“That’s Life” with Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children

Uploaded on Sep 1, 2009

Sir Nicholas Winton who organised the rescue and passage to Britain of about 669 mostly Jewish Czechoslovakian children destined for the Nazi death camps before World War II in an operation known as the Czech Kindertransport. This video is the BBC Programme “That’s Life” aired in 1988. The most touching video ever.

I first saw this clip, here.

Everyday words coined by American Presidents

Everyday words coined by American Presidents

1. Moment

Early America was a hotbed of political discussion–and neologisms. In 1781, George Washington wrote about the early formation of the United States, “The present temper of the states is friendly to the establishment of a lasting union; the moment should be improved; if suffered to pass away it may never return.” This is the first recorded use of moment in the sense of a brief or opportune time to accomplish a goal. George Washington didn’t only seize his days, he seized every moment.

2. Out-of-the-way

Though at the time “American” English sounded very similar to “British” English, the young Americans were inventing new words to accommodate the novel situations in the colonies. On October 10, 1756, George Washington wrote to Governor Robert Dinwiddie, criticizing the placement of military forts: “one of them, if no more, erected in my opinion in a very out-of-the-way place.” This sense of “secluded” was novel, perhaps more applicable in the vast American frontier where anything could seem out-of-the-way.

3. Belittle

Through the early 1600s the word little was used as a verb in English, though its adjectival sense has always been more prominent. Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, coined the verb formation belittle in his seminal book Notes on the State of Virginia. He wrote, “So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions on this side of the Atlantic.” In Jefferson’s sense to belittle is to make something seem less valuable or important. Which lesser-known President coined our next well-known word?

4. Caption

The word caption is both young and old. It came into widespread use in the twentieth century with the vast proliferation of printed images that often needed explaining. However, James Madison (fourth President of the United States) wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1789 and told him, “You will see in the caption of the address that we have pruned the ordinary stile of the degrading appendages of Excellency.” Madison’s use of the word takes a tip from the legal sense popular since the late 1600s indicating a certificate or “note of caption.”

5. Michigander

This term for a native of the state or territory of Michigan was coined in 1848 by none other than Abraham Lincoln when he was still a congressman. In July of that year Lincoln spoke against Presidential candidate Lewis Cass, long-time governor of the Michigan Territory. “I mean the military tale you Democrats are now engaged in,” Lincoln said, “dovetailing onto the great Michigander.” The great emancipator’s neologism combines Michigan with gander (a male goose) characterizing Lewis Cass as goose-like.

6. Normalcy

This term for the quality of being normal or maintaining the status quo is synonymous with “normality” in English. Until the turn of the 20th century, normalcy made brief cameos in technical and mathematical dialogue, but in 1920 the word got a serious boost in popularity when soon-to-be-president W.G. Harding used it in a campaign speech. “America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums (remedies) but normalcy; not revolution but restoration.” Normalcy was at the forefront of Harding’s platform for returning the United States to its pre-WWI equilibrium.

7. Lunatic fringe

This word refers to more than the fringe on your jacket; a lunatic fringe is a small group of fanatical followers of a political or social movement. Theodore Roosevelt coined the term in 1913 in reference to a break-out group of anarchists: “There is apt to be a lunatic fringe among the votaries of any forward movement.” In this sense Roosevelt recognizes the formation of a “lunatic fringe” as a side effect of forward political motion. We hope you’ve enjoyed our presidential patter. May all Michiganders seize the moment, return to normalcy, and never belittle the lunatic fringe.

(Found on dictionary.com.)

A Visualization Of World War II Like You’ve Never Seen Before

A Visualization Of World War II Like You’ve Never Seen Before

Video found on Upworthy.com.
Article written by .

This video shows the changing front lines of the European Theater of World War II every day from the German invasion of Poland to the surrender of Germany.
Maroon: Axis Power members, their dependencies/colonies, and annexed lands.
Burgundy: Areas militarily occupied by the Axis Powers.
Red: Axis puppet states.
Pink: Axis gains during that day.
Blue: Allied powers and areas occupied by the allies.
Light blue: Allied gains for that day.
Purple colors (left to right): Finland, occupied by Finland, and Finnish gains that day.
Dark Green: The USSR before it joined the allies and annexed lands.
Green: Areas militarily occupied by the USSR before it joined the allies.
Light Green: Soviet gains for that day.

“Every Good Lie Has At Least 80% of the Truth In It”, Just Like Dragon Age: Origins

“Every Good Lie Has At Least 80% of the Truth In It”

Dragon Age is a perfect example.

Why do you think politicians are so good at it? Lying. Why, they are believed despite the fact that most people know they are lying! It’s because there is a believable truth within that lie.

My father has been telling me about that 80% for as long as I can remember. But he also told me that lying destroyed trust.

All you have is your word. You break that, you’ve got nothing.

He was trying to prepare me for the real world by telling me about truth and lies.

I, in a sense, chose both.

Speak the truth, but study the lie. I like to know when someone is lying to me so that I know who to trust. It hasn’t always worked, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.

But, what some might not realize, there is entertainment in the 80%. A lie is a lie, sure, but then I think about the graphic novel AND the movie V for Vendetta. While as separate entities, they are forces that can stand alone, but looking at them as a whole is also valuable. They talk about truth, lies and, the most interesting topic, using a lie to tell the truth. They talk about revenge and payback, too, but the truth and lies is more important for this article.

My favorite quote from the movie, said by Evey Hammond, is:

My father was a writer. You would’ve liked him. He used to say that artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.

To those of you who have seen this movie, “A man after my own heart,” indeed. If you have not seen the movie OR read the graphic novel, you should. I do not think you will understand the rest of the article any less, but they are good references to have in the background as you read.

An 80% I would like to bring to your attention can be found in the form of a video game called Dragon Age: Origins. It has many parallels into reality, despite the game being a fantasy, that I would like to address. Looking at how a game, or any piece of artwork, is created gives you insight into the people who created it, whether they realize this or not.

I don’t know how many people actually pay attention to the history(ies) created for the games, but the history in Dragon Age: Origins is a projection of reality: 80% the truth.

To start, Dragon Age has the Chant of Light (20%), the equivalent of the Bible (80%). The game itself begins with a canticle, meaning the game begins with:

1. one of the non-metrical hymns or chants, chiefly from the Bible (Chant of Light), used in church (chantry) services.
2. a song, poem, or hymn especially of praise.

It then goes on to explain more about the teachings of the chantry (church). To see the game’s opening scene, watch the video below.

To sum it up, it is the fault of the mages, who tried to usurp heaven, that darkspawn are in the world spreading their sin and their taint everywhere they go. A manifestation of the sins of man; hell on earth, which the dwarves have to deal with every day, allowing man to forget.

Until it blows up in their faces.

Kick ass metaphor.

And all of this is explained before you create your character for the game; either that of a human, an elf, or a dwarf.

But our sins was not the only thing I wanted to touch upon; there is more history in this game.

The game takes place in the country of Ferelden, but it wasn’t always called that. In fact, it didn’t really have a name before, except for place on the land called Arlathan, but the elves lived there in peace and tranquility all the same.

They had their own culture, language, and were immortal, but that all changed when the humans, Tevinter mages, came. And enslaved them for a millenia. They rose up and fought back, got their own land, again, but then it was taken by the humans… again. Before the fall of their second homeland, the Dales, a poet wrote:

Like dragons they fly, glory upon wings. Like dragons they savage, fearsome pretty things.

But doesn’t the story sound familiar?

Let’s expand it: the elves are living peacefully until they are enslaved by humans, but the Tevinter Mages raise Arlathan to the ground. During their enslavement, they lose their culture. They eventually rise up, with the help of the Prophetess Andraste (Jesus Christ) and gain their freedom. They get their own home again, the Dales, but when they refuse to build a chantry (church) to worship Andraste and the maker (g0d) the chantry sends forth the Exalted Marches and destroy the Dales. Now, the elves are either homeless. living in the forests trying to revive their lost culture by living away from the humans or they live in the slums of human cities being treated like second class citizens.

Doesn’t that sound like what happened the the “indians” before the United States came to be?

