The Difference Dictonary

Kagoshima bombardment - August 1863, seven British warships entered Kagoshima Bay in the Satsuma domain to negotiate settlement for the Richardson affair. After several days of fruitless talks, the British seized three Satsuma steamships. In an exchange of fire, large parts of the city of Kagoshima were destroyed. The British suffered sixty casualties themselves, and were forced to retreat when a typhoon struck, but Satsuma was convinced of the superiority of Western military technology, and an agreement was realized by which Satsuma agreed to punish the murderers and pay an indemnity.
Sightseeing in Kagoshima City

Karakuri ningyo - Literally, "mechanical dolls." Beginning in the early 18th century, Japanese craftsmen devised marvelous dolls that danced, performed backflips, served tea, and acted entire plays in ensemble, activated by wound-up springs, shifting mercury and sand, or pumped water. By the late 18th century, theatrical performances of dolls powered by backstage waterpumps rivaled Kabuki in the elaborateness of their sets and costumes, and dolls performed as public entertainment in parks and fairgrounds. Tea merchants' dolls carried bowls of tea across the shop to place them in the hands of delighted customers. The tea-serving dolls utilize a complex gear mechanism and are still made, by hand, in Shizuoka Prefecture. More prosaic life-sized electrical dolls, dressed in tidy blue uniforms and wearing white goves, are used today in some large Japanese department stores to greet customers as they enter and thank them as they leave.
More about karakuri ningyo
Mikuni festival with giant mechanical dolls

John Keats (1795-1821) - English poet, one of the principle figures in the Romantic movement.
Keats as a reader of gothic novels

Knights of the Golden Circle - A secret society formed in 1854 by George W.L. Bickley, a quack Cincinnati physician, the Knights were dedicated to supporting pro-slavery policies and promoting the American conquest of Mexico. Allied with the Copperhead segment of the Democratic party, the Knights co-ordinated terrorist rides and other illegal activities throughout Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. At one point, General Ulysses S. Grant had to disband a unit of the Illinois militia because it was virtually a branch of the Knights.

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The Difference Dictionary was first published
in slightly different form in Science Fiction Eye, Issue #8.
Text copyright 1990, 1996, 2000, 2003,
by Eileen K. Gunn.

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