Total Pageviews

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Heinz adverts have adapted over the last 60 years

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Beanz through the ages: How Heinz adverts have adapted over the last 60 years to try to capture the changing mood of the nation

Heinz beans
A staple in most kitchen cupboards since the 1950's, Heinz Baked Beans have been around for a while, and has often changed tactics to stay popular. In their first television commercial the brand gently reminds wives and mothers of the need for budgeting, with the mentality of wartime rationing still heavy on people's purses. Later came the promise of quick and delicious convenience with the introduction of the microwavable snap pot.

Calendula Oil

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Calendula oil is an ancient oil derived from the wild marigold flowers. The oil distilled from them is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial agent, and antiseptic.

It is great for healing skin problems like burns, cuts, scrapes and even fungus.

MAP: The US Hispanic Population: 1980 Vs. 2011

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

For reference, when thinking about changing U.S. demographics, here's a great survey and tool put together by Pew on the size and geography of the U.S. Hispanic population 

Screen Shot 2013 08 31 at 4.09.10 PM

Bette Davis

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Bette wrote an advice column for Photoplay magazine in 1943.

Check out the online archive!


de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 1864 > The Battle of Jonesboro leads to fall of Atlanta. 1888 > Jack the Ripper claims first his victim. 1897 > Edison patents the Kinetograph. 1935 > FDR signs the Neutrality Act. 1939 > Germany prepares for the invasion of Poland. 1955 > William Cobb demonstrates the first solar-powered car. 1959 > Sandy Koufax strikes out 18 batters. More from this day:

Fulton, New York

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Old Fulton New York Post Cards: Those interested in newspaper archives may enjoy this site.

Fulton, New York

Albert Lindley Lee

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception 

Albert Lindley LeeAlbert Lindley Lee (January 16, 1834  – December 13, 1907) was a lawyer, Kansas State Supreme Court Judge, and Union general in the American Civil War.

Early life and career

Albert Lee was born in Fulton, New York. His parents were Moses Lee and Ann (Case) Lee. Lee was educated at Union College, and graduated in 1853. He was admitted into the bar and practiced in New York. In 1858, Lee moved to Kansas. When he arrived he became one of the founders of the Elwood Free Press. In 1859, he was elected a district judge, and when the American Civil War began Lee was serving as a justice on the Kansas Supreme Court.

Civil War and later life

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lee joined the Union Army. Lee became a major in the 7th Kansas Cavalry, in October 1861. He was promoted to colonel of the regiment and took part in Henry W. Halleck's capture of Corinth, Mississippi. Shortly after the fall of that city, Lee commanded the 2nd Brigade in the Cavalry Division of the Army of the Mississippi and participated in the battle of Corinth. On November 29, 1862 he received a promotion to brigadier general in the Volunteer Army. He continued leading cavalry brigades in the Army of the Tennessee before he was appointed Chief-of-Staff to the XIII Corps under Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand. Lee served as chief-of-staff through much of the Vicksburg campaign, serving at the battles of Port Gibson, Champion Hill and Big Black River. During the fighting at the Big Black River, Peter J. Osterhaus was wounded and Lee was chosen to take his place in command of the 9th Division, XIII Corps. Lee's first infantry command was short lived as Osterhaus was able to resume command the following day. However, the commander of the 9th Division's 1st Brigade, Theophilus T. Garrard, went on sick leave the same day and Lee assumed command his brigade just in time to lead it into action during the May 19 assault on Vicksburg. During the assault Lee was wounded in the head and turned over command of the brigade. He sat out the rest of the siege recovering from wounds until late in the summer when he returned to division command in the XIII Corps. In August 1864 he was placed in command of the Cavalry Division of the Department of the Gulf. He led the cavalry forces during Nathaniel P. Banks' Red River Campaign. In the last month of the war, he led a raid against Clinton near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and defeated a weak Confederate force there.
Lee resigned from the army on May 4, 1865. After his resignation, Lee became an editor for a New Orleans newspaper. He then became a banker, and did business in New York. He stayed involved in the Republican Party, throughout his life. He died in New York City, on December 31, 1907.


de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

MARIA MONTESSORI born August 31, 1870 (d. 1952)

Free choice is one of the highest of all the mental processes.

Photography and the American Civil War

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception 

Closing Monday, “Photography and the American Civil War” examines the evolving role of the camera during the nation's bloodiest war. If you can’t make it to the exhibition view selected highlights from the more than 200 photographs on view:

Andrew Joseph Russell (American, 1830–1902) | Government Coal Wharf, Alexandria, Virginia | ca. 1863

Ancestral DNA

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Flickr - Ancestors - CåsbrJulie Umpleby, Contributor
Waking Times
During a recent equinox celebration, I was urged to create a very specific meditation process that was focused on multidimensional healing, and particularly in re-connecting with and healing the ancestral patterns within us. In the process of structuring the meditative journey, I was drawn to look with fresh eyes at the indigenous practices of honouring ancestors in all the work that they do.
How many of us understand at a visceral level that the vast numbers of ancestors who have gone before us are all connected both in our bodies as well as in the collective unconscious? Our very physical existence on this planet, right now, is as a consequence of the lives of all those who have lived before. Perhaps, like me, you’d never really thought of it this way before.
In the way of the most divine synchronicity, a friend sent me notice of a lecture presentation just as I was about to start recording the meditation, and I smiled to read the words as they echoed exactly what I was guided to work with and to convey. The lecture topic was, “Remembering our Ancestors – healing the past” by a world renowned author and Psychotherapist, Roger Woolger. Here’s what he says in his introduction:
Ancestral memories are part of us all; traditionally the universal memory has been called the akasha or the anima mundi (world soul). Jung called it the collective or transpersonal unconscious and repeatedly urged us to take more responsibility for the collective psychic imprints of mass traumas – of war, famine, addictions, sexual exploitation, slavery, poverty, oppression, mass migration etc that have afflicted all our histories for many, many centuries.

Forward March

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

After 50 Years, We Still Have a Lot to Learn From the Speech That Continues to Shake the World

JFK outpouring

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy will be memorialized by Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Channing Tatum, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams in the documentary “Letters to Jackie,” in which 20 of more than 800,000 condolence letters sent to his widow are read. The actors will join director Bill Couturié and presenter Christy Scott Cashman at AFI’s premiere at the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on Sept. 17. Other letter readers include Betty White and Zooey Deschanel.

Getty Images
Jessica Chastain

Facebook helps solve 45-year-old murder

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

A 1968 hit-and-run in upstate New York had gone unsolved -- until a retired cop renewed the investigation online

Facebook helps solve 45-year-old murder
This article originally appeared on The Daily Dot
The Daily Dot Some wounds never heal – even after 45 years.
That’s what the family of Carolee Sadie Ashby is finding out after her 1968 hit-and-run death was solved with the help of a Facebook post. Now, the family of the 4-year-old girl in upstate New York is grieving—online and off-—as they come to grips with the fact that nothing will be done to punish the drunk driver responsible for the death.
On Wednesday, the Fulton Police Department announced that Douglas Parkhurst, 62, of Oswego was the person who struck and killed Carolee on Halloween night nearly half a century ago. The Associated Press reported that Carolee was walking with her sister and cousin after going to the store to buy candles when Parkhurst failed to stop for the children at an intersection. Parkhurst had been drinking that night and was questioned by police but denied ever seeing the girl or hitting her. The case went unsolved for years, but police continued to track down leads.
Early last year, retired Lt. Russ Johnson posted details about the case on a Facebook page dedicated to local history. There, it was seen by a woman who lived in the area in 1968 but had since moved to Florida. She contacted police and told them that a member Parkhurst’s family approached her soon after the accident asking her to tell police that they were with the driver on Halloween night. She rejected the plan and never found out why they wanted her to talk to the police, but in the back of her mind, suspected it had something to do with Carolee’s death.
With new information, police once again opened the case and questioned Parkhurst. This time, he admitted that he was drinking and driving that night in 1968 when Carolee was hit. Although he has admitted to the crime, charges can not be brought against him because the statute of limitations has expired.
The news was greeted with mixed feelings by members of the family on a Facebook page set up to discuss the little girl that was killed 45 years ago.

Was the downfall of Richard III caused by a strawberry?

