Sir Gawain and the Green KnightSir Gawain and the Green Knight establishes the setting firmly in Arthurian Britain by means of a lengthy description of the legendary history of Britain. Britain is a land of great wonders and strife, but King Arthur has established a court of utmost nobility and chivalry, peopled with the bravest knights and fairest ladies. This story begins at a lavish New Year's celebration in Camelot, King Arthur's court.
A rich description of the celebration follows, where the poet carefully conveys luxurious details of decoration and attire. There is the incomparably beautiful Queen Guinevere, Arthur himself, and seated in honor around them, various noble knights and relatives of Arthur, including Sir Gawain . We learn that Arthur does not like to begin his feasts until he has heard a great tale or witnessed a great marvel. Indeed, in the midst of the feasting, a wondrous stranger bursts into the hall. The giant-like stranger is most remarkable because he is entirely green, but he nevertheless carries an air of handsome civility, wearing sumptuous green and gold clothes and armor. His horse is equally decked in ornate green, and the knight himself holds a branch of holly in one hand and a formidable battle-axe in the other. He demands, somewhat arrogantly, to speak to the ruler of the company, while the court stares on in stunned silence. When Arthur finally speaks, the stranger explains that he has come to this famously valiant court to play a Christmas game. Whoever agrees to play this game will be allowed to strike the Green Knight on the spot, in the middle of the court; in exchange, the Green Knight will strike a return blow upon the volunteer a year and a day hence. None of the court volunteers as the game seems to imply certain death for whomever plays; the stranger ridicules them all for Camelot's supposed bravery.
Eventually Arthur agrees to play the game, but as he is about to wield the great battle-axe, Gawain speaks. In polite and self-effacing language, Gawain begs to take up the boon instead, so the life of the king can be spared in place of a knight as weak and lowly as he. The court agrees to let Gawain play, and after restating the terms of the agreement to each other, the stranger gives the battle-axe to Gawain, who cleaves off the stranger's head in one blow. But miraculously enough, the stranger does not die, and the body of the Green Knight picks up the severed head, which even speaks to Gawain. The stranger charges Gawain to meet him at the Green Chapel next New Year's morning, so that he may receive his exchange blow.
After the stranger leaves, the New Year's feast continues unaffected, but the poet ends the fitt by foreshadowing the dangerous adventures Gawain must face.
The second part of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight opens with a lush, detailed description of Nature and the passing of the year. After the Christmas feast and the Green Knight's challenge, the winter passes into a springtime and summer. But eventually harvest season approaches, the leaves fall, and as winter begins, Gawain remembers his agreement with the Green Knight. So, at a Michaelmas feast, he sadly bids farewell to Arthur's court. All the lords and ladies are silently sorrowful that a knight as worthy as Gawain must go to his doom by receiving the exchange blow from the Green Knight.
The poet then gives a meticulous description of Gawain as he dons his ornate armor the next morning. Both he and his horse Gringolet are richly attired, but Gawain's most important piece of armor of all is his shield, which bears the emblem of the Pentangle, the five-pointed star. The Pentangle, the emblem of truth, is particularly suitable for Gawain because the five points of the star represent the five different ways in which Gawain, like purified gold, embodies faultless virtue. He is perfect in the five senses; his five fingers are unfailing; his faith is fixed firmly on the five wounds which Christ received on the cross; he draws his strength from the five joys Mary had through Jesus; and he embodies, better than any other living man, the five virtues: Franchise, Fellowship, Cleanness, Courtesy, and above all, Charity. On the inside of his shield is an image of the Virgin Mary, often the source of Gawain's courage.
Once armed with his shield, Gawain rides away from Camelot, the court mourning that such a young, faultless knight should sacrifice his life as a result of a silly Christmas game. Gawain rides for months, alone, with no friends but his horse and no one to talk to but God. On the way, he battles beasts and giants and struggles through a harsh, cold country which would have killed a weaker or more faithless man. On Christmas Eve, after toiling through a daunting wood, Gawain beseeches the Lord and Mary to guide him to some haven where he may attend mass and properly pray on Christmas morning. Almost immediately, Gawain stumbles upon a moated fortress, a beautiful castle with strong defences and intricate architectural flourishes. Awed and grateful, Gawain asks the porter of the castle for entrance and is greeted by a great, joyful, and eager company. He is welcomed by the lord of the castle, a massive, civilized, capable-looking man who sees to it that Gawain receives the best of care. After a great feast, his company learns that he is none other than Sir Gawain of Arthur's court, and they are delighted to have such an honored personage in their presence, the embodiment of good breeding and chivalry himself.
After dinner, the company attends the Christmastide mass, where Gawain meets the lady of the castle. She is incomparably beautiful, and she is accompanied by an ancient noble lady, whose utter ugliness enhances her own beauty. Gawain is pleased to meet her, and their companionship deepens over the next few days of feasting. After the third day, Gawain thanks the lord and declares himself his servant, but regrets that he must leave the next morning to continue his quest. The lord, however, reveals that the Green Chapel is but two miles away, so Gawain must stay for the remaining three days and relax in bed. Jubilant, Gawain again declares himself the servant of the lord, ready to do his bidding. The lord decides that the next day, Gawain will stay in bed until attending high mass and dinner with the lady of the castle; in the meantime, the lord himself will rise at dawn to go hunting. He suggests one more thing: whatever he wins in the forest tomorrow will be given to Gawain, and in exchange, whatever Gawain wins in the castle during the day he must give to the lord. Gawain agrees to this bargain, and the lord calls for more wine and revelry to celebrate their game.
Part Three covers the three days before Gawain must leave the lord's castle to meet the Green Knight on New Year's Day. On the first day, as planned, the lord arises early to go hunting. The poet describes in detail the hunting party as it moves through the winter forest, hounds and blaring horns in hot pursuit of deer. Then, almost drastically, the scene switches to the interior of the castle, to Gawain's bedroom where the slumbering knight is approached by the lovely lady of the castle.
A careful dialogue follows between Gawain and the lady, where he delicately and diplomatically evades and parries her sexual advances. As she is about to leave him, she asks for a kiss, and Gawain, as befits the chivalrous knight, grants her that. The rest of the day Gawain spends at mass and then in the company of the two ladies of the castle.
In the meantime, the lord's hunting party has slaughtered a great number of deer by sunset, and they then begin the meticulous process of cutting and dividing the bodies of the game. Once this is done, they return home and Gawain commends the lord for his fine hunting. As promised, the lord gives the game to Gawain and Gawain, in exchange, gives the lord a sweet kiss he received that day, but refuses to reveal who it was won from, claiming that it was not part of the agreement. The two men revel for the rest of the evening and agree to continue their contract, by exchanging their winnings of the next day.
The second day begins with the hunting party on the trail of an huge and vicious boar. Meanwhile, Gawain welcomes the lady as she enters his bedchamber, as dogged as ever in her pursuit of him. More flirtatious conversation ensues: she reprimands him for forgetting to kiss her and alludes to his reputation in Courtly Love and asks to be taught. In the end, Gawain evades the lady's amorous intentions, with only two kisses being exchanged. Outside, the hunt of the boar continues viciously, and the lord wins the battle by thrusting his sword into the boar's heart. Another complicated process divides the body of the boar, and the triumphant hunting party returns to the castle. Again, Gawain and the lord are joyously reunited; just as the lord gives the boar to Gawain, the younger knight bestows two kisses on him. The lady continues to dote adoringly on Gawain, and the lord convinces Gawain to stay a third day, with the same contract of exchanging winnings.
The final day of the game dawns with a description of its brilliant, wintry beauty, and the hunting dogs fall on the trail of a cunning fox. Inside the castle, the lady enters Gawain's bedchamber while wearing a lovely and very revealing gown. She wakes him from his sorrowful slumber, as he dreads the impending day of doom at the Green Chapel. Gawain again escapes her advances but the lady offers a token of remembrance: a valuable ring of gold, which he kindly refuses. The lady then offers him a green silk tunic which can protect the wearer from death. Aware of his impending meeting with the Green Knight, Gawain accepts the girdle, which the lady begs him to keep secret. After receiving a third kiss from her that morning, Gawain dresses, confesses his sins to a priest in preparation for his challenge the next day, and then spends the rest of the day in utter merriment. Meanwhile, after much dogged pursuit, the lord triumphantly captures the sly fox, and gives it to Gawain that night in the castle, in exchange for three kisses. Gawain does not reveal anything about the green girdle, and the lord assigns a servant to guide Gawain to the Green Chapel the next morning. Heavy-hearted, Gawain bids farewell to the people of the castle, all of whom are sad to see him go. That night, Gawain has trouble sleeping for fear of the next day's events.
The final, dreaded day opens ominously with a fierce winter storm that keeps Gawain up at night. Before dawn on New Year's Day, the knight is awake and getting dressed, garbing himself in rich, bejeweled clothes -- most importantly the green girdle which the lady had given him. With the servant accompanying him, Gawain leaves the castle and travels through a somber, snow-covered landscape. The servant begs Gawain to reconsider his mission and run from the Green Knight, who is a horrible, cruel monster: huge, merciless, someone who kills for pure joy. But Gawain refuses to run, as that would prove himself a cowardly knight. Resigned, the servant leaves Gawain, and the knight continues alone to the Green Chapel. Gawain marvels at the deserted ugliness of the place, fearing that he might encounter the Devil himself in such a place.
Suddenly, Gawain hears the sound of a blade being sharpened on a grindstone, and meets the terrifying Green Knight, who bears a monstrous axe. He welcomes Gawain, praising him for maintaining his part of the agreement and the horrified Gawain exposes his neck to receive the exchange blow. But at the last moment, he flinches from the axe, and the Green Knight stops to yell at the cowardly Gawain. The second attempt stops short as well, enraging Gawain. On the third stroke, the Green Knight splits the skin on Gawain's neck but that is all the injury done. The Green Knight explains to the wondrous Gawain what has just happened: the Green Knight is the lord of the castle, and the two feinted ax strokes represent the first two days of the game, when Gawain faithfully gave everything he won that day to the King. But that third day, Gawain did conceal the green sash from the King and as a result is punished by the slight scrape on his neck. The lord reveals that he arranged his wife's advances upon Gawain, but having seen the result, he is convinced that Gawain is the finest man alive, his only failure stemming understandably from his love of life. But Gawain is harsher on himself, cursing his cowardice and covetousness and rejecting the green sash which made him guilty.
The Green Knight urges Gawain to keep the sash as a token of their struggle and invites him back to the castle to celebrate the New Year. Gawain declines and considers the dangerous wiles of women . He agrees to keep the girdle to remind himself of the "fault and frailty of the foolish flesh." The Green Knight reveals himself to be Bertilak de Hautdesert, servant to the sorceress Morgan le Fay. It was Morgan who engineered the entire game, sending Bertilak down to Camelot so that Guinevere would be shocked to death by the staged beheading. In fact, Morgan was the ancient noble lady at Hautdesert castle and is the scheming half-sister to Arthur, the king's traditional nemesis. A disillusioned Gawain returns to Camelot, where is greeted with much cheering and joy from Arthur, Guinevere, and the others. He recounts his entire adventure, but is ashamed when he tells of his ultimate failing as a result of the green girdle. Nevertheless, Arthur and the courtiers, unaware of Gawain's shame, adopt the green girdle as a heraldic token in honor of Gawain. From there, the poet concludes in much the same way he opened the poem, praising Arthur, moving back through Brutus to the siege of Troy. The final two lines implore Jesus Christ for bliss.
Rhododendron The name Rhododendron comes from the greek words "rodon" which means "rose" and "dendron" which means "tree", hence Rose Tree. Rhododendron flowers are usually produced in trusses. The family Ericacea, into which the genus Rhododendron falls, also includes heathers, mountain laurels, blueberries and cranberries as well as manzanita, trailing arbutus, madrone, huckleberry, kalmiopsis, sourwood, blueberries and a number of other genus. Rhododendrons are referred to as the King of Shrubs since they are regarded by many as the best flowering evergreen plants for the temperate landscape.
Kingdom Plantae Sub Kingdom Tracheobionta Super Division Spermatophyta Division Magnoliophyta Class Magnoliopsida Sub Class Dilleniidae Order Ericales Family Ericaceae Genus Rhododendron L.
Facts About Rhododendron
• Most people know rhododendrons as big leathery leafed shrubs with round clusters of white, pink, red, or purple blooms.
• Rhododendron was discovered by The 16th century Flemish botanist, Charles l'Ecluse.
• Rhododendron was introduced to Britain in 1656 from the European Alps, and so the name Alpine Rose for Rhododendron histrum.
• Exploration in America came as a result of a partnership between English Quaker Peter Collinson and botanist/farmer John Bartram of Pennsylvania. This led to the importation to England of the American natives, Rhododendron canescens, Rhododendron nudiflorum, and Rhododendron viscosum in 1734, and Rhododendron maximum in 1736.
• Rhododendron ferrugineum, another species from the European Alps also known as the Alpine Rose, came along in 1752.
• The Washington State Senate confirmed that the Coast Rhododendron / Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) would be the floral emblem for Washington state.
• Rhododendron is also the national flower of Nepal, and the state flower of Sikkim in India.
• All the parts of Rhododendrons are dangerous, especially leaves, showing symptoms of Stomach irritation, abdominal pain, abnormal heart rate and rhythm, convulsions, coma, death. Honey made from the nectar of Rhododendron flowers is also toxic and should not be consumed.
What is the difference between Rhododendrons and Azaleas?
• The genus Rhododendron includes both Rhododendrons and Azaleas. In this genus, both Rhododendron and Azalea are used as common names. The distinctions that follow are made by gardeners. The Rhododendron plants are usually evergreen and those labeled Azalea plants are deciduous, although there are a few evergreen Azaleas like those in the florist or nursery trade. To the typical gardener, azaleas are conspicuous because they don't have trusses. The exception to this is the Homebush type azaleas which have a very tight ball shaped truss but this type of azalea is deciduous. It should be mentioned that the tropical Vireya rhododendrons don't have a truss either and look more like azaleas but are in general treated as a special class, different from most other rhododendrons and azaleas.
•Rhododendrons have ten or more stamens, while Azaleas have five.
• Rhododendrons have large, paddle-shaped leaves and large, bell- or funnel-shaped flowers borne in terminal trusses. Azaleas have small, elliptical leaves and trumpet- or tubular-shaped flowers at the ends of the shoots. Still some rhododendrons, called lepidoes have small leaves and small flowers and some rhododendrons are naturally miniature have miniscule leaves and flowers. It is true that all azaleas have small leaves compared to the large leaved rhododendrons, the elepidotes.
•Rhododendrons are erect, growing up to 80 feet high, while Azaleas are more twiggy, spreading bushes, usually reaching a height of no more than 8 feet.
•Both Rhododendrons and Azaleas provide fragrant blossoms in an array of colors - from pure white and light pastels to brilliant orange and gold to purple and red. Some blossoms change color over time or are marked with contrasting colors.
Never plant a rhododendron deeper than it was originally planted. The roots seldom ever extend more than twelve inches deep. Planting them deeper than twelve inches will prevent them from getting enough air.
• Plant Rhododendrons in spring or fall.
• Space plants 2 to 6 feet apart, depending on the expected mature size of the plant. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide.
• Rhododendrons need an acidic soil. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you've removed from the hole with a small amount of compost.
• Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole.
• Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets.
• The chief killer of rhododendrons is wet soil. Rhododendrons need moist well drained soil, but not a water logged soil. Rhododendrons seem to thrive in Mediterranean climates where there are long periods with no rain.
Rhododendrons Plant Care
• Apply a layer of compost under the shrub each spring, spreading it out to the dripline (the area under the outermost branches).
• Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds, keeping mulch a few inches away from the trunk.
• Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. In regions with severe winters, protect evergreen rhododendrons in the fall by wrapping burlap around them.
• Although seldom, rhododendrons need Pruning to remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches anytime. Prune Rhododendrons to reduce height after flowering in spring. Rhododendrons will grow back from old wood.
• Rhododendrons are not usually prone to insects or diseases. They can develop a condition called chlorosis, which is characterized by yellowing of a leaf between dark green veins. Chlorosis can be caused by malnutrition caused by alkalinity of the soil, potassium deficiency, calcium deficiency, iron deficiency or magnesium deficiency. A combination of acidification with sulfur and iron supplements such as chelated iron or iron sulfate will usually treat this problem. Chlorosis can also be caused by nitrogen toxicity (usually caused by nitrate fertilizers) or other conditions that damage the roots such as root rot, severe cutting of the roots, root weevils or root death caused by extreme amounts of fertilizer.
