!
Okay, your time is up.

Monday, May 28

The Amazing Talent of Bob Evans

Bob Evans - Supernovae finder extraordinaire
By Grant Davies


Some people have amazing talents that most of us could never image. Bob Evans is one of those people.

I love sausage. And lots of sausage lovers have heard of Bob Evans in regard to making tasty breakfast sausage. But that's not the same Bob as the Bob in today's story.

Our Bob is a retired Minister. He is semi-famous in some circles in Australia for doing serious research and writing books about the history of evangelical revivals.

Even though this is a history blog (kinda), we don't usually write about historical stuff quite that exciting here. Bob's talent for that endeavor is not the one I'm about to amaze you with.

Bob's hobby is finding Supernovae, and he's really, really good at it. Better than anyone else who has ever tried it, so they say. He finds them by looking through backyard telescopes from the small deck of his house in a town not far outside of Sydney, Australia. Other than his telescope his only other tool seems to be his amazing talent for remembering where all those dots in the sky are and noticing when a new dot appears where there wasn't one before. Just in case you aren't as amazed as I am about Bob's amazing memory of where the dots were,  I'll explain.

According to Bill Bryson in his book "A Short History of Nearly Everything" it's explained this way:

(Paraphrased) "imagine a standard dining room table covered with a black tablecloth and someone throwing a handful of salt across it. Think of the salt grains as a galaxy. Now, imagine 1500 more tables like that, each table with random salt tosses, enough to fill the parking lot at Walmart. Now add one grain of salt to any table and let Bob walk among them. At a glance he will spot it."

Now that is amazing! I betcha you can't do that. I can't even remember if I had Bob Evans sausage for breakfast.

To celebrate Bob's amazing talent, drop down to the Star Gazers Lounge and have the Super-duper Supernova Martini. But if you see Bob there and you introduce yourself, don't expect him to remember your name if you meet him again. He says he's not very good at remembering names and his wife says he can't remember where he's put things.

Amazing.

Wednesday, June 7

Save the Endangered Left-handed Snail Darter!

By Art Cashin

On this day (+1) in 1783, weeks of rumbling beneath Mt. Skaptar, a volcano in southern Iceland, ended with a roar. And what a roar it was. Across a line of over 10 miles, the earth split as in an earthquake in a movie. But instead of leaving a small canyon or valley, the rift in the earth poured forth massive amounts of molten lava and hazy blue gases.


Over the next two months, it spewed out enough molten stuff to cover the entire island of Manhattan with a lava cover a mile high. Looking for a place to go, the lava filled up riverbeds, harbors, seabeds and it melted centuries- old glaciers. Thousands of people were either burned to death by the lava or drowned in the floods it caused. The lava alone would have caused this to be rated one of history's great calamities. But then there was the haze.
The heavy, blue, sulfur-smelling haze spewed forth from the fissure and hung like a low cloud that grew and grew until it spread from Iceland southward to Gibraltar. And it hung there. And as it did, there were reports of cattle dying in the field because their flesh had begun to eat them alive. (Now where did I hear that before?) Some humans had a similar experience. Many more developed sudden open sores, sudden loss of hair and bleeding gums, finally dying in the streets.

Then things started to get bad. Leaves fell off the trees and plants. Birds, rabbits and other wildlife began to die, often rotting as they fell. Then the fish began to die, rising to the surface, often partially decomposed. (I hope you're not reading this at breakfast.) Now there was no food and those remaining people and animals began to starve. Thankfully, the winds began to shift, the volcano began to still and the dying began to stop....finally!

To mark the day, sympathize with someone from the "Save the Endangered Left-handed Snail Darter Club" and hoist a spring water and something natural, while you note the latest study implies it must be man that upsets nature's gentle balance.


Many thanks to Mr. Cashin and UBS Financial Services who graciously allow his historical musings to be republished on this site. To enjoy more of Art's posts simply click on "Cashin's Comments" in the label section on the sidebar.

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