Friday Fun Facts- Druids- Tree Lovers?

October 2, 2015

For me, this season conjures up the idea of mystical beings, times forgotten, and magical realms. Call me fanciful, but as the weather cools and dead leaves swirl close to the ground, I truly feel there’s something…more.

Could the ancient priests called Druids have some of the answers? These men carried out religious rituals in The Iron Age in Britain and France, but left no written account of their beliefs and practices. We know of their existence left in accounts by conquering Romans and Greeks. There were a few stories told by actors and artists scattered throughout the land. Our main body of knowledge of this group can be found in Irish medieval writers’ works.druids_stonehenge

  1. Druids may be female or male.
  2. Some Druids recite or sing prayers in Gaelic or other Celtic languages.
  3. By 1933, there were 1.5 million adherents. This number has dwindled.
  4. Druids may practice alone or in a Grove, the term used for a congregation.
  5. The ideal ritual space will have a tree, water of some sort, and a fire. Sometimes a ring of rocks is used, but a ring of trees is very sacred! Occasionally, one very old large tree will be used as an especially sacred area.
  6. They will, most likely, wear a ritual robe, Celtic garb or a kilt when worshiping.tumblr_static_crqmihcvnh4ccwwk0os48cw84
  7. Greek and Roman writers wrote about the Druids practicing human sacrifices. It seemed they were mostly criminals, but innocents were also used. Mass graves have been found in a ritual context at different archaeological sites.
  8. The first known text that describes the druids is Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico, book VI, written in the 50s or 40s BCE.
  9. Most Druids have a profound respect for and a great love of the law, telling the truth, artistic endeavors, history and justice for all.
  10. they have no dietary restrictions unless they are under a geas, a magical prohibition.druids

Friday Fun Facts- It’s Fall Y’all

September 25, 2015

I love this time of year. Leaves begin to change, there’s a bit less humidity here in the South, pumpkins are everywhere and the smell of yummy baking permeates my house! There just might be a few things you didn’t know about this time of year. Care to find out?fallishere-1

  • Autumn has been called the “hectic beauty of death”.
  • The term “equinox” if from Latin meaning “equal night”. This is because on day it officially becomes fall, there are 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of night.
  • Scientific research has shown that during cooler months men are more likely to snuggle with their loves to watch romantic comedies than any other time of the year. Apparently, feeling chilly triggers the desire to be warm with others.
  • Levels of testosterone in men and women are higher in the fall. This could be a throwback to ancient mating rituals?CRW_5632
  • Autumn babies- those born between September and November- are more likely to live to be 100 than those born any other time of the year. Yay me!
  • Males are sexually primed by food which made harvest time and ideal time to find a mate and reproduce. A mix of pumpkin pie and donuts increase penile flow by 20%. Pumpkin pie and lavender increase it by 40%. What I want to know is how in the world do they study this?!?!?!
  • People who live on or near the equator never experience fall.1223689926Ah14Kb
  • Americans typically use the term “fall” while the British use “autumn”. Both terms showed up in the 16th century, but before that, it was called “harvest”.
  • Facebook also notes changes during this time. It seems more people change their status to “in a relationship” or “engaged” during this time. Summer shows a big spike in the “single” status because breakups are way more common then.119678432011gl3u

 

 

 


Friday Fun Facts- Klu Klux Klan

April 10, 2015

RebelBrigadeKnightsoftheKuKluxKlanatthestartofacrosslightingceremonyMartinsvilleVirginiaUSAJuly22011_zpsb6a0bc5e

I’m not sure I would classify these facts as “fun”, but they were interesting to learn. Since I grew up overseas, I had a limited knowledge of this group. My research for this blog post has led me to some interesting places with even more interesting people. Unfortunately, this is not just a historical lesson because the KKK is still alive and well in 41 states and has between 5-8000 members. They call themselves the “Invisible Empire” and are still intolerant of many things. Articles I read state that some of the groups shy away from cross burnings and violence these days, but that element is still evident in many of the chapters. Sigh.

