Friday, 31 October 2008

To be caught red-handed: Origin and meaning

To be caught red-handed means that you have been caught in the act of doing something illegal. No excuses or alibi’s can be used, as your transgression is obvious, visible and undeniable. Usually related to stealing, with the stolen goods in your possesion. Caught on CCTV robbing a store with your face clearly visible would be a good example.
To be caught in this way has a legal term “in flagrante delicto”, which loosely translated means “in the progressing misdeed”. Therefore you are caught while you are doing something you should not be doing.
The most common origin for the term red-handed is Scottish, (circa 1400ad), specifically related to poaching. In order to punish a poacher the legal system had to have undeniable proof the accused was guilty. After killing and skinning an animal, the poacher would have blood on his hands, and this would be the necessary proof required. Poacher was caught red hand, i.e. with blood on his hands.
This expression has evolved to re-handed.
Can one be caught red-handed if you are doing something legal?
If you are supposed to do something, for example, clean the garage, and you disappear to have a couple of beers somewhere in solitude. If the lady in your life comes looking for you and “catches” you loafing, have you been caught red-handed? The way I look at it, this is not possible, as all the definitions I can find refer to illegal activities.
Loafing is not an illegal activity; it could be considered a national pastime in some places I know of.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Hercules (Heracles), Fifth Labor : Cleaning the Augean Stables.

Labor number 5 was to clean the Augean stables. This was a particularly disgusting task given to Hercules by his cousin, King Eurystheus, to make good his sins. Hercules had succeeded in all his previous tasks and was beginning to earn the respect and loyalty of the ordinary people. This task was most probably set to humiliate or degrade him.
King Augeias was a very wealthy landowner, and had a massive stable with a very large number of stalls. He had a herd of cattle of about 3,000 head that he received as a divine gift. These cattle were immune to diseases, so cleaning out the stables for hygienic purposes was not on the list of things to do on any given day. Legend has it that the stables had not been cleaned for 30 years. A messy set up by all accounts.
Hercules duly arrived to do what had to be done, and negotiated a deal with Augeias that he would clean the stables within a day, for a 10th payment. He accepted, obviously thinking this could not be done.
So, Hercules went off and diverted the rivers Alpheius and Poneus through an opening he made in the stable wall. The water rushed through and all the accumulated waste drained out of a hole in the wall he had made on the other side. At the end of the day, the task was completed and the stables were cleaned.
At this point Augeias refused to pay, on account that this task had to be done without payment, as part of his debt to Eurystheus.
Other sources say that he refused to pay and Hercules summoned his son Phyleus to bear witness to his promise. He confirmed the deal was made and Phyleus was banished from the kingdom, and settled in Dulchium. Another version tells of a court case when his son testified against Augeias. In any event, Phyleus was banished and Hercules was a very angry man. He promised to return and exact vengeance at a later stage, which he did, and gave the Kingdom to his banished son.
The original labors were increased by one more, total 12, as this one, according to Eurystheus, did not count, as it had to be undertaken at no cost.
Image : Wikipedia

Silly Signs : Flying Lessons

Received via email, source unknown

What does a Bakers Dozen mean?, Origin and meaning

The meaning is the easy part, a set or group of thirteen.
Firstly, a dozen means a group or set of twelve. The word dozen appears to be from French, derived from the Latin for Duo (two) and Decem (ten).
The origin part of the 13.
Bread has been the basic food source for millions of people for a very long time. To cheat someone in providing bread was a very serious offence. Historically seen as stealing from the poor. Severe penalties were imposed on bakers who cheated ordinary people by supplying less than was promised. Punishment for offenders was harsh, even brutal. During ancient times a baker could have his ear or hands chopped off for this offence. The bottom line, don’t steal from the poor.
During English medieval times, bakers were regulated by a guild, “The Worshipful Company of Bakers.” The law that bakers had to deal with was the ‘Assize of Bread and Ale”. This law made provision for serious punishment for bread that was sold underweight. Not the number of loaves, but the weight. Floggings etc were the order of the day if less was provided than paid for. Still no reference to a 13 loaves, but this is still to come.
To make sure that they were not subject to floggings, bakers would add a little extra as a form of insurance against underweight. This was to ensure that the correct weight was provided, not the number of loaves. This extra portion was known as the “in bread” or “long measure” to avoid a “short measure”
The phrase “Bakers Dozen” appeared in writing a couple of hundred years later and meant 13 loaves instead of 12, in definition of the practice.
Bakers Dozen also known as a Long Dozen, or a Devils Dozen (unlucky thirteen).
If you want to be a wise ass in a conversation you can refer to a Bakers Dozen as 14, and cannot be proved wrong. There are references to 14 loaves as well. The extra bit provided was never defined, and it would appear as though some bakers even provided a bit on top of the extra.
Most probably those with a very low pain threshold.
But, there is also the story that maintains that the 13th loaf was the profit of the trader. He bought 12 and the 13th was his profit margin. Not many references to this though.
A further reference for the 13th loaf is to make up for shortfalls. Loaves stolen, quality control etc etc.
Image from Wikipedia

