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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sheet Happens

Those of you still engrossed over the Dick Cheney-shoots-buddy story, might enjoy this particular blogpost.

One of the most alarming parts of this whole sorry affair, has been that I have noticed how little historical references have been written by mainstream media, about and around this event.

After all, if I, a mere blogger mind you, can think of several accidental mishaps which have occured throughout history, then certainly those whose métier it is to write and report about such things, can do so too.

Could it be that by not doing so, they wish to isolate and highlight this event, so as to throw it in as worst a light as possible?

As you will see, they are not unique events.

Indeed some, though tragic at the time, are downright hilarious today.


SHEET THAT HAPPENED THROUGHOUT HISTORY


PRINCE CHRISTIAN OF SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN




Few accidental shootings so closely resemble the events at the Armstrong Ranch, this past Saturday, as what occured in 1891, at Sandringham House.

Picture the scene:

Royal Family members make up a party of "guns" at one of the shoots. The December day is clear, but cold, and everyone is bundled up against the chill.

Suddenly!, a shot followed by a scream of pain rings out.

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, son-in-law of Queen Victoria, has been shot...by HIS brother-in-law, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, the Queen's 3rd son!

A momentary loss of grip of the Purdey 12-bore, is the cause of this dreadful shooting accident.

He is taken immediately inside the house, but the royal physicians on call can do little to save his damaged eyes.

Prince Christian loses one eye entirely, and the other is severely damaged.

But don't worry.

This genial man didn't blame his brother-in-law once.

In fact, he was promptly fitted with a glass eyeball, and one of his particular party tricks, which had the other guests laughing into their hankies, was to dig out his glass eyeball and hold it aloft triumphantly.

Then, as his audience gasped, he would ask for his valet to bring his velour-lined eyeball case, and pop another bloodshot blue eyeball, into the socket.

His younger daughter, Princess Marie-Louise, wrote about this party trick of her dad's, in her engaging memoirs.

Prince Christian lived on for 25 more years.

No charges were brought against Prince Arthur, who later became a very popular Governor-General of Canada.

Above, for your amusement, is a photo of Prince Christian, after his hunting accident.

Care to guess which one is the glass eyeball?


KING ALEXANDER I OF THE HELLENES




This poor young man was the 2nd of 3 sons of King Constantine I, all of whom became Kings of Greece, due to the vagaries of their country's politics.

What makes his particular story tragic, are the circumstances surrounding his odd death.

One day, when he and his commoner wife, Aspasia, were walking in the Royal palace grounds, he paused to admire his collected menagerie of animals.

Suddenly!, he saw one of his dogs attack one of the pet monkeys, and in trying to disentangle the creatures, he was bitten most fiercely by the macaque, in the leg.

Rushing him to his bedroom, the young monarch, whose wife was expecting their only child, became delirious with fever, and due to the complications of not cauterising the wound on time, he died of septicemia.

It's not often you hear of a handsome young King dying of a monkey bite.

Indeed, there are some who believe this was no accident, but rather, a very cleverly carried out assassination.

The monkey was not arraigned on charges.

(He was exterminated instead)


KING WILLIAM II RUFUS




William II, son of the Conqueror, is famous today for two things:

The way he died, and the way he lived.

See, he was post-Norman England's first homosexual King; indeed, he never married, which was rare for a royal whoopsie, who forced themselves to procreate for the good of the dynasty.

But perhaps it is his death which people remember, as well as his nickname "Rufus" (so-called because he tanned as red as a tomato, especially after half-piping the slopes)

One day, the King was hunting in New Forest, a special hunting preserve of the monarch, when he disappeared, out of his courtiers' sight.

All night, they searched for the King, without luck.

Suddenly!, he was found the next day by local peasants, with an arrow shot through his heart.

His courtiers didn't bother to even lift the King's lifeless body, and cover it with a shroud, as they immediately raced to their Castles, to secure their property.

See, given the feudal laws at the time, the King and the land were one, so when he died, all law and order died with him, and it was easy to claim the property of another if you squatted in it.

Rumours were rife as to what happened -- everything from assassination to a hunting drive-by, but it is coincidental to note that the cop term "homocide" dates from around this time.

No one was charged with murder or manslaughter, although Brit Hume has lined up an interview with the local peasants, Republicans all.


INFANTE ALFONSO OF BORBÓN




The most tragic of all these events, perhaps is the one which befell young Prince "Alfonsito", the younger brother of the present-day King of Spain, Juan Carlos.

Young, 14-year-old Alfonso, who hero-worshipped his older brother, was in the exiled family home in Estoril, Portugal, playing in his father's library.

Suddenly!, a shot rang out, and the Prince's father and mother rushed in to find their blond, cute, beloved teenage son, shot between the eyes.

The official story, put out in the press release, was that young Alfonso had been cleaning his father's gun collection, and when inspecting the barrel for debris, pointed it to his face, and accidentally shot himself, full on.

But rumours abound that it was the future King Juan Carlos, who accidentally pointed the gun at his brother, and shot him in the face.

He loved his brother very much, and was devastated by the event, but it was noted that Alfonsito was the favourite child of their father, so perhaps, who knows, there was not a Freudian death wish which factored into the story.

King Juan Carlos didn't have to hock his Camaro to make bail.

ADDENDUM: "Alfonso" seems to be a very bad luck name for the Spanish Royal Family.

King Alfonso XIII (who, to boot, had the dread 13 in his title), lost his father, another Alfonso..., before he was even born, and had only one healthy son in 4. He died in exile in Rome.

HIS son, the haemophiliac Crown Prince Alfonso, died in Miami after a minor car accident on Biscayne Boulevard.

Of course, I already mentioned the death of his nephew, Alfonsito, but another nephew, Alfonso de Borbon-Dampierre, who married the grand-daughter of Generalissimo Franco, died in Beaver Creek, Colorado, in a skiing accident.

If I were Crown Prince Felipe, I'd stay the heck away from this name for my progeny.


FÉLIX FAURE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE




This is BY FAR, my niftiest story of the lot.

Imagine today if a President of France, say our pal, Jacques Chirac, passed away suddenly -- without warning.

A lot of hue-and-cry would result, to be sure.

Now, what would you say, if I told you that it had been discovered that the President of France had died during intercourse with his mistress...in the Elysée Palace?

But wait, there's more.

Suddenly!, not only does it become known that he died during intercourse with his mistress, but that his attack of apoplexy happened whilst straddling a specially constructed "sex chair", which had to be secreted out of the Palace, before the Prez's family arrived home.

But wait, there's more.

Add all of that, and also that his male "member" was stuck inside her, and had to be extricated out.

Please note that there are several versions of this story.

One, discredited, has him dying in a Parisian brothel, enjoying the pleasures of various Belles du Jours.

The other, says that his mistress, Marguerite Steinheil, was actually performing oral sex on him, when he expired.

Unfortunately, we'll never know what really happened, because her Gap dress was accidentally dry cleaned.

Fortunately, Le Figaro got this salacious story first, and not those uppity provincial rags.


MEDIA COVERAGE TODAY


I tried to focus on those which stories which occured purely accidentally, like Dick Cheney's miscue.

This is why I didn't mention the very intended duel between Vice President Aaron Burr snuffing out Alexander Hamilton.

I wonder, how would these stories have played today, in the world of 24/7 news coverage?

Hang in there, Harry.

19 Comments:

  • Very enjoyable post Victoria! One can't ever guess how they may leave this earth, however, given a choice, many would opt to go in the style of the French president!

    The other, says that his mistress, Marguerite Steinheil, was actually performing oral sex on him, when he expired.

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Fri Feb 17, 08:45:00 am GMT-5  

  • Didn't Nelson Rockefeller die the same way as Mr. Faure?

