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 Post subject: Random Fact of the Day
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, '08, 5:34 pm 
Did you know that candy was made by the Minoan people over 5,000 years ago? It was first made from honey after one daring soul succeeded in domesticating honey bees.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, '08, 6:25 pm 
No, I did not know that Heikabuchi. Very interesting. Hurray for The Minoans, and that one brave soul! I wonder what their kind of candy tasted like????

I love candy! :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, '08, 6:46 pm 
lol. :P Well it was probobly extremely potent. I mean, they really didn't have any limits on how much honey they could pack into a single peice of candy. In fact, candy was such a unique and tasty treat that it was exported and used to trade with Egypt. ;D


'Cause knowledge is power!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, '08, 6:54 pm 
Wow, I wouldn't have thought candy was invented so long ago. That's a really cool fact.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, '08, 9:35 pm 
Good to know! :laugh_lucca:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, '08, 11:43 pm 
Where would we be without the invention of candy? :yaknow:

Did you know? In the 1800s, drinking "tea" made from boiled old shoes was thought to cure disease. Now you know!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, '08, 3:08 pm 
Ewwwwwww! Old leather tea? GROSS!! >.<


Did you know that the grey mold that pops up on rotten strawberries is the same mold that German wine makers use to produce extremely high quality "Noble rot wine?" The mold is called "Botrytis cinerea" and it sucks water out of the grapes, leaving solidified crystal clusters of sugar and other goodies in the grapes so the wine can be a concentrated bouquet of sugary goodness. Unfortunately, Botrytis cinerea (Grey Mold) is a nasty little fungus and, gone unchecked, can ruin an entire batch of grapes if left unattended for even a single hour. This is why some batches of grapes with Noble rot are watched closely by wine makers who stay with them all night to make sure that the Noble Rot doesn't turn into a colony of Grey fungi.

That's it for todays fact! =)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, '08, 6:32 pm 
Alright, this is a long one but I think it's really interesting. I know, I'm posting two facts in one day, but this one is worth it for anyone who finds Greek culture to be interesting.
Here it goes!

Hellenistic Greece (400 B.C – 100 A.D) was the first Greek era to stray from the values of Humanism, and this can be observed in their sculpture.
Platonic idealism began to diminish, so many of the pure masculine features seen in sculpture of the previous era, are no longer present in Hellenistic sculpture. This is not to say that all traces Platonic Idealism vanished from Greek sculpture, it simply means that they have degraded and sculpture now allows less masculine features to be present in artwork.

One example of Hellenistic sculpture is marble Hermes with the Baby Dionysus. In Classical Greek sculpture depicting gods (and humans), figures were in a constant state of awareness, as though they were ready to react to stimuli within an instant. This cannot be said of Hermes with the Baby Dionysus. In this sculpture, the figures are shown in-the-round, and surprisingly relaxed. Hermes is shown leaning on a mysterious wooden peg, –which I will get back to in a moment– and (allegedly) attempting to entertain the baby Dionysus who is perched on Hermes’ arm that is positioned much like the way a bird handler position his/her arm so a bird-of-prey can perch. These things would be considered extreme taboo and possibly blasphemous in Classical Greece because Hermes is being depicted in a maternal role, nurturing Zeus’ unwatned son and in the way he, Hermes, is shown as being curious about Dionysus thus rejecting the prospect that males –nay, gods– have perfect knowledge.
Because most artwork during the Hellenistic era was privately commissioned, Hermes with one of Zeus’ many son’s, Dionysus, would have been viewed in the private garden of a well-to-do family who would no doubt gawk at the complex, though unnecessary, mimesis of the cloth draped over the post supporting the weight of Hermes. Mimesis is also shown in Hermes posture. His legs appear to support some of his weight, but around mid-pelvis, his weight is lazily shifted to the post. If we had lived during the Hellenistic period, and assuming that we were both of the Greek Elite class then both you, the reader, and I, the writer, would probably sit in the garden of our host, sip our wine, and shift our gaze from Hermes to Dionysus and reflect on the question wordlessly given to us by the sculpture: What is the meaning of life? And are we, humans, subject to the same trials as the gods?
The reason we might ask this, is because, as I hinted at before, Dionysus is not the son Hermes, but the womanizer, pardon my Greek blasphemy, we have come to know as Zeus. Zeus, the mighty god of all gods –sarcasm highly intended– was indeed a serial rapist, whose actions went unchallenged. However, when Zeus gets the news that he’s the new daddy of a new demi-god, who would later be elevated the status of a god at the hands of Zeus no less, does what most modern day teenage fathers do; give the baby to someone else, and sever contact with the birth-mother.
Poor Hermes, messenger to the gods and proud owner of the coolest sandals in the heavens, gets the little Dionysus shoved into his hands by the god of gods. Being the messenger god, Hermes is not in any position to refuse Zeus, so he accepts the little tike and is forced to deal with a problem that is not rightfully his own.
This story would wind through our Hellenistic heads and lead us to reflect on our own problems, some of which were not our own, and we would somehow feel good about ourselves knowing that poor ol’ Hermes a god of all things, has the same thing happen to him.

