Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wish you lots of love, health, wealth and happiness in 2013! May all your dreams come true!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

10 Favorite Quotes from the Movie “The Last Holiday"

    (Whispering) This is a secret. When I’m feeling down, tired or plain sick -- I watch the movie “The Last Holiday”. It never fails to put a smile on my face and give a kick in the butt. I love the story, I love the characters; and the movie always manages to pull me back to NOW. The very moment I am in.
Here are my 8 favorite quotes, in no particular order.

1)      You wait and you wait for somethin' big to happen... and then you find out you gon' die.
2)      Next time... we will laugh more, we'll love more; we just won't be so afraid
3) Chef Didier: You and I, we know the secret to life… it's butter.
4)      I would like to be cremated. I spent my whole life in a box. I don't want to be buried in one. Georgia May Byr
5)  “You know how it is. You keep your head down and you hustle and hustle. Then you  look up one day and wonder, “How did I even get here?”
          6) HMO Administrator: The cost of a median cranial debulking surgery is around $340,000. That's without anesthesia You'll want that.
          7) Georgia Byrd: I really wanted to meet you. And I shoulda ate that. I shoulda ate all that stuff. Especially that. Shoulda put my foot in that.
         8) Chief Didier: The start is not nearly as important as the finish.

What would you do if you knew less than a month to live? Would you like to know when you are going to die? What are your “pick-me-up” or inspirational movies? What helps you to relax and get yourself back at a track you’ve chosen for yourself?
This is it for today.
Come back soon and spread the word.
Aglaya Moroz

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday's Mythological Creature of the Day -- Sisyphus

You’ve probably heard an expression “Sisyphean task”, meaning endlessly laborious or futile work. Maybe you even felt like Sisyphus, a character from a Greek myth. You wake up, feed the kids, send them to school, get to the office, work your butt off, run errands, cook dinner for the family, stare at the TV and go to bed. The day passes only to repeat itself tomorrow, again and again. Like Queen Latifah’s character said in the movie “The Last Holiday”: “You know how it is. You keep your head down and you hustle and hustle. Then you look up one day and wonder, “How did I even get here?” If that sounds familiar – Congratulations! Now you can understand how Sisyphus felt after the Greek Gods punished him for trying to outsmart Zeus himself.

After his death and the second and final journey to the Kingdom of the Underworld (more about that later), Sisyphus was made to roll a huge boulder up a steep mountain. Just as he’d reach the top, the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing him to begin again, consigning Sisyphus to an eternity of useless efforts and frustration. That’s why today pointless or interminable activities are sometimes described as Sisyphean.
Have the Gods been unfair to Sisyphus? Was he just an innocent victim? What possibly could he have done to deserve such a horrible fate? Well, innocent he was not…  A deceitful, murderous trickster, who ignored the laws of the people and Gods, yes, he was that, indeed.
See, Sisyphus was a son of Aeolus and Enarete. He was the founder and the first kin of Ephyra, married to a beautiful nymph Merope, who brought him four sons (by the way, some myths also consider Sisyphus to be the birth father of Odysseus, who inherited his father’s wits).Instead of thanking Gods for his fortunes and ruling his lands mercifully, Sisyphus killed travelers and guests, breaking the sacred laws of hospitality. He tattled on Zeus to the river God Asopus of whereabouts of his daughter Aegina, ruining Zeus’s plans for having a good time. He seduced his own niece Tyro, who slayed the children she bore from Sisyphus, once she realized he was planning to use them to dethrone her father. He tricked a Goddess of Death Thanatos and got her chained in the Underworld, and because of that for several years nobody could die.
When Sisyphus finally passed away, and his soul moved to the Underworld like all the other normal souls, somehow he managed to wiggle his way out of the situation. He persuaded Persephone to temporarily free him, so he could punish his wife, who left his dead naked body in the middle of a public square instead of giving him a proper burial (per his own request). Once he got back to the world of living and had a celebratory feast with his wife, happily giggling about the successful implementation of his devious plan, Sisyphus refused to go back and had to be forcibly dragged there by a very irate Hermes.

Check out these resources:
That’s it for today. Come back soon and spread the word!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Friday’s Mythological Creature of the Day – Naglfar

Well,  Naglfar is not a creature, but a weirdly cool transportation vehicle that carries a bunch of dead warriors’ souls to the final battle. Why post about it today? Because I can ;-) And because my imagination went berserk when I read the description of it, so I had to learn more about it and share my findings with you. I also ran across some delightfully creepy images of this legendary ship on the web, like this one by Jeff Fairbourn.

Without further adue, it is my honor to introduce Naglfar -- the morbid ship from the Norse mythology, made entirely of fingernails and toenails of the dead,  sailing through oceans, realms and mists of time. It carries the dead Scandinavian warriors from Hel (yes, that’s the correct spelling), the kingdom of the Underworld, to engage in the final battle before Ragnarök, a.k.a. Armageddon, a.k.a. the End of the World.

“From the east comes Hrym with shield held high;
In giant-wrath does the serpent writhe;
O'er the waves he twists, and the tawny eagle
Gnaws corpses screaming; Naglfar is loose.
O'er the sea from the north there sails a ship
With the people of Hel, at the helm stands Loki;
After the wolf do wild men follow,
And with them the brother of Byleist goes”
from Völuspá, Translation byHenry Adams Bellows

According to some Norse myths, it is the one and only Loki, the trouble-maker god,  who steers and governs the ship to bring the reinforcements of Evil to expedite the end to the world and rule whatever is left of it. C’mon, not again!  Hasn’t he watched “Thor” and “Avengers” recently?........Geeesh!

But according to other myths Naglfar is steered by Hrym, who is actually a jötunn, a Giant from the far-away Ice Lands, sailing with a crew of other jötunns, to confront the gods of Asgard.

In any case, if you see the Nagflar landing ashore near you – run away. That ship is nothin’ but a trouble!

This is it for tonight. Come back soon and spread the word!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday’s Mythological Creature of the Day – Harpy

With one hand covering my eyes, my swirling finger lands on a page in my mythological encyclopedia. Once again I find myself stumbling upon the Greek mythology. Harpies are fascinating creatures -- so strong, so ravenous, that their names are remembered through human history and our language! Even today we refer to nasty, annoying women as being “harpies”. So who are these mortifying creatures?

Harpies are the daughters of a seagod Taumas and an oceanid Elektra. They ravished the Earth even prior to the arrival of the Gods of Olympus (aka Zeus and Company). How many of them existed? Estimations run from two to five, depending on the source. That’s all! Their names are Aello (The Storm Swift), Aellopo (The Stormlike), Podagre (The Fleet-Foot), Ocypete (“The Swift Wing), Celaeno (The Dark)). Some scholars believe some of these names are just aliases for the same two or three harpies.

Typically they are portrayed as ugly-faced creatures, half-female, half-bird, kind of like an ugly mermaid, but with wings...

In mythology they are described as evil kidnappers of kids and lost souls (the name itself “Harpy” comes from the Greek “Snatching”). They swoop down quickly to snatch their victims and disappear just as fast into the wind. The relationship of the harpies to the winds can be proved by one of the myths about the divine nature of Achilles’ stallions. They were special mares, born from Podagre and Zephyros (the Wind of the West).

Another well-known story about harpies is their torture of a king Phineus, who was cursed for a crime he unknownly committed. They were devouring his food, starving him to death.

Harpies were banished by the relatives of Phineus, sons of Boreas (the North Wind). Iris, the rainbow goddess, the messenger of Zeus, prevented Boreas’s sons from murdering Harpies. I wonder why? (TMZ alert: allegedly Iris was their half-sister).

That’s all for today. Come back soon and spread the word!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday’s Mythological Creature of the Day – Gwendolyn, a young Pet Reaper ;-)

Today I’ve made two amazing discoveries. The first one -- Kickstarter, THE most awesome company ever, that helps connecting creative people who need funding for their creative projects with people who have interest in supporting these type of projects financially. Art, Technology, Comics, Publishing, Theater – you name it. I was absolutely blown away! Check it: www.kickstarter.com You can pitch in anything from $1.00 and up to help out.

