04-04-2010 09:33 PM
KathyS wrote:Kari HenleyPosted: April 4, 2010 07:00 AM
(The Huffington Post)
Happy Spring and Happy Easter everyone! After surviving the floods of the East Coast, I have decided to "re-gift" an abbreviated version of a blog I wrote last Easter Sunday. I enjoyed poking fun at our holiday rituals, and it remains one of my favorites. Enjoy!
* Ever stopped to wonder how bunnies, eggs and scavenger hunts are related to Easter's religious celebration of Jesus dying on the cross and rising again? Strange bedfellows they are. I never had any idea as a kid. No one seemed to question the whole odd mix: why would a rabbit have a basket of eggs in the first place, and how that tied in to crucifixion and resurrection was another matter. Let's explore some Easter myths while popping a few chocolate Cadbury treats, shall we?
I grew up in a vaguely Christian family, and today, I am a bit of a floating generalist. Our kids celebrate Jewish and Christian holidays, and are exposed to Buddhism, Hinduism and Native American practices. God has many names to us and we are not members of a church.
It seems I am not alone in that vague religious category. According to John Meacham- in his Newsweek article, "The Decline of Christian America" :
"the percentage of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith has doubled in recent years, to 16 percent. Meanwhile, the number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold from 1990 to 2009 -- from 1 million to about 3.6 million."
In graduate school I studied the historical progression of religion, starting with the first Sumerian myths over 3,000 years ago, and explored the impact the stories have on our collective psyche. It is interesting to note many Christian holidays blend together with more ancient or "pagan" holidays celebrated for thousands of years prior. Before Moses was around to have the first Seder, or Jesus walked the Earth, we celebrated the rites of Spring at this time of year, with the perfect balance of light and darkness, called the Vernal Equinox.
I love learning about these ancient celebrations, and exposing them to my children. They do not interfere with any specific religious faith, but add a broader context and history to the occasion. The Vernal Equinox is on March 21st and on that day, there is an equal amount of light and darkness. As an adult, thinking about balance during the Spring is highly appealing to me. What a wonderful excuse to quiet down, toss out what is stressful and become more aware of the rising energy of Spring. It is such a thrill to know from that day forward -- there will be a little more light outside than the day before. Regardless of your faith, this is a practice of worthy note.
Why does the Easter bunny distribute eggs? It turns out the egg-toting Easter bunny evolves from a mythic German goddess named Ostara, (Oestre / Eastre) who was the Germanic Goddess of Springtime. According to the Encycolopedia Mythica:
"In ancient Anglo-Saxon myth, Ostara is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children and to amuse then she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts. From her name and rites the festival of Easter is derived."
All other European words for "Easter" derive from the Hebrew word "pasah," to pass over, thus reflecting the Christian holiday's Biblical connection with the Jewish Passover. According to www.godchecker.com: Ostara was very popular with the Anglo-Saxon people, who worshiped her under the name Eostre.
Yet there is something odd about how little there is written about Eostre/Ostara; the myth only resides in one area, and is recorded to exist for a fairly short period of time. Most Sumerian, Greek and Egyptian figures, including Isis, Kali, and Demeter, were widely worshiped for thousands of years, and many of the stories had moral components or attributes to emulate. What's the moral element of the Easter bunny? Something about it just doesn't fit with other myths.
Was it all a joke?
Recent research suggests that the Ostara myth was potentially invented during a mischievous moment by the Venerable Bede. This well-known monk mentioned her in connection with the pagan festival Eosturmonath in a book written in 750 A.D. -- but extensive research has failed to find a trace of her prior to that. Talk about the "stickiness factor" of Malcom Gladwell's book The Tipping Point. Imagine: a famous monk makes up a weird story about a goddess who never existed - who turns a bird into a rabbit that lays colored eggs -- and it morphs into a mega-watt holiday celebrated the modern world over.
Wow. Bet that gets your bonnet in a tizzy. Imagine the irony in making up a goddess myth, which becomes linked with the "greatest story ever told," and simultaneously serves as a mecca of commerce for Hershey's, hat makers and basket weavers. For those who are devoted Christians: does this affect the power of His word and His teachings? No, but come on, it is a pretty darn good story.
A little food for thought this holiday weekend! Whatever you celebrate: Happy Passover, Happy Spring and Happy Easter to everyone. Enjoy the sweet balance you find with your family, friends and the emergence of Light. And please save some of those marshmallow chicks for me!
Famous monk my butt. A miss telling of the Eostre myth if I ever heard it. And you can blame the Romans for getting the mix up started. Though the fact that rabbits are a common deity accompaniment in ancient lands didn't help any. Romans often made a hodgepodge of their concurred regions mythologies. They liked borrowing what ever they felt like and to Hades with the context.
The Eostre myth as I most frequently come across it. Eostra or Ostra (it varies) a fertility goddess now whether she was Greek or Trojan originally is small debate neighboring countries often shared myths. Though since most of Trojan religious beliefs are garbled (see Trojan war, Illliad being the best surviving document to this day and it was written by their concurers). But since in the ancient world fertility and death are the two most prolific forms of divinity, I wouldn't be surprised if she was a local fertility goddess out of many.
Anyway the myth- a young man seduces one of Eostra priestesses (whether she was raped or is lost in history) and has the gall to do this in Eostra's temple on her one holy day (spring fertility females, rabbits, baby birds, mostly a childbirth goddess). Eostra catches him and he professes profound disrespect for females in general (dude gives a "so what" to a goddess). So Eostra's angry and as punishment turns him into a female rabbit. A year goes by him having to live and give birth to multiple litters. Still not sorry the rabbit man calls out an insult in response when Eostra asks him if he understands now the difficulty a being a woman. In response to his lack of humility she turned him into a conundrum a rabbit who instead of live birth now lays eggs. Super fertile always laying eggs. If your going to be so unawed by nature become the freak of nature you really are, forced to always undergo what you have the least respect for. The moral is childbirth is magical have a little respect, and don't screw in temple.
If you think it unlikely the Romans would adopt just a day and garble a goddess other beliefs. Do remember they are the one's who split Hecate aspects into 7 roman goddesses. And yet still might give blood and incense to her if they felt she could help them.
Ancient religions evolved, why did you think so many different one's have some if not many stories of "the gods" taking over for "previous gods"?
The fact that modern religions do this to is another discussion.
The fact is that rabbits and chicks were given to ensure safe and frequent childbirth in a house hold. And eggs were painted to honor a goddess on her holy day each year to thank her, by the days of early Christianity. Which country of origin doesn't really matter if the half of the ancient world you develop in, all do it.
Now pass me the chocolate bunny and a caramel egg. I have a goddess who needs a nod.
04-05-2010 04:17 PM
Capitol culture: Tales from White House Easter Egg Roll
April 5, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — If it's Easter Monday in Washington, it's time for the White House Easter Egg Roll.
The White House is getting ready, putting on the finishing touches before the gates open and 30,000 men, women and children scramble to take part in the annual tradition. The Easter Bunny and more than 14,500 hard-boiled eggs are dyed and waiting.
The event dates to 1878 and has a rich history.
Two world wars and weather have caused the "eggcitement" to be canceled several times. The fun and games are at the president's home, but he isn't always there to join the fun. The event is usually a signal that spring has arrived in the nation's capital.
Here are a few tales from White House Easter Egg Roll history.
It's long-standing policy: No child or adult can attend alone. But decades ago in the 1930s, as the event grew more popular, kids and grown-ups alike figured out some "eggceptional" ways around the rule.
Children would mingle with tourists and others passing by the White House gates, and hoped they could talk someone into escorting them through security and into the festivities on the South Lawn.
Eager to stroll the plush grounds, adults would dig into their purses and pockets to pay a nickel, a quarter or whatever the going rate was at the time to "adopt" a child long enough to get inside, too.
Once past the guards, they often parted company. Sometimes, the kids headed back out through a different gate in search of another parent for hire — and more money for their pockets.
The scam continued to such a degree that one newspaper headline in 1935 screamed: "Children Outside Gates Turn Racketeer and Take Sunday Elders for a Nickel Fee," according to the National Archives. One 11-year-old boy said the five quarters he earned one Easter Monday helped pay the weekly rent for the rooms he lived in with his mother and three siblings.
Secret Service agents were posted at the gates in 1939 to break up the racket.
Getting a ticket
Nowadays, it takes more than just sweet talk to get into the "eggstravaganza." It takes a ticket.
It used to be that on the weekend before the Easter Egg Roll, anyone who wanted tickets had to wait in line outside a booth near the White House, regardless of the weather. And getting a ticket was not guaranteed.
But that changed under President Barack Obama and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama. For the first time last year — the Obamas' first in the White House — tickets were distributed through an online lottery.
The White House said it made the change to give more families from across the country a chance to participate in what is the longest annual presidential tradition on the South Lawn. It also means people now can apply for tickets from the comfort of their homes.
