Sunday, April 30, 2006

The weather & house stuff

I'm quite concerned about this odd spring weather now. In all of March and April together we only got about 1 inch of rain. The average rainfall during those months totals to about 5 inches. This isn't good. According to the 10-day forecast, the next chance we have for rain in next Saturday and Sunday. Most odd, this weather. I hope it returns to normal in May.

The garden however, doesn't seem to be suffering horribly for the lack of rain. The corn needs to be watered daily and everything else on every other day, but it's not dying. Thank goodness for irrigation!

Inside the house, we have new furniture in the living room. I really like it! We ordered a chair, ottoman and sofa from Ethan Allen several months ago and it was finally delivered on Friday.

Now, we just need a new coffee table, two area rugs and club chairs to put in front of the fireplace and the living room will look like an actual living room.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Catching up

I was just catching up with my friend Mike. Went to Blake High School with him and we both are currently attending USF (but as large as the school is, we almost never see each other there). He gave me the link to his website. Check it out! He's pretty cool!

"Lestat" in a Musical?

An interesting and ambitious idea... combining Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat into a chronological story. I have no idea where I was the past several years while Elton John was thinking this up, producing and premiering it on stage in San Francisco... and I have even less of an idea what to say about it, other than the guys playing Louis and Lestat are pretty hot and apparently, for no reason readily apparent to me, Marius, a character who is supposed to be of an old Roman senatorial family, long enshrined on the Palatine Hill, has become a black man in the musical and the relationship between Lestat and his mother, Gabrielle, is even more obviously incestuous. Sorry for the run-on sentence, but hopefully it's still readable.

The official site:

A really well-written review can be found here.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Latest Trip

I got my photos back from Walgreens yesterday evening. I am *so* never using CVS again! Not only do the people at Walgreens seem to know what they're actually doing, they actually processed and printed my photos without screwing them up! Miracle of miracles...

For those of you who have links to my photobucket, you can find all of the photos I took while in the Carolinas last week there. If you don't have a link, but know me and would like to see all of the photos, e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

For everyone else, the highlights:

Congaree National Park, Hopkins, SC

Latta Plantation, Huntersville, NC

The Borough, Stateburg, SC

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Reflections on "Brokeback"

There are spoilers for "Brokeback Mountain" in this post. Do not read it if you don't want to be spoiled...

I'm not the only one who was somewhat confused by the end of "Brokeback Mountain," wondering just what it was that was going on in Ennis' head in those last several scenes. Well, upon my fourth viewing of it last week, I think I finally got it. At least, I think so.

My revelation starts with Ennis and Jack arguing about not being able to get together again until November and how much Jack thinks that sucks, but not in a positive or life-affirming way (kudos to anyone who gets the reference). I think at this point Jack realizes that it's never going to be what he wants, no matter how long he waits for Ennis to snap out of his fear of getting found out, and their relationship as it stands just hurts too much for him to let it continue. He's lost his hope and his faith. Ennis can't get passed the trauma of seeing what could happen to gay cowboys when he was a little boy.

Then Jack dies... and that's a crushing blow to Ennis, even without knowing for sure that he was beaten to death. Then when Ennis finds out at Jack's parents' house that it was the ranch foreman, Randall, and not his chatterbox wife, Lashawn, that Jack was having an affair with... Jack had lied to Ennis because he couldn't tell him the truth, that Jack was trying to get on with his life, that Ennis really was too much for him. And then the shirts in the closet. I think Ennis realizes something there or soon after, that Jack was right, that they could have had a sweet life, instead of the one they did have. It might have ended with them both beaten bloody on some nameless road, but at least up to that point, they would have been together and happy, instead of apart, living separate, miserable lives.

This realization causes the last scene of the movie to suddenly make sense in my mind. The first several times I saw it, I was too overwhelmed by the sadness of the ending to make sense of it. We see that Ennis is trying to get on with his life too, as best he can, given the circumstances... Alma Junior is getting married and his first reaction is to think to his job, his fear of loosing it that would keep him from being at her wedding, the same way his fears kept him from Jack for all those years. He stops himself from doing all that again, from causing more pain and regret. It might cost him his job, but if it makes his little girl happy, right then and on her wedding day, he'd be there. And when he swears to Jack, he's swearing - I think - that he's not going to keep letting happiness and connections to other people slip away from him because of being afraid of possible consequences.

