Relocation to North Dakota.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In June of this year, I moved my accounting firm to Williston, North Dakota. 

My wife and I have been wanting to be near our son and his family. So the simple reason for the move is “chasing the grandkids.” It is also good to be out of California, with increasing congestion, skyrocketing cost of living, and deteriorating economy.

With the wonders of technology, I will be able to serve my clients just as easily from Williston, North Dakota as from Alta Loma, California. Only visible change on the website will be the mailing address.

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Breaking technology news – Experiment to use gigantic kite to power a commercial cargo ship. Um, the Vikings perfected that technology 1000 years ago…

Some technology wizards are trying to adapt the above technology for use on modern cargo ships.
Image of Viking cargo ship courtesy of Adobe Stock.

… And the Romans had it figured out 1000 years before that.

Yet somewhere some technological wizards have developed an experiment in January to use a big kite to pull a cargo ship across the Pacific Ocean.

Gizmodo – 12/17/21 – Giant Kite Will Pull a Ship Across the Ocean Next Month – The experiment will involve a parafoil kite measuring 5,380 square feet.  It will pull a ship that is 505 feet long.

The ship is rated at 21,528 gross tonnage and 5,200 tons summer DWT. Gross tonnage is a measure of the volume of what a ship can carry. Summer DWT, or summer deadweight, is the measure of how much weight the ship can carry with the drafts available in a port in summertime.

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In 1021 A.D., Vikings were living in Newfoundland, Canada

Recreation of ancient homes of Viking settlers in L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It has been long established that Vikings were living in L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland somewhere around 1000 A.D. Extensive archaeological digs in the area have firmly established there was a settlement there.

Research is also indicated this was a base for further exploration in the area.

Three researchers have looked at trees used in construction on the site and conclusively established four separate logs were harvested in 1021 A.D.

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Another comparison of the so very enlightened and civilized English to those vicious, brutal Vikings.

About those civilized, refined, cultured English…..
(Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.)

The vicious behavior of marauding Vikings is well known. Everyone knows they were violent brutes, totally unlike everyone else at the time.

Um, yeah.

This blog has pondered that issue, particularly by putting their violence in context of the harshly violent times in which they lived.

For a few more glimpses into the enlightened, benevolent, dignified, gentlemanly way the English have behaved every day of the last thousand years we can take a look into their behavior at the time of the American Revolutionary War, as described in The Indispensable’s: The Diverse Soldiers-Mariners Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware by Patrick O’Donnell.

Drawn and Quartered

I’ve previously mentioned that the gentlemanly English used the punishment of drawing and quartering during the Viking Age to deal with treason and other capital offenses.

The technique was still used by the civilized British around the time of the American Revolution, around 800 years later.

Book says the insurrection in Ireland shortly before the American uprising had been successfully suppressed by the British. The routine judgment for captured Irish revolutionaries was, to quote a judge at one sentencing:

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A few indications of prices during the American Revolution along with travel times.

Washington crossing the Delaware River to attack the Hessians at Trenton. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

For a few quick glimpses of prices during the American Revolutionary War, we can glance into The Indispensable’s: The Diverse Soldiers-Mariners Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware by Patrick O’Donnell.

It is a delightful read on the early part of the revolution, focusing on the Marblehead Regiment from Massachusetts. This brave unit was key to several critical battles.

British commanders faced major supply line and communications challenges because of the distance between the colonies and London. At the time it would take three or four months for a round-trip voyage. Add in the time for a critical message to be understood, assessed, and a response developed you can see it took an incredible amount of time to get feedback or guidance.

There are a few tidbits in the book giving some hint of the purchasing power of money at the time.

Arming troops early in the fight was a challenge. In summer 1775, the Marblehead regiment was given 100 small arms (muskets) to help equip the 550 troops. Existing documentation said they were worth “one hundred ninety-two pounds eleven shillings.” The weapons had to be returned in good order unless they were documented as lost in service to the colony.

That puts the value of one musket at £1.92. Let’s call that about £2 each.

When George Washington started to build a small Navy he was able to rent a ship from a fishing captain who was also a key leader, John Glover. The rental was $78 a month for a 78 ton ship. It had the deck strengthened and holes cut for cannons, producing a seagoing combatant.

One of the biggest prizes claimed was the British brigantine Nancy. It weighed in at 250 tons and was loaded with munitions. It was captured on 11/29/1775.

