Thursday, March 29, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

dapple: a small contrasting blotch; also, to mark with spots.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

chary: wary; cautious.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

harridan: a scolding, vicious woman.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

perforce: by necessity.

The American Civil War

By Princessa

The Civil War was the greatest war in American history. 3 Million fought, 600,00 died. It was the only war fought on soil by Americans, and for that reason we have always been fascinated with the Civil War.

November 6, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln, who had declared "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free..." is elected president, the first Republican, receiving 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.

December 20, 1860 - South Carolina secedes from the Union. Followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

During the Civil War, in 1863 AD, President Lincoln decided to end slavery and make all of the black people free. When the North won the war, in 1865, all the people who owned slaves in the South had to let them go.

Some people chose to leave the plantations, now that they were free. Some of them moved to the North to work on the railroads, house-cleaners, nannies or cooks. Some people went out West to be settlers or cowboys. A few people went back to Africa.

But most people just stayed about where they were before. That was all they knew how to do, and they were afraid to start over in a new place. Or mabye they had kids who couldn't walk far, or didn't want to leave their old parents. A lot of people kept on planting and picking cotton, but now they were sharecroppers instead of slaves.

For a lot of people, it didn't make much difference, only there were not so many beatings and you didn't have your kids or your husband taken away from you anymore. But white people still terrified black people by killing them for nothing, or for absolutely nothing, and no white judge or jury in the south would send any white man to jail for killing a black man.

About fifty years later, though, in 1910, the cotton was ruined by a kind of insect called a Boll Weevil. A lot of sharecroppers were starving from not having enough cotton to sell for food. Besides, it was getting cheaper to raise cotton using machines instead of people. So a lot more people decided to leave the South and go North to work. They still worked mostly as servants or in hard, dirty jobs like cleaning streets or building railroads.

Then during world war I, many white men were away being soldiers, because of the war no new people came from Europe to take their places. So some black people were able to find work in factories, which paid better than any work they had been in before. In World War II, in the 1940's, the same thing happened, and more black people began to work in factories, making weapons and building boats for the war. By the 1950's, new government farm policies pretty much ended sharecropping in the United States.In the 1950's, these people, who were richer and better educated than their parents or grandparents had been, began to protest and try to get rights equal to white people. Some black people, like the boxer Muhammad Ali and the preacher Malcolm X, decided to stop being Christians, the religion of the old slave-owners, and convert to Islam. Other black people stayed Christians and used their religion to organize protests. The Christians' most important leader was Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King helped to get Congress to pass a Civil Rights Bill in 1964 that made it illegal to keep black people out of any public place, like a swimming pool or a restaurant, and also illegal to refuse to hire black people for a job just because they were black. But Malcolm X was shot dead in 1965, and a white man who was angry about Dr. King's work shot him dead in 1968.

Because of the Civil Rights Act and their own work, black people managed to get better jobs, better houses, and better schools than they had had before. But even now, while some black people are rich, most black people are still not as well off as white people, and they still suffer from racism that keeps them from getting good jobs or sending their kids to good schools. And most black people are still pretty much where they were before, working as unskilled labor for low wages for white people in the South.

Altough other people, both white and Native American, have been held as slaves in North America, the experience of the African people who forced to come to North America as slaves was more unusual, because more than half of the people living in slave states were slaves.

Most of the people who became slaves in North America were from West Africa. You would be living in a village when outsiders attacked and captured you, and then they would sell you to somebody else who sold you to somebody else, and in the end, somebody would sell you to a white man who would keep you in a slave fort on the coast of Africa. Half of the people captured with you died of hunger or sickness, while you were walking to the coast.

Soon men with guns would force you to get on a ship, and they would take you to North America. The ship was terrible, dirty, stinky, you were crowded like on a crowded bus, and you had to stay there for 2 or 3 months. You wore chains that fastened you to people on either side of you the whole time. You had to lie down because there wasn't room to sit up, the ceiling was very low. Almost 1 out of 10 of the people got sick and died. Sometimes people gave up and tried to starve themselves to death, but the sailors beat them or tortured them until they ate something. Sometimes people call this trip the Middle Passage.

When you got to North America, you got a few weeks to get healthier, and you get a European-style dress or pants to wear, and then the slave trader sold you to whoever would pay the most for you. Maybe you went to Mississippi to pick cotton, most of the people on your ship would work in the fields, planting and picking tobacco or cotton.

Since 1500 AD there have been huge changes in North American people's relationships to one another. In the 1500's, most kids lived in small villages with their families. Many kids grew up in longhouses or pueblos, with their cousins, aunts and uncles sharing their house. Nobody worked went to school, because there weren't any schools. But as these people died of Smallpox and people from Europe, Asia and Africa moved to North America, I became more usual for kids to just live with their mother and father.

And by the late 1800's most kids began to go to school, at least for a few years - both boys and girls. While this was a good thing for the European kids, many Cree and Inuit kids were taken away from their families and forced to go to boarding schools run by Europeans, to keep them from learning their traditional ways of living.

A girl working in a mill factoryIn the 1500's, families were the most important people that you had around you. A lot of people, especially among nomads like the Ute, lived alone with just their family. But as the European, African, and Asian settlers moved to North America, many people came alone, without any family, and they had to depend on friends for help. Slave-owners often forced African people away from their families. Even people who came with their fathers and mothers didn't have their cousins anymore, and they had to make new friends. So friendship became very important in North America. In the 1900's, as more and more people moved to the cities, they met lots of new people at work, or in parks or at social clubs, and so friendships continued to be very important as a way to find jobs, or find someone to marry, or anything else where people could help you out.

In the 1500's, people usually got married when they were about 17 or 18 years old. Women usually did not move when they got married, but stayed in their mother's longhouse with their sisters. Men moved into their wives' houses and lived with their wives' families.

Among the early settlers, in the 1700's, people did usually move into their own small house (often just one room) when they got married. African people who were forced to come to North America as slaves were not usually allowed to marry at all, but they did marry anyway, even though they were always afraid of being sold away from each other. The usual age when people get married has changed back and forth many times over time - sometimes people marry when they are older, as in the 1700's, when people had to wait until their indentured servitude was over, and sometimes people marry very young, as in the early 1900's, when many young people moved to the cities and met other young people and got married.

Slavery was an important part of many people's lives between 1500 and 2000 in North America. Some people were enslaved in North America even before the Europeans arrived, often people of different tribes who had been taken prisoner during an attack on their village. When the Europeans first came to North America, they tried to enslave the people who were already living there, but this failed because most of the people they enslaved died of sickness. The British government forced thousands of people to come to North America to work as indentured servants (a kind of temporary slavery). After 1718, many of these were people who had been convicted of crimes in England, usually stealing, and this was a way to get rid of them and make them useful. Others volunteered to be indentured servants in order to get enough money to get from England to North America.

Then the Europeans forced millions of African people to come to North America to work as slaves, especially along the East Coast and in the South. After the American Revolutionary War in 1776, no more indentured servants came from England, and by the early 1800's no more new Africans came as slaves either. But there were still many African slaves in North America until the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln announced that all the slaves would be free.

The enormous diversity that North America developed with all these new people moving in from all over means that there were also many different attitudes towards racism, friendships, kids, marriage, and families. In 1500, nearly everybody living in North America was Native American, with reddish-brown skin like modern Native Americans or Hispanics. By 1700, most of those people had died, and new people were moving in from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Many of these people were white, but the African people who were forced to come as slaves were black, and some African black people came as free people too. People came from all over Asia as well, so that there were people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese origins as well. In the 2000's, more and more Hispanic people live in North America, and soon North America will again have more people with reddish-brown skin than white people.

Most kids in North America lived with their mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters, generally in one room of a Pueblo, tipi, hogan or wickiup. Because a lot of kids died of sicknesses, you usually had a lot of brothers and sisters, to make sure that some would grow up. Iroquois and Chinook kids lived in longhouses with their grandparents (if they were still alive), and with their aunts and uncles and cousins. As in medieval Europe, most people kept their babies swaddled, and carried them around using a wooden cradleboard, at least until they were old enough to crawl.

There weren't any schools in early North America. Older kids followed their mothers or fathers around, so that girls learned to do what their mothers did and boys learned to do what their fathers did. Mostly girls gathered wild plants and planted corn and hoed beans and harvested the crops and made clothes. Boys learned to hunt, fish and make weapons. And boys learned to fight so they would fight wars when they grew up, while girls learned how to take care of babies and cook.

When a girl got to be a teenager, she usually got married. When people got married, they gave each other gifts of food instead of gold rings. A bride gave her husband corn or corn bread, and he gave her venison (deer meat) or some other kind of meat. If she lived in a small house like a tipi or a hogan, the young married people would set up their own house. If she lived in a longhouse, she didn't move out of her mother's house, - she stayed home, and her husband moved in with her family. Sometimes a man had more than one wife, but usually women only had one husband.

If married people got divorced later, the dad would move back to his mother's house or his sister's house, and the children would stay with their mother in her house.

Women in North America had more power and freedom than women in Europe or Asia at the same time. Women owned their own houses and their own stuff. They could get divorced whenever they wanted to, and they could keep their kids with them if they did get divorced.

You might think that because everyone in North America was a Native American there would be no racism at this time. It's true that Native Americans didn't treat people differently based on the color of their skin. But they often did treat people from other cultures badly. Navajo people thought they were better than Ute people, and Ute people thought they were better than Navajo people. Pueblo people didn't get along with Navajo people, and the Iroquois were always fighting with the Algonquins. All of these people used to capture people from their enemies and force them to work for them as slaves.

Because people didn't always get enough food, and they didn't have much medical knowledge, most people in North America at this time died of old age in their forties or fifties (just like in Europe, Africa, or Asia at this time). So most kids never knew their grandparents, and by the time they grew up they often had lost one or both of their parents too. Teenagers often had to take care of themselves.

Here are some Civil War facts:

  • More than three million men fought in the war.

  • Two percent of the population, more than 620,000 people died in it.

  • In two days at Shiloh on the banks of the Tennessee River, more Americans fell than in all previous American wars combined.

  • During the Battle of Antietam, 12,401 Union men were killed, missing or wounded; double the casualties of D-Day, 82 years later. With a total of 23,000 casualties on both sides, it was the bloodiest single day of the Civil War.

  • At Cold Harbor, 7,000 Americans fell in 20 minutes.

  • Senator John Crittendon of Kentucky had two sons who became major generals during the Civil War: one for the North and one for the South.

  • Ulysses S. Grant was not fond of ceremonies or military music. He said he could only recognize two tunes. "One was Yankee Doodle," he grumbled. "The other one wasn't."

  • Missouri sent 39 regiments to fight in the siege of Vicksburg: 17 to the Confederacy and 22 to the Union.

  • During the Battle of Antietam, Clara Barton tended the wounded so close to the fighting that a bullet went through her sleeve and killed a man she was treating.

At the start of the war, the value of all manufactured goods produced in all the Confederate states added up to less than one-fourth of those produced in New York State alone.
• In March 1862, European powers watched in worried fascination as the Monitor and Merrimack battled off Hampton Roads, Va. From then on, after these ironclads opened fire, every other navy on earth was obsolete.
• In 1862, the U.S. Congress authorized the first paper currency, called "greenbacks."
• Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., future chief Justice, was wounded three times during the Civil War: in the chest at Ball’s Bluff, in the back at Antietam and in the heel at Chancellorsville.Confederate Private Henry Stanley fought for the Sixth Arkansas, and was captured at Shiloh, but survived to go to Africa to find Dr. Livingston.
• George Pickett’s doomed infantry charge at Gettysburg was the first time he took his division into combat.
• On July 4, 1863, after 48 days of siege, Confederate General John C. Pemberton surrendered the city of Vicksburg to the Union’s General, Ulysses S. Grant. The Fourth of July was not be celebrated in Vicksburg for another 81 years.
• Disease was the chief killer during the war, taking two men for every one who died of battle wounds.
• North and South, potential recruits were offered awards, or "bounties," for enlisting, as much as $677 in New York. Bounty jumping soon became a profession, as men signed up, then deserted, to enlist again elsewhere. One man repeated the process 32 times before being caught.
• African Americans constituted less than one percent of the northern population, yet by the war’s end made up ten percent of the Union Army. A total of 180,000 black men, more than 85% of those eligible, enlisted.
• In November 1863, President Lincoln was invited to offer a "few appropriate remarks" at the opening of a new Union cemetery at Gettysburg. The main speaker, a celebrated orator from Massachusetts, spoke for nearly two hours. Lincoln offered just 269 words in his Gettysburg Address.
• Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest had 30 horses shot from under him and personally killed 31 men in hand-to-hand combat. "I was a horse ahead at the end," he said.
• The words "In God We Trust" first appeared on a U.S. coin in 1864.
• In 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to Lieutenant General, a rank previously held by General George Washington, and led the 533,000 men of the Union Army, the largest in the world. Three years later, he was made President of the United States.
• Andersonville Prison in southwest Georgia held 33,000 prisoners in 1864. It was the fifth largest city in the Confederacy.
•By the end of the war, Unionists from every state except South Carolina had sent regiments to fight for the North.
• On November 9, 1863, President Lincoln attended a theater in Washington, D.C., to see "The Marble Heart." An accomplished actor, John Wilkes Booth, was in the cast.
• On March 4, 1865, Lincoln was inaugurated for a second term. Yards away in the crowd was John Wilkes Booth with a pistol in his pocket. His vantage point on the balcony, he said later, offered him "an excellent chance to kill the President, if I had wished."
• On May 13, 1865, a month after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Private John J. Williams of the 34th Indiana became the last man killed in the Civil War, in a battle at Palmito Ranch, Texas. The final skirmish was a Confederate victory.
• Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first black man ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He filled the seat last held by Jefferson Davis.


By Princessa

Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific and the Sea Of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula.

Geographical Cordinates: 36 00 N, 138 00 E.

Area: Total ~ 377,835 sq km. Land ~ 374,744 sq km. water ~ 3,091 sq km.

Note: Includes Bonin Islands Ogasawara-Gunto, Daito-Shoto, Minami-Jima, Okino-Tori-Shima, Ryukyu Islands Nansei-Shoto, and Volcano Islands Kazan-Retto.

Climate: Varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north.

Terrain: Mostly rugged and mountainous.

Population: 127,463,611 (July 2006 est.)

Chief Of State: Emperor Akihito (since January 1989).

Head Of Government: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (since 26 September 2006).

Japanese Imperial Seal (Picture Below):

Origami: Origami is a traditional Japanese pastime where a single square of paper is folded in different ways to create shapes like cute animals and beautiful plants. Since it only takes a sheet of paper, the hobby can easily be enjoyed anywhere; many people in Japan enjoy it at home and at school. The best known origami shape, which many children learn from their parents or grandparents, is the crane. Other shapes include flowers, butterflies, crabs, even difficult creations like Christmas trees. Origami is especially popular among girls
The practice of origami began in the early 700s, when paper was first introduced to Japan. At first paper was folded to make decorations for use in religious ceremonies at shrines, but gradually people came to use it in their regular lives as well. During the Heian period (794-1185), it was popular to fold valuable paper and use it to beautifully wrap letters and presents. Later, origami continued to be used in traditional ceremonies, but the women of the imperial court began to fold dolls and other shapes for their amusement.

In the Edo period (1603-1868) people thought up different kinds of origami involving cutting and layering of paper, and the activity grew popular among the common people of Japan. Later, in the Meiji era (1868-1912), origami came to be taught at elementary schools. Students continue to study origami at school to this day; it is used to teach concepts in geometry, such as the relationship between a plane and a solid shape.

Origami is rapidly becoming more popular in countries throughout the world. Some associations of Origami lovers are Origami USA and the Bristish Origami Society (BOS).
Sumo (A Traditional Japanese Sport): In sumo, two men who are wearing nothing but a mawashi (lioncloth), face each other in a dohyo (circular ring) and push, grapple, and try to throw each other. The one who forces his opponent to the ground or pushes him out of the ring is the winner. Even if you may have seen it on TV, there may be many things that you don't know about sumo.

Sumo began many centuries ago and developed into its present form in the Edo period (1603-1868). Rikishi (wrestlers) wear their hair in a topknot, which was a normal hairstyle in the Edo period. The referee, meanwhile, wears the same kind of clothes as a samurai of 600 years ago. Many aspects of Japan's traditional culture can be seen in sumo. For example, the wrestlers throw salt into the ring to purify it before they begin their match, as the dohyo is considered a sacred place. Sumo has a long history, and it has been called Japan's national sport. Although many professional sports are played in Japan, such as baseball and soccer, sumo is the nation's oldest professional sport.