The “indians” were living peacefully, just like the elves, before they were enslaved. They rose up, only difference being the “indians” didn’t win their battles, but, like the elves, they are living in slums. I’m pretty sure I’m missing some details, but the basic information is there.

80%. The history of the United States is being portrayed by a fantasy: 20%.

That’s why I LOVE this game!

There are SO many parallels, not only between the game’s history and reality, but also between the characters of Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Origins- Awakening, and Dragon Age 2. If there are any parallels in Dragon Age Inquisition, we shall find out soon enough. (I CAN’T WAIT… but I don’t have a choice in the matter… :'()

These are some of the character parallels: Alistair=Aveline Vallen; Leliana=Sebastian Vael; Shale=Fenris and more.

I can’t WAIT to discuss them all!

What do you think about all of this? Comment your answer.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an established religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the process, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Ancient Greek Hypocrisy

Ancient Greek Hypocrisy

A coin with the face of Aphrodite on the front.

A coin with the face of Aphrodite on the front.

Aphrodite, Ἀφροδίτης (Kluth), the Goddess of Love, Romance and Beauty (About.com: Greece Travel); Artemis, Άρτεμις (Kluth), the Goddess of the Hunt, the Forest, Wildlife, Childbirth, and the Moon (About.com: Greece Travel); Athena, Ἀθηνά (Kluth), the Goddess of Wisdom, War, and Crafts (About.com: Greece Travel); Demeter, Δήμητραν (Kluth), the Goddess of Agriculture (About.com: Greece Travel); Hera, Ἡρα (Kluth), the Queen of the Gods; Hestia, Ἑστία, the Goddess of Home and Homelife (About.com: Greece Travel) and goddess of the hearth (Crystalinks.com); Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory(Greek-Gods.info); Moirai, Moira Krataia, (Kerényi 33) the Goddess of Fate; the nine Muses, αἱ μοῦσαι, hai moũsai (Wikipedia), the Goddesses of the Art and Sciences; Nemesis, Νέμεσις, the messenger of Justice, the Goddess of Retribution or Divine Vengeance (Linné); Nike, ‘Νίκην,’ the Goddess of Victory (Kluth); all of them are Greek goddesses. All of them were worshiped by the Greeks for many centuries, and there are more than the ones listed. But their worshipping of female deities happens to be hypocritical. The treatment of their women is completely different to the way they treat their goddesses. Some might say that isn’t true because they didn’t treat their female goddesses any better, but it isn’t how they are treated that is the problem; it is the fact the they “existed” that makes the Greeks hypocrites. Some women are named, Clytemnestra of Mycenae was particularly important, but the rest of women are merely mentioned in passing.

Pegasus: the reverse of the coin of Aphrodite.

Pegasus: the reverse of the coin of Aphrodite.

Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, Romance, and Beauty, came to be because of the castration of the God Uranus. Artemis, the Goddess of Wisdom, War, and Crafts, was the daughter of Leto and the sister of Apollo. “She was always described as a virgin huntress.” (Kerényi) Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, War, and Crafts, was the daughter of Metis, whom Zeus had eaten because the prophecy around her was that her child would be wiser than the father. One day, Zeus got a really bad headache. After someone hit him in the head, Athena came forth fully armored. She is the protector of warriors, Odysseus from the Homer’s Odyssey for example.

Demeter, the Goddess of Agriculture. Her happiness dictates whether or not the Greeks have wheat. When her daughter Persephone is with her, she is happy, and the Greeks have the seasons Spring and Summer, but when Persephone has to go to the Underworld, her sadness causes the seasons to become Fall and Winter, causing the wheat to die. She is the key to the Greeks’ survival.

nemesis coinHera, the Queen of the Gods, Zeus’s wife. She is self explanatory, cheated on constantly, but self explanatory. Zeus having his way with every woman he wants is just an example of how men were dominating society. Hestia, the Goddess of Home and Homelife.

