no one ever says that Rome needed help from aliens to build their empire

#l laughed for days when i found out that #ancient egyptians used water to reduce friction and move blocks for distances #and that this was literally DEPICTED ON THEIR HIEROGLYPHICS #but ~western archaeologists~ #thought that the pouring of water depicted ~superstitious rituals~ #jfc



Casual reminder that in one of Leonardo da Vinci’s many notebooks containing innumerable artistic and scientific sketches and notes of incomprehensible importance, there is a sketch of two penises with legs and tails walking towards a crudely drawn anus.

The sketch was most likely done by Leonardo’s apprentice Salai, who was not only very likely one of Leonardo’s lovers, but who was also infamously mischievous. Better yet, the anus is literally labeled “Salai.”

So either Salai drew these while Leonardo wasn’t looking just to annoy his boyfriend, or Leonardo himself put actual time and energy into drawing these. Either way, the human race is truly blessed to have made such a discovery.

There are dick drawings like the ones you see on desks in school in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Please cherish this information.

In the midst of exploring Renaissance Italy history for reasons, I have found a wonder.


when will your history ever 



flower language has always been an intense source of disappointment for me

like, they all mean really generic things like “love” or “forever” or “i’m sorry” 

i thought you could combine flowers

like you could just send someone a bouquet and from the combination of hibiscus and posies and tulips they’d understand “the rebel leader is dead, rendezvous at the docks at 8, bring the dog, you will need lighter fluid and  a large tomato”

I really hope no one’s answered this for you yet, I saw this and got so excited that my obscure knowledge base might come into use.  I had to stretch a few flowers so to speak but Victorian flower language allows for alteration in meaning depending on colour, fruit, flower, bud, steam, leaves and thorns, so I didn’t feel I was too far out of line.  This message would work best as two bouquets bound together.  First red Nasturtium with no leaves (red denotes a leader, the nasturtium a patriot) mixed with white or red Mask Flowers (rebellion, red if you want to emphasize fighting, white martyrdom) around Cypress (death).  Then Chick weed (rendezvous) and Blue Convolvulus (night) surrounded by eight White Popular Leaves (symbolises the time: eight), Yellow Iris (flame, and a flower that grows by rivers) and Yellow Prarie Dock Flowers (this was closest I could find to docks)and one large Tomato Leaf, all bound in Dogwood Bark.  Dogwood represents deceit, but as far as I could find the bark wasn’t used symbolically, and as you referred to the dog instead of a dog, I thought it was likely the pun should be a dead giveaway.  

So there’s your rebel message!

What was it like to be a female Star Trek fan in the 1960s?



I found these reddit posts that I thought gave great insight into what it was like for women in the 1960s who enjoyed Star Trek.  Very eye-opening, in my opinion.  I hadn’t realized the extent to which women enjoying science fiction was frowned upon.  Source: X

[–]Aynielle 6 points 11 months ago:  I often wonder if our mothers pined away for members of the og star trek crew like this? William Shatner was a fine man, back in his day.

[–]thecla 8 points 11 months ago:  Yes, we did. And we wrote fanfic, though there was no internet to share it on.

[–]Aynielle 2 points 11 months ago:  Was it just passed amongst friends? Or were there publications that featured them? Thanks for posting! I find this wildly interesting. :)

[–]thecla 5 points 11 months ago:  Ok, if you don’t mind a bit of a story…

I went to a private girls’ high school in the mid-late 60’s. I was already a geek, though that wasn’t a term we used. Anyway, I’d already watched the first season of ST by the time I got to school, and was freaking out a bit, ‘cause the dorms had only one TV per dorm; each dorm had about a hundred girls in it.

Star Trek was on Friday nights, so I figured there was no way I’d ever get to see it (it was not as popular at first as everyone seems to say it was). I found out, though, that the first person to sit by the TV after dinner got to say what would be watched! It wasn’t really as much of a race as you’d think, because before Star Trek came on, there was Wild, Wild West, and Robert Conrad with those very, very tight pants (Conrad)Everyone watched that! Actually, it wasn’t till I showed up that anyone bothered leaving the TV on after that.

I watched Star Trek alone for the first couple weeks, then a couple girls stayed with me, then more, and soon it was everybody settling in for two hours of quality coughcough TV.

By sophomore year we had it down to a science: who would make the popcorn, who would bring the drinks, and we would sit there with our hair wrapped around juice cans and coffee cans to get just the right amount of straight vs. curl, in our robes and bunny slippers to watch the best looking guys on TV run around, hopefully without shirts on.

Sophomore year brought us an additional student who was really good at writing. She could write phenomenal satires on whatever literature we were reading, and could translate them into Latin or Greek while she was doing it. Her stories always got passed around (remember, no computers, she wrote them out longhand, then typed them with two sheets of paper and a carbon in between. Some of the stories were a hundred pages or more.)

This girl did a full-length take-off on The Rape of The Lock by John Donne, (which is already a satire) that had us all in stitches, ended up being read by the staff (and it was about them…). We could hear the teachers laughing from rooms away!

Anyway, this is the girl that started writing the Star Trek fanfic. She wrote one for herself and asked me to proofread it (we were roommates), and I begged and begged for one about me till she finally gave in and wrote it. Then another girl found out, and another, and then someone else started writing them. And yes, they would make the rounds, so everybody got to read them all. All written longhand, then typed, collated, stapled, and hopefully treasured by the recipient. I wonder sometimes how many of them still exist.

By the way, when I was at home (school in New York State, home in the Chicago area), I never met another girl who watched Star Trek. Science Fiction was so frowned upon as reading material or watching material for girls, you have no idea. My parents were very upset when they caught me reading my brother’s copies of Asimov, or Clarke. Yeah, I had to hide them under the mattress during the day and read under the covers with a flashlight at night. Even at college, it was rare for me to find another girl who liked science fiction.

Respect your fandom foremothers.


From The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time, edited by David H, Lowenherz




A WWII soldiers photo-booth collection c.1942



The Lesbians


How did the first lesbians happen? Good question, and you asked the right man: the first lesbians happened in cavemen times, after all the cavemen got mauled to death by a mammoth. “Hey,” the cavegirl said, leaning her arm on the side of her friend’s cave. “Hey. So, ah… hmm. How to say this? I’m feeling pretty horned up. Feeling pretty horno.”

"Ha ha, right?" her friend said. "Like: yeah."

"So I was thinking…" — she did a kind of pointing motion with both of her hands — "… you know maybe you and me, do it."

"How would we—?"

"You know scissoring, or something. I’ve not really thought about it. Or some basic digital insertion. Something like that. I’ve not really thought about it."

"Like I, like, sit on your—?" but it was too late, because she had taken the bone out of her hair and shaken it loose, and she had taken her lionskin toga off, and she had kind of pinned her down and was clambering crotch-first over her face. "I can’t get the—" she said, muffled somewhat, yelps of pleasure echoing around the cave. "I can’t get the angles right!"


So anyway yeah after 20 minutes of that they were basically spent and if not that then both their knees were tired, so they stopped. “So, uh,” she said. “Yeah.”


"Okay." And so they had the first ever post-scissoring conversation, their mouths still coppery and salty, their words more like nervous laughs.

"So you uh… you wanna meet up this week? My friend’s got this DJ night?"

"Oh yeah I can’t I’m busy Thursday."

“It’s on Friday.”

"Yeah I’m busy Friday too."

Then they were attacked and killed by a sabre-toothed tiger the end. 


Every time I see Elizabeth i’s signature I get absurdly happy cause I just imagine her signing her name and doing a little twirly and then pausing and then adding a few more twirlies
“your majesty perhaps thats enough twirls” suggests William Cecil
“perhaps Im the motherfuckin queen” suggests elizabeth and adds 6 more

Musketeers Meta: 17th century French cuisine


Tumblr user fa-grayce asked on The Musketeers tag what would be appropriate for our musketeers to eat, and I happen to have a lot of feelings about 17th century French cuisine (about food in general, but 17th century French cuisine in particular, because Cyrano de Bergerac is one of my favourite plays ever and act II opens basically with food porn for no reason and it’s awesome).

17th century is precisely the time where French cuisine come out of the Middle Ages; it’s a time of new techniques, new products, and general innovations. 17th century is the “Grand Siècle”, the Great Century, and obviously it called for a Grande Cuisine too because hey, THIS. IS. FRAAAAANCE!!!! Before that time, there was virtually no cookbook published for centuries, and in that century one of the first great French cooks called La Varenne published “Le Cuisinier François” (“the French cook”) which became a best-seller (and which kept being re-printed until 1815!). It’s the very first cookbook that details rules and principles of cooking.


To understand 17th century French cuisine, you have to understand how it’s different from medieval cuisine first.
Medieval cuisine used lots of spices (in the nobility, mainly, but not in order to mask the dubious freshness of the meat like many people seem to think — in fact meat in the Middle Ages arrived probably fresher in the kitchen than it does today; but because spices were expensive, and it showed you had a lot of money. Also spices were believed (turned out to be true) to have curative properties. Medieval cuisine is also loaded with sugar and honey, or sweet and sour taste; 17th century is where savoury makes a big come back and it’s what cooks would call  a “return to the product”, where you don’t try to mask its flavour with other stuff so much. Medieval cuisine hid the taste of the ingredients, 17th century (supposedly, at least it’s the theory behind it) puts it forward and the visual quality of the dishes improve a lot too. Sugar is reserved for desserts from then on (see: cakes, at the end of this article). I’m a great fan of Chinese cuisine and I enjoy a lot of different styles of cuisine from all over the world, so it’s funny to me how French cuisine is still kind of allergic to sweet and sour taste in a dish to this day; and most French people I know aren’t very fond of it either.


In the 17th century, people pay more attention to how meat is cooked so it gives out its full flavor. An ancestor to the gas stove is invented, called a “potager” (a “potager” can be in French a patch of land where you grow vegetables, but at that time it’s also where you make a “potage”, which is a vegetable soup) that worked with cinders (basically you put cinders — taken from the chimney fire — in it to heat it up and then you could put your pans on top of it). Daubes (meat cooked in a pan, generally with red wine, for a long time) and ragoûts (meat cooked with vegetables, again for a long time) become common place. There’s also lots of roasted meat, cooked in the fireplace with a spit and a recipient called “lèche-frite” underneath to catch the dribbling cooked fat and juices (to be re-used in the sauce); the meats are cooked for a very long time. Fish, poultry, most meats were served whole; people spent a lot more time at the table eating than we do today.


Sauces are perfected too, in order to accompany meat, and fresh aromatic herbs replace the medieval spices: chervil, bay leaves, thyme, parsley (very popular, because also very decorative), chive, rosemary, tarragon. To give more flavour to the sauce you could also use the technique of reduction (wait for water to evaporize out of the sauce, which leaves a concentrated flavour behind) or make a jus, which is a kind of sauce that re-uses the juices escaped from the cooked meat to pour it back on top of it. In medieval times, sauces used to be thickened with bread; La Varenne replaced those bread sauces with roux (flour and butter added to broth) and he also replaced pig fat with butter; lots of eggs and cream were used too; so you can see that 17th century cuisine defined the bases of what we call French cuisine today.
Garlic is rejected by the aristocracy but can be consumed by lower classes (and is used in Gascony cuisine too). Smelling of garlic could indicate that you came from peasantry. Capers, anchovies and shallots are very appreciated; new vegetables are starting to be used (they have to be very fresh and harvested early): peas, asparagus, cucumber, cauliflower and artichokes. NO salads, and next to no vegetables are eaten raw (they even cooked cucumbers; stuffed them first then cooked them).


D’Artagnan is a noble and, as they say in the show, a farm boy (those two notions are actually compatible at the time, not all nobles were powdered prissy people as the cliché would have it). He also comes from the South-West of France, he’s a Gascon, and Gascons KNOW THEIR FOOD. So no, he wouldn’t eat the ancient equivalent of mac and cheese and hot dogs; he may be young and single, and no matter his BBC portrayal or what they did with him in the American adaptations, a credible d’Artagnan would have been raised to eat GOOD SHIT. He would take pride in dishes and produce that come from his home region and dismiss other regions’ variations on traditional recipes — I have to remind you he’s FRENCH, that kind of stuff is SRS BSNS to us, even (or maybe more so) in the 17th century. That doesn’t mean he’ll prepare them himself of course, I don’t think he would know how to (although I think he must know how to kill and pluck a goose, duck or chicken, skin a rabbit or a deer, even milk a cow; he’s a noble from the countryside, albeit not a rich one, he must have had a few servants but I can imagine that he and his father probably helped them out on the farm because they must not have had enough hands anyway — BBC!d’Artagnan seems to have good knowledge of farm animals, or at the very least horses, if we remember the line about setting the horse to a canter pace in episode 3, so we can assume he’s not afraid to get his hands in the dirt).