While it’s not a happy topic, it may be a great topic to add to a book. These facts could apply to historicals as well as contemporary novels.

Here goes:

– Dan Burros who was a member of both the American Nazi Party and the KKK committed suicide after he learned his Jewish background was made public. A New York Times article lambasted him as a hypocrite since his heritage was not pure and he spouted such hate. The dilemma then was whether to classify it as suicide or a hate crime.

– Timing is everything. In 1957, a college in Alabama had recently integrated and was in the middle of finals week. The KKK set up a cross burning on campus but didn’t take into account all the students would be in the dorms studying. The kids took up bats, golf clubs and whatever else they had on hand as a makeshift weapon and forced the KKK to retreat!

– The KKK hates Westboro Baptist Church. What?? Don’t they have similar hate points? Why yes they do, except for how they feel about the military. On Memorial Day 2011, members of the Westboro church showed up at a military funeral spouting “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and members of the KKK showed up handing out American flags. Westboro denounced them for having no moral authority because they were racist and the KKK denounced the church group by saying many soldiers had died for their right to protest. Another big sigh.KKK2

– KKK members claim that cross burnings are symbols of their “Christian” faith. How did it get started? Believe it, or not, Sir Walter Scott began the tradition with his poem The Lady of the Lake which refers to an old Scottish tradition of burning a cross to call a meeting of the clans. This was most popular in the South probably because there was such a large number of people of Scotch- Irish descent. Sir Walter Scott’s vivid imagery was especially appealing to the novelist Thomas Dixon, who was an avid supporter of the KKK. He added a cross burning scene in his pro-Klan novel, The Clansman, even though that had never been done. In 1905, the novel was turned into the movie, The Birth of a Nation, and it inspired the founder of the second Klan to kick off the 1915 revival with the first cross burning service in KKK history.

– Unity barbecues and some casual gatherings are called Klonvocations.

– Literary figures played into creating a part of the Klan’s history with cross burnings, it also had a hand in humiliating it. Superman often fought villains such as Lex Luther, Brainiac and Doomsday. Did you know he also fought the KKK in a serial called Clan of the Fiery Cross? Instead of the typical bad guys as the enemy of the Man of Steel, this time he battled racism in 1946. The real-life man behind the story infiltrated the KKK and tried to take all he learned to the cops. Either they were too afraid or were a part of the KKK, but nothing was done with his information. So he took it to the producers of the radio show. When the facts of this particular group kept getting played on national radio, the group switched codes etc., but to no avail. They never did figure out how the show knew their secrets!

– We cherish our rights here in America, but those rights extend to people we disagree with as well. The KKK applied, in 1994, to adopt a section of highway in Missouri. The state didn’t want the KKK’s sign on their highways so they turned them down. The KKK sued and won. After the large sign announcing the KKK adopted that stretch of highway went up, the state congress renamed that highway as “Rosa Parks Highway” after the famous civil rights activist. The KKK eventually lost interest in keeping that stretch of road clean and stopped picking up the trash. This allowed the state to take down the sign.

 

 

.

 


Friday Fun Facts- Slip Into My Dreams

October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Since this is the time of dreams…and nightmares, I thought we’d take a look at things you may not know about when you sleep.Dreams18-1

– The people in your dreams are people you’ve actually seen. Our brains can do some amazing things, but it can’t create the image of people. So it calls on the huge cast of characters you’ve bumped into throughout your life to invent the people of your dreams.

– Every single one of us dreams. (Unless you have an EXTREME psychological disorder.) A study was done where each subject was woken up at the beginning of each dream, but allowed to sleep for a full 8 hours. the next day they were cranky, couldn’t concentrate, some had hallucinations and even had signs of psychosis after 3 days!

– You might be able to upload your dreams to YouTube soon.What?!?! The science can be found at U.C. Berkeley- go look it up.

– I don’t think you’ll be shocked by this. The origin of the term “pipe dream” was coined to describe the ideas people came up with while they smoked opium.

– “lucid dreaming” is a technique where you can control your dreams. This is most often used to turn nightmares into something better.

– When you dream, your body is paralyzed.

