15 bags of sugar, my sweet ass!

So I’m watching the History Channel, and amazingly, they’re showing something that is not about Hitler’s mustache trimmer. Instead, they are showing “Battlefield Detectives,” where scientists try to figure out what happened at the Battle of Agincourt. At the part I tune in to, they are doing a laboratory experiment to see whether the mud of the battlefield would have posed a significant threat to the heavily-armored French knights. They are doing this by filling a box full of mud from the field and using a machine to push a square of metal into it, then measuring the force required to pull it back out. A pretty nifty idea. But the voice-over says “An armored knight trying to pull his foot out of this mud would have felt as though he had 15 bags of sugar attached to his ankle.”

WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?!?!? 15 bags of fucking sugar? What size of bag of sugar? One pound? Five pounds? Why sugar? Why not flour, or baking soda, or chocolate-chip cookies, or your mom? What the hell is wrong with saying that he’d have felt as though he were pulling an extra 75 pounds (if they meant 5-pound bags of sugar) with him? Fifteen bags of sugar indeed!

Scientific historians, they say! Idiots full of shit, says I!

Full of sugar says me.

Certainly one of the more creative analogies.

Perhaps the thinking was that the 1-pound bag of sugar was a weight most familiar with the viewing audience. So familiar that even saying they meant “1 pound” seemes redundant.

Not the best analogy I’ve ever heard.

Of course if they were talking about those little sugar packets at restaurants, the knights were pretty wimpy.


Do thou amend thy face, and I’ll amend my life.

Hal, Hal!

If sack and sugar be a fault, then

God help the wicked!

The sugar-bag is a standard unit in the Imperial system of weights & measures. 10 sugar bags = 5 hatfulls = 1 buttload.

Honestly, don’t they teach you kids anything in school any more?

It sounded better than the first draft: “An armored knight trying to pull his foot out of this mud would have felt as though he had a twelth of a great white shark attached to his ankle.”

Wait, that’s the Discovery Channel I’m thinking of.

It sounded better than “an armored knight trying to pull his foot out of this mud would have felt as though he had half of Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun attached to his ankle.”

Heh. A while back, I was watching some science show or another with my family, when the narrator said “…and a thousand times past Pluto, there are…”

So now “a thousand times past Pluto” is my family’s catchphrase for an imaginary measurement of space. That and “two potatoes past Pluto,” the origins of which I’ve forgotten. The second one actually makes more sense!

10 statues of Hitler… Made of sugar.

[buzzkill] No one else thinks it’s a nod to Shakespeare/Henry V?

If they were going for a Shakespeare reference, why not “fifteen pounds of flesh”?

**15 bags of sugar, my sweet ass! **

Well. Your ass certainly would be sweet if it held 15 bags of sugar…


15 statues of Hitler… Made of sugar.


Make that 16 statues of Hitler… Made of sugar.

Because that comes from a play that had nothing to do with the battle of Agincourt.

Although the IIRC Mr. B’s quote also came from a play (One of the Henry IVs, right?) that had nothing to do with Agincourt, except that it featured the young prince Hal, before he took the throne and showed the Frenchies what for, eh?

At any rate, even if it was a Shakespeare reference, it was still a stupid Shakespeare reference. Way too tortured and obscure.

The bag of sugar I’m most familiar with is the 5-pound bag, but I know sugar comes in other size bags, as well, which makes their comparison impossible for me to comprehend. I have no idea and was given no clue by the narrator whether they meant fifteen 5-pound bags, fifteen 1-pound bags, fifteen 10-pound bags, fifteen 20-pound sacks… a “bag of sugar” is not a standard weight, therefore it should not be used as such in a program purporting to be scientific in any way. If they’d said “five bags of sugar” and “75 (or however many) pounds,” I’d think it was slightly surreal and wonder what the heck sugar has to do with muddy knights, but I’d at least understand the point they were making…

And I’ll see your 16 saccharine Hitler statues and raise you 20 very small ones.

Gadfly: you’re getting closer.

Not true, Miller. Henry has a restless night prior to the battle and has a flashback to his dismissal (exile-death-hanging) of Falstaff.

Dizzy: no, there are other plays by Shakespeare & Co. than just Merchant of Venice? :wink: Upon reading the OP, it seemed to me a figurative nod to Falstaff, a minor character in Henry V, but a major character in Henry IV.

Falstaff was fond of the sack (food) and especially fond of sugar (booze). The reference in the History Channel report was a play on “drunken ankles.” The French knights were supposedly so stultified by their muddy predicament that many were said to have dropped their swords and begged for their lives.

This loss of honor is occasionally accepted as the excuse for Henry’s (Hal’s) order that the noblemen slay their prisoners of war, rather than bring the cowardly swine away for ransom.


Armaments, chapter 2, verses 21 to 33:

AND Saint Attila raised the bags of sugar on high, saying “O Lord, bless this thy sugar bags that with it, Thou mayest lift thyself out of the mud.”

And the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and large chu–

Skipping ahead…

And the Lord spake, saying “First shalt they take the Holy Sugar Bag, then thou must take more until you are holding fifteen. No more. No less. Fifteen shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be fifteen. Sixteen shalt thou not count, nor either count thou fourteen, excepting that thou then proceed to fifteen. Seventeen is right out. Once the number fifteen, being the the fifteenth number, be reached, then pullest thou thy Holy Sugar Bags of Antioch from the mud, who being goopy and heavy in My sight, shall snuff it.”


I was watching a show about the explosion of Krakatoa (I believe it was the History Channel, but I’m not certain), and they made up a new unit of weight: the cubic ton. Yes, that’s right: Krakatoa blew up X number of cubic tons of ash and rock.