Albany Tulip FestivalThe Tulip Festival is held in Albany, New York every spring at Washington Park. It stems from when Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd got a city ordinance passed declaring the tulip as Albany's official flower on July 1, 1948. In addition, he sent a request to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to name a variety as Albany's tulip. On July 11, 1948 her reply was "Her Majesty gladly accepts the invitation to designate a tulip as the official flower of Albany." She picked the variety "Orange Wonder", an 18-inch tall tulip that is orange-shaded with a scarlet toward the center, it is a slow-grower and relatively rare. The first Tulip Fest was celebrated the next year on May 14, 1949 with opening ceremonies still carried on today as tradition, such as the sweeping of State Street and the crowning of a Tulip Queen. In 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the festival the state of New York designated Albany as the "I Love New York Spring Destination". Also for the 50th anniversary a descendant variety of the "Wonder Orange" tulip was found in the Netherlands, and the new variety was named "City of Albany". The African-American tradition of Pinksterfest, whose origins are traced back even further to Dutch festivities, was later incorporated into the Tulip Fest. Since 1998 the Tulip Fest has included the Mother of the Year award.
Venus the Goddess of Loveby Brittany Garcia
published on 27 August 2013
The Birth of Venus (Sandro Botticelli)
In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite. However, Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory, fertility, and even prostitution. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite was born of the foam from the sea after Saturn (Greek Cronus) castrated his father Uranus (Ouranus) and his blood fell to the sea. This latter explanation appears to be more a popular theory due to the countless artworks depicting Venus rising from the sea in a clam.
Divine Lovers & Children
Venus had two main divine lovers: her husband Vulcan (Hephaistos) and Mars (Ares). There is a myth concerning Venus' and Mars' love affair and how Vulcan cunningly trapped them in bed with a net. Therefore, Vulcan and Venus had a loveless marriage and no children. Albeit, the goddess of love and sex was not barren; she had many children from different gods. With Mars, she gave birth to Timor (Phobos) the personification of fear who accompanied his father into battle, his twin Metus (Deimos) the personification of terror, Concordia (Harmonia) the goddess of harmony and concord, and the Cupids (Erotes) who were a collection of winged love deities who represented the different aspects of love.
The Roman poet Ovid recounts that Aphrodite bore Hermaphroditos by Hermes, who was the epitome of effeminacy and androgyny. She also bore with either Hermes or Zeus, Fortuna (Tyche) who was the personification of luck and fate within Roman religion. Venus is ascribed as the mother of the minor deity Priapus (a fertility god often characterized with an absurdly large phallus) by Bacchus. According to Pausanias, the Graces were thought to be the offspring of Venus and Bacchus, but more commonly their birth is credited to Jupiter and Euynome. However, the Graces were part of Venus' retinue along with the Cupids and Suadela, the goddess of persuasion in the realms of romance, love, and seduction.
Mortal Lovers, Children, & Descendants
Venus had several mortal lovers as well. The two most famous would be Anchises and Adonis, but she was also the lover of the Sicilian king Butes and mother to their son Eryx and Paethon with whom she mothered Sandocus, who fathered Metamorphoses' Cinyras. Ovid's Metamorphoses (Book X) recounts how Venus fell in love with the mortal Adonis (either due to his beauty or Cupid's arrow) and besought Proserpina (Persephone) to care for him until she came for him. The two goddesses both grew enamored with the mortal, so they fought until Zeus decided that Adonis would spend one-third the year with each of them and a third wherever he pleased. Ultimately, he spent his time with Venus until he was killed by a boar.
According to the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, Anchises, a prince from Dardania and ally to Troy, was seduced by Venus. She disguised herself as a Phrygian princess and seduced him; it was only nine months later that she revealed her divine identity. She presented Anchises with their son Aeneas. Venus warned Anchises never to brag about their affair lest he be struck by Jupiter. Unfortunately, Anchises did brag and was crippled by Jupiter's bolt. The Trojan Aeneas, according to Virgil's Aeneid, was fated to found Rome guided by his divine mother Venus. Aeneas' son Ascanius or Iulus, a king of Alba Longa, was credited, by Virgil, to be the ancestor of the founders of Rome: Romulus and Remus along with the Gens (family) Julia. The Gen Julia was the family that included Julius Caesar, Augustus (Octavian) Caesar and his descendants.
