Posts Tagged "god"

Sisyphus | The Man, The Myth, The Rock

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, in a not-so-nice part of Greece (back in the time of Mythology), there lived a king named Sisyphus. By the sound of his name you might think that he was bullied a lot. You would be wrong because he was meaner, nastier, and more powerful than anyone else. Also he was king and had a lot of soldiers at his command.

Sisyphus had lots of bad habits like chewing with his mouth open and killing travelers and guests. (Killing guests back then was an especially Wrong Thing To Do.) But Sisyphus had a marvelous time being a despot and decided that Manners weren’t going to intrude on his tyranny.

For reasons that are complicated and not all that interesting, Zeus got good and mad at Sis. Zeus ordered Thanatos to chain up Sisyphus in the lowest level of Hades.

On the one hand, Thanatos was a minor figure in Greek mythology. On the other hand, he was Death, so chaining people in Hades was well within his job description.

Sisy didn’t really like the idea of being chained up, so he tricked Thanatos by asking Thanatos (who after all wasn’t the god of wisdom) to demonstrate how the chains worked. Flattered, Thanatos obliged and Sisyphus trapped Thanatos in the aforementioned chains.

Back in the rest of the world, while Thanatos was chained up no one could die. For a short time, this wasn’t a big deal, but people were pretty accustomed to Death, especially the warriors who liked to see people die (because that was the whole point of fighting). Ares (our favorite god of war) was particularly put out, so he freed Thanatos and turned Sisyphus over to him.

Because of his trickery in this and other things and his hubris in thinking he was more clever than Zeus (have we not been clear that it is never wise to think you’re smarter/prettier/stronger than one of the gods), King Sisyphus was punished. And the Greek gods were known for their ability to punish people.

Sisyphus was made to push an enormous boulder up an even more enormous hill. Only just before he got to the top, the enchanted boulder would roll away from him and to the bottom of the hill. Rinse and repeat for all eternity.

Love, Mom

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How Much Do You Know About Pandora?

Dear Kid,

Waaaay back, before Pandora was a music station, even before Pandora was jewelry, she was a box. More accurately she was a myth. Even more accurately she was a Miss in a myth with a myth-sterious box.

Maybe I’d best start at the beginning.

NOT what Pandora found in her box. DearKidLoveMom.comOnce upon a time, Zeus got mad at Prometheus (who had given fire to the humans). As we know, Zeus had anger management issues. Anger issues, combined with cunning, combined with god-like power is a potent mixture, and Zeus was nothing if not potent.

So he decided to get back at Prometheus and his brother (Epimetheus) and all of mankind. He was that kind of a god.

Zeus had Hephaistos (I don’t think we’ve talked about Hephaistos. He is/was the blacksmith god, the god of volcanoes and melting metal and stuff like that. Known as Vulcan in Roman mythology and Birmingham, Alabama.) forge a beautiful woman. Don’t ask why a smith should be the one to forge a beautiful woman—that’s how the story goes.

Zeus named the woman Pandora (which means “all-gifts”) and gave her as a present to Epimetheus.

Now, my dear child, what have we learned about gifts from the gods? Basically that you’re in deep doo-doo. You will offend the gods if you refuse the gift (gods do not accept rejection well) and you’re clearly screwed if you accept the gift (gifts come with strings and conditions and other problems).

Faced with the choice of offending Zeus and getting a beautiful bride or offending Zeus and getting nothing, Epimetheus went with Door Number 1 and chose to marry Pandora. (For the record, Prometheus warned him not to, but since when do siblings really listen to each other?)

Zeus also did one other sneaky thing. He gave Pandora a box. With a really big lock on it. And told her never, ever, ever under any circumstances whatsoever was she to open the box. And he gave the key to Epimetheus.

I told you Zeus was pissed, right? Because no way could Pandora (who had been made for beauty not brains) avoid thinking about what was in the box.

And the more she thought about what might be in there, the more she wanted to open the box. And the more she wanted to open the box, the more she begged Epimetheus for the key. And the more she begged him for the key, the more he said no (why he didn’t take it to the vault is beyond me). And the more he said no, the more she absolutely positively had to see what was in the box.

One day, Pandora opened the box. (Reports on how she opened it vary. It may have been that Epimetheus fell asleep and she stole the key. It may have been that she just broke the big lock. It may have been that the lock was just a small seal and not a big deal to break. Investigative journalism was not very thorough in those days.)

The very instant the box cracked open, all the troubles we now know about flew out. There was disease, and worry, and crime, and hate, and envy, and sloth, and short hems, and ugly shoes, and badly applied makeup, and strife, and every other bad thing you can think of (as well as several you can’t possibly imagine).

Pandora slammed the box shut (bam!) and tried to catch all the bad things to put them back in the box. But they were well and truly gone. Still Pandora could hear one last thing in the box. She was afraid to open it, but eventually she did. Out flew one last little thing.

It was beautiful. It was Hope. Zeus had included Hope in the box to keep people going when the nasties got to be too much.

Love, Mom


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9 More Interesting Facts About Hawaii | The Second Part

Dear Kid,

If you missed yesterday’s blog (shame on you) Time to Learn About Hawaii | The First Part, now would be an excellent time to go read it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Go ahead. Ready to move on? Good.

Continuing our tour of Interesting Fact of the 50th State (also known as “the state where I am not going in the next few weeks but would like to go”).

The “Happy Face Spider” (I kid you not) is native to Hawaii. The Happy Face Spider has a smiley face on its back—one of the first known instances of emoticon tattoos in the animal kingdom. There are lots of endangered animals in Hawaii although the HFS is not one of them.

Speaking of animals, the state gem of Hawaii is actually an animal, black coral, which is often used to make beautiful jewelry.

This is exactly what I would look like if I were in Hawaii. DearKidLoveMom.comAnd speaking of beauty, ancient Hawaiians believed that heavier women were more beautiful than skinny women. I love those ancient Hawaiian dudes.

Speaking of Hawaiian dudes, the hula was originally a form of worship performed by highly trained men, the first of whom had been taught the dance by the god Luka (who might also be the god of sports).

And speaking of Hawaiian gods, Maui was a demigod who liked to fish. Not having any hula boppers handy (hula boppers were one of the kind of hooks Grandpa Lou used to fish with), Maui used his dead grandmother’s jawbone, cast it into the ocean, and fished up the Hawaiian Islands. Then he taught the Hawaiians how to fish, use spears, and make fire. All of which resulted in happy Hawaiians and a great dinner.

And speaking of dinner, poi (which is made of mashed taro and is a traditional Polynesian food) is often classified as “one-finger,” “two-finger,” or “three-finger” depending on the consistency and how many fingers it takes to scoop it up.

Hawaii is the only state that has its own time zone. That’s probably so there is no question of getting to dinner on time.

Not only are large women popular, large volcanos are popular in Hawaii. Kilauea Volcano has been erupting for 30 years, so the Big Island gains about 42 acres each year. Fun Fact: Ka Lae on the Big Island of Hawaii is the southernmost point of the US of A.

Most importantly, Hawaiians know how to listen to a story. Their history and traditions were handed down through trained storytellers. The stories were considered sacred, so listeners were not allowed to move (or interrupt) once the story began. I can think of some children who would do well to adopt this behavior.


Love, Mom

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