Tiny Dancer

Today is the feast day in the Catholic Church of the beheading of John the Baptist.

Salome with the head of John the Baptist

JTB is described by some reference resources as “ a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century AD.  He is revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Baha’I Faith, and Mandaeism.  He is called a prophet by all these traditions, and is honored as a saint in many Christian traditions.

First of all, Mandaeism is a Gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic world view.  They revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Noah, Shem, Aram, and most especially JTB.  They do however, reject Abraham, Moses, and Jesus; so they are heretics.

Just sayin’.

Back to John.

JTB was the cousin and pre-cursor of Jesus Christ.  When Mary went to tell Elizabeth, her cousin who was preggers with John, the Bible says the child leaped in Elizabeth’s womb; most assuredly because he knew he was in the presence of God the Son still in the womb.

As time would pass, and both children would grow to men, John the Baptist garnered quite the reputation as a fiery preacher.  The Gospels tell us of a messenger sent ahead of Christ;   A voice “crying out in the wilderness.”

He lived simply; wearing clothes of camel’s hair, eating locusts and wild honey – no Cadillacs, Rolexes, and $1000 suits for this guy – and preached repentance like no one had heard it before.

John The Baptist

He also told everyone that he was a messenger, and the real thing would be along shortly.

John said he baptized with water but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

He baptized Jesus and said, “…behold the Son of God.”

JTB wasn’t shy.

Herod Antipas, one of the many Herods that ruled in the Levant, known as Herod the Tetrarch (king lite) was a pawn of the Roman Empire.  He was an autocrat and an all powerful representative of Rome.  He threw John in prison because John had reproved Herod for divorcing his wite, Phasaelis, and illegally marrying Herodias, who was still married to his brother, Herod Philip I.

Hos.

Whilst John the Baptist was in the slammer, Herod’s birthday rolled around.  Herodias was still miffed about the whole you’re living in sin with your brother’s wife thing, so she conspired with her trampy daughter, who historians identify as Salome, to do the hoochie coochie for Herod’s (her step-father) birthday entertainment.

Ca.Reep.Y

Salome dancing

From what is known of history and what is inferred as well as implied in both the Bible and historical accounts, it was a pretty erotic performance and Salome was nigh onto being the first pole dancer in history!

Herod, apparently a devotee of Gentlemen’s Clubs, was all hot and bothered with his birthday present, and promised Salome anything she wanted even to the “…half of his kingdom…”

Mumsy and Salome had previously determined that if Herod offered a gift, the trampy one would ask for the “…head of John the Baptist on a charger…”

Herod, though probably appalled by the request, knew he had to produce and be a man of his word lest he lose face.  He sent word to the fortress of Machaerus, where John was imprisioned, John was beheaded and his severed head brought to the teenager on a platter.

Eww.

Just Eww.

As a reminder that “what comes around goes around”, Herod was later defeated in battle by his father-in-law, Aretas.   And like most of the Herods, he met a brutal end.

Salome was married to a relative – possibly an uncle, Phillip the Tetrarch and was widowed at 20.  She married Aristobulus of Chalcis, became his Queen, had three children, and lived to be about 50, historians aren’t sure of her death date.

Ironically, her name is a derivative of the Hebrew word for peace.

Herod Antipas’ fall from power was the plot of Caligula and Antipas’ nephew, Agrippa.  Agrippa got into debt, Salome’s mom coerced Antipas to loan him money.  Quarrels ensued, Agrippa stormed off, appealed to Caligula who tossed Herod Antipas in the slammer.

That’s one ending.  Josephus tells us that Herodias was jealous of Agrippa’s success, pushed Antipas to ask Caligula for the title of King but Agrippa had Caligula’s ear and was filling his head with all the dirty deeds Herod had done; you know, murder, mayhem, bribes, server in the basement, stuff like that.

When Caligula found out about Herod Antipas’ stockpile of weapons he freaked and put him in prison somewhere near Lyon, France, which wasn’t called that then, but was pretty far away from Galilee.

Caligula, who as history tells us was bat-shit crazy and loved a conspiracy theory more than I do, bought it all.

Historians tell us Antipas died in exile and was “possibly” killed on the orders of Caligula.

Possibly?

Once again, don’t lose your head this Monday!

And “happy” feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist Day?

We use the term loosely.

Cologne; there are hundreds of brands, scents, names, collections.

But Eau de Cologne is a perfume that originated in Cologne, Germany in 1709.  Johann Maria Farina created the scent that would lend its name to all that would come behind it.

eau de cologne

The original formulation has a concentration of 2%-5% depending upon the essential oil or blends used.

In a base dilute of ethanol, eau de cologne contains a mixture of citrus oils which include lemon, orange, tangerine, Clementine, bergamot, lime, grapefruit, blood orange, and bitter orange.

It can also contain oils of neroli, lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, petit grain (orange leaf), jasmine, olive, oleaster, and tobacco.

I started wearing cologne when I was about 14.

It was English Leather at the outset; it was all the rage in 1966.

English Leather Ad

Most men used after-shave; Aqua Velva, Old Spice, Mennen, Brut, stuff like that.

Trio of scent

There were high-end scents for men prior to that, but they were predominantly used by East Coast Toffs; the working man smelled of sweat, cigarettes, beer, and after-shave.

In the mid 1960s, marketing geniuses realized cologne for men would sell, and they did everything they could to sell it.

Hai Karate had commercials that caused guys to run out and buy it even though it smelled horrible.  The ads practically guaranteed you’d have to fight the women off!

Hai Karate

British Sterling was so classy, it was only sold in jewelry stores.

And then, high end department stores like Rike’s, Schillito’s, Pogue’s, and Elder-Beerman started selling colognes.

Of course the old after shave folks fought back.  There were ads with celebrities, movie stars endorsed the “legacy” brands, but it was to no avail.  Men were ready for fragrance.

And it wasn’t just a bottle or two, suddenly; there were men’s fragrance bars in every department store.

The main draw was Aramis.

aramis

Aramis, named for a character from Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers , and launched by the Estee Lauder Company in 1965, took the fragrance world by storm.

They hawked the stuff all over TV, gave away overnight bags, umbrellas, and gifts galore.

There was even an Aramis man, gaining the role was a male model’s big break. Later on, stars would take the role; Ted Dansen, Matthew Mcconaughey, and others.

I, for one, bought it hook, line, and sinker.

I wore Aramis for years, nearly ten years.

But it all changed when I met Paco Rabanne.

Paco

Well, not literally.

I wore that for ten years.

Then TLW decided I needed a new scent, and all of a sudden, it was Halston all over the bathroom counter!

Halston

Hey, it was the late 1980s, Halston was yuge!

And so was my cologne use.  My son advised me that I really didn’t need to marinate in it, but as a smoker (back then, not now), I probably did.

I was usually faithful to my cologne, never having several different brands on the counter. But, from time to time I strayed.

There were dalliances with Obsession,  Azarro, Gio, Gray Flannel, Armani, and Ralph Lauren to name a few.  I usually came back to Paco.

I seemed to like him the best.

But, things change.

Tastes change.

And I find that now, I’m not so picky.

AXE

If it’s citrus, I’ll wear it.

If you don’t like it, don’t get too close.

The evolution of men’s fragrances has been pleasant to the nose.  But, it’s a cut-throat business, with ad-men doing all they can to get you to buy their brand over the one you’re using.

And just as we’ve taken the brand names of Kleenex and xerox, we taken cologne as the generic for fragrances.  But not all fragrances are colognes. Eau de Cologne is a specific scent; the rest are just posers.

Here’s that Hai Karate ad just in case you need a chuckle.

Just Too Many.

 

Detective Winston knew this case should have been a slam dunk, but it wasn’t.

There were just too many suspects.

Suspects

Everyone had motive; his kids hated him, he’d fired nearly every one who worked for him, and he’d cheated on his wife and his girlfriend.

Everyone had opportunity; all of them had seen him the day he died.

And no one had an alibi.

Winston had a decision to make; where to start – the wife or the girlfriend.

image

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was suspect.

Lesson Learned

This is a guest post and SSS from Marie Bryant. I like that this is becoming a regular thing!

Marie

Lesson Learned

At first I felt a little hurt, but in my mind, I knew he was justified and very correct in expressing himself the way he did.

At two years old, I’d taught him to finger-point to his eye, then to his heart, and finally to me so we could non-verbally say “I love you” to each other.

We’d been doing this now for three years, but on my last visit, I did the usual, and he responded with a point to his eye, a point to his heart, and a point down to himself over the top of his head.

“Well, Mamaw, I suspect he’s teaching you something,” I said to myself.

I tried not to look a little sad, wondering if he knew the intensity of my love for him (and if it was being returned), so I smiled and replied with a point to my eye, a point to my heart, and a point toward Heaven.

Child pointing UP

In his young, and yet very wise innocence, he grinned as if he was saying, “You get it, there are others we love, even ourselves,” and then he gave me a big thumbs UP!

image

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was suspect.