Public access to the South Lawn is as rare as sightings of the Easter Bunny.
The White House grounds are open to the average public just two weekends a year, for the spring and fall garden tours. It is open again for the Easter Egg Roll, the only event where people get to walk across the meticulously tended South Lawn.
It's the White House Easter Egg Roll, but the fun and games didn't originate at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The west front of the Capitol has a steep, grassy slope that made it an ideal venue for egg rolling, and children had been taking their colored eggs and rolling them down the hill there for years on Easter Monday.
But after putting up with noisy children and watching them trample the grass, members of Congress decided they'd had enough. A bill passed and signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1876 banned such activity to prevent "injury" to the Capitol grounds and grass.
In 1877, it rained so hard that the egg roll was canceled, so the Capitol Police didn't have to enforce the new law.
The officers would have no such luck the following year, however, when chasing away basket-toting egg rollers as they arrived at the Capitol.
"Eggsasperated" egg rollers then headed west on Pennsylvania Avenue in search of an alternate site after word spread for them to go to the White House, according to the White House Historical Association.
Hayes told the boy he'd check with his staff. Back at the White House, the president inquired about egg rolling. He instructed the staff to let the kids through the gates if they showed up on Easter Monday, and not to make a fuss.
When Monday arrived, the egg rollers did, too.
The next year, on the eve of Easter in 1879, another boy approached Hayes as he was walking to ask about egg rolling at the White House. Hayes replied that he thought there would be no objection to it.
By 1880, however, no child bothered to check beforehand with Hayes. Egg rollers showed up and took over the south grounds of the White House. The tradition of a White House Easter Egg Roll was well under way.
04-05-2010 05:52 PM
I've been fully aware of the egg roll all my (well close to it) life, but having never rolled an egg it's all still a mystery. Would any of you who have rolled eggs, be willing to explain it?
04-05-2010 06:27 PM
I'd never heard of it, let alone witness, or do it..This White House article was kind of interesting..The history. There are some, more religious articles out there, but I just stuck with this one. At any time, if anyone wants to find more on these, like you, TB, adding to the bunny/eggs thing, I think that's great information. It sounds like Easter Monday, has different significances around the world.
04-09-2010 12:34 PM
Three Book Reviews
By Susan Salter Reynolds
April 11, 2010
Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo
and the Impending
Ivan R. Dee: 266 pp.
"What would it mean to us if the spring-bringers stopped arriving?" Would it be like losing rainbows? Michael McCarthy wonders, or roses or hope or music? It's a new tactic -- asking us to imagine our world without the species, sounds and smells we take for granted. And it works. A sense of wonder is replaced with a strange hollow feeling -- one part guilt, one part regret and one part denial.
McCarthy set out to "locate the deeper meanings birds may have . . . to the human imagination, a field of study which is just beginning to emerge and has been tentatively labeled bioculture." He begins in Africa, with the migration each year of 16 million birds to Britain. He describes the various routes, the "fantastic traffic" and the particularly stunning tenacity of some species. He sees the sense of wonder in his son's eyes when he hears the song of the nightingale for the first time. He describes the journeys, songs and preferred habitats of sedge warblers, turtle doves and many others. He wanders among hawthorn hedges in mid-May, describes the two-note call of the cuckoo that heralds spring and weaves through the works of philosophers, composers and artists before landing in a place barren of possibility: the future.
"On every continent," he quotes a report from BirdLife International, "species which have always been familiar and taken for granted are steadily dropping in numbers."
You Look Fine, Really
William Morrow: 244 pp.
"I know I am a grown-up woman, even though I rarely see my particular type of grown-up woman represented in advertisements or on television shows. It's like being an atheist in America. And yet, here I am." In her funny, compassionate voice, in her Crocs and flip-flops, Christie Mellor provides an antidote to the assault on female self-esteem. Mellor lives in Southern California (ground zero), and she is not advocating frumpiness -- just a little relaxation and rationality; a little balance, somewhere between "sitting on the sofa all day and spending five hours a day at the gym."
She offers the Backyard Workout Wonderland (a 15-minute workout), her very own research on red lipstick, the virtues of the pashmina shawl and other bits of hard-earned wisdom. It's not all easy (see "Magnifying Mirrors: A Necessary Horror"), but it's not boot camp, either.
You don't have to rearrange your face or hide in your house after turning 40. You do have to take "a cold, hard look at what the heck you have been doing for the last forty or fifty years. Have you been learning new stuff? Have you become friends with some good people? Do your friends love you and do you love them? Do you laugh on a regular basis? Are you excited about what's coming next? Then you're a very, very successful person."
