The Last Time He Saw Paris…

…he died from dysentery.

It was a pretty crappy trip!

England’s King Henry V sailed to France for yet another Franco-Anglo War in 1421.  He actually never made it to Paris, but the title works.

Henry V

It was to be his last trip.

While there, he contracted toxic mega-colon, which sounds as horrific as it is in reality.

I won’t go into details, you’re welcome, as you are probably munching on breakfast as you read.

Let’s just say, it’s most unpleasant.

Now, of course, with modern medicine, fatalities occur less often.  Back then, it was a death sentence.

Prior to his death, things were looking UP for King Henry.  He’d captured Dreux, and laid siege to Meaux, a city in Northern France, capturing it in May of 1422.

While at Meaux, where sanitation processes were just as bad as the rest of the world, he picked UP a bug.

Suddenly, on August 31, 1422, he died of what Mother used to call “the green apple two-step.”

Have a great Sunday, and wash your hands!

The Wrong Kind Of Spy

John Anthony Walker, Jr. died yesterday in a North Carolina prison hospital.

Walker Jr.

Good riddance.

I know, I know, you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead.

But, alas, I’m a rebel, a rule breaker, so here goes.

Nearly 30 years ago, the US Navy plugged the biggest leak in their history with the arrest of Walker, his son, Walker’s brother, and another conspirator, former Senior Chief Petty Officer Jerry Whitworth.

Former Reagan Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger stated that the Soviet Union made significant gains in naval warfare during this time, and all were attributable to Walker’s spying.

During his time as a Soviet spy, Walker helped the Soviets decipher more than one million encrypted messages.  Messages that included vessel locations, access to weapons and sensor data and naval tactics, terrorist threats, and surface, submarine, and airborne training, readiness and tactics.

In other words, every thing.

He was a communications officer and a cryptologist.

Walker’s spying career began in 1967, when he was based at the massive U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia. Walker went to the Soviet Embassy in Washington and volunteered to hand over secret coded material on a regular basis, according to court documents.

There was no ideological reason for his treachery, he was broke, had financial troubles, and did it for money.


For nearly 18 years, even after he had retired and was receiving a Navy pension, the secrets of our battle plans, weaponry, and personnel locations were slipped to the Soviets on a daily basis.

When he retired, he recruited a new crew to do his dirty work for him.

Had we gone to war, our entire plan would have been compromised.

18 years?

How did the Navy miss it?  Even when Walker’s ex-wife came forward in a drunken stupor to rat him out, the Navy nearly ignored what she had to say, chalking it UP to vengeance, anger, and booze, referring to her as a drunken, bitter woman trying to “drop a dime” on her ex.

Finally, in 1985, it all came out.

Walker, his son, Walker’s brother, and Whitworth were arrested.

Walker pled out, making a deal for life imprisonment for himself in exchange for a 15 year sentence for his son, who was released in 2000.  Walker’s brother died in July of this year in the same prison hospital, Withworth was sentenced to 365 years.

Yes, I say, “good riddance.”

And John, you’re the AOTW, posthumously.





The Peace Palace

The Peace Palace

The Peace Palace is actually an administrative building in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Often called the seat of international law, it houses the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague Academy of International Law, and the Peace Palace Library.

A regular venue for world events around international policy and law, – which everyone seems to be ignoring these days – it was originally built to provide a symbolic home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a court created to end war.

This noble idea stemmed from the 1899 Hague Peace Conference, a treaty with high and lofty ideals as to ways to solve international conflicts.

Again, no one’s paying attention any longer.

Russian diplomat Friedrich Martens, at the behest of his boss, Czar Nicholas II, and US diplomat Andrew White thought UP the plan over brandy and cigars one night back in 1899.

White contacted his good friend, and one of my favorite people,  Andrew Carnegie, about the idea.

Carnegie in 1913

Carnegie in 1913

Andy was hesitant at first, and only wanted to pump some cash into the plan for a really great library.

As I’ve posted before, Carnegie was instrumental in the establishment of hundreds of libraries worldwide, including the one I grew UP in back in Germantown, Ohio.

White was somehow able to convince Carnegie to donate $1.5 million US to the cause.  Adjusted for inflation, that’s $40 million these days, almost as much as Julia Roberts makes per movie.

Oops, how’d that get in there?

The cash went for the construction of the palace only if the library was included.

Andy was serious about the books.

He wanted to give the money directly to Her Majesty, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, but Dutch and American laws called foul, and he started a foundation called the Carnegie Stichting (Dutch for Foundation) to manage the construction, ownership, and maintenance of the Palace.

It is still in charge today.

Queen Wilhelmina dedicated the Peace Palace on August 28, 1913.

Queen Wilhelmina 1913

Queen Wilhelmina 1913

Eleven months later – to the day, Europe was plunged into World War I.

I guess they weren’t paying attention then either.