Christmas (Old English: Cristesmæsse, meaning "Christ's Mass" is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed cultural holiday, celebrated generally on December night 24 and Christmas day December 25 by billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world's nations.
In this spirit I wish you all, believer or non believer, Christian or non Christian,
A very Merry Christmas!
May the New year 2014 be a wonderful year for you.
Both my grandsons have finished their student life, graduated and will start their jobs in 2014.
Lucian, 24 has studied Medicine at University of Queensland. Starts as a junior doctor at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane. His aim is to become a specialist surgeon.
Felice 21, here with his mother,
Felice has studied Metallurgy and Chemical Engineering,
also at University of Queensland, he finished with Honours.
Starting a grad job with Glencore Xstrata,
one of the world's largest global diversified natural resource companies
A new period of life for both boys, or better said young men, Both have done so well, always.
"De Brevitate Vitae" and "Gaudeamus" . For the work by Seneca the Younger.
"De Brevitate Vitae" ("On the Shortness of Life"), more commonly known as "Gaudeamus Igitur" ("So Let Us Rejoice") or just "Gaudeamus", is a popular academic song in many European countries, mainly sung or performed at university graduation ceremonies. Despite its use as a formal graduation hymn, it is a jocular, light-hearted composition that pokes fun at university life. The song dates to the early 18th century, based on a Latin manuscript from 1287 It is in the tradition of carpe diem with its exhortations to enjoy life.
It was known as a beer-drinking song in many ancient universities and is the official song of many schools, colleges, universities, institutions, and student societies.The lyrics reflect an endorsement of the bacchanalian mayhem of student life while simultaneously retaining the grim knowledge that one day we will all die. The song contains humorous and ironic references to sex and death, and many versions have appeared following efforts to bowdlerise this song for performance in public ceremonies. In private, students will typically sing ribald words.
The song is sometimes known by its opening words, "Gaudeamus igitur" or simply "Gaudeamus". In the UK, it is sometimes affectionately known as "The Gaudie". The centuries of use have given rise to numerous slightly different versions.
Johannes Brahms quoted the hymn in the final section of his Academic Festival Overture. Sigmund Romberg used it in the operetta The Student Prince, which is set at the University of Heidelberg. The hymn is also quoted, along with other student songs, in the overture of Franz von Suppé's 1863 operetta Flotte Burschen (the action being once again set at the University of Heidelberg).
When sung, the first two lines and the last line of each stanza are repeated; for instance:
Hannah Kent, the author of Burial Rites said:" first heard the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir when I was an exchange student in the north of Iceland. It was 2002, I was 17 years old, and I had left Adelaide for Sauðárkrókur an isolated fishing village, where I would live for 12 months. This small town lies snug in the side of a fjord: a clutch of little buildings facing an iron-grey sea, the mountains looming behind.
When I arrived it was January, and the days were gripped by darkness, 20 hours at a time. There were no trees. The town’s houses were hostage to snow, and in the distance the north Atlantic Ocean met the north sky in a suggestion of oblivion. It felt like the edge of the world.
I was intensely lonely. The community was tightly knit, and I was an outsider. For the first time in my life I felt socially isolated, and my feelings of alienation were compounded by the claustrophobic winter darkness, and the constant confinement indoors. I turned to writing for company, to fill the black hours. I sought shelter in libraries, consolation in books.
It was during the first difficult months of my exchange that I travelled through a place called Vatnsdalshólar. It’s an unusual tract of landscape: a valley mouth pimpled with hillocks of earth. When I asked my host parents if the area was significant, they pointed to three small hills, nestled closely together. Over 100 years ago, they said, a woman called Agnes had been beheaded there. She was the last person to be executed in Iceland.
I was immediately intrigued. What had she done? What had happened? Over time I discovered that Agnes was a 34-year-old servant woman who had been beheaded on 12 January 1830 for her role in the 1828 murders of two men. It seemed a tragic tale; Agnes had been unequivocally condemned.
Excerpts from Hannah Kent.
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.
Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes's spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes's ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn't she?
Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland's formidable landscape, where every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
We talk about the "good old times" yet when we go back to those times they were anything but good for most of the populace. Life was more a tragedy, a constant battle. Work from morning to night. Living in dismal conditions, no rights, nothing. Ts
Burial Rites, is well written and makes you shudder to think that people lived under those conditions. Ts
For me, Art summons up a feeling of life and energy. It is part of mankind, our first artworks were scratched into stone. I am mostly inspired by colour, natural sculptures, love the diversity, subtle designs and colours of lichen and fungi which I find in my garden. For me Art is and has always been a vast and profound exploration.
Lichen on bush rock;
Gifts of the sea; fantastic patterns and subtle colours.
The platypus is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth.
The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud.
It is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognizable and iconic symbol of Australia;
Scientific name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus
Lifespan: 17 y (In captivity)
Mass: 0.7 – 2.4 kg
Daily sleep: 14 h on average
Length: 50 cm on average (Male, Adult), 43 cm on average (Female, Adult)
September/October is the time for Hippies. I love these bold, look at me, Hippeastrums.
In the beginning I had one bulb.A couple of years later later I received 2 more from a friend, then the fun began. Hippeastrums produce a very generous amount of seed. Now I have borders full of a great variety, from white, pink, red, orange, striped and nuances in between. It takes three years from seed to flower. The leaves die in the cool season and start to grow in September again.
It all started with one like this red, bold bloom. Some flowers have round curved petals others are star like; Last year I added plain white and a dark plain pink for even more variety.
Orange fizz has narrow petals and a very beautiful pattern. It is always fun to see what nature produces.
White Tip has subtle white tips on its curved petals.
Starlight; it's also fun to give the new ones individual names;
The red string of fate, or the the red thread of destiny, red thread of fate, and more variants is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese and
Japanese legends. According to this myth, the gods tie a red cord around the ankles of those that are to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. .
It seems to be rather unpoetical and unimportant to sing the praise of onions. Not at all are they ordinary, when they grow in tidy rows of purple and white with fresh tubular green leaves, sweet and waiting to grace any salad to give it zest, taste and health.
The truth is I love onions in my cooking. Not the old, self peeling, bitter monsters laying in untidy heaps at the green grocer's, which make your eyes burn and cry bitter tears over them...
To prove this tale and song of the fresh garden onion...look at these beautiful, . purple, spanish onions, fresh and appetizing. Ah, such a pleasure to go up into the kitchen garden and get one, fresher is not possible.
here the purple..
..here the white ones..
...and here. Aren't they worth a bit of poetry?
What are onions good for?
The total polyphenol content of onions is much higher than many people expect. (Polyphenols are one of the largest categories of phytonutrients in food. This category includes all flavonoids as well as tannins.) The total polyphenol content of onion is not only higher than its fellow allium vegetables, garlic and leeks, but also higher than tomatoes, carrots, and red capsicums.
Within the polyphenol category, onions are also surprisingly high in flavonoids. For example, onions rank in the top 10 of commonly eaten vegetables in their quercetin content. The flavonoid content of onions can vary widely, depending on the exact variety, growing conditions and freshness.
When we get quercetin by eating an onion-rather than consuming the quercetin in purified, supplement form-we may end up getting better protection from oxidative stress. In studies, the best protection came from the onion version of this flavonoid, rather than the supplement form.
With their unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, the allium vegetables—such as onions—belong in your diet on a regular basis. There's research evidence for including at least one serving of an allium vegetable—such as onions—in your meal plan every day.
The best of man Leonard Norman Cohen, CC GOQ is a Canadian Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships.