Posts Tagged ‘June 15th’

The Magna Clause

Posted in General, On This Day on June 14th, 2015 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Your social studies teacher insisted that the Magna Carta was the foundation of every liberty we now enjoy. In fact, the actual document reads more like the bylines of a country club.

Is there is a traffic dispute in falconry? Check the Magna Carta to see which hawk has the right of way.

What is the proper etiquette when two nobles show up at St. Cuthbert’s Fair wearing the same style of armor? (Whoever paid more has the right to disembowel the haberdasher.)

What is the proper way to torture a Jew? (Divide your torture instruments into meat and dairy implements. The rack is considered dairy; eye gouging is definitely meat.)

So, how did the Magna Carta gets that liberal reputation? It is all based on a single clause, the 39th if you are counting. “No freeman shall be arrested or imprisoned or dispossessed or outlawed or exiled except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” King John did have a vicious temper, so that clause was a good idea. Now, every free man in England was protected! In fact, so were the serfs–nearly half of the population–because they were the property of freemen.

Of course, such an all-encompassing right was not the actual intention of the Barons who coerced John into signing the Magna Carta. It was more of a begrudged generalization.

They certainly meant the privilege for themselves–the greatest nobles of the realm. But then the Archbishop of Canterbury, being the token literate and official stenographer, brought up a good point! What about the knights who served the great lords? They were Normans, too, and of good stock; some were even in-laws, the type who would marry the Baron’s ugliest niece. Include them, too, in the clause.

However, if you include those knights, you have to cover their families as well. But some of the knights’ children were marrying into the trades, people who actually were English. The grandchildren wouldn’t even be speaking French. Does the right extend to knights but not their in-laws? Barons hated all the complications of thinking.

The Archbishop had another idea; he had a monopoly on them. “Let’s use the term freemen. Yes, it is broad and vague, but tactful. Besides, it only limits the tyranny of the king. You nobles still have the right to terrorize everyone on your estates.”

And with that comforting thought, the Nobles approved the Magna Carta.

Beach Plague?

Posted in General, On This Day on June 15th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Apparently the identify of BP is almost as murky as the waters of Gulf of Mexico.  For some inexplicable reason, reporters have referred to the gushing oil philanthropist as British Petroleum.  However, that is not merely wrong but slanderous.  As company spokesman Sir Reginald “Binky” Dabwattle insisted, “This is bloody well not a British company.  None of our products were used in the Hundred Years War–except for basting Joan of Arc.  We gladly would have sold axle grease to both sides at Waterloo, but that wog Bonaparte never asked.  Really, BP does not mean British.  It stands for something completely different, and a focus group is working on that right now.” 

Bulgarian Petroleum would be a possibility.  The Balkan country might be grateful for any attention.

Or the company could dispense with the initials and choose a name with a more illustrious, noble image.  How about Philip Morris?  No one is using it now.

And let’s not forget the historic significance of this day: