My plan was to watch this and go to bed. After it was over, I laid down and started reading. I checked out a People’s History of the United States today. I’m on page 15.
This movie plus this book do not a seamless transition into sleep mode make–at least not for me.
I remember being very bitter two years ago when I took Art History II and Western Civilization. My mother was also very sick.
When I look back on Summer ’07, I don’t remember how I felt about my mother being as ill as she was (because I didn’t let myself think about it).
I remember the fights my girlfriend and I had.
I remember feeling very bitter.
I remember having two amazing professors at the same time. I didn’t care that it was summer and classes were two hours long. I didn’t care that Art History was on MW 8am-10am. I didn’t care that Western Civ was on TTH 5:45pm-7:45pm. I didn’t care that when I wasn’t in class I was working or doing homework.
I loved so much what I was learning. I loved my professors so much for what they were teaching me.
I loved going to get ice cream with both of them one day after class; the same day my girlfriend sat in on my Art History class.
I loved running into Isabella at the museum the day I went to do research for an upcoming essay. I loved going to lunch with her afterwards and staying until 5pm.
I was learning so much about the world.
I remember being very bitter.
Isabella offered us extra credit points to go see Sicko and write an opinion essay of it. I, of course, saw it.
My mother was very sick.
At more than one point during the movie, I was in tears. I could not separate everything that was happening to me, to my mother, from the rest of the world – in history or the present.
I saw ignorance in every 100lb woman with a chihuahua on her lap that drove up to the drive-thru window talking on her ridiculously pink Razr phone–never once saying a word or even acknowledging me–who blathered insipid drivel while waiting for her stupid trendy drink (probably with sugar-free vanilla and skim milk).
I hated every ignorant customer.
And for those of you who’ve never had the privilege of dealing with customers they are all, for the most part, ignorant.
I saw ignorance in everyone around me.
In the doctors who were going to release my mother at the ER after I had called an ambulance to take her there. Luckily, after having just seen Sicko, I was in no mood to keep my opinion to myself, and they admitted her. She was in the hospital for three weeks. While there, we learned she did not have lupus (quoting Dr. Gregory House: It’s never lupus).
After summer classes were over, and my girlfriend went back to school, and my mother came home, and I took on a (very short lived) second job… I remember being very, very depressed.
And depressed I stayed for some time after that, until my girlfriend asked if I was okay. I, not knowing how I felt, of course said that I was okay. Why wouldn’t I have been? Nothing bad had happened to me, why shouldn’t I be okay?
She hit the nail on the head.
Which is why now, at a later hour than I would have liked, am going to bed instead of reading A People’s History of the United States. Why, reading like this will of course make anyone depressed. However, that does not mean you should not read it. It’s the history of the good ol’ Yew Ess of Aye.
Where’s my passport?
A representative of New Video recently contacted me about two new documentaries:
1. Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky In Our Times
Noam Chomsky’s voice may be controversial, but his incisive arguments, based on decades of research and analysis, deserve to be heard and considered. “Power and Terror” presents the latest in Chomsky’s thinking, through interviews and public talks given in the Spring of 2002. Chomsky places the terrorist’s attacks of 9/11 in the context of American foreign intervention through the post war decades — in Vietnam, Central America, the Middle East and elsewhere.
2. Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train
In these turbulent times, Howard Zinn is inspiring a new generation. This acclaimed film looks at the amazing life of the renowned historian, activist and author of the landmarked book A People’s History of the United States, an eyeopening history from the people of the disenfranchised. Following his early days as a shipyard labor organizer and bombardier in World War II, Zinn became an academic rebel and leader of civil disobedience in a time of institutionalized racism and war. His influential writings shine light on and bring voice to factory workers, immigrant laborers, African Americans, Native Americans and the working poor. Featuring rare archival materials with Zinn and colleagues such as Chomsky, “You Can’t Be Neutral” captures the essence of this extraordinary man who has been a catalyst for progressive change for more than 60 years. Narrated by Matt Damon; featuring music from Pearl Jam, Woody Guthrie & Billy Bragg.
The representative mentioned a limited number of free downloads available if I were interested in setting up a contest of sorts for my readers.
If these movies strike your fancy (which I shouold hope that they do), stay tuned for a possible upcoming contest.
For everything there is a time; and with every thing comes its own time frame. With yourself, you are allowed patience, for you are on nobody’s time table but your own.
I think the easiest ticket to ensure that you will be remembered is to come up with a quote. Of course, it needs to be official, i.e. published in something somewhere: an interview, a journal article you wrote for whatever your specialized area of study is, etc. etc. etc.
[There are two types of history: pre-history (before language and the written word; think Cro Mangnon Men and Neanderthals) and written history (think Egyptians & the Rosetta stone; Hummurabi’s Law Code.)]
There is a simpler way to be remembered for something you said, too, and that’s to talk.
Talk to the people you’re closest to; always try to give the best advice you can — that is when they are seeking advice; otherwise, just shut up and listen).
We tend to give advice based on what we know; based on our own, personal trial and error processes.
It is imperative that we never forget that
- what works for us may not work for the next person
- and that when the people around you come to you, they are not always seeking advice/guidance,
- more times than not, they just want their thoughts and feelings to be heard
Just shut up and listen.
Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.
The first duty of love is to listen
And he goes through life, his mouth open, and his mind closed.
“Difficulties increase the nearer we get to our goals.”
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.”
“Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
“In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotims, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.”
I’m sure most of you are unsure what exactly a fractal is. And if you are, that’s okay, because I was too the first time I heard the term.
A very good, very smart, friend of mine mentioned it one day in humorous passing. Since the story he was telling was so funny, I laughed along, and made a mental note to look up ‘fractal’ when we were through.
To my disappointment, the dictionary failed to elucidate a clear meaning; however the images I found expounded more meaning than referential words ever could.
Since today is Valentine’s Day, I would like to
- shed light onto what fractals really are, and
- give a concise history of the holiday–all the way to its foremost, ancient roots
What are fractals, really?
“Fractals are the Reality within which our own physical reality has its existence and expands.”
OK. What is a “thought fractal?”
“I no longer accept that there are ‘accidents’ or ‘coincidences’. I understand now that there are only synchronicities–intersections of harmonic energies attracted one to the other by their common resonances. We attract to ourselves specific energies depending upon what thoughts we ‘send out’ into the Universe — those thoughts which carry our Intent and into which we invest our emotion/desire manifest more rapidly for us than ‘half-baked’ or poorly-formed ones.
Thoughts are ‘things’ that integrally maintain their unique identities within electromagnetic realities as surely as our physical selves do. When we hold a clearly focused thought and attach strong emotion to it, we impel it into the Greater Reality where it ‘takes on a life of its own’. Such a thought attracts to itself sub-quantum particles whose task it is to augment the energies of the thought, to ‘evaluate’ and ‘sort’ the thought according to its impetus/emotional accelerator, and to help manifest whatever Intent it carries. The more precisely and clearly that we embed our desire within a thought (and our degree of ability to do so depends upon how completely we have our Will under our conscious control), the ‘faster’ we’ll manifest our ‘heart’s desire’.”
This site gives beautiful semantic meaning to fractals – Fractals: The Infinite Shapes of Thought.
And no, dear readers, I am not just using that site as reference because it corresponds crazily similar to the name of my blog.
Coincidentally, I typed “thought fractals” into Google only to see if my blog was showing up in search engines; it struck me how many hits came back with sites containing either the exact phrase or strikingly similar wording.
Here I thought the blog name I conjured was so singularly creative, hah.
It’s okay–I still think it is. I didn’t know other people held similar beliefs on the nature of thoughts. At the time, I was wholly and purely creative.
It just goes to show that anything you will ever think or ever do as already been thought of and done before.
Which takes us to today’s history lesson–
I think the most commonly heard “history” (aka: legend) is that of St. Valentine. But, refresh my memory: Who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday?
The history of Valentine’s Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘christianize’ celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa.
In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages. Written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400, because
- not many people were literate and
- people were terrified to practice anything that wasn’t sanctioned by the church. At that time, lords, manors, rulers, kings, monarchs, et. al were constantly changing, and along with them, so were “rules” about what was holy–legally allowed; not punishable by death–and what was blasphemous–what the “state” would kill them for.
Further reading for cynosure clarification:
- Cupid–this was the Roman God of erotic love and beauty.
- Eros–this is the Greek representation of love, lust and intercourse.
The Greeks came first; Eros came before Cupid.
The Romans came to power after the Greek Empire fell following the death of Alexander.
Cupid did not live on Mt. Olympus, as that was the kingdom of Greek Gods.
Eros was not a Greek God. He was the natural representation of the mysterious, aka love.