Archive for the ‘ Miscellanea ’ Category

A Wise Man Once Said…

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

That wise man was Benjamin Franklin, the world’s first international celebrity and a founding father of the United States.

Today is the day of Franklin’s birth, he was born in 1706.

Though he invented many things, helped to shape our nation, and created American Diplomacy, his greatest legacy is is advice.

We could benefit from a refresher course on his thoughts!



Dream Today.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Winter Gold

The Winter Olympics are upon us.  Seriously, less than a month away!

I am always impressed with the athletic prowess and dedication the contestants from all over the world display.

I have zero athletic ability, was always chosen last for baseball, and eventually gave UP and went with my strengths.

Gossip and snark.

Though I’m impressed with all of the athleticism at the games, the figure skating amazes me the most.

Well, that and the ski jumping.

The figure skating combines athletic prowess, power, and art in one tight sport.

The pairs blow my mind.  What trust and strength it must take for a 100 pound woman to allow  her partner to lift her in the air and throw her with as much force as he can and what stamina and ability and talent it must take for her to land on her feet and keep moving?

Really, I can’t even!

A couple, both on and off the ice, Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim took first place in San Jose this weekend and are headed to South Korea.

The ladies and men are just as thrilling.  Time, effort, dedication, skill, strength, stamina; they are all there.

This year Team USA has a chance of taking back the men’s gold with Nathan Chen.  The team includes Vincent Zhou and Adam Rippon, both great, but not expected to place on the podium.  Chen just might get there.

His performances, though scaled back due to his being under the weather, were amazing.  If he’s well and keeps his nerves, he’s a shoe in.

I can’t wait!

There’s Nothing Like a Dame.

So after I wrote my piece on Ringo getting knighted by the Queen, my lifelong friend, Vickie, asked me to proffer some information on ways Her Majesty honors the gals over in Merrie Olde England.

Even though there were a few back in the day, and sexism aside, there are no female Knights per se.

But  there are plenty of ways QE II lets the ladies know they are appreciated.

The biggest is the OBE, or Order of the British Empire.

Once they’ve received the award, they are referred to as Dame.

Not in the way Dean Martin used the word, in this case, it’s an honor.

Dame is an honorific title which is actually the feminine form of knighthood.  They don’t say damehood all that much, as that sounds a bit odd, but Dames they are, and the official website of the British Monarchy uses the term damehood.

Chivalric orders accepting women are ancient, not as old as those for men, but they do go all the way back to 1381 when John V, Duke of Brittany created the Order of the Ermine.

Female knights did exist in many places before John V came UP with his order, and like the guys, they had their own colors and their own coat of arms.

Some even participated in tournaments.  It was all very “title 9.”

But, patriarchal societies ruled the day and it was beyond anyone’s imagination for women to take part in battles or command soldiers.

Of course, there was Joan d’ Arc, but we all know how that ended!

And there were a few others who actually wore armor and were members of official orders, but technically they weren’t knights.

Duchess Gaita of Lombardy rode into battle with her husband; a mercenary named Robert Guiscard, and was a knight in her own right.  She was a Lombard Princess and a raging anti-Semite, so let’s just not waste any time on her!

Another was Petronilla de Grandmesnil, a Countess who wore chain mail, carried a sword, and participated in the rebellion against Henry II of England.

At the onset of male Knighthood in Britain, his wire was called “Dame,” somewhere in the 1600s, that changed to “Lady.”

The Brits made a lot of changes in 1917, they not only changed the name of the Royal Family from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha when the German Gotha VI planes started bombing London during The Great War to Windsor; they added the term “Dame” as the official equivalent of knight when they created the Order of the British Empire.

Since then, they were not necessarily fighting women, but like the knights of today, they added value to the Empire – such as it is.

Although it is considered a great honor, some have turned it down, Vanessa Redgrave and Geraldine McEwan, both British thespians.

There are plenty, of course, who did not.

Here are a few:

Julie Andrews, Joan Colins, Olivia de Haviland, Judi Dench,  Wendy Hiller, Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg, Margaret Routherford, and of course, my favorites, Maggie Smith and Elizabeth Taylor.

Dame Maggie and Dame Judi

Dame Julie and Dame Elizabeth

Just to be sure, it is not just a list of beautiful actresses; one of the 2018 recipients is Dame Cathy Warwick, a midwife.

And like the boys, it’s all about what the ladies have done to make the Empire shine a tad more.