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

The king's actions in the summer of 1483, when he unexpectedly put aside his twelve-year-old nephew and became King of England, are considered to be out of character. Could a food allergy have triggered the series of events that lead to the fall of the House of York?

Aneurin Barnard as Richard III
Aneurin Barnard as Richard III in the recent BBC adaptation of Philippa Gregory's novel "The White Queen". Photo: BBC 
Thanks to the efforts of two famous Philippas, one of England’s most controversial medieval kings has been catapulted to the forefront of discussion. Ricardian Philippa Langley, who campaigned to exhume her hero’s bones from a Leicester car park and novelist Philippa Gregory, author behind The White Queen TV adaptation, have brought the events of the Battle of Bosworth into homes across the nation. With Richard III’s sympathetic portrayal by Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard and Langley’s forthcoming book on the dig, co-authored with Michael Jones, this fresh interest gives no sign of waning. Yet despite the debates, burning questions about the man remain unanswered.
Many theories have been offered to explain Richard’s actions in the late spring and early summer of 1483, when he unexpectedly put aside his twelve-year-old nephew and became King of England. Even his devotees will admit that there are several areas in which he appeared to act out of character. One of the most contentious is the fate of the Princes in the Tower, with some unable to accept that a man bound by the motto “loyaulte me lie” could order the murders of his brother’s young sons. Viewers of The White Queen recently saw Gregory’s own personal theory about the substitution of the younger boy and the culpability of Henry VII’s mother Lady Margaret Beaufort. When it comes to understanding Richard’s actions, there will never be as dramatic an answer as that which the discovery of his body provided about his scoliosis. We are not about to unearth the lost Richard III diaries, so his true motives can only be guessed at, across a divide of five centuries.
It is possible, though, to map various interpretations over the known facts of the events of 1483. Following the premature death of his brother, Edward IV, Richard intercepted the young Edward V en route to London, imprisoned and executed the boy’s guardians, rounded on his friends, declared his uncrowned nephew illegitimate and accepted the throne himself. This may have been the actions of a man whose ambitions drove him from the start or reactions to perceived threats by those he considered his enemies. One of the turning points came in mid June, when a Council meeting at the Tower ended in the impromptu execution of the staunchly loyal Yorkist Lord Hastings. This scene, in fact, the entire character of Hastings, was omitted from The White Queen TV series, which is perhaps indicative of the ambiguity of his role and incompatible with a sympathetic portrayal of the king. Perhaps though, there was a very simple explanation indeed, which only hindsight and modern medical understanding can unravel.
The initial account of the meeting comes from chronicler Thomas More, whose bias against Richard is known, but who was active in the household of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, present at the meeting. William, Lord Hastings, had been a close friend of Edward IV; he was loyal to the family and in particular, to the next generation. As late as 20 May, Hastings had been appointed Master of the Mint and Richard confirmed him in his role as Chancellor. When he attended the Council meeting of 13 June then, it appears to have come as a complete surprise to all present when Richard turned against him. It may not have been something Richard himself planned.
At this point, Richard had the reins of power in his hands, but only temporarily. After Edward V had been crowned, he would take more of a backseat and the boy’s maternal Wydeville relations would come to the fore. The dowager Queen Elizabeth, the “White Queen”, was safe in sanctuary at this point, her brother Anthony in prison at Pontefract and the coronation set to go ahead on 22 June. But something that day happened which changed everything. According to More, Richard entered the Council meeting smiling and remarked that he would like some strawberries from Archbishop Morton’s garden. He then left, to return around 90 minutes later a changed man, fretting, frowning and chewing his lips. Into his mouth, Shakespeare places the accusation of witchcraft, with his arm “like a blasted sapling, wither'd up” at the bidding of the ex-Queen and Hasting’s mistress. He then turned dramatically on the Lord, ordering his immediate execution. Traditionally, the “bewitched” arm has been seen as an excuse for the removal of someone who would have opposed Richard’s ambition but this owes a lot to hindsight. Remembering that we can never fully understand the workings of the medieval mind, Richard may have genuinely believed himself to be the victim of witchcraft and that his life was in danger. Whatever the Protector’s intentions were at that time, the culprit may actually have been his own breakfast.
More’s account may hold the key. It is possible that the dish of strawberries produced a genuine allergic reaction which caused Richard’s arm to wither and other physical symptoms to develop. Food allergies and intolerances have only been understood in recent years, with increasing recognition of the erratic way these can develop and their dramatic results. The allergic reactions caused by the proteins in strawberries can produce tingling limbs, breathing difficulties and red, puffy, itchy skin. These symptoms usually occur within two hours of eating the fruit, which is compatible with the timescale of the meeting. Symptoms begin with swelling of the lips and tingling in the mouth and More’s account has Richard fretting, frowning and “knawing at his lips”. Internal distress, breathing difficulties following the closing of bronchial tubes and congestion can follow. Sufferers also experience itching, with limbs becoming red, puffy and blighted. According to NHS information, this can affect one side of the body and is consistent with Richard being afflicted in one arm only. Nor may he have experienced any previous adverse reactions to strawberries. Food allergies can emerge even after an individual has eaten a particular dish for years but when the body’s tolerance level is reached, the symptoms are triggered. Before the advent of modern production and storage, fruit was seasonal and therefore, a rare treat, even for the rich. It is quite possible that Richard had a latent allergy to strawberries which emerged with the first crop that June, causing the sudden physical responses in his body.
How would a medieval mind have explained this sudden dramatic affliction? Fifteenth century people of all classes were deeply superstitious and believed that magic could be used to good and evil ends. Elizabeth Wydeville and her mother Jacquetta had both been accused and cleared of sorcery in 1469-70 although Richard’s own brother Clarence also claimed that they conspiring against him through the medium of magic in the 1470s. It cannot be ruled out that, anticipating attacks from the Wydeville clan, Richard believed himself to have fallen victim to poison or enchantment. He stated that witchcraft had “wasted his body”. Perhaps he genuinely believed it had.
The fear Richard appears to have felt on 13 June was a decisive turning point. It changed the tone of his Protectorship and upped the ante in terms of violence. At this point, Anthony Wydeville and his fellow prisoners Grey and Vaughan were still alive. If Richard had not consumed the fruit and suffered the reaction he did, believing himself the victim of a conspiracy, he may not have believed their deaths were necessary. Edward V’s coronation was still planned to go ahead on June 22 and the Princes in the Tower were seen playing in the Castle grounds around this time.
This Council meeting may, in fact, have been the beginning of the end for Edward V. As Hastings is dragged away in Shakespeare’s version of the scene, he foresees the doom of Richard’s regime: “miserable England! I prophesy the fearful'st time to thee, that ever wretched age hath look'd upon.” The seeds of discord were sown as a result of Richard’s misinterpretation and treatment of Hastings. Buckingham and Stanley witnessed the event and the latter may have even suffered minor injuries whilst attempting to defend his friend. Buckingham would rebel in autumn 1483 and Stanley’s troops turned against the King decisively at Bosworth. Historian and author David Pilling suggests that the execution of Hastings may well have caused Richard’s previously loyal adherents to see him in a new light and fear for their own safety. If nothing else, the meeting sealed the fate of Edward V and of his Wydeville uncle Anthony. Michael Hicks, author of several books about the period, states that this meeting was the point where the crisis broke. Richard’s interpretation of witchcraft caused him to react with a level of violence that transformed a tense situation into a crisis.
The truth of this matter will never be known. With so much of Richard’s motivation and action seeming inconsistent during this volatile time, the possibility of an allergic reaction could explain the sudden escalation in fear and violence that Hasting’s death represents. That in turn, led Richard to act brutally against his relatives, incurring the mistrust of his friends. Could it be that the humble strawberry was the catalyst that brought down the House of York?


de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception 

HISTORY IN THE HEADLINES: In the early morning hours of August 31, 1888, the body of 43-year-old Mary Ann Nichols, a London prostitute, was discovered in the city's East End neighborhood. On the 125th anniversary of Jack the Ripper’s first suspected murder, take a look back at one of history’s most notorious serial killings.

African Princess

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

A beautiful African princess ...

Born an African princess around 1843, she was captured as a small child by a rival nation, who had killed her parents, and took the girl to be killed eventually in a ritual sacrifice. A European naval officer, on a mission in the autumn of 1849 to negotiate an end the slave trade, interceded for the child, demanding her as a gift for his Queen. The officer had the child baptized with his name and the name of his ship and sailed home with her, where she was presented to the Queen and thereafter raised under the Queen's protection.

Taylor Swift and Hitler

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception 

Pinterest board falsely attributes Hitler quotes to Taylor Swift, and the internet responds by attributing Swift quotes to Hitler:

Princess Diana

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

On the 16th anniversary of Princess Diana's death, revisit her family's beach style. More on what Prince William can learn from his late mother here:

Princess Diana's seaside playtime teaches us a valuable lesson about parenting.

(Photo credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

 (Photo credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana

Map Shows Which Ethnicities Have The Largest Ancestry In U.S. Cities

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

America is supposed to be a melting pot, and this map based on census data shows the diversity of our cities. How do you think the map will change in the coming decades?

... and Alaska!

The Salton Sea

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Image credit: 
Ransom Riggs
As someone with more than a passing interest in ghost towns, abandoned buildings and the apocalypse, the Salton Sea has long been high on the must-visit list. In a three-hour drive from LA, your morbid curiosity will not  be disappointed.

The Salton Sea is the largest inland body of water in California, and easily its most toxic. Once a haven for tourists, fishermen and boaters -- in the 1950s it was touted as "the American Riviera" -- years of polluted runoff from agricultural and industrial sites, not to mention untold amounts of untreated sewage from Mexico, pumped into the sea via one of America's dirtiest waterways, the Northward-flowing New River, have turned the Salton into a truly foul place.
At one time the Salton Sea was among the state's most productive fisheries. (During WWII, when German submarines made ocean fishing dangerous, most of Southern California's fish were harvested in the Salton.) But steadily increasing levels of toxins, algae, salt and bacteria led to a number of massive die-offs -- the largest, in 1999, killed 7.6 million fish -- and its once-thriving population of migratory birds are sickened each year with selenium and botulism poisoning. The Sea is 25% saltier than the ocean and getting saltier every year, and despite some residents' claims that its tea-colored waters can "heal your skin," coming into contact with the Salton or eating anything that comes out of it are heartily discouraged.

beach house.jpg

In the 1960s, there were a half-dozen booming beach towns along the Sea's 80-mile coastline. That was before the days when dead fish littered the beaches -- the "sand" along the water's edge nothing more than the crushed-and-rounded bones from millions of fish skeletons -- and before the death-and-decay stench of the Salton in the 110-degree heat of summer became unbearable. Flooding in the 1970s buried beachfront structures in several feet of salted mud, hastening people's departure from the area. These days, the beachfront is a post-apocalyptic wasteland of houses, trailers and boarded-up beach clubs slowly sinking into the toxic mud.

Eldridge Cleaver

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

"If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem."

- Eldridge Cleaver, born 31 August 1935

“And why does it make you sad to see how everything hangs by such thin and whimsical threads? Because you’re a dreamer, an incredible dreamer, with a tiny spark hidden somewhere inside you which cannot die, which even you cannot kill or quench and which tortures you horribly because all the odds are against its continual burning. In the midst of the foulest decay and putrid savagery, this spark speaks to you of beauty, of human warmth and kindness, of goodness, of greatness, of heroism, of martyrdom, and it speaks to you of love.”

The Riddle of the Sphinx

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

According to Greek mythology the Sphinx sat outside of Thebes and asked this riddle of all travelers who passed by. If the traveler failed to solve the riddle, then the Sphinx killed him/her. And if the traveler answered the riddle correctly, then the Sphinx would destroy herself.

The riddle:
What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?


de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Evidence at Mohenjo-Daro

When excavations of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro reached the street level, they discovered skeletons scattered about the cities, many holding hands and sprawling in the streets as if some instant, horrible doom had taken place. People were just lying, unburied, in the streets of the city.

And these skeletons are thousands of years old, even by traditional archaeological standards. What could cause such a thing? Why did the bodies not decay or get eaten by wild animals? Furthermore, there is no apparent cause of a physically violent death. These skeletons are among the most radioactive ever found, on par with those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At one site, Soviet scholars found a skeleton which had a radioactive level 50 times greater than normal. Other cities have been found in northern India that show indications of explosions of great magnitude. One such city, found between the Ganges and the mountains of Rajmahal, seems to have been subjected to intense heat.

Huge masses of walls and foundations of the ancient city are fused together, literally vitrified! And since there is no indication of a volcanic eruption at Mohenjo-Daro or at the other cities, the intense heat to melt clay vessels can only be explained by an atomic blast or some other unknown weapon. The cities were wiped out entirely.

While the skeletons have been carbon-dated to 2500 BC, we must keep in mind that carbon-dating involves measuring the amount of radiation left. When atomic explosions are involved, that makes then seem much younger.


Giant Unexplained Crater Near Bombay
by David Hatcher Childress

Another curious sign of an ancient nuclear war in India is a giant crater near Bombay. The nearly circular 2,154-metre-diameter Lonar crater, located 400 kilometers northeast of Bombay and aged at less than 50,000 years old, could be related to nuclear warfare of antiquity.

No trace of any meteoric material, etc., has been found at the site or in the vicinity, and this is the world's only known "impact" crater in basalt. Indications of great shock (from a pressure exceeding 600,000 atmospheres) and intense, abrupt heat (indicated by basalt glass spherules) can be ascertained from the site.

The "Brazilian Holocaust"

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

In scenes reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps, 60,000 Brazilians, the majority overwhelmingly black, were killed in a mental hospital

Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post
Note from BW of Brazil: Every now and then one comes across a piece of news or history that words simply cannot adequately express. Today's post is exactly one of them. A recent book release has documented the atrocities that happened in a 19-year period that is being called the "Brazilian Holocaust". While some only associate the term holocaust with the Jewish genocide committed by Nazis in World War II Germany, as you will see, the term is perhaps the best available to describe a terrible stain in Brazilian History.

World Leaders Who Killed Their Lovers

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

The allegation that Kim Jong-un had an ex-lover killed has echoes in history.

Henry VII and Anne Boleyn, one of many romances with a world leader to meet a grisly end.
Photographs by IMAGNO Brandstätter Images/Getty Images (L), Universal History Archive/Getty Images (R)

Melody Kramer

It's good to be the king. It's sometimes less good to be the king's paramour.

From England's Henry VIII, who notoriously had several of his wives beheaded in the 16th century, to current North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, who may or may not have had his ex-girlfriend killed last week, rulers around the world and throughout history have sometimes used their executive powers to execute ... well, their exes.
A South Korean English-language newspaper called The Chosun Ilbo reported this week that Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend, the singer Hyon Song-wol—who was best known for her song "Excellent Horse-Like Lady"—was executed by firing squad on August 20.
Song-wol, the paper reported, was one of the dozen members of the Unhasu Orchestra and Wangjaesan Light Music Band who were arrested and then executed inside the repressive police state for allegedly violating pornography rules and possessing Bibles.
It's impossible to know for sure whether the killings did or did not take place, since Chosun Ilbo's report is anonymously sourced and no other media outlets have independently corroborated it (though news outlets around the world have picked up the story).
Chosun Ilbo wrote that "Kim Jong-un has been viciously eliminating anyone who he deems a challenge to his authority."
That description would certainly apply to earlier leaders who offed former lovers.
Dangerous Liaisons
Nero, the Roman emperor from 54 to 68 AD, reportedly ordered the death of his mother, poisoned his stepbrother, banished his first wife, and then kicked his second wife to death—all while ruling Rome with a tyrannical fist.
Claudius, Nero's predecessor, married four times, killing his third wife Valeria Messalina, who has been described as "ruthless, predatory, and sexually insatiable." But that reputation has been challenged by modern historians, who note that such accusations against Messalina may have been constructed to displace her children in the imperial succession.
Don't think this list of murdered exes is entirely composed of women, however.
Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, married several of her brothers, including Ptolemy XIV—who she then had poisoned—to have his nephew and her son, Ptolemy XV Caesarion, ascend to the throne. (I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Twitter user cidmonster, who led me to this bit of information.)
But the most notorious spouse-killer of them all was most definitely a man: Henry VIII, whose murderous proclivities inspired the mnemonic "divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived" to keep track of his six wives.
Both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard—wives two and five, respectively—met their end at the guillotine, after being accused of committing treason.
Surely there are more. Who are we forgetting?