Monday, 27 October 2008

Egg of Columbus or Columbus’s Egg : Origin and meaning

I enjoyed this one. Again, I seem to be the last person in the world to find out about Columbus’s egg.
Anybody who has an enquiring mind and likes to try things out for himself will be able to relate to this concept.
But, before I get distracted and ramble off to other things, a definition of the meaning.
In an eggshell it means that no matter how much effort, brilliance, intelligence, hard work, perseverance or whatever one puts into creating or finding out something original, it appears to be easy, simple or mundane when you look at it afterwards, especially by other people who had no input or insight to that what was achieved.
Having spent many years in a research and development environment, I know what it is like to spend days or weeks, whatever, in getting to an answer. When you give feedback to the powers that be, the answer is simplified by oneself and does not always reflect the time, effort, frustrations that you put into the whole setup. Then you seem to always get someone who will tell you that the answer was evident. This usually after the fact, they are never around when the thinking part has to be done.
Origin. Obviously Christopher Columbus. The story goes like this. After finishing his journeys to the Americas and putting this continent on the map for the Europe, he was having a meal with his Spanish buddies back home. The comment was made by one of his friends or enemies that his achievements were not all that exceptional. Spain had a lot of talented sailors and generals, and given time anybody could have achieved what he had.
At this point he either asked for or took an egg and asked the guests to balance the egg on one of the points. All tried and none succeeded. The egg fell over, could not balance by itself. Then Columbus took the egg, tapped it until the shell cracked a bit, and flattened it. Now the egg could be placed on the table without falling over.
The moral of the story is once you know, or are shown, how to do something, it is easy. The difficult part is getting there.
Although it is evident that Columbus used this as an example, it is debatable whether he figured the egg example out by himself. The same example was quoted with Italian references to building a church some 15 years before Columbus’s extended lunch.
Image from, and more detail at Wikipedia

Friday, 24 October 2008

Origin and Meaning of Untying the Gordian Knot

What is a Gordian Knot?.
“The Gordian knot is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem, solved by a bold stroke” (Wikipedia).
The origin dates back to the times long before Alexander the Great, (333 BC.) Pythia, (Macedonia), consisted of a bunch of small, poor kingdoms continuously fighting with each other. They were not unified and had no King. A sorry state of affairs. An oracle had decreed that when the time arrived for them to choose a king, the person to be chosen was he who arrived at the temple in an ox-cart (wagon).
One day while the priests were discussing the appointment of a King, a certain Gordius arrived in his ox-cart. Confirmation that he was the right person for the job came in the form of an eagle that landed on his cart at the same time. An oracle also decreed this sign. Now the oracles had been fulfilled, and he was promptly appointed King. By all accounts Gordius was not of royal blood, he was a peasant. Anyhow, he was made King, and one of the first things he did was to place his ox-cart at the temple of Zeus, in dedication.
Using cornel bark he tied the yoke of the wagon to a pole, securing it with an extremely complicated knot that was impossible to untie.
Many tried, but nobody could untie the knot, too difficult. The Alexander the Great arrived in Gordium and he tried his hand at untying the knot, but he too was unsuccessful. What he did was he took his sword and severed the rope with a single stroke. Problem solved.
There are numerous Internet articles on the knot and cord, analyzing possible physical characteristics. One interesting point is that the knot had no ends; the two ends spliced or weaved together. For the technically minded there are lots of articles.
The meaning of Alexander’s action? By cutting, and not untying the rope, Alexander had a “quick and dirty” solution to a difficult problem. An example of thinking “outside the box?”. Definitions often include words such as a sudden, harsh, single fast, and even brutal decision.
A further oracle decreed that the person who untied the knot would become the King of Persia. Alexander might not have solved the problem, but he did find a solution to the problem, and did become the King of Persia.
Image and definition from Wikipedia, rest of the stuff from more sources than I can recall.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Hercules’ First Labor, the killing of the Nemean Lion

