On this day: Swedish Royal Wedding in 1932

On the 19th of October, 1932, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten married his second cousin Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in a civil ceremony. The church wedding took place on the 20th.

The couple would have five children. The prince would die in a plane crash in 1947 – he was second in line to the throne at the time.

Wedding of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten to Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. 19th October, 1932.


Slavery in Africa

This picture’s caption says it is of an Egyptian slavemaster and a female Waswahili (Swahili) slave in Cairo c.1864

Slavery was so widespread throughout history. When I found this picture I’d sat down to read a “brief summary”, which was just silly. We tend to be taught a very limited version of the history of slavery in school (if we’re taught it at all – Australia does an abysmal job of teaching anything other than Anzac Day – and our current government wants to put more emphasis on that moment and little else!).

Egyptian_Slavemaster_and_SlaveEgyptian slavemaster and Waswahili (Swahili) slave.

On this day: Charles Babbage dies

458px-Charles_Babbage_-_1860Charles Babbage in 1860

Charles Babbage in 1860

Charles Babbage, the “father of the computer” died in Marylebone, London on the 18th of October, 1871.

Born in London on Boxing Day in 1791, Babbage has a pretty extensive list of credits to his name, many of them very much entrenched in mathematics. While I can respect his achievements, maths bores me to tears, so I’m not going to try and explain them…

 BabbageDifferenceEngineBabbage's difference engine

Babbage’s difference engine

Babbage declined various honours and was no fan of the hereditary peerage. I like a man of Victorian England who didn’t think titled people deserved respect just because of an accident of birth!

The idea that the man credited with the beginnings of computers was born in the 18th century is pretty amazing!

On this day: Julia Ward Howe died in 1910

Image of Julia Ward Howe as it appears on page 793 of Volume 2 of the History of Woman Suffrage, which was published in 1887.

Julia Ward Howe in the History of Woman Suffrage, published in 1887.

Prominent American activist Julia Ward Howe was born in New York City on the 27th of May, 1819.

She went onto achieve a dazzling array of things over her life, coming to prominence as a social activist, poet and abolitionist, as well as being before her time in the struggle for women’s rights.

Her most famous achievement is probably the penning of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Marrying a man eighteen years her senior, she had six children. However, her husband took issue with her feminist writing and the couple eventually separated.

Julia Ward Howe, half-length portrait, seated, facing left. Date c1908 Apr. 27.

c. 1908

Ward Howe died of pneumonia at home on the 17th of October, 1910. She was ninety-one. After her death her children collaborated on her biography, and the book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Outlander: 1×06 The Garrison Commander

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Lunch Dougal Claire Redcoats Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

You’ll need a strong stomach for the scenes with Jamie, but this is easily the best episode so far. I had my doubts when reviewers repeatedly told viewers, “Don’t worry if you’re disappointed so far because it gets great in the sixth episode!”

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Claire Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

But they were right, you see. This felt like an entirely different show. I even thought Caitriona Balfe did a credible job as Claire, right when I was totally losing faith in her acting abilities. But good God is Claire a stupid woman sometimes. A lot of the conflict in the show is coming from that character’s stupidity. The things she says and the danger she puts people in…

Outlander is characterised by long, long scenes and a slow burn immediately before we’re slapped in the face with a cliffhanger. However, the long scene in this one worked wonderfully, involved some pretty gruesome flashbacks of Jamie’s torture at the hands of Black Jack Randall, and was by far the most emotionally engaging moment of the series so far.

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander BJR Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

One thing: I get that Randall is a sadist, but Gabaldon (and the show’s producers) do themselves no favours portraying the only homosexual (or is that bisexual?) character as the epitome of evil, and throwing kinky sexual tendencies into the mix just adds another layer of what many could easily perceive as bigotry. They made Randall even more evil in the episode than in the book!

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander The Whipping Jamie BJR Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

But that aside, the thing I know had some viewers changing the channel was exactly how gruesome the whipping of Jamie’s back was. Think Passion of the Christ gruesome (which I saw once, back when it came out, and don’t plan to see again). Holy moly, that was more than I needed to see, but it was a tear-jerker of a scene.

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Claire and Jamie Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

The ending was good, and some much needed relief from the intensity of the earlier scenes.

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Claire Ending Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

With this sixth episode, Outlander seems to have found its way. I suppose it could be argued the book didn’t find its way until this point, either, so the show’s producers aren’t entirely to blame. This is the interesting stuff, not Claire’s bizarre obsession with botany!!

The Australian Olympic Team, 1932.

The Australian Olympic Team at the Olympic Stadium, Los Angeles, 1932.

The Australian Olympic Team at the Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles in 1932.

Australia sent twelve athletes to the Los Angeles Games, and came home with five medals. Three of those medals were gold, and were won by teenage swimmer Clare Dennis, cyclist Edgar “Dunc” Gray and rower Henry “Bobby” Pearce. Swimmer Philomena “Bonnie” Mealing won silver, while freestyle wrestler Eddie Scarf won bronze.