Now, this is what I get from the movie... Might not be what anyone else gets or what the writers/director/actors intended, but there you go. That particular scene wasn't even in the short story, so I'm not sure what it was that Annie Proulx intended us to conclude about Ennis. I just can't let a movie that's so pretty end on such a bleak note. I have to believe something good for Ennis came out of all of that.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Agriculture news...

I happen to subscribe to the Union of Concerned Scientists newsletter. In their most recent issues, they had several very disturbing articles. These are the titles: Pigs engineered to make their own omega-3 fatty acids, Arsenic in your chicken, Organic diets lower pesticide levels in the body, Vegetables are less nutritious than they were 50 years ago, How organic is your dairy? and Grub book celebrates sustainable food.

You can find the articles here:

And to give you a short cut to some things I found particularly interesting, here's some more links:

Find out how organic your favorite organic dairy source is: I was very surprised and dismayed to find out that Horizon scored so low on their scale... In fact, they could not get lower... They are very nearly not organic, and in fact, some would say they are only organic in name. I'm going to be finding another source of milk now... Unfortunately, they don't sell Stoneyfield milk at my local grocery store, only their yogurt.

On vegetables being less nutritious than they were 50 years ago... It doesn't surprise me a bit. Yet another good reason to buy things that are locally produced on small farms or organic... If it doesn't have to be shipped as far it's likely that it was bred for better taste and health than for qualities like firmness which help the vegetables to not collapse under the pressures of being shipped long distances.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Planned Jane Austin biopic

I think I could be a little horrified...

Quoted from the Hollywood Stock Exchange: "Anne Hathaway will play British author Jane Austen in the biographical drama Becoming Jane. The 20-year-old Jane Austen has an affair with a roguish Irishman who eventually inspired the male character in her novel 'Pride and Prejudice'. Julian Jarrold directs the film scripted by Kevin Hood. Miramax Films will distribute the film also starring Julie Walters, Maggie Smith and James McAvoy."

Comments welcome...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Beowulf & Grendel" update

I just found out today that "Beowulf & Grendel" will not be released wide in the US. ::tears:: However, it will be shown at a number of film festivals and private theaters all over the US throughout the late-Spirng and Summer. Check with your local private theaters and film festivals to find out if it's coming near you. I also found out that it is supposedly going to be airing in Tampa from August 1st - 5th... I assume at the Tampa Theater since that's the most well-known private theater in the Tampa area. I've written to them to find out more infomation since it wasn't listed on their website as an up-coming event.


Or Passover to most people... It begins tonight at sundown and continues until sundown on April 20th. Basically, this means that for that entire period I'll be eating "kosher for Passover" stuff or matzah instead of bread and on the first (and sometimes the second) night, there's a Sedar, which is a ceremonial meal recalling the Exodus, fulfilling the commandment of Exodus 13:8.

The commandment especially says to tell the children, so children are very involved in the meal... There could be a practical reason for this too because a two hour long (or longer) meal can be very difficult for little children, and even some big children, if they aren't entertained. It starts with blessings, there are four cups each of Kosher wine consumed by all the adults (and one, usually very slowly, by older children - at least in my house :D - and grape juice for younger children) (a fifth glass is set aside for the Prophet Elijah, who is said to visit every Jewish home during the Sedar, but we'll get to that later), the symbolism of the foods on the Sedar Plate are explained, bitter herbs, matzah, and a mixture of apples, nuts and wine (called haroset) are eaten after more prayers are said, the story of the Exodus is told (in brief), a piece of matzah called the Afikomen, is hidden somewhere in the house for children to find after dinner (kinda like looking for eggs on Easter), and the youngest child present (or youngest that is able) asks the "Four Questions" in Hebrew. (Note: All the aforementioned is not necessarily listed in the order of how it happens. It is explained much better here: or here:

Then the actual meal begins, usually with a hard-boiled egg, some gifelte fish, and a bowl of Matzah Ball soup (or "Bubbe's Chicken Soup" as my little brother would always call it.). After that, it goes on to perhaps a salad and the main course, usually a meat dish of some kind (chicken or brisket generally), with vegetables and more matzah, haroset and whatever else because it's good. Now, in my house, though it's not strictly according to the rules, the rest of the Sedar is done over coffee and dessert (usually "Kosher for Passover" cakes or assorted maccaroons). Grace is said (Jews say Grace after a meal and not before, if at all, but especially on Passover as part of the Sedar), there's the fourth glass of wine, the children go open the front door for the Prophet Elijah (while they are gone, it's not uncommon - at least in my parents circle of Jewish friends - for one of the adults to drink Elijah's cup down a bit, so that when the children come back, they see that something actually happened to it), and then the Afikomen search begins. Many times, the child who finds it gets a prize of some kind (a dollar, a piece of candy... some kind of trifle) and they get to eat that piece of matzah. Some groups, who want to keep the peace and not have arguments or tears, break the Afikomen into several pieces so that all the searching children can find a piece of it.

Passover is my favorite religious holiday because what more can you ask for? It's a meal of good food and good wine with friends, recalling a time of joy, children learn of their history and adults remember it. It's a perfect holiday! To me anyway... And my favorite hymn in the world, the Michamocha, is *the* Passover song (or should be, since it's the song that the Hebrews sang after crossing the Sea of Reeds, even if it is more closely associated with Shabbat today, and other than Dayenu [I would love to link to it, but I can't find a place on the web that has all 15 stanzas! ... How's that for a road-trip sing-along song? I learned them all when I was little, but seems that got too annoying for parents to listen to or all of them aren't considered PC enough for today's parents ::rolls eyes::], which was my favorite as a child). Couldn't get any better... (I also really like Adon Olam and Maoz Tzur [the original, 900-year-old "Rock of Ages," translated into the commonly known English hymn about the mid-19th century.])

More information can be found here: Although, I personally don't follow the stricter rules that are described there. My educated opinion is that they are taken far further than necessary. is also an pretty good source of information, especially for the Reform tradition.

upcoming event at the Waxhaw Museum

Was looking at the Waxhaw town website and saw an advertisement for an event at the Museum of the Waxhaws on April 22nd. It reads as follows:

COLONIAL HERB DAY and PLANT SALE - Saturday, APRIL 22, 10am-2pm Our annual Colonial Herb Day and Plant Sale is the perfect time to get the help you need to start your herb garden! We'll be sharing lots of information on growing , using, drying and storing herbs. Learn how herbs were used in Colonial Days as well as in the present, both culinary and medicina. A large selection of common and unusual herb plants will be for sale to get you started! We will also have a few books on herbs for sale, too. Come early for best selection!

Sounds like that could be fun! If you're in the area and have the inclination, you might want to head down there on the 22nd. More information can be found here:

In other news, I don't know if anyone else has seen those LOTR commericals or not, but they are highly amusing... Other than the Frodo and Sam one, there are at least 3 others that I've seen. The following is a transcript:

"Talking trees? (image of Pipping freaking when Treebeard comes alive)... Good witches? (montage of Galadriel being impressive)... Bad wizards? (Saruman snarling)... Something tells me you're not in Kansas anymore, Frodo! (Frodo falling off the ruin at Amon-Hen) ... The Lord of the Rings on TBS, all this weekend. Eat your heart out, Dorothy! (Gimli chugging a mug of ale and belching)"

(montages of Legolas and Aragorn looking dreamy flash in slow-motion across the screen) "They are fearless... they have dreamy eyes... and their hair is spectacular... They're the studs of Middle Earth... But then again, (Gimli stuffing his face with food and belching) look at their competition!... Lord of the Rings on TBS."

And then there's one that all about all the thing poor Frodo has to go through, just in "Fellowship," and I can't remember it word for word. But it points out the Morgul blade, the nearly dying, the getting chased by wraiths, the issues in Moria and the Uruk-Hai. It was amusing too.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Beth Am

Anybody wondering what the synagogue I attend looks like and all that jazz, it has a website here:

Monday, April 10, 2006

ABC's The Ten Commandments

Yeah... I think ABC and the like shouldn't be allowed to do Biblical epics anymore... They get them all wrong... They couldn't have gotten this version of "The Ten Commandments" anymore wrong if they had used the same script as the 1956 Charlton Heston movie.