Koto-oshu after his promotion to ozeki, He is holding a banzuke. (Japan Sumo Association)
Professional sumo is broadcast live on TV. The bouts are intense, as well-trained wrestlers who weigh an average of 150 kilograms grapple with their bare hands. The shouts of support from fans cheering on their favorite wrestler can reach fever pitch.

As of January 2007, there are 702 professional sumo wrestlers in Japan. There are six basho (tournaments) a year, each featuring bouts over 15 days. The wrestlers' rank, which is called banzuke, can change depending on their performance in each tournament, with their new rank announced before the next tournament. The top rank is yokozuna, which is followed by ozeki, sekiwake, komusubi, and maegashira. These are the ranks of the top division of wrestlers, which is called makuuchi. Below the makuuchi division is the juryo division, and these two tiers, known together as sekitori, include all of the ranked wrestlers. There are four divisions below these, but every wrestler aims to reach the level of sekitori.

Sumo wrestlers used to be all Japanese, in recent years there have been more and more foreign wrestlers. Of the 42 wrestlers in the makuuchi class, 13 come from foreign countries. Asashoryu, who is the only yokozuna at present and is by far the strongest wrestler, is from Mongolia. Koto-oshu, ozeki, is from Bulgaria. There are a total of 60 foreign sumo wrestlers in Japan now, including 34 from Mongolia, 6 from China, 5 from Russia, and 3 from the Eastern European country of Georgia.

Sumo bouts are conducted in a ring with a hard dirt surface. On top of a square platform, there is a circular ring 4.55 meters (about 15 feet) in diameter. The bouts take place inside the ring.
After their shikona (official wrestling names) are called, the wrestlers climb into the ring, ritually stamp their feet on the ground, and throw purifying salt into the ring. They then match their opponent's movements as they lower their waist, open their knees to the side, and go into their shikiri (taking their mark and facing their opponent in a posture that will allow them to move forward at any moment). The wrestlers match their breaths with their opponent, and once both of them place a fist on the ground, the match begins. While the bout is underway, the referee shouts "Nokotta!" (Remaining!) while the wrestlers are grappling with each other and "Hakkiyoi!" (Come on!) when the wrestlers are not moving.
When one of the wrestlers is forced out of the ring or touches the ground with any part of his body other than his feet, the referee raises the fan in his hand to declare the winner. The way the winning wrestler achieves victory is called the kimarite. Forcing an opponent out of the ring by getting in close and lifting him out by his mawashi is called yorikiri, for example, while bringing him down is known as yoritaoshi. When a wrestler uses his weight to push his opponent backwards down to the ground, this is called abisetaoshi.

It is called oshidashi when one wrestler pushes the other underneath his arms or in the chest and forces him out of the ring. And whether it is in the ring or outside of it, oshitaoshi is a move by which a wrestler pushes his opponent to the ground. When a wrestler uses one arm to grab his opponent underneath the arm or on his side and forces him down at an angle, this is called tsukiotoshi.

It is known as uwatenage when a wrestler grabs his opponent's mawashi from outside the opponent's arms and throws him to the ground, and when he does the same thing and drags his opponent, it is called uwatedashinage. When a wrestler grabs his opponent inside his arms, this is shitatenage. The number of legal moves has increased and decreased over the years, but at present there are 82.

In addition, there are 8 moves that are prohibited, including striking an opponent with a clenched fist; poking an opponent in a vulnerable area, such as the eyes and the stomach; and kicking an opponent in the chest or the stomach. A wrestler who uses any of these moves loses the match by default.
Martial arts similar to sumo have been performed around the world since long ago. Some that remain today are ssireum in South Korea, boke in Mongolia, and yagli gures in Turkey. In Japan, figurines of sumo wrestlers have been unearthed dating back to between the third and seventh centuries, and the sport is mentioned in the myths and legends of the Kojiki and Nihonshoki (Japanese history books written in the eighth century). When it was time to plant the rice, sumo bouts were performed as a way to pray for a bountiful crop or to predict whether that year's harvest would be good. In the Nara period (710-794) and Heian period (794-1192), sumo became an event conducted at the imperial court, and bouts were performed in front of the emperor.
Sumo basically took its present form in the Edo period. Matches were held to raise money to construct shrines and temples or to replace bridges, and the professional sumo wrestler was born. A sport that was once enjoyed only by the rich and powerful became popular among the masses. Sumo events were often held in Edo (now Tokyo), Osaka, and Kyoto, and the sport's popularity grew with the sales of color woodblock prints featuring sumo scenes and pictures of wrestlers. The government of the time, though, disapproved of fighting and often issued orders banning sumo.

For this reason, the organizers of sumo decided on a set of rules, including the creation of a list of 48 legal moves and the round ring that is still used today. A system of stables was created to train wrestlers.

As many aspects of old Japan remain in sumo, such as topknots, traditional dress, and ancient customs, professional sumo is more than just a sport; it's a living example of traditional Japanese culture. The wrestlers serve as cultural ambassadors when they take part in events overseas.
Every sumo wrestler belongs to a stable, which is where they live while they are young. A stable is managed by a stable master, a retired wrestler who was a good wrestler in his prime. There are currently 54 stables. Referees, ushers, and hairdressers also live in the stables. The stable master is referred to as oyakata (boss), and his wife, who is called okamisan, plays an important supporting role behind the scenes
There are a number of different divisions for the wrestlers, ranging from the makuuchi and juryo divisions at the top (sekitori), to makushita, sandanme, jonidan, and jonokuchi below them. Wrestlers begin receiving a salary when they become a sekitori at the rank of juryo or higher, and they also get to wear a keshomawashi, a lavishly embroidered apron-like cloth that comes down to their ankles, when they are introduced before the beginning of a tournament. More than anything, though, they get to have people around them take care of their everyday needs. Sekitori also wear their topknot in the shape of the leaf of a ginkgo tree. And the mawashi that a sekitori wears in the tournaments is made of silk and can be one of several colors, while wrestlers in the makushita division or lower can wear only a black cotton mawashi. Sumo is a world in which results are everything, and there is a great difference between how wrestlers of different ranks are treated and how much money they receive.
Wrestlers wake up early in the morning and train hard in the hope of moving up the ranks. Mornings in a sumo stable begin at around 5:00 am. First, the unranked wrestlers begin their training. Each stable has a ring for practice. To begin with, wrestlers stand with their legs apart and their hands on their thighs or knees, with one foot bent and planted firmly on the ground as they raise the other high in the air. As they extend the knee of their leg that is planted on the ground, they strongly bring their other foot down into the ring. This ritual stamping (called shiko) improves their lower body strength.
Another exercise is called teppo. Wrestlers push their hands forward along with their hip and leg of the same side, alternating between left and right. Teppo teaches them the basics of moving their feet and hands as they try to topple an opponent. Another exercise involves planting their backside on the ground while they have their knees extended, opening their legs 180 degrees, and leaning forward until their chest touches the ground. Matawari, as this is called, is used to develop flexibility in the lower body, which is important for a wrestler.

Next, the wrestlers engage in what is known as moshiai, in which the winner of a practice match continues to take new challengers, and they also practice butsukari-geiko, in which wrestlers take turns throwing their bodies into each other. The ranked wrestlers are allowed to sleep a bit later, and they join in the training after they get up. They do much the same training as the younger wrestlers, and they help them as well. Talking with each other is of course not allowed during practice sessions, and the most common sounds that can be heard are those of these large wrestlers throwing their bodies into each other and taking heavy breaths. Practices get more intense as a tournament approaches, and the stable master watches from in front of the practice ring, occasionally entering the ring to give instructions to his charges.

At 8:00 am, the young wrestlers go to the kitchen to help prepare chanko. Chanko refers to the food eaten by sumo wrestlers, and it includes stews, Chinese food, sashimi, and deep-fried food. Stews are the most common dishes, but foods enjoyed by younger people have been included in recent years, such as rice with curry and hamburger steaks. Sumo wrestlers eat two meals a day, having breakfast at around 11:00 am and dinner at about 6:00 pm. Practice ends at around 10:30 when the younger wrestlers have finished preparing the chanko, and the wrestlers then take a bath, with the higher-ranked ones going first. They eat breakfast after fixing their hair in a topknot. And of course when they eat, the higher-ranked wrestlers go first again. Once the morning meal is over, the wrestlers have free time. Many of them take naps to help them get bigger.
Houses: The frame of a Japanese house is made of wood, and the weight is supported by vertical columns, horizontal beams, and diagonal braces. Diagonal braces came to be used when the technology of foreign countries was brought to Japan. One characteristic of Japanese houses is that they have a large roof and deep eaves to protect the house from the hot summer sun, and the frame of the house supports the weight of the roof.

In the old days, the walls of houses were made of woven bamboo plastered with earth on both sides. Nowadays, though, many different types of materials have been developed, and plywood is often used. Also, in the past, many houses had columns that were exposed outside the walls. But in the Meiji era (1868-1912), houses came to be made using a method that encases the columns inside the walls in order to reduce the possibility of fire. Many roofs in the past were covered with shingles or straw, but these days most are covered with tiles called kawara. The roof is the part of the house most affected by rain, wind, snow, sunlight, and other natural conditions. Although there are a number of differences among the roofs seen in different areas of Japan, they all have one thing in common: They are sloped instead of flat, allowing rainwater to flow off easily.

Japanese houses have developed over the years by combining traditional forms with modern technology to improve their resistance to fire and their convenience. Recently, though, people are beginning to look anew at the traditional methods of building houses, which are easy on the environment and last a long time.
In ancient Japan, there were essentially two different types of houses. The first was what is known as a pit-dwelling house, in which columns are inserted into a big hole dug in the ground and then surrounded by grass. The second was built with the floor raised above the ground. The style of house with an elevated floor is said to have come to Japan from Southeast Asia, and this type of building was apparently used to store grain and other foods so that they wouldn't spoil from heat and humidity.
In around the eleventh century, when Japan's unique culture came into full bloom, members of the aristocracy began to build a distinctive style of house for themselves called shinden-zukuri. This type of house, which stood in the midst of a large garden, was symmetrical, and its rooms were connected with long hallways. It allowed residents to enjoy seasonal events and the beauty of nature.
As political power passed from the nobles to the samurai (warrior class) and a new form of Buddhism made its way to Japan, core aspects of traditional Japanese culture as we know it today began to take root, including ikebana (flower arranging), the tea ceremony, and Noh. The samurai created their own style of house called shoin-zukuri. This influence can be seen in the alcove ornament of the guest rooms of modern houses.
The houses of common people developed differently. Farmers in different regions of the country had houses that were adapted to local conditions. The houses built in the gassho style in Shirakawa-go, which is listed as a World Heritage site, are examples of residences in which common people lived. Some farmers' houses had space to keep their cattle and horses indoors, while the houses of city dwellers were often squeezed close together along the streets. As urban homeowners were taxed based on the width of the front side of the house, their houses were built to be long and narrow. This style can still be seen today in older cities like Kyoto.
Housing continued to develop in the Meiji era (1868-1912). Some towns had houses built in the kura-zukuri style, which featured Japanese-looking exteriors but were made from more fire-resistant materials. The style that is the basis for Japanese homes today, which usually have a long hallway through the middle of the house with rooms on each side, is said to combine foreign culture with the style of house preferred by the samurai.
One common feature of Japanese houses is that they have many sliding doors. In ancient times, they sometimes had dividing screens to partition large rooms. These partitions came to be fitted into the walls, but that caused inconvenience, so grooves were made allowing the partitions to slide. This is the style seen in modern Japanese houses today. The word shoji was originally the generic term for partitions between rooms, but today it has come to refer mostly to sliding doors made of paper squares glued on a wood lattice that allows soft light to pass through.

Nowadays tatami mats are used to cover the floor of entire rooms, but long ago, tatami was a luxury and was only used in the areas where people would actually sit. The type of square cushion known as zabuton developed from this practice of sitting on tatami and from the circular cushion known as enza that was used at Buddhist temples. The zabuton was originally a mat made from beautiful cloth, but it came to take its current form in the latter half of the Edo period (1603-1868), when cotton was added.

In the past, when people had meals, each person ate from a separate box-like tray. The practice of people gathering around a dining table only began during the Meiji era, when Western and Chinese foods became common. In rooms with tatami, though, chairs are not used, so the table has much shorter legs than those found in other countries.
As the living room, where the family dines together, grew to be the center of their lives at home, it came to contain a cabinet that holds the plates and bowls that people use. This cabinet, which is called a chadansu, was originally used to hold the implements used in the tea ceremony.
In the winter, Japanese use a heated table called a kotatsu when they sit on tatami in the living room. The kotatsu is said to have developed at Zen Buddhist temples during the middle ages. While it originally used coal for its heat, these days kotatsu rely on an electric heating element. The top and sides of the kotatsu are covered with a futon to keep the heat in, and a board is placed on top of the futon so that the kotatsu can be used as a table.
Around the end of the middle ages, the tokonoma, a kind of small alcove, appeared in the homes of the samurai. The alcove, located in the guest room, usually has a vertical scroll of calligraphy or art for visitors to enjoy, along with traditional ikebana flowers.

Buddhism is practiced in Japan, as it is in many other Asian countries. In Japan, though, indigenous gods have been worshipped alongside the Buddha in homes since long ago. Buddhist altars, known as butsudan, are shaped like a cabinet with doors at the front that swing open. The altar for Japanese gods, known as kamidana, is shaped like a small shrine and is kept on a shelf near the ceiling. It contains a fuda, which is a paper or wooden tablet with writing on it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

skulk: to hide in a sneaking manner.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

incarnadine: pink or red; also, to redden.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

entreat: to ask for or request earnestly.

Earth - Our Home Planet

By Princessa

Earth - Our Home Planet

Apollo 17 astronauts captured this snapshot of the Earth System on their way to the Moon in 1972. Essentially everything that was a part of the System then is still a part of the System today-that's why it's considered a closed System. All of the matter (solid, liquid, and gas) and all of the processes that move energy and materials from one part of the planet to another make up the Earth System.

Four major parts of Earth work together as a complex system: rocks, water, air and life. On a global scale, each part can be thought of as a sphere, roughly the same size and shape as the planet. The four parts are called the geosphere (earth), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life).

The surface of the geosphere, where the rocky part of our planet is in contact with water, air, and/or life is generally where the spheres intersect and affect each other. The processes that move matter and energy from one sphere to another are called sphere interactions.

Plants (biosphere) draw water (hydrosphere) and nutrients from the soil (geosphere) and release water vapor into the atmosphere. Humans (biosphere) use farm machinery (manufactured from geosphere materials) to plow the fields, and the atmosphere brings precipitation (hydrosphere) to water the plants. Energy from the sun is stored by plants (biosphere). When humans or animals (biosphere) eat the plants, they acquire the energy originally captured by the plants. Humans expend some of this energy arranging bricks and wood (geosphere and biosphere) into buildings.

Although it makes a fascinating stroy, it is not possible to journey to the center of Earth. Instead, scientists gather observations at the surface to construct models of Earth's internal structure. They analyze seimic data-information from earthquakes-to infer processes that occur inside the planet.

When an earthquake occurs, seismic waves travel through the planet. Every earthquake generates two types of waves-Primary (P waves), and Secondary (S Waves). A worldwide network of seismometers, instruments that track earthquakes, records the arrival of P and S waves from all over the globe. Observations and analysis of the waves have led geologists to infert he internal structure of Earth.

You just observed that P and S wave behavior is different in solids and liquids. P waves travel through both solids and liquids. S waves travel through solid material, but they cannot travel through liquids. This difference can be used to tell which parts of Earth's interior are solid and liquid.

Another difference in P and S waves is their speed. You saw that P waves travel faster faster than S waves. Also, P waves travel faster through solids than through liquids.

On March 1, 1872, Congress designated Yellowstone National Park as the first National Park. Today, Yellowstone is still one of the most frewuently visited national parks in the country.

When a place is designated as a national park, monument, or preserve, laws protect the land from being mined, commercially developed, or owned. These protected lands are set aside by the government to preserve natural, cultural, and historic resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

How we protect and manage natural resources often depends on what type of resource they are. Natural resources may be either renewable or nonrenewable. Renewable resources are those that are replaced in nature at a rate close to their rate of use. Nonrenewable resources exist in fixed amounts or are used up faster than they can be replaced in nature.

A variety of agencies help manage and protect natural resources in the United States. Some organizations, like the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, focus on renewable resources.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees many of the protected lands that are considered to be nonrenewable resources. BLM lands are managed in a way that enables usage while minimizing environmental damage.

Features or events on Earth's surface provide clues about what happens inside the planet. For instance, lava erupted from volcanoes on Earth's surface indicates that our planet has an internal temperature high enough to melt rock.

