Easter Sunday Reads

6a00d83453b09469e20120a970ee3a970b-400wiHappy Easter!

Good morning, I guess this is the time of year when flowers are starting to wake up…birds are singing and leaves are just beginning to emerge.

I have many pretty images and easy stories for you this morning. Let us start with Easter: Why is it so early this year?

Thanks to rules set many centuries ago, Easter egg time is never later than 25 April

Every year we are faced with the same question: will Easter be early or late? When can we expect Easter eggs to appear on supermarket shelves? Earlier and earlier, it would seem.

Although the imagery of Easter may remain the same – luscious chocolate eggs, fragrant hot cross buns and newborn chicks – Easter itself is a moveable celebration, and can fall anywhere between 22 March and 25 April.

But the date in which the faithful celebrate Christ’s resurrection has been surrounded in controversy from early Christian times.

Read the rest of that BBC article, it is a long one.

For a bit more on Medieval Easter Traditions, take a look at this post from a medievalist errant:

Easter is full of odd traditions when you stop to think about them for a moment—why do chocolate eggs come from rabbits, and what do they have to do with the resurrection of Jesus?–and predictably, a good deal of that is just because they’re so old we long since stopped paying attention to where they come from. There are plenty of other places on the internet that will talk about eggs and ancient pre-Christian fertility rites, but I’m just going to focus on the Middle Ages for now because let’s face it, that’s where I live.

Okay, we got the Religious Easter link, the Medieval Easter link and now the Geek Easter link. 

Bunny_Trooper-365x600This fantastic Easter themed Star Wars meets Donnie Darko cosplayer is this week’s awesome-threads-wearing host (via fashionablygeek).

Yes, that is a Death Star Egg…

Now a few vintage Easter postcards, of course you may notice a theme among these:

Vintage-German-Easter-Crdeaster-made-in-germany-carte-postale  easter_postcards_from_1898_to_2007_2easter-no-218imagesnn

What can I say…little people get me every time.  LOL I think that takes care of the midget/dwarf Easter thing.

Here is a sweet animal story for you, Man Finds Baby Squirrel In Bag Of Mulch, Cares For It In Amazing Series Of PHOTOS

Zip, the baby squirrel, is happy, healthy and energetic. But five weeks ago, he was trapped inside a bag of mulch, fighting for his life.

This week, Reddit user Nadtacular posted an amazing series of photos documenting the moment he cut open a bag of mulch and found the tiny squirrel, curled up and nearly hairless.

You need to go to the link to see the pictures of Zip as he grows older…hairy and cute.

Another easy animal tale, but this is a video:

Elephants reunited after 20 years! | Facebook

This is a great story, but a bittersweet sad endearing one,  What ever happened to Shirley and Jenny?

In 2000, The Urban Elephant brought viewers the touching story of Shirley and Jenny, two crippled elephants reunited at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after a 22-year separation. The bonding was immediate, intense and unforgettable between the two former circus elephants. But long after the cameras were turned off, the wondrous moments would continue.

The two were inseparable. Shirley quickly assumed the role of surrogate mother to Jenny, who, though now an adult, had been a baby when they first met at the circus. Their bond was so intense, it would forever change life at the sanctuary. As Carol Buckley, Executive Director of the Sanctuary describes it, ‘that was the love that started our elephant family.’ “After Shirley’s arrival, elephants who had previously been companions and friends were now sisters and aunts in the mother and daughter relationship of Shirley and Jenny. They gave the sanctuary its future,” says Carol. These strong bonds would soon be needed. Sadly, on October 17, 2006, ten years after arriving at the sanctuary, Jenny died.

It is so sad, but…

 

Carol says the bond between Shirley and Jenny was never more touching than in the last days of Jenny's life.
Carol says the bond between Shirley and Jenny was never more touching than in the last days of Jenny’s life.

Carol says the bond between Shirley and Jenny was never more touching than in the last days of Jenny’s life. “The day before she died, Jenny had been down and she wouldn’t get up. Shirley stood by her and insisted that Jenny get up. Jenny just couldn’t get up. Then Jenny stood up but she had to lean on Shirley to keep up. If you looked at Shirley’s face, you could see that she knew that Jenny was dying. Jenny dropped to the ground and Shirley walked into the woods.”

Jenny was on her deathbed when Shirley walked to the woods but she would give Carol and the sanctuary caregivers the privilege of one last incredible glimpse into the world of elephants before she died. “After Shirley left, Jenny started to make this rumbling noise. With each exhalation, she would rumble. It was almost like a singing. As Jenny did this, Bunny and Tara (two sanctuary elephants) came running over. We thought that was it and she was going to die. And then Bunny and Tara started trumpeting and rumbling. At a certain point, I turned to Scott (Director of The Elephant Sanctuary) and I asked him how long this was going on. He said 58 minutes! Well, she continued for another two hours. Jenny lived through the night and was even perky and silly. She passed in the morning. And when she died, she did a vocalization that I had never heard. It was like a trumpet. It was very low and got quieter and quieter. She passed very peacefully without straining or exerting herself. To experience this ritual was amazing. I had never seen anything like it.”

Shirley stayed in the woods until Jenny passed. She didn’t eat for two days. “It was very hard and especially hard on Shirley. Shirley’s whole life was about taking care of baby Jenny. It was like a mom losing her baby.”

Fortunately, Shirley has had some extended family members to lean on during the sad times. Shirley is very close with an elephant named Bunny — the two are like sisters. Bunny arrived to the sanctuary just two months after Shirley and they bonded instantly.

And that is your heartwarming Easter animal links. (Maybe I should say heartbreaking?)

I will end with a couple more vintage Easter Postcards…

gnomes.schmucker-2

That is a funky looking Easter Fairy.

Vintage-Easter-Postcard

When I first saw the card above, I thought the rooster was throwing the little chick towards the swinging bat…

but if you look closely, it is a little acorn.

However, take a look at the card below, yes…that is a few Easter Bunnies dressed as soldiers,

one of them is riding a chicken like a horse, complete with an English saddle BTW…

And yes, they are shooting Easter eggs out of a cannon.

EC 3

Happy Easter Everyone!

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Holding White Men Accountable for Mass Shootings

whitemanThe topic of straight white male privilege and its role in shaping  US culture and policy are extremely important topics for disadvantaged others.  We continually live in a system where we have to basically beg and claw for our rights and fight to maintain what we’ve achieved. Then, there is the inevitable white male blowback that usually comes attached to some form of violence when the privileges of white males are threatened.  You can address this from a variety of viewpoints of out groups.  There is an extremely interesting op-ed up in WAPO by Charlotte Childress and Harriet Childress addressing the overwhelming evidence that spree, mass shooters that target strangers in this country are a white male phenomenon. It is also evident that the anti-gun safety and control agenda is dominated by white men.  What to do about this is difficult and even discussing the situation in policy terms is hard.

Nearly all of these kinds of  mass  shootings in this country in recent years — not just Newtown, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson and Columbine — have been committed by white men and boys. Yet when the National Rifle Association (NRA), led by white men, held a news conference after the Newtown massacre to advise Americans on how to reduce gun violence, its leaders’ opinions were widely discussed.

Unlike other groups, white men are not used to being singled out. So we expect that many of them will protest it is unfair if we talk about them. But our nation must correctly define their contribution to our problem of gun violence if it is to be solved.

When white men try to divert attention from gun control by talking about mental health issues, many people buy into the idea that the United States has a national mental health problem, or flawed systems with which to address those problems, and they think that is what produces mass shootings.

Each of us is programmed from childhood to believe that the top group of our hierarchies — and in the U.S. culture, that’s white men — represents everyone, so it can feel awkward, even ridiculous, when we try to call attention to those people as a distinct group and hold them accountable.

