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(Born Wednesday 14 May 2014 at 5:23 AM, 3.3 kg 53 cm)

 

Marvellous.  Emily, my eldest daughter, has given birth to my first natural Grandchild (I have three step-grandchildren).  She and Guido have named him Leander.  Mother and child are well.

According to Wikipedia, the original most famous Leander is the central character the the Greek Myth of Hero and Leander.

In the myth, Leander (Ancient Greek: Λέανδρος, Léandros), a young man from Abydos on the Asian side of the Dardanelles fell in love with Hero a priestess of Aphrodite (Roman equivalent: Venus the goddess of love) who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side of the Hellespont

His soft words, and his argument that Aphrodite would scorn the worship of a virgin, persuaded the beautiful Hero to take Leander as her lover. Every night he would swim across the Hellespont to be with her. Hero would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. These trysts lasted through the warm summer.

On Hellespont, guilty of true love's blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoin'd by Neptune's might:
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair.

from Christopher Marlowe's poem Hero and Leander

 

But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero's light.  Leander lost his way and was drowned. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be with him.

 


The Last Watch of Hero by Frederic Leighton,
depicting Hero anxiously waiting for Leander during the storm.

 

According to Wikipedia, people named Leander include:

A number of warships and warship classes of the Royal Navy have been given this famous name:

  • HMS Leander, various Royal Navy ships

    • Leander class, three ship classes

     

  • HMNZS Leander, a Royal New Zealand Navy light cruiser of World War II, originally HMS Leander of the British Royal Navy

  • SS Leander, a number of ships with this name

  • Leander (clipper), a clipper built in 1867

 

I like the Myth of Hero and Leander.

When we were in Turkey in 2005 we crossed the Hellespont twice in a rented car. It didn't float on water but there was a convenient ferry. We were there principally to visit the battle site at Gallipoli but the whole region is interesting.  The Hellespont (Dardanelles) has been famous in history, myth and religion since the invention of writing; and maybe earlier.  The ancient city of Troy was nearby.

 

 

 

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Travel

Poland

Poland

 

 

Berlin

We were to drive to Poland from Berlin.  In September and October 2014 were in Berlin to meet and spend some time with my new grandson, Leander.  But because we were concerned that we might be a burden to entertain for a whole month-and-a-half, what with the demands of a five month old baby and so on, we had pre-planned a number of side-trips.  The last of these was to Poland. 

To pick up the car that I had booked months before, we caught the U-Bahn from Magdalenenstraße, close to Emily's home in Lichtenberg, to Alexanderplatz.  Quick - about 15 minutes - and easy.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Egyptian Mummies

 

 

 

 

Next to Dinosaurs mummies are the museum objects most fascinating to children of all ages. 

At the British Museum in London crowds squeeze between show cases to see them.  At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo they are, or were when we visited in October 2010 just prior to the Arab Spring, by far the most popular exhibits (follow this link to see my travel notes). Almost every large natural history museum in the world has one or two mummies; or at the very least a sarcophagus in which one was once entombed.

In the 19th century there was something of a 'mummy rush' in Egypt.  Wealthy young European men on their Grand Tour, ostensibly discovering the roots of Western Civilisation, became fascinated by all things 'Oriental'.  They would pay an Egyptian fortune for a mummy or sarcophagus.  The mummy trade quickly became a lucrative commercial opportunity for enterprising Egyptian grave-robbers.  

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Opinions and Philosophy

Losing my religion

 

 

 

 

In order to be elected every President of the United States must be a Christian.  Yet the present incumbent matches his predecessor in the ambiguities around his faith.  According to The Holloverse, President Trump is reported to have been:  'a Catholic, a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, a Presbyterian and he married his third wife in an Episcopalian church.' 

He is quoted as saying: "I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion..."

And whatever it is, it's the greatest.

Not like those Muslims: "There‘s a lot of hatred there that’s someplace. Now I don‘t know if that’s from the Koran. I don‘t know if that’s from someplace else but there‘s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it."

And, as we've been told repeatedly during the recent campaign, both of President Obama's fathers were, at least nominally, Muslim. Is he a real Christian?  He's done a bit of church hopping himself.

In 2009 one time United States President Jimmy Carter went out on a limb in an article titled: 'Losing my religion for equality' explaining why he had severed his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after six decades, incensed by fundamentalist Christian teaching on the role of women in society

I had not seen this article at the time but it recently reappeared on Facebook and a friend sent me this link: Losing my religion for equality...

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