Archive for the History Category

It’s late, and I sit here sipping chamomile tea…

Posted in History, Theresa Duncan with tags , , , , on October 12, 2010 by Mj Rains

It’s late, and I sit here sipping chamomile tea, nursing a sore throat that I did not order, as I read Theresa Duncan’s blog….I read about the history of electricity….

“In 1750 Benjamin Franklin published a proposal for an experiment to prove that lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a storm that appeared capable of becoming a lightning storm. On May 10, 1752, Thomas Francois d’Alibard of France conducted Franklin’s experiment (using a 40-foot-tall iron rod instead of a kite) and extracted electrical sparks from a cloud.”….

More here….

Post Thanksgiving Note

Posted in History with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2009 by Mj Rains

So I came across this little post-turkey day information.

It seems that the little ditty “Mary had a Little Lamb” was written by a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, in the year 1830. She was inspired by seeing a small girl being followed to school by a pet lamb. Hale also founded the first national women’s magazine, a periodical called Godey’s Ladies Book. Hale worked successfully to get Thanksgiving recognized as a national holiday. Lincoln was the pres who made it so.  Yet another woman who has changed our world, subtly and with grace.

Sarah Josepha Hale



Another note: I’m going with a December Divas idea for posts this month. If you have a favorite historic or recent diva, famous, or hardly known about, like Sarah, that you love and would be of interest let me know. Would love to post about her, with links, of course.  Elegant or off-the-wall divas welcome.  No limits.

A Roman a Clef…

Posted in History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2009 by Mj Rains

marie d'agoult          Ah, now here’s a woman.  The mistress of the composer, Franz Liszt, Marie d’Agoult, wrote under the pen name Daniel Stern, a roman a clef, in French it means ‘a novel with a key’, called Nelida.  A roman a clef is a novel in which the characters and events of the story represent actual people and events, though often exaggerated.  Marie wrote franzliszt2about her life with Franz, which was tainted with numerous infidelities on his part.  Franz was quite a looker in the day, a real Musical “Idol” much like what we have today.  He had his female fans to cope with I’m sure.  Marie bore him two children before finally leaving him.
            Her book has been translated from the French by Lynn Hoggard.  The name “Nelida” is an anagram of “Daniel.”  Bernadette Peters played Marie in the film, Impromptu.

The End in 2012?

Posted in Culture, History with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by Mj Rains


More doom and gloom appears on the History Channel this week which they call Armageddon week, or some bullshit of the sort, and the programs range from the “impending” ice age to Nostradamus’s end of the world predictions as well as the Mayan Calendar stories.  In case you haven’t heard, the Mesoamerican Mayan long count calendar ends on December 21 in the year 2012, just four years from now.  So called experts believe this means that the end of the world will happen then, thus we have been inundated with these stories for years now: end of the world – or not, maybe, possibly, there’s a chance, global warming a sign, or maybe not, new ice age? we’re all going to starve to death? – or not, maybe….there’s a chance……..CUT ME A BREAK.

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I’m getting bored with it all.  The streak of paranoid delusion has yet struck again, and there are people who are worried, praying, and banking their decisions of the future on this “possible end” the Mayan calendar is so sure of. 

mayicon1The “experts” agree something is about to happen.  More harbingers of the coming end time include UFO sightings, crop circle formations, disappearing honey bees, disappearing bat populations, and flocks of migratory birds falling from the sky.  The belief in the world coming to an end is rooted in ancient history – long before biblical history, in ancient Hindu texts and Asiatic acts of astronomic observations as well as the calendar calculations of the ancient Maya.mayicon2  Why does the calendar end on that date? Maybe the Mayan dude (or dudette) who was the calendar keeper developed a case of triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13 (see my phobia blog from yesterday) and decided this 2012 was a good date as any to quit, or maybe he or she died before appointing a new calendar writer to take over, or perhaps, no one wanted the job.  (I know, I know…but  really, is this any more corny than some of the crap people believe?????????)

mayicon3Here are some other dooms-day beliefs that have gone around:

The Shakes believed the world would end in 1792.  

Great disappointment among the followers of William Miller, who fixed the date of doom on March 21, 1843.  Miller’s followers were afire with enthusiasm, but still failed to see Christ descending from the clouds as expected.  Miller decided he had miscalculated and set a new date on October 21 of the same year.  “On the appointed day  of doom frenzied believers donned their robes, tucked an ultimate lunch in the folds, and took their places on housetops, facing east.  On the 22nd they ate their lunch and climbed down.  Miller confesses his disappointment, but insisted ‘the day of the Lord is at the door.'”  The Millerites never gave up hope, and offshoot sects still exist today. 

Oriental sages said a Day of Brahma lasted a thousand years.  On the basis of that scripture it was decided that the world would end in the year 1000 A.D.  With the approach of that year, Europe was seized by an apocalyptic mania.  Towns and farms were abandoned.  Fanatics ran about announcing the Last Days.  In some places, commerce came virtually to a standstill.  The year passed uneventfully enough, but human society suffered greatly from famines and civil disorders caused by the doomsday belief. 

mayicon5It may be in our genetic code, our human natures, to always be thinking that the world will end.  Perhaps we need to feel that all could just stop, with or without us dying in the process, and perhaps some of us do not need to feel this at all.  One thing always rings for me with these prophecies, that the world as we know it will end.  The key words are “as we know it”.   Instead of a literal change on the earth, perhaps a shift in consciousness will be the change, and the result will be make the world quite new, different, and free.  Maybe, just maybe, the end will be a good thing.

sources: Wikipedia and The Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

drawings Link:  printouts of today’s date from the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar

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