buchbinding

This beautiful image shows the northern lights (aurora borealis) as well as a shooting star (meteor) over Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada.

Auroras occur when solar activity in the form of highly charged electrons are blown towards earth in what is called “solar wind”. The electrons interact with elements in the earth’s atmosphere. Solar winds stream away from the sun at speeds of about 1 million miles per hour. When they reach the earth, some 40 hours after leaving the sun, they follow the lines of magnetic force generated by the earth’s core and flow through the magnetosphere.

As the electrons enter the earth’s upper atmosphere, they encounter atoms of oxygen and nitrogen at different altitudes, ranging from 20 to 200 miles above the earth’s surface. The colour of the aurora depends on which atom is first struck and at what altitude. For example, the green colour in this image is the result of electrons interacting with oxygen molecules at an altitude up to 241Km (150 miles).

The meteor on the other hand is visible as a result of what is called ram pressure; the pressure exerted on a body which is moving through a fluid medium, like air. As the meteorite is soaring through the atmosphere a shock wave is formed as a result of the compression of air. This in turn heats the air and subsequently heats the meteor as it flows around it. The intense heat vaporizes most meteors, creating what we call shooting stars, as in this image.

-Jean

Picture courtesy of Federico Buchbinder

On the Excesses of the French Revolution, Namely the Stealing of Moustaches

I. the Book

Chez Jacques Held, Relieur,
Rue Ste. Helène N. 16.
à Strasbourg.
Ben J. Held, Buchbinder,
in der Helenengaß N. 16.
in Strasßburg.

Imprimerie de Brasseur ainé 

Les Amis de Henri IV, nouvelles historiques;
suivies du Journal d’un moine de Saint-Denis,
contenant le récit de la violation des Tombeaux des Rois en 1793,
avec des notes historiques et remarques singulières
par M. Sewrin, auteur de Brick-Bolding, des trois Faublas de ce tems-là, etc.
Ornés de Cinq Portraits.

à Paris
chez Barba, libraire Place du Tribunal, n°. 51.
An XIII. -MDCCCV


For the many who can’t read French and the slightly fewer many who can’t read Roman numerals, this book is titled “the Friends of Henry the IVth”, the third one in this series apparently, and was printed in the year 13 of the French revolutionary calendar, or 1805 of the non-bullshit-calendar.
It is an historical novel, followed by the account of a monk of Saint-Denis, France, of the opening of the tombs of the kings of France located there, with “historical notes and singular anecdotes”.
Emphasis on singular.


II. the Context

In 1793 the French Revolution was well underway, and in January Louis XVI was finally guillotined, putting an end to Constitutional Monarchy in France, and launching a wave of cultural destruction throughout France, and especially Paris.

From the 12th to the 25th of October that year, or the year II of the Revolutionary Calender, the bodies of 46 kings, 32 queens, 63 princes, 10 “serviteurs du royaume” and two dozens abbots were unearthed from the crypts of the Basilica of Saint-Denis where they rested, and after conscientious looting of diverse parts of their anatomy were thrown down two  mass graves according to their dynasties. These events were noted in a journal by Dom Poirier, who remained on site during the whole length of the events and is widely considered as the only credible eye witness whose writings were passed down through history (although the original journal was lost to fire).
The jewelry in the tombs were sent to be preserved, and the lead coffins were cast on site into bullets.


III. the Singular Anecdote

Anecdote
-
Un grenadier français, un de ces braves qui ne connaissent que l’amour de la gloire et de leur patrie, se trouvant à Saint-Denis au moment où l’on faisait l’ouverture du tombeau de Henri IV, fut frappé d’un saint respect en voyant que le corps de ce grand roi était demeuré si bien conservé. Profitant ensuite d’un instant où il croyait n’être pas remarqué, il s’empara d’une des moustaches du guerrier navarrois, et, la plaçant sur son cœur, s’en allant en disant : “Quand on a une moustache comme celle-là on doit être invincible.”
-
On m’a souvent raconté ce trait, et je l’ai placé ici, craignant qu’on ne l’ait oublié dans nos annales.

p138, la Violation des Tombeaux


This can be translated as follows:

Anecdote
-
A French grenadier, one of these brave people who only knew the love of glory and their fatherland, being in Saint-Denis when we opened the tomb of Henry IV, was struck with a holy respect seeing that the body of this great king was so well-preserved.

It is to note that the corpse of this particular monarch was indeed so good-looking that it stayed on display for two days before being thrown away.

Taking advantage of a moment when he thought he wouldn’t be seen,

This is where it’s getting good.

he took one of the moustaches of the Navarrese king,

WHY

and, placing it on his heart,

WHY

walked away, saying :

WON’T SOMEBODY STOP HIM

“When one has a moustache like that, he must be invincible.”

BUT HE WAS DEAD THOUGH
YOU STOLE THAT MOUSTACHE FROM A ROTTING CORPSE

I was often told this anecdote, and I put it here, fearing that it might be forgotten in our annals.

p138, the violation of the tombs.

OH GOOD I’M GLAD WE DIDN’T THEN
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH MY COUNTRY THAT IT BOTH BRED SOMEONE WHO STEALS MOUSTACHES FROM DEAD KINGS AND ANOTHER WHO CONSIDERED IT IMPORTANT ENOUGH THAT HE WAS ACTUALLY FREAKING OUT PEOPLE COULD FORGET ABOUT IT