Temples, Cults, & Festival in Ancient Rome
The first appearance of a temple to Venus was in 295 BCE. It was to Venus Obsequens (Obedient Venus) on the Aventine Hill by Q. Fabius Gurges. However, this temple was diffused with Greek aspects (Aphrodite's cults) and was not a new creation. In 217 BCE, the Sibyline oracle suggested that if Rome (at that time losing the Second Punic War) could persuade Venus Eyrcina (Venus of Eryx) to change her allegiance from the Carthagian Silician allies to the Romans, the war would be won. Rome laid siege to Eryx, offered the goddess a magnificent temple and took her image back to Rome. It was this foreign image that eventually became Rome's Venus Genetrix (Venus the Mother). The cult forming around Venus Genetrix on the Capitoline Hill was reserved for the higher-classes, but in 181 BCE and 114 BCE the temples and cult of Venus Eycina and Venus Verticordia (Venus the changer of hearts) were established for the plebeians.
Venus' month was April (the beginning of spring and fertility) when most of her festivals were held. On the first of April a festival was held in honor of Venus Verticordia called Veneralia. On the 23rd, Vinalia Urbana was held which was a wine festival belonging to both Venus (goddess of profane wine) and Jupiter. Vinalia Rusticia was held on August 10th. It was Venus' oldest festival and associated with her form as Venus Obsequens. September 26th was the date for the festival of Venus Genetrix, the mother and protector of Rome.
At the close of the Roman Republic, some Romans laid claim to Venus' favor and competed for it, such as: Sulla (adopting the name Felix, Latin for lucky, and accrediting Venus Felix to his divine favor), Pompey (who dedicated, in 55 BCE, a temple to Venus Victris - Venus of Victory), Julius Caesar (who claimed favor with Venus Victrix and Venus Genetrix), and Hadrian (who, in 139 CE, dedicated a temple to Venus and Roma Aererna - Eternal Rome - making Venus the protective mother of the Roman state).
Venus& The Evening Star
In Virgil's Aeneid, the Trojan hero Aeneas is led to Latium by his mother in her celestial form: the evening star. It is this same star which Vergil accounts lifts Julius Caesar's soul to the heavens. This is also the secondary name for the planet Venus, because it so bright and discernible in the night's sky.
Images of Venus have been found in countless forms from sculptures to mosaics to shrines and even domestic murals and fresco. Venus, due to her natural beauty and sexual nature, was often depicted nude. Most sculptures of Venus resembled a close similarity to the Aphrodite of Cnidus. However, there are many fine wall paintings from Pompeii that depict Venus in different forms. Venus continued to be a popular subject matter for artists through antiquity and the renaissance even into the 20th century CE.
Wally the Green Monster Wally the Green Monster
Wally the Green Monster is the official mascot for the Boston Red Sox. His name is derived from the Green Monster, the nickname of the 37-foot 2-inch wall in left field at Fenway Park. Wally debuted on April 13, 1997 to the chagrin of many older Red Sox fans. Although he was a big hit with children, older fans did not immediately adopt him as part of the franchise. As of 2009, Wally has become more accepted by Red Sox fans of all ages, largely due to broadcaster Jerry Remy creating stories about him and sharing them during televised games.
According to the Red Sox, Wally the Green Monster has long been a resident of Fenway Park, residing in the Green Monster wall since 1947. Wally has seen many legendary outfielders (and even a few National Baseball Hall of Famers) play Left Field and master the infamous "Green Monster" at Fenway. In 1997, Wally emerged from the wall to everyone's surprise on Opening Day. After 15 years, Wally has become a family favorite and entertains the crowds of fans who come to Fenway to see the Red Sox play. He wears Red Sox Jersey #97, indicating the Year of his emergence from the Wall, and his trusty Team-Issued Size 37 ballcap is never far from his green head.
In his spare time Wally likes to play catch with the Red Sox players, read his favorite book "Hello, Wally" written by his good friend and NESN Red Sox Broadcaster Jerry Remy, and sneak into the concession stands when no one is looking to grab a bite - or more, to eat. He prepares for every Red Sox game by eating a good meal, watching batting practice, and tuning into Red Sox Pregame as he ties up his shoes and grabs his trusty Red Sox flag.
As pregame starts, Wally is on the field greeting fans near Field Level by taking pictures, signing autographs and sneaking in a kiss or two to the many fans of Red Sox Nation. After photo ops with some of Fenway's special guests of the game, he can be seen waving his flag and cheering on the Red Sox as the starting lineups are announced. The National Anthem is performed for all 37,000+ fans at Fenway and Wally, along with his special friend of the game, yell every baseball fans two favorite words, "PLAY BALL" and the game is ready to begin.