City Lights Books: 132 pp.
Atlantic islands, Northeastern U.S. fishing towns, the last years of the Vietnam War: Ammiel Alcalay flies over this time and these places. His character, a young man, sees kitchen tables, spigots, shoe polish, an old blue car in a field with grass growing through the running boards. From these details, memories emerge, and from the memories, stories. The placement of details on the pages is stunningly simple, an ikebana of words, "a vast catalog of references." "The boy walked around with a ball of string. He showed the string to the two men who were working on an engine. The man looked at the string and the boy and told him to take it to the back of the garage and wrap up some boxes. The boy walked along the long driveway stepping over puddles and truck tires. There was a green truck. . . ." It's a line-drawing of a novel; deeply evocative and written by someone who has studied the craft in its simplicity.
Salter Reynolds is a writer in Los Angeles.
Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times
04-12-2010 08:29 PM
In the thick of party conflict in 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello.
Freckled and sandy-haired, rather tall and awkward, Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. In the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. As the "silent member" of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786.
Jefferson succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister to France in 1785. His sympathy for the French Revolution led him into conflict with Alexander Hamilton when Jefferson was Secretary of State in President Washington's Cabinet. He resigned in 1793.
Sharp political conflict developed, and two separate parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, began to form. Jefferson gradually assumed leadership of the Republicans, who sympathized with the revolutionary cause in France. Attacking Federalist policies, he opposed a strong centralized Government and championed the rights of states.
As a reluctant candidate for President in 1796, Jefferson came within three votes of election. Through a flaw in the Constitution, he became Vice President, although an opponent of President Adams. In 1800 the defect caused a more serious problem. Republican electors, attempting to name both a President and a Vice President from their own party, cast a tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives settled the tie. Hamilton, disliking both Jefferson and Burr, nevertheless urged Jefferson's election.
When Jefferson assumed the Presidency, the crisis in France had passed. He slashed Army and Navy expenditures, cut the budget, eliminated the tax on whiskey so unpopular in the West, yet reduced the national debt by a third. He also sent a naval squadron to fight the Barbary pirates, who were harassing American commerce in the Mediterranean. Further, although the Constitution made no provision for the acquisition of new land, Jefferson suppressed his qualms over constitutionality when he had the opportunity to acquire the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon in 1803.
During Jefferson's second term, he was increasingly preoccupied with keeping the Nation from involvement in the Napoleonic wars, though both England and France interfered with the neutral rights of American merchantmen. Jefferson's attempted solution, an embargo upon American shipping, worked badly and was unpopular.
Jefferson retired to Monticello to ponder such projects as his grand designs for the University of Virginia. A French nobleman observed that he had placed his house and his mind "on an elevated situation, from which he might contemplate the universe."
He died on July 4, 1826.
Learn more about Thomas Jefferson's spouse, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.
04-12-2010 09:10 PM
Just a few references to Thomas Jefferson.
The following is a list of books written by or relating to Thomas Jefferson
The following is a brief biography of Thomas Jefferson by Dumas Malone.
|Slavery and the founders: race and liberty in the age of Jefferson|
Paul Finkelman - 2001 - 296 pages
In this significant revision of his acclaimed work, Paul Finkelman places the problem of slavery in the context of early American politics and the making of the Constitution.
|Black People And Their Place In World History - Page 87|
MD, MBA, Leroy Vaughn - 2006 - 231 pages
Thus, every slave owner had on average produced more than one slave child. The slave children of former President Thomas Jefferson, and their direct descendants, are among the most carefully studied families in the history of America ...
|Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: an American controversy - Page 117|
Annette Gordon-Reed - 1998 - 288 pages
In this view Jefferson remained a slave owner, not for himself, but just because he could not see society's way out of the system ... very well the moral issues at stake with respect to slavery. As a lifetime participant in that system, ...
04-18-2010 11:28 AM
Editorial: Patriot's Day, April 19, not just for Massachusetts, but all of America By The Republican Editorials
April 18, 2010, 12:25AM
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurl’d,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard ’round the world.
Tomorrow is Patriots’ Day – and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s oft-quoted passage about the Battle of Lexington and Concord, fought on April 19, 1775, is worth remembering by the entire nation. Unfortunately only two states – Massachusetts and Maine – mark the momentous skirmish as a legal holiday.
It has always struck us as odd that the whole country isn’t marking the moment the poem celebrates. After all, Patriots’ Day aroused the people in the American colonies to launch the War for Independence that led to the formation of the United States of America.
