Archive for Miscellaneous

Columbus sought gold to fund crusade to retake Jerusalem from Muslims?

christopher-columbus

A Columbia magazine interview with Carol Delaney detailed her background:

[A] cultural anthropologist and long-time professor at Stanford University, had little knowledge or interest in Columbus — that is, until she was teaching a course called “Millennial Fever” at Stanford in 1999 and came across a reference to the explorer’s apocalyptic beliefs. Delaney was intrigued and set out to research Columbus at Brown University in the summer of 2003. Two years later, she retired from Stanford to devote herself to research, which launched a remarkable journey in the footsteps of the explorer.

The same interview discusses Delaney’s book, Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America.

From the interview:

Everybody knows that Columbus was trying to find gold, but they don’t know what the gold was for: to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims before the end of the world. A lot of people at the time thought that the apocalypse was coming because of all the signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes and so forth. And it was believed that before the end, Jerusalem had to be back in Christian hands so that Christ could return in judgment. Columbus actually calculated how many years were left before the end of the world. He seemed to think of his whole voyage as a mission, which was part of this apocalyptic scenario.

Delaney also discusses Columbus wanting to evangelize and convert the natives after they were instructed in the faith properly. She points out that Columbus thought he could convert the Grand Khan of China to Christianity and that his forces could march on Jerusalem from the east. She also wrote about Columbus ordering his men to treat the natives with respect.

Delaney’s assessment of Columbus and his successes:

He was angry with King Ferdinand for not pursuing the crusade, and he recognized that terrible crimes had been committed. From this point of view, he felt the quest was a failure. In reality, it was a major accomplishment. Columbus went across the ocean four times in small wooden ships, without the use of modern instruments. In the process, he discovered the New World, even though he thought that he had found only the periphery of Asia.

 

From a review of Delaney’s book:

Delaney argues that Columbus was inspired to find a western route to the Orient not only to obtain vast sums of gold for the Spanish Crown but primarily to fund a new crusade to take Jerusalem from the Muslims before the end of the world—a goal that sustained him until the day he died. Drawing from oft-ignored sources, some from Columbus’s own hand, Delaney depicts her subject as a thoughtful interpreter of the native cultures that he and his men encountered, and tells the tragic story of how his initial attempts to establish good relations with the natives turned badly sour. Showing Columbus in the context of his times rather than through the prism of present-day perspectives on colonial conquests reveals a man who was neither a greedy imperialist nor a quixotic adventurer, but a man driven by an abiding religious passion. Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem is not an apologist’s take, but a clear-eyed, thought-provoking, and timely reappraisal of the man and his legacy.

Tonight’s Musical Interlude: Forgot About Dre

dre-eminem

Tonight’s Musical Interlude is Forgot about Dre by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem. Consider yourself warned for strong language if you choose to play it.

DC ranked 2nd snobbiest city in America

dc-flag

Movoto ranks DC the 2nd snobbiest big city in America behind only San Francisco. No wonder Nancy Pelosi fits in so well in both places.

Here’s the top 10 (full data):

  1. San Francisco
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Seattle
  4. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  5. Oakland, Calif.
  6. Portland, Ore.
  7. Irvine, Calif. (tie)
  8. Honolulu (tie)
  9. Madison, Wis.
  10. Atlanta

The criteria used:

  • Median home price (the higher the better)
  • Median household income (the higher the better)
  • Percent of population with a college degree (the higher the better)
  • Private schools per capita (the more the better)
  • Performing arts per capita (the more the better)
  • Art galleries per capita (the more the better)
  • Fast food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)

Taco Bell testing a taco “shell” made of a biscuit

biscuit-taco

Foodbeast has the details:

Their new Biscuit Taco touts a “warm, flakey, golden brown biscuit that happens to be shaped in the form of a taco.”

