Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'Alternate' ways

What does 'Alternate' mean to you? I contemplated this on my way to work today. It must mean many different things to different people. I did some research.
According to the Online Dictionary it means:

al·ter·nate /v.
1. to interchange repeatedly and regularly with one another in time or place; rotate (usually fol. by with): Day alternates with night.
2. to change back and forth between conditions, states, actions, etc.: He alternates between hope and despair.
3. to take turns: My sister and I alternated in doing the dishes.
4. Electricity. to reverse direction or sign periodically.
5. Linguistics. to occur as a variant in alternation with another form.

I tend to go for #3, esp when on 70E heading for the ramp onto the beltway. See there are two lanes, which MUST become one. This happens all over the US, and usually very smoothly. Here is the USA, we understand the taking turns concept. There is even a sign at this interchange to remind drivers "Alternate Right of Way."

Why is it that here in Baltimore, that is such an alien concept? We obviously have different definitions of 'Alternate.' If I was to go by the drivers today, it means gunning your engine to keep your car 2 inches from the bumper of the car in front, and ignoring the 18 wheeler beside you. It means doggedly refusing to give way even when there are two cars side by side in one lane, on a narrow bridge, and going downhill. It must mean honk your horn and flip the bird to anyone and everyone around you. (Don't worry Mr. Mustang convertible, the Reverend you flipped off will still pray for you.)

Perhaps they believe the sign is referring to Alternate Music? Or Alternate Lifestyle? Maybe it's like Alternate Jurors, only called up if someone else can't serve. Maybe they think it's actually a 'green' sign urging them to use Alternate Transportation, or Alternate Routes? If they keep it up they will be finding Alternate Routes as they go flying over the side of the bridge onto the beltway.

Just so all of you know, (those who were driving on 70E this morning) that sign means we have to TAKE TURNS! That means first the car on one side, they the other goes. Left, then right, then left, and so forth. Why don't we all try that tomorrow?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic fun

In honor of the current Olympics, here are some moments of fun from the past courtesy of Paul Hunt.

Balance beam

Floor routine

Uneven Bars

I think this is hilarious, and shows incredible talent.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Did you know there were women knights???

Neither did I! Found this info here

Here is part of the article:

Women Knights in the Middle Ages

Were there women knights in the Middle Ages? Initially I thought not, but further research yielded surprising answers. There were two ways anyone could be a knight: by holding land under a knight's fee, or by being made a knight or inducted into an order of knighthood. There are examples of both cases for women.

Female Orders of Knighthood
The Order of the Hatchet

There is a case of a clearly military order of knighthood for women. It is the order of the Hatchet (orden de la Hacha) in Catalonia. It was founded in 1149 by Raymond Berenger, count of Barcelona, to honor the women who fought for the defense of the town of Tortosa against a Moor attack. The dames admitted to the order received many privileges, including exemption from all taxes, and took precedence over men in public assemblies. I presume the order died out with the original members.

Here is a description taken from Ashmole, The Institution, Laws, and Ceremony of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (1672), Ch. 3, sect. 3:

"The example is of the Noble Women of Tortosa in Aragon, and recorded by Josef Micheli Marquez, who plainly calls them Cavalleros or Knights, or may I not rather say Cavalleras, seeing I observe the words Equitissae and Militissae (formed from the Latin Equites and Milites) heretofore applied to Women, and sometimes used to express Madams or Ladies,though now these Titles are not known.

"Don Raymond, last Earl of Barcellona (who by intermarriage with Petronilla, only Daughter and Heir of King Ramiro the Monk, united that principality to the Kingdom of Aragon) having in the year 1149, gained the City of Tortosa from the Moors, they on the 31 of December following, laid a new Siege to that place, for the recovery of it out of the Earls hands. The Inhabitants being a length reduced to gread streights, desired relief of the Earl, but he, being not in a condition to give them any, they entertained some thoughts of making a surrender. Which the Women hearing of, to prevent the disaster threatning their City, themselves, and Children, put on mens Clothes, and by a resolute sally, forced the Moors to raise the Siege.

"The Earl, finding himself obliged, bythe gallentry of the action, thought fit to make his acknowlegements thereof, by granting them several Privileges and Immunities, and to perpetuate the memory of so signal an attempt, instituted an Order, somewhat like a Military Order, into which were admitted only those Brave Women, deriving the honor to their Descendants, and assigned them for a Dadge, a thing like a Fryars Capouche, sharp at the top, after the form of a Torch, and of a crimson colour, to be worn upon their Head-clothes. He also ordained, that at all publick meetings, the women should have precedence of the Men. That they should be exempted from all Taxes, adn that all the Apparel and Jewels, though of never so great value, left by their dead Husbands, should be their own.

