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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ole Worm

Image credit:  santiagocaruso.com
"Ole Worm" , born  Aarhus, Jutland, Denmark, 13 May 1588; and died in Copenhagen, Denmark, 7 September 1654, [source: encyclopedia.com] is also called Olaus Wormius, which is the Latin spelling of his name.   H.P. Lovecraft used his name, and referred to Olaus Wormius as one of the translators of necromancy in his fictional short stories.
Image credit: pinterest / jmhs.com
Ole Worm was a Danish physician, and antiquary, a linguist and a life long student of [natural] science. During the [end] period of "Black Death", he remained in Copenhagen to serve as King Christian IV of Denmark's personal physician, and administered care to those who had succumbed to the illness during this epidemic. 

Image credit: every-day-is-special.blogspot

Image credit:  library.wisc.edu

Worm is credited for his wonderful collection of illustrations (copper-plated engravings) of rare birds, which have attracted the attention from various historians around the world.   Worm's book "Museum Wormianum" (which is a 1655 account of these collected illustrations) are still examined for the study of extinct species. 

Image:  painted in 1636, by Frans Franken (detail)
Most significantly, Ole Worm was utterly and endlessly fascinated with curiosities.  He would take items from their natural habitat (collecting both natural and scientific objects), and put them on display in a room in his home.  He then invited the public to view his curiosities.  By this act, he is credited with becoming one of the first people who created what is known today, as a "museum".  His collections were/are referred to as "Cabinets of Curiosities", which contained fascinating items like taxidermied animals, bones, rocks, fossils, engravings, exotic objects, scientific devises and antiques.  Prior to his museum, some people of wealth collected strange items and privately displayed them in their homes, as a way to demonstrate their social status. 

Image credit: tumblr
Today, there is a new surge of interest, as curiosity cabinets (in large or small scale) are still being produced, by artists and collectors, [for example] who enjoy exhibiting oddities and curiosities. 

Image credit: mysticism/pinterest
I feel the need to put into perspective that one must consider this particular time period, and you will realize that mysticism and science were frequently in conflict, yet paralleled one another, as various studies brought forth more logical explanations of what may have been previously thought of as magical or pagan in it's original essence.   Elements of the occult or the supernatural seemed to be simultaneous with science.

gif source: tumblr
For instance, Ole Worm debunked the unicorn's existence by demonstrating that what people had collected as unicorn horns were actually those of narwhal tusks.  He did this by showing the creatures bones attached to the tusk.  Yet, in a strange contention with his own philosophy of demystifying the existence of the unicorn, he had the unnatural notion that a unicorn's horn held some medicinal value. 

Image credit: worldwildlife.com
There was an existing belief that a unicorn's horn could be used to neutralize poison or cure diseases and even resurrect the dead.  Using small pets, he would experiment by grinding a narwhal horn and administering it to these creatures.  The result was that rodents survived and recovered.  Please note:  No other facts could be found to expound on this information.

Image credit: tumblr
Ole Worm also collected early literature in the form of Scandinavian rune stones, and texts written in runic language.  The King of Denmark, and Bishops from Denmark and Norway, deeply approved of his research, which resulted in his publication of "Fasti Danici", also known as the "Danish Chronology," which contained the results of his transcribed research of runic lore.  

Image credit: en.natmus.dk
In 2008, Glyn Daniel, of encyclopedia.com, wrote:

"In 1639 a gold horn was discovered in Jutland: and Worm, with his great knowledge of runes and antiquities, was asked to described and study it; he did so, publishing De aureo cornu in 1641. This gold horn, and another discovered a hundred years later, were stolen from the royal collections in 1802 and destroyed. Worm’s account of the horn, and the runes and designs on it, are therefore of great importance."

Image credit: santiagocaruso.com
In closing, I am saddened to read of the original golden horn's destruction, but joyous to report that I have discovered a new word, (below) as the result of completing this blog post, and want to share it with you:
....  Thank you, Ole Worm.

 "Wunderkammer" [noun].  A place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited.  
[Word Source:  OxfordDictionaries.com]

Vermont Deadline, is published by Denise Goodwin
September 17, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

Driving for Life

~An Open Letter to the "Other" Driver~

“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.”   ― D. Barry

Dear Fellow Traveler,

Last week, when I was stepping into the shower, I noticed a big, ugly black spider in the bathtub.  I shrieked and jumped because it was unexpected.  I have a similar reaction when I am traveling and suddenly see a car coming at me, after crossing the line(s) from the opposite lane.

My job requires driving, and obviously, this means our lives on the line every time we get into our cars.  It is a serious matter! While I travel the highways and Bi-ways of our beautiful green state, (and beyond), I want to take this opportunity, dear friend, to remind you that you have your own side of the road. 

