“Beware the Ides of March.”

 

julius-caesar-assassination

So warned the soothsayer to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s famous play.   Alas poor Julius — he did not heed the advice, went against his own instincts and was stabbed to death in the senate. The bloody, infamous event occurred on March 15, 44 B.C.

Have you ever wondered what the ‘Ides’ of March actually means?

It was a designation for the middle of a month. Apparently, the ancient Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from first through last day. Instead, they divided the month and counted days from three specific points. These points were called the Nones (5th -7th of the month) the Ides (13th to 15th) and the Kalends (1st of the following month).

The divisions were determined by the full moon, which normally occurred between the 13th and 15th of the month. Thus the Roman senate would have actually gone ‘loony’ under the full moon. (We just had our full moon on March 12, so the 2017 measurement is not too far off!)

After the death of Caesar, the 15th of March seemed to carry its own specific dark cloud. Many other tragedies have occurred on this day. For example:

 A Raid on Southern England, 1360
A French raiding party began a 48-hour spree of rape, pillage and murder in southern England. King Edward III interrupted his own pillaging spree in France to retaliate.

king edward

 Czar Nicholas II Abdicated His Throne, 1917                                                              Czar Nicholas II of Russia signed his abdication papers, ending a 304-year-old royal dynasty. Enter the Bolsheviks!

bolshevik

 Germany Occupied Czechoslovakia, 1939
Nazi troops seized the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, effectively wiping Czechoslovakia off the map. The beginning of Hitler’s destruction.

 A Deadly Blizzard on the Great Plains, 1941
A Saturday-night blizzard struck the northern Great Plains, leaving at least 60 people dead in North Dakota and Minnesota and six more in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

 World Record Rainfall, 1952
Rain fell on the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion—and kept falling, hard enough to register the world’s most voluminous 24-hour rainfall: 73.62 inches. Reportedly, no arks were built 🙂

 CBS Cancelled the “Ed Sullivan Show,” 1971
CBS-TV  cancelled “The Ed Sullivan Show” after 23 years on the network. Ed brought us the Beatles!

beatles

But it need not be all doom and gloom.

If you are looking to brush up on Julius Caesar, or just want to view some beautiful cinematography and great acting, I recommend this (somewhat lengthy) but very entertaining film. Shown as a miniseries in 2002, it stars Jeremy Sisto as Caesar, with a supporting cast that includes Christopher Walken, Richard Harris and Christopher Noth. Running time is 3 hours. Hope you get a chance to watch!

 

Happy Ides of March!

 

 

 

Happy Mardi Gras!

 

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Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fast 🙂

If you are lucky enough to be in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, or some other designated Mardi Gras  center today, more power to you!  As for the rest of us, we can still don a mask, eat jambalaya and jiggle  to some great music.

This video features one of my favorites, ‘Iko Iko’ by the Dixie Cups, with a montage of fabulous Mardi Gras Indians. Hope you like it!

 

In case you were wondering how this crazy celebration  got started, and what put the ‘fat’ in Fat Tuesday, here is a (very brief) history of Mardi Gras as it evolved through the Catholic Church.

 

And for those who can’t get enough of Dixieland, here are around two hours of it for your listening pleasure. Have a fantastic Fat Tuesday!

 

 

 

New Year’s Day/ U2

 

new-year-4

Hard to believe it has been thirty-three years since Bono & company penned this song for their 1983 album ‘War’.  Although it was originally written for Lech Walesa and the Polish Solidarity movement, I find a lot of relevance in this song as applied to the issues of today.

I have always loved U2.  Once upon a time several years ago I was lucky enough to meet Bono and The Edge at a loading dock in Chicago. They were both very kind and considerate gentlemen, worthy of their super-power status!

In honor of U2, the New Year and my feelings about the current state of the world, I put together this (bittersweet —  but mostly optimistic) video.

Hope you are having a fantastic New Year’s Day!

 

 

Love Alone

 

wallis-simpson

What was the mystical allure of Wallis Simpson?

It was eighty years ago, on December 10, 1936 that King Edward VIII of England announced his abdication of the throne. He gave up the most powerful position in the world in order to marry the love of his life, Wallis Simpson.  Wallis was  forbidden fruit, a twice divorced,  free-living American socialite who could never be an appropriate wife for a king. Edward gave up a kingdom for her.

Jamaican musician Harry Belafonte wrote the song ‘Love Alone’, which told the story of Edward and Wallis to a Calypso beat. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Xmas by John Lennon

 

xmas-4

Today, December 8th, marks the 36th anniversary of the death of John Lennon.  A man who strove for peace, both in his personal life and world wide, he ironically died a violent death by gunshot.

John taught us that instead of protesting  war we should try to live our daily lives in peace, celebrate peace and even advertise peace!   His vision of world peace was never far from his heart. I am posting this video in honor of John Lennon and U.S. Troops everywhere, with hopes that my government, the United States of America, will END its GREEDY AND INSANE  war mongering.

Imagine Peace. Pray for Peace. Live in Peace.

Blessed Be 🙂