Without Patriots’ Day, there would be no Fourth of July fireworks.
Here’s a reminder of what took place here in Massachusetts:
It was about midnight on April 18 that a British force of 800 men set out from Boston to destroy a cache of arms and munitions the rebel colonists had assembled at Concord. At the same time, Paul Revere began his famous ride, bringing the news of the advance to the farmers along a 16-mile route.
At dawn, the British reached Lexington, six miles from Concord, encountered a force of 70 rebels, and exchanged shots with them. Under fire, the British pushed on to Concord, destroyed some of the rebel stores and retreated back to Boston. At day’s end, the British toll was 273 men killed, missing or wounded. The rebel loss was 103. The American battle for independence had begun.
Surely Emerson’s “embattled farmers” are worthy of recognition today.
04-18-2010 12:38 PM - edited 04-18-2010 12:46 PM
Godzilla and Gummy Bears Mutate!
04-19-2010 09:34 PM
My gracious Queen a small anouncement if you please.
I have with the trolls asistance erected a moat around the main castle grounds. Which is filled with ever heated lemon tea,the best defence against the sticky gummy ills. We should be safe inside it's bounds. Smells nice too.
04-19-2010 10:48 PM - edited 04-19-2010 10:52 PM
My gracious Queen a small announcement if you please.
I have with the trolls assistance erected a moat around the main castle grounds. Which is filled with ever heated lemon tea,the best defense against the sticky gummy ills. We should be safe inside it's bounds. Smells nice too.
You have come up with a wonderful solution to keeping the God-Gummy Bears at bay. I thank you for your constant desire to keep our realm in working order. If seems my son, the King, is still away on business.
We will have to track these sticky footprints of these mutants, until we have taken them down, or run them out. It is a great shame that the Gummy Bear race has been defamed by Godzilla. He is now on the rampage, and will stop at nothing to attain his ultimate goal of defeating the powers that be, outside of this realm. I know his being here, and using our Kingdom as a hide-out, is just a stopping off point, until he gathers his speed and powers back again. But, in his hungry angry rages, he is most dangerous! He will be on the hunt for more gummy's! Or cotton candy, or anything else that is extremely sweet! I have instructed the cooks to refrain from cooking anything that has sugar in it....and I am dying for hot cacao and a piece of fudge!
Keep alert, everyone, and do not drink the tea water in the moat! Heating this expanse with lemon tea is quite a job, I'm sure, and to have to replenish it, would be a constant problem, as well as an added expense. I've already had to warn the dragons away...lemon seems to be their favorite drink!
Until further developments....Be well!
04-21-2010 07:59 PM
Ah could someone get the mega megaphone out of storage. I have a message for Godzilla.
I Lady TiggerBear
back when all this ruckus started sent a missive out to King Seasar on Monster Island regarding the reason behind Godzilla's "visit". Regrettably it got there late due to his regular overseeing of Okinawa and the delivery getting forwarded around. But finally his replay has arrived. Apparently there has been a recent Kilaak plot to send Godzilla to cause havoc in Wordsmithonia. The Kilaaks believed that this would cause enough disturbance to distract the world from their resent plot with Giddorah. However their plan has come to naught. So if we can just get Godzilla the message that his son is not lost in our woods and is home safe on Monster Island. Perhaps we could get worrying papa home?
04-21-2010 09:57 PM - edited 04-21-2010 10:06 PM
My Dear Lady TiggerBear,
I sent our help to the storage room, in the dungeon, to retrieve the Mega-Megaphone, and when they returned, this is what they brought me, along with the Mega-Megaphone.
Apparently this couple has decided to take up residency within our Castle. They appeared frightened. They gave me a far fetched story about a giant Gila monster in their neighborhood, who was taking large bites out of their gingerbread house, and getting a bit to friendly with a little girl carrying a basket full of cookies to her grandmother.
I'm not sure if this Gila monster is Godzilla, or if someone taking advantage of our problem. If we can just get word to Godzilla, that Godzilla Jr. is safe at home, and not here, and to let the Gummy Bear families alone, then we can get things back to normal.
Tomorrow is Earth Day, and one of the things we had planned, was to plant more trees in the forest. But, as long as this big fat Godzilla/Gummy dudey is there playing havoc, we are not going to be able to go forward with our plans.
The elves and gnomes, to name a few, are getting pretty sick of not being able to return to their homes. Papa Smurf has been working all week, just trying to find architectural plans, to build them their small homes they require. Dog house plans are the only thing that would work, which isn't making our little people too happy. The Smurfs aren't willing to give up their homes to these woodland creatures, either...Needless to say, none of this is making for very happy campers!