Moses... has blue eyes... so does the Egyptian queen. *All* of the little children look like they got plucked off a playground somewhere in white-bread America, though they were all dark-haired. The Hebrew slaves have possession of Joseph's body in an entirely unadored tomb among the slave hovels and hold secret meetings of rebellion in his tomb over his bones... I seriously doubt it... The Hebrews are also fairly modern looking, despite the rags, greasy hair and beards, and they don't look in the slightest bit Semitic. Incorrect pronunciations abound.

Moses grows up to be Dougray Scott... who doesn't have a shaved head underneath his wigs and head-dresses. His foster brother grows up to be Naveen Andrews (Sayid on "Lost"), who also doesn't have a shaved head under his head-dress... Moses saves a Hebrew woman from being raped, that's how he kills an Egyptian guard, not saving a man from being flogged. I also love how immediately outside the city walls is the desert... no nothing except sand and wind. And not Egyptian sand and wind... It looks like Morocco, and a rocky and flat part of Morocco at that! I just love the (not!) the sociological implications of this version of the Exodus... Hebrews who look like modern Ashkinazic Jews and Moroccan extras at best... Egyptians for the most part look like what would read as "foreign-looking" to "Middle America," their skin noticeably darker than the Hebrews and their pomp and circumstance. It all accentuates the differences between the Hebrews (the upright, G-d-fearing, forbearers of Western religion) and the Egyptians (the polytheistic, backward, slave-owners who were on "the true G-d's" bad side in the this story)... If you don't believe me, I welcome you to tell me just why Dougary Scott as Moses looks more and more like Jesus in a classic blue-eyed European Christian art kind of way the further into the story it goes. And Miriam, played by the lovely (cause I really do adore her) Susan Lynch (Rebecca in the A&E mini "Ivanhoe" - she looks like that kind of Jewess, although she's Irish), is downplayed *so* much... She hardly says a thing and most of the time is just lingering in the background somewhere. It's not like she had a huge role to begin with, being a prophetess notwithstanding, and ABC's version makes it even smaller. It's disappointing. I'm not even going to go into how they did the parting of the Red Sea (which should have been the Sea of Reeds) thing... It looked a lot like the Disney "Prince of Egypt" version, but *obviously* CGed, instead of animated.

I *so* wish they would *stop* doing this kind of thing! Just stop! It's wrong...

Should people not tell the story in dramatic ways? Of course they should, just as they should any other history and not only because it is a religious commandment for Jews to tell this particular story. But I wish that they would do it right! Using actors who really look the part... And, I don't know... be avant-garde enough to consult some actual Biblical scholars as to what they're pretty sure *actually* happened, due to critical textual analysis and archeaology, which contradicts the traditional version... You know, the Hiksos, the controversies over the plague discrepancies and the number of tribes coming out of Egypt, the far fewer people involved, the "Sea of Reeds" vs "Red Sea" misunderstanding (no, they *aren't* the same thing... one's a marsh and the other's an actual sea... guess which one they actually crossed? That's right, the marsh... Not as dramatic to see a marsh suddenly have some dry land, is it?). For a change, it would be nice not to see a party line dramatization of the Exodus.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Spring Knitty!

The Spring issue of Knitty is out. I don't really like any of the sweater patterns, *but* I thought the Sakura scarf and Convertible wrap are really cool and I liked the articles about the dos and don'ts of knitted gifts for men and about the history of knitting.

Is that... Thunder?

It is raining outside... Actually, "pouring" might be a better word. About an hour and a half ago, I heard the first rumblings in the distance. I didn't know what it was at first... Was it fireworks? Was it a tv somewhere in the house? Was it someone or something rattling one of the windows? As it continued periodically, I realized, no, it was thunder and it was coming closer... I couldn't believe it! I had no idea that it was going to rain tonight, and just yesterday afternoon, I was saying that it has got to rain soon because I can only water the plants so much using sprinklers and hoses and our yard is way too big to do that at all efficiently... According to, it should be raining through mid-morning. Wonderful! It has been at least 6 weeks since it has rained in Tampa... more than 6 weeks really and with the temperatures peaking in the mid 80s almost that entire time. It was not looking good for vegetation. I hope the rain tonight goes a long way to replenishing the dry soil.

