Category Archives: Sassy Scholar

Rainforest Facts


  • Long ago, rainforests covered about 14% of the earth. Now? Only 6% remains
  •  20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest
  • More than half of the world’s estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live amid the rainforests
  • 1/5th of the world’s fresh water is found in the Amazon Basin
  • Just 2 and 1/2 acres of rainforest have 750 types of trees and 1500 species of plant life
  • More than half of the world’s estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects inhabit rainforests.  That’s more than half of the worlds species

The Destructor! Greed and Politicsparrot

  • Experts believe the rainforest will be gone in less than 40 years.
  • Deforestation occurs because of man’s need for lumber and to clear land for grazing cattle ( which is evidently more profitable)
  • Every single day 137 plant, animal, and insect species are destroyed
  • For the math minded that’s  50,000 species a year

Mother Nature Provides: Man Destroysjungle plants

  • As the rainforests are destroyed, so too are the cures for  countless diseases
  • At this time, 121 prescription drugs come from plants
  • This might blow your mind: Pharmaceutical companies get  about  25% of their ingredients from the  rainforest  AND YET ONLY  1% of the total of rainforest life has been tested!!


H hawkPeople of the Rainforest

  • 500 years ago there were approximately  10 million indigenous peoples living  in the Amazonian Rainforest.
  • Today, their population has plummeted to less than 200,000.
  • The knowledge of their shamans, who know the medicinal value and properties of the plants and creatures, will also be lost forever
  • The average age of a rainforest shaman? 70
  • Love fruit? The rainforest has  3000 kinds of fruits. The western world uses about  200.  Rainforest indians use over 2,000.

Got Cures?

  •  2100  cancer-fighting rainforest plants have been identified by the US National Cancer Institutejungle waterfall
  • 25% of the active ingredients found in cancer-fighting drugs come from rainforest organisms
  • Vincristine, found in Periwinkle,  a most powerful anticancer drug, is used to combat childhood leukemia
  • Just 30 years ago, US drug companies were no where to be found in the rainforest. Today, all the biggies –and even the US government–are researching the medicinal properties found in plants


Huaorani: Amazonian Tribe

H mTheir name means “the people” and they are a remote tribe of about 3000, their population spread over 28 communities deep in the Ecuadorian jungles.

As deforestation continues encroaching upon their home, polluting the rivers and destroying their way of life, the Huaorani face almost certain extinction. In addition, the shaman’s knowledge of medicinal plants will be destroyed, the healing substances of the rain forest forever lost to corporate greed and political power.

The indigenous peoples play a role in THE MERKABAH DECEPTION--the 2nd in the Merkabah Series, the  continued adventures of the empathic professor who solves paranormal crimes for a mystical organization.

H fI thought it appropriate to provide a few facts about this remote  South American tribe.

Quick facts

  • Anyone not Huaorani is considered to be non-human
  • Tribes revere the jaguar, a guardian of the Napo River
  • They have a highly developed sense of hearing
  • They believe they are last free men of the Ecuadoran jungle
  • An egalitarian society, there is no single leader, but rather one is appointed should a situation necessitate such a designation
  • Men may take several wives and vise versa should the male-female ratio not provide a mate for every gender
  • The harpia or hawk is sacred and each tribe cares for one
  • Palm tree fronds are the building materials for their spacious multi-family homes H fish
  • Individuals sleep on hammocks strung from poles in the dwelling or sleep on mats
  • Shamon’s brew ayahuasco, aka, the Spirit Vine/Vine of the Soul/Vine of the Dead
  • Fish are caught using the barbasco plant, a shrub whose substance stuns nearby fish, causing them to float to the surface

Pictures and info are from Hijos de la Selva Ecuatoriana by Erwin Patzelt.  Translation of text is courtesy of the Hubby.

  • Myth, history, and science collide when an empathic professor is recruited by a paranormal organization.
    Distraught by the frequent psychotic episodes and convulsions spreading through the student body, the owner of a prestigious prep school in Ecuador seeks help from an occult society. Summoned by a mystical society known as The Watchers, Daphne Sites must determine if the mass hysteria has unearthly origins. She’s a bit anxious—this is only her second assignment.
    H hawk
  • To purchase on Amazon: click HERE.For a sneak peak of THE MERKABAH DECEPTION,  the 2nd in the series, click HERE. 
  • Related Posts: Mass Psychogenic Illness; Ecuador’s Mythological Creatures




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Humans are a psychotic bunch! Many of us are stressed and frantic.  Oh, lucky and blessed are the rare individuals who possess a Zen-like demeanor and state of being.

Have humans always been stressed-out?

You know it! Even THOUSANDS of years ago!

stone tabletYup! There’s clay tablet proof! And you know, if it was written in stone is has to be true.

Seems back in 1300 BC, those wacky Hittites—residents of what is now modern day Turkey—even had the ancient equivalent of a profession we call on during times of emotional trouble— psychologists.

The Hittite translation was not nearly so scientific: Old Woman.

Masdigga was an early psychologist in Kizzuwatna (turn right at the ziggurat and go 200 miles until you get to the coast–you can’t miss it).

Straight from 70 clay tablets, here’s a couple of the problems Masdigga dealt with and her remedies.

Anger Issues/Marriage bickering ( strange how those two are linked :  Burn a tongue-shaped package of mutton fat and wool over a fire while counseling the individual/couple on methods for releasing their anger. ( I should have tried this with my Ex)

Enemy worries: A 3-day seminar, complete with a keynote speeches by angels  who advised on using mind control techniques  ( mind games) to conquer their enemies.

Ancient Psychology involved more than just talk, Masdigga often used props like: butchered animals, trees, 3 different colors of wool, 6 different kinds of metal, baked and unbaked bread, pine cones, cord/string, wine, bowstrings, mice, and a few other local animals.

The BIG drawback to being an Old Woman in those days—besides, perhaps the title—was that Hittites believed natural disasters and plagues were the result of the Gods’ wrath! This required her to appeal directly to the Gods. And oh boy, are they picky!

Masdigga also did some moonlighting as a Notary! That’s right, her profession included authorizing the legitimacy of documents. Yup, even back then we needed these folks.

What was the average salary of an Old Woman/psychologist?  Sadly, not much. Coin was scarce and so she was paid in goods and services.

Masdigga: Ancient Psychologist. Family Therapist. Plague Minimizer. God  Appeaser. Stress Reliever. Notary. Military Adviser.

Any you thought you were busy!

Related Posts:

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Feminine Forgery

Fab Female Friday!

dollar billA mom’s gotta do, what a mom’s gotta do! Even back in the mid 1600’s!

Mary Peck Butterworth had seven children and a hubby whose paycheck didn’t cover the bills. The cost of living was sky high—an economic hardship to which we can all relate.

This desperate mom hatched a brilliant plan to garner more cash. While the kiddos frolicked outside, Mary gathered her quills, ink, and some leftover fabric and got busy! Making money!

Seems Mary was quite the artist! And she used her skills to counterfeit. But creating individual bills was very time consuming. With hardly enough time for the cooking, washing, cleaning, and mending,  Mary needed a brilliant idea for a more efficient method of making the dough. And she did!

Voila! The first disposable counterfeiting plate. Actually, it wasn’t a real plate but a piece of her petticoat. (We woman are so practical)

When Mary was done, she tossed the fabric into the fire—the evidence gone in a puff of smoke.

Pretty soon, Mary hired  a few employees. Let’s see… there were a few family members who wanted in on the biz, some like-minded neighbors,  a few god-fearing churchgoers, and the deputy sheriff.

Yup! Life was good! And Mary enjoyed about 7 years of blissful phony bill passing.

But her crimes caught up with her when an eagle-eyed shopkeeper noticed something amiss and called the law.

Lucky for Mary the police never found any evidence to convict her.

Mary must have learned her lesson because there’s no proof she ever took up paperhanging again.

Mary Butterworth: Mom. Wife. Artist. Entrepreneur. Small Business Owner. Funny- money maker.

Related Links: Other Fab Females
Click  Amazon link for novels.

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Dracula’s Wife


Ilona Szilágyi Ilona Szilagyi, the cousin of Hungarian king Mathias Corvinus, grew up amid the luxury of court life in Buda. One of three daughters born to  Hungarian noble Michael Szilagyi  and Margit Bathory in 1446, IIona was a privileged young woman.

During an age when marriages were negotiated political contracts, Dracula—held as a political detainee by the Hungarian king— knew his freedom came only when the young king needed his skills to halt the Turkish army.

Little is known about Vlad Dracula’s ten years as a supposed ‘prisoner’ of the Hungarian King other than he wed Ilona and they lived in Pest.

History records nothing of Ilona’s life or death—even the location of her grave is a mystery  ( like Dracula’s ). We do know Ilona’s father and Vlad were good friends and united in their desire to stop the Turks. Dracula was an excellent military strategist, fierce warlord, and crusading prince. Although his tactics were widely debated and much maligned ( German flyers called him a Bloodthirsty  Berserker ) throughout Christendom, Ilona was probably well-acquainted with his bad-boy reputation.

Vlad III

 The subject of my next historical fiction. 
Photos  collected while researching are available on my Pinterest page.
A few Vlad facts:
  • he lived from 1431–1476
  • he was Prince of Wallachia, a region of Romania that’s north of the Danube river and just south of the Carpathian mountains
  • his dad, Vlad Dracul, belonged to the Order of Dragons, which was established to safeguard Christianity in eastern Europe ( a good thing)
  • Vlad III was known for his cruelty ( a bad thing) but took up the mantel of Order of the Dragon mandate.
  • reportedly—accurate statistics were sketchy back then—he was responsible for over 10,000 deaths.
  • his brother Radu ( a pet of the Sultan) slid into power after Dracula was ousted from Wallachia the 2nd time.
  • Vlad III spent most of his life fighting the encroachment of the Ottoman Empire

Ilona and Vlad lived the royal life in a grand mansion in Pest ( across the Danube from Buda). They were married for ten years, and she bore him two sons.

The eldest is named after his father. 

In 1476, Vlad Dracula, only 45-yrs oldwas killed in battle.

Ilona—an ambitious woman by all accounts—fled to Buda with her children where she became a distinguished refugee at court. Her eldest, Vlad IV was the official pretender to the Wallachian throne.

Writing a novel like this requires extensive research! If you have a question, I’ll do my best to answer it.

If you are interested in receiving  notification concerning the novel’s publication, leave a comment with name and email. Your email will not be shared and will remain private. You will receive no emails other than the novel’s release date.

A quick summary.

ILONA SZILÁGYI, the cousin of Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, grows up amid the luxury of court life and under the tutelage of a vigilant aunt. During her cousin’s coronation, Ilona meets the twice-deposed Prince of Wallachia, Vlad Dracula, and is immediately drawn to him.

A prized political prisoner held in the Visegrad castle, Dracula knows his freedom comes only if the young monarch needs a fierce warrior to halt the Ottoman encroachment. Marrying into the king’s family is Dracula’s best chance if he hopes to solidify an alliance and secure his future. And either of Matthias’ two cousins will do, thus inciting the rivalry between Ilona and her sister Margit.

After discovering the truth about her sadistic husband, Ilona is both horrified and yet stirred by his deeds.

Determined to become Dracula’s confidante and beloved, the ambitious Ilona supports his pursuits to regain his Romanian titles even as she offers comfort to the innocent victims he wronged. When Ilona realizes her husband’s sadistic proclivities extend to the bedroom she must decide her future as either an unwilling participant or enthusiastic lover. Taught that entrance to the kingdom of heaven rests on good deeds and piety, Ilona struggles as the husband she loves corrupts her soul.

At a time when unholy leaders fight holy wars, Ilona faces battles where weapons are whispered lies and dangerous secrets. A vengeful sister, spying servants, and tempering the ignoble reputation of her husband compel Ilona to forsake virtue for security.

THE IMPALER’S WIFE is a tale of an ambitious woman bent on thriving in a world of sanctified brutality and sinful sensuality. It is a love story where the cost of sacrifice and the curse of love became a legend.

Novel update: With agent!

Related Links: Other Fab Females

Pancho Barnes

PanchoIt’s Fab Female Friday! This week: Florence Lowe Barnes, aka Pancho. Maybe you’ve heard about this fearless gal!

Aviatrix. Record breaker. Rancher. Stunt Flyer. Mom. Hollywood elbow-rubber. High-flyer.

Pancho was born in Pasadena, California in 1901 and was the granddaughter to the man who pioneered American Aviation with the Union Army Balloon corps.

Flash forward several decades>>>

One day as Pancho took her cousin to his flying lessons, she realized she too wanted to soar in the big blue. A persuasive woman, she convinced her cousin’s instructor to begin teaching her that very day.

A quick learner and gutsy gal, she continued flying even after a crash, and in 1930—flying 196.10 mph—she broke Amelia Earhart’s speed record!

(How come I never read about her in history books?)

Not one to sit around resting on her laurels, she became a stunt pilot in Hollywood  and made plenty of Tinseltown connections.

desertThe Depression, however, resulted in a loss of most of her money. She scraped enough together to buy 180 acres of desert property out in in the boonies of the Mojave desert ( tumbleweeds, cactus, dirt, lizards—think Wiley Coyote)  Her closest neighbor? March Air Force Base.

There she rubbed elbows and threw parties for people like Chuck Yeager, General Jimmy Doolittle, Buzz Aldrin, and the Hollywood A-list crowd.

After a protracted legal battle with the government (never fun) over the price of her land and a suspicious fire, she moved to Cantril.

Unable to stay away from the life she loved, Pancho became a regular visitor at Edwards AFB, soon enjoying the company of her ol’ fly buddies.

Pancho died in 1975, never having made it to her keynote speech at the local Aero Museum reunion event.

This amazing woman is the subject of several books, movies, and documentaries. Courageous. Bodacious. Married 4 times! A force to be reckoned with.

Related Posts: Fabulous Females

Click  Amazon link for novels.

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Grandy Nanny

Grandy NannyIt’s Fab Female Friday! And this Friday’s feisty woman is Grandy Nanny of Jamaica.

Run-away slave. Guerrilla leader. Politician. Priestess of obeah–an African religion of mysticism, magic, and mayhem.

Sold into slavery by a rival tribe as a child, Nanny was brought to Jamaica to work the sugar plantations. Word of her love potions and spiritual arts eventually garnered her the respect of white and black alike.

Not content with the slave life, Nanny hightailed it into the dense Blue Mountain jungles where many run-aways lived with the natives. A natural leader, Nanny soon became the leader of the Windward Maroons–a large group of ex-slaves determined not to submit to English rule.  A powerful organizer, Nanny eventually commanded several  Maroon groups in the Caribbean.

The English, underestimating the determination, smarts, and cunning of a slave sorceress,  endured heavy casualties caused by the guerrilla warfare tactics of the Windward Maroons  Eventually, a peace treaty was signed and the Maroons were able to live free–for a while anyway.

Grandy Nanny is a national folk hero, has two towns named after her, and has many folk claiming to be one of her descendants.

Don’t mess with a woman on a mission!

Related Posts: Marie Laveau Boudicca ; Cheng I Sao ; Nicole-Barbe ClicquotJuliaDomneLocustaGoddess of Beer

Inventions by Women

It’s Fab Female Friday!

blocksWomen are amazing inventors! Unfortunately  just how many inventions we really are responsible for is lost in history. Why? Because men took the credit. Even in the USA! In fact, women were not permitted to get a patent in their own name until the late 1800’s.

Here are just a few women inventors.

1.Alphabet Blocks>>> Adeline Whitney: Poet and author of 20 children’s books.

crosby2.Brassiere>>>Mary Phelps Jacob: Although bra-like garments go way back in history ( as far back as ancient Rome), 19-yr old Mary  invented the 1st modern version from 2 silk handkerchiefs and a ribbon when the boning of her corset showed through her fancy ball gown.

3. Disposable Diapers>>>After WW2, Marion Donovan sewed up a plastic shower curtain to keep the bed sheets dry from the leaky kiddo. She had no takers for for waterproof diaper cover, until Saks Fifth Avenue debuted it in 1949.  Her next project, designing a totally disposable diaper made from super absorbent paper. Ten years went by before a company saw the genius of her invention. Female power triumphs because Marion went on to obtained 20 patents in her lifetime!

4. Circular Saw>>> Tabitha Babbitt invented the prototype for the circular saw used in saw mills. She never applied for a patent.

5. Medical Syringe>>>Letitia Geer ( Couldn’t find any information about her.)

6. Life raft>>>Maria Beasley received over 15 patents and earned quite a bit of money from them. The biggest money-maker was her barrel making machine; however, it’s the life raft invention for which she is most famous.

7. Fire escape>>>Anna Connelly was the first to design and patent the fire escape.

8. Windshield Wiper>>>Mary Anderson developed this after a trip to snowy New York City.  Wipers became standard equipment by 1916.

9. Dishwasher>>>Josephine Cochrane, bless her heart, decided her servants were breaking too many heirloom china pieces, so she designed an automatic dishwasher with wire compartments and water sprays.  Before long she was manufacturing and selling to hotels and restaurants, and finally homeowners.

10. Square-bottomed paper bag>>> Inventor Margaret Knight was perfecting the machine that would fold and glue a paper bag together when a man who saw the prototype stole her idea.

whiteout11. Liquid Paper/White out>>> Bette Nesmith Graham was prone to typing mistakes, and in those pre-word processor days that mean typing a whole new paper. An artist used to painting over mistakes, she applied the same idea to her typist job.

12. Chocolate Chip cookies>>>Ruth Wakefield stumbled upon this recipe when she added chopped chocolate to cookie dough in the hopes it it would melt to make chocolate cookies. Best cooking mistake ever made. Ever!

13. Home diabetes test:>>>Although Helen Free is known for her invention of this important  diagnostic test, the distinguished chemist invented many other home tests and lab procedures. During her 50-year career, she also managed to author several books, earn an MA in Management, be an adjunct professor, and become an advocate for science outreach programs.

14. Portable hair dryer>>> Harriet Stern

15. Leukemia drug>>>15-yr old Gertrude Belle Elion was inspired to find a cure when her grandfather passed from cancer. Even though she graduated with highest honors from college at only 19 years of age, 15 graduate schools rejected her application because of her gender! She volunteered as a lab assistant until a pharmaceutical company hired her. During the 39 years she worked for that company, she developed the chemotherapy to treat children’s leukemia—it also earned her the Noble Prize.