This means that while you drive, you should stay within the confines of your designated lines.  Keep out of my lane, because, yes, I have ownership of my lane in that moment, just as you do, respectfully.   I can't tell you how many times I encounter another car with its wheels left of center, and my heart momentarily stops, akin to seeing that ugly black spider.

When I am driving and suddenly I realize that you have crept so close to the hind end of my car, that I can see the color of your eyes from my rear-view mirror,  I feel the urge to remind you of the 3 second rule, while traveling? click the > play button for a 1 minute video.

Speaking of "seconds", don't text and drive.  Just don't do it.  It's called distracted driving for a reason.  It takes just a matter of a few seconds to take your eyes of the road, to look at your phone and have an accident...or worse.  

Texting while driving - Image credit - ueccenterprise.com
Texting While Driving makes you 23X more likely to crash, slows your brake reaction speed by 18% and leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road.  The National Safety Council reports that using your cell phone while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.  And sadly, ALL of these statistics are 100% preventable. 

Eating while driving - Image credit - hybridcars.com

Shaving while driving - Image credit - emaze.com

Newspaper while driving - Image credit - autosvoice.com

What are the 3 types of distraction?

1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road;

2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and,

3. Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving

Distracted driving activities include talking on a cell phone, texting, reading the newspaper or a map, putting on make up, shaving, and eating. Using technology such as a GPS can also be a source of distraction. ANY of these distractions can endanger yourself or others.  Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.  For your information, here is a link to Vermont DMV's texting and driving laws:

Blinker - Image credit - miaminewtimes.com
Blinker, please

The little handle which is located on the left side of your steering wheel, has a purpose.  That purpose is to inform other drivers of your intent to make a turn.  Just yesterday, I witnessed 3 separate incidents in which another driver failed to use their blinker, and all of which involved them making a left turn in front of another vehicle who occupied the lane in front of them.

Ye Olde Hissy Fit

If I am ahead of you and I am doing the "right thing", (traveling at the speed limit) you need to remember that it is not my fault if YOU are late.   From my rear-view mirror, I can see you pounding your steering wheel or throwing your hands in the air (which should be on the steering wheel).  Cut it out.  Stop it.  Chill out.  Breathe.   All I can say is that you should have planned better.  Vermont's DMV also addresses road rage and aggressive driving here:  http://dmv.vermont.gov/safety/RoadRage


Think about the moment you are getting in your car.... and BE in the moment.

*What time of day is it?

*Is it morning, when are people rushing to get to work?

*Is it lunch time, and we are hungry trying to get to their food destination?

*Is it the end of the day, and we are thinking about getting home or the errands we need to run? Or having to pick up little Suzi or Bobby from day care?

*What is your mood, and will it affect your driving?  Are you tired?  Hungry?  Sad?  Elated?

*Is it raining?

*Is it snowing?

*Will there be leaves or other debris in the road?

Plan ahead and drive accordingly and drive defensively.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you

~The "Be Nice" RANT~  

Soon, our state will be in the height of foliage, and the "leaf-peepers" will be enjoying the natural wonder of our mountains and countryside.   I want to remind the public that Tourism is one of Vermont's biggest industries.  It is heart-breaking to hear native Vermonters complain about the buses and cars who are taking in the sights, and they should be ashamed of themselves!  

Image credit - pinterest
Remember, that we depend on the fellow explorers and visitors to purchase our products (maple syrup, apples, cheese, and chocolate - to name a few) and to support our small towns, and big cities by their very presence.   

Today, it seems that we are all in a hurry.  We all need to get somewhere, and get there fast.  I hope that if you have read this, that you will be reminded that common sense and courtesies do matter.  Be nice.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Working Words

Hello, Labor Day....Goodbye Summer.  

Labor Day is the first Monday in September, and was created by the labor movement in the 1800's.  It is dedicated to the social and economic accomplishments of the American worker.  It is an annual tribute to us all, who contribute to our country's prosperity and strength. 


This is what some of us may be thinking today, as we gather outdoors to barbecue or picnic, or perhaps to watch a parade. 

This annual day of rest was the result of the average American working 12 hours a day, for seven days a week during the peak of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800's.  Very young children were employed in mills and mines across the country, even though some protective restrictions were in place.  The working conditions were quite dismal, as they faced poor air quality, unsanitary and very hazardous working conditions.  This eventually led to strikes, protests and even rioting, until Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.  

Image credit:  garneteducation

This morning, I began thinking about the many terms we use to describe "putting in a day's work" and/or related words that we use at work, or about work.  Imagine, being from another country and trying to make sense of our American language!  

Image credit: theodysseyonline
We probably take for granted some of our common expressions, and when one considers our phraseology, it can be quite humorous, and there is usually a story behind every idiom.  We use these terms daily, in carrying out our work duties.

Image credit; alumnus.tennessee.edu

Labor of love - This term is often used to describe work that is done out of affection, and not necessarily to receive pay or reward.  It may also mean that one may perform work for their own satisfaction because that, in itself, is the reward. 

"Labor under the illusion [or delusion] of/that" - to work or operate under the unwavering belief in an outcome that is unrealistic.

"The Fruit of Our Labor" - the result of [hard] work. 

"In Labor" - a woman who is experiencing the suffering and pains of giving birth. 

"Labor Under The Assumption" - to work with the belief that the results would be meaningful or profitable... but, many of you may be familiar with the adage:  "To assume is to make an ass out of u and me."


Here is an exhausting, and sometimes funny, list of phrases that we American's use the word "work", (or other idioms) pertaining to work, in our daily lives.  Can you add to this list?

A piece of work
A woman's work is never done
Above the call of duty
All hands on deck
All in a day's work
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

A nasty piece of work
All in a day's work
Back to work
Balance the books
Beehive of activity
[the] Big Cheese
Blank check
Blood on the carpet
Break your back
Bring home the bacon
Build up a head of steam
Business as usual
Business before pleasure
Busy work
Called on the carpet
Can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Carve out a niche
Cash cow
Chief cook and bottle washer
Clinch a deal
Close enough for government work
Cog in the machine
[Make] cold calls
Corner the market
Crack the whip
Creative accounting
Cut and dried
Cutting edge
Daily grind
Dead end job
Dead weight
Detective work
Devil's work
Do your homework
Do dirty work
Dog eat dog
Done deal
Don't mix business with pleasure
Down the drain
Drastic times call for drastic measures

Drive into the ground
Dummy run
Eager beaver
Elbow grease
Farm it out
Finger in the pie
Foot in the door
Funny business
Get down to brass tacks
Get down to business
Get down to work
Get it off the ground
Get the show on the road
Get the upper hand
Get your hands dirty
Give it your best shot
Give me the works
Give you a run for the money
Go belly up
Go for a song
Go out of business
Go to work
Golden opportunity
Good work!
Grease your palm
Grunt work
Gum up the works
Hard work

Hard work never killed anyone
Have your work cut out for you
Hit the ground running
Hold the fort
Household name
Idle hands to do dirty work
In the black
In the red
In the works
It is not work that kills, but the worry
It works for me!
I've got work to do
Jack/Jill of all trades
Jump on the band wagon
Just another day
Keep up the good work
Keep your head above water

Knock off work
Knuckle down
Learn the ropes
Left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing
Leg work
Lick of work
Like clockwork
[A] little work never hurt anyone
Make fast work of 
Make hay while the sun shines
Make light work of
Make quick work of
Make short work of
Many hands make light work
Monkey business
Movers and shakers
Muster in
Nice work if you can get it!

Nose to the grindstone 
Not a stroke of work
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Nuts and bolts
One hand washes the other
Ostrich strategy
Out of work
Overplay your hand
Pass the buck
Perform miracles
Pick up steam
Pink slip
Piece of the action
Piece of work
Pile the work on
Pull your own weight
Put a wrench into the works

Put in a hard day at work
Put to work
Put your shoulder to the wheel
Red Tape
Roll up your sleeves
Seal of approval
Sell ice to an Eskimo
Separate the boys from the men
Shape up, or ship out
Shoot the works
Shotgun approach
Sign on the dotted line
Signed, sealed and delivered

Skeleton crew
Silent partner
Slice of the pie
Start the ball rolling
Strictly business
Sweat blood
Sweat of your brow
Take a nosedive
Talk shop
Too many chiefs, and not enough Indians
Too many irons in the fire
Thankless work
That works for me!
The devil finds work for idle hands
The works
Things will work out
Time works wonders
Trade secret

Tricks of the trade
Up and running
Walking papers
Wear my fingers to the bone
Wearing too many hats
Wheeling and dealing
Whole works
Win-win situation
Work your butt/buns/arse/ass/tail/socks off

Work your magic
Work your way through it
Work a treat
Work against the clock
Work around to it
Work at
Work both sides of the street
Works both ways
[have your] Work cut out for you
Worked my fingers to the bone
Work for peanuts
Work hand in glove 
Work itself out
Work like a beaver
Work like a charm
Work like a dog
Worked like magic
Work your magic
Work nights
Work of art
Work off
Work on
Work your fingers to the bone
Work yourself into a lather

Work out
Work out for the best
Work out of
Work over
Work some fat off
Work someone over
Work the crowd
Work out the problem
Work the room
Work things out
Work things through
Work through channels
Work till you drop
Work together
Work under the table
Work 'til you drop
Work up a sweat
Work up a thirst
Work up to it
Work wonders

Worked up
Works for me
Write if you get work
Write your John Hancock

*Mouse illustrations, showing mice hard at work, are fine art examples, by Stuart Dunkel

Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day!