The Hippie Refugee Camp

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception


Ways to Avoid Being Rude (According to 100-Year-Old Etiquette Rules)

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

Image credit: 
Getty Images

According to etiquette books of the past, it was pretty easy to be offensive. To show you were of good breeding, you had to adhere to strict parameters surrounding speech, behavior, dress, and eating. Some of those mores were so detailed and odd that they are absolutely foreign to us now. At any rate, by the standards of 100 years ago, you are an incredibly rude person.

1. At the table

Today, most women at a baby shower will leave the last piece of scrumptious chocolate cream pie to wilt on the plate, instead of being the selfish soul to "take the last piece." (It has been my experience that neither men nor children suffer from this crippling politeness.) According to Dr. Jefferis, however, writer of 1904's Search Lights on Health, it is rude not to take the last piece. "Do not hesitate to take the last piece on the dish, simply because it is the last. To do so is to directly express the fear that you would exhaust the supply."
He provides further instruction on good table manners. For instance, should you find a worm or insect in your food, say nothing of it. In fact, no unpleasant talk at all. No matter what. "If an accident of any kind so ever should occur during dinner, the cause being who or what it may, you should not seem to note it… Should you be so unfortunate as to overturn or to break anything, you should make no apology. You might let your regret appear in your face, but it would not be proper to put it in words." The gravy boat is spilled. Anoint your head in ashes, gnash your teeth, and rend your clothing. Just be quiet about it or you'll make things awkward.

2. In language

Mrs. Duffey, a 19th century expert on manners and feminist author of the 1877 The Ladies' and Gentlemen's Etiquette, warns her readers to be careful in conversation. Don't ask impertinent questions. Which could be any question, since you have no idea what will offend your companion. Better to avoid the problem altogether and never allow the lilt of a question mark to stain your speech. If you want to know how your friend's brother is, do not say, "How is your brother?" Say, "I hope your brother is well." Passive-aggressive nosiness is far more acceptable than brazen, well-intentioned curiosity.
Jefferis goes further, offering a list of language that is too ignorant to be used in polite company.
"Don't say feller, winder, to-morrer, for fellow, window, tomorrow." Here Jefferis clearly underestimates the charm of someone who talks like Granny Clampett.
And his crowning piece of grammatical advice, "Don't say I say, says I, but simply say I said." (Direct quote, hand to God.)
Some of his advice is still appropriate.
"Do not always commence a conversation by allusion to the weather." Or asking about the kids. (They're kids. They run around being useless, sticky, and just cute enough so that you'd feel bad if you didn't feed them.) Or asking about the other person's work, which you know you're not really interested in. Besides, you're not supposed to be asking questions anyway.
By process of elimination, the best way to initiate conversation would be by declaring something impersonal, interesting, and educated. Greet a new person, shake hands, and declare, "I am fond of potatoes, which the French call 'apples of the earth'." See where that takes you.

3. On the street

Men and women are expected to conduct themselves differently while walking down the street. Men are not to lurk in doorways.
"A gentleman will not stand on the street corners or in hotel doorways, or store windows and gaze impertinently at ladies as they pass by. This is the exclusive business of loafers," says Jefferis.
Whereas it is a man's job to make himself visible, a woman is asked to do the opposite. "Your conduct on the street should always be modest and dignified. Ladies should carefully avoid all loud and boisterous conversation or laughter, and all undue liveliness in public." To appear at all happy or talkative would draw the attention of those impertinent loafers. Also, be ever so careful how much ankle those creepers can get off you:
"In crossing the street a lady should gracefully raise her dress a little above her ankle with one hand. To raise the dress with both hands is vulgar, except in places where the mud is very deep."
As for offering to carry a lady's packages, according to Emily Post, writing in the 1922 print of Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home, a real lady wouldn't be carrying "bundles" in the first place. Asking a man to do so is to emasculate him in front of the entire town. An exception is allowed for small, tidy square packages or anything that is obviously nice, like flowers or fruit. Otherwise, should the woman ask for help, "[She should not] wonder why her admirer never comes to see her anymore!" It's an indisputable scientific fact that asking a man to carry shopping left more women alone to die old maids than did the casualties of the First and Second World Wars combined.