Related Posts: Amazing Amazons; Julia Domna; Marie Laveau; Boudicca; Cheng I Sao

History of Common Sayings 2

dicto_Our language is evolving and new words (neologisms) are being added to the dictionary in greater numbers than ever before.

And yet we continue to use sayings from long ago–their original meanings lost in the annals of history.

Here’s a few common sayings we still use today. 

  • Piping hot                                                                            This descriptor has its roots in the bakery biz. In times of yore, the village baker would blow a pipe announcing that fresh bread had just been pulled from the oven. The villagers, upon hearing the loud nose, came a runnin’ to buy the fresh loaves.
Make no bones about it
  • We’re used to having our chicken and fish de-boned. But many years ago, diners had to be very careful when they ate. If the hungry person de-boned their meal carefully, they could dig into the pile of protein with gusto–with nary a worry about choking on a bone.


Down in the dumps
  • This history behind this saying is just too circumspect to be true. Seems an ancient Egyptian pharaoh named Dumpos died from depression. Anyone who suffered from the king’s ailments was said to have come down with Dumpos’ disease.
Hit a snag
  • A lumberjack’s term, this phrase meant the logs floating down the river were being held up by a  tree trunk (snag) stuck into the river.


panningSee how it pans out
  • From the gold-panning days of yesteryear, this expression was coined by those who hoped  gold flakes would be revealed after they shook the sand from the pan.


sailKnow the ropes
  • If a seaman didn’t the know the difference between the various ropes and rigging of a sailboat or how to handle them, he would be assigned to menial tasks. So if a sailor wanted to a better position he had to “know the ropes.”


  • Ragemane rolle is a scroll used in a medieval game of chance.


Called on the carpet:
  • When railroad was king, the big railroad bosses had elegant and luxurious  offices–you know, the kind with carpet! When a misbehaving employee did something bad, the Big Boss summoned them to their carpeted office for a scolding.

Related Posts: History of Common Sayings; Teen Slang 1: Teen Slang 2; Teen Slang 3


History Behind Common Sayings

Our language is evolving and new words (neologisms) are being added to the dictionary in greater numbers than ever before, and yet we continue to use sayings from long ago–their original meanings lost in the annals of history.

Here’s a few common sayings we still use today. 

Don’t kick a man when he’s down:
  • In 555 AD, a disgraced general named Belisarius was stripped of his rank, command,  and wealth on charges of crimes against Rome. If that wasn’t  bad enough ol’ Belisarius became blind and began begging. In those days, people gave beggars a swift kick when they passed—to which the once esteemed leader would reply, “Don’t kick a man when he’s down.” His frequent retort—all the more impressive when his identity was revealed—quickly spread throughout the empire. No doubt he earned more money this way, too.
damnDon’t give a damn:                                                             No, this phrase was not coined by Rhett Butler but has ancient origins. The damn is a Hindu coin that had a tendency to vary in value. When it plummeted, the Brits—who occupied India at the time—took to describing something of little worth this way.
It’s raining cats and dogs:
  • This comes from the Norse god Odin whose dog took the form of wind.  (My dog only passes wind). When Odin’s dog ( the wind) chased a cat (rain) ancient Celtic people said Odin was dropping cats and dogs from the sky.
  • Another possibility: During the Middle Ages roofs were made of straw. Dogs (used for hunting and protection) and cats ( to keep the mice population at bay) found warmth on the rooftops. A few good rainstorms—and bam! The straw was soaked through and cats and dogs were raining down.
Dog days of summer:
  • In Roman times, Sirius—the dog star—is brightest from the beginning of July until mid August AND rises with the sun!  The hot months, therefore, were attributed to the star’s brightness.
oracleLeave no stone unturned:                                                      If you were an ancient Greek and wanted an answer to an important question, you paid a visit to the Oracle at Delphi—a hotline to the gods.  One fine day, Euripides asked the Oracle where to find the treasure left by a certain general-on-the-run. The Oracle’s advice to the treasure-seeking Euripides was “to leave no stone unturned.”
Won’t hold water:
  • Those wacky Romans! They expected their Vestal virgins to remain virginal. One day, Tutia—one of the original Vestals—was accused of…well, you know. To prove her virginity, Pontifex Maximus insisted she carry a sieve ( a strainer with holes) of water from the Tiber river to the Temple. If the water escaped she would have to face a nasty punishment—being buried alive. Tutia passed the test. Whew!
african-lion-male_436_600x450The Lion’s share:                                                               This phrase comes from Aesop’s fables. Seems the lion and a bunch of his animal BFFs went hunting one fine day. When it came to share the booty, the lion, as king of the beasts, claimed the 1st, the 2nd, and 3rd parts for himself. Then the clever lion declared that anyone who wanted to dispute him for the 4th part  was  welcome to it. Nobody volunteered. Who wants to fight a lion?
 Piping hot
  • This descriptor has its roots in the bakery biz. In times of yore, the village baker blew a pipe announcing that fresh bread had just been pulled from the oven. The villagers, upon hearing the loud nose, came a runnin’ to buy the fresh loaves.
Make no bones about it
  • We’re used to having our chicken and fish de-boned, but years ago diners had to be very careful when they ate. If the hungry person de-boned their meal carefully they could dig into the pile of protein with gusto–with nary a worry about choking on a bone.
Down in the dumps
  • This history behind this saying is just too circumspect to be true. Seems an ancient Egyptian pharaoh named Dumpos died from depression. Anyone who suffered from the king’s ailments was said to have come down with Dumpos’ disease.
Hit a snag
  • A lumberjack’s term, this phrase meant the logs floating down the river were being held up by a  tree trunk (snag) stuck into the river.
panningSee how it pans out
  • From the gold-panning days of yesteryear, this expression was coined by those who hoped  gold flakes would be revealed after they shook the sand from the pan.

