It couldn’t be clearer to the entrepreneurs of Gold Rush era San Francisco that if you could find a way to get eggs to the masses, you could become insanely rich overnight. As aspiring gazillionaires began searching far and wide for solutions, others looked closer to home. Twenty-six miles offshore, to be exact.
Crude tent neighborhoods full of sweaty, tired miners multiplied, as did brothels and casinos, as the initial population boom included a staggering majority of men. Once an economy of hungry, tired, lonely men emerged, scores of people realized what — or who — the real goldmine was.
Case in point: One miner purportedly made a solid income when he came into possession of a women’s slipper, which he charged a lofty one dollar to his fellows for the simple privilege of touching it. That’s around $35 in today’s money.
Much like the Language of Flowers and other courtship rituals of the past, there was an entire conversation hidden in your love spoon. For example, an anchor might symbolize settled love, while interlocking chains were pretty self-explanatory. A wheel could signify a willingness to work for your partner; a shield would offer protection. Balls in a cage could refer to love held safe or show a number of children. Arwyn, you dog!
Summer, 1495. You’re Hans, King of Denmark and Norway, freshly anchored off the southern coast of Sweden for a little tête-à-tête with Sten Sture the Elder.
This isn’t a shake-hands-and-kiss-babies kind of diplomatic trip. You’re there because Sture, the “protector of the realm,” is trying to keep Sweden out of the Nordic union you’re supposed to be ruling over.
One neat and tidy idea is that instead of banning Lupercalia — which Romans celebrated for a remarkably long time — Christians adopted and renamed it. This stems from a strongly-worded letter by Pope Gelasius circa 494 B.C.E., where he criticized fellow Christians for participating in something that used to showcase naked people whipping each other.
“It was a sight never to be forgotten, and was considered at the time to be the greatest aurora recorded. The rationalist and pantheist saw nature in her most exquisite robes, recognising, the divine immanence, immutable law, cause, and effect. The superstitious and the fanatical had dire forebodings, and thought it a foreshadowing of Armageddon and final dissolution.”
Rule number one for surviving the viking ‘Great Army’ invasion of 865 — don’t give the enemy a reason to shoot arrows at you. Somehow, King Edmund of East Anglia missed the memo, both in real life and in the Netflix series The Last Kingdom.
Tipu’s possessions, as well as anything associated with him, frequently had tiger stripes and tigers worked into the decoration. His throne? Jeweled gold tiger head finials. His coinage? Stamped with stripes. Swords and guns? Covered with tiger heads and stripes. Army mortars? Small bronze crouching tigers. Even the men who fired Tipu’s lethal rockets wore tunics woven with stripes.
Apache women also brewed up tulpi, another corn creation similar to Mexican pulque, used for girls’ puberty rites. Head further south and you might enjoy a cup of algoroba, a South American beer crafted from leguminous plants or asua, a crushed maize beer made by Quichua-speaking groups, or the Mayan balché. And to this day, women in Huacho Sin Pescado Peru make a mean chichi.