The second cool thing was clicking on “Gwendolyn and the Underworld” video on the Kickstarter website. WOW!WOW! WOW! I want this book! And I want somebody to make an animated movie based on it. Tim Burton? ;-)
Anyhow, I nominate Gwendolyn, the little Grim Reaper for dead pets for my Mythological Creature of the Day! ;-)

Here is more art from the storybook:
This is the official description of the project:
“Beneath cemetery twigs and barbing brambles, down through the rottens and the coffins and the roots, is the winding upside down Underworld…
Gwendolyn and the Underworld is an illustrated storybook about a young Pet Reaper (think Grim Reaper + dead pets) who ventures to solve the mystery behind her Overworld roots. She uncovers a rotten conspiracy with her corpulent corpse aunt, a sidekick Peacodgehog, an army of Skellies, and slew of part-this and part-that creatures.”

Who are these guys? (I have no idea and no affiliation with them, btw.)

But here is the info from the site:

“Author Ian Samuels and illustrator Bill Robinson.
We met at the age of 7 and formed a nerdy creative team with Ian leading the storytelling and Bill on the visuals. Since then, we've collaborated on puppet shows, theater performances, short films, and another kid's book. Ian studied Film Directing at Cal Arts and has worked at Sesame Street and The Jim Henson Company. Bill studied Animation at RIT, and has worked as a concept artist for video games, toys, and books with clients like Fisher-Price, Huckleberry Toys, and Universal Studios.”

Support “Gwendolyn and the Underworld” -- it’s way too cool! Support the indie-publishing and check Kickstarter.com as a way to fund your own projects!

Come back soon and spread the word!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Daylight Saving Time Kicks My Butt Yet Again!

Today was another catatonic morning. Even my dog didn’t want to get up. My body has been aching, my brain refuses to work even after three cups of coffee, even my instincts slowed down. I hate this time change practice with all my guts. I can’t fall asleep as easy. I can’t wake up as easy. I am tired, angry and bitter. I hope tomorrow my body will finally give up and readjust itself to the new routine.

This policy adopted during the first world war was a way to conserve coal. Why do we still use it?!

Wikipedia states that “an early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity, but modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory.”

Another interesting fact from Wikipedia: “In the US, DST was observed during both wars but no peaceful standartization of DST until 1966. In the mid-1980s, Clorox (parent of Kingsford Charcoal) and 7-Eleven provided the primary funding for the Daylight Saving Time Coalition behind the 1987 extension to U.S. DST, and both Idaho senators voted for it based on the premise that during DST fast-food restaurants sell more French fries, which are made from Idaho potatoes.” Seriously?! It was done for economic reasons? Money reasons?

I think, DST was designed so the employers would get more work hours from their workers. One works from dawn to dusk and guess what? Dusk comes later now…

There’ve been multiple health studies done worldwide, proving that DST negatively effects the body’s circadian rhythm. The other studies showed that male suicide rates raised in the first three weeks after the spring transition, so do heart attack rates…

If the whole planet natural life lives by solar time just fine, why do we need this “standard” time and Daylight Saving?

What do you think? And how does it make you feel? ;-))


Check this link: Wikipedia info

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday's Mythological Creature of the Day -- Libitina, The Goddess of Funerals, Morticians and Corpses

In Roman Mythology Libitina was The Goddess of Funerals, Morticians and Corpses. I have never heard of her and was shocked to learn that there is not much information available about this seemingly important Deity. So, here is what I’ve dug up so far:

Her sanctuary was a sacred grove, where funeral accessories and tools were kept. She was the patron of the undertakers, who had their parlors near her temple. Allegedly, the legendary sixth king of ancient Rome, and the second of his Etruscan dynasty, Servius Tullius (he reigned 578-535BC) was the one who ordered people to bring a coin for every funeral held and place it in the Libitina’s temple. By this he could learn how many people have died during a certain period of time.

Later, Libitina was identified with Lubetina, the Goddess of Gardens, and then with Venus Libitina (the Goddess of passion and lust ) and based on the similarity of names morphed into the latest. Death and Sex... Death and Passion...

