british engineering: it's right up there with french military victories

After some, er, bedtime aerobics, and watching a bit more on "The Engineering of the Roman Empire"--shut up, it's fascinating stuff, I didn't get to sleep until nearly one. Why oh why am I up at five a.m.? No earthly idea. Just am (heh, no pun intended. Well, ok, just a little bit.) People don't believe me when I say I don't need to sleep as much as ordinary people. I swear it's the writing.

Don't you just love the way the Brits say ordinary--"ord'nry"?

Speaking of Brits and Roman engineering, this show reports that Rome, since Caesar's time, had running water. Do you understand the significance of that? It's up there with the frickin' wheel, man, or Happy Meal Toys. It enabled a million people to live within a few square miles and not be dead of viruses and bacterial infection in six months. They figured out cleaner was better. Not only that, but the aquaducts had failed by the Middle Ages, not to be duplicated until well past. That means a thousand years later no major cities had running water (just a whole hell of a lot of perfume and powder, if they were lucky). And the dry spell went on for a long time, probably at least half a millennium.

Roman engineering was so good they flooded the Coliseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium) for mock sea battles. Not too long ago they found proof of it. The Coliseum was built on a man-made lake and they used most of the same plumbing system. It also had several drinking fountains, two huge bathrooms, a huge, moveable linen awning, and used the same ticket system and entrance/exit models found in stadiums today. It seated 70 THOUSAND people, not including all the guys scheduled to die that day.

What, pray tell, has this to do with the Brits? Well, we were laying in bed wondering why there was no running water later when humankind had been so advanced so early? (Yeah, we're not exactly the cuddling type.) Well, think of the British Empire. I know that was much later, but British engineering... well.

While we're on the subject on Happy Meal Toys, my kids got the Single Best Happy Meal Toy ever. I recall my first Happy Meal--incidently, when they started, back when there were cookies instead of a toy. Anyway, I'm just saying I've seen a lot of Happy Meals, since that's usually what I still order when I eat at McDs, which I don't... often.

Anyway, the Single Best Happy Meal Toy Ever: A blow-up sword from Pirates of the Carribean.

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