And climb the stairs to the beach...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What the Heck is an Ide?

"Beware, the Ides of March are upon us" was a quote a favorite teacher was fond of when I was in high school. I knew it was a reference to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and the date on which he was assassinated in the year 44 BC. But I really never knew why they called March 15 the "Ides" of March. And what the heck is an Ide?

I went all through elementary and high school with a girl named Patty Ide, who sadly passed away a few years ago. When Patty and I were just preschoolers her family moved to my home town of Sudbury from West Virginia and she always said they were hillbillies. Back then anyone from neighboring Framingham seemed pretty exotic, let alone West Virginia. But that was the only other time I'd ever heard the word Ide.

So, of course today being the Ides of March I felt compelled to Google it this morning.

Aside from the Ides of March reference, Ides is  the acronym for Internet Demonstration and Evaluation System or Intrusion Detection Expert System and short for an Integrated Drive Electronics cable. Huh?

Ide is also a nymph who educated Zeus at Rhea's request. Zeus' father, Cronus was warned he'd be overcome by one of his own children. Apparently Cronus had done the same thing to his father, so he knew enough to heed the warning.

Cronus and Rhea had six kids and each time one was born, Cronus swallowed it so as to prevent it from overtaking him. Eeeeeeyooooooo!

Zeus was the baby of the family and when he was born, mama Rhea wrapped up a rock and gave it to Cronus tricking him.

 He swallowed the rock and she hid Zeus from him, having others "foster" him. Zeus was raised by others on Mount Ida, including the Nymph Ide and a goat nurse named Amaltheas.

 Eventually Zeus forced his father to regurgitate his siblings. I really don't remember that myth at all. I may have been absent when they covered that one in school.

Then there was Saint Ide who was an Irish nun  from the 5th century whose name is pronounced Ee-da. The name means thirst, as in thirst for goodness and knowledge and Irish parents still name their daughters Ide. Pabst makes a malt liquor named Saint Ide's  and probably had another kind of thirst in mind when they named it. Ide is an important Saint to the Irish, associated with education and foster parenting. She is  known as the patron saint of foster mothers because her convent became a place where very young children were left in her charge to be educated and many would later become important church men, including a saint or two. Probably no coincidence that Nymph Ide fostered Zeus and Saint Ide fostered young future Bishops and saints. Saint Ide is thought to have died from cancer as it is written "her side was consumed by a beetle that eventually grew to the size of a pig." No particular species of beetle was identified. That has nothing to do with the Ides of March, but I thought it was a kind of funny way to describe what was most likely a tumor. Oh my.

But as for the Ides of March and Julius Caesar in the Roman Calendar the Ides means roughly the middle of the month. Every month in the Roman calendar has an Ides that is acknowledged in some way. It's supposed to align with the full moon and can be the 13th or the 15th depending on the number of days in the particular month.

Tomorrow there will be a full moon on the 16th of March. My neighbor Vern likes to go out on his lanai and howl at the full moon. I think he does it for my benefit. That's neither here nor there, I just thought I'd mention it because I will be listening for him tonight.

In the Roman Calendar March was the first month of the year. The Ides of March marked the end of the "new year" period and the first full moon of the year. This had always been a time for celebration and public and private sacrifices and feasting and getting drunk. It was a carnival and Rome was whooping it up in 44 BC as it always had.

Ironically, 2 years prior Caesar decreed that the calendar would have to change. The Roman calendar feast days were no longer lining up properly with the seasons and when the autumn harvest was taking place in the summer Julius decided to make some changes. The Julian Calendar began in 46 BC and Caesar decreed that year would have 446 days in it. It would later be called the year of "confusion". After that on year, in 45 BC, everything started lining up better. However, March was no longer the first month of the year.

Hey did you hear we can celebrate the Ides of January and the Ides of March this year? Whoopeee!
Rome, however, was not ready to embrace the new calendar quite yet and it hadn't given up the Ides of March holiday right away. And so, in 44 BC the celebration was as it always had been, a wild and crazy day of partying. But, Caesar went to the Senate to conduct business as usual, despite his wife's warning him about a dream she had and various other warnings that he chose to ignore. Shortly after the proceedings had begun, Julius Caesar was held down and the plotting conspirators of the senate pulled their daggers from under their togas and stabbed him forever linking Caesar's death with the Ides of March.

"Et tu Brute, Then fall Caesar" were words in Shakespeare's play that had become popular in the retelling of the story long before Shakespeare put it on paper but they were never spoken by Caesar.

Most accounts say that he said nothing at all.

His body was left for 3 hours on the floor of the senate and he bled to death. Caesar's was the first recorded autopsy ever:  23 stab wounds were reported, the second of which was in his chest, the only one that would have caused his death.

