Archive for the ‘italy’ Tag

01/22/2022 The Seven Wonders X 4   Leave a comment

The first mention of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was in the 5th century BCE. They were some of the greatest human achievements at that time. The list was used over the centuries by many medieval writers but was mainly concerned with the accomplishments of the Greek or Roman empires. At that time very little was known of faraway cultures and their creations. Here is the traditional list of seven:

Giza Pyramids (Egypt), The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Iraq), Temple of Artemis (Turkey), Statue of Zeus (Greece), the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (Turkey), the Colossus of Rhodes (Greece), and the Pharos of Alexandria (Egypt).

While these seven were indeed a wonder, there were many other places elsewhere on the globe with achievements worthy of mention. Here are just a few to make my point:

The Great Wall (China), Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Machu Picchu (Peru), the Taj Mahal (India), the Moai Statues (Easter Island), the Aztec Temple of Tenochtitlan (Mexico), the Shwedagon Pagoda (Myanmar), and the Coliseum (Italy).

These were just a few. I could easily have named at least two dozen more. Let’s change categories now to name the Seven Wonders of the Industrial Age.

The Transcontinental Railroad (USA), the London Sewer System England), the Panama Canal (Panama), Hoover Dam (USA), the Three Gorges Dam (China), the Banaue Rice Terraces (Philippines), and the Bell Rock Lighthouse (Scotland).

What about the modern world and it’s wonders? Here are seven more to consider:

Itaipu Dam (Brazil), the Channel Tunnel (England/France), the Twin Towers (USA), the Zuider Zee Dam (Netherlands), the Petronas Towers (Indonesia), the CN Tower (Canada), and the Burj Khalifa (UAE).

I’ve offered up a lot of information here and many will likely disagree with some of my choices. The point of this historical rampage was to show that creativity and wonder aren’t limited to one country or one continent. The wonders of the world are too numerous to list, and every country has their own favorites. I find it amazing that as a species we have so many similarities and so little understanding of each other. Maybe someday it will improve.

WE CAN ONLY HOPE

08/14/2021 The Art of Bird Throwing   Leave a comment

As we’re all aware this last year-and-a-half with the pandemic has changed many things, some for the better and some for the worse. Since the onset of the pandemic I’ve noticed a disturbing trend with female drivers in the area and I’m assuming that it’s pretty much the same all across the country. I’ve mentioned in past posts that common courtesy is one of the victims of the pandemic and I need to take that one step further. It seems that many female drivers have taken to “flipping the bird” with a vengeance. I’ve seen teenage girls, old ladies, soccer moms, and just about everyone else getting with the program. Needless to say it sparked my curiosity which then required a little research into my archives about the practices of “throwing the finger” and here’s what I found.

SOME HISTORY OF THE BIRD

Tossing the bird has been a tradition with us men that has been passed down through the ages from grandfathers to fathers and then to their sons. Guys have been throwing the finger for a variety of reasons for as long as I can remember. We owned this gesture until the feminists arrived. Now the ladies have every right to be as obnoxious as we’ve been and believe me their certainly doing it with panache and gusto.

Thrusting up a middle finger or “flipping the bird” is one of the more familiar hand gestures across this country. Its popularity is also worldwide and has been around for a very long time in a number of European countries. No one is sure how it originated but we all know that the Romans used it at the time of Christ.

Just as there are many gestures in the world to convey one’s negative feelings about another, there are also regional differences to show approval. Men around the world have several gestures to imply that a woman is pretty. In the United States, men lift their eyebrows, in the Arab world a man grabs his beard, while in Greece he would stroke his cheek. In Italy, a man sticks his finger into his cheek and rotates it, Frenchmen kiss their fingertips, and Brazilians will pretend to hold up a telescope to their eye.

Obviously, almost any gesture can have meaning, either positive or negative, somewhere in the world. So the next time you travel abroad, be careful how you gesture with your hands. You might unwittingly attract unwanted attention from the natives, especially in the Middle East. They seem to look for any spoken word or gesture by a non-Arab as a reason to throw you into prison for a chat or to just execute you.

In my attempt to be fair I’ve also seen a few men with some unfortunate habits. While I myself would never today do something so crude. In my youth I may have lost control a few thousand times. I deeply regret those times when I “birded” nice old ladies or a few hundred clergymen. It really is nice to see that the female of the species now has the capability and the mindset to throw the bird to damn near anybody for damn near any reason. “I Am Woman” hear me roar.

And thanks to whoever placed that Ryan Gosling GIF on the net. It made my day.

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