Another proud and prime example of marvelous Hellenistic sculpture is
Winged Nike of Samothrace. So you do not confuse the goddess of victory with the leading brand of sports shoe, let me emphasize that Nike is Athena. Athena has two identities: Athena Nike, goddess of victory, and Athena Parthenos, the virgin goddess. Now you know why Nike (The shoe company) chose their name.
Winged Nike of Samothrace brought mimesis to a new extreme. Athena, who from here on will be referred to as Nike, is shown in a robe that has been sculpted so that it appears as if it were being manipulated by a forceful wind pushing the garb tightly against her form. Each individual feather in her wings is so intricately crafted and the wings themselves so accurately resemble the flight of birds, that it must be noted that extensive observations of birds wings just prior to flight must have been done in order to achieve this, what I would dare to call, almost perfect mimesis. Though Nike’s arms are no longer with us, it is presumed that they were outstretched, holding a victory wreath, thus presenting victory to the prow naval ship upon which she was mounted. Because Nike was mounted upon a prow, the implied wind blowing her garment aft makes even more sense and all the more impressive.

Lastly, we will observe the impressive, and yet gruesome, Laocoon and His Sons. In Classical Greece, this would be blasphemous because it inspires you and I, again as we take on the roles of Greek Elites, to question the actions of our Platonic, brutish ancestors when they pulled off that Trojan Horse maneuver that everyone has been raving about for the past hundred years or so. Laocoon stands, or rather attempts to stand, with his two sons while being killed by sea snakes sent by our glorious god of the sea, Poseidon. Until the fall of Platonic idealism, enemies of Greece were not perceived as humans and this made killing them much more justifiable. After all, there is nothing wrong with killing things that are not in the same species as you, right? Because the sculpture of anything that does not fall into Platonic idealism is no longer blasphemous, you and I can observe this sculpture while sipping the wine so generously provided by our host, and note the anguish stressed over Laocoon and his sons. After processing the anguish that has been projected –nay, forced- upon us, we can shift our gazes and observe the uneasiness in those around us and assuming that you have the gall –I say “you”, because I wouldn’t dare question the gods, lest they smite me like poor Laocoon– to ask ”Should we do what’s best for others? I mean, look at this poor, unfortunate soul. For the love of Zeus, he’s being torn apart by the great Poseidon’s sea creatures just because he tried to warn his fellow Trojans that our ancestors were invading his city!” After the long, awkward silence that would no doubt follow your brave statement, you would either be struck down by Zeus for your blasphemy or, most likely, hear your peers follow you question with “Were we right to invade the Trojan city? Dear Zeus, Laocoon looks human!” At this juncture, the party would either continue with their questions, or follow the observation that Laocoon looks human, and examine the sculpture to try to figure out what exactly makes him look human? The answer to the latter question is the amazing mimesis present in all three human figures. The reason I dare not call the sea snakes mimetic, is because who the hell knows what a sea monster looks like? The fishermen are always telling stories about sea monsters, but you can’t really believe them. After all, they’re always getting drunk down at the dock. But I digress from the fishermen’s sea monsters, and egress back to the mimesis on the humans. Laocoon’s expression is that of agony and regret that he failed to warn his countrymen of the Greeks dishonorable scheme. His every muscle is tense and flexed as they make a futile attempt at prying the sea monster from his body. Sure, mimesis is present in the muscles of Laocoon’s sons, but they are not nearly as engaged as Laocoons. Now, after the party has finished observing the figures, someone would most likely notice the drapery. When I say drapery, I am referring to the sculpted cloth that loosely hangs over the right sons shoulder (serving as a post) and the cloth under Laocoon and his son to the left. True, these cloths don’t really add to the story the sculpture thrusts upon us, but they do not take away from the story either. In fact, the cloth under the left son and Laocoon looks rather nice. The drapery on the right not only adds aesthetic value, but also as I mentioned before, serves as a post to support the weight of the figure.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, '08, 8:21 pm 
I can't believe I actually read all of that and understood it.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, '08, 8:48 pm 
Well, I can honestly say I didn't know any of that. Interesting facts about the shoes and noble rot.

And what an analysis of the sculpture! That must have taken you some time to type up.

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