Hercules’ first labor was to kill the Nemean Lion and present the skin to his cousin King Eurystheus. Where did this lion come from? Most quoted sources say that this beast was the offspring of the monsters Typhon and Echidna. Hera, Zeus’ wife, had the lion sent to the valley of Nemea. This monster terrorized the local population and made their lives miserable. Killing livestock and causing havoc in general.
The lion was enormous and the skin was so strong that spears or arrows could not penetrate it.
When he was 18 years old Hercules was sent to kill the lion and return the skin to King Eurystheus. This was the first of the original 10 labors that were later increased to 12.
So, off went Hercules to Nemea to find the lion. When he arrived at the town of Cleonae he made friends with a poor farm boy, one Molorchus. The arrangement was made that should Hercules succeed in his task they would both make a sacrifice to Zeus on his return. Should he not be successful then Molorchus would sacrifice himself to Hercules, the Hero. (Hercules had to return within 30 days)
There are different versions as to how the confrontation between Hercules and the lion took place. There is consensus in that he was unaware that the lion could not be killed by club or arrow, and had to find out the hard way.
The most popular version of the confrontation is that the lion lived in a cave with two entrances. Hercules sealed one entrance off and then confronted the lion in the cave, strangling it to death with is enormous strength. Little detail is given.
The other version, and the one I like, originated from the translations of Theocritus (300 BC). According to this source Hercules found and confronted the lion on open land. Two arrows bounced off the animal’s thick skin and fell to the ground. While he was setting up for his third attempt, and most probably wondering what was going on here, the lion attacked him. He managed to give the lion a good whacking over the head. The blow was so hard that it split his olive club, and dazed the animal for a moment. Hercules took the advantage and grabbed the lion from behind and lifted him up. He stood on the lion’s hind paws and used his knees to secure the middle part. From behind he put his arms around the neck and strangled him to death.
The next step was to skin the lion. This was impossible as no knife or stone could cut the skin. So what he did was to use the claws of the animal as a knife. Having skinned the animal he returned to Molorchus on the 30th day. Together they made a sacrifice to Zeus.
Then off he went to present the skin to his cousin. When Eurystheus saw him return he became very afraid. He was so scared by Hercules strength that he had a bronze jar made that was buried in the ground. And he used this as a hiding place from Hercules. Hercules kept the skin, and it became on of his trademarks. The skin as a cloak and the head as a helmet.
From then on Hercules was not allowed to enter the city gates and communicated with is cousin via an envoy.
The legend is that after the lion was slain,” Hera placed the lion amongst the stars as the constellation Leo”
Good place to start looking up on the Internet is Wikipedia. Use Hercules and Heracles for search purposes. Lots of interesting stuff to read, and form your own impressions.
Image from Wikipedia

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Who or what is a Cynic?

What does it mean if you are a cynic?
I have often been called a cynic, and paid no attention to it. I have been called a lot of things in my life and a 'cynic' was definitely not considered bad enough to run off and find a psychiatrist specializing in the rehabilitation of cynics. If that is what I am, so be it.
Then today happened. The cynic label was thrown in my face, but with obvious malice. The whole thing started off by responding to a question as to my interpretation of the progress of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in sub Saharan Africa.
Anyway, the word cynic was used as bad word, something like that saying often seen that goes “ You say I am a bitch as if it is a bad thing” or words to that effect.
For clarification I went around looking for the book definition of a cynic and from a number sources, the following :-

A person who believes that all people are motivated by selfishness
A person whose outlook is scornfully negative
A Faultfinder (someone who is critical of the motives of others)

There are many, many more. One thing they all have in common is that they are all negative. So, a cynic by definition, is not a nice person, and by default that includes yours truly.
Anyhow, knowing that I am a nice guy when I want to be, I went off looking for a deeper meaning.
The first site I visited was Rons Modern Philosophies of a Cynic. These gems of wisdom I found there

-Work is accomplished by those employees who are still trying to reach their own levels of incompetence
-Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which a person can die.
-Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups
-If at first you don't succeed, destroy all the evidence that proves you tried
(Lots more at Rons site)
I can happily relate to all of these statements. So, if these “philosophies” are those of a cynic, then I am a very strong candidate for the Cynic club tie.
(To be continued........Posted instead of saving to draft...)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Funny stuff

