Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Odyssey by Homer


The Odyssey
(translated by Robert Fagles)
Written c. 8th C. BC
Greek Poetry
The Well-Educated Mind Poetry
⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

As part of the Well-Educated Mind reading challenge, I completed The Odyssey by Homer. I might not have read it at all had it not been for this reading challenge. I realize that I am not fond of the Ancients, but this story and the translation itself have been both entertaining and pleasurable. 

In my opinion, The Odyssey filled in many missing pieces from The Iliad. I was familiar with the story of the Trojan War, and I thought it was because of the The Iliad; but I now believe that it is because of The Odyssey that I know anything at all. It is through Odysseus, the hero, and his narrative of the events of the War that the reader gets a better picture of what took place at Troy. 

Odysseus, the great Greek warrior and king of Ithaca, struggled for ten years to get home, on top of the ten drawn out years battling the Trojans. On their way, he and his warriors endured treacherous and gruesome trials, many of which ended in death. The reader experiences these adventures, or obstacles, rather, mainly through the stories that Odysseus told to others. They were like a flashbacks.

One of the adventures included time on the island of the Cyclops, where Odysseus and his men were captured (and some eaten) until Odysseus killed Polyphemus, Poseidon's son, causing Poseidon to pursue Odysseus continuously and seek revenge throughout his voyage home. 

Next, they stayed with King Aeolus, who gave Odysseus a bag of wind to help them get home sooner, which they would have had the men not opened the bag, forcing them off course. 

Another trial took place on Circe's island for a year, in which she transformed Odysseus' men into pigs, though Odysseus was spared by eating an herb he received from Hermes. Odysseus had to appease Circe in order to restore the men's humanity, and then she sent him to see Tiresias in the Underworld, where he gave Odysseus prophecies about the remainder of his journey.

A memorable trial was sailing past the Sirens, whose beautiful singing caused sailors to kill themselves when they heard them. But because Tiresias had warned in advance, Odysseus had his men stop up their ears with wax and secure his body to the mast so that he could not jump overboard. He wanted to hear their voices and live.

Waterhouse: Ulysses and the Sirens, 1891

On the Island of the Sacred Cattle, Odysseus' men angered the gods and were destroyed because they ate the cattle. He alone survived and ended up on Calypso's island where she kept him miserable for seven lonely years. When she relented, she gave him a raft to get home, until Poseidon destroyed it. 

Odysseus barely made it to another island where he was well attended and refreshed by the king and princess. Here Odysseus told them his long stories of all that had happened to him and how he was trying to get home to his kingdom, his wife, and their son. Sympathetic, the king outfitted Odysseus with his best ship and sailors, and Odysseus finally made it to Ithaca.  

Meanwhile, in Ithaca, during those last years, Penelope, Odysseus' wife, had been pursued by suitors, who were merely interested in the kingdom. They loitered the palace and ate Odysseus' food and drank his wine. Tactfully, Penelope played a game, weaving a shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes, which she expected he would need once he learned that Odysseus was dead, as supposed. She promised the suitors she would choose the lucky one once she had completed the shroud. But at night, she unwound all of her work only to begin again in the morning, so as to prolong the regretful day. 

Seddon: Penelope, 1800s

When the suitors discovered her trick, they called her on it, and she had to yield. However, it was just in time because Odysseus had arrived home. Together with his son, Telemachus -- who had also recently arrived from searching abroad for news of his father -- they made a plan to challenge the suitors. 

With the help of Athena, she disguised Odysseus as an old beggar. Without recognizing her husband, Penelope took the beggar into her home and catered to him, as the suitors mocked him. Penelope made her decision how to choose a suitor, but it involved a feat only her husband could solve; so when the old beggar took a shot, he was the only one able to achieve it, which led to the final battle and victory over all of the suitors. 

Even still, convincing Penelope that he was her husband was another trial. When he revealed the one trait only he could know about their bed which he built for them, it was then that Penelope knew: Odysseus was finally home. 

In the final chapter, the following day, Odysseus visited his grieving father, and then he prepared himself to be avenged by all the fathers of the suitors he and his son killed the night before. Fortunately, Athena intervened in time and brought peace to all of Ithaca for good. 