sailKnow the ropes
  • If a seaman didn’t the know the difference between the various ropes and rigging of a sailboat or how to handle them, he would be assigned to menial tasks. So if a sailor wanted to a better position he had to “know the ropes.”
  • Ragemane rolle is a scroll used in a medieval game of chance.
Called on the carpet:
  • When railroad was king, the big railroad bosses had elegant and luxurious  offices–you know, the kind with carpet! When a misbehaving employee did something bad, the Big Boss summoned them to their carpeted office for a scolding.
 What weird and wonderful sayings will our great great grandchildren use in a few hundred years?


Related Posts:History Of Common Sayings 2 Stupid Sayings; Vatican Vocab; Vatican Vocab 2


Stupid Sayings

wisdomeSome aphorisms are spot on! Others are just plain stupid, ridiculous because they are so clearly false and illogical!

Hubby likes to spout trite sayings every now and again. I usually reply with a theatrical groan before pointing out why the saying is stupid. I think he just enjoys watching me throw a hissy fit!

Hubby’s 4 favorite sayings:

1. A body at rest, stays at rest: A body in motion, stays in motion. ( I don’t think this is an actual saying but he insists it is)
  • As any mom knows, it’s UNTRUE!  Sleeping babies wake up screaming, small toddlers run circles until collapsing with exhaustion.  I think it provides Hubby  an excuse not to move after he plants (notice the verb here) himself in front of the TV after dinner.
 2. Once you’re late five minutes, you might as well be late an hour.
  • This one gets him in the most hot water. I think he made up his own maxim. However, next time I take too long getting dressed I’ll use it on him. (payback’s a bitch)
 goat_1  3. If you ain’t cheating you’re not trying.                        Where this came from, I have no idea—except you can bet your life the person was a cheater who is either a politician or a press agent. Hubby says this just to get my goat. Not  appropriate to repeat to a teacher!
07.2004.pistons.billups 4. Luck beats skill every time. This saying is stupid only in the sense that life can be unfair.
  •  Hubby coached youth baseball and soccer for many years so he’s a firm believer in this truism. And it goes without saying ( which is stupid, because I just said it), that no matter what sport or business you’re in, when it come right down to it, everyone needs luck on their side.
  • Note: Luck is the residue of design (by Branch Rickey) is always my snappy comeback!

Other idiotic idioms !

1. It’s either sink or swim.
  • There’s another option, you know. It’s called floating—and that’s what we (or our projects) have to do sometimes.
2. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery 
  • See “if you ain’t cheating” above. This aphorism was either first spoken by a lazy, unoriginal imitator or a person who never had his idea/concept/look ripped off by a pretender.
  • In education we have another name for it: plagiarism.
3. More than you can shake a stick at.
  • “More” what ? Who/what/why are you shaking a stick? Is it a magic stick? is it voodoo? Is it a symbolic stick?
4. Live each day as if it’s your last ( YOLO = you only live once)
  • If this were my last day I would: eat chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes, and french fries;  ditch the job; spend all my money; stop editing my novel; not sleep. Oh yeah! A great and productive way to live your life!
5. Cat got your tongue? 
  • OK, maybe if the feisty feline is Grumpy Cat, this saying might have some merit, otherwise how does an animal with paws grasp your tongue?
6. Shit-eating grin.
  • This isn’t a saying but rather a common descriptor that’s just gross! Who would be grinning if they ate shit?

Related Posts:  History Behind Common SayingsRules for a Good Life; More Rules for a Good Life; Sarcastic Signs


Vatican Vocabulary 2

vaticanThere exists more lore, legends, and conspiracy theories about the Vatican than the US Government! And everyone can agree–we all love the mystery and intrigue that comes with powerful and prestigious organizations.

One common papal myth is that the Pope never makes a mistake. This might have come about because of the mistaken notions about Papal Infallibility. The term refers to his issuing Church proclamations that are:  1) based on faith and morals;   2) applicable to the entire Church; 3) supported with full Papal authority, as opposed to his private personal beliefs.

Another myth is Saint Joan, the supposed female Pope of the 13th century. Apparently  there’s no actual proof of her ( besides the chair ) in the annals of Vatican documents. But hey! I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory about that myth!

Without further ado, here’s more Papal lexicon!

L thru Z



Lappets:  The two long strips of cloth that hang from the back of the Pope’s headpiece ( tiara)

Martyr: A person who dies for their religious belief. During the 1st century AD many Christians were tortured and killed by evil Roman emperors, thus being martyred.

Missal: A selection of scriptural passages and prayers used during mass.

Mortal: A sin so bad the consequence is Hell.



Pallium: The wide circular collar with front and back strips that the Pope wears over his vestments.

Pontiff: Another name for the Pope. Pre-Christianity the word referred to the highest priests.

Prorogation: Fancy word for putting off a decision or action. Stalling

Purgatory: Spiritual holding place to work off one’s venial (lesser) sins.

Sacrament: There’s 7 of them. 1) Baptism 2) Confirmation 3) Holy Eucharist 4) Penance  5) Sacrament of the Sick  6) Holy Orders  7) Matrimony

scapularmainScapular:  A cloth pendant necklace that has been blessed.

Scrutiny: One conclave vote

See: another word for Diocese

chair2Stella stercoraria/Porphyry Chair: Looks like a toilet seat  and is used to elevate the Pope. The myth is that the chair was used to prove the gender of the Pope, thereby preventing any more Pope Joan snafus-which, evidently, no real proof of such a woman Pope exists.

Strator: Christian leaders who act as helpers to the Pope. Originated when Constantine (first Christian Roman emperor) acted as a groom by leading the Pope’s horse by the bridle.

Synod: another word for council

Synoptic Gospels: Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke are all  (pretty much) collaborative accountings

Venial: A sin that’s not so bad as to damn you to Hell.

Veneration: To revere or regard with great respect. A saint can be venerated but not worshipped.

Vicar: A representative.

The Catholic Church is in the thick of choosing another Pope. I wonder if the new Holy See will also have a twitter account?

Related Posts: Vatican Vocabulary


Vatican Vocabulary

pope Lots of media chatter about the Pope and his successor these last few days! Who will be the new leader of the Catholic Church? If we watched the movie or read Dan Brown’s novel Angels and Demons we might be familiar with some of the terminology. Like any organization, the Church has its own language.

Even though I attended CCD ( Catholic catechism class) during high school  I don’t remember the nuns ever providing us with a papal lexicon.  Such a list might have come in handy during these times.

Pope titles:
  • His Holiness
  • Holy Father
  • Pontiff
  • Papa
  • Vicar of Christ
  • Vicar of Peter
  • Bishop of Rome
  • Holy See
  • Apostolic See

The following is the first of 2  posts defining a bit of the Vatican Vocabulary.

Vatican Vocabulary     A thru J

Adoration: Process by which the candidate with enough votes is declared by the Cardinals( Conclave) to be the next Pope.

Anathema: Condemned for heresy and excommunication by the Pope

Antipope: Men in ancient times who claimed to be Pope, but were not.

Archpriest: A senior priest in the diocese

Benefice: Holding an office that produces an income

Breviary: Prayer book recited during the day

ringBrief: Short communique from Pope which is sealed with the Fisherman’s Ring

Bishop: Kind of like district managers, they manage a region or geographical area.

Bull: Official communique from the Pope to some or Church members. The lead seal makes it official.

Camerlingo: The cardinal who is NOT in conclave, but instead manages Church goings-on

Canonize: A Pope proclaims someone a saint. There’s a whole bunch of rules and proofs for this to occur. Miracles etc…

Cardinal: The Pope’s cabinet, in layman’s terms. They can also be bishops and priests

Collagium: Money paid to the bishop if a priest wanted a concubine (in the Middle Ages)

Conclave: Cardinals locked in a room to elect new Pope. This was done so they didn’t dawdle.

Consistory: Cardinal meetings to elevate new cardinals.

Contumacy: Grievous disobedience

Curia: Executive branch of Church government

Deacon: Person who can preach at mass or help with communicant, but cannot administer the sacraments. Ordained bishop’s assistant.

Diocese: Territory of the bishop.

Excommunication: No longer being allowed to receive the sacraments.

Interstices: You can’t just zip up the Vatican ladder, you know. This is the amount of time between appointments.

Jubiliee: The Pope declares a Holy Year every 25 years or so. It had a much different meaning in ancient times, but I’ll save that for another post.


No, there’s no vocabulary test! Whew!

Related Posts: Teen Slang; Teen Slang ; Teen Slang 3


Smart Phone Smarts

Smart Phones are ONLY as smart as their owners!

I’m constantly discovering new way to use my iPhone, especially the camera function!  I also show my students how to use this powerful technology with intelligence!

I take a photo of :
  • where I parked the car because I can never remember!
  • clothes/fabric I’m trying to match
  • the description of a restaurant menu item–so I can prepare the dish at home
  • students who fall asleep in my class. I say, “Now I can show your mom why you have a D  in this class.” They never nod off again!
  • anything funny to use in a future blog
  • old family photos
  • some thing I can’t decide to buy
  • any information I don’t want to write down
  • ideas/examples for later projects

I tell my students to use their SmartPhone to:

  • look up definitions/pronunciations of vocabulary words
  • search for facts related to whatever we’re studying
  • find answers to those random questions they sometimes ask about the author or text we are studying
  • take a pic of notes or lengthy instructions I wrote on the board

I even created several SmartPhone lessons.

1.  Symbol Scavenger Hunt: In groups of 4, students break into teams of 2. The first team goes out onto campus, takes  pic of something symbolic of ______________. (teacher provides topics like, love, teenagers, school, sadness, joy etc)  and forwards it to Team 2 back  in the classroom. Those students must articulate/write 3 different reasons  what the object is symbolic of. The teacher accepts or rejects their rationale and gives them the next topic. The group with the most successful explanations/rationales wins!

2. Texting Shakespeare: Students must rewrite their most wordy text using Shakespearean language.

3. Hashtag: Students hashtag a literary passage.( Much more fun and effective than asking them to find the main idea or theme)

4. Tweet: Students must write a 140 character topic sentence. This exercise helps them learn to write concisely!

Related Posts: iPhone how to; Techno troubles;Password Blues; iPhone how-to

 My debut novel is FREE this Friday and Saturday!

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Fab Female Friday: Marie Laveau

220px-MarieLaveau_(Frank_Schneider)Mystery, mayhem, and magic surrounds this fab female.

Born in Haiti in 1794, this beautiful and multi-talented woman took New Orleans by storm. Voodoo storm! Other accounts claim  she was born in the French Quarter to a white farmer and African American woman.

Marie went from hairdresser and cook to voodoo queen. Talk about diversification!

Violent uprisings in Haiti prompted the smart gal to seek a safer home. She married another Haitian refugee and had 15–that’s right–15 children. Other accounts say her husband died ( mysteriously,of course), and that those 15 kiddies were Christopher Glapion’s, a man she lived with for many years.

No stay-at-home mom, Marie got a job at the city jail where she learned to be an excellent listener. Secrets, shady dealings, and all things scandalous of the rich elite was her ticket to success and a new career.

Soon, Maria’s love potions, psychic readings, spiritual guidance, and all manner of herbal remedies became the talk of the town. Savvy business woman that she was, promised results were based on ability to pay. But she still charged a pretty penny–$10.00 if you were poor–and that was back then!

Although there were reportedly over 300 voodoo priests and priestesses practicing in New Orleans at the time, only Maria had earned the title of Boss woman.

She was known for putting on frightening and gory voodoo shows. Nasty dancing with  with a scary-long snake named Zombi and beheading roosters drew very large crowds.The money poured in.

She died a wealthy and powerful woman in 1881 at the ripe old age of 89. An impressive life for a woman living during those times. She earned power, money, and prestige through her wits and determination.

Her daughter, Marie Laveau the 2nd continued in the family biz.

 Voodoo: The word comes from the West African vodun, which means “spirit.” The religion began in Haiti and is a combo of many different African beliefs, which are often mixed with Catholic-like practices and rituals.
The religion centers around the belief that spirits have power and influence over the natural world. Therefore, a connection with the spiritual world is needed to make a physical, spiritual, or emotional change.
Several types of powerful ancestral spirits can be summoned:
rada: nice spirits associated with white magic
petro: mean spirits associated with black magic.


Marie Laveau: How would you like a Voodoo Queen for a mom? 

Related Links: Other Fab Females
Click  Amazon link for novels.

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