Friday, June 13, 2008

The Treatment of an American Queen


She was really the only queen ever to be born a queen on what became a state in the U.S. She was Queen Lili'uokalani of Hawaii. On this day, Hawaii became a territory and the fate of the beloved queen was sealed:

(from Wikipedia)

Lili╩╗uokalani was arrested on January 16, 1895 (several days after a failed rebellion by Robert Wilcox) when firearms were found in the gardens of her home, of which she denied any knowledge. She was sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison for this and fined $5000, but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment in an upstairs bedroom of ╩╗Iolani Palace, where she composed many famous songs. After eight months, she abdicated her throne in return for the release (and commutation of the death sentences) of her jailed supporters, including Minister Joseph Nawahi, Robert Wilcox, and Prince Kuhio. The charge of treason for which they were sentenced to death by the Provisional Government was the same charge that Lili'uokalani had insisted be held against the Committee of Safety for their act of deposing her. She entered claims against the U.S. totaling $450,000 for property and other losses, claiming personal ownership of the crown lands, but was unsuccessful. The territorial legislature of Hawaii finally voted her an annual pension of $4,000 and permitted her to receive the income from a sugar plantation of 6,000 acres (24 km²). She went home to Washington Place, where she lived until her death in 1917 due to complications from a stroke. She was 79.

She was shabbily treated. Hawaii now reveres her as it would a patron saint.

It should

Bush for Four More Years? Now THAT'S a Real Friday 13th Horror Story!

Stock up on your voodoo candles today!

Just who or what do you fear on this day?

The word is paraskavedekatriaphobia - the fear of Friday 13th. Up to 20 million people in the U.S. are influenced so much by this superstition - many people fearing to fly or even get out of bed! - that it is estimated that this fear costs $800-900 million in business.

What do you consider a Friday the 13th kind of day? A black cat crossing your path? Some people believe that the number 13 became evil because it went beyond the "perfect" number twelve. Example, since Jesus had twelve apostles at the last supper (making the total 13), some people are afraid to have the host and guest list number thirteen because one of the people will surely die.

Who will Friday the 13th strike? SOMEONE in this country is going to be killed today, be it in a car crash, or a gang fight, or a gay bashing. But unlike those who are so paralyzed by superstition as to not even get out of bed, most of us have to face the day and laugh at the superstition. Reason has to prevail... doesn't it? And reason tells us that trying to limit the causes of accidents and violence would almost eliminate superstition.

But America does not operate on "reason" these days. Thomas Paine is passe and Aristotle is too difficult to understand (at least as taught by our regressive school system). I'm currently reading the book, The Age of American Unreason, by Susan Jacoby. It paints our culture as "dumbed down" by Reconstructionist authoritarians like Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, et al.

So, I ask again, who or what will Friday 13th strike?

Will the price of gas go up to $6.66?

Will China call in its loans?

Will George Bush be struck dumb? (isn't that some kind of oxymoron?)

Will John McCain be forced (by voodoo) to tell us what he really thinks of televangelists?

You'll have to get out of bed today to find out.

This is my cat, Katie Scarlett. This picture was caught in one of her more pensive moments, but most of the time she is playing a rough house (that's rough on the house) game of "tag" with her sister, Chloe. She crosses my path a hundred times each day and she only brings me good fortune, joy and love.

Like Dickens' cat, she's beginning to like it when I read to her. And the only demands she makes of me are cat treats and attention (Oh, and that includes wiggling the "cat dancer" in front of her while the stereo's playing ABBA's Dancing Queen.)

Years ago, she would have been feared as a sign of doom or as a familiar to a witch. Years ago? Ooops, I forgot that the same preachers so horrified by Harry Potter books, would probably consider Katie some form of demon.

Katie, let's go out today and make some preacher's day - a real Friday the 13th!

The more I study religions, the more I am convinced that
man never worshiped anything but himself.

-Sir Richard Francis Burton

They Called Him Mad, But He Gave His All for Tourism!!

Hell, You'd Be "Mad" Too If You Saw The Price Tags!!

Ludwig II of Bavaria lived in a time of Romance - to the extreme. The repressed Victorian England element traveled as far as Bavaria and it affected young Ludwig greatly. There were songs about love and plays about majesty - and operas. And Richard Wagner.

Wagner was far more than an inspiration to Ludwig. He was almost his raison d'etre. To Ludwig, the right of kings was absolute. The Ring of the Niebeling, Valhalla, Siegfried and Brunhilde was not just legends: they were HERITAGE!

So to the consternation of his parents, Ludwig dreamed - and built. The three most photographed sites in all of Germany today are his work: Herrenchiemsee, Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.

Herrenchiensee was built as a tribute the the most "absolute monarch" Louis XIV and his Versailles. It's hall of mirrors is longer. It has hundreds of gilded rooms. Ludwig lived in it exactly 3 days.

Linderhof was a bizarre conglomeration of fantasies: topped by Atlas holding up the world, there was an underground grotto with frescoes on the ceilings and shell-shaped boats.

But it was Neuschwanstein that caught everyone's imagination: it was the epitome of romance and legend. It MUST have been Disney's inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle!

Ludwig's fantasies obviously strained Bavaria's economy - he was held prisoner in Linderhof and was visited only by a psychiatrist. He escaped his captors and was found dead on this day, June 13 (our Friday the 13th!) at 11:30PM in the lake.