HumpDay DumpDay Sat on a Wall
Happy HumpDay! Temperatures are rising and the summer is in full swing. Whether that means you are hitting the beach or stuck looking out the window from work, you have this week's HumpDay newsletter to keep you entertained and informed! If you need some more reading material, check out the HumpDay website at HumpDayNewsletter.com and follow the official HumpDay Instagram!
“Humpty-dumpty sat on a wall, humpty-dumpty had a great fall, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put humpty together again”. We all know the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty, a giant, human-like egg that fell off a wall, cracked his shell, and couldn’t be put back together. But nowhere in the rhyme does it say that Humpty Dumpty was an egg. Even crazier, it turns out humpty dumpty is a real person…well… a real thing.
In 1648, the British town of Colchester was besieged during the English civil war between the royalists (friends of the king) and the parliamentarians (not friends of the king). The town of Colchester was heavily fortified and was surrounded by large stone walls. On top of those stone walls sat large cannons including a gigantic mortar sitting on the roof of a church. This massive mortar was referred to as Humpty Dumpty by the citizens of Colchester.
During the siege of Colchester, a cannon ball shot by the invading army stuck Humpty Dumpty and sent the giant mortar falling from the church roof. Scrambling, the army defending Colchester tried to raise the massive mortar onto another roof, but it was too heavy. A combined effort from the cavalry (the king’s horses) and the infantry (the king’s men) couldn’t put Humpty on the wall again. The loss of one of their most important defenses eventually lead to the fall of the town of Colchester.
So instead of a loveable human-like egg falling off a small wall, Humpty Dumpty’s great fall was actually a cannon falling off a church and the efforts of all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty on the wall again.
Side note- Should Humpty-Dumpty be adopted as the unofficial mascot of the HumpDay newsletter? Or does that just seem like an omen of bad things to come?
Politics is probably the most polarizing issue in America today. People always seem to be on one side or the other on political issues and there is very little middle ground. Some people are left, and some people are right, but I bet no one knows why we call our political parties left and right.
In 1789, the French revolution was just beginning, and the citizens of France were debating on ousting their monarch, King Louis the XVI. Representatives of the French “Third-estate”, aka the common people, met in a National Assembly to decide the best course of action. French citizens argued about whether or not to dethrone the king for nearly a month and during that time, people with similar opinions began sitting together to avoid getting into fights with people with different opinions. On the right of the room sat those who wanted to keep the king in power, and on the left sat those who wanted to overthrow the monarchy.
Eventually, people began referring to a person’s political opinions by where the person sat in the National Assembly. “He is from the left” became common was to sum up the beliefs and character of a man without identifying what a person really believes in. This political terminology eventually made its way throughout Europe and over to America where politicians referred to certain ideas as “left” or “right” based on which group supported the idea.
We still refer to people and ideas as being inherently “left” or “right” in modern politics. Even if you don’t know anything about the policy that is considered “left” or “right”, now you will know that left/right terminology came from French politicians standing on two sides of a room with an empty space in-between.
Kind of reminds you of middle school boys and girls at their first school dance.
This week Novak Djokovic won the Wimbledon tennis championship in a 5-set tie-breaker match which had never happened in a Wimbledon final before. For those of us at home watching the major sporting event without much tennis knowledge, the scoring might have seemed odd and at times it seemed like the match went on and on (for 5 hours). In fact, the scoring for tennis is kind of wacky and would make the game more interesting if played correctly.
A tennis match is made up of games and sets. Each game is a race to 4 scores. The first score gives a player 15 points, the second gives another 15 points then oddly, the third score is only worth 10 points. Bringing the total to 40 points. The exact origins of the tennis scoring system have been lost to history but a prevailing theory stems from a French predecessor to tennis called jeu de pomme.
Jeu de pomme is a French game played during the French revolution that was just like tennis except instead of using rackets, players used their hands to hit the ball over the net. In the game, a player would serve the ball from the end of the court which was 45 feet from the net. If the server scored a point, they would serve again but they would move 15 feet closer to the net, giving them an advantage over the other player. The second time the player scored they moved another 15 feet closer bringing them just 15 feet away from the net. On the third score, moving 15 feet closer would put the player right at the net so instead, players moved 10 feet closer and stood 5 feet from the net. After a player scored four times, the game was over.
This history of moving 15 feet per point except for the second to last point influenced the game of tennis as it grew in popularity in Europe. The former players of jeu de pomme kept the old scoring system and implemented it into their new racket-based game.
In addition, the term “love” for a score of 0 stems from a mispronunciation of the French word for ”the egg”, l’oeuf (pronounced la-uff). Next time you see a tennis match with a score of 15-0 you will know that in 18 century France the spectators would consider the score 15 feet to an egg.
This Week in History
On this week in 1903, the Ford Motor Company sold its first car to a dentist in Detroit Michigan for $850. Henry Ford finally sold his first car on his third attempt at trying to open a automobile manufacturing company. The first car he sold, the model A, had two bench style seats and no roof. The sales continued to roll in after this first sale and eventually Ford’s Model T car would revolutionize the automobile industry and bring him to the top of the industry.
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