Tag Archives: North America

today’s holiday: Winnipeg Folk Festival


Winnipeg Folk Festival

The largest event of its kind in North America, the Winnipeg Folk Festival is a music festival featuring bluegrass, gospel, jazz, Cajun, swing, Celtic, and other performers from Canada and around the world. There are concerts, jam sessions, a juried handicrafts village, children’s performances, and folk dancing. Held at Birds Hill Park, about 19 miles northeast of Winnipeg, the festival was started in 1974 by Mitch Podolak, a veteran in the folk music field. Although it lasts for five days, it also operates on a year-round basis as a folklore and music center. More… Discuss

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Witch Hazel


Witch Hazel

Witch hazel refers to a family of trees and shrubs found in Japan, China, and North America. They are deciduous shrubs that usually grow 10-26 ft (3-8 m) tall but can reach 40 ft (12 m). The fruit of the witch hazel is a two-parted capsule, 1 cm long, that bursts in Autumn and shoots seeds up to 33 ft (10 m) away. The plant’s hard wood is used in cabinet making, and an astringent is extracted from its bark and leaves. The plant’s branches have been used in what form of divination? More… Discuss

Vlad the Impaler and the fight against the expansionism of the ottman empire


1499 German woodcut showing Dracule waide dini...

1499 German woodcut showing Dracule waide dining among the impaled corpses of his victims. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476/77), was a member of the House of Drăculești, a branch of the House of Basarab, also known, using his patronymic, as (Vlad) Drăculea or (Vlad) Dracula. He was posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș, pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ]), and was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father, Vlad II Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon, which was founded to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero in Romania as well as other parts of Europe for his protection of the Romanian population both south and north of the Danube. A significant number of Romanian common folk and remaining boyars (nobles) moved north of the Danube to Wallachia, recognized his leadership and settled there following his raids on the Ottomans.[1]

 

 

 

As the cognomen “The Impaler” suggests, his practice of impaling his enemies is part of his historical reputation.[2] During his lifetime, his reputation for excessive cruelty spread abroad, to Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker‘s 1897 novel Dracula was inspired by Vlad’s patronymic.[2]

 

 

 

Vlad III Dracula
Владъ Цепѣшъ
Voivode of Wallachia
Vlad Tepes 002.jpg

The Ambras Castle portrait of Vlad III, c. 1560, reputedly a copy of an original made during his lifetime[1]
Reign 1448; 1456–1462; 1476
Wives
Issue Mihnea cel Rău, Vlad IV, and Mircea (disputed name)
House House of Drăculești (branch of the House of Basarab)
Father Vlad II Dracul
Mother Cneajna of Moldavia (presumed)
Born November or December 1431[1]
Segesvár, Kingdom of Hungary
(city now known as Sighișoara, Romania)
Died December 1476 or January 1477, exact date unknown (aged 44-45)
Wallachia (exact location unknown)
Signature

 

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476/77), was a member of the House of Drăculești, a branch of the House of Basarab, also known, using his patronymic, as (Vlad) Drăculea or (Vlad) Dracula. He was posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș, pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ]), and was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father, Vlad II Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon, which was founded to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero in Romania as well as other parts of Europe for his protection of the Romanian population both south and north of the Danube. A significant number of Romanian common folk and remaining boyars (nobles) moved north of the Danube to Wallachia, recognized his leadership and settled there following his raids on the Ottomans.[1]

 

 

 

As the cognomen “The Impaler” suggests, his practice of impaling his enemies is part of his historical reputation.[2] During his lifetime, his reputation for excessive cruelty spread abroad, to Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker‘s 1897 novel Dracula was inspired by Vlad’s patronymic.[2

 

 

 

Name

 

 

 

Further information: House of Drăculești

 

 

 

 

Bust of Vlad the Impaler in Sighișoara, his place of birth

 

During his life, Vlad wrote his name in Latin documents as Wladislaus Dragwlya, vaivoda partium Transalpinarum (1475).[3]

 

 

 