The biscuit tacos they are testing for their breakfast menu include:

  • Sausage, Egg and Cheese
  • Bacon, Egg, and Cheese
  • Sausage and Cheese
  • Egg and Cheese
  • Sausage and Gravy
  • Chicken with jalapeno honey sauce

They have already been tested in Atlanta and San Antonio and are currently being tested in Los Angeles and Orange County in California, according to Foodbeast.

Low-calorie Coca-Cola Life debuts in Fresh Market Stores

coca-cola-lifecoke-life

AJC.com

Grocer The Fresh Market said on Monday that Coca-Cola’s new lower-calorie soda Coca-Cola Life has hit shelves in select locations of the chain’s stores in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Based in Greensboro, N.C., The Fresh Market is the exclusive retail partner for the launch of the beverage through mid-October, the company said Monday.

[…]

Coca-Cola Life, introduced in 2013 in Argentina and Chile, ditches high fructose corn syrup for sugar and the sweetener stevia. It’s Atlanta-based Coke’s way to attract consumers who want the full-bodied taste of regular Coke without all the calories. A 330-ml can of Coca-Cola Life, for instance, contains 89 calories. A similar size can of regular Coke has around 140 calories.

The product will go on sale nationally in October 2014. No word on whether Fresh Market will be expanding it to their other states before then. Pepsi’s answer to Coca-Cola Life is Pepsi Next.

2014 Nun Run will raise money for the Little Sisters of the Poor in Baltimore

nun-run-logo

On September 13, the Little Sisters of the Poor will hold the inaugural Nun Run, a 5K run and a 1 mile run/walk, to raise money for St. Martin’s home in Baltimore. The event takes place at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. There will be refreshments, entertainment, and a gift bag for all participants. The mission of St. Martin’s is to serve the elderly poor with independent living apartments, assisted living, and skilled nursing care.

The Little Sisters live at St. Martin’s and are there 24/7. Their goal is that no one dies alone.

More on their philosophy:

  • We adhere to all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those concerning the sanctity of human life.
  • We reject all forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide and protect our Residents from these practices, as well as from all forms of abuse and neglect.
  • The compassionate care and accompaniment of the dying is the summit of our ministry. At St. Martin’s it is our goal that no one die alone.

With the assistance of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Little Sisters of the Poor (the national congregation) filed suit against the federal government over the HHS Mandate. The Becket Fund has a good website on that suit as well as on the mission and values of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

I have friends running in the race as well as members of my Knights of Columbus council who are participating.

You should participate as well. If you aren’t running or walking, you can still make a donation.

More information:

Florida tops list of scariest states

scariest-map

Estately ranked the 10 Scariest States in America and Florida topped the list at #1.

Florida’s entry:

The most dangerous state in America is the most likely place to experience a real life Sharknado. Or even a Sharkicane. Both are sometimes accompanied by Sharkning, which is terrifying.

Hurricanes—1st, Shark Attacks—1st, Tornadoes—1st, Lightning3rd, Spiders—5th

The complete top ten:

  1. Florida
  2. Georgia
  3. Texas
  4. Louisiana
  5. Alabama
  6. North Carolina
  7. California
  8. South Carolina
  9. Mississippi
  10. Virginia

From South Carolina’s listing:

The only thing we have to fear in South Carolina is just about everything.

Murderers—3rd, Shark Attacks—4th, Hurricanes—5th, Spiders—5th, Meth Users—7th

Maryland ranked 25th:

At least there are no bears in Baltimore.

Lightning—5th, Murderers—7th, Dentists—8th

Here are the criteria used:

  1. Bears:  Estimated black bear population per 10,000 square miles (source: Black Bear Society).
  2. Clowns:  The number of clowns per capita available for hire (source: National Clown Directory).
  3. Prison:  Incarceration rate per capita (source: U.S. Department of Justice).
  4. Flying:  Total airline passenger boardings among the 62 largest U.S. airports in 2013 (source: F.A.A.)
  5. Hurricanes:  The number of direct hurricane hits for individual states from 1851-2004 (source:  N.O.A.A.).
  6. Shark Attacks:  Total number of unprovoked shark attacks from 1837-2013 (source: Florida University International Shark Attack File).
  7. Spiders:  Total number of venomous spider species (source: Venombyte).
  8. Snakes:  Total number of venomous snake species (source: Venombyte).
  9. Dentists:  Active dentists per capita (source: Center for Disease Control).
  10. Tornadoes: Average number of tornadoes per 10,000 square miles (source: N.O.A.A.).
  11. Heights: Combined rankings for total number of skyscrapers over 700 feet and number of topographically prominent American mountain summits on list of top 50 (sources:  Wikipedia and Wikipedia).
  12. Meth Labs:  Total meth lab busts and seizures in 2012 (source: Huffington Post).
  13. Lightning:  Total number of injuries and deaths caused by lightning between 1959 and 1994 (source:  N.O.A.A.).

Here are the complete rankings:

scariest-chart

More on Estately:

Estately is a national online real estate search site whose articles have been featured in the The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNET, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, GeekWire, The Denver Post, and more.

Missing UMBC student Matt Vesely found

vesely

Yesterday, I reported on a missing student in the Perry Hall area in my post – “UMBC student Matt Vesely missing – last seen in Perry Hall, MD.”

WBAL.com notes:

The Baltimore County Police Department have found Matthew James Vesely unharmed and in good condition at UMBC.

Matthew James Vesely was seen on video surveillance in an engineering lab at UMBC at 11:15 a.m. yesterday. Investigators have confirmed that it was him on the video and he appeared to be all right.

WBAL TV reports:

Police said they have located a missing University of Maryland-Baltimore County student who disappeared just hours after court records show he was charged with driving under the influence and several other offenses.

UMBC student Matt Vesely missing – last seen in Perry Hall, MD

vesely

 

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: It has been reported that missing UMBC student Matt Vesely has been found.

This post was made early Monday night so add 18 hours to the amount of time since last being seen:

 Matt Vesely has not been seen or heard from since 4:00AM Saturday morning, when he went missing from his home. He was last seen 60 hours ago on foot near Northwind Rd. and North Trail Way in Perry Hall. He may still be in the Perry Hall/Parkville/Towson area. He is a student of UMBC. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Matt, please contact the UMBC or Parkville Police Station. Attached is a picture of him.

WBAL.com provides more information from the Baltimore County Police:

They describe Matthew James Vesely as a 20-year-old white male. He is 5’4” tall, 130 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. According to police, he should be wearing a dark shirt and gray sweat pants that have Calvert Hall on them.

WBAL-TV has some other details.

Vesely is a graduate of Calvert Hall College High School and he is a computer science major at UMBC. Please let the police know if you see him or know anything. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Songs That Get Stuck in a Parent’s Head, Part I

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
I now have a one year old, so a lot of songs get stuck in my head at times that I never imagined would before I was a dad.

I decided to include a few of them now and I can revisit this theme in the future.

The one I seem to get stuck in my head the most recently is The Hot Dog Dance from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Here are a couple from Bubble Guppies.

First, the Outside song:

And the Time for Lunch song is another one on Bubble Guppies that can get stuck in your head (as is the theme song) but thanks to people not allowing their versions to be embedded, I haven’t been able to include them.

Another couple of songs that can get stuck in your head come to us from Doc McStuffins.

One is Time for your Check-Up:

The other is I Feel Better (I haven’t included it because none of the embeddable versions are good quality.)

Luckily, there have only been a few times I’ve gotten Wiggles songs stuck in my head, including this one:

This promo from earlier in the summer features Sofia the First (we had that theme for the baby’s first birthday party) and Jake and the Neverland Pirates – they ran it so much during commercial breaks this summer that it got stuck into my head to the point I even caught myself singing along once.

This one from Jake and the Neverland Pirates can get pretty annoying too:

That probably covers most of them for now. I’m sure as she gets older, I’ll have more.