In this investigation, you'll explore patterns formed by geologic features at Earth's surface. You'll analyze patterns showing where lava erupts, earthquakes occur, and mountains form. From these patterns, you'll infer properties of Earth's crust—the solid, outermost portion of the geosphere.

Volcanoes reveal locations where Earth's internal heat escapes to the surface of the planet. Volcanic eruptions, lava flows, and hydrothermal activity such as geysers are all evidence of Earth's internal heat being released. Regions without volcanic activity keep heat inside the planet.

What do you notice about the pattern formed by volcanoes? Are they spread randomly across the globe or do they occur more in some areas than others? Why do some areas show a long line of volcanoes?

Earthquakes occur where solid rocks move against other solid rocks. Energy released during earthquakes is generated when rocks break. Locationd of earthquakes, therefore, provide information on where Earth's crust breaks in response to pressure.

The formation of folded mountains on Earth's surface can be compared to the process of wrinkling a flexible rug on a floor. As horizontal pressure is applied along the edge of a rug, folds appear perpendicular to the direction of pressure. On Earth, as horizontal pressure is applied to rocks, ridges and valleys form perpendicular to the direction of the pressure.

Now think about what each of the three features you've examined indicates about Earth's crust. Consider what Earth’s crust is like in areas where all three of these features occur together. How are areas where these features occur different from areas without volcanoes, earthquakes and mountain belts? Examine the patterns on the map and visualize a mental model of Earth's crust.

Medieval Times

By Princessa

Section One: Lifestyle In The Medieval Times.

Fedual Life In The Medieval Times:
For safety and defense people in the Middle Ages formed small communities around a central
lord or master. A lot of people lived on a manor which consisted of the castle, church, village and a lot of surrounding farmland. These manors were isolated with occasional visits from peddlers, pilgrims, and soldiers from other fiefdoms (small communities).

In this feudal system the king awarded land grants of fiefs to his most important nobles. This was done in return for the contribution of soldiers for the kings army.

The lowest class of society were the peasants, also called serfs or villains. In exchange for living on his land, the lord offered his peasants protection. The peasants had to be protected by the lords because of the Vikings. The peasants were not able to fight because they didn't have the right equipment. Some of the peasants were freed. A serf had to buy their freedom. A serf also had a family to feed, so they had to grow crops for their family.

Houses In The Medieval Times:
Land was very important to people, so most people lived in two or three story houses which were called hovels. If someone wanted to add to their hovel they would have to take off the roof and build another story. Most hovels only had a few windows on each story.

There weren't very many fireplaces in the hovels. If you were rich enough to have servants, in cold weather you could have them bring charcoal braises (pieces of charcoal which were heated in metal boxes) into the rooms in which your family is living.

In most hovels, the bathrooms were located on the bottom floor near the back of the hovel.

Poor people didn't live in hovels. They lived in tall buildings that were very crowded. The poor families didn't possess much. They mostly had only a cooking pot and maybe a stool if they were lucky. They slept with logs for pillows and maybe had a blanket.

Some houses were made up of forty or fifty people. Most people lived together for protection, while others lived together because there was no point in wasting their land.

Foods In The Medieval Times:
During the Medieval Times, you couldn't just go to Burger King and grab a cheeseburger. This page will tell you what food was like for people living in Medieval Times.

Meat was very popular. Although it had weird names, (fried pig's head) it tasted good. Beef and mutton (lamb) were eaten a lot. Mutton is a kind of sheep. Venison, or deer meat, was eaten a lot too and so were poultry, game, and wild birds. The best way of preserving meat was to sprinkle it with salt. This worked, but not very well, so when the meat rotted, people would pour a sauce on it, and eat it anyway! Yuck!

Vegetables were also popular. People liked eating vegetables like onions, garlic, and herbs that they would pick from the castle garden. These were eaten with meats. During Lent, (Fridays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays) people would eat fish.

People used to have funny habits for serving food. For example, some people tried to make the animal look alive after cooking it! They would cover the meat with fur or feathers! Most people didn't have plates. They used flattened bread instead, called trenchers. When they did get their hands on a cup or plate (forks were almost unknown), they shared with someone else! Used trenchers were given to the poor to eat.

What kind of food you ate depended on how rich you were. Wealthy families ate many different kinds of foods, but poor families didn't get much. In fact, most poor families weren't even allowed to eat white bread! That was for the kings to eat. Poorer families had to eat things like dark breads, oatmeal, and meat (mostly pork). Wealthy families ate meats like rabbit and game (birds).

So be glad you have Burger King, because it wasn't always there!

Health In The Medieval Times:
As more people began to live in Medieval villages, their health got worse. People were sick all the time! There wasn't much medical knowledge, and there were no such things as doctors until years later! Barbers did most of the surgery and gave medication. Antibiotics weren't discovered until the 1800s, and it was really, really, really hard to cure a disease without them.

People made up stories and myths about health. Many people thought that disease was spread from bad body odors. Still more people thought that diseases came from sins of the soul. Weird, huh?

The body was thought to be a part of the universe, with four body fluids: fire was yellow bile or choler, water was phlegm, air was blood, and earth was black bile. Too much of one fluid was supposed to be bad for you.

Medical treatments were almost always given to rich people, but they weren't that good! Most medicines could cause many illnesses, or even death! And something as normal as sneezing or coughing was supposed to be a sign that you were in great health!

Even though barbers did do most of the surgery, if a barber wasn't available, someone with no experience might give medication! This often led to awful sickness or even death! Scary! Surgery was preformed as a last resort. Nobody wanted to risk anybody's life, but none the less, it happened anyway.

There were various treatments which could be anything from taking medicine, to taking a hot bath, or even cutting off the painful body part! If a knight was badly cut in battle, barbers would melt the skin back together. Ouch!

Surgery was most successful with breast cancer, fistula, and gangrene. The most common type of surgery was called bloodletting, and that was meant to balance the fluids in the body. Before doing the actual surgery, patients would have to drink some sort of sleeping potion. They were mostly made of: lettuce, gall from a castrated boar, briony, opium, henbane, and hemlock juice. Hemlock juice could have caused death! Guess you're pretty glad that you didn't live in Medieval Times!

Clothing In The Medieval Times:

The ladies always wore long dresses. In summer they sometimes wore a fine linen "under-gown" underneath a sleeveless gown. They were sometimes open at the sides. The sleeves might have been slashed to show rich lining.

The best materials were velvet, damask, and silk in brilliant and bright colors and patterns. Printed fabrics were popular, and dresses were embroidered with many different kinds of birds, flowers, and animals. They would wear bells on their clothing to keep away evil spirits. To decorate dresses with rows of tiny buttons or pearls was a sign of wealth.

Veils and wimples [lengths of silk under the chin] went out of style around the 15th century, and married woman showed their faces and left their shoulders bare. They wore wigs often, but it was also fashionable to hide every bit of hair under an amazing headdress. Some of these were very tall or had twin horns and jeweled nets called templets. Another style was a padded ring which could be turned up to make a heart shaped headdress.

Shoes were light pointed slippers, but in wet weather pattens or high heeled clogs were worn to keep the ladies' long skirts out of the puddles.

Dress showed a person's class in wealth. Laws were made, keeping shop-keepers wives from copying the rich dress of merchant's wives. Once a shop-keeper was fined because his wife came to church in a dress that had a train. The design of a rich person's shoes showed that they wouldn't work.

A merchant would wear a gown of fine woolen cloth that was pleated and belted. It hung in neat folds just above the ankles. The sleeves might have had a touch of ermine at the wrists. On their feet they wore open toed sandals. An elaborate headdress called a chaperon might have completed their outfits. They wore dresses and veils. Some women wore corsets. How weird were those Medieval people anyway?

Lawyers, doctors, and teachers wore dark gowns right to the ground while younger men preferred a knee-length tunic. The colors scarlet and purple were very popular.

Fur and velvet were used a lot as trim on cloaks, dresses, and even plain, every day cloths, especially the woman's clothes.


Medieval Holidays:
Hanukkah is the first holiday i'm going to talk about. To celebrate Hanukkah, a Jewish religous ceremony, people would use a Menorah (candle holder). For Hanukkah, people would light candles for eight nights. Today is just the same, but sometimes people get presents for the eight days.

After Hannukkah, there is Christmas (a Christian religous event). Back in the Middle Ages, Christmas was a twelve day festival. In the Middle Ages, church people were sometimes scared that Christmas was over. In Germany, they celebrate Christmas for almost eight weeks! (Wouldn't that be fun!)

During Easter lots of people would give each other colored eggs. They didn't have an Easter Bunny back then.


Section Two: Castles In The Medieval Times.

Castles first appeared in Britain sometime after 1066, when William the Conqueror won the battle of Hastings. The early castles were made of wood. Norman invaders ivented the moat and bailey. A moat is a ring of water surrounding a castle. If someone wanted to get over the moat, someone inside would have to let down the drawbridge, a kind of door. (I think that because of the moats and the drawbridges, the Middle Ages had pretty good security! But still, you can sink!) Drawbridges had to be cranked down by someone inside the castle.

A bailey is the enclosed area around a castle. Baileys helped protect a castle. If someone wanted to attack a castle, he would have to get passed the bailey.

Castles were dark and cold, but everyone wanted to live in them. Castles offered protection from enemies. But castles were too expensive for everyone to live in. It could cost thousands of dollars to build just a part of a castle. The workers might have had to destroy whole forests to build part of a castle. During the 10th century, lords began to build castles out of stone.

There were many different kinds of castles. Castles were in lots of different countries. There were castles in Spain, Germany, Britain, Japan, and many more countries. They all had different styles.

The word castle comes from a Latin word meaning "fortress," which is smart, because that is what a castle is. European castles developed from fortified camps built by the Ancient Romans and from fenced villages of prehistoric Europeans.

Castles became important in western Europe in the late A.D. 900's and 1000's. They played a great role in the Military system called feudalism. In the Middle Ages, Europe was divided into many small states, and local conflicts were common. A castle helped a king or vassal defend the land around where the castle stood. It also provided a home for the nobles and their families and servants.

The walls could be up to 33 feet thick! Nobles were serious about defense. Why were there spiral stairs in a tower? If a castle was under attack, the knights defending the towers would have more space to move their swords.

By 1500, castles became much less important in Europe. Cannons were invented, so it was easy to knock a castle down. Also, many nobles wanted more comfy housing.
So you see, people didn't always go to a hotel when they wanted to stay somewhere. They might have stayed in a castle!

Section Three: Heraldry In The Medieval Times.

Heraldry is the study of symbols that are used to represent families, countries, and to identify solders in a war. The shiny (most times) armor the knights wore over their body did not help the knights tell if they were fighting someone on their team or fighting someone on the other side. Most noble families had shields called coat of arms. People in the middle class, called peasents, could earn a coat of arms by doing a great deed. Most peasents had coats of arms but they were not given to them by the Heraldry College.

At the Heraldry College all the heralds learned their heraldic skills. Heralds went to school at a very young age, like you, and learned how to read and write. They had to memorize all the coats of arms that were used. They helped in wars by finding the positions of the enemy knights and allied knights on the battlefield. The heralds had their own language for describing shields, called Blazon.

Today Heraldry has been stopped in most places, but in Great Britain and in Africa they still use coats of arms to show their ancestry. In England, the college chooses who has the right to have a coat of arms, like in the Medieval Times.

Section Four: Myths In The Medieval Times.

Myths and legends were a big part of Medieval Times. People enjoyed telling scary stories about heroes and heroines. Robin Hood was a popular hero in Medieval Times. He appeared in many English stories and ballads. His stories were told from as far back as the 1300s! He stole from the rich, and gave to the poor. His most famous enemy was the Sheriff of Nottingham. he was known as "A right against might."

Robin lived in the woods with his band of followers. Little John was the most commonly known of all of his followers. His name was misleading, though. Little John was supposed to be 210 centimeters tall! That's over seven feet!

Anyway, Robin Hood usually thought to be fictional, but some people think that he was real! They say his real name was Robert Fitzooth.

Real or not, Robin Hood really was a right against might.

Also, in Medieval Times, the suspicion of the number thirteen was popular. Here's how the legend came to be:

One morning the god Baulder told his mother of a horrible dream that he had that had proposed his death. His mother was worried, and made many things from nature promise not to hurt her son. Other gods passed time by throwing things at Baulder and watching them bounce off!

Loki, another god, was jealous, and hatched an evil plan. He tricked Baulder's mother into telling him that she had not gotten a promise from mistletoe, because she thought it was useless. Loki made a dart out of mistletoe, and attended a party as the 13th guest.

Everyone was hanging out, throwing things at Baulder. Loki saw that Hoder, Baulder's brother, was not participating. He asked him why, and Hoder answered that he was blind, and he didn't have anything to throw. So Loki gave him the mistletoe, and guided his hand. The mistletoe sailed through the air and pierced Baulder's heart. And that is how the legend of the number 13 came to be.


The biggest part of Medieval Folklore was dragons. Medieval people liked to scare each other with dragons. Here are four dragon stories that might knock your socks off!!


Laidly Worm
There once was a king who had two children. Their names were Chyld Wynd and Margaret. One day, Chyld Wynd left to seek his fortune. Later, the queen died, and the king remarried. But the new queen had magical powers, and put an evil curse on Margaret. She turned into a giant laidly worm, until Chyld Wynd kissed her 3 times. The worm was banished. Long later, Chyld Wynd found her, and was about to slay her, when she asked him to kiss her 3 times. He recognized her voice, kissed her, and she turned normal again.


Grendel and his Mother
Grendel the dragon used to visit the Denmark Castle every night, but then Beowulf, a hero wounded him badly. Denmark was safe. Then Grendel's mother, who was half human and half dragon, came to get revenge. She kidnapped a noble man. Beowulf followed the trail of blood, and struck the mother with a sword, which did nothing, so he started wrestling her. She had won, and was about to chop off his head, when he saw her sword on the ground. He picked it up, and chopped off her head! He took the head back to the village where he became king!


Manuscript Dragon
This dragon is very special, pretty, and has jewels all over it. It is the hero of many, many, stories and legends. It frightened St. John, and then tricked St. Simon into taking a stake out of his eye. It changed into a serpant, and jokingly terrorized a city. It took St. Marsel miles away from his village, and made him promise never to return. It also, (tricking him) allowed Chevalier de Gonzo to remove a "precious" stone from it's head. Sometimes a trickster, sometimes an evil villain, the Manuscript dragon lives on.


St. George's Triumph
Saint George was born in the Middle Ages. His mother died giving birth, but then George was kidnapped by an enchanter. She raised him, then gave him some armor, and he set out into the world. One day, he came across a horrible dragon. It demanded to eat all the children in town, including the princess! The day he was going to eat her, George showed up and bravely slayed the dragon. He then married the princess.


Section Five: Knights In The Medieval Times.

Try To Imagine there are two knights in an open field. You watch them from the ground below. One of the khights is trying to protect his castle. They keep fighting until one knight falls off his horse. You are still watching the two. They're still going at it. All of a sudden you see the knight that was defending the castle made the other knight fall. The knights' flags help you know who is who. This is a scene you might have seen in the Medieval Times.

In order to become a knight, a young man would go through three stages. Here is more information about each stage:


A page was the first stage of knighthood. He would serve and do easy tasks.

At fourteen the page would turn into a squire. He would train for battle. He also would have higher tasks of serving the king.

An accolade would train hard to become a knight. They learned how to use swords and defend themselves. If an accolade was not successful, he would not turn out to be a knight. If he was successful, he would be a knight. During the ceremony to become a knight, he had to take a bath to wash the sins off and dry himself on a bed.

A knight could have been knighted as young as twelve. Knights defended castles and worked for Lords.

A knight or chevalier was a professional soldier. He usually was responsible for his weapons, three horses, his attendants and his flag. The three horses each had their own use, one for battle, one for the route and one for luggage. He carried a lance for encounters and a sword for close fighting. He had several attendants, one to conduct the horses, another to handle the heaviest weapons, another to aid him in mounting his horse for battle, and the fourth to guard prisoners. A lance usually carried the flag of whom the knight was fighting. The flag was a distinctive mark of chivalry.

A knight had to pay for his own way. He had to take care of his horse and pay his attendants. Countries did not have any budget to pay the knights. Land was the only riches each Lord had. If he wished to raise an army he divided his land into military fiefs. Tenants were held to military service at their own expense for a number of days.

The knightly profession was the only career. Knighthood was not heraldry. Only the sons of a knight or Lord were eligible to its ranks. These boys were sent to the court of some noble where they were trained to use horses and weapons and were taught lessons of courtesy.

Section Six: Important Biographies In The Medieval Times.

Robert Bruce: Robert Bruce was born in 1274 and died in 1329. He lived in Scotland.

Robert Bruce originally paid King Edward 1 homage but after the English confistcated all his property he invaded England twice.

Robert Bruce was involved in the death of Red Comym (a Scottish patriot). Robert Bruce was also made King of Scotland.

A Story About Robert Bruce

Robert Bruce was once in a cave hiding from an enemy.
He sat down and watched a spider weave a web. Each time something bad happened - first a fox ran through the web, then a heavy wind blew the web. Each time the spider rebuilt the web. Then Robert Bruce said "This spider is giving me a message - if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again." So he went out, fought and won.

Sir Galahad And The Knights Of The Round Table: Sir Galahad was called a Grail knight because he went in search for the Holy Grail. His father was named Sir Lancelot and his mother was given to the name Elaine. His family lived in a big castle called Camelot. They ate what was grown by the gardeners. The food was usally vegetables and herbs. They also kept pigs, cattle, chickens and bees. They kept all these things inside the castle.

Inside the castle there are usually these things: a chapel, a great hall, a solar room ( which is the warmest room in the castle), the inner castle wall and the battlements. There were heaps of knights who felt honoured at the Round Table. The tales of Galahad , the Round Table and King Arthur are partly make believe and are part of the medieval literature. He was the purest knight at the Round Table because he could touch the Perilous Chair without getting a shock.
King Arthur was made king because he was the only one who could pull the sword from the stone, so that was how he was made King Arthur.The table was round so that no-one seemed favoured over the others.

King Henry II: King Henry II (of England) (1133-89), king of England (1154-89), first monarch of the house of Anjou, or Plantagenet, was an important administrative reformer, who was one of the most powerful European rulers of his time. Born on March 5, 1133, at Le Mans, France, Henry became duke of Normandy in 1151. The following year, on the death of his father, he inherited the Angevin territories in France. By his marriage in 1152 to Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry added vast territories in southwestern France to his possessions.

Henry claimed the English kingship through his mother, Matilda. She had been designated the heiress of Henry I but had been deprived of the succession by her cousin, Stephen of Blois, who made himself king. In 1153 Henry defeated Stephen's armies in England and compelled the king to choose him as his successor; on Stephen's death, the following year, Henry became king. During the first few years of his reign Henry quelled the disorders that had developed during Stephen's reign, regained the northern counties of England, which had previously been ceded to Scotland, and conquered North Wales. In 1171-72 he began the Norman conquest of Ireland and in 1174 forced William the Lion, king of the Scots, to recognize him as overlord.In 1164 Henry became involved in a quarrel with Thomas à Becket, whom he had appointed archbishop of Canterbury. By the Constitutions of Clarendon, the king decreed that priests accused of crimes should be tried in royal courts; Becket claimed that such cases should be handled by ecclesiastical courts, and the controversy that followed ended in 1170 with Becket's murder by four of Henry's knights.

Widespread indignation over the murder forced the king to rescind his decree and recognize Becket as a martyr.Although he failed to subject the church to his courts, Henry's judicial reforms were of lasting significance. In England he established a centralized system of justice accessible to all freemen and administered by judges who traveled around the country at regular intervals. He also began the process of replacing the old trial by ordeal with modern court procedures.From the beginning of his reign, Henry was involved in conflict with Louis VII, king of France, and later with Louis's successor, Philip II, over the French provinces that Henry claimed. A succession of rebellions against Henry, headed by his sons and furthered by Philip II and by Eleanor of Aquitaine, began in 1173 and continued until his death at Chinon, France, on July 6, 1189. Henry was succeeded by his son Richard I, called Richard the Lion-Hearted.

King Arthur: King Arthur was a legendary king of Medieval times and was reknowned for his legendary knights of the round table. Until Arthur was a teenager he had never known he was king. He had a foster parent and brother, Kay, who had been looking after him since his parents had died. King Uther Pendragon and Igranuye, wife of the Duke of Cornwall, before she married Uther, were his parents. Kay had to go to a tournament and Arthur could go.
That night they slept in an inn. The next day they went to the tournament.When they got there Kay realised he had forgotten his sword, so he sent Arthur to go and get it, but the door of the inn was locked.Arthur went back to tell Kay but on the way he saw the sword in a stone. He took it out and gave it to Kay without knowing that whoever took out that sword would become king. Kay took it to show his father but his father knew he wasn't meant to be King, so he took both his sons back to the stone. Only Arthur could pull it out so he became king, after his dad told him about his parents and Merlin.He fought many battles as king with his trusty sword Excalibur which was given to him by the Lady of the Lake, Nynyve. King Arthur had several residences, one of which was Camelot, which was his favourite. Camelot was in Southern England. There are two versions of the events leading to Arthur's death.Both say he fought a war against the Roman Empire Lucies and conquered most of Western Europe.Early writers said he was called home without completing his conquest.

He heard that Mordred, a knight, who was either his nephew or his son had stolen his kingdom and his Queen. They said Arthur killed Mordred but later died from wounds. Later writers say that Arthur completed his victory over the Romans. After he returned to Briton, Arthur and his knights went on a quest for the Holy Grail, the cup or dish that Jesus used at the Last Supper. After the quest, Arthur had lost nearly half of his men.

A love affair also developed between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere. While fighting in a war against Sir Lancelot, Arthur heard about Mordred. After a battle between the two, they both died. It was believed that Arthur was carried off to the mythical island of Avalon by Morgan La Fay, his sister, now queen of Avalon and Nynyve, Lady of the Lake, Queen of the Waste Land and Wife of the Fisher King. (The Waste Land is where the Holy Grail was kept.)It was thought that Arthur would be healed and would return to his country when it was in great need.

Joan Of Arc:

Saint Joan of Arc lived in France around 1412 - 1431.
She is the patron saint of France.

Joan is remembered by the French because she led the French to a decisive victory over the English.

Joan of Arc was a French national heroine who became a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a simple peasant girl who rescued France from defeat in one of the darkest periods of the Hundred Years War with England.

Her great triumph was to lead a French army against the English who had laid seige to the city of Orléans. During one battle the English captured her and handed her over to the French who accused her of heresy and tied her to the stake and burnt her.

Some years later, the church examined her life story and established her as a saint.

King Alfred:

Alfred ruled Wessex.

He was born in Wantage in southern England.

He conquered London in 886, and soon was known as the king of all England.

He was the wisest king in all the land. Alfred began a court school and invited foreign scholars.
Alfred won his first battle when he was 21.

The Danes were after Alfred.

Alfred disguised as a peasant or harp player when the Danes were around. The English defeated the Danes totally. Later London became part of Alfred's kingdom.

In 893 the Danes attacked again with 80 ships up the River Thames.

William The Conqueror: William the Conqueror lived in England in the Middle Ages. He was born in 1027 and died in 1087. He was remembered because he was offered the crown and after 5 years he made himself master of all England.

When William The Conqueror died his eldest son became Duke of Normandy and his next son, King of England. William also fought in the Battle of Hastings.

Geoffrey Chaucer: Geffrey Chaucer was a famous English Poet.He lived between 1340 and 1400.

He wrote the Canterbury Tales which is a group of poems.

He wrote 24 but 4 were incomplete.
He wrote the Book of Dutchess in 1368.

One of Chaucer's greatest poems was Troilus and Coriseple.William Caxton printed this poem at Westminster.

He was controller of customs from 1374 -1386 and clerk of the Kings Works from1389 -1391. Chaucer wrote for a circle of people in and around the courts of Edward III and especially Richard II.

His life is known primarily through recordspertaining to his career as a courtier and civil servant under the English KingsEdward III and Richard II.


King John And The Magna Carta: King John was born in 1167. He was forced to sign the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta made him keep his promises. There was a council of barons that made him do so.

If he didn't do so there would be a break out of war. There was. He was killed in 1216 and the Magna Carta was forgotten in the 1500's. It was brought up again in the1600's.
Saint Thomas à Becket: Saint Thomas à Becket was an archbishop. He studied in England and France. In 1155 King Henry II made Becket a chancellor of England. His father was Gilbert Becket who was a man of wealth and position. Becket was educated at the Merton Priory Church in Surrey.

He was famous for his struggle to save the Canterbury Church and for his dramatic death. Becket was sent to study law in Italy. He was born in London and moved around the Roman Empire and rested for a while at Canterbury in Kent.Becket's birth date was the 21/12/1118 and supposedly he lived to the 1170's. When King Henry the II was young, he was Becket's best friend. Together, they hunted, feasted and they both loved a good joke. When Becket became chancellor, he grew to be one of the richest and most powerful men in England. His clothes and house were finer than the King's or Queen's. But Thomas was more than a merry friend to the King, he was a clever statesmen and a brilliant chancellor.