His Romanian patronymic Dragwlya (or Dragkwlya)[3] Dragulea,

 

Vlad Drăculea of Wallachia

Vlad Drăculea of Wallachia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Dragolea, Drăculea,[4][5] is a diminutive of the epithet Dracul carried by his father Vlad II, who in 1431 was inducted as a member of the Order of the Dragon, a chivalric order founded by Emperor Sigismund in 1408. Dracul is the Romanian definite form, the -ul being the suffixal definite article (deriving from Latin ille). The noun drac “dragon” itself continues Latin draco. In Modern Romanian, the word drac has adopted the meaning of “devil” (the term for “dragon” now being balaur or dragon). This has led to misinterpretations of Vlad’s epithet as characterizing him as “devilish”.

 

 

 

Vlad’s nickname of Țepeș (“Impaler“) identifies his favourite method of execution but was only attached to his name posthumously, in c. 1550.[3] Before this, however, he was known as Kazıklı Bey (Impaler Lord) by the Ottoman Empire after their armies encountered his “forests” of impalement victims.[6]

 

 

 

Early life

 

 

 

Family

 

 

 

English: House of Vlad III the Impaler

English: House of Vlad III the Impaler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Vlad was born in Sighișoara, Transylvania, in the winter of 1431 to Vlad II Dracul, future voivode of Wallachia. Vlad’s father was the son of the celebrated Voivode Mircea the Elder. His mother is unknown, though at the time his father was believed to have been married to Princess Cneajna of Moldavia (eldest daughter of Alexander “the Good”, Prince of Moldavia and aunt to Stephen the Great of Moldavia) and also to have kept a number of mistresses.[1] He had two older half-brothers, Mircea II and Vlad Călugărul, and a younger brother, Radu III the Handsome.

 

 

 

 

 

In the year of his birth, Vlad’s father traveled to Nuremberg, where he was then vested into the Order of the Dragon,[1] a fellowship of knights sworn to defend Christendom against the encroaching Ottomans and European heresies, such as the Hussites.[7] During his initiation, he was given the epithet Dracul, or dragon, by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.[8]

 

 

 

Vlad and Radu spent their early formative years in Sighișoara. During the first reign of their father, Vlad II Dracul, the Voivode brought his young sons to Târgoviște, the capital of Wallachia at that time.

 

 

 

The Byzantine chancellor Mikhail Doukas showed that, at Târgoviște, the sons of boyars and ruling princes were well-educated by Romanian or Greek scholars commissioned from Constantinople. Vlad is believed to have learned combat skills, geography, mathematics, science, languages (Old Church Slavonic, German, Latin), and the classical arts and philosophy.

 

 

 

Dealings with the Ottoman Empire

 

 

 

In 1436, Vlad II Dracul ascended the throne of Wallachia. He was ousted in 1442 by rival factions in league with Hungary, but secured Ottoman support for his return by agreeing to pay the tribute to the Sultan.

 

 

 

At 13, Vlad and his brother Radu were held as political hostages by the Ottoman Turks. During his years as hostage, Vlad was educated in logic, the Quran, and the Turkish language and works of literature. He would speak this language fluently in his later years.[1] He and his brother were also trained in warfare and horsemanship.

 

 

 

Despite increasing his cultural capital with the Ottomans, Vlad was not at all pleased to be in Turkish hands. He was resentful and incredibly jealous of his little brother, who soon earned the nickname Radu cel Frumos, or Radu the Handsome. Radu was well behaved and quickly earned the friendship of Sultan Murad’s son, Mehmet; he eventually converted to Islam and entered Ottoman service.[9] Conversely, Vlad was defiant and constantly punished for his impudence. It has been suggested that his traumatic experiences among the Ottomans may have molded him into the sadistic man he grew up to be, especially in regards to his penchant for impaling.[7] In 1457, Vlad helped his cousin Stephen ascend Moldavia‘s throne by providing 6,000 horsemen as military assistance against Petru Aron, who was deposed after two battles. Stephen of Moldavia‘s long lasting reign developed into the most fierce anti-Ottoman resistance.[10]

Bran Castle (click to access gallery!)