So there you have it. The Ides of March are upon us. If you want an excuse to celebrate you could commemorate Caesar's death or the first full moon of the Roman year by howling at the moon like my friend Vern.
Howling Vern

Or you could follow the suggestion by somebody on Twitter who tweeted:  

"Note to self: On Saturday March 15th, order a Caesar salad, lure it into a false sense of security, then stab it 23 times #IdesofMarch"

 Have a great day! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Am I Too Brown?

My husband almost always looks nice. The clothes he chooses usually go well together and it's only occasionally that I send him back to the closet for a do-over.  But there are times when I realize it's sometimes a challenge for him. Ed said to me yesterday before leaving for the golf course, "Am I too brown?" I had no idea what he meant exactly, so I said in an incredulous  slightly befuddled tone "What are you talking about?!" He pointed to his hat, then his shirt and then his shorts and  said "Brown, brown, Brown." Nothing he had on was brown. He had on a beige hat, a grey shirt and khaki pants. Ed's just a little color blind when it comes to certain subtle shades. Not bad, really, just enough so that there are times when his clothing choices can be a little strange. Although, I am not totally convinced that's because he is color blind or just because he hasn't any real color sense.

Then there was the time when some of us gals were out shopping and my friend Karen was trying on a sweater. It was bright red, like really, really red! She said to me "I love this coral color, don't you?"

Of course I had to argue with her and run around the store to find all the things  that were really coral and show her that the sweater was really red!. When I think of coral, I think of a pinkish orange kind of color, sort of between peach and orange, but never would I confuse it with red. Of course when our other friend Sandy came on the scene, we grilled her to see what she thought coral was and she sided with me, which didn't surprise me. I mean it was very clearly a red sweater!

Then there are my favorite Pinnacle golf balls which I use because they are easier to see in the brightest of morning light when the fairway (or the rough, which is usually where I am) is covered with dew and the sun is low and bright.
I call these balls yellow but my friend Sue calls them green. I have heard others call them green, too, but to me they are clearly yellow and not one bit of green in them at all! Not only do I think they are yellow, it says so on the box!

The question here is something I have actually thought about quite often: Is color a subjective thing? Are we just using words to describe a color based on other things we know of that share the same perceived color? Do some people use the word red to describe something I see as green? As long as we are consistent and describe the tomato as "red" we wouldn't know if we were actually "seeing" the same color, would we?  Little did I know there are groups of scientists who have for centuries been studying the same question. Color realism is being studied in places like MIT and the University of Illinois today trying to answer the same question.

The most popular theory among color scientists currently (did you even know there were such people?):
"nothing is colored–at least not physical objects in the perceiver's environment, like tomatoes. For example
  [W]e know from psychophysical and neurophysiological investigations that color is created somewhere in the brain, although the exact location of this process is still unknown, and we even have no idea what entities the sensations called color are . . . In short, colors appear only at a first na├»ve glance to be located in objects." (Backhaus & Menzel 1992, p. 28)

And Galileo wrote the following:
"I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on are no more than mere names so far as the object in which we place them is concerned, and that they reside only in the consciousness. Hence, if the living creatures were removed, all these qualities would be wiped away and annihilated. (Drake 1957, p. 274

As we know, in our eyes there are rods and cones. The rods are sensitive to light but not  so much to color. The cones are all about color. We have between 6 and 7 million of them and they are categorized as blue, green and red. I grew up with a brother who was very color blind. His "cones" were somehow genetically not up to par. It was just another thing that made me feel like men were indeed from Mars.

Although, from what I know about most color blindness, it is passed down by the mother, who is a carrier, to the male child. The cones that perceived red and green are usually most effected in color blindness and that was certainly what my brother had difficulty with. I would say Ed's color blindness is to a much lesser degree than my brother's is. For the most part, Ed is pretty good about knowing red from green, unless the shades are really dark.

So, it's all very interesting, these theories about color and whether we "see" the same thing when we look at a tomato. Or a particular golf outfit.

But solving this problem won't solve how our husbands pick out their clothes. I'm not totally convinced their choices have anything to do with color blindness so much as taste, but that doesn't sound very nice, really.

When I was telling my gal pals about Ed's question before golf yesterday, we all decided our hubbies could use some help in choosing their outfits. We decided we needed some sort of Garanimals for our menfolk.

But the suggestion was we'd call them Grampanimals or Manimals instead. And instead of matching giraffes with giraffes and hippos with hippos, we could use burgers and pizza. Maybe Sports team logos would work, too. Or brunettes and blondes. Or cars...The possibilities are endless! I think we might have to put a call into "Shark Tank".
Click Here for a link to Shark Tank

Of course we'd end up sewing in all those tags ourselves, so, maybe not. Maybe we will just keep letting our men, with their faulty cones, continue to come up with new and fascinating combinations. After all, we gals have to have something to talk about!

Have a great day!

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