Wally is a busy monster throughout the game. From doing seat visits for some special guests, to jumping up on the dugout to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch, Wally stays plenty busy meeting and greeting the fans of Red Sox Nation. And on weekends, Wally can be seen out on Yawkey Way taking pictures with fans who visit the "street fair atmosphere" of Wally's World around the Third Inning of the ballgame.
Some of Wally's memorable moments of being the Red Sox Mascot have come away from Fenway. Whether it is traveling to Fort Myers, Florida and jetBlue Park for Red Sox spring training or visiting other cities for special events, Wally is a well traveled monster. For example, this last December Wally was invited to Washington, D.C. to perform with Smokey Robinson in a tribute to a Red Sox favorite, and Music Legend, Neil Diamond (Writer/Performer of "Sweet Caroline") at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. When he was told that President Obama, his family, Mr. Diamond and many other celebrities would be in attendance, Wally knew he could not do it alone. He made some calls and brought 100 members of Red Sox Nation to Washington to perform on stage alongside him. Wally also travels to the Major League Baseball All Star Game every year to meet up with his furry friends from all over Major League Baseball for various fan-fests, signings and gatherings.
Wally loves to meet new people and visit the various parts of Red Sox Nation. He can be rented by visiting the team's official website for various events.
May Day!Why do we celebrate May Day?
Happy May Day! A few words about this annual celebration, whose roots are in astronomy.
May Day. May 1 on the calendar.
May Day is an ancient spring festival in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s an astronomical holiday, one of the year’s four cross-quarter days, or day that falls more or less midway between an equinox and solstice – in this case the March equinox and June solstice. The other cross-quarter days are Groundhog Day on February 2, Lammas on August 1 and Halloween on October 31. May Day also stems from the Celtic festival of Beltane, which was related to the waxing power of the sun as we move closer to summer. At Beltane, people lit fires through which livestock were driven and around which people danced, moving in the same direction that the sun crosses the sky.
Maypole wrapping at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvannia in 2005. May Day festivities are an annual tradition at Bryn Mawr. Image Credit: Mike Goren via Wikimedia Commons
School children rehearsing Maypole festivity, in Gee's Bend, Alabama, 1939. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A group of happy neighbors in Texas, after wrapping a Maypole. See the wrapped pole being held up? Image Credit: Rick Patrick
Wrapping a Maypole with colorful ribbons is perhaps the best known of all May Day traditions. In the Middle Ages, English villages all had Maypoles, which were actual trees brought in from the woods in the midst of rejoicing and raucous merrymaking. Maypoles came in many sizes, and villages were said to compete with each other to show whose Maypole was tallest. Maypoles were usually set up for the day in small towns, but in London and the larger towns they were erected permanently.
We’re not too far away from a time in the late 20th century when people left homemade May baskets filled with spring flowers and sweets on each others’ doorsteps, usually anonymously. I can remember doing this as a child. Maybe it’s a tradition that can be revived.
Homemade May basket left on neighbor or friend's doorstep anonymously. Nice tradition!
Bottom line: May 1 is one of four cross-quarter days, midway between an equinox and a solstice. It stems from the ancient festival of Beltane, which relates to the waxing power of the sun at this time of year. Its most recognized tradition is the Maypole dance, in which people wrap ribbons around a tall pole.
•Currently, there are around 75 wild species of tulips and 150 species in total with over 3000 varieties.
•The word tulip is derived from a Persian word called delband, which means turban. It is generally believed that it was called this due to the turban-shaped nature of the flower. However, this might have been a translation error as it was fashionable to wear tulips on turbans at the time.
•Tulips are perennials (a plant that lives for more than 2 years), they bloom in spring, usually for only 3-7 days.
•Tulips grow from bulbs and being native to mountainous areas the tulip needs a period of cold dormancy, known as vernalization. So they should be planted in the fall (Autumn) and thrive best in climates with cool springs and dry summers.
•The tulip is usually sweetly scented and depending on the variety it can grow from a few inches to over two feet tall. The flower has a variety of shapes and it comes in most colors although there are no pure blue varieties.
•Tulips normally have one flower per stem, however a few species have up to 4 flowers on a single stem.
•Tulips are a part of the lily family.
•The tulip is native to central Asia and eventually made its way to Turkey. But it was when the flower was first cultivated in the Netherlands that it really came to prominence.