Interestingly, Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. 23) mentions a small statue at Delphi of Aphrodite Epitymbia (A. of tombs= Venus Libitina), to which the spirits of the dead were summoned. The inconsistency of selling funeral requisites in the temple of Libitina, seeing that she is identified with Venus, is explained by him as indicating that one and the same goddess presides over birth and death; or the association of such things with the goddess of love and pleasure is intended to show that death is not a calamity, but rather a consummation to be desired. Libitina may, however, have been originally an earth goddess, connected with luxuriant nature and the enjoyments of life (cf. lub-et, lib-ido); then, all such deities being connected with the underworld, she also became the goddess of death, and that side of her character predominated in the later conceptions.

Today, Libitina’s very name has sunk into such obscurity that it is seldom mentioned when the gods and goddesses of antiquity are reviewed. And I find it very strange – we know so much about Roman’s funeral rites and pyres, so it seems weird that such seemingly important Goddess would be completely forgotten. Wikipedia mentioned that her face was seldom portrayed; and I couldn’t find any authentic images online. There were a few mentions of Orcus, her male equivalent (also of Etruscan origin, also half-forgotten) but not much.

Another interesting fact that I’ve discovered was that “Libitina’s name became comparable to our idea of death, and she was worshipped by the ancients and often sung about by their poets. This female deity was a reigning personification of Death. She would manifest as a black robed, dark winged figure that might, like an enormous bird of prey, hover above her intended victim until the moment came to seize it”. Sounds pretty gruesome and horrifying… but wait, was it really Libitina’s description or was it Mors’s? There was another Roman female deity associated with death, also barely mentioned but fit the above description...

This is one of the most intriguing articles I’ve found that are referencing the less-known side of the Roman-Greek mythology. If anybody has more information on this Deity, please share!Come back soon and spread the word!

Check these links:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday's Mythological Creature of the Day -- Kuksu

Friday’s Mythological Figure – Kuksu, Northern Califonia’s Native American Creation God

Today I opened my big mythological encyclopedia on a random page yet again, and read about Kuksu. The more I dug for information, the more interesting it was. The encyclopedia itself gave me a very brief description of Kuksu. He was mentioned in the myths of Maidu, Pomo, Patwin and other Northern California Native American tribes, where Kuksu was considered to be the first man and the teacher of all people. Secret rituals worshipping Kuksu, connected with coming of age initiations were typically conducted during winter in the hidden underground dance rooms. Elaborate dancing ceremonies were held, where dancers would wearing humongous headpieces of feathers, (so the Kuksu’s cult was also known as a cult of “Big Head”) impersonating Kuksu and other Deities. These ceremonies were supposed to help with continuation of human kind, heal illnesses, and prevent natural disasters. That would have been it…
Well, actually, it was a shamanistic religion, a sort of male secret society. It was believed that Kuksu would grant the passing into the sacred time during the present time. Basically, how I understood it, the ceremonies were helping the participants to break through the normal time-space continuum to reach the “sacred space and time” for visions, prophecies and blessings. Some hallucinogenic stuff was allegedly smoked during the ceremonies to reach the “blessed state”.
Also, I was lucky to come across David Adams Leeming’s “Creation Myths of the World: an encyclopedia” that was mentioning Kuksu. This is one of the humblest creation myths I’ve found so far. Here is my brief summary of the myth: (find the full version online or get the book -- it’s actually really cool!)
So here was a god Madumda, who went to see his older brother Kuksu, who lived on a cloud in a very icy, snowy house and smoked his pipe all day and all night. Smoking and thinking, thinking and smoking.
Madumda scraped some skin from his armpit and gave it to Kuksu, who held it in between his toes. Then Kuksu scraped some skin from his own armpit and gave it to Madumda to hold between toes. Then they added some hair to the two balls and mixed them altogether. The two gods sang a sacred song (Kuksu was the one who knew the secret words of creation) and Madumda went home to sleep, putting the ball into his ear, where it conveniently mixed with his earwax. He slept for eight days, during which the ball grew and became the Earth. Madumda threw his pipe in sky and made the Sun, and said the sacred words to create all living on earth, including people (it took him a few attempts to make the right people, because they would behave badly: the first batch was destroyed by flood, the second by fire, the third by wind).
So, in my understanding of the myth, Madumda was the actual creator, but it was Kuksu, who was the ultimate Shaman, who held the power and raw magic that started the creation, the one who knew the “Word” and helped Madumda to create a world in Eight days… Doesn’t it remind you of something similar? ;-)

Check these links for more cool info: