Posts Tagged "king"

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 I Really Want the World To Be (And How It Actually Is)

Dear Kid,

I’ve finally figured out the problem with Life, the Universe, and Everything (extra points if you get the reference).

The problem is that the Way I Want the World To Be is not (unfortunately) the Way the World Is.

Which is sad.

For example, the Way I Want the World To Be is I can eat as much chocolate as I want and still lose weight. The Way the World Actually Is is that my scale says, “Bwah ha hahahahahaha. Ha.”

The Way I Want the World to Be is elves show up to clean the house. The Way the World Actually Is is the dust dragons say “Mwahhhhhahhahahaha.”

There is the distinct possibility that the chocolate and the elves have both been eaten by the dust dragons.

The Way I Want the World to Be is people taking care of their animals in a safe and loving way. The Way the World Actually Is is Rescue Shelters.

The Way I Want the World to Be is me sleeping half an hour later than usual because I have everything ready and I don’t have any early meetings. The Way the World Actually Is is me up at 4:45am because Awake Happened.

Which part of Queen of the World is hard to understand? DearKidLoveMom.comThe Way I Want the World to Be is I’m Queen of the World (or at least my own little part of it). The Way the World Actually Is is that I’m Queen of the World (at least my own little—very little—part of it). Well, more like I’m Queen of my car when I’m the only one in it.

I’ll take what I can get. At least until the rest of the world catches up.

Love, Mom

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The Story (More or Less) of Perseus | Part II

Dear Kid,

In case you have forgotten everything from yesterday (it was a long time ago, I know), I shall provide a brief recap. (Or you can go read Part I in its entirety.)

King Acrisius was told by the Oracle that his grandson (Perseus) would kill him. So Acrisius put his daughter Danae and her baby son Perseus (who also happened to be the son of Zeus) in a chest and tossed them in the sea hoping they’d drown. They ended up in King Polydectes’ realm. After Perseus grew up Polydectes decided he wanted to marry Danae. She said Eww. And in defense of his mother, Perseus said he’d get Polydectes anything he wanted. Polydectes sent Perseus off to get the head of Medusa (and hopefully die).

Any questions?


If you’ve seen Clash of the Titans, it might have something to do with this story (so My Friend the Internet tells me), but as I haven’t seen the movie I can’t comment. Well, I can’t comment accurately.

So there was Perseus, wandering around, not having a clue where he was going and feeling generally down about Life when poof! Athena and Hermes just happen to show up. Sibling relationships among gods and demigods are never straightforward but in this case they offered to help Perseus. Hermes lent Perseus his winged sandals and Athena lent him her shield. They also gave him directions on how to find Medusa and how to kill her. All of which was very useful.

Perseus said Thank You very nicely because his mother had taught him well and it’s never a good idea to annoy the gods even if you are siblings.

Eventually Perseus got to Medusa’s digs (I’m leaving out the long, complicated bits—you’re welcome) and he lopped of Medusa’s head and then dumped it into a magic bag. After which he had a bunch of adventures (I’m leaving most of them out—you’re welcome).

On his way home, however, he saw a Beautiful Maiden chained to a rock. It was Andromeda (remember her? She was chained to a rock because of a different oracle and her vain momma, Cassiopeia). Perseus fell in love, freed her from her chains (turned an annoying sea monster into stone using Medusa’s head), and married Andromeda.

They stopped at a lovely island so Perseus could compete in the Games (think American Ninja Warriors but with togas, races, and throwing things). Perseus did very well except when he threw the discus it hit an old man who died. News flash: the old man was his grandpa, King Acrisius, who was trying to avoid the death the oracle had predicted. Did I mention you can’t outsmart an oracle?

Then Perseus and Andromeda went home so Andromeda could meet her new Mom-in-Law and they found out that King Polydectes was still saying “marry me” and Danae was still saying “no way” and Polydectes hadn’t really read up on How to Treat Women. This Pissed Off Perseus in a big way.

Being a Good Boy, Perseus hiked up to the castle, told his friends to shut their eyes, pulled Medusa’s head out turning everyone else into stone, and took his mom off to meet his bride and live happily ever after. Until they died and got put in the sky as stars.

And that is exactly what happened.

Love, Mom

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The Story (Sort Of) of Perseus | Part I

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time there was a king names Acrisius who had a beautiful daughter named Danae. (There are a lot of unfamiliar characters in this story, so try to pay attention and I’ll try to make it clear.

Acrisius was living a relatively happy kingly sort of life until the Oracle of Apollo told him that one day Danae’s son would kill him. So Acrisius did the only “reasonable” thing his little kingly mind (emphasis on little) could think of and locked Danae in a tower so she’d never have babies.

This type of birth control is known as the Tower Method. In mythology, it is generally 0% effective.

The things about Oracles is that they are ALWAYS (emphasis on the ALWAYS) right (emphasis on correct). They probably don’t work out the way one thinks they will, but you can never (emphasis on never) outsmart them. You can try to outsmart them, but that works out exactly never (emphasis on never).

So the whole tower thing was a dumb idea (even if Danae didn’t have hair long enough to climb up), but Acrisius was not known as a Rhodes Scholar. So there was Danae in the horrible tower, with no cell service, and no curling iron or makeup but looking forlornly beautiful nonetheless.

Once day, Zeus showed up on Danae’s window sill. Guess what happened?

Some time later, Acrisius checked on Danae and found her sitting in her tower with a gorgeous demigod of a son sitting in her lap.

Instead of falling in love with his new grandson grandgod, Acrisius put both mama (Danae) and baby (Perseus) in a chest and tossed them into the sea (emphasis on Stupid in So Many Ways).

Chest travel being one of the relatively less reliable forms of transportation, Acrisius thought he’d gotten rid of them for good and could ignore the Oracle. But what did we say about oracles? Like mothers, they are always right.

Eventually, a fisherman hauled in the chest and was quite surprised to find Danae and baby Perseus, but he took them to land and dried them off and Perseus proceeded to grow up, the son of a single mother, in the land ruled by King Polydectes.

You no doubt remember that Danae was beautiful. King Polydectes was not blind and asked Danae to marry him. She said, “Thanks but no thanks.”

As King, old Polydectes could have taken her by force, but by this time Perseus had grown up into something of a stud. A mom-protecting stud (as all young men should be). Which—in Polydectes’ mind—made Perseus a Problem to Be Dealt With and he came up with a Plan (emphasis on don’t mess with sons who are protecting their moms).

King Polydectes pretended to marry some chick and told everyone to bring a wedding present. Somehow, Danae didn’t add Perseus’ name to the gift, leaving Perseus giftless. (This was a major #FAIL on Danae’s part since she should have known better. But she’d been locked in a tower for a long time and one tends to forget princess etiquette in a tower. Besides, if she’d put his name on the gift we wouldn’t have a story.)

Polydectes pretended to be furious at the slight and provoked Perseus into an argument. Being young and mad Perseus offered to bring Polydectes anything he wanted. The king asked for Medusa’s head.

Let’s review: Medusa turns people (even demigods) who look at her into stone. Quite a useful defense mechanism. Effectiveness rate to this point in the story: 100%. She had been turned into Hideous Medusa by Athena who (for the record) was still seriously ticked off.

Perseus stomped off. After a few days, he realized he didn’t know where he was going, he’d forgotten to bring a GPS, and he had no idea how to fight a Gorgon.

Things were not looking good for Our Hero.

Tune in tomorrow to find out how this ends.

Love, Mom

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What’s a Ragnar?

Dear Kid,

(Don’t tune out—you’re actually going to like this after the first paragraph or so.)

Once upon a time, there was a Viking King named Ragnar. Like most Vikings of Legend, he was the scourge of France and England, the father of many sons who weren’t all exactly devoted to him, went around killing giant serpents, and had a big beard. He probably raped a few people too, but no one talks about that. And since he’s been dead a really long time, he is seen as “a conqueror, a wild man, a leader, fearless, and free-spirited.”

Which is why the founders of Ragnar chose to name their crazy races after him.

Ragnar is a team relay race (12 members per team) over about 200 miles. Yes, you read that right. Each runner runs three times (legs are between 3 and 8 miles of varying difficulty). The rest of the team hops into vans, drives to an exchange point or cheering point, pretends to sleep, and waits for their turn to run.

Just to be clear there is no sailing, warring, or serpent killing during the race. Beards are optional, costumes are encouraged.

Ragnar races are run in a bunch of cities, none of which are Cincinnati, so you don’t have to worry that I’ll enter.

You can stop laughing now.

Love, Mom


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