    A few years ago the NYT ran a contest in NYC high schools for the best 'historical' headline. The winner?
    "Archduke Ferdinand not shot -- World War I a mistake!"

    again, an excellent post! and topical too!

    By Blogger Ron, at Fri Feb 17, 09:36:00 am GMT-5  

  • I'm slightly disappointed, where are the deaths by autoerotic asphyxiation while wearing a tutu?

    By Blogger XWL, at Fri Feb 17, 03:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Very enjoyable post Victoria!

    Thanks, Cheito!

    One can't ever guess how they may leave this earth,

    I want to die an old, beloved grannie's death, with my generations of descendants, tenderly around me.

    Like my great-grandmother.

    however, given a choice, many would opt to go in the style of the French president!

    Uh, I guess. Please notice that we women don't often expire during sex.

    Wonder why. And yes, "you just lie there", can possibly explain that. :)

    The other, says that his mistress, Marguerite Steinheil, was actually performing oral sex on him, when he expired.

    Yes, I did note the two competing stories about his mysterious death.

    There are also funny puns about his death, which made the rounds in Paris, in 1899.

    Pompe means to pump, as well as pomp (as in circumstance), and is part of the title of a well-known classical piece played at funerals.

    So waggish Parisians took to calling Marguerite Steinheil:

    La Pompe Funebre

    ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 17, 04:19:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Didn't Nelson Rockefeller die the same way as Mr. Faure?

    Exactly.

    And of course, John Gilbert, the excellent character actor of the '40s.

    This is why there is a 'John Gilbert clause' in many Hollywood contracts. :)

    A few years ago the NYT ran a contest in NYC high schools for the best 'historical' headline. The winner?
    "Archduke Ferdinand not shot -- World War I a mistake!"


    Eh.

    "Sarajevo visit a triumph says Archduke!"

    ;)

    again, an excellent post! and topical too!

    Glad you enjoyed it, poppet. :)

    And yes, because it's topical, is precisely why I wrote it.

    I haven't heard ONE historical reference almost a full week into this story story.

    Because then, if they had, you could research the complications, delays, and subterfuges, that went on behind-the-scenes, when announcing these events to the public.

    And in doing so, you'd see the VP and his staff didn't behave so oddly.

    To this day, for example, whenever I look at King Juan Carlos, who I like, I think perhaps he's guilty of manslaughter. Like Ted Kennedy.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 17, 04:24:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'm slightly disappointed, where are the deaths by autoerotic asphyxiation while wearing a tutu?

    Leave it to Beaver-XWL!

    Of course, there's a related story about that, upon which the movie is based.

    Kaiser Wilhelm II, a neurasthenic homoerotic man, liked to take his generals on an all-guy cruise to Norway, during the summer months.

    Not one woman was allowed on board, and though no one knows what happened, apparently they were just men behaving badly -- but not necessarily rogering each other. :)

    OTOH, one day, to give the Kaiser a surprise, one of the generals decided to don a ballerina's pink tutu, and dance in front of the assembled company.

    When he got to his first pirouette, in front of the Kaiser himself, he keeled over of a heart attack and died.

    Oh the visual, the visual...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 17, 04:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Although I am very cheesed no one tried to guess about the eyeballs.

    YET.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 17, 04:35:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh very well, if you look at the musculature around his eyes (unless it's just a trick of lighting) his left (picture right) eye shows more signs of use, which would suggest that his working eye is his left (picture right) eye.

    (although you might be inclined to guess the other eye for the same reason in that popping the falsie in and out might cause stress to the fine tissues around the eye, but I think that process is fairly simple so the extra use the single good eye would get would tend to cause a greater appearance of fatigue on the side with the working optic)

    There how's that for a guess?

    By Blogger XWL, at Fri Feb 17, 04:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Also when you say jump, my natural response will be, "How high?"

    (and you'd think I'd have some comment to say about 'beavers' but that's a road which leads to no good (usually the good kind of no good, however))

    By Blogger XWL, at Fri Feb 17, 04:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I am a model of restraint today (and if folks choose to twist that into something kinky, shame on you).