This op-ed will undoubtedly receive a lot of critical attention from the powers-that-be and from the anti-intellectual right.  Already, right wing sites--like Gate Way Pundit–are switching the conversation to inner city violence which is predominately black on black.  This, of course, misses the point of the article which is about specific mass shootings and associated weapons caches that are typical of the prepper movement and right wing militia movements that are predominately white male.  Also, pointing to the Virgina Tech shooter does not also rule out that these shooters are still predominately white male. The article was not about inner city gun violence.  It was about mass shooting of strangers in public places which is a lot like terrorists setting off bombs other places in the world.  It’s not personally aimed at any one.  This is one distinct form of spree shooting.

This societal and cultural programming makes it easy for conservative, white-male-led groups to convince the nation that an a-detail-of-a-drawing-by-robert-crumb_originalorganization led by white men, such as the NRA or the tea party movement, can represent the interests of the entire nation when, in fact, they predominately represent only their own experiences and perspectives.

If life were equitable, white male gun-rights advocates would face some serious questions to assess their degree of credibility and objectivity. We would expect them to explain:

What facets of white male culture create so many mass shootings?

Why are so many white men and boys producing and entertaining themselves with violent video games and other media?

Why do white men buy, sell and manufacture guns for profit; attend gun shows; and demonstrate for unrestricted gun access disproportionately more than people of other ethnicities or races?

Why are white male congressmen leading the fight against gun control?

I think these questions are worth discussing as is the overall topic.  I am sure there will be the usual backlash about poor, downtrodden, discriminated white men.  Also, the NRA will continue to deny that it basically behaves like a wing of the KKK or the America NAZI movement.  Afterall, we do know who still has all the power these days.


Wacky Reads for a Surreal Saturday

easter-bunny reading

Good Morning!!

Things are looking a bit surreal to me this morning. I babysat for my nephews last night and they managed to stay up until almost midnight! I sent them to bed around 10PM and they both claimed they couldn’t get to sleep. So I was up till all hours watching some strange kid show–a cartoon version of those “Survivor” reality TV programs. It was veeerrrrry strange. I slept too late, and when I checked the news headlines, I saw lots more strange stuff.

So What’s the deal with North Korea anyway? Kim Jong Un seems even crazier than his dear old dad. Supposedly North Korea is now “entering ‘state of war’ with” South Korea.

North Korea said on Saturday that it was entering a “state of war” with South Korea, following a call to arms by the country’s young leader Kim Jong Un and days of increasingly belligerent rhetoric from the isolated state.

The North’s official news agency KCNA published the joint statement issued by the government, political parties and other organizations.

“From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering a state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly,” it said.

The statement also warned that if the U.S. and South Korea carried out a pre-emptive attack, the conflict “will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war.”

WTF?!!

According to an unnamed “senior administration official” it’s all a bunch of hooey.

“North Korea is in a mindset of war, but North Korea is not going to war,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer insight into the latest administration thinking on the volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The official said North Korea is doing two things that signal it is not spoiling for war: maintaining continuous and unfettered access to the Kaesong Industrial Complex six miles north of the Demilitarized Zone and by continuing to promote tourists visits to North Korea, even amid its banging of war drums.

“There is pot-banging and chest-thumping, but they have literature attracting tourists that explicitly says pay no attention to all that (public) talk about nuclear war or another kind of war,” the official said.

Kaesong is a hive of business activity and about 200 South Koreans travel there daily. It produces about $2 billion of annual trade and commerce revenue for the North. Many experts consider its fate and status the best signal of North Korea’s hostile intentions.

On Saturday, the North renewed its threat to close the complex, reportedly saying through its state-controlled news agency that references to its ongoing operation as a source of capital “damages our dignity.”

I wonder why this “senior official” felt he/she had to remain anonymous?

Some “analysts” who didn’t feel the need to conceal their identities told NBC News that North Korea[‘s] threats [are] predictable but Kim Jong Un is not.

