Archive for June, 2009

Gianna Jessen: Abortion Survivor, Part 1

Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor, speaks at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House, Victoria, Australia—on the eve of the debate to decriminalize abortion in Victoria. Gianna’s visit was sponsored by the Ad Hoc Interfaith Committee. Read more

Gianna Jessen: Abortion Survivor, Part 2


The Pioneer of Cowboy Stories

The VirginianThe Virginian is the story of a quiet hero, “a courageous loner who follows his private code of honor while prevailing over the forces of evil.” In Owen Wister Out West, Owen Wister’s daughter captures the essence of the historical impact of The Virginian:

. . . For the first time, a cowboy was a gentleman and a hero, but nobody realized then that the book was the master design on which thousands of Westerns would be modeled. Its hero was the first cowboy to capture the public’s imagination, and hundreds of young girls fell in love with him . . . besides being handsome, he was humorous and human . . . The Virginian himself is the progenitor of the cowboy as folk figure. Because of him, little boys wear ten-gallon hats and carry toy pistols. This one novel set the tradition of the West permanently. We still have Western stories, Western movies, and Western radio and television drama in which the cowboy hero defends justice and his girl’s honor and shoots it out with the villain . . . It was written as fiction but has become history . . .

The novel was made into at least four movies and a television series. Before the first silent film was made, it was performed in theatres. . . Read more

The Ill-Fated IllustratorBrett Helquist

If you’ve seen or read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you’ve seen Brett Helquist’s unique art. Learn about this American illustrator and view illustrations he’s done for the Unfortunates and other books. Read more

The Secret Origins of Nursery Rhymes

Mother Goose

The relationship of many historical events to the Nursery Rhyme have been long forgotten. The Bubonic Plague and its symptoms were parodied in “Ring Around the Rosy” and the English Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) was believed to be the ‘star’ of the “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” rhyme which featured a hidden reference to the Queen’s treatment of Protestants using instruments of torture (silver bells) and execution by burning them alive at the stake. It’s no wonder that this Queen has since been known as Bloody Mary! Witches and their ‘familiars’, like cats, frogs, mice and owls, are frequently, but obliquely, referred to in the words of a Nursery Rhyme as we have discussed in “The Identity of Mother Goose.” We need to understand the people, history and cultures of by-gone days to unlock the hidden meanings of the humble Nursery rhyme. The history and origins of many an ‘innocent’ Nursery Rhyme can be found on this site. Read more

Tongue TwistersAlbert Einstein - tongue

A tongue twister is a phrase, sentence or rhyme that presents difficulties when spoken because it contains similar sounds—Whistle for the thistle sifter, for example. To get the full effect of a tongue twister you should try to repeat it several times, as quickly as possible, without stumbling or mispronouncing. Tongue twisters have long been a popular form of wordplay, particularly for schoolchildren, but they also have a more serious side – being used in elocution teaching and in the treatment of some speech defects.
The collection of funny tongue twisters presented here, however, is purely for entertainment, and consists of many old favorites as well as some new ones — try to tackle tricksy tongue twisters today! Read more

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