I will send Burgess over to your castle with the Mega-Megaphone..Actually, I have two for you. Get the dragons busy on helping you with this one..Wait! On second thought, not the dragons. The last time they used a Mega-Megaphone, they burned out the transformer.
Good luck. It seems we are all alone in this fight, unless we can convince others to help us. I've tried, but they seem to be hiding out until this all blows over. Or else they are stuck in front of their TV sets, watching Glee! Yee, Gads!
04-21-2010 11:53 PM
Dearest Queen Kathy,
Urgent News! I was walking through the woods today and I had my nose in a book about the different species of Wordsmithsonia when I ran into a huge tree trunk fallen in the path. Luckily the tree was quite squishy and I merely bounced off it. Still, I was stunned. Then upon further examination of the tree I realized it wasn't a tree at all but Godzilla himself!!!
I clamped my hand over my mouth and jumped back as I saw the creature laying on his back mouth wide open. I thought for a moment that he was growling but no! he was snoring! Being the curious one that I am, I stepped towards him to get a better look. It appeared as if he was dreaming for he kept kicking his legs and swishing his tail. I thought he had awoken when he rolled over onto his side and I froze in fear. A long gust of breath right into my face told me he was still asleep and nearly put me under as well with the stench!!!
Anyways, as I turned to leave to report my findings, A huge claw grasped me and pulled me into his arms. He is still sleeping and I fear when he wakes to find me... I only packed three peanutbutter pickle banana mustard sandwiches and I'm sure that won't suffice! I hope this letter reaches you before I have to find out!
Your silly traveler,
04-22-2010 11:12 AM
My Dear Duchess Kayla,
As I awoke this morning, I found your letter had been slipped under my door. I wish that I had received it by a knock on my door, but my staff are quite kind, and never wish to waken me in the middle of the night. The Autobond Carrier Pigeon-Toed Service is also quite slow in the spring months. I should have warned you, The Gull Service is faster. The Pigeons are very busy building their nests for the "new arrivals" to their family.
But, whatever, I fear for your life, and it is now of great urgency that we must deal with this situation. I will send for Sam the Wooly Mammoth, who is under the protectorate of Lady Carmen. And Master Tatsu, the keeper of the Royal Dragons! We can no longer wait for Godzilla to simply go away. Force, I am afraid, will be needed.
I do understand your wanting to walk in the forest, because it is always a beautiful place to wander, walk and read this time of year. The gnomes are wonderful, and always invite wanderers in for tea and cookies. But, because they are hiding out on our castle grounds at this time, they are not attending to their usual kind hearted ways.
I am having no luck, other than having Lady TiggerBear's help, dealing with Godzilla. And this problem that has been created, ultimately, by these marauding techies from the Lithium company, who are constantly wishing to disrupt our peace and well being, by sending in Godzilla to take down the Gummy Bear Clan. We were under the assumption that Godzilla had mutated into a Giant Gummy Bear, but you have now given us a current account of what he looks like.
I am not sure how Godzilla is going to take to your peanutbutter pickle banana mustard sandwich (which sounds ghastly, btw) because he seems to crave only sweets at this time. I think he prefers peanutbutter and jelly. But, no matter, the issue at hand is to find you in good health and rid Godzilla of our forest, post haste!
The dragons, headed by my personal two headed dragon friend, Monestrial Melvin, along with Sam, and my charges (hounds) Snorky and Dorky, who wanted a part in this skirmish, are on their way to save the day! I wish you well!
At the moment, I am dealing with a gofer in the lawns. They are eating the roots from our new plantings...on Earth Day, no less!
04-22-2010 11:47 AM - edited 04-22-2010 12:01 PM
|How the First Earth Day Came About|
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day
04-22-2010 12:18 PM
04-23-2010 02:46 PM
Dearest Queen Kathy,
My mistake in using the Autobond Carrier Pigeon- Toed Service, I am now using the Gull Service in hopes of a more expedient reply. Godzilla upon waking, clutching me like a favorite teddy bear, seemed very perplexed at my prescence. I could hear the rattilng of my bones as this huge creature let out a low growl and showed his very pointy and I must say brillantly white teeth. How he keeps them so white is a mystery to me and I had no time to ask him of his dental hygiene for he brought his snout towards me. I had to hold my breath because as he just woke up had the worst morning breath and I didn't want to be incapacitated by the foul stench.
