Two Learnings from My Recent Rememborizing Efforts: One cool; One cautionary

As I discussed in my last post, I’ve embarked on an effort to memorize stuff that interests me. I’m finding that the more I memorize stuff, the easier is to memorize and retain new stuff.

So as I just finished up memorizing the poem Invictus, I decided to go large and take on the grandest, and perhaps greatest, of all letters penned on behalf of these United States, The Declaration of Independence.

Yeah, maybe I am getting a little cocky/in over my head taking on such a significant body of work — significant as in packed with meaning, and, especially, significant as in packed with a lot of words. One-thousand, four-hundred and fifty-eight of them to be exact.

Continue reading “Two Learnings from My Recent Rememborizing Efforts: One cool; One cautionary”
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Easter on April Fools’ Day, where does a fool like me even begin…

Easter, The Resurrection of Christ

The modern English term Easter, cognate with modern Dutch ooster and German Ostern, developed from an Old English word that usually appears in the form Ēastrun, -on, or -an; but also as Ēastru, -o; and Ēastre or Ēostre. The most widely accepted theory of the origin of the term is that it is derived from the name of an Old English goddess mentioned by the 7th to 8th-century English monk Bede, who wrote that Ēosturmōnaþ (Old English ‘Month of Ēostre’, translated in Bede’s time as “Paschal month”) was an English month, corresponding to April, which he says “was once called after a goddess of theirs named Ēostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month”. [WIKIPEDIA]

Ostara, Goddess of Spring and the Dawn

Easter is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara. She is a goddess of the dawn and the spring, and her name derives from words for dawn, the shining light arising from the east. Our words for the “female hormone” estrogen derives from her name.
Continue reading “Easter on April Fools’ Day, where does a fool like me even begin…”

On Being Irishman Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde

The world is a stage,
but the play is badly cast.

 

Quantum Mutata*

THERE was a time in Europe long ago
When no man died for freedom anywhere,
But England’s lion leaping from its lair
Laid hands on the oppressor! it was so
While England could a great Republic show.
Witness the men of Piedmont, chiefest care
Of Cromwell, when with impotent despair
The Pontiff in his painted portico
Trembled before our stern ambassadors.
How comes it then that from such high estate
We have thus fallen, save that Luxury
With barren merchandise piles up the gate
Where nobler thoughts and deeds should enter by:
Else might we still be Milton’s heritors.

#happystpatricksday
#gogreenandgohard

 

Image courtesy of WIKIPEDIA
Quote & Poem courtesy of
POEMHUNTER


 
*I know, I know… it’s a poem less about Ireland and more about the United Kingdom. Okay, granted — it’s all about England and its fall from dynastic grace but it sure seems applicable to today’s current United Empire, no?

 

With Eloquence: Booker T. Washington

Remember when we as a people wrote and spoke with informed eloquence?

Yeah, me neither…

But I was reminded such a fairy-tale time did, in fact, exist when watching former senator and Secretary of Defense William Cohen introduce retire Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis to the Senate Armed Services Committee prior to its hearing regarding the general’s selection to be President-elect Trump’s Secretary of Defense. At the end of his introduction, which was eloquent in its own right, Cohen quoted from the famous 1884 Memorial Day Address delivered by the renowned law scholar, author, and orator Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Continue reading “With Eloquence: Booker T. Washington”

From Mine to Yours…

Zeno & Aurelius Christmass 2016

And Joy & Happiness to All* this Season of Holidays

#peace


*“All” is meant to mean everyone, including those who do and who do not celebrate a holy day or holiday this Season of Holidays, which may or may not include the following:

Buddhism
Bodhi Day: 8 December – Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).

Christianity
Advent: fourth Sunday preceding 25 December
Krampusnacht: 5 December – The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December. In Alpine countries, Saint Nicholas has a devilish companion named Krampus who punishes the bad children the night before.
Saint Nicholas’ Day: 6 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception Day: 8 December – The day of Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception is celebrated as a public holiday in many Catholic countries.
Saint Lucia’s Day: 13 December – Church Feast Day. Saint Lucia comes as a young woman with lights and sweets.
Longest Night: A church service to help those coping with loss, usually held on the eve of the Winter solstice.
Christmas Eve: 24 December
Christmas Day: 25 December – one of the most celebrated holidays around the world, increasingly celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike.[5][6][7][8]
Anastasia of Sirmium feast day: 25 December
Twelve Days of Christmas: 25 December–6 January
Las Posadas: 16–24 December – procession to various family lodgings for celebration & prayer and to re-enact Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem[9]
Saint Stephen’s Day: 26 December
Saint John the Evangelist’s Day: 27 December
Holy Innocents’ Day: 28 December
Saint Sylvester’s Day: 31 December

Fictional or parody
Erastide: In David Eddings’ Belgariad and Malloreon series, Erastide is a celebration of the day on which the Seven Gods created the world. Greetings (“Joyous Erastide”) and gifts are exchanged, and feasts are held.
Feast of Winter Veil: 15 December–2 January – A holiday in World of Warcraft. This holiday is based on Christmas. Cities are decorated with lights and a tree with presents. Special quests, items and snowballs are available to players during this time. The character of “Greatfather Winter”, who is modeled after Santa Claus, appears.[10][11]
Feast of Alvis: in the TV series Sealab 2021.[12] “Believer, you have forgotten the true meaning of Alvis Day. Neither is it ham, nor pomp. Nay, the true meaning of Alvis day is drinking. Drinking and revenge.”–Alvis[13]
Hogswatch: a holiday celebrated on the fictional world of Discworld. It is very similar to the Christian celebration of Christmas.
Festivus: 23 December – a parody holiday created by Daniel O’Keefe and made popular by Seinfeld as an alternative to Christmas.
Frostivus: the winter holidays in the Artix Entertainment universe
Decemberween: 25 December – a parody of Christmas that features gift-giving, carol-singing and decorated trees. The fact that it takes place on December 25, the same day as Christmas, has been presented as just a coincidence, and it has been stated that Decemberween traditionally takes place “55 days after Halloween”. The holiday has been featured in the Homestar Runner series.
Wintersday, the end-of-the-year celebration in the fictional universe of the Guild Wars franchise, starts every year mid December and ends the next year on early January.

Hinduism
Pancha Ganapati: 21–25 December – modern five-day festival in honor of Lord Ganesha, celebrated by Hindus in USA.

Historical
Malkh: 25 December
Mōdraniht: or Mothers’ Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
Saturnalia: 17-23 December – An ancient Roman winter solstice festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on the 17 December of the Julian calendar and expanded with festivities through to 23 December. Celebrated with sacrifice, a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival.
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Day of the birth of the Unconquered Sun): 25 December – late Roman Empire

Judaism
Hanukkah: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah or Chanukkah), also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BC. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

Paganism
Yule: Pagan winter festival that was celebrated by the historical Germanic people from late December to early January.
Yalda: 21 December – The turning point, Winter Solstice. As the longest night of the year and the beginning of the lengthening of days, Shabe Yaldā or Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. Shabe yalda means ‘birthday eve.’ According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born at dawn on 22 December to a virgin mother. He symbolizes light, truth, goodness, strength, and friendship. Herodotus reports that this was the most important holiday of the year for contemporary Persians. In modern times Persians celebrate Yalda by staying up late or all night, a practice known as Shab Chera meaning ‘night gazing’. Fruits and nuts are eaten, especially pomegranates and watermelons, whose red color invokes the crimson hues of dawn and symbolize Mithra.

Secular
Human Rights Day: 10 December
Zamenhof Day: 15 December – Birthday of Ludwig Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto; holiday reunion for Esperantists
Soyal: 21 December – Zuni and Hopi
HumanLight: 23 December – Humanist holiday originated by the New Jersey Humanist Network in celebration of “a Humanist’s vision of a good future.”[14]
Newtonmas: 25 December – As an alternative to celebrating the religious holiday Christmas, some atheists and skeptics have chosen to celebrate December 25 as Newtonmas, due to it being Isaac Newton’s birthday on the old style date.
Quaid-e-Azam’s Day: 25 December
Boxing Day: 26 December – Day after Christmas.
Kwanzaa: 26 December–1 January – Pan-African festival celebrated in the US
Watch Night: 31 December
New Year’s Eve: 31 December – last day of the Gregorian year
Hogmanay: night of 31 December–before dawn of 1 January – Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration
Dongzhi Festival – a celebration of Winter

Unitarian Universalism
Chalica: first week of December – A holiday created in 2005, celebrated by some Unitarian Universalists.[15]

 

Putting the X back in Xmas

santa

Thanks be to X that Megyn Kelly got pissed off at Shutterfly or I never would have thought to merrily mention this:

Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but Xmas, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, which in English is “Christ”. The “-mas” part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass.

There is a common belief that the word Xmas stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the “Christ” out of “Christmas”, but its use dates back to the 16th century.

Ho ho ho ha HA HA!

Merry Xmas Happy Holidays*, y’all!


*See this.

Kaepernick

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?  Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

 
#blacklivesmatter
#protestsmatter

 
 

When the Witch of November Comes Early

It’s hard to believe that it has been forty years since the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a fact still memorable to so many, I’m sure, only because of Gordon Lightfoot’s beautifully haunting ballad about it.

Maybe it’s because I have always been so close to the water, both physically and spiritually – I am from a state with a name that translates into English as “providential river;” I am from a Lake Erie coastal town with a name that translates into English as “the river of many fish;” my elementary school mascot was a dolphin; my junior high school mascot was a raider; my high school mascot was a mariner; my college mascot was a terrapin; and I worked at a marina before joining the navy and becoming a sailor for life – that this tragedy, and especially this song about it, has meant, and always will mean, so much to me.
 


 

I know I’m getting old but I cannot help thinking how much of a simpler, more thoughtful time it was back then (the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon not withstanding)…

But can you imagine, in this all-things-perishable day and age, someone penning such a well-received, enduringly beautiful song for the El Faro, the cargo ship that just sunk during Hurricane Joaquin?

Yeah… me neither.