Read the rest of this entry »


Friday Nite Lite: Easter Fools and Other Cartoons

Good Evening

It is Good Friday, and I have a few cartoons for you about bunnies and eggs…but first, have you seen this story out of Ohio? Ohio Landlord Who Allegedly Whipped Tenant Now Accused Of Paddling Another Man

An Ohio landlord charged with whipping an adult tenant with a belt on his buttocks for falling behind on his rent has been accused of whipping another man with a belt and a paddle, according to court records obtained Friday.

In a lawsuit filed in southwestern Ohio’s Warren County on Tuesday, Mark Neace accuses Ronald Kronenberger of spanking him on four separate occasions while Neace worked as a volunteer in Kronenberger’s grocery store in Waynesville.

The lawsuit, which describes Neace as mentally disabled, says the whippings caused him “severe emotional distress.”

Kronenberger’s home phone number does not accept messages and the number at his grocery store in Waynesville rang busy Friday.

His Dayton attorney, Lawrence Greger, declined to comment

I don’t know, that is a crazy story. There are a lot of wackos out there.

I always am leery when it comes to far out stories around the time of April Fools. I mean bacon flavored mouthwash and bacon flavored condoms? Seriously!

Anyway, this first cartoon goes along with the whipping boy story. GOP Gay Marriage Whipping Boy by Political Cartoonist Daryl Cagle

129398 600 GOP Gay Marriage Whipping Boy cartoons

Cracked by Political Cartoonist Christopher Weyant

129285 600 Cracked cartoons

Groundhog indicted by Political Cartoonist John Cole

129346 600 Groundhog indicted cartoons

Cyprus Banks by Political Cartoonist Adam Zyglis

129453 600 Cyprus Banks cartoons

Klan Klowns by Political Cartoonist Bill Day

129373 600 Klan Klowns cartoons

Qualifications?

Stampeding cattle…

That’s not much of a crime.

…through the Vatican?

Kinky….sign here.

3/24 Luckovich cartoon: No peeking | Mike Luckovich

032413-toon-luckovich-ed

I love that last one.

This is an open thread.


Obama Suggests He’ll Include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid Cuts in 2014 Budget Due in April

obama_cuts

Thanks to Susie Madrak and Joseph Cannon for catching this White House trial balloon–naturally floated right before a long holiday weekend. From The Wall Street Journal:

The White House is strongly considering including limits on entitlement benefits in its fiscal 2014 budget—a proposal it first offered Republicans in December. The move would be aimed in part at keeping alive bipartisan talks on a major budget deal.

Such a proposal could include steps that make many Democrats queasy, such as reductions in future Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payments, but also items resisted by Republicans, such as higher taxes through limits on tax breaks, people close to the White House said.

These measures would come as President Barack Obama continues his courtship of the Senate GOP in an effort to thaw tax-and-spending talks. The White House’s delayed annual budget is scheduled to be released April 10, the same day Mr. Obama plans to dine with a group of Senate Republicans to discuss the budget and other issues….

People close to the White House believe a proposal to slow the growth rate of such benefits would use a variant of the Consumer Price Index to measure inflation. The new inflation indicator would cut overall spending by $130 billion, according to White House projections, and raise $100 billion in tax revenue by slowing the growth of tax brackets. The White House earlier called for an additional $800 billion or so in cuts on top of those resulting from the inflation adjustments.

“We and all of the groups engaged on this are starting to feel it may well be in the budget,” said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president at AARP, an advocacy group for seniors that opposes such changes.

According to the WSJ article, the White House would “insist” that if cuts to safety net programs are included, the entire budget package would have to get an up or down vote. I’m not sure how they would enforce that.

From Susie’s post at Crooks and Liars:

Get your dialing fingers ready. There’s a reason they let this story out on Good Friday, they’re counting on you not noticing or being too busy to do anything about it. The White House switchboard is 202-456-1414, the comments line is 202-456-1111 (be prepared to hold) or you can email here.

ChainedCPI


Friday Reads: It’s Eostre’s Time of Year

eostreIII’m all in for Germanic fertility goddesses carrying eggs and surrounded by hares these days.  Why remove all the fun from a really good pagan holiday?   The more I read about all these old pagan holidays, the more I want to dump the modern versions.  It’s Eostre’s time of year, so go out and celebrate the weekend like a German Fertility Goddess! BTW, my oldest daughter was born on the spring equinox 30 years ago so I have a special love for the season!

The name “Easter” originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede, (672-735 CE.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, the “Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.1 Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: “eastre.”

I know my way back peeps were down with Eostre!  Well, until the Romans headed north and ruined the world for every one!!!

There’s a lot of nastiness still coming from that northward drift of Rome.  However, we’re making some improvements and hopefully, we can see a day in American when we are lot more focused on enfranchisement and appreciating differences.  Jonathan Chait has a great article up at NYM on “The Slow Death of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement”.  It’s about the rise and fall of one of the bigots who looked to stop the marriage equality movement.

Now the movement is in a state of total collapse, with every day seeming to bring new converts to the gay-marriage cause and the opposition losing all of its courage. There is no more telling sign of the opposition’s surrender than the public demoralization of Maggie Gallagher, the leading anti-gay-marriage activist and writer.

The unusual thing about the campaign to ban gay marriage is that it was dying from the moment it was born. Even at its peak, at the very outset, the portents of doom were visible on the horizon — polls showed that young voters strongly supported gay marriage. The best case for Gallagher and her allies appeared to be holding on for years, or even decades, but eventually gay-marriage opponents would age out of the electorate.

Gallagher understood from the beginning that she had to fight that sense of eventual inevitability. Here she is writing a column for National Review in December 2004 whose thesis is captured in its headline, “Not Inevitable.” In the face of clear evidence, Gallagher seized on whatever tiny glimmers of demographic hope she could find. One poll found that while young adults favored gay marriage, teens did not. Was this a statistical blip because of a tiny sample size? Not to Gallagher, who saw it as evidence that “most likely, as more adults voice firm objections to gay marriage, they appear to be having an impact on their children’s attitudes and values.”

Five years later, Gallagher continued to rage against the dying of the light, but less forcefully. A 2009 column phrased her stance as a question rather than an answer (“Is Gay Marriage Inevitable?”). Gallagher was no longer insisting that the youngest voters opposed gay marriage, but was merely hoping that the generation of voters younger than them one day would in a fit of rebellion. “Right now, it’s ‘cool’ to be pro-gay marriage. In ten years, it will be what the old folks think,” she offered hopefully.

Today, the movement has advanced far more rapidly than expected, and it is hard to find much hope at all in Gallagher. She increasingly casts those on her own side as victims. Gallagher insists, in an interview with National Review — she has given up her column — the cause is about “the core civil rights of 7 million Californians to vote on the marriage question.” The rights of a gay couple to marry cannot be allowed to trample on the rights of heterosexuals to vote to ban them from getting married.

The surest sign of resignation is that Gallagher has redirected her focus from stopping gay marriage to preserving the dignity of her reputation and those of her fellow believers. She now presents her cause as a kind of civil rights movement to protect her fellow believers from the stigma of advocating bigotry and discrimination. “I worry when I get an email from a woman who’s a nurse in a hospital,” she told NPR, “who wrote a letter to the editor opposing gay marriage, and finds that she fears her job is in jeopardy.”

This is the second article I’ve seen recently that states that the most put down group in America is the Evangelical Christian and not the “homosexual”.  It looks like White, Republicans and Southern Evangelicals are the most likely group to claim discrimination these days. WTF?

Perceptions of reverse discrimination – so-called because it involves bias against whites, rather than against minorities – are not new, and have been building among American whites for decades. However, the phenomenon is little-studied, in part because some assume such claims by white Americans have little merit.

“We talk about whites who claim reverse discrimination a lot, but we don’t often study them systematically, ” said Stanford sociology Professor Aliya Saperstein. “The issue of reporting racial discrimination is such a loaded one. So, we were curious about who the white people were who would say out loud to a survey interviewer that they had been treated unfairly because of their race. What makes them different?”