I knew it was to be the end of me and not thinking I quickly shoved one of the peanutbutter pickle banana mustard sandwiches in front of him hoping to upease his hunger. He sniffed it and pulled away with a most viscious look of disgust, I couldn't help but be first amused and the insulted that he would find my provisions unappetizing.
Wondering if maybe the banana's had gone bad I smelled the sandwich myself and found nothing wrong with it. I took a bite and chewed it thoughtfully but found it just as delicious as I imagined it would be. I felt a shaking and a noise coming from the belly of Godzilla and being preoccupied with the contents of my sandwich looked up at him to find him... laughing? Oh yes he was quite amused at my diet I think, and finding this to be more insulting I felt my face get hot and asked him what was so funny.
This only made him laugh harder and still clutching me rolled onto his back with a roar of laughter! When he finally calmed down he looked back at me (I was still quite red) and his eyes, amused, were a little damp.
"I'm glad you find my tastes amusing," my voice dripping with sarcasm and he chuckled once more wiping his eyes with his free hand. "Don't knock it til you tried it," I said and held the sandwich out to him a second time.
Godzilla turned his head away the disgusted look returning to his face, and it was my turn to laugh. This I fear must have hurt his pride for he then closed his eyes and took a tentative bite. After a minute, surprise colored his face and his pearly whites were revealed to me once more with a smile.
"See, not as bad as you thought is it?" I asked and handed him another sandwich. Sitting up now, he rested me safely on his belly and upon releasing me took my offer. As he ate, I could tell the unique flavor of the sandwich was growing on him and he quickly finished it. I handed him the last sandwich and he ate that quicker than the first. He looked at like a pet begging for more, his eyes wide and alert, and i had to inform him that he had eaten the last one. His shoulders slumped in disappointment and my feeling pity for him offered to make him more if he would be so kind as to take me to Tamul, my home.
Godzilla deliberated for a moment eyeing me suspiciously and I reassured him that no harm would come as long as he didn't terrorize or eat anymore Gummies or creatures in this realm. He nodded his assent and off we went.
As we walked, I began informing him of the various flowers and trees of the forest and every once in a while he'd stop to sniff one plant or another. It was during this that I came in contact with your rescue party. I tried to mediate the situation but Godzilla, despite his enormous size cried out and in fear ran away. We searched for him but was unable to locate him.
I fear for the Gummies and with your permission I will continue to look for him. He was quite good company and if we could get him to embrace a different diet I feel it would end the terror and restore the peace of Wordsmithsonia.
04-26-2010 12:46 PM
St. George's Day in Canada
St George’s Day is a holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
St. George's Day 2011
Monday, April 25
St George (image pictured above) is remembered on St George's Day in Canada. ©iStockphoto.com/Jeff Dalton
St George was born sometime around the year 280 CE in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303 CE, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.
St George is most widely known for slaying a dragon. According to legend, the only well in the town of Silene was guarded by a dragon. In order to get water, the inhabitants of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. The person to be sacrificed was chosen by lots. On the day that St George was visiting, a princess had been selected to be sacrificed. However, he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In gratitude, they converted to Christianity.
It is thought that the dragon represents a certain type of pagan belief that included the sacrifice of human beings. St George is the patron saint of some places around the world, including England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, and Russia.
The most widely recognized St George's Day symbol is St George's cross. This is a red cross on a white background, which is often displayed as a flag. It is used as England's national flag, forming part of the Union Flag, the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Saint George's cross was originally the flag of the maritime Republic of Genoa. Around 1190, the King of England started paying the Doge of Genoa to protect ships originally from the city of London and the rest of England that sailed in the Mediterranean region.
What do people do?
Many people are reminded on this day of St George’s achievements and sacrifices during his lifetime. People who have a day off work on St George’s Day enjoy it as is part of a three-day long weekend in Newfoundland and Labrador, as the day is held on a Monday. Some people take a scenic drive, while others engage in sporting activities. Many people in the province who have a day off spend time on personal hobbies and some people catch up with friends and family.
St George’s Day celebrations are not limited to Newfoundland and Labrador. Some societies, such as the Royal Society of St. George (British Columbia Branch), celebrate St George’s Day. There are also calls from groups devoted to the saint to make St George’s Day a national holiday in Canada.
04-26-2010 01:05 PM - edited 04-26-2010 01:15 PM
History of The Old Farmer's Almanac
The Old Farmer's Almanac is North America's most popular reference guide and oldest continuously published periodical. Its history is as rich and diverse as the Almanac itself.
Under the guiding hand of its first editor, Robert B. Thomas, the premiere issue of The Old Farmer's Almanac was published in 1792 during George Washington's first term as president. Although many other almanacs were being published at that time, Thomas's upstart almanac became an immediate success. In fact, by the second year, circulation had tripled from 3,000 to 9,000. Back then, the Almanac cost only six pence (about nine cents).
An almanac, by definition, records and predicts astronomical events (the rising and setting of the Sun, for instance), tides, weather, and other phenomena with respect to time. So what made The Old Farmer's Almanac different from the others? Since his format wasn't novel, we can only surmise that Thomas's astronomical and weather predictions were more accurate, the advice more useful, and the features more entertaining.
Based on his observations, Thomas used a complex series of natural cycles to devise a secret weather forecasting formula, which brought uncannily accurate results, traditionally said to be 80 percent accurate. (Even today, his formula is kept safely tucked away in a black tin box at the Almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.)
Thomas's last edition, in 1846, was not much different from his first, over 50 years earlier. However, in that time he established The Old Farmer's Almanac as America's leading periodical by outselling and outlasting the competition. He died in 1846 at the age of 80, supposedly reading page proofs for the 1847 edition.
The new editor, John H. Jenks, was helped by the fact that Thomas had already calculated the astronomical material for several future editions. In 1848 Jenks permanently and officially added the Old to the title of the Almanac. It had been previously known as The Farmer's Almanac, except in 1832 when Thomas had inserted the word Old (but he inexplicably dropped it from the title three years later).
Jenks's next "permanent" change came in 1851, when he featured a "four seasons" drawing on the cover by artist Henry Nichols. In keeping with Thomas's fickleness, Jenks dropped the new cover for three years, then reinstated it in 1855, when it became "permanent" once again—and it's still being used today.
In 1861, Charles L. Flint became editor and provided his readers with a heavy emphasis on farming. The next two editors, John Boies Tileston and Loomis Joseph Campbell, served short terms and did little more than keep the Almanac going in the traditional format.
Robert Ware took over as sixth editor in 1877, but his main interest was the publishing business, and he probably delegated many of the editorial tasks. Ware's brother, Horace, took the reins in 1900. During his 19 years as editor, he began to orient the book toward a more general audience by replacing the scientific agriculture articles with general features on nature and modern life.
The eighth and ninth editors, Frank Newton and Carroll Swan, kept the Almanac tradition alive even during times of war and the Depression. (Even to this date, The Old Farmer's Almanac has never missed a single year of publication.)
Roger Scaife was appointed editor in 1936. His term coincided with the only time in the history of the Almanac that it declined precipitously in circulation and financial stability. (The 1938 edition had a circulation of only 88,000, compared with 225,000 in 1863!) Scaife also committed the greatest of all Almanac blunders: He dropped the weather forecasts! In their place, he substituted temperature and precipitation averages. The public outcry was so great that he reinstated the forecasts in the next year's edition, but it was too late to save his reputation.
Robb Sagendorph knew a good deal when he saw one, and in 1939 he bought The Old Farmer's Almanac and became editor. Sagendorph, who had moved his family to tiny Dublin, New Hampshire, four years earlier to start Yankee Magazine, now held the future of the Almanac in his hands. Luckily, he had a strong grip, a keen sense of the publishing business, and a nurturing heart devoted to tradition.
Sagendorph, feeling that tradition was the Almanac's strongest suit, immediately reestablished its format and editorial style to be more as it was under Robert B. Thomas. As a result, The Old Farmer's Almanac became witty, wise, and more entertaining, as it had been a hundred years earlier.
In 1942, a German spy was apprehended by the FBI after being landed on Long Island, New York, by a U-boat the night before. The impact of this event was felt all the way to Dublin, New Hampshire, because The Old Farmer's Almanac was found in his coat pocket. The U.S. government speculated that the Germans were using the Almanac for weather forecasts, which meant that the book was indirectly supplying information to the enemy.
Fortunately, Sagendorph managed to get the government to agree that there would be no violation of the "Code of Wartime Practices for the American Press" if the Almanac featured weather indications rather than forecasts. It was a close call that almost ruined the Almanac's perfect record of continuous publication.
The story since World War II has been one of growth and expanded range. The Almanac passed the four million circulation mark in the early 1990s. Robb Sagendorph died in 1970, after 30 years as editor, and his nephew, Judson Hale, took over.
In 2000, Janice Stillman became the 13th (and first female) editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac. She maintains the style established by her predecessors, the editorial direction taken by Hale, and a true dedication to hundreds of years of tradition while striving always to appear brand-spanking-new.