In the 12th century, the Church ruled the country with great power and owned a large amount of land. This did not suit King Henry, who thought that the Church people should obey only his laws. So when the Archbishop of Canterbury Church died, King Henry expected that Becket would take the place of the recant Archbishop. Henry thought Becket would help him to take over the Church, by making the Church lose power. But Becket did not want to be Archbishop. So he warned the King."If I become Arch bishop, the friendship between us will soon disappear.

You will ask me to do things I shall not do.'' But Henry insisted.So Becket did become Archbishop, and it soon changed his life. He sold all his fine things and clothing, he sold his magnificent house as well. He ate plain food and drank nothing but water. Becket told Henry that he must find a new chancellor because he had to devote all his work and time to taking care of the Church. This was not what Henry had expected to happen so as Becket had predicted, they started to disagree.

Robin Hood: Robin Hood's real name was Robert Fitzooth.

He was a rebel, and many of the striking episodes in the tales about him show him and his companions robbing and killing representatives of authority and giving the gains to the poor.
Their most frequent enemy was the sheriff of Nottingham, a local agent of the central government. Other enemies included wealthy landowners.

Robin treated women, the poor and people of humble status with courtesy. A good deal of the impetus for his revolt against authority stemmed from popular resentment over those laws of the forest that restricted hunting rights. The early ballads, especially, reveal the cruelty that was an inescapable part of medieval life.

William Caxton: William Caxton was the first English printer. He was born in 1422, in Weald, Kent, England and lived till 1491.He then traveled to Germany, to learn printing, he lived there for 30 years. Caxton moved to Brugge[Bruges], Flanders [now a part of Belgium], where he opened his own textile business, and about 1471 he moved to Cologne, Germany, where he learnt the art of printing.At this time Caxton was also translating into English a popular French romance, which he printed in Brugge as The Recuyell of Historyes of Troye[circa 1474]. It is famous as the first book printed in English. Returning to England in 1476, Caxton set up a printing press at Westminster Abbey. His first publication there was an indulgence, which was distributed in December 1476.William Caxton published Chauser's poem "Troilus and Coriseple".

Johannes Gutenberg: Johannes Gutenberg lived from (1395?-1468?)

Gutenberg was remembered because he invented the printing press.

Gutenberg had made copies of the bible to give to people, not just for the priests which helped break the power of the Cathlic church.

Until Gutenberg invented how to print, people had to write the books by hand.
It was so uncomfortable writing out books many times by hand that sometimes it would take them months or weeks just to write one copy.

Leonardo Da Vinchi: Leonardo Da Vinci was born on the 14 of April 1452 and died in 1519. (Monique's mother was born on the same date but not the same year, she is also really good at art.) He was probably born outside the village of Vinci near Florence central Italy.
Leonardo was a smart young lad he was good at philosophy, music, poetry, science as well as being a good artist. Leonardo thought that all artists should study nature so it would be easier to draw.

Leonardo sent a letter to the duke of Milan offering his services as an engineer and an artist. Leonardo became more of an artist when he became Andrea de Verroncchio's assistant.Verroncchio was a great artist and Sculptor in Florence. Leonardo stayed as Verroncchio's assistant even after his apprentinceship.

Leonardo and Andrea de Verrocchio worked on an art piece called, "Baptism of Christ." When Sforzas fell, Leonardo returned to Florence, for a few years, around 1503.

According to Vasari da Vinci was paid by a very rich florentine, Francecso, to do a portrait of his wife the "Mona Lisa." He worked on the painting for four years, but he left the painting unfinished because he took it to france with other paintings instead of sending it to the man who payed for it. This asks the famous question of the "Mona Lisa" or "Giocondo." Is it really a portrait of 26-year-old consort of Francesco del Giocondo? Many critics say Giuliano de Medici, left this famous painting in Leonardo's possession so it would not upset his recent bride. Some people say that the Mona Lisa is a man in disguise. A short romantic story has been woven through this painting.Vasari described the painting without even seeing it. One painting he did with eyelashes and one without. When actually the Mona Lisa never had any because women shaved them off. The Mona Lisa is anything but believable. But it is still a Wonderful painting.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

indefatigable: untiring.


By Princessa

Location: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Italy and Spain.
French Guinana: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname.
Guadelope: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico.
Martinigue: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, North of Trinidad and Tobago.
Reunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.
Population: 62,752,156
Capital: Paris.
Government Type: Republic.
Independence: Year 486.
Constitution: Adopted by referendum 28 September 1958, effective 4 October 1958; amended concerning election of president in 1962; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 E.C.
Maastricht Treaty, 1996 Amsterdam Treaty, 2000 Treaty of Nice; amended to tighten immigration laws in 1993; amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term; amended in 2005 to make the E.U. constitutional Treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify E.U. acession treaties would be made by referendum.
Legal System: Civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts.
Chief Of State: President Jacques Chirac (since 17 May 1995).
Head Of Government: Prime Minister Domingue De Villepin (since 31 May 2005).
Agriculture Products: Wheat, Cereals, Sugar Beets, Potatoes, Wine Grapes, Beef, Dairy products, and Fish.
Industries: Machinery, Chemicals, Automobiles, Metallurgy, Aircraft, Electronics, Textiles, Food Processing, Tourism.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Word Of The Day

By Princessa

badinage: light, playful talk.

Carl Orff

By Princessa

Carl Orff (July 10, 1895 - March 29, 1982) was a German Composer , most famous for Carmina Burana (1937). A major composer of the 20th century, he was also sucessful and infuential in the field of the music education.

Life: Orff was born in Munich and came from a Bavarian family that was very active in the German military. His father's regimental band supposedly had often played the compositions of a young Orff.

Moser's Musik Lexicon states that Orff studied at the Munich Academy of Music until 1914. he then served in the military during World War I. Afterwards, he held various positions at opera houses in Mannheim and Darmsadt, later to return to Munich to pursue further his music studies.

As of 1925, and for the rest of his life, Orff was the head of the department and co-founder of the Guenther School for gymnastics, music, and dance in Munich, where he worked with musical beginners. Having constant contact with children, this is where he developed his theories in music education.

While Orff's assocition, or lack thereof, with the Nazi party has never been conclusively established, his Carmina Burana was hugely popular in Nazi Germany after its premiere in Frankfurt in 1937, recieving numerous performances (although one Nazi critic reviewed it savagely as "degenerate" - entartent - implying a connection with the contemporaneous, and infamous, exhibit of Entartete Kunst). It should be noted that he was one of the few German composers under the Nazi regime who responded to the offical call to write new music for A Midsummer Night's Dream after the music of Felix Mendelssohn had been banned - other refused to cooperate in this. But then again, Orff had already composed music for this play as early as 1917 and 1927, long before this was a favour for the Nazi government.

Orff was a personal friend of Kurt Huber, one of the founders of the resistance movement Die Weiße Rose (the White Rose), who was condemned to death by the Volksgerichtshof and executed by the Nazis in 1943. After World War II, Orff claimed that he was a member of the group, and was himself involved in the resistance, but there was no evidence for this other than his own word, and other sources dispute his claim.

Orff is buried in the Baroque church of the beer-brewing Benedictine priory of Andechs, south of Munich.

Musical Work: Carl Orff (1895-1982) built the first of his instruments with his friend, instrument maker Karl Maendler (1872-1958). Orff based his design on handmade xylophones from other countries. He had seen a rectangular box from Cameroon with bars across the open side, and also instruments from an Indonesian Gamelan Orchestra.

Today, three basic groups of barred instruments are part of the Orff instrument family, or Instrumentarium. These are the Glockenspiel, Metallophone, and Xylophone. Below is a short list of the instruments in each group.

Soprano Glockenspiel
Alto Glockenspiel
Soprano Metallophone
Alto Metallophone
Bass Metallophone
Soprano Metallophone
Alto Metallophone
Bass Metallophone

Orff wanted to make instruments that let players share music together. On Orff's instruments, the bars can be arranged to play easy patterns. one person plays sparkling, bright patterns on Glockenspiels. Another plays long, ringing tones on the Metallophone. A third plays crisp, quick rhythms on the Xylophone. When all three patterns are played, the players grow together through music.