On a completely different subject.... I saw a commercial on Cartoon Network (Adult Swim) just a few minutes ago for the TBS Lord of the Rings Trilogy Marathon this weekend. Then I checked my e-mail and Maria had e-mailed me a link to the commercial on, It's called "Frodo and Sam: Secret Lovers?" It can also currently be found at, which is TBS's official website. I couldn't believe it and wouldn't have if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

While I'm at it, I remembered that I promised several people a very long time ago that I would post a link to "The Very Secret Diaries" by Cassandra Claire. Warning: It is a parody thing of LOTR and not at all meant for the eyes or ears of children. They could not possibly appreciate the whole thing and, even if they could appreciate it, most of the content is outright inappropriate in anyone's book. Use discretion... Also, I do not recommend eating or drinking anything anywhere near the computer while reading them because choking and ruining the keyboard, screen and/or carpet are very real dangers. They should be read in the order they are listed. That link will get you to all of the Fellowship Secret Diaries... Cassandra only wrote three for The Two Towers, they can be found at the following links:

Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Part 2:
Legolas, part 2:

Friday, April 07, 2006

Amusing French how-to site

Yes, the phrases are quite useful. ::giggles::

I think this is my favorite: "Ça fait un peu boui-boui, mais il y a de la jolie moisissure."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bad, Georgia! No Biscuit!

I found out a few days ago that the Georgia State legislature has passed a bill, which is now on the governor's desk, allowing Bible Study in public schools throughout the state (not religious study, but specifically the study of the Bible for purposes of indoctrinating children into the religion in a public school supported by the tax payers) and also allowing the display of the Ten Commandments in government facilities throughout the state (not in the context of an historical document that influenced the shaping of American mores and laws [that's the only good argument I've ever heard for justifying the posting of the Decalogue in government/public facilites], but rather in the context of a religious document adding to the authority of the State in an impossing manner.)... Um... *no*! Am I the only one who actually reads the US Constitution?! "Seperation of Church and State"?! Hello?! ::shakes head:: ... So wrong...

I highly recommend signing the petition linked below and/or writing your own letter to Governor Perdue urging him to veto this unconstitutional bill. (Seems a lot of those are being passed by legislatures lately... ::frowns::) Also, if you live in Georgia, adding to your letter a vow that you will vote for his opponent in the next election should he sign the bill into law wouldn't hurt, even if you weren't going to vote for him in the first place... Lord knows I do that all the time in the letters I write to Mel Martinez, Mike Bilirakis and JEB Bush!

Rupert Graves

Rupert Graves is a British actor... I think he's highly underrated on this side of the Pond... He can act and he's pretty... I really like him... The most recent thing he's been in is V for Vendetta as "Dominic"... whoever that is. Wasn't planning to, but I think I really *do* have to see that movie now. He's mostly been in British stuff that we've never seen in the States. However, he's been in a lot of historical-type films and a lot of films based on books, including three by E.M. Forester (A Room with a View, Maurice and Where Angels Fear to Tread)... As it says on his profile, "His decisions to select classy, obscure arthouse films as opposed to box-office mainstream may have put a dimmer on his star, but earned him a distinct reputation as a daring, controversial artist in the same vein as Johnny Depp." ::nods:: He's that kind of actor...

Stuff he's been in that I've seen:
Bent (1997) .... Officer on Train (a minor role)
Different for Girls (1996) .... Paul Prentice (where he breaks a number of taboos... I think pretty much everyone would agree, it's a rather odd film...)
The Madness of King George (1994) .... Greville (starring too many wonderful people to say)
Maurice (1987) .... Alec Scudder (co-starring James Wilby and also Hugh Grant)
A Room with a View (1985) .... Freddy Honeychurch (starring Helena Bonham Carter)

Looks like I need to see:
A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets (2005) (TV) .... William Shakespeare
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996) (TV) .... Arthur Huntingdon
Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991) .... Philip Herriton (also starring Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter)

Babbling about agriculture, outsourcing and illegals...