•The Dutch obsession with tulips began with Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius. When he was made director of Leiden University's new Hortus Botanicus (botanical garden) in 1593 he planted some of his own tulip bulbs. As a result, 1594 is considered the official date of tulips first blooming in Holland.
•Carolus Clusius was also the first person to identify "broken tulips" which is a viral infection that caused beautiful streaks in the petals. Clusius would go on to create many new color variations of tulips.
•Tulips started to become highly prized in Holland in the 1600s as some of Clusius unique tulip variations at Leiden became much sought after.
•This led to a period from 1634 to 1637 known as "Tulip mania" when enthusiasm for the new flower started an economic frenzy and one of the world's first 'speculative bubbles'. The value of tulips shot up nearly overnight, they became the most expensive flower in the world, so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency.
•At the peak of tulip mania certain bulbs were selling for 10 times more than the annual income of a skilled worker and a valuable tulip bulb could change hands up to ten times in a day. Tulip mania was short-lived though and the whole economy eventually crashed.
•Today, the Netherlands is still the world's main producer of commercially sold tulips, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, mostly for export.
•Tulip petals are actually able to be eaten, during the Dutch famine of 1944 in WWII people often had to resort to eating sugar beets and tulips.
•The tulip is the national flower or Turkey and Afghanistan.
Why is Grass Green?n the very first Wonder of the Day, we learned that flamingos are pink because of pigments called carotenoids found in the shrimp they eat. Carotenoids are also found in red, orange, and yellow foods, such as carrots, tomatoes, and egg yolks.Much like flamingos and carrots, grass contains a special pigment that gives it a green color. This pigment is called chlorophyll.
chlorophyll is used during photosynthesis. photosynthesis is a process that takes places when a plant uses sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar. Unlike animals, which have to hunt for their food, plants can create their own food using sunlight. If you remove most plants from sunlight, they cannot produce food and will eventually die.
So what makes chlorophyll green? Every object on Earth has its own color. The light from the sun appears white, but is actually made up of a full spectrum of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
When white light hits an object, the object absorbs some colors and reflects others. When we look at an object, the color we see is the color the object reflects. The sky absorbs all the colors except blue, which it reflects. This is why the sky appears blue on a sunny day.
Think about the last time you played kickball with a group of friends. The red rubber ball absorbs all the wavelengths in white light except red. As you watch the red ball bounce along the ground, your eyes see the ball reflecting red light. Your eyes send this information to your brain, which tells you the ball is red.
Similarly, grass appears green because it absorbs all the wavelengths of white light except green. green is reflected off the grass. When the green wavelength reaches our eyes, we see grass as green.
Why dose Ireland have 40 Shades of Green?
When we think of Ireland, we think of the Emerald Isle, the shamrock, the "Wearing of the Green" and the 37 other almost proverbial shades of green. But just why do we talk about "Forty Shades of Green"?
It is the fault of one man - none other than Johnny Cash. The "Man in Black" was so taken in by the Emerald Isle that he went green and reputedly penned an whole album's worth in celebration of Ireland.
While Cash seemed to be genuinely in love with Ireland at the time (1961), songs from that period seem to be seriously sentimental and overwrought today.
Cash's signature Irish song is "Forty Shades of Green", including the confession that "most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town, and most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown". Apart from Dingle, Donaghadee, the Shannon, Skibbereen, Shalimar, Cork and Larne, making this a very all-Irish song. And a celebration of the good old times when "the farmers drain the bogs and spade the turf". Never mind that a lot of these farmers might have told Cash to be on his way, preferring some modern comforts themselves.
And so ... Johnny Cash was responsible for creating the idea of Ireland being "forty shades of green". This was added on by Ireland's seminal rock group "Boomtown Rats", with singer Bob Geldof also mentioning "sixty shades of red" in reference to the "Troubles".
But does Ireland really have forty shades of green? Though nobody has actually counted them, this would be a good guess - green is the dominant color in Ireland's landscape.
The simple reason for this is the Irish weather. While generally described as eternally changing, it is only changing within certain parameters. The influence of the gulf stream and the general climate combine to make Ireland well-balanced.
Seasons are not very pronounced - one usually enjoys "spells of" summer or winter, not the season as such. And even when Jack Frost nips and snow falls it will be on lush green fields. The green may fade a bit, but it never goes away.
And as you will see when visiting Ireland: Johnny Cash was right - Ireland really has forty shades of green.