My final thoughts: I am really pleased with the Fagles translation. I believe it suited me well. If you prefer a more poetic reading, maybe there are translations that would serve better. This one was very readable. The adventures are thrilling and intriguing, even for a 21st century mind. The descriptions and comparisons of humans as godlike were cheesy - not realistic at all -- but it's 8th century Greek poetry, right? I had to get over that. 

One last opinion: I wish The Odyssey ended with the reunion between Odysseus and Penelope because the continuation of the final chapter ruined the mood for me. I think the meeting with Laertes was important, but the battle with the dead suitors' fathers took away from the previous chapter's event. I wish it ended without the last chapter, but there is nothing I can do about that either. So that's it.

And now, I leave you with this outstanding, massive Lego build of the story of The Odyssey. If you are a fan of this Greek poem, you will want to see this:

Monday, November 15, 2021

Sweet Land of Liberty (Old Times in the Colonies) by Charles Coffin


Sweet Land of Liberty (Old Times in the Colonies)
Charles C. Coffin
Published 1880
Early / Colonial American History
⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

When I looked upon my unread bookshelf for another book to begin, I pulled Sweet Land of Liberty down and read the cover. The inscription beneath the title reads: To inspire Americans to return to, " nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all." That is what prompted me to read it, without hesitation.

Charles C. Coffin (1823-1896), an American Civil War correspondent, wrote numerous wonderful books about important topics, including independence, liberty, and the fight against tyranny. This particular title, also known as Old Times in the Colonies, focuses on the American Colonial period -- from the European discovery of the new continent to the eve of the Revolutionary War. 

Before this book, Coffin had written two other stories -- I call them stories because his method of writing about history is a pleasantly-told narrative. One was The Boys of '76, published in 1876, and is purely about the battles of the Revolutionary War. Then he wrote The Story of Liberty, an amazing work of five hundred years of history from the signing of the Magna Charta in Runnymede, England, to the settlements of Jamestown and Plymouth in America. Old Times in the Colonies was meant to fill in the time between these two other titles.

Coffin wrote Old Times for children that they may see how history is connected and how events cause other events; how men and women have struggled against tyranny for ages; and how the advancement of certain situations and impacts helped prepared new civilizations for self-government. 
Men die, generations come and go, but ideas live on.

By the way, this is not a typical child's history book. I suppose it was written with children of the late 1800s in mind, but it is not child-like, nor does it shade the truth about war, mass slaughter, and indiscriminate bloodshed. Coffin made obvious the connections between England and America, and how the English colonists were affected by the conflicts between England and France or Spain. I did not realize how much carnage and butchery there was before the Revolution.

The author followed the story of exploration into Canada and the American colonies; development of individual colonies, which later become independent states; interaction with Native Americans and their involvement with the European and French forces in America; and conflicts between France, the Catholic Church, and the Protestants.

All of the events which took place leading up to America's Revolution had a purpose and meaning. These events "tell the story of a great nation, the growth of individual liberty, and the coming of constitutional government in the Western World." But through it all, Coffin was certain that "Right, Justice, and Liberty" always "advances" and that America would spread great ideas and lead the world to something great and glorious. 

Since I have read three of his books, I am confident that he is one of my favorite early American historical writers. I would like to read more from Coffin in the future. Here are some of this other titles, many of which can be read for free on Internet Archive:

Our New Way Around the World

My Days and Nights on the Battlefield

Redeeming the Republic

Freedom Triumphant

Abraham Lincoln

Daughters of the Revolution and Their Times

Marching to Victory

Chalres Carleton Coffin

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien


The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien
Published 1937
juvenile fantasy / children's lit

I had first read The Hobbit to my young children eight years ago, and we just finished it a second time today. Even my sixteen-year old enjoyed listening to it again. 

I had forgotten what a comforting and liberating ending it has. My favorite moment is this realization that there is a hopeful time of peace once victory is achieved, though not without significant effort, sacrifice, and loss.
The elf host was on the march; and if it was sadly lessened, yet many were glad, for now the northern world would be merrier or many a long day. The dragon was dead, and the goblins overthrown, and their hearts looked after winter to a spring of joy. 

Maybe there are stronger, more valuable quotes from the story, but this was the passage where I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders -- a hopefulness greater than the story itself, a restoration and peace -- what human hearts long for. I know mine certainly does.   

Possibly I was more sensitive to it today because my kids and I simultaneously completed our history on D-Day, of how it led to the end of Hitler and his stranglehold on Europe. That feat was not accomplished lightly, and yet in eleven months following that longest day, the assault attained its goal: the end of a mad man; the end of what seemed like endless terror. 

So too, the characters in The Hobbit are tasked with righting a wrong, defeating evil and terror, and meeting numerous daunting adventures along the way. Granted, Tolkien wrote this plot for his young son; hence, it is a story for juveniles -- though you may be a child at heart, which will suit you fine -- and therefore, it is woven with humor, charm, and lightheartedness. 

But what child does not know the triumph and victory over danger and evil? I believe we all know it well, as it is written on our hearts, and particularly why the ending is so significant. 

I am not a fantasy-type reader, but this story is still a pleasure for me. Maybe it is because I do live through the adventures of my protagonists, or maybe because I covet a hobbit hole, a warm fire, and a book to read. Over all, The Hobbit is satisfyingly good for the heart. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Covid-19: The Great Reset

Covid-19: The Great Reset
Klaus Schwab / Thierry Malleret
Published June 2020
German dystopia
⭐/ 5

I read Covid-19: The Great Reset earlier this year, but I have to add it to my blog because it demonstrates why I hate tyranny. This essay is a warning and a wake up call; and all who love freedom and all who still use reason and can think for themselves must read it.

Granted, it is difficult to ingest, but not for the reason you may think. I would place it at a 7th grade reading level. Even the economic jargon is juvenile. It is difficult because if you have red blood running through your veins, it should boil. This is the future, and we may not have much recourse.

Klaus Schwab

Here is my overview: 

A small international elite group of wealthy globalists are preparing a utopian one world oligarch at the expense of human lives and livelihoods, and they do not want or need our input. They will be our new overlords, and we will comply or be cancelled. At present, they have control of all the international institutions that influence the nations' healthcare, banks, trade, money,  economies, and governments, and they have the blueprint to unite one government over all the people. All they need now is complete compliance of all governments and corporations, as well as the technology to begin total surveillance of every human being.

The authors of this essay tell readers that Covid will hardly leave a dent, but it was and is the catalyst they wanted or needed to begin the Great Reset. In other words, Covid, or coronavirus, HAS NOT disrupted society as claimed by the media. The Great Reset has been in the works for years, and yet they wrote this essay as if they had a year or more to observe the destruction of the scamdemic and investigate its real outcomes; but one can see right through that.
The real driving force behind the GR was to be and still is the environment, or climate change, and they have convinced many governments and corporations that it is the most dire issue, though there are other issues: social issues, worker protection plans, and control of human consumption.

For example, if businesses, companies, industries, or corporations are not WOKE enough or cannot demonstrate that they are compliant with the sustainable development goals that the global cabal sets, then those businesses will struggle and eventually be ostracized and fail. The global government will also scrutinize individual personal behaviors. If you don't change your bad habits, you, too, can and will struggle and be cancelled from society.

They want to micromanage your life and your health; limit what goods you may purchase and foods you may eat; determine where you live and prevent you from traveling far from home. You probably won't own a car or a house, as that will be reserved for the elite. And with technology, they want to observe everything you do and where you go, as well as track how you feel, what you think, and how you react to social issues or behave in society.

That's mental illness right there.

The global elite want to institute their own religious utopia. They hate God, the Creator, but they want to be God and god-like, and it is why they desire to read your heart and mind and to legislate morality, which they label: fairness, kindness, and equity. Forget any future dreams for you or your children because personal interests are self-centered, and may not be in the best interest of the whole; they want all to consider a "common good" approach to life.

They may give the impression that they care about people, especially the downtrodden, but do not be fooled. They don't genuinely give a crap about George Floyd or society's so-called victims. It's all a facade. If anything, these are the most racist, prejudiced, heartless, godless individuals pushing the GR.

One thing about tyrannical commie/socialists/fascists (they are all these things) is that they really suck when it comes to economics. At some point, they will run out of resources and other people's money after utterly destroying billions of lives and mismanaging the world. No one will be able to work except in a few preserved sectors like technology, healthcare, and synthetic food development. Everything will fail because man cannot micromanage billions of people (although controlling population is also part of the scheme) and their local communities and economies. Yet the establishment is so far removed from reality because they live in a fantasy elite world apart from reason and common sense.

There is a timeline for a full completion of the GR: 2030, though sooner, they desire, which is why they want the COVID FEAR & COMPLIANCE EXERCISE to LINGER for YEARS. Never let a good crisis go to waste!

