Because I haven’t blogged any music in awhile

I’ve always loved this one. Seeing it played at Wrigley really adds something.

Just so you know, this is shaping up to be our best month so far, and we had a phenomenal January. I’ll capture the stats for this blog and Part Time Monster as soon as they roll over and use them for a Sunday blog post soon. Then you’ll see what I mean.

Also, if you haven’t heard, we’re mostly taking this next weekend off. But plenty of good stuff coming in the next few days.

Do stay tuned. And #KeepBlogging!

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Historical Campfire Stories: The Second Defenestration of Prague

The Second Defenestration of Prague is the coolest name for a historical event ever. It suggests someone tossed an entire city out a window, and not for the first time. It’s giggle-inducing, but don’t let that fool you. This is one of those events you should know about if you’re puzzled as to how the world got to be the way it is today.

In 1555, a treaty was signed at Augsburg which granted the princes of the Holy Roman Empire the right to establish religions in their own territories as they saw fit. This agreement made the legal division of Christendom into Catholic and Protestant states a permanent thing. Bohemia, now a part of the Czech Republic, was a kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire. It was a domain of the Catholic Habsburgs, but had a large Protestant population which included many nobles. You can probably see where this is going.

For 60 years after the Peace of Augsburg, two successive kings of Bohemia enforced a policy of toleration. Protestants were allowed to worship protestantly. Nobles and self-governing towns who chose Protestantism were allowed to endow religious institutions. There was even a proclamation granting Protestants the right to exercise their religion freely, and people were allowed to build churches on royal lands. Things were as copacetic as they could be in pre-modern Central Europe. Until 1618.

In 1617, the king, who was aging and had no children, named his cousin heir and had him elected king.  The cousin was a hard-line Catholic and a true believer in the counter-reformation. The next year, the new king persuaded the emperor to call a halt to the construction of some churches on royal land. The Protestant lords assembled to protest. The king had the emperor dissolve the assembly and relieve Count Thurn, an influential and outspoken Protestant, of his position as Castellan of Karlstadt.

The situation came to a head on May 23, 1618, in a meeting at the Bohemian Chancellory between members of the dissolved assembly (led by Count Thurn) and four Catholic Lords-Regent. The issue was a nasty letter from the emperor which had accompanied the dissolution of the Protestant assembly. The letter declared the lives and property of all the lords of the assembly forfeit, and they were afraid the Catholics were preparing to make good on that threat. They wanted to know, specifically, whether the four regents had anything to do with the letter or with convincing the king to take the hard line against Protestants.

After a bit of interrogation, the lords decided that two of the regents were too honorable and pious to use such a ploy and sent them from the room. Then they raked the other two over the coals for awhile. The two regents tried to stall for time by saying they needed to confer with a superior, who was not present, but could have the answer in a week or so. Things degenerated from there, and soon after, the lords threw the two regents and their secretary out this window:

The Castle of Prague

The Castle of Prague

Somehow, all three survived the 70-foot fall, though they were injured. I’ve heard three explanations for their survival.

  1. They were saved by divine intervention, probably by the Virgin Mary. (The Catholic pamphleteers’ version.)
  2. The were very fortunate that there happened to be a large dungheap just under the window. They fell into that, and they sure were lucky to get off with just being made to look ridiculous. (The Protestant pamphleteers’ version.)
  3. The style of clothing of the day provided lots of padding, and the wall slopes outward at the bottom, which greatly slowed their descent. (What some historians think.)

As if this weren’t hilarious enough already, one of the regents was later ennobled by the emporer and given the title Baron von Hohenfall (Baron of Highfall).

Once they’d thrown the regents out the window, there was really nothing the lords could do except arm for war and try to stir up a general uprising. That’s exactly what they did. The next year, the king of Bohemia was elected Holy Roman Emporer. The Bohemians deposed him as king and replaced him with a Calvinist. All this led to a battle in November, 1620 at Bila Hora (“White Mountain,”  in the vicinity of Prague at the time, now a part of the city). The battle in involved nearly 60,000 soldiers, the Catholics won, and Prague was sacked in the aftermath. This was one of the early battles of the 30 Years’ War.  Some people call it the first battle, because it marks the point at which the war expanded beyond Bohemia and Moravia.

The 30 Years’ War eventually engulfed all of Europe, and was the most cataclysmic armed conflict in European history up to that time. Until I read an article recently that said George R.R. Martin took his inspiration from the 100 Years’ War, I assumed he took it from this one. The series of treaties that ended it are known as the Peace of Wesphalia, and they established the legal definition of the modern state. Since I’ve recently had a few readers express an interest in some International Law pieces, I’ll have a post on the definition of statehood soon; that’s a good place to start with IL.

This is based on a real historical event, but written mostly from memory and intended to be entertaining, so check the facts for yourself. And really, shouldn’t you be doing that anyway? 😉

Image via Wikipedia

WordPress Tag Discussion Update and Weekly Preview

I’ve updated yesterday’s post about the WordPress tags, but I’m putting this here to make sure folks don’t miss this. Two people have now told me that they routinely use 15 tags + categories for their posts, check all the tags, and see the posts appear in all the topic indexes. So, I don’t see any reason to change my tagging strategy and I was worrying over nothing. But I’m glad I wrote that post, because I know a lot more about this stuff now for having written it, thanks to the bloggers who commented.

I also had a friend who has more all-time views that me, and a busier blog in general, tell me he’s not getting much from the WordPress reader, and we’ve been speculating about just how WordPress counts those views. That leaves the question of why I have more than 1,000 all-time views from the WordPress reader and 325 from the last three months, but only about 30 for this month. All things being equal, and given the fact that my traffic from every other major source of referrals has either remained stable or increased over the last two months, my views from the reader are short by about 120. And I think I have an explanation for that.

I’ve always been more concerned about reads than views on my stats page, so it’s been our policy from the beginning to display our entire posts in the reader on all three blogs. Except that I forgot to set Sourcerer up that way and didn’t realize it until sometime in May when I saw one of my own posts display a summary in the reader. I changed the setting immediately and promptly forgot about it until this morning. This also explains why, even though Part Time Monster’s referrals from the reader are in the same ballpark as mine, they are a bit lower, even though the monster has more overall views (differences in posting frequency are also a factor here – we post more often, so our referrals from the reader should be somewhat higher because we’re putting more content in the news feeds).

So, now the question I have to ask is whether I want to change it back. The problem is, I don’t know how many actual reads it costs me to change it back, but I know how many views it’s going to cost me to leave it the way it is. So I am curious. Do you read entire articles from your reader? And do you pass on articles that you would otherwise read when you see only the summary displayed?

In the meantime, I’m changing it back for a week, possibly two, just to see if it really makes as much difference as I think it does. I doubt this is a permanent change. To my way of thinking, losing even two people who read every word I write, but who I never see because I have no stats for people browsing me in the reader is not worth an extra 5 page views per day. And click-through rates on the internet being what they are, that could actually be several dozen people. But it’s the only way I have to account for such a large decrease in views, and I need to account for it. In the meantime, I apologize for the inconvenience.

Preview:

  • I’m introducing a new feature “Historical Campfire Stories,” later today. It won’t be a weekly feature yet, but I’m hoping it will be well-received enough to make it so eventually.
  • We’ll have more Penny Dreadful and True Blood this week from Diana, another dynamite Batman post from Jeremy, and more news on the short film A Mississippi Love Story, along with the usual photoblogging and music posts.
  • I’m doubling up on the poetry feature at The Writing Catalog this week because I don’t have the time to do another worldbuilding post before the weekend. I do plan to have another Gollum post at Part Time Monster this week, though.
  • We’re taking a break from the Feminist Friday discussions this week to regroup, and a break from blogging in general for the 4th of July weekend. We need to recharge our batteries a bit, take care of some offline stuff, and do as much writing as we can spare the time for. Beginning Friday, we’ll have mostly photo blogs until Monday, when we’ll start back up again at full speed.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!