Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Battle of Salamis

They were hopelessly outnumbered, but even then the Greeks knew it would be the battle that could change history.

The Asian invaders, had entered the Aegean. The "comeliest of boys" had been castrated; the throats of the "goodliest" soldiers ripped out.

Mounted on his marble throne Xerxes, Persia's formidable warrior king looked over the bay of Salamis, confident that he was about to enslave Europe. But instead of victory came defeat. As the Greeks' triremes trapped the Asian fleet, smashing it with their bronze rams, Xerxes watched incredulously. His soldiers, he said, were fighting like women.

That was 480 BC. Nearly 2,500 years later, a scientific team is searching for the lost fleets of the campaign in the northern Aegean.

Taipei Times

Lion Goddess to the Rescue

In Ethiopa a 12-year-old girl was abducted , kept captive for a week and beaten repeatedly by seven men trying to force her into a marriage with one of them. This is a common occurrence in Ethiopa, where gitls of even younger ages are kidnapped, beaten, raped and then forced into marriage with the rapist, all part of the marriage customs !!

The United Nations estimates that more than 70 percent of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction, rape and force.

Three lions, hearing the noise of her beatings, appeared and chased off her captors. They stayed next to her as she lay semi conscious throughout the day until she was found by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, 350 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.

"If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse." said Tilahun Kassa, a local government official. "They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest. A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which is why they didn't eat her".

I say ir was Sekhmet !!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Don't mention the war !!

Around the 9th century AD the Norsemen were all kitted out by master sword makers from the Rhine. in fact German arms dealers have been blamed for the Viking invasion of Britain .

Archaeologists working with the Russian Museum of Ethnography found the swords that the boyos used were made in Germany, swords of the highest quality which didn't break even during the fiercest fighting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fridays are NOT fraught with peril

We may make jokes about Friday the 13th and only kiddingly instruct loved ones to exercise greater care on that day, but those who suffer from a fear of the number thirteen (triskaidekaphobia) or a fear of Friday the 13th (paraskevidekatriaphobia) may genuinely feel limited by the rumored potential for ill luck connected with the date.

The reasons why Friday came to be regarded as a day of bad luck have been obscured by the mists of time — some of the more common theories link it to a significant event in Christian tradition said to have taken place on Friday, such as the Crucifixion, Eve's offering the apple to Adam in the Garden of Eden, the beginning of the Great Flood, or the confusion at the Tower of Babel.

Chaucer alluded to Friday as a day on which bad things seemed to happen in the Canterbury Tales as far back as the late 14th century ("And on a Friday fell all this mischance"), but references to Friday as a day connected with ill luck generally start to show up in Western literature around the mid-17th century:

"Now Friday came, you old wives say, Of all the week's the unluckiest day." (1656)

But it's not ! Friday is a day dedicated to Freya , the Wild Woman of the North. Perfume your house with rose petals for the Lady

The Anger of Pele

Can a souvenir casually pocketed on a Hawaiian beach bring misfortune? Though the more skeptical will scoffingly dismiss the notion as pure hooey, thousands have come to believe that yes, volcanic rocks taken from Hawaii fetch with them a curse of impressive proportions. And the only way to undo the jinx is to return the purloined items whence they came.

Legend has it that Pele, goddess of fire and volcanoes, is so angered when the rocks (which she sees as her children) are taken from her that she exacts a terrible revenge on the thief. She is especially protective of volcanic rock and sand, two items tourists almost unthinkingly pocket as mementos of their vacations. After all, who would miss a rock?

Pele will.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and far too many hotels to name receive a never-ending stream of packages containing sand, shells, and rocks from guilty-minded vacationers who are intent upon reversing their sudden downpours of bad luck. Many of these returns are accompanied by notes begging forgiveness of the goddess or detailing litanies of calamities that have befallen these casual purloiners:

Please take this sand and put it back somewhere on your island. I have had very bad luck since it came into my life and I am very sorry I took it. Please forgive me and I pray that once I send it back where it comes from, my bad luck will go away.

Please return to soil. I have been having bad luck.

Ever since we have taken items, we have had nothing but back luck and medical problems. We apologize for taking items, so we are returning same to Hawaii.

We placed the rock last fall on a cast iron chair in our garden, this spring the chair's leg had fallen off. This is the least of the problems we have had since we have taken the rock.

Pele's curse is not a mild-mannered one. Those afflicted by it don't misplace their car keys or develop runs in their stockings — their bad luck is of the grievous variety. Pets die. Jobs are lost. Houses burn down. Sudden and devastating illness strikes loved ones. Marriages break apart.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the sad case of Timothy Murray, a 32-year-old who scooped some of the unusual black sand from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park into a bottle and brought it back with him to Florida. Everything in his life immediately went into a nosedive: his pet died, his five-year relationship with a gal he was to marry ended, and the FBI arrested him in a computer copyright infringement case.

The native Hawaiian view of taking such souvenirs is that it's tantamount to stealing from Pele while visiting her home. Only the return of the stolen items appeases her wrath.