Moirai, the Goddess of Fate. The Muses were named Calliope (Epic Poetry), Clio (History), Erato (Love Poetry), Euterpe (Music), Melpomene (Tragedy), Polyhymnia (Hymns), Terpsichore (Dance), Thaleia (Comedy), Urania (Astronomy), and they are the Goddesses of the Arts and Sciences (Greek-Gods.info). Before poets, like Homer, began reciting their oral poetry, they would call upon the aid of the Muses. They were created by Zeus, the King of the Gods, who secretly lied nine nights with Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory(Greek-Gods.info). We would not have the arts, which men dominated in at the time, if not for the Muses.


Hera, Queen of the Gods

Nemesis is the messenger of Justice, the Goddess of Retribution or Divine Vengeance. In Greek society, if someone in their family is killed, it is their duty to kill whoever killed their relatives. Who is responsible for that? Nike, the Goddess of Victory; whenever there is a victor in battle, who is their representative? Some of the most important positions that defined Greek society were represented by female deities, the wheat, the arts, battle and victory, their justice system, love and beauty, the homelife.

In Greek society, Athens to be specific, the women were “viewed as a burden to her husband, and her father must contribute a dowry for her support” (Pomeroy 84). In Sparta, on the other hand, because they lacked

precious metals, slaves, or other movable wealth, there would be little, except land and horses, to constitute a substantial and useful dowry. A theory about dowry supports the view that there was a time when dowries did not exist in Sparta. Dowries are found principally in parts of the Mediterranean where men cultivate land with a plow and own the instruments and beasts needed for production. In such societies, women’s work was undervalued (Pomeroy 83-84)1.

The Spartans were the opposite of Athens, so they are the exception. Their women had more rights than the rest of the Greek city-states, so Sparta shall be left out of the picture here on. Athens is where the concentration shall be kept from here on after.

Everything was decided for women in Athens; how they acted, what work they did, who they married, etc. “As a logical consequence of the woman’s duty to Athens, marriage and motherhood were considered the primary goals of every female citizen” (Pomeroy 62)2.

The birth of a child, especially a son, was considered a fulfillment of the goal of the marriage. A girl was ideally first married at fourteen to a man of about thirty. Since marriage was the preferable condition for women, and men were protective of their women, a dying husband, like a divorcing husband, might arrange a future marriage for his wife (Pomeroy 64)2.

In the late fifth century B.C., the need for safety behind city walls lead many Athenians to turn to urban living, abandoning farming. The effect of urbanization upon women was to have their activities moved indoors, which made their labor less visible; hence less valued (Pomeroy 71). Yet their Goddesses, Athena for her wisdom especially, was highly valued. Why did they build the Parthenon for the Goddess Athena, and then repress their women?

Parthenon/ Παρθενών

Parthenon/ Παρθενών

Women were not allowed to participate in male activities, such as politics, intellectual and military training, athletics, and the sort of business approved for gentlemen. “Direct participation in the affairs of government–including holding public office, voting, and serving as jurors and as soldiers– was possible only for male citizens” (Pomeroy 74)2. Women stayed at home and sometimes took on the same tasks as slaves, which made the work they did seem even less valued (Pomeroy 71)2 than it already was. If ever there was a crisis, it was not the women the men chose to save, but their children and slaves (Pomeroy 71)2.

Concerning women and whether or not they should be allowed to work, Xenophon reports a conversation between Socrates and Aristarchus. Aristarchus was complaining about the fact fourteen of his female relatives had moved into his home for protection and he could not afford to maintain them. Socrates suggested putting them to work, but Aristarchus found it to be demeaning. Socrates is able to convince Aristarchus otherwise and says that women themselves would be happier if employed productively (Pomeroy 71)2. The only time women were appreciated was when the men of the household came to realize a woman’s skill for “spinning and weaving–skills they had learned as part of a gentlewoman’s education, in order to be able to supervise the slaves” (Pomeroy 71-72)2 could also be used to make a profit.


Athenian slave women

Slave women and the women of the household did similar activities, but the one exclusively for them was the transportation of water by balancing pitchers on their heads. “Because fetching water involved social mingling, gossip at the fountain, and possible flirtation, slaves girls were usually sent on this errand,” which might lead one to assume it was the slave women who had a little more fun than the women of the household. Women weren’t thought to be intelligent either. Women did not go to the market because “the feeling of purchase or exchange was a financial transaction too complex for women” (Pomeroy 72)2.