Colin came home from the pub late one Friday evening stinking drunk, as he often did, and crept into bed beside his wife who was already asleep.
He gave her a peck on the cheek and fell asleep.
When he awoke he found a strange man standing at the end of his bed wearing a long flowing white robe.
"Who the hell are you?" Demanded Colin, "and what are you doing in my bedroom?"
The mysterious Man answered, "This isn't your bedroom and I ' m St Peter".
Colin was stunned "You mean I'm dead!!! That can't be, I have so much to live for, I haven't said goodbye to my family.... you've go t to send me back straight away".
St Peter replied "Yes, you can be reincarnated but there is a catch.We can only send you back as a dog or a hen.
"Colin was devastated, but knowing there was a farm not far from his house, he asked to be sent back as a hen.
A flash of light later he was covered in feathers and clucking around pecking the ground.
"This isn't so bad" he thought until he felt this strange feeling welling up inside him.The farmyard rooster strolled over and said, "So you're the new hen, how are you enjoying your first day here?"
"It's not so bad" replies Colin, "but I have this strange feeling inside like I ' m about to explode".
"You're ovulating" explained the rooster, "don't tell me you've never laid an egg before".
"Never" replies Colin
"Well just relax and let it happen"
And so he did and after a few uncomfortable seconds later, an egg pops out from under his tail. An immense feeling of relief swept over him and his emotions got the better of him as he experienced motherhood for the first time.
When he laid his second egg, the feeling of happiness was overwhelming and he knew that being reincarnated as a hen was the best thing that ever happened to him...ever!!!
The joy kept coming and as he was just about to lay his third egg he felt an enormous smack on the back of his head and heard his wife shouting
"Colin, wake up you drunken lout, you are crapping in the bed!!!"
Source unknown, received via email

Friday, 17 October 2008

Fuchsia Fanatic


I have become a fuchsia fanatic.
I don't have a clue as to the name of this specific plant, nursery sold it as a Fuchsia, end of story
Have had excellent results with propagation
Cost in nursery range between R100,00 to R400,00, excluding container.
Don't like direct sun, and soil must be moist
Image, mobile phone
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A little Learning is a Dangerous Thing: Origin and Meaning

These words came to mind after watching Big Brother Africa, Episode 3, for a few unwanted moments. One of the contestants, inmates or whatever they are called, made sweeping statements in an endeavor to create the impression that he is intellectually superior to his less fortunate companions. None of his fellow prisoners, some of which appear to be very smart, rose to the occasion to put him back in his cage, but that is another story.
The source most often quoted as the origin of these words, is part of poem written by Alexander Pope (1688-1744) in his “Essay on Criticism”

“A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fir'd at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts,
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!”
(Lines 215 to 224)

The meaning of the first line is fine, it could be dangerous to tackle something if you do not have the necessary knowledge. The first surrealistic image that comes to mind is Karin bearing down on a faulty toaster with a screwdriver in her hand, scary stuff.
The second line refers to the Pierian Spring. What is the significance of this spring? This spring originates from Greek mythology. Situated in Macedonia it was the sacred place of the Muses. Now, it was believed that if a person drank from this spring it would serve as a source of inspiration and great knowledge.
So, to drink deep from the spring implies to full onself completely (with knowledge), rather than just a taste, which is too little
“The shallow draughts intoxicate the brain” meaning that one can get drunk on a little bit and think you know everything, which is dangerous.
“And drinking largely sobers us again” probably alluding to an increase in knowledge implies how little we know, a sobering thought.
So, to understand the meaning of the first line one has to read further to see it in context.
There are a number of expressions in common use today that are used out of context, in that they form part of a larger source.
The second line is used in a number of writings, but the oldest reference I could find was that of Titus Petronius in the Satyricon, which reads as follows:-
"This is the right armour of genius-
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring.
Only then pour out your heart."
Same meaning different context.
Hope this post will stimulate someone to go to other sources to confirm,test and question.
Image from Wikipedia

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Silly Fashions

Could not think of a caption to do justice to the occasion, maybe it will hit me later. Most probably something to the point.....
Source unknown

