Archive for April, 2017

International Dance Day

Today is International Dance Day!  It’s a United Nations thing, and is “observed” by all member nations.

So…

Everybody dance now!

Happy Ed Balls Day!

It’s Friday and you may be desperate for a reason to party!

Fear not friends, that’s what I’m here for!

Across the Pond, back in the Mother Country, in Merrie Olde England, it’s Ed Balls Day!

Yeah!

“What did Ed Balls do that was so special he gets his own day?” you ask.

Well, not much really, it was all a simple mistake.

More on that later.

Edward Michael Balls turned 50 this past February, and one might think Ed Balls day would appear on his birthday.

But, no.

He’s a British Labour Party politician who was a Member of Parliament until he was defeated.

That’s not the reason either.

He’s a patron of the British Stammering Association and has admitted that at times and like King George VI before him, he’s had trouble with his speech.

Nope, not that!

He paid a fine for running a red light, he’s admitted to speeding, and he has fessed UP to using his mobile phone while motoring.

He also paid a fine for not stopping after a car accident.

See, aren’t the Brits so polite.

We call that hit and run here in the States, but in the Mother land it’s “not stopping.”

But none of those caused the United Kingdom to celebrate!

April 28, 2011, as a new Twitter user, he was searching the app for a recent tweet about himself and entered Ed Balls into the wrong area and sent a tweet that said simply “Ed Balls.”

The tweet was re-tweeted by thousands, went viral, and the day became Ed Balls Day.

So now, it’s a reason to party!  People bake cakes, send tweets wishing one other a happy Ed Balls Day, stuff like that!

Really, we are desperate for reasons to party!

Happy Ed Balls Day!

Busted!

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” the teacher asked as she stood there with her arms akimbo.

Clark tried to slip the crib sheet back into his sleeve, but alas, she’d seen it already, and it was no use.

He was busted.

And he knew the rest of his day would not go well.

Nor would it end well; there would be consequences at school and Heaven only knew what his dad would do.

Now, if there were only a well he could fall into on the way home?

SSS 2

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was well.

La Monte-à-regret

On April 25, 1792, Nicolas Jaques Pelletier was the first person to be executed by guillotine.

Now, this came as a surprise to me as I thought the device had been thought UP much earlier.

Think about it.  The blade de jour had only been used as a means of execution in France for 16 months when it’s most notable victim, Louis XVI was executed.

This, with as much as I’ve read about the Bourbons of France, had never dawned on me.

So, of course, I needed to investigate!

Pelletier was a known criminal, as were all his friends, but on the night of October 14, 1791 he, along with others attacked a passerby on the Rue Bourbon-Villlenueve in Paris and relieved said passerby of his wallet and several securities.

During the robbery the victim was killed.  Pelletier was accused and arrested that same evening when the cries of the victim were heard by nearby gendarmes.

Pelletier’s solicitor called for a fair court hearing, but Judge Moreau, France’s equivalent of a hanging judge, sentenced him to death and a few days later his appeal to the second criminal court was lost;  his sentence was confirmed.

The execution was delayed while the National Assembly debated whether or not decapitation should be the only means of capital punishment.  Other options included breaking at the wheel which King Louis VXI had banned and  fire, as well as other swell methods.

The Assembly decided that decapitation was the only humane way and at the urging of Joseph Ignace Guillotin, a new invention by surgeon Antoine Louis was adopted as France’s device de jour for execution.

Yes, kids, Guillotin didn’t invent the Guillotine as we’ve been taught all along, Antoine Louis did.

On March 23, 1972, the guillotine was decreed the only method of legal execution.

The Guillotine was placed on scaffolding just outside the Hotel de Ville where public executions had taken place for the last seventy years or so.

Thinking a large number of people might show UP for the first ever guillotine execution, the prison warden asked General Lafayette for a contingent of National Guardsmen to ensure order.

About 3:30 that afternoon, Pellleter was lead to the scaffold wearing a red shirt which matched the color of the guillotine.  As predicted by the officials, a large crowd was there eager to see the new invention at work!

The execution moved swiftly, and within seconds Pelletier was dispatched.

The crowd was disappointed, feeling it was too quick and clinically effective, thus not providing the entertainment value of previous executions.

They began changing “bring back our wheel” and “bring back our wooden gallows!”  “Not my guillotine.”

Someone started selling knitted red hats.

Okay, that’s not true…but

…did I mention that public executions in France were a form of family entertainment?

Sorry, should have included that.

Mom would pack a lunch and dad would load UP the kiddos in the cart and off to the Hotel de Ville they’d go for an afternoon of hangings, breakings, and burnings at the stake!

But then, they gave us perfume and dry cleaning, so I suppose we can forgive them, right?

And the metric system…ugh!

In 16 months, the Reign of Terror would take the life of the French King and his Queen, Marie Antoinette and thousands of others.

By this time, public executions were carried out at the Place de la Revolution, a former palace of the king now known as the Palace de la Concorde.

The executions drew great crowds as the heads of the French nobility rolled.  Vendors sold programs listing the names of those condemned to die as well as sweets, sandwiches, and other foods.

Aside from popular entertainment, the guillotine symbolized the ideals of the revolution; Equality, liberty, fraternity.

Prior to the revolution, there were separate forms of execution for the nobility and the common folk.

The guillotine evened things out, so to speak.

The device remained the official method of execution in France until the death penalty was abolished in 1981.

The last guillotining took place in 1977 when child murderers Christian Ranucci and Jerome Carrein were executed in Marseille just prior to the execution of Hamida Djandoubi’s , a torturer-murderer in September.

The device has had many names over time.  La Monte-à-regret, or the regretful climb being one.

You see, regardless of the method, executions back in the day included a climb UP 13 steps.

Dr. Guillotin’s family was so embarrassed by his association with the device they petitioned the French government to rename it.

When their request was refused, they changed their family name.

Dr. Guillotin, contrary to what many believe died in his sleep at the age of 75; he was not a victim of the device he encouraged as a more humane method.

There was a Dr. JMV Guillotin of Lyons who was, indeed, led to the scaffold and executed by the device.

That could have been where that little mix UP came from!

Don’t lose your head today! Okay?