An inventory of the haul included:

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More discussion of Viking era weapons, ships, money, and warfare: converting silver value point estimates to per ounce.

Viking coin replica based on archaeological findings. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previous post listed estimates of the value of silver during the Viking Age mentioned by John Kim Siddorn in his delightful book Viking Weapons & Warfare.

He describe the wide range of estimates of the valuation of an English silver penny and then selected one of those as the most likely. 

He also listed the estimated amount of silver the Vikings removed from England as Danegeld in four specific years. Then he converted that to an estimated value expressed in British Pounds in 2000.

Let’s take those estimates and convert them to U.S. dollars per ounce, using the current exchange rate and value of silver in 2000 and May 2021.

The range of estimates for the value of an English penny run from low side of £10 up to £200 on the high end. He says most of the estimates run in the narrower range from £20 up to £50.  He thinks £20 is the best point estimate.

What does that range look like? Here it is. For perspective, silver value was $5/troy ounce for quite a few years before and after 2000:

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More discussion of Viking era weapons, ships, money, and warfare: money

Some fun comments on money in the Viking era were covered in the delightful book Viking Weapons & Warfare by John Kim Siddorn.

Posts in this series:

  • Spears, cost of iron
  • Shields, armor
  • Helmets, ships – the post you are currently reading
  • Money

Money

A brief recap of the money extracted from England by the Vikings:

  • 16,000 pounds – 994
  • 24,000 pounds – 1002
  • 36,000 pounds – 1007
  • 48,000 pounds – 1012
  • 114,000 pounds – total for this simple summary

How much would that be worth today?

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More discussion of Viking era weapons, ships, money, and warfare: helmets and ships

Viking longship. At 4 benches of oars this would have been a rather small warship. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In his book Viking Weapons & Warfare, author John Kim Siddorn looks at Viking weapons from the perspective of a long time reenactor. Having used shields and spears which he built in a shield wall provides a different, and informed, view that is a delight to read.

Posts in this series:

  • Spears, cost of iron
  • Shields, armor
  • Helmets, ships – the post you are currently reading
  • Money

Helmet

Very few helmets have been recovered, which have led many to the inference that Vikings went into battle bare headed. His experience and logic suggest that could not possibly be the case.

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America is Land of the Free, Because of the Brave. My ‘thank you’ to those who made it so.

Heavy bomber crewman, U.S. Army Air Force, World War 2. Photo from Legacy Flight Museum in Rexford, Idaho by James Ulvog.

Our freedom is under rapidly increasing assault by many politicians who think they are kings and queens appointed by divine right instead of having merely won a few more percentage points of the vote than their opponent in the last election.  In the last year public health officials at the federal, state, and county levels who lack self-awareness of how often they beclown themselves have joined in the efforts to shred our liberty.

As a result of these attacks, it is ever more important that on this Memorial Day we remember those who shed all their blood so that we may be free.

A ‘thank you’ from me is so trivial, yet that is all I have.

I will demonstrate my appreciation for freedom purchased by others by exercising freedom.

Yesterday I exercised my freedom of religion. Tomorrow I will exercise my economic freedom, also called pursuit of happiness, by running my business the way I choose.

I have posted variations of the following ideas several times before.  I will continue to make these points routinely.

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To everyone on active duty today, I often accept a ‘thank you’ on your behalf.

Union Infantry private, U.S. Civil War, 1961-1865. Photo from Legacy Flight Museum in Rexford, Idaho by James Ulvog.

While touring the U.S.S. Midway Museum in San Diego early this month, I wore a “U.S. Air Force” ball cap with various stuff pinned to it, such as the rank I wore, a missile badge (“pocket rocket” for those who know), SAC logo, and a rectangular piece of metal that declares “Combat Crew.”

During the course of walking around, I got lots of glances and several comments of “thank you for your service.”

Also got some joshing comments from the retired Navy guys about them ‘allowing’ me on their ship. Since we were all on the same team back in the day, the kidding was pure fun.

I was on active duty for only four years and that was decades ago. I never got within 3,000 miles of hostile action. (Of course if the flag had gone up, I would have been radioactive dust at 20,000 feet altitude about 40 minutes later.)

As a result, I was uneasy for a long time when someone said “Thanks for your service.”

It took me a few years to get to get comfortable with those comments.

I now graciously and proudly accept those expressions of appreciation from my fellow Americans, but not because of what I did so long ago. 

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