– Sex. Females dream about it as often as males. They may think about it more while awake, but we catch up at night. 🙂

– Salvador Dali would force himself awake just as he had a dream in order to capture the surreal moments. He’d sit in a chair with a metal plate on the floor. He’d hold a spoon over the plate and relaxed. As he’d drop off to sleep, he’d drop the spoon and the noise would awaken him to paint.

 

Sweet dreams tonight! Don’t let the goblins get you.

 

 


Link Of The Week- It’s A Good Day To Die

September 16, 2014

Friday Fun Facts spawned today’s Link Of The Week! After all those weird medical tidbits, I was inspired to find really unique ways to kill people. Mwahahahaha! Seriously, you have to read this list to believe it…may it inspire your writing!

 

Coffins

 

http://list25.com/25-unusual-deaths-that-will-leave-you-scratching-your-head/


Friday Fun Facts- Crazy Medical Treatments

September 12, 2014

Modern medicine has come a long way since the early days of leeching and using hacksaws. It’s been an interesting journey with some crazy ideas popping up from time to time. You won’t believe some of the items I’ve uncovered!

-Are you a few pounds overweight? No problem! Ingest a tapeworm and fat will melt away. You can eat and eat and eat, but never gain a pound. The only problem with this idea was that it could also cause malnutrition, diarrhea, vomiting, and anemia. Oops. This diet was very popular among doctors in the early 1900s.

-A sure fire way to help your sore throat was to make a home made recipe which included album gracecum (dried dog poop). What were these people thinking?

– Coca Cola was created as a health drink. In fact, at one point it contained cocaine to ease symptoms. (It was taken out in 1903.) Pharmacies even had a soda dispenser installed in the 1940s.

– Doctors used to encourage their patients to smoke cigarettes! A popular treatment for asthma was to inhale the fumes from burning tobacco. Can you believe this nonsense?

– Starting in 1898 Bayer used to manufacture heroin as a cure for common ailments such as coughs, colds, and pain.

– In the 1830s, Dr. Archibald Miles created a pill made from tomato extract called Dr. Miles Compound. This as supposed to help diarrhea and indigestion. It was a hoax…………what a shock.

– They used to promote the idea of preparing radioactive water at home to cure gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and sinus problems. Seriously?

– In medieval times, they used to grind up mummies into a powder and give it to patients to help cure headaches and stomach ulcers. Mummy powder was highly sought after!

– In the 1950s, they used shark cartilage to treat cancer.

– From the late 1800s to the 1930s, a compound was created to help mothers soothe their babies during teething. What was in it? Alcohol and morphine sulfate.

The next time you go to the doctor, thank your lucky stars you are in the era of modern medicine!


Friday Fun Facts- I Want Pancakes!

September 5, 2014

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day and it doesn’t have to be served in the A.M. for me to eat it. Our evening meal sometimes consists of pancakes, eggs and bacon. Yum!

There’s quite a history pinned to this simplest of cakes.

You ready?

Here goes!karameltelur

– What’s in a name? Apparently not much because this delicious tidbit goes by many. Pancakes, johnnycakes, flapjacks, crepes, griddle cakes, Palatschinken, nalesniki, hotcakes, blini and dosa are just a very few of the names known for this batter.

– This food type appears all over the world and we may never know who the cook was or the culture where it began.

– It does show up in early Christian tradition as a food served on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) which is the day before Ash Wednesday. This starts the season of Lent where folks wern’t supposed to use any fats or oils in their cooking. It’s thought that they fried up these cakes to use up extra oil so it wouldn’t spoil and be thrown away.

– First reference to pancakes in English is in a cookbook from the 1430s.

– The Narragansett tribe made a soft batter called a nokehick. Other cornmeal cakes were called Indian Cakes by 1607.

– American pancakes are traditionally served with butter and syrup. This may have its origins in the crepes Suzette from France. The story goes that it was served by Monsieur Joseph in his restaurant in Paris. His maitre d’hotel brought the idea to America in the 1930s.crepesuzettes

 

Think I’m hungry. Pancake, anyone?