    I hadn't read this response from the "Feed Me" post earlier, "
    Talking of which, tomorrow I have a bikini wax appointment. Pray for me."


    If that's not the set up for a joke regarding beavers (or the disappearance of same, depending on how severe the treatment will be), I don't know what is.

    Yet, not a peep from me, no jokes to be made, no ruminations upon sleek smooth skin or any such thoughts.

    Nope, I'm too respectful and shy to say any such comments in a semi-public forum.

    I am amazed at the intimate and delicate procedures women are willing to endure from lightly trained, usually low-waged technicians, though.

    And if the Greeks had a muse of blogging, for me she would be thee.

    (my other muse choices at link)

    By Blogger XWL, at Fri Feb 17, 05:06:00 pm GMT-5  

  • There how's that for a guess?

    It was his right eye. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 17, 05:20:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Also when you say jump, my natural response will be, "How high?"

    So basically you see me as a drill sergeant??

    Get down and give me 50, maggots!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 17, 05:21:00 pm GMT-5  

  • If that's not the set up for a joke regarding beavers (or the disappearance of same, depending on how severe the treatment will be), I don't know what is.

    Your wit is too lithe to get a Beaver and wax reference past you in the same day. ;)

    Yet, not a peep from me, no jokes to be made, no ruminations upon sleek smooth skin or any such thoughts.

    Sleek and smooth the next day.

    The day of, bumpy, red, and ouchiepoo'ed.

    Nope, I'm too respectful and shy to say any such comments in a semi-public forum.

    Uh-huh.

    I am amazed at the intimate and delicate procedures women are willing to endure from lightly trained, usually low-waged technicians, though.

    Low-waged my white bum!

    I pay $150 for the privilege of looking like an 8 year old boy.

    Now THAT visual is truly disgusting. Apologies all around, guys.

    And if the Greeks had a muse of blogging, for me she would be thee.

    Aww. Thank you!

    And quite uncoincidentally to the compliment ;), I found your post to be one of the finest I've read in a long time on the 'net.

    The topic is unusual,
    the research first-rate, and the writing, excellent.

    You will be linked tomorrow, XWL. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 17, 05:25:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria,

    Great post! I love the historical angle. And I remember the story about the Kaiser and the Ballerina General from history class in college.

    There was also the murder-suicide of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria and a young woman in 1889. There are still questions about what really happened. You can bet the family was careful how things were handled and reported.

    And I've got to go with XWL on the left eye, as well.

    By Blogger Pastor_Jeff, at Fri Feb 17, 05:35:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I have seen a lot of historical references to the Teddy delay in reporting his accident. All of that, on blogs, not in the MSM. The things you posted are new.

    Good post, Victoria. I love the Historical stuff - that's my thing.

    Well, that and M&Ms. LOL

    By Blogger benning, at Fri Feb 17, 06:46:00 pm GMT-5  

  • To this day, for example, whenever I look at King Juan Carlos, who I like, I think perhaps he's guilty of manslaughter. Like Ted Kennedy.


    After that happened, the National Lampoon made a faux VW ad with a VW floating on water, (at the time I think someone drove a VW across the English Channel!) and a caption reading:

    "If Ted Kennedy had driven one of these, he'd be President now!"

    The Kennedys threatened suing, but backed off...

    By Blogger Ron, at Fri Feb 17, 08:17:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Thanks for your kind words, and the link to CP Rudolf, since now I get to show off in my Historian guise, Pastor_Jeff. ;)

    From the Wikipedia article on the double-murder/suicide of the Crown Prince and Baroness Mary Vetsera

    Before her death in 1989, Empress Zita, widow of the last Austrian emperor, Karl (r. 1916–1918), repeated the claim that the young couple had been murdered as part of a conspiracy to silence Rudolf after he had refused to take part in a French plot to depose his pro-German conservative father and assume the control as a pro-French liberal Austrian emperor. Empress Zita did not offer any new evidence and her claims, however widely rumoured, were not given much credence during her lifetime.

    A little background on the Empress Zita:

    Her husband may have been beatified by the late Pope because he was a very saintly man in real life, but it is popularly understood that the one who wore the trousers in that couple, like the last Tsarina, was the Empress Zita.

    She was a gossipy, and somewhat conspiratorial woman, not bad mind you, just the kind that liked intrigue, and putting herself forward, to use an old-fashioned phrase.

    On the off-chance that her story is true, let it be known that the old Kaiser Franz Josef hated NOTHING more than the Prussians, and was not exactly against an alliance with the French -- although his ministers were.

    In truth, they were not against the French, but rather the Russians, but since the Russkies were then allies with the French, they could not afford to let control of the continent fall into their hands, which would sandwich the then Austro-Hungarian empire.

    But equally, France could not afford to offend the Russians, by forming an alliance with the Austro-Hungarians, since that would mean that Russia IMMEDIATELY would have sent out diplomatic feelers to Germany -- a catastrophe for France.

    So this bit above, which the Empress postulated, is possible, but I don't see the logic of it at all.

    There are also holes in this Wikipedia article.

    However, it must be understood how difficult it was for the emperor to admit that his son and heir had killed the girl and himself in a state of "mental unbalance". If there had been any way to claim that the two had been murdered by a third party, that version would have been infinitely preferable. There would have been no need to accuse someone in particular; it would have avoided the public admission that the crown prince was a mad killer and that he had committed suicide.

    That is right.

    It hurt Franz Josef tremendously to have to admit his son was a murder twice over (because in German, suicide is called selbsmörder, which is much more accurate than our Frenchified, morally neutral term).

    When the news first broke out, the Hofburg originally said that the CP had died of a sudden heart attack, an unlikely occurence at the age of 30. No mention was made of Mary Vetsera.

    As you can imagine, no ONE bought it.

    So they had to retract, and say that in the hurry and despair of the aftermath, they had found letters which stated he had committed suicide.

    Still no mention was made of Baroness Vetsera, although there were later reports which confirmed her presence.

    The way they got around burying him with Roman Catholic rites, was to say he was mentally unbalanced, and therefore, had not committed a sin.

    The Pope, Leo XIII, gave permission to bury him in the family mausoleum, but he wasn't best pleased to do so.

    I think it took every last one of Franz Josef's Catholic brownie points with the Vatican, to get that permission.

    A) It's possible there was a murder.

    B) They would've done ANYTHING, not to admit this was a suicide.

    IF they did, then it was. *shrug*

    Cheers,
    Victoria (Teacher, leave dem kids alone!! ;)

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 18, 12:13:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I have seen a lot of historical references to the Teddy delay in reporting his accident. All of that, on blogs, not in the MSM. The things you posted are new.

    It is true that the Teddy Kennedy thing bears the questionable timeline similarity with this story, so there's that.

    But mostly, upon looking at my post again, I realised most of these occurences were foreign.

    And MSM, despite often alluding to the "non-sophistication" of Americans at any turn, are themselves loathe to try to instruct or broaden people's perspectives...and thus, lack of "sophistication" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Got that? I didn't.

    Good post, Victoria. I love the Historical stuff - that's my thing.

    Cool! 'Cause History is my middle name!

    Well, that and M&Ms. LOL

    You're on your own there, bub.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 18, 12:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • The Kennedys threatened suing, but backed off...

    Holy crapple! That's cold!

    I probably wouldn't have sued either, but since I loathe VWs, I might've been angry enough to do so. ;)

    What car was he driving?

    Watch it be a Newport or Impala, one of those cars that could hold 15 in the front seat.

    I bet you they suffered a few down years in sale. ;)

    Although I see Princess Grace's Land Rover never suffered ill-effects...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 18, 12:21:00 pm GMT-5  

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