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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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24 April 2005

Big News from Europe in 1755!

Okay in my Song of the Roont Virgin, I say that Candide, Cunegonde and Professor Pangloss, the stars of Voltaire's screwy novel "Candide," wander around Europe and the Mediterranean in "around 1755."

Actually, these fictional characters are wandering around Europe and the Mediterranean EXACTLY in 1755, because in one chapter, a Big Famous Real True Historical Thing happens in Europe while they are there.

(Professor Pangloss, as always, explains that This Thing happened because everything happens for the best on Earth, which is the best of all possible worlds.)

This Thing filled up the front pages of all the Euro newspapers, in about 30 different Indo-European and Finno-Ugric lingos, that week in 1755. It was Very Big.

So. We got Europeans here on Vleeptron. Some of them yodel, some of them eat linguiça, or at least recognize linguiça when they see it. (But we will be very happy to accept PizzaQ answers from Asians, Australians, Polynesians, Sudamericanos, Norteamericanos, Mesoamericanos, Antarcticanos, etc.)

Without reading or re-reading "Candide," what was The Big 1755 True Historical Thing that Cunegonde, Candide and their sage old philosopher Pangloss stumbled smack dab into as they wandered around Europe? No surfing, no telephoning Klaas in Rotterdam, etc. You're all on your best Vleeptron behavior. 1 Slice, with black olives.


Blogger Joana said...

That's easy for us here in Portugal!!! THE Lisbon earthquake! ( which was followed by a tsunami )and Marquês de Pombal, who was King Joseph I prime minister had the whole city rebuilt, and what the hell are you waiting for to come and visit it, BOB?

PS I have not been posting because my pc was hit by a « tsunami virus» so it seems, so Iam using my 2nd floor neighbor's pc ;)

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Yes, I have been terribly worried about you, you are overdue to remind me that today is Passover! I depend on you to remind me when it is Tisha v'Av and Lab b'Omer and Purim!

So I was terribly afraid that Lisboa had been hit with a 9.2 on the Richter Scale again! You win the Slice of Pizza (with olives)!

In 1755, Lisboa was destroyed by a huge terrible earthquake! So big that obviously Lisboans still remember! And Candide and his friends were there that day!

And Professor Pangloss explained that the earthquake helped to make Earth the best of all possible worlds (in some mysterious way not very evident to us dumb human beings). I think today they call it Urban Renewal.

Happy Passover! Next year may we all be in Amsterdam! (With a wonderful side trip to Lisboa!)

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

CORRECTION: LaG b'Omer. And I have no idea (on the Vleeptron Honor System) what that holiday commemorates.

Woody Allen writes about the Jewish holiday which commemorates when God reneged on all his promises to the Jews. I'll remind you of that one, I'll send you an e-greeting card when it comes around.

Blogger SteveHeath said...

I refuse to particpate in this Contest Chapter (as if I would even have a freakin' guess on THIS one) until I learn if I've gained more Vleeptron food with my edge-u-kated guess about the distance between the pitchers mound and first base.

With folded arms in Clearwater


Blogger Joana said...

Here you go all about Lag b'Omer:
The Counting of the Omer

According to the Torah (Lev. 23:15), we are obligated to count the days from the second night of Passover to the day before Shavu'ot, seven full weeks. This period is known as the Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure. On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering.

Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu'ot, we recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in both weeks and days. So on the 16th day, you would say "Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days of the Omer."

The counting is intended to remind us of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, and Shavu'ot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah. It reminds us that the redemption from slavery was not complete until we received the Torah.

This period is a time of partial mourning, during which weddings, parties, and dinners with dancing are not conducted, in memory of a plague during the lifetime of Rabbi Akiba. Haircuts during this time are also forbidden. The 33rd day of the Omer (the eighteenth of Iyar) is a minor holiday commemorating a break in the plague. The holiday is known as Lag b'Omer. The mourning practices of the omer period are lifted on that date. The word "Lag" is not really a word; it is the number 33 in Hebrew, as if you were to call the Fourth of July "Iv July" (IV being 4 in Roman numerals). See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about using letters as numbers.

Blogger §J§ said...

the earthquake that almost destroyed Lisbon and, specially, Setúbal.
Tidal waves, fires, churches going underground, people screaming, a King hiding in the only church that didn't burn

oh my God!


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