Pardon me... It's late and I should be asleep, so I'm not really sure how coherent this post is.

Tonight on "The Colbert Report," Steven suggested that to solve the illegal alien problem and get them all to willingly leave the US, we build a waterpark (because "everyone loves waterparks!") and invite all of the illegals to go, but we don't tell them that while the top of the slides would be in San Diego, California, the pool at the bottom of the slides would be in Juarez, Mexico... I was amused...

He then asked who would then pick all of America's vegetables, since we obviously can't pick them ourselves, and replied to his own question that we shouldn't need anyone to do that because we're Americans and should be eating nothing but meat... ::shakes head:: Oh, Steven... so cleaver. (And, no, I'm not taking Steven seriously... I just find his satire very funny.)

Got me to thinking for a second though... Why on Earth *can't* Americans pick our own vegetables? ... Now, I *am* incredibly young and untried in the ways of the world, as they say, and I have a tendency to be naive when it comes to why my solutions to social problems "wouldn't really work" (as I've said before, usually for some nonsensical "grown-up" reason, imho... which most of the time I find to be total bs), but try to walk with me through this anyway...

In Plant City, after the strawberry farmers have the migrant workers come through picking strawberries in February, they open their fields for anyone who wants to come and pick their own strawberries round about this time of year... You can pick all you want, you just have to pay for them. Well, why couldn't people just do that in their localities for their own vegetables? I know it wouldn't be entirely practical (the commute time, the picking time, the dirt, the heat, the sweat... a lot of people probably would hate all that), but personally, I really *liked* picking strawberries and it was cheaper than buying them in the store (and they were the exact same strawberries!).

We'd go out to Plant City, drive around 'til we found a "Pick-Your-Own!" sign, and pick literally bushels of them when I was little, for hours and hours... We'd bring boxes, pots and pans with us, whatever we could find at home, and fill the whole trunk of the car with as many strawberries as we could manage. Mom would freeze some, make jam from some, and for about a week or so, strawberry shortcake would be everyone's dessert of choice. I didn't eat *any* of it... I don't like strawberries at all, but they sure were a lot of fun to pick! Going up and down the rows, finding little red gems hiding under leaves, my brother and I competing to see who could find the largest or pick the most in the shortest amount of time... Josh inevitably eating about half of what he picked and staining his face and clothes with berry juice.

I credit my love of gardening to those experiences and to helping my parents in our own vegetable garden at home when I was no more than 3, 4 or 5 years old. So if you have kids and don't have a home garden (or even if you do), taking them to a "Pick-Your-Own" field for an afternoon, no matter what the fruit or vegetable available, might just be one of the best things you could do for them to instill an appreciation for where the food they eat comes from while they are still young enough to be unconsciously impressionable on the subject. I don't know why so many parents these days seem to be afraid to give their small children any responsibility, like if they do, their children will no longer be children or won't be able to handle it... I don't know...

I love harvesting the veggies in my backyard! (Something, I'm sure people who read this blog have picked up on.) It's the best part about having a garden. And you can't get fresher or tastier vegetables than stuff you pick yourself, and if people came to the farmers directly, the farmers would be able to focus on the taste of the vegetables they grow, instead of how well they ship. It would be the next best thing to having one's own garden or going to a farmers' market and getting 'em there... Certainly, a thousand times better than buying vegetables imported from Mexico, Central and South America (which many are these days, check the labels in the produce section at your local grocery store)... You do know that their health and environmental regulations concerning pesticides and fertilizers are about a thousand times more lax than the ones imposed on US farmers, right? I don't buy anything at the grocery store from south of the Rio Grande because not only is it selling out US farmers, it's not as healthy to eat, even if it means having to buy frozen instead of fresh or not at all. For example, we wouldn't be having yellow squash with dinner tomorrow night if I didn't pick some out of the garden this afternoon. The only yellow squash at our Publix right now is imported from Mexico... No, thank you!

I think promoting the idea of buying only locally produced vegetables if at all possible is one of the best things we could do to discourage outsourcing the US food supply... And perhaps home gardens should be promoted as well, in the way that home gardening was promoted during World War 2. "Victory gardens"... but this time to beat the terrorists and the outsourcers or something like that... You know, if the "T"-word is mentioned, many idiots who would otherwise be against the idea would jump on the bandwagon.

Also, in a related story, a new grocery store has opened in Tampa. It's called "Wild Oats" and they sell only 100% natural foods with no added preservatives, artificial anything, high fructose corn syrup, hormones, antibiotics or other bad additives. It's like an Earth Faire, but with a different name and in Florida... It's located on North Dale Mabry Highway, just north of I-275. If you live in the Tampa area, I highly recommend checking it out.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Little late...

... since Women's History Month is now over, but as I said in my previous post on the subject, I think this kind of thing should be celebrated all the time, no matter what the calendar says.

Three-Hundred Women Who Changed the World

... be sure to check out the following women of the Medieval period of Europe: Boudicca, Queen Aethelflaed of Mercia, Queen Fredegonde of France, Queen Constance of Sicily, the Empresses Theodora, Irene and Zoe, and Byzantine Princess Anna Comnena, the Saints Perpetua, Chlothilde (Queen) of France, and Clare of Assisi, and the mathematician Hypatia. And who could forget the notorious Eleanor of Aquitaine?

... Some would argue that Boudicca and Perpetua were of the Roman period and not the Medieval, but Boudicca certainly got "medieval" all over the British Romans, and Perpetua... Well, I had to read her Passion narrative in class this semester, so I'm counting her in here (you can find that narrative at the "Medieval Sourcebook" linked in the right hand column of this page).

Also, what Empress Irene's page does not say about her: how she blinded her son, Constantine VI. It was tradition that the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) had to be "without blemish" according to tradition in order to rule. There was a long history of blinding the Emperor if for some reason one wanted power but didn't want to actually kill him for whatever reason. Well, Irene, being a loving mother, didn't want to kill her son, but did want to rule the Empire... So she had him blinded the traditional way... She had molten gold poured into his eyes after they had been gouged out... Traditionally, molten lead was used for this, but she opted for the more expensive metal. Tradition also says, it killed him... He was certainly never heard from again in history if it didn't, and Irene ruled as sole Emperor (not Empress) until her death in 803. She was later declared an Eastern Orthodox Saint for her defense of icons during the iconoclasm controversy.

And I would add Freydi­s Eiri­ksdottir to the list of 300 if I could and take out one of the Saints who really didn't do anything to lasting effect because there are several on that list... Freydis sponsored the fourth recorded, purposeful Viking expedition to North America. The first purposeful expedition was led by her half-brother, Leif (Eiriksson... I know you've heard of him). During the third expedition (which was a failure), led by Thorfinn Karlsefni, she possibly gave birth to a son, the first European child born in North America. She was as ruthless as her father and grandfather; the whole family was full of murderers and cut-throats. Evenso, it is because of her expedition ca 1010 CE that the impermanent logging colony in Newfoundland was firmly founded (since all of the other expeditions were mostly exploratory, not purely for profit, or failed outright) and lasted for several decades, supplying Greenland with desperately needed cheap lumber, although she herself returned to Greenland...

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I was feeling torn... so I have more than one...
Your Personality Profile
You are pure, moral, and adaptable. You tend to blend into your surroundings. Shy on the outside, you're outspoken to your friends. You believe that you live a virtuous life... And you tend to judge others with a harsh eye. As a result, people tend to crave your approval.

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.
You are unique, creative, and expressive.You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!
The World's Shortest Personality Test
Your Personality Profile
You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.
For you, comfort and calm are very important.You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.
The World's Shortest Personality Test
Your Personality Profile
You are dignified, spiritual, and wise.Always unsatisfied, you constantly try to better yourself.You are also a seeker of knowledge and often buried in books.
You tend to be philosophical, looking for the big picture in life.You dream of inner peace for yourself, your friends, and the world.A good friend, you always give of yourself first.
The World's Shortest Personality Test