Using data from a 2006 survey of American racial and religious diversity, Saperstein, along with fellow sociologist Damon Mayrl, found that the answer varies depending on where you are. In the South, the most likely discrimination reporters are evangelical Christians. Elsewhere, it’s Republicans.

The reasons for this aren’t ideological – the specifics of people’s religious or political beliefs seem to make no difference. Instead, the researchers suggest, Southern evangelical churches and the GOP are acting as regional communities for racially disaffected whites.

The findings show that common stereotypes of white people concerned with “reverse racism” – the stereotype of the “angry white male,” for instance – are not the whole story. While the study shows whites who report racial discrimination are more likely to be recently unemployed and pessimistic about their future, they are also more likely to say they have daily contact with non-whites, and count at least one non-white person among their eight closest friends.

“You have to look beyond the simple view of who’s claiming racial discrimination,” said Mayrl, a professor at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and first author on the study. “There is no singular profile of the white discrimination reporter.”

The paper is currently available online ahead of publication in Social Science Research.

Here’s an example for your shock and awe viewing pleasure.

In the media’s narrative, you would think that homosexuals are the poor souls who have been banished by society like ugly stepchildren and are now rising to overcome incredible odds.

But what about today? Let’s be honest: If you are a conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage then guess what? You are one of the following: An outcast, a bigot, narrow-minded, a “hater” or all of the above. It’s a different type of ridicule but it’s still ridicule.

The tables have been turned. Evangelicals are now the ugly stepchild. In our American culture today, you can easily make the argument that it is harder to stand for biblical truth than it is to be a supporter of gay marriage in today’s society.

Yes, folks that’s why Jesus always hung out with the kewl kids and money lenders at the table and the Beatitudes were all about how blessed the sanctimonious and rich are!!!

eostre eggsOne of the other things that really gets my goat these days is the lack of awareness of just how unequal wealth and incomes are in the US. This definitely creates an America that can’t reach its full potential.

1. $2.13 per hour vs. $3,000,000.00 per hour

Each of the Koch brothers saw his investments grow by  $6 billion in one year, which is three million dollars per hour based on a 40-hour ‘work’ week. They used some of the money to try to  kill renewable energystandards around the country.

Their income portrays them, in a society measured by economic status, as a million times more valuable than the  restaurant server who cheers up our lunch hours while hoping to make enough in tips to pay the bills.

A comparison of top and bottom salaries within large corporations is much less severe, but a lot more common. For CEOs and minimum-wage workers, the  difference is $5,000.00 per hour vs. $7.25 per hour.

2. A single top income could buy housing for every homeless person in the U.S.

On a winter day in 2012  over 633,000 people were homeless in the United States. Based on an annual single room occupancy  (SRO) cost of $558 per month, any ONE of the  ten richest Americans would have enough with his 2012 income to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S.  for the entire year. These ten rich men together made more than our entire  housing budget.

For anyone still believing “they earned it,” it should be noted that  most of the Forbes 400 earnings came from  minimally-taxed, non-job-creating capital gains.

So, BB showed me this great story about another great king of England dug up in an obscure location.  This time it is the grave of Alfred the Great.

(PHGCOM, Public Domain)

WINCHESTER, ENGLAND—Human remains thought to be those of Alfred the Great, who died in A.D. 899, have been exhumed from an unmarked grave at St. Bartholomew’s Church. Alfred, the first “king of the English,” had been buried near Winchester Cathedral, but his body was moved to Hyde Abbey in 1110, which was later destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII. Some think his bones were transferred to St. Bartholomew’s in the eighteenth century. Church officials decided to empty the grave in order to protect the bones from curiosity seekers. Nick Edmonds, a church spokesperson, said that no applications have been made to study the bones at this time. “Of course, that would only be granted if the court were satisfied with everything proposed, both legally and ethically. Whatever happens, the remains will stay in the care and protection of the church and the consistory court until they are reinterred,” he added.

I’m still exciting about the Richard III find.

Okay, one more interesting thing for those of you that find the old ways and the old days interesting.ixchelrabbit The statue on the right is of Ix Chel, the Maya Moon Goddess.  She is also called “Lady Rainbow”.

