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Shakespeare Gets All the Babes (No Kidding)

Actors are real celebrities and when their show comes to town the babes just love it. Not only do the major actors get more money, they also get more admirers. A young woman is enamored with James Burbage and his portrayal of Richard the 3rd. She asks him to drop by in full costume so that she can review his performance.... personally. (I'm not kidding.) William Shakespeare happens to hear this young woman's request, dresses up as Richard the 3rd himself and shows up at her place a little early. When Burbage arrives and sends a message that "Richard the 3rd is at the door", Shakespeare sends a message back... "William the Conqueror is before Richard the 3rd." (It's a joke based on the linage of Kings and if I have to explain it more, it ruins the whole thing.) [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This story has been told over and over again. You can understand why but something is odd here. Burbage was the man who built "The Theatre," yet Shakespeare was bird-dogging his chicks. That could only mean that they believed they were equals. (Burbage was not starving for admiring women so I doubt he cared.) But Shakespeare seemed to have more money than could be accounted for from his acting and writing. Some historians suggest that his father was engaged in the illegal sale of wool. Was his father smuggling wool across the Channel to avoid the export duties? That would be like someone buying cigarettes in a low-tax state and selling them in a high-tax state like New York. It is simple to make a lot of money that way but if you are caught the consequences could be deadly. Eric Garner died while in a police choke hold... deadly force for failure to pay the taxes on his cigarettes. [2] [3]

Dutch Ships Ramming Spanish Galleys and Pictures from Vietnam *

Muskets at the ready. Sails unfurled. Wind from the stern, quarter full. The Spanish galley grinds under the keel of the Dutch three-master and breaks in two. The men chained to their oars slip below the water. Blood, bone and cries of despair. The Spanish reinforcements are engaged before they can reach the English coast. Fifteen years from now the artist, Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, and his son, Cornells, will paint this battle in oil on canvas. It is the first time that a battle at sea will feel so personal. The Dutch ship seems on a collision course with the viewer. It takes the breath away. [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is one magnificent picture of an event that really occurred in 1602. The 17th century was a violent place. They knew that only too well and artists could capture those feelings of triumph and ruin. During the War in Vietnam we thought that it was the pictures coming back of the violence of war that caused us to lose heart, but that can't be true. Our hearts were already lost. The pictures just confirmed it.

The Ethics of the Boomtown: 'Everyone Does It'

Here comes organized crime. The Basque work about three-fourths of the silver mines in what is present day Bolivia and they lean real hard on everyone else: "That's a mighty fine silver mine you have there. It would be ashamed if something happened to it." And mining is taxed. Tax collectors are making a tremendous amount of money for their "tax help." Those who play along get ahead. Those who don't, get dead. Let's work this out: "Dead" verses "Rich." It is boomtown ethics and prices are insane. A single fish can cost 5,000 pesos or $64,450 in modern dollars. This year two Basque crime bosses duel for territory. Exactly what happened is still in dispute because, according to official records, one of these men doesn't exist, but during the fight Vasco "the Basque" is wounded and Pedro de Montejo dies of a stab wound to the chest. After that, it turns into a major gang fight. The governor sends troops to restore order but this is typical behavior in the richest city in the New World. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Conditions unique to a boomtown ensure than a significant number of people will be ethically challenged. If a guy needs $60,000 to buy a meal, he will consider doing things he never would have considered before. Is he doing something wrong? Good question. Lots of things we consider wrong today were once perfectly fine or at least tolerable. In 1904, Amadeo Giannini founded the Bank of Italy (now Bank of America). He bought a safe, collected small deposits from his fellow Italian immigrants and kept the money at home until he finally rented a building. If I tried that today, I would be arrested. In the past if we wanted justice we had to hire a private company or gather friends (also known as a mob) to capture the accused and wait for a circuit judge to show up ... or maybe NOT wait. We want to help the poor, preserve our health and protect our community. That hasn't changed. What changes over time are the ways our community thinks is the best way to accomplish those goals. [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1602, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558-1648, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster, 80-81. “Once upon a time, when Burbage played Richard III, there was a citizen gone so far in liking with him that before she went from the play she appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard III. Shakespeare, overhearing their conclusion, went before...” 
  2. Police choke hold killed NY man, medical examiner says. CNN (August 2, 2014). Retrieved on 28 June 2015. “Eric Garner, 43, died July 17 after being confronted by police on Staten Island for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally.”
  3. Alex Shrugged notes: I apologize if some folks found this story irksome but people often have the wrong impression of what our ancestors were up to back in the "good old days". I have another story about a couple having sexual congress after a maypole celebration. They didn't realize that a bell was attached to the maypole and apparently weren't paying enough attention to realize the bell was ringing. I couldn't get the exact citation so I let it be. Many of the observations I made here come from listening to the History Extra podcast and I cannot remember exactly which one. You can find the History Extra podcast at... History Podcasts
  4. J. P. Sigmond (2010). Dutch Ships Ramming Spanish Galleys, 3 October 1602. The Rijksmuseum Bulletin. 58. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. pp. 118-127. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20722576. 
  5. Vroom Hendrick Cornelisz Dutch Ships Ramming Spanish Galleys off the Flemish Coast in October 1602 - 1617 in art - Wikipedia (JPG) (2015). Retrieved on 29 June 2015.
  6. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “Typical ores are at most a few percent silver. The ledge was as much as 50 percent.” 
  7. Gold Price. goldprice.org (2015). Retrieved on 30 June 2015. “Assuming 25.561 grams of fine silver per peso (in the year 1602) at $0.51 per gram (as of June 30, 2015), each peso was worth $12.89.”
  8. Bank of America - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 30 June 2015. “The history of Bank of America dates back to October 17, 1904, when Amadeo Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in San Francisco. The Bank of Italy served the needs of many immigrants settling in the United States at that time, a service denied to them by the existing American banks who were typically discriminatory and often denied service to all but the wealthiest. Giannini was raised by his mother and stepfather Lorenzo Scatena, as his father was fatally shot over a pay dispute with an employee. When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck, Giannini was able to save all deposits out of the bank building and away from the fires. Because San Francisco's banks were in smoldering ruins and unable to open their vaults, Giannini was able to use the rescued funds to commence lending within a few days of the disaster. From a makeshift desk consisting of a few planks over two barrels, he lent money to those who wished to rebuild.”

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