Hercules (Heracles) and the Hydra: Mythology, Second labor

This was the second task that Hercules had to undertake to atone for his sins. The Hydra was a terrible nine-headed water serpent that lived in the swamps of Lerna and guarded the gates of the underworld.
The Hydra had nine heads. Eight of the heads were mortal, and the ninth head, surrounded, by the other eight, was immortal. However should one of the mortal heads be removed, two would grow in its place. The Hydra also had an obnoxious and poisonous breath.
The Hydra would devour cattle and other livestock in the surrounding areas, and in general, terrorize the locals. To solve this problem Hercules was sent off to kill the monster.
Hercules took his nephew along with him, Iolous, who was an expert charioteer and Olympian.
Before Hercules could kill the Hydra, he had to kill a giant crab, sent by Hera to make things more difficult. He killed the crab with his club. The crab was rewarded with a place in the constellation, Cancer, by Hera for services rendered.
To flush the Hydra from hiding, he shot a number of flaming arrows into its lair.
Hercules soon found out that it was impossible to kill the beast with a club, his preferred weapon, and took a sword, (some sources say sickle), covered his mouth with a cloth, and chopped the heads off one at a time. His nephew then cauterized the neck wound with a flaming torch, so that no further heads could grow.
After a long struggle the eight mortal heads were removed, leaving the immortal head. This was chopped off and buried under a large and heavy stone. (If the head was immortal, why would this help? Just to keep it out of the way? Somewhere I read that this head came back later to cause problems..will find out in due course)
Hercules then dipped the points if his arrows in the poisonous blood of the hydra, (some sources say gall), for future use.
The interesting part about this story is that it was seen as incomplete, as he had help from his nephew, and did not undertake the task on his own.
Some sources maintain that the original tasks set were increased, to make up for the slip-up.
Image from Wikipedia.:
(Hercules from Roman Mythology and Heracles from Greek. If you do a net search use both, different range of hits)
First Labor, the Nemean lion

Monday, 13 October 2008

Crazy Images

I wish it would be possible to eavesdrop on this conversation. How do you carry this situation over to the Operations Manager.
"Zat you Mike?"
"Yes...who is this?, I am busy, speak up.."
"It's Pete?"
"Pete who?...hurry up man...."
"The new guy"
"Yes, yes, what do you want?"
"I am afraid we have a bit of a problem....."

Mythology: What were the 12 labors of Hercules?

One of the best known characters in Greek mythology was the tragic myth of Hercules, son of the Greek god Zeus and a man of enormous strength.
In a fit of madness he killed his own children. To atone for his crime he was forced to serve King Eurystheus, who set him the tasks that are known as the twelve labours of Hercules.
In summary , these twelve tasks were as follows:
1) First task was to kill the Nemean lion, a monstrous beast that terrified the country of Nema.
2) His second task was to kill the Hydra, a terrible nine-headed water serpent
3) Thirdly he had to capture, alive, the Arcadian stag
4) His fourth task was the capture of the Erymanthian boar
5) Then he had to clean the Augean stables. Labor Five.King Augeus had a herd of 3,000 oxen and the stables had not been cleaned for 30 years.
6) His sixth labour was the slaying of the Stymphian birds, which fed on human flesh
7) Hercules had to capture the Cretan bull sent by Neptune to the king of Crete for sacrifice.
8) Task number eight was the capture of the mares of Diomedes.
9) The ninth labor was to obtain the the girdle (belt) of Hippolyte, the queen of the Amazons.
10) Then he had to capture the oxen of Geryon, a monster of with three bodies
11) His eleventh exploit was to obtain the golden apples of the Hesperides
12) His final task was the bringing up of Ceberus from the underworld.

Image from Wikipedia

Friday, 10 October 2008

Thursday, 09 October 2008

When and How was Julius Caesar assassinated?

Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th day of March, known as the Ides of March, 44 BC. Much has been written about his death and most of it dramatized for effect. The only available written documentation of his death that I could lay my hands on is that of Suetonius, the respected Roman scholar and historian, and the author of the Lives of the Caesars.
Following, quoted verbatim, from the English translation of his work on “De Vita Caesarum, Divius Iulius”, paragraph LXXXII.

“ As he took his seat, the conspirators gathered around him as if to pay their respects, and straightway Tillius Cimber, who had assumed the lead, came nearer as though to ask something: and when Caesar with a gesture put him off to another time, Cimber caught his toga by both shoulders: then as Caesar cried: “Why, this is violence!” one of the Cascas stabbed him from one side just below the throat. Caesar caught Casca’s arm and ran it through with his stylus, but as he tried to leap to his feet, he was stopped by another wound. When he saw he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its lap to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this wise he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, although some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, “You too, my child”. All the conspirators made off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, until finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with one arm hanging down. And of so many wounds none turned out to be mortal, in the opinion of the Physician Antistius, except the one in the breast. The conspirators had intended after slaying him to drag his body to the Tiber, confiscate his property, and revoke his decrees: but they forboe through fear of Marcus Antonius the consul, and Lepidus, the master of horse”

Suetonius based his writings on interviews with people present at the assassination and writings available at the time.
If there are other sources more credible than his, please let me know

Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Silly Signs: Trash

No idea as to the source of this image

Achilles' Heel, Origin and meaning

To have an Achilles’ heel implies that one has a vulnerable point. If this vulnerable point is attacked it will bring about the ruin of a person, country, object or idea, irrespective of any inherent strength.
In Greek mythology, this referred to a physical weakness. Modern usage is more symbolic for the downfall of virtually anything due to an inherent weakness.
In the mythological sense, Superman had an Achilles’ heel as in kryptonite. In the modern sense a marketing plan could have an Achilles’ heel if for example one was reliant on poor salesmen.
Origin is from Greek mythology. As a baby, Achilles was dipped in the river Styx by his mother to make him immortal. During the dunking process his mother had to hold him by the heel, and this part of his body, was covered by her hand, and no contact was made with the water. This became his vulnerable spot. He was invulnerable except for his heel.
Achilles excelled during the Trojan War, specifically during the final stages. After he had killed Hector, Achilles was killed by Paris, with an arrow to his heel. Some sources say the arrow was poisoned.
Achilles therefore, considered immortal, was killed via his heel, his only weak point.

Tuesday, 07 October 2008

The origin and meaning of “(Caught) on the horns of a dilemma”

The origin and meaning of “(Caught) on the horns of a dilemma” turned out to be more difficult than I imagined. The meaning was the easier part, and the origin more difficult.
Meaning : Refers to a situation where one is confronted with making a decision based on two options, the results or consequence of either decision having equally unpleasant results. So, no matter what decision you have to take, the outcome is unfavourable.
From the 1933 print of the Oxford Shorter Dictionary, Dilemma has Greek origins. Di meaning two and lemma an assumption or a premiss. According to the same source dilemma was a form of argument,(Rhetoric), in which an adversary was given the choice of usually 2, "but possibly more" alternatives equally unfavourable. The alternatives are the horns of the dilemma, either of which can cause pain.
The origin of the horns I could not determine. Most refer to the horns of a bull, and even to the devils horns. Somewhere I saw a source that quoted a Greek translation meaning a four legged animal with a tail, but lost the site.
An example of the phrase in modern terms by Oxford " the dilemma of a swimmer among drowning men, who all catch at him" (Page 510).

Friday, 03 October 2008

Silly Signs: Cops Hiding

Received via email
Source unknown

Et Tu, Brute (And you too, Brutus) : Origin and Meaning

What does Et tu Brute mean? These words are said to have been Julius Caesars last words after being assassinated on the Ides of March by a group of Senators, including Marcus Brutus, someone he had considered a close friend.
A number of translations exist:-
“And you, Brutus?”
“You too, Brutus?”
“Even you Brutus?”
“And you, (too) Brutus?”
Today, this quotation is mostly used to refer to an act of ultimate betrayal, usually from a trusted person.
The source of this quote appears to be from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: -
“Caesar: Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
Casca: Speak, hands, for me! (They stab Caesar.)
Caesar: Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar! (Dies.)
Cinna: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!”
Purists are still debating the correct translation, but the question is whether the translation efforts are directed towards translating the Shakespeare version, or Caesars last words.
Further sources of Caesars demise are the writings of Suetonius, a Roman biographer and historian. (69 AD- 122 AD). In his biography of Julius Caesar reference is made to a Greek phrase "καὶ σὺ τέκνον”. This has been translated by scholars to “You too, my child?”.
Why Greek at this serious point in time? It would appear as though the words uttered by Caesar were also the first few words of a Greek saying "You too my son, will have a taste of power," which implied that he (Brutus) would be heading for the same fate.
Suetonius : “ ….was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, You too, my child?”.
So, according to Suetonius there was written documentation as to Caesars last words. Plutonius, another respected philosopher and historian, maintained that Caesar died witout saying a word.
More Caesar quotes at a later post.
Image : Wikipedia
Source : Suetonius " The Lives of the Caesars- The Deified Julius"
Shakespeare : Julius Caesar
>Updated 23 June 2009<

Thursday, 02 October 2008

Kahlil Gibran - On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, 01 October 2008