"These Women (saith our Author) having thus aquired this Honor by their personal Valour, carried themselves after the Military Knights of those days." Jeanne Hachette, who fought to repel a Burgundian assault on the town of Beauvais in 1472. The King exempted her from taxes, and ordered that, in an annual procession to commemorate the event, women would have precedence over men. This story seems to be a carbon copy of the Order of the Hatchet story...

In Italy, the Order of the glorious Saint Mary, founded by Loderigo d'Andalo, a nobleman of Bologna in 1233, and approved by pope Alexander IV in 1261, was the first religious order of knighthood to grant the rank of militissa to women. This order was suppressed by Sixtus V in 1558.

In the Low Countries, at the initiative of Catherine Baw in 1441, and 10 years later of Elizabeth, Mary and Isabella of the house of Hornes, orders were founded which were open exclusively to women of noble birth, who received the French title of chevalière or the Latin title of equitissa. In his Glossarium (s.v. militissa), Du Cange notes that still in his day (17th c.), the female canons of the canonical monastery of St. Gertrude in Nivelles (Brabant), after a probation of 3 years, are made knights (militissae) at the altar, by a (male) knight called in for that purpose, who gives them the accolade with a sowrd and pronounces the usual words.

In England, ladies were appointed to the Garter almost from the start. In all, 68 ladies were appointed between 1358 and 1488, including all consorts. Though many were women of royal blood, or wives of knights of the Garter, some women were neither. They wore the garter on the left arm, and some are shown on their tombstones with this arrangement. After 1488, no other appointments are known, although it is said that the Garter was granted to a Neapolitan poetess, Laura Bacio Terricina, by Edward VI. In 1638, a proposal was made to revive the use of robes for the wives of knights in ceremonies, but it came to nought. (See Edmund Fellowes, Knights of the Garter, 1939; and Beltz: Memorials of the Order of the Garter).

Unless otherwise noted, all the above is from the book by H. E. Cardinale, Orders of Knighthood, Awards and the Holy See, 1983. The info on the order of the Hatchet is reproduced elsewhere as well, e.g., a Spanish encyclopedia. I have seen the order of glorious Saint Mary discussed elsewhere, but without mention of women. I have yet to identify the orders of the Hornes family.

Women in the Military Orders

Several established military orders had women who were associated with them, beyond the simple provision of aid. The Teutonic order accepted consorores who assumed the habit of the order and lived under its rule; they undertook menial and hospitaller functions. Later, in the late 12th century, one sees convents dependent on military orders are formed. In the case of the Order of Saint-John (later Malta), they were soeurs hospitalières, and they were the counterparts of the frères prêtres or priest brothers, a quite distinct class from the knights. In England, Buckland was the site of a house of Hospitaller sisters from Henry II's reign to 1540. In Aragon, there were Hospitaller convents in Sigena, San Salvador de Isot, Grisén, Alguaire, headed each by a commendatrix. In France they are found in Beaulieu (near Cahors), Martel and Fieux. The only other military order to have convents by 1300 was the order of Santiago, which had admitted married members since its foundation in 1175. and soon women were admitted and organized into convents of the order (late 12th, early 13th c.). The convents were headed by a commendatrix (in Spanish: commendadora) or prioress. There were a total of six in the late 13th century: Santa Eufenia de Cozuelos in northern Castile, San Spiritu de Salamanca, Santos-o-Vello in Portugal, Destriana near Astorga, San Pedro de la Piedra near Lérida, San Vincente de Junqueres. The order of Calatrava also had a convent in San Felices de los Barrios.
and thirteenth centuries,' Studia Monastica 1987 (vol. 29).

Women Knights

Medieval French had two words, chevaleresse and chevalière, which were used in two ways: one was for the wife of a knight, and this usage goes back to the 14th c. The other was as female knight, or so it seems. Here is a quote from Menestrier, a 17th c. writer on chivalry: "It was not always necessary to be the wife of a knight in order to take this title. Sometimes, when some male fiefs were conceded by special privilege to women, they took the rank of chevaleresse, as one sees plainly in Hemricourt where women who were not wives of knights are called chevaleresses."

I could find no trace of any title bestowed on Jeanne d'Arc. Her family was made noble, with nobility transmissible through women, which was quite unusual. She did ride a horse and dress up in armor, but she did not wield a sword and never killed anyone, but rather grasped her banner pretty tightly.