Ix Chel is the Maya Goddess of the Moon, Water, Weaving and Childbirth. She is shown here in three of Her many aspects. Left to right: Chak Chel, the Old Moon Goddess, called the Midwife of Creation; Ix Chel in Her main form as Mother Goddess and Weaver who set the Universe in motion; and the Young Moon Goddess, shown with Her totem animal the rabbit.

Her story is very interesting. 

Ix Chel (sometimes spelled Ixchel), the moon goddess, is one of the most important ancient Maya deities, connected to fertility, and procreation. Her name has been translated as “Lady Rainbow”, or as “She of the Pale Face”, alluding to the moon’s surface.

Although not directly mentioned in colonial sources, in the codices Ix Chel appears in both old and young variations, to whom Maya religion specialists attribute respectively the names of Goddess O and Goddess I. As an aged woman, Ix Chel is usually portrayed with a serpent headdress, a skirt adorned with crossed bones, and jaguar claws instead of hands. It has been proposed that the two variants correspond to different aspects of the moon: the old Ix Chel is connected with the full moon, and its waning aspect, and the young Ix Chel is connected with the crescent moon. This interpretation is partially supported by some Classic period depictions of the young goddess sitting on a crescent moon, holding a rabbit.

So, that’s a little this and that from me today.  What’s on you reading and blogging list today?


Elephant Birds and Here’s Johnny: Open Thread

File:Aepyornis.jpgGood Evening

My daughter’s cheerleading dinner is tonight, which is a big thing here in Banjoville. It means we get to drive 45 minutes to eat out at a fancy Japanese steak house… you know the ones where they cook on a hot grill right in front of you. So since I am writing this post early in the morning, I hope the links are not repeats from during the day.

First off, this is one huge mutthafukken egg! Watch this video report from BBC:

Giant egg from extinct elephant bird up for auction

A rare giant bird egg is being auctioned at Christie’s auction house in London.

It was laid by an Elephant Bird in Madagascar and is thought to have been discovered by archaeologists in the late 19th or early 20th century.

The species became extinct sometime between the 13th and 17th centuries.

Who will shell out for this pre-17th century fossilised bird egg?

elephant-bird-eggAt 30cm tall and 21cm in diameter, the impressive egg is about 100 times larger than an average chicken egg, and larger than eggs laid by dinosaurs.

Far out innit? Check out the history of the Elephant Bird:

Elephant birds are an extinctfamily of flightless birds found only on the island of Madagascar. They comprised the generaAepyornis and Mullerornis. The reasons for and timings of their extinctions remain unclear, although there are written accounts of elephant bird sightings on the island in the 17th century.

egg

The elephant birds, which were giant ratites native to Madagascar, have been extinct since at least the 17th century. Étienne de Flacourt, a French governor of Madagascar in the 1640s and 1650s, recorded frequent sightings of elephant birds. The famous explorer and traveler Marco Polo also mentions very large birds in his accounts of his journeys to the East during the 12th–13th centuries. These earlier accounts are today believed to describe elephant birds.[2]Aepyornis, believed to have been more than 3 m (10 ft) tall and weighing close to 400 kg (880 lb)[3], was at the time the world’s largest bird. Remains of Aepyornis adults and eggs have been found; in some cases the eggs have a circumference of more than 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and a length up to 34 cm (13 in).[4] The egg volume is about 160 times greater than a chicken egg.[5]

A bird that weighed 880 pounds! Geez!

Click image for more information.

Click image for more information.

Damn, that is one bad ass bird. Can you imagine coming across one of these things in the wild…wow.

And sticking with birds for the moment, True colors of some fossil feathers now in doubt (w/ Video)

Geological processes can affect evidence of the original colors of fossil feathers, according to new research by Yale University scientists, who said some previous reconstructions of fossil bird and dinosaur feather colors may now merit revision. The discovery reveals how the evidence for the colors of feathers—especially melanin-based colors—can be altered during fossilization, and suggests that past reconstructions of the original colors of feathers in some fossil birds and dinosaurs may be flawed.