Gascony cuisine (“cuisine gasconne”) is actually a very famous type of cuisine in French tradition throughout centuries; Gascony is the land of “bien-vivre et bien-manger” (good living and good eating). Today we know it as South-West cuisine, which is based, then and now, on duck/goose fat (in opposition to Provençale cuisine - South, South-East of France — which uses mainly olive oil to cook, or Normandy cuisine (North-West of France), which cooks with butter). So lots of ducks and geese in Gascony cuisine, goose and duck confit (goose and duck cooked and preserved in their own fat), pâtés, terrines, sausages, foie gras, cured ham… Lots of venison, products of the hunt (mainly birds, like pigeons and larks).
Gascony is also near the sea so you also have sea food, like oysters, eel (eels were very appreciated, because their flesh is fat; they did love their eels pâté in those times)
And Gascons know their wine too. Not in a “Sideways” or connoisseur kind of way, you wouldn’t see d’Artagnan tasting wine and say “oh yes I can smell raspberry and humus and there’s a touch of vine leaves in it” or whatever so don’t do that in your fanfics, it’s not only OOC it’s historically inaccurate (the kind of wine they drank in that day was not the kind of wine we drink today anyway, most of the time it had to be cut with water to be drinkable at all, otherwise it was just too thick or too strong); they just know what’s *good* wine and what’s not.
As for typical vegetables in Gascony, you have sweet pepper (piment doux de Gascogne), beans, a lot of very good and refined mushrooms like ceps and truffles; nave, onions, cabbage…
CAREFUL THOUGH, no tomatoes and no potatoes! Even though they were around, they were considered toxic at the time and weren’t very much in use; so NO meat-and-potatoes menu!

So how do those Musketeers feed themselves if they want to eat good food (and not the one prepared by the cook in the musketeers barracks that we see in episode 4)? Well if they don’t have a cook of their own, they eat in hostels, mainly, or they go to other people’s places where they do have a cook (in the first book that’s what the boys do when they’re out of money: each one in turn, they call favours with (rich) friends of theirs to have dinner at their place, and they invite the other three guys of the gang along. D’Artagnan, being on his own in Paris, managed to find a Gascon priest and they apparently have teatime with chocolate at that priest’s place)


Okay so if you ever want to read GLORIOUS food porn, read at least the beginning of Act II of the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, where one of the characters, Ragueneau, is a “maître-queux” (a cook and a pastry chef) and a poet (isn’t he the MOST RAD CHARACTER EVER???). At Ragueneau’s place, Rostand describes white peacocks (!!) on hooks, venison, hams suspended all around… and then begins a great choreography of sous-chefs bringing in piles of cakes: there’s brioche (a type of sweet French bread made with butter, milk, sugar and eggs, very moist and delicious, sometimes perfumed with orange flower blossom essence), petits-fours, fruits in nougat, flan, roinsoles (fried pastries filled with fish or meat), tarts, pies, a big masterpiece of a brioche in the shape of a lyre (!!!), decorated with glazed fruits and its cords are made of spun sugar (Ragueneau rewards handsomely the sous-chef who brings him that work of art because Ragueneau is awesome like that), pâtés (pâtés designated either the meat terrines or puff pastries filled with meat and sauce, a bit like Cornish pastries), choux filled with cream, gingerbread, poupelins (a type of delicate pastry made with butter, milk, eggs, flour, sugar and lemon zest) and finally, the most famous of them all because Ragueneau composed a brilliant and adorable poem about them, “tartelettes amandines”, almond-flavoured tartlets (if you ever put tartelettes amandines in your Musketeers fanfic, I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER).

In the 17th century the art of jam-making (yes! An art! Absolutely!) is also born, which produced compotes (fruit purée), gelées (jelly) and marmelades. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate start to become fashionable drinks.

So there, I hope this will help you if you ever want to make dishes as an homage to our boys the musketeers, or if you want a spot of food porn in your fanfics, or just if you want to know more about the history of French cuisine; at least I can say I had a lot of fun researching and writing this :)