 

 

 

 

Rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox Spotted at Yosemite National Park – ABC News


Rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox Spotted at Yosemite National Park – ABC News.

Saint of the Day for Monday, January 12th, 2015: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys


today’s holiday: Carnival of Blacks and Whites (2015)


English: Blacks and Whites Pasto Carnival Play...

English: Blacks and Whites Pasto Carnival Players Français : Joueurs du Carnaval des Blancs et Noirs de Pasto en Colombie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carnival of Blacks and Whites (2015)

The Carnival of Blacks and Whites, held each year in Pasto, Colombia, is one of the oldest Carnival celebrations in South America. The Carnival officially opens on January 4 with a parade commemorating the arrival in Pasto of the Castañeda family, who are presented as a zany group overburdened with luggage, mattresses, and cooking equipment. The following day is the Day of the Blacks. Using special paints and cosmetics, revelers paint themselves and their friends black. Festivities continue on January 6 with the Day of the Whites, in which white paints and cosmetics are used. More… Discuss

Amazing seven year old sings Gloomy Sunday/Billy Holiday (Angelina Jordan) Eng sub


Amazing seven year old sings Gloomy Sunday/Billy Holiday (Angelina Jordan) Eng sub

The Monarch Butterfly


 

 

 

 

The Monarch Butterfly

 

 

 

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The monarch, with its distinctive orange and black pattern, is considered one the world’s most beautiful butterflies. In North America, thousands of monarchs gather in autumn and migrate southward, sometimes more than 1,800 miles (2,900 km), and return north in spring. Their ability to return to the same spots over several generations has led scientists to research how circadian rhythm and the position of the sun are involved. What is aposematism, and how do monarch butterflies exemplify it? More…

 

 

 

Discuss

 

 

 

Jasmine


Jasmine

Jasmine—also known as jessamine—is a genus of shrubs and vines in the family Oleaceae. It has about 300 species native to all continents except North America. Jasmine is prized for its very fragrant white or yellow blossoms, which, when dried, can be used to flavor tea. Jasmine oil is popular for perfumes and aromatherapy, even though jasmine flowers are too delicate to be distilled in the same way as true essential oils. Jasmine is thus called an “absolute” oil. What is Sampaguita? More… Discuss

Boston Could Someday Be the Venice of North America


Boston Could Someday Be the Venice of North America

Sinking land and rising sea levels have cities along the US east coast facing an uncertain future. Planners in Boston, Massachusetts, are so concerned that they are considering flooding the city intentionally. Well, not quite flooding so much as creating a system of canals that would crisscross the low-lying Back Bay area. While it seems unlikely that officials will elect such a drastic approach over simply shoring up foundations and raising infrastructure in anticipation of potential flooding, the plan to bring canal systems to North America has raised awareness of the challenges Boston and cities like it will face in the coming decades. More… Discuss

Experts say Ebola virus unlikely to spread to North America | CTV Calgary News


Kathy Mueller, a former CTV news anchor, recently returned to Canada from Sierra Leone where she assisted the Red Cross dead body management team.

“While we were laying one person to rest, the grave next to them was being dug,” said Mueller. “It was a constant conveyor belt of burials.”

More than 1,200 people have contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia and the virus has claimed the lives of nearly 700 people.

via Experts say Ebola virus unlikely to spread to North America | CTV Calgary News.

this pressed for your right to know: Where Do the World’s Wealthiest People Live? – Real Time Economics – WSJ


Of course, the U.S. has a lot of wealthy people because it’s a big country. But the analysis suggests that the U.S. is punching above its weight, even after accounting for population. Total wealth per adult increased by $340,340 in North America, or an increase of 10.2% from the prior year. Total wealth per adult grew by nearly $146,000 in Europe, an increase of 10.4%.

By contrast, wealth per adult grew just 2.3% in China and it fell 1.9% in Latin America and 3.1% in India.

via Where Do the World’s Wealthiest People Live? – Real Time Economics – WSJ.

News: Norway Best Country for Older People


Norway Best Country for Older People

Growing old is never easy, but for some it is easier than others, and where they live has a lot to do with it. An index evaluating the quality of life of older adults in 96 countries around the globe has ranked Norway the best country in the world for older people, followed closely by Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, and Germany. Australia, Western Europe, and North America also rank high on the list. The index weighs factors such as income security, health, personal capability, and whether the elderly live in an “enabling environment.” More… Discuss

Capella Savaria Joseph Haydn:Fortepiano Concerto No.11 in D major Hob XVIII:11 3. Rondo allUngarese: make music part of your life series


Capella Savaria Joseph Haydn:Fortepiano Concerto No.11 in D major Hob XVIII:11 3. Rondo allUngarese

this day in the yesteryear: Last Passenger Pigeon Dies in Captivity (1914)


Last Passenger Pigeon Dies in Captivity (1914)

Billions of passenger pigeons inhabited eastern North America in the early 19th century, migrating in enormous flocks that darkened the skies for days at a time. They soon fell victim to habitat loss caused by mass deforestation, along with excessive hunting on an industrial scale. The bird‘s rapid extinction was largely responsible for ending the marketing of game birds and gave major impetus to the conservation movement. Where did the last known passenger pigeon die in 1914? More… Discuss

Environmental Health – protect yourself: Poisonous or toxic plants of North America


Poisonous or toxic plants of North America

 

today’s Saint, July 31: Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola


Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola

St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) founded the Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic religious order whose members are known as Jesuits. The Feast of St. Ignatius is celebrated by Jesuits everywhere, but particularly in the Basque region of Spain where he was born. The largest Basque community in North America, located in Boise, Idaho, holds its annual St. Ignatius Loyola Picnic on the last weekend in July—an event often referred to as the Basque Festival. More… Discuss

Mojave Desert


Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and parts of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. It is named for the Mojave tribe of Native Americans, who made it their home. It is also home to the world’s largest Joshua tree forest and the third-tallest dunes in North America, the 600-foot-high Kelso Dunes. The desert’s Death Valley, the lowest, hottest, driest area of North America, has recorded some of the world’s highest air temperatures. What is the Mojave’s largest city? More… Discuss

health and environment: Recession Responsible for 10,000 Suicides


Recession Responsible for 10,000 Suicides

Researchers are attributing an uptick in suicides in North America and Europe to the recent economic crisis. An analysis of data from 24 European countries, the US, and Canada attributes 10,000 suicides to the recession. It is perhaps not surprising that unemployment, losing one’s home, or being in debt drives some to take their own lives, but it is interesting to note that this is not the case everywhere. Austria, Sweden, and Finland showed no increase in suicides. All three invest in programs that help people return to work, suggesting that there are ways to mitigate the psychological burden brought on by economic troubles. More…

NEWS: JET STREAM SHIFT COULD INFLUENCE WEATHER PATTERNS


Jet Stream Shift Could Influence Weather Patterns

Weather patterns around the globe appear to be changing, and in North America and Northern Europe thejet stream may at least be partly to blame. The jet stream—a high-speed, meandering wind current—over these continents has become wavier in recent decades, resulting in longer periods of the same weather.Meteorologists speculate that warmer temperatures in the Arctic could be to blame, as the jet stream is fueled in part by the temperature differential between the Arctic and middle latitudesMore… Discuss

 

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THE SNOWY OWL


The Snowy Owl

Easily recognized by its snow-white plumage, the snowy owl is most commonly found in the Arctic tundra but is sometimes seen in Europe, Asia, and North America. It is even the official bird of Quebec. The large owl has broad wings, a round head, and may have some dark markings. After snowy owl eggs hatch, both parents feed and protect their young. Their alarm call is almost like a bark, and they often clap their beaks when threatened. What popular book series features a snowy owl? More… Discuss