[…]

In modern birds, black, brown, and some reddish-brown colors are produced by tiny granules of the pigment melanin. These features—called melanosomes—are preserved in many fossil feathers, and their precise size and shape have been used to reconstruct the original colors of fossil feathers. “The problem was that we had no idea whether melanosomes could survive the fossilisation process intact,” said McNamara. “Our experiments show that this is not the case. Our results cast a cautionary light on studies of fossil feather color and suggest that some previous reconstructions of the original plumage colors of fossils may not be accurate.” Using a novel experimental technique pioneered in the group’s recent study on the colors of fossil insects, McNamara’s interdisciplinary team simulated high pressures and temperatures that are found deep under the Earth’s surface. The team used feathers of different colors and from different species, but the geometry of the melanosomes in all feathers changed during the experiments. “This study will lead to better interpretations of the original plumage colors of diverse feathered dinosaurs and fossil birds,” said Briggs. “Fossils that have experienced relatively mild burial conditions will yield the most accurate reconstructions.”

There is a video at that link, you will find it fascinating.

Have you heard about the controversy over in England dealing with Richard III? A lawsuit has been filed….citing human rights issues. It seems strange to me…anyway here is the story: Richard III burial challenged on human rights grounds

The debate over the reburial of English King Richard III is heating up, with a group of the monarch’s supposed descendents challenging the University of Leicester on the plans for re-interment, basing their argument on human rights violations.

University of Leicester archaeologists discovered the bones of the lost monarch under a parking lot in Leicester last year, and they confirmed the king’s identity in February. The U.K. Ministry of Justice issued the university an exhumation certificate before the project began, giving them the right to decide where the king’s remains would be reburied, if found. That certificate hasn’t stopped the eruption of debate over the best spot for the burial.

From the beginning of the long search for Richard’s grave, the University of Leicester officials have stated that the king would be reburied in Leicester Cathedral, not far from his unmarked parking lot grave. But a number of Richard III enthusiasts say they’d rather see the king buried in York, a city where he spent about a third of his life.

Now, the Plantagenet Alliance, a group of about 15 people who claim to be relatives of the dead king, has released its intentions to file a legal challenge against the University of Leicester’s exhumation certificate. The challenge will argue that the Ministry of Justice is in violation of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which affirms the right to respect for family and home life. [Gallery: The Discovery of Richard III]

According to the Alliance, the Ministry of Justice should have consulted the 15 relatives of Richard III before issuing the university a license to rebury the king as they wished. In a statement, the University of Leicester called this argument “particularly odd.”

“There is no obligation to consult living relatives where remains are older than 100 years,” the University of Leicester said.

In addition, Richard died without offspring. Any relatives are thus the descendents of his siblings, a relatively distant tie.

[…]

“Reinterment on the nearest consecrated ground is in keeping with good archaeological practice,” university officials stated. “Richard has lain in the shadow of St. Martin’s Cathedral, Leicester, for over 500 years.”

Seriously, the plans to re-bury Richard have been stated before they even found him under the car park. Seems like the powers that be in York are looking for a way to cash in on the find. This lawsuit has nothing to do with human rights…it has to do with money and more money than anything else.

The last link I have for you tonight is about Stanley Kubrick: Room 237 Review – The Shining Is Much Scarier Than You Thought

Nine different theories of the film are outlined in Room 237. These range from the somewhat obvious, like the uncovering of Native American themes and images, to outright conspiracy theories, like hidden proofs that Kubrick faked the moon landing. Even that crazy idea has some evidence to support it. Danny is wearing an Apollo 11 sweater during key scenes. Also, Kubrick changed the room number from the book. It was 217. He changed it to 237. The moon is 237 hundred thousand miles from the earth. Spooky, right?

That is all I am going to give you, just go read the entire review at the link.

Hope you enjoy your evening, I know that right about now I am sitting across from a sizzling grill, drinking plum wine and eating some damn good food.

This is an open thread.