The Great Reset is a wicked, evil, selfish, self-centered, vile idea, and I hope God has immediate plans for those involved because it is going to be almost impossible for us to stop them. The world's corrupt governments and corporations and industries are so entangled with these global institutions. They are literally handing over the reins to these godless elite. 

P.S. If you don't know Christ, He is not a tyrannical overlord, such as these men and women desire to be -- implementing their wicked science and technology on the people. God put Freedom on our hearts, which is why America was founded on liberty. The GR is the opposite of who God is, and it is why they desire to dissolve personal liberty and freedom forever. God gives us total freedom to be personally responsible with our own lives; we don't need man to legislate morality. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

A Covid Story

I wonder how many people are left in the world who have not gotten Covid. I have been around Covid numerous times since the beginning, but I have only recently experienced symptoms this summer.

It was Saturday, August 30. My family was invited to a party hosted by a family from church. In fact, it was only attended by church families, and it was mostly outdoors unless we went inside to get food. 

The following day, Sunday, we were all at church, although my 13-year old and I left early to go to the dance studio for dance recital photos. One of her classmates had a sore throat, and she was wearing a mask, as if that would prevent transmission of germs. 

Sunday evening, many of us party attenders returned to church for a separate prayer meeting. I had a terrible head ache that night, but I was confident it was because of the Southern California fire that was hovering over the outdoor party the night before. Plus my eyes were burning and my nose was running, which is what happens when I am exposed to frequent wildfires.

Monday morning I received word that my 78-year old father, who has late stage Parkinson's and resides in an assisted living facility in Florida, tested positive for Covid. For the remainder of the day I was focused on his health and well being. After speaking to him, he was distraught that he was not going to make it. He had difficulty walking and his breathing was labored. And because of his Parkinson's, he was unable to swallow any vitamins that would have helped him fight his infection.

I told my brother, who lives near our dad, that he needed to get to a hospital that morning. It was imperative that they treat him early, as this was only his second day with symptoms. My brother worked the details out, and EMT took our dad to emergency.

The rest of the day, I worried about my father. In addition, my daughter told me that she had a sore throat, and she was developing a cough. I thought, begrudgingly, "Oh, great! Now she has a sore throat like her classmate. See, masks don't work." 

I told her she should skip dance class that night, and she begged me to go because it was their final night practicing the teacher dance, as next week was the recital. I gave her a handful of cough drops and told her to suck on them if she felt like coughing.

Meanwhile, I noticed that I was getting a sore throat and a cough, too. And I developed a fever blister on my lip, which usually tells me I am nervous about something, which I suspected was because I still had not heard from my brother on the condition of our father. I called a friend and asked her to help me calm down because I was really worried. I had been crying all evening because I could do nothing else. She suggested I just call the hospital in Florida and ask for an update. Before I called, I asked her to also pray for my 13-year old who was getting sick and had to be well for recital next week, and for me because I felt like I was also on the precipice of being sick. 

When I called the hospital, it was 1130pm EST. I spoke to a pleasant nurse who told me my father had a slight fever, but was resting and on room air. They gave him some antibiotics. However, since he was fine, they were going to send him home the next day, but they had been in talks with my brother who was insistent that they treat our father with the Regeneron Antibody treatment, which they did not do there. She told me that some people listen to the news and they don't get the proper information. I thought, to myself, "Well, I don't know anything about that; so I'll leave it to my very informed brother." 

Within a few minutes, I received a call back from the nurse who permitted my father to call me on her cell, and he sounded very weak, but much better than when I spoke to him earlier in the morning. I was still very grateful he was at the hospital. I think. 

Tuesday my 13-year old and I definitely had coughs, major headaches, runny noses and scratchy throats. We finished up the cough medicine in the cabinet, and my husband bought us more. She also told me that another girl in her class had similar symptoms and her mother planned to take her to get a Covid test  Tuesday morning. As for my daughter: she would miss the remainder of dance classes that week; and it was just as well because she slept for most of the next three days. 

Back in Florida, my brother was having a nervous breakdown because the hospital was determined to send our father back to his facility without any treatments, not even Hydroxychloriquine or Ivermectin. They said he was not a good candidate for the antibody treatment, and he wasn't bad enough. They said, if he got worse, he could come back. (Oh, you mean, when he can no longer breath and needs to be on a ventilator? No, thanks.) 

My brother begged me to find someone who would prescribe Ivermectin. So here in California I searched online for doctors who would prescribe it, and I found a list for Florida. I said, "God, I have no idea what I am doing, so please direct me." The fourth contact on the list I made connection with a live person and was transferred to a very empathetic woman who told me not to worry because they would take care of my father. They were located in the same city as my dad. I was in tears. 

First they would need to talk with my brother that same day, over the phone, to get all of my father's information, and then they would send the prescription along with numerous other medicine to help him. After my brother spoke to the doctor, he told me it was the best phone call he had in 24-hours. Everything was set up and he would receive the prescription before the end of the week.

A half hour later, my brother called me again to tell me the hospital had decided to send our father to a nearby clinic to receive the Regeneron after all. They would still discharge him, but Wednesday he could go to the clinic for the treatment. We were so grateful. 

Wednesday, dad received four shots of Regeneron and then was sent home to recover. He was quite weak and fell three times while he was at his apartment, which was frustrating because he should not have been alone while regaining his strength. But there was nothing I could do, or my brother who was prohibited from seeing our dad since the entire facility was on lock down thanks to our father's Covid episode. 

By Thursday, my 13-year old and I had gone through 3 bottles of cough medicine, but on Friday, we were improved. My 14-year old mentioned that he had been experiencing a scratchy throat, but that was all. And no one else in our household had felt sick or had symptoms. 

Then, on Friday, we received interesting news: five couples in our church tested positive for Covid. And they were all at the party on August 30, with us. They were, at varying degrees, experiencing cold symptoms during the week, and most of them had to be tested for work - all of them positive. 

So, did that mean we had Covid, too? I sure hoped so because if this was Covid, then it was a big fat  nothing. Nonetheless, all the families that had these symptoms stayed home from church. Six families, parents and children, did not attend. We already attend a small church, so half of our church was missing. And even though only myself and two of my kids had any symptoms during the week, we all stayed home that Sunday. 

It was noted that everyone present at the party who had been inoculated (at least four couples) did not get symptoms; but it also was noted that those at the party who already had Covid in 2020 or earlier this year (and were not inoculated - at least three families), also did not have symptoms. Only those of us who did not have Covid before or were not inoculated, had symptoms of the virus; and it was mostly the adults who were sick, or tested positive, and just a few of the children. 

By the second week, we were over Covid, though several families were still struggling with a cough, exhaustion, or a sinus infection, and they remained away from church for three weeks just to be safe. But my kids and I were much better, and I was able to deliver some strong cough medicine, cough drops, and cinnamon tea to some of those still dealing with it. Many of them tried to get Ivermectin, which is difficult. Only one person went to the hospital, but it was because he fell while coughing and thought he broke his collar bone. But most of them said that their symptoms were really mild, though they just lingered a long time. 

I cannot explain why my husband or older son and daughter did not show symptoms other than they all believe they had Covid way back in the beginning of 2020, before anyone knew much about it. But we'll never know unless they get an antibody test.

And as for my father, I called him every day for several weeks, and he sounded even better than before he got Covid. Other than falling down three times, he only suffered through the symptoms for four days until he received the Regeneron, and each day he grew stronger. Even his Parkinson's seemed to improve. He did not need the Ivermectin after all. When he started to complain about politics, we knew he was healed. 

Since March 2020, I have been on a regiment of vitamins C, D3, Zinc, and quercetin (though I began taking quercetin this year.). This is my anti-Covid regiment. I rarely get respiratory illnesses, though I have terrible allergies. I don't believe I have ever gotten the flu. I have never had a flu shot, nor do I plan to get one. Same with the experimental environmental tracker shot that they are forcing on everyone. I rather have natural immunity anyway, and that is good enough for me and my family. 

When everyone was well and back at church, we had a time of praising God for what He had been doing in our lives. One man stood up and thanked God for giving him Covid because it was a reminder to him to depend on God and others. I agreed that it was a blessing because the world can only panic and live in fear, but Christians can pray and serve one another. Some of us brought meals to others, and some brought medicine, and all of us prayed for one another. Everyone helped as each had need. 

While the rest of the world endlessly seeks to find ways to eradicate sickness and death, Christians know both will always be with us; we know it is during these times of weakness that we can best help each other through prayer, encouragement, and service.