Some facts that we have accepted as real, are not entirely trustworthy. Other facts that are inconveniently true are usually smothered under a shroud of national security/hearsay/conspiracy. The following though, is the whole truth, and nothing but. Scout’s Honour.

Naughty Tommy

Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father of the USA, helped write the Constitution, was the 3rd President around 1800, and seemed a pretty decent sort of bloke all round. Or was he?

Many are unaware that he decided to edit the Bible. It was completed – though unpublished – in1820. Using a razor and glue he literally cut and pasted passages of the standard King James version to make the life and teachings of Jesus more accessible – mainly to enlighten the native Indians and those less educated, he claimed.

His mission was to separate Jesus’ actual teachings and moral lessons,   like the Sermon on the Mount, from the ‘supernatural’ occurrences like the virgin birth, water to wine, healing the sick and other miracles. So, to avoid confusion, he casually removed all mention of passages at variance with the laws of physical nature.

“If a moral lesson was embedded in a miracle,” he wrote, “the moral survived but not the miracle.” So he sliced out verses from the Apostles and arranged them in chronological order to create a single narrative of Jesus’ moral teachings – in His own words.

His aim was to portray Jesus as a great moral teacher, not as a shaman or wizard, so some passages were oddly truncated, even in mid-verse.

It didn’t really catch on though. It’s a bit like staging an extravagant Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera and cutting out all the songs.

Now, apart from his misguided flirtations with the spiritual, his physical flirtations resulted in an affair and illegitimate offspring with Sally Hemmings, one of his ‘slaves’. She, in turn, was the illegitimate daughter of his father-in-law’s own ‘slave’ mistress. Nothing quite like keeping it in the family. Today hundreds of multi-coloured Americans in various walks of life, have a direct bloodline to President Tom, whether they like it or not.

Phrases from Fables

  1. The Catherine wheel is often a centrepiece at fireworks displays. It is named after St Catherine, whose symbol was a spiked wheel. Legend has it that she was martyred by being tied (hopefully dead already) to a large wheel and rolled down a hill to rapturous applause. Exactly who thought of it is uncertain, but as a marketing ploy it survived the test of time.
  2. White elephants were extremely rare, so the King of Siam decreed that the owners of these albinos take extra special, extra expensive care of them, or else! If a courtier crossed his path, the King would announce that he was planning to gift him a white elephant. The bloke now had to choose: accept the gift and face financial ruin pampering the beast, or quietly disappear into the sunset. Most preferred not to accept the burden of an expensive, useless gift.
  3. Touch and go is one of many common expressions that came from the seafaring tradition. Often a ship would touch the bottom in shallow passages and get stuck. So with clenched teeth and buns, the crew would have to wait and only go again when the tide floated them off – a narrow escape from a possible disaster.

Beer today – gone tomorrow

Beer has been making people drunk since the Flintstones era. In Central America, ancient tribes used corn, until the Europeans arrived and introduced the barley/hops method, created and perfected mainly around today’s Germany, and quaffed throughout Northern Europe.

Over the centuries, the industry flourished and established an identity of its own. Mexican beer is vastly different in colour and taste, and as a fashion statement is quaffed directly from the bottle, with a wedge of lemon/lime shoved down its neck. One highly successful, extensively marketed brand went viral, but through no fault of their own, sales have plummeted and it’s avoided these days like the plague. It’s called Corona.

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