See also the Nine Worthy Women (les neuf preuses).

Pretty cool.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old)

I got this from an e-mail passed around the world, I have no idea who the author is, so I can't credit them.
I thought this was great though.

A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron,his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker,and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catching my throat as Belker's Family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death,wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.'
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that , so they don't have to stay as long.'

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Virtual reality, I protest!

Ok, you have all seen this commercial:

So what do you see when you watch it? The man and his son are making root beer floats, and uh-oh, the glass falls over and spills. They discuss how many paper towel sheets it will take to clean it up, but the mom confidently tells them it only takes one Bounty sheet to do it. Then SHE cleans it up!

Yep, same thing that happens every day in homes across America, males make a mess, stand around and look at it until the female comes over and cleans it up. This is a travesty! This is perpetuating the belief that males do not have to clean up after themselves! That some female will come along and clean it up for them. I would say we need to fight against this brainwashing but, we all watch the commercial, we all see what happens, and we all think, Hmm..Bounty is better at cleaning up spills.

Instead we should screaming into the heavens "NO! If you make a mess, YOU CLEAN IT UP!" (also we should be boycotting Bounty)

Just so you know, both my husband and my son don't see anything wrong with the commercial, and don't understand why I am so upset.
I am just going to go wipe up the crumbs and spilled ice tea off the kitchen counters now.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Celtic Thunder

Ok, my mom just sent me a link to Celtic Thunder's website, and a you tube video. They are incredibly talented, but this one song is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes. Unfortunately there is a line of text across the video, but the music is unimpaired.

Trash Island floating in the middle of the Pacific??

Have you heard of this? I have seen it on several sources, and thought there were maybe exaggerating, but it's true. Trash, esp styrofoam (which is forever!) and plastic washes off our shores, or floats down our rivers, and into the ocean. Because of the currents in the Pacific, it ends up in the Pacific Gyre, and area in the center roughly the size of the US. It's like a toilet that never flushes, just rotates around in there. So what happens when the Pacific is full, where do we flush it to then? Also I have seen photos of beaches where the sand is mixed with small, multicolored particles of plastic.

Here is a website about a ship that is doing research on the Gyre, and get this, the ship is called Junk, because it is made of trash. Junk Blog The blog also had a nice list of site with more information.

Suddenly I am going to get pretty insistent about recycling.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Business Casual..

Ok, we've all seen it. The person in your office who just doesn't seem to 'get it.' They wear their tube top and low cut jeans with frayed holes to work. Flashing their 'muffin top' and piercings for all the world to see. Or the guy wearing cargo shorts hanging down his butt showing off his dingy boxers, and his faded Coors/Nascar t-shirt.
They are why dress codes get written, and why Casual dress isn't allowed any more.

With a nod to a past employer who once read a list like this in a town hall meeting (to riotous applause from the employees, and stern lectures from the suits later); and also a nod to Jeff Foxworthy, and 'You might be a Redneck..'

You might not be wearing Business casual…

1. If you would normally wear it to a gym, it’s not business casual.
2. If it shows parts of your underwear, it’s not business casual.
3. If it has a beer logo on it, it’s not business casual.
4. It you accessorize it with chains and studs, it’s not business casual.
5. If it has extra holes where there shouldn’t be, it’s not business casual.
6. If the shoes light up when you walk, it’s not business casual.
7. If your outfit includes unicorns, fairies, butterflies, or Tinkerbelle, it’s not business casual.
8. If it has ‘Spandex’ on the label, it’s not business casual.
9. If it is sleeveless because you got hot on your last huntin’ trip and cut the sleeves off with a knife, it’s not business casual.
10. Greasy ball caps with ‘Skoal’ on the front, are not business casual.
11. Hunting boots with a 1 inch rim of mud still on them, are not business casual.
12. If it has camo on it, it’s not business casual.
13. If it shows deep cleavage anywhere, it’s not business casual.
14. If the skirt is so short, you have to 'shave' before wearing it, it’s not business casual.
15. If you get mistaken for a exotic dancer on the way to work, it’s not business casual.
16. If it shows piercings anywhere but your face, it’s not business casual.
17. If you bought it at ‘Hot Topic’ in the mall, it’s not business casual.
18. If it has words printed on it (no matter how clever or funny they are) it’s not business casual.
19. If Michael Jackson once wore it in a video, it’s not business casual.
20. If it looks like you could have a ‘costume malfunction’ wearing it, it’s not business casual.
21. It is has more than 3 colors in the outfit, and any of them are ‘neon,’ it’s not business casual.

More to come..