Beware the Draisine!

Beware the Draisine!

Essentially the forerunner of a modern bicycle, the draisine rapidly became all the rage in Regency England. The earliest usable and much copied vehicle was created by the German Karl Drais. He called it a Laufmaschine (German for “running machine”), which he first rode on June 12, 1817. He obtained a patent in January 1818. Drais’ purpose… Continue Reading

Vocabulary Rocks! B is for…

Vocabulary Rocks! B is for…

Barbecue This American contribution to international cuisine actually originated in the Caribbean, and the word comes to us via Spanish from its Indian roots. The original sense of barbecue is that of a raised, wooden (later metal) framework used for either sleeping upon or curing meats. The Indians of Guiana called it a babracot and the… Continue Reading

100 Romantic Movies

100 Romantic Movies

In January Time Out London, an online magazine, listed the 100 Best Romantic Movies. I’m not sure what their deciding factors were, and of course such lists are common especially as Valentine’s Day approaches. They seemed to cover to wide gamut of release years, several foreign films, some movies I’ve never heard of, and a… Continue Reading

Anne Seymour Damer

Anne Seymour Damer

Born the only daughter of Field-Marshall Henry Seymour Conway and Lady Caroline Campbell daughter of the 4th Duke of Argyll, Anne Conway spent much of her childhood at Park Place, Remenham near Henley-on-Thames. Her parents being abroad for much of the time, her cousin Horace Walpole assumed some responsibility for her care as guardian. Walpole was very… Continue Reading

How Gullible are you?

How Gullible are you?

Last year to honor April Fool’s Day I wrote an essay on the history of this “holiday” for pranksters. Check that out here: The Origin of April Fool’s Day… Maybe. I also shared a few of my favorite hoaxes from the past in this post:  April Fool’s Day hoaxes in history The best place to… Continue Reading