Friday, August 03, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

August 3rd, 2007

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The Announcement

Reminder! Birthday contest coming up – yours truly, August 14th, and Steve on November 22nd. Give us alternate lives and we'll post your take on how we were really meant to live...

And now, something a little different – haikus based on Lord of the Rings:

The Lord of the Rings
Four hobbits in grave peril
Second breakfast missed

Hobbit wants the ring
Declares himself the Dark Lord
Frodo, nine-fingers

Five races combined
The fellowship of the ring
Doomed to be broken

Hobbits to defend
Warrior is overthrown
Peace, son of Gondor

Where is my precious?
In the darkness, he whispers
Gollum sits alone

Tom Bombadill, Oh!
Happy prankster and saviour
Not in the movie

Forgotten wizard
Servant of the hidden west
Rhadagast the brown

A moth flutters by
Wizard snatches and whispers
Gandalf is rescued

The fires of Mount Doom
A hobbit stumbles backwards
Dark Lord is no more

Thomas Edward Lawrence"The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia [modern day Iraq] into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information."

~ Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence in a 1920 newspaper article.
The full article is available at Securing America
Colonel TE Lawrence - Arabist
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

In 1975, "they" had eliminated ex-Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa. Having made a payment of half a million dollars to President Richard Nixon and his attorney general, John Mitchell to secure his release from prison in 1971, Hoffa had had his union activities curtailed. Recently, he had been trying to strong-arm his way back in to a position of influence.
Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa
As part of his comback plan, he had recently threatened to reveal the mob's entanglement with Teamsters pension funds -- even though he himself turned the Central States Pension Fund into the Mafia's private piggy bank. He also wanted to expand the national union agreement to encompass all transport works, placing himself in a position to paralyse America.
The White House organized the execution, naturally turning to their trusted allies, the Tralfamadorians. Kurt Vonnegut had likened the aliens to Plumber's friends. He was quite right. They were real tight with E. Howard Hunt and the White House team. And so it goes.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

We have all the time in the world
Time enough for life to unfold
All the precious things love has in store
We have all the love in the world
If that's all we have, you will find
We need nothing more
Louise ArmstrongEvery step of the way will find us
With the cares of the world far behind us
We have all the time in the world
Just for love
Nothing more, nothing less
Only love

~ Lyrics to “All the Time in the World” - Click to Play Sample
Heads-up ~ Diana Brackley was a research scientist working for Francis Saxover, a somewhat eccentric private researcher.

In 1960, by accident they independently discovered that a specimen of lichen sent to them for analysis had the ability to extend human life by many hundred years. Within months, they had discovered precisely how the lichen extract could substantially retard the aging process, preparing the prototype drug Antigerone.

The trouble was that the lichen was in limited supply being a very slow-growing plant which grew in China.

Both biochemists saw the implications of this, realising that many institutions would try to repress this knowledge and were careful to keep the substance secret. However Brackley decided that it must eventually become available to all humans and sets up an organisation designed to introduce it by stealth. Unfortunately Saxover decided to let his immediate family in on the secret, and his daughter-in-law gives away part of the secret for money. As a result criminal forces begin to take interest in both Francis and Diana.

In The Trouble was Lichen investigative journalist John Wyndam foresaw the coming of a new evolutionary order and with it, a revolution.

The TV advertisement for the Antigerone product featured Louis Armstrong's classic “All the Time in the World”.

Neither Armstrong nor Wyndham use Antigerone, and by coincidence both died months apart in 1969. The lyrics are available at at Lyricwiki
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

In 1996, Brad Linaweaver published And to the Empire for Which It Stands.

In Linaweaver's alternate Rome of 44 BCE, Gaius Julius Caesar survived the ides of march assassination by a group of senators known as the Liberatores (or "Liberators") led by Brutus and Cassius. Having escaped tyrannicide, Caesar announced at the Theater of Pompey that he would after all accept from the Senate the hereditary kingship he had planned to decline.

Surpassing the world conquest of Alexander the Greater, the new Emperor built a Roma Eterna that survived twenty glorious centuries.

The breakup of the “sick old man of Europe” was deferred until the holocaust of World War I, with the assassination of Procurator Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo – the shot that was heard 'round the world.

Ironically, Rome had been agitating for a conflict with the Ottoman and Russian Empires as a means of suppressing nationalist fervour in the Balkans. However, the declaration of war backfired principally because of south-eastern European sympathy for the enemy. Mobilized troops used the opportunity to fan the flames of civil war, creating a patchwork quilt of successor states throughout the Balkans.

~ variant from Steve Payne: extensive use of original content has been made to celebrate the author's genius.

In 2009, the TV networks presented episode twenty-three of So What If?. The commanders of the Anglo-French forces in America Arthur Wellesley and Napoleon Bonaparte argue how best to set the clock back to 1776.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1935, Officer John Bruce of the Tank Corps revealed that the recently demised Private Shaw of the Tank Corps Regiment was none other than Colonel T.E. Lawrence, pursuing his ambition to be remembered as "a man of letters, not a man of action" by retreating into obscurity at Bovington Camp.
Clouds Hill CottageIn early 1920, Lawrence set about the daunting task of rewriting as much as he could remember of the first version which he had allegedly mislaid whilst changing trains at Reading Station. Working from memory alone (he had destroyed his wartime notes upon completion of the corresponding parts of Text I), he was able to complete this "Text II", 400,000 words long, in three months.
Lawrence's Woodland Retreat
Lawrence described this version as "hopelessly bad" in literary terms, but historically it was "substantially complete and accurate". That was a filthy lie. Text II was a substantial rewrite of Lawrence's capture at Deraa in November 1917.

~ entry by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

King João II of Portugal
King João II of..
In 1482, a third day dawned at St. George El Mina Castle on the Gulf of Guinea. The military factory was remarkable for being the first precast building to have been planned and executed ever, in or outside Europe. Eleven ships and 700 soldiers commanded by Diogo de Azambuja had brought heavy numerated granite stone blocks ..
.. to Elmina. Azambuja’s men had set up shop and now they opened for business, that being native gold commerce for the Portuguese Crown monopoly. And the passage of twenty million shrieking African souls to the new World.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1995, Richard M. Langworth combined fiction and fact in his publication “If Weygand had lost the Battle of France”. In this somewhat far fetched scenario, the failure of the Weygand Plan causes the General to flee to North Africa with Free .. General Maxime Weygand
General Maxime ..
.. French Forces. Defeated again by Rommel, he then heads south to the Brazzaville. General Maxime Weygand dies in 1965 in his exiled Congolese stronghold, buried under a boulder inscribed, "Founding Father of the movement to uproot Nazidom from the world." His mission, as the book ends, is unfulfilled.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1917, Tsarist representatives at the Paris Peace Conference adopted a blended approach to the concepts of possession and territorial integrity. Whilst Prime Minister Peter Stolypin legitimised the annexation of Galicia and Besserabia to the Russias, the magician Grigory Rasputin was sleeping with the Empress Alexandra ..
.. Fyodorovna at the Elysees regencia hotel. Not that the Tsar was being cuckolded, far from it. Rasputin was sparing his son's life from a terminal blood-related condition known only to the Russian Royal Household.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1989, Greg Bear published his masterful short story Through Road No Whither set in a world where the Allies won World War II. During the occupation of German, British officers insult a gypsy woman when asking for directions, and she arranges for the Allies' retroactive defeat. Greg Bear
Greg Bear

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

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