4. Specifically for ladies

There are two things a lady needs to know to survive in polite company. How to sit, and how to please men. I know, that sounds medieval and ridiculous, but if a lady doesn't sit properly how will you know she's a lady?
How to sit
Emily Post reminded women how their mothers were not allowed to cross their knees, put hands on their hips, twist in a chair, or lean back. But by the '20s, these things were allowed, within reason.
No lady should cross her knees so that her skirts go up to or above them; neither should her foot be thrust out so that her toes are at knee level. An arm a-kimbo is not a graceful attitude, nor is a twisted spine! Everyone, of course, leans against a chair back… but a lady should never throw herself almost at full length in a reclining chair or on a wide sofa when she is out in public.
The proper way for a lady to sit is in the center of her chair, or slightly sideways in the corner of a sofa. She may lean back, her hands relaxed in her lap, her knees together, or if crossed, her foot must not be thrust forward so as to leave a space between the heel and her other ankle. On informal occasions she can lean back in an easy chair with her hands on the arms.
To clarify, you may use the chair's armrests. On informal occasions only. Preferably in a locked room, alone.
How to please a man
One can always trust Dr. Jefferis to be plainspoken in even the most ticklish of subjects.
No woman can afford to treat men rudely. She must remember that the art of pleasing and entertaining gentlemen is infinitely more ornamental than laces, ribbons, or diamonds…. and as women are more or less dependent upon man's good-will, either for gain or pleasure, it surely stands to their interest to be reasonably pleasant and courteous in his presence or society.
This sentiment, that women are dependent on man's good nature like a dog upon its master's, may sting and enrage. But considering the time it was written, what is even more stinging is the possible truth of it.
So you need to be careful exactly how you set about pleasing your man. For women are like books. No, wait. They're like seed corn. No! Better! Ornamental furniture!
For women are like books — too much gilding makes men suspicious, that the binding is the most important part. The body is the shell of the soul, and the dress is the husk of the body; but the husk generally tells what the kernel is. As a fashionably dressed young lady passed some gentlemen, one of them raised his hat, whereupon another, struck by the fine appearance of the lady, made some inquiries concerning her, and was answered thus: "She makes a pretty ornament in her father's house, but otherwise is of no use."

5. Gallantry for gentlemen

As is often the case in old advice manuals, instruction for men on how to better themselves is scant. The little bit that Jefferis offers is especially charming for how applicable it still is today.
Propriety is outraged when a man of sixty dresses like youth of sixteen. It is bad manners for a gentleman to use perfumes to a noticeable extent. Avoid affecting singularity in dress. Expensive clothes are no sign of a gentleman.
Friend, you're 46. Put away the board shorts. Take off the baseball cap or at least put it on straight. Leave off the Axe body spray. And if you paid $200 for a pair of jeans that already have strategic holes ripped into them, well, there is nothing any advice book can do for you.
One of the only other tricky elements a man must navigate is when it is appropriate to give a lady his arm. It is a sexually potent act that leads many a fine girl to ruin. Arm-offering is how our streets came to echo with the plaintive cries of unwed mothers and their starving ill-gotten young.
Now, a gentleman may offer his arm to an old lady at any time. To a young woman who is not his wife, there are very specific rules. It must be dark and treacherous to warrant touching, say crossing a busy, icy road at night. He may offer his arm if he is the usher at a wedding, but not if he is escorting a woman at a ball, as that is no longer the fashion. A gentleman never takes a lady's arm, as that would make him a sissy boy.
It was refreshing to encounter one last piece of advice from Mrs. Duffey, who politely shows her feminist colors regarding how a gentleman should treat a lady.
If you are a gentleman, never lower the intellectual standard of your conversation in addressing ladies. Pay them the compliment of seeming to consider them capable of an equal understanding with gentlemen. You will, no doubt, be somewhat surprised to find in how many cases the supposition will be grounded on fact, and in the few instances where it is not. When you "come down' to commonplace or small talk with an intelligent lady, one of two things is the consequence: She either recognizes the condescension and despises you, or else she accepts it as the highest intellectual effort of which you are capable, and rates you accordingly.