Those are the upper class women, of course. The “poorer women, even citizens, went out to work, most of them pursuing occupations that were an extension of women’s work in the home. Women were employed as washerwomen, as woolworkers, and in other clothing industries. Women were also employed as nurses of children and midwives” (Pomeroy 73)2. Religion is a more interesting topic, of course.

Athena Polias was the patron goddess of Athens, and the priestess of Athena Polias was a person of great importance and some influence” (Pomeroy 75)2. A goddess is of importance. A woman is of importance. Patron means “a person whose support or protection is solicited or acknowledged by the dedication of a book or other work” (dictionary.com) In this case, our patron goddess received a priestess. If there is a patron goddess and a priestess to go along with it, making that one woman of high importance, doesn’t that mean women are important? Why don’t the rest of the women get the same treatment?

Now, if a woman IS important, they aren’t treated any better than those of housewives. They’re treated worse. Clytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, killed her husband because of hysteria, and was ultimately killed in retaliation by her son Orestes. She is “one of the most unforgettable women in Greek mythology. She is complex and controversial, viewed most often as a cold-blooded murderess and unfaithful wife to one of the glorious heroes of the great Trojan War.” (Bell 133) Even though she had committed the sin of killing her husband, she had “reason” to do so. “Judging from her reaction to the sacrifice of Iphigeneia, she was fiercely devoted to her children. She had ample motives for participating in the murder of Agamemnon. He had sacrificed their daughter and then at the end of the war brought home with him a Trojan princess who had borne him two children.” (Bell 135) Orestes killed Clytemnestra and, as a consequence called upon the Furies, three important goddesses in charge of driving those who killed their relatives made.

What’s interesting about this entire affair is, of course, Orestes, eventually, gets off the hook. The God Apollo comes to his aid when Orestes stands on trial. Apollo says that Clytemnestra was merely a vessel and not really a relative. He proves his point by pointing out that Athena was born from a man herself. The Goddess Athena has, by this point, been effeminized and chooses to take Orestes’ side, freeing Orestes from the Furies. But the thing that ultimately killed Clytemnestra was her own “vanity and self-esteem.” (Bell 136) The “important” women are used in legends and myths to show male dominance in issues, especially by having a female Goddess be sexist against her own gender, which is probably what they use as an excuse to treat their women the way they do, but Athena is still a woman, and the Greek men are still hypocrites for worshiping her, and the rest of the goddesses, in the first place.


The Goddess Athena

What is possibly the most hypocritical thing the Athenians could have done is to name their city-state after a goddess, Athena to be exact. The story goes the Goddess Athena and the sea God Poseidon gave a gift to the people of Athens. Athena gave the people an olive tree while Poseidon gave the people a salt water spring. The people chose the olive tree because it could not only provide food, but the wood could also provide shelter. Upon taking Athena’s gift, they named their city-state after her, Athens. Athena gets a temple, but what do the women of the city-state get. Nothing but a foot in their rear ends.

Works Cited

Bell, Robert E. Women of Classical Mythology: a Biographical Dictionary. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 1991. Print.

Kerényi, Karl. The Gods of the Greeks. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1979. Print.

Kluth, Frederick John “A List of Greek Gods and Goddesses” RWAAG <http://www.fjkluth.com/glist.html&gt;

Linné, Carl von “Nemesis” Greek Mythology Link <http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Nemesis.html&gt;

“The Muses were nine goddesses presiding over the arts and the sciences” Greek-Gods.info <http://www.greek-gods.info/ancient-greek-gods/muses/&gt;

“The Olympians” Crystalinks.com <http://www.crystalinks.com/hestia.html&gt;

Pomeroy, Sarah B. Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity. New York: Schocken, 1975, 1995. Print. (2)

Pomeroy, Sarah B. Spartan Women. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. Print. (1)

“The Twelve Olympian Gods and Goddesses of Greek Mythology” About.com: Greece Travel <http://gogreece.about.com/cs/mythology/a/olympiangods.htm&gt;