August 1st, 2009


If I Were King of the Forest

We all know that the lion is often considered the King of Beasts, but how did this reputation arise? I can't say I know. Wikipedia just says that it's a consistent image of the animal, without really explaining the origin. I assume it has something to do with the fact that it's a powerful animal that looks noble, but I'm not sure what culture originally came up with the association between lions and royalty. Perhaps it's also due to how male lions living in prides usually let the females do the hunting and then feel entitled to as much of the meat as they want, which I'm sure many would say is an accurate representation of royalty. The lion was the symbol of the tribe of Judah, from which David and the other rulers of the Kingdom of Judah were descended, and I believe some translations even refer to the lion as king of beasts in Genesis 49:9. (The King James and New Revised Standard Bibles don't use this phrasing, but the Wikipedia article on lions says that the Tanakh from the Jewish Publication Society of America does.) The Egyptians had deities with the features of lions and lionesses, and Vishnu was also said to have taken a half-leonine form. Lions are, of course, also frequently found in heraldry and in statuary, often flanking the entrances to buildings.

In The Annotated Wizard of Oz, Michael Patrick Hearn has this to say on the subject of the lion as King of Beasts: "Although this belief goes back to ancient times and was prevalent in the Middle Ages, it was not until the Renaissance that it become [sic] part of a highly sophisticated system." He also mentions that works from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries refer to the eagle as the king of birds, and the whale as the king of fish. Since a whale ISN'T a fish, though, I suppose that's sort of like when a country has a foreign king.

We'll see more on ruling lions on (most likely) Monday, when we take a look at a certain cowardly one.

From Twitter 07-31-2009

  • 07:59:08: @renlong Just don't leave them clothes, or they'll never come back!
  • 08:33:57: I wonder if @alyankovic's hatred for Ben Affleck is real or a joke. Probably the latter, but I kind of hope for the former.
  • 11:43:14: I suppose Rick, Dusty, and Buffalo Springfield are no more related than Laura, Jerry, and Blu Cantrell?
  • 12:01:55: @renlong Who's hot? Zooey or the bird?
  • 12:15:01: Why would I care about the Rasmussen poll? Who wants to know what the nation thinks of the crazy Mormon girl from American Idol?
  • 13:29:16: Speaking of American Idol, I hear they're bringing back Kara for next season, but aren't sure about Paula. Did anyone LIKE Kara?
  • 16:52:02: I can't really understand people who stockpile gold. They think that US currency can lose its value, but gold can't?
  • 16:52:32: The only thing that never loses its value is the scale of an adamantium dragon, and that's rather hard to find.
  • 16:53:13: Some Senator was on the radio talking about how you can't trust politicians. I wonder if he also thinks all Cretans are liars.
  • 16:57:59: @jlbellwriter Just so long as you're not confusing them with Snoop Dogg.
  • 17:10:00: I agree with Glenn Beck that gov't programs don't work. The one to let Glenn out of the insane asylum to save money was totally ineffective.
  • 17:11:05: There's a guy on Glenn Beck named Goldberg whose book compares liberals to Nazis. Yeah, a guy with a Jewish name invoking Godwin's Law.
  • 17:14:32: Maybe I'm just jealous of Glenn Beck. I ramble on nonsensically about stuff I know nothing about all the time, and no one pays for me it.
  • 17:29:36: @colleenanne And what will his next major be?
  • 18:15:26: A post on the Koopalings
  • 18:40:40: Albania is apparently ahead of most of the United States when it comes to gay marriage.
  • 20:23:23: @miscellaneaarts I used to use the Google bar kind of often, but for the most part I think the bars just clog up the screen.
  • 20:24:16: @willmatheson They thought it said "Privet Drive," and they wanted to visit Harry Potter.
  • 20:24:46: @TarynAria I actually prefer not going to lunch at a normal time. That way, I don't have to work as long when I get back.
  • 20:30:19: Now I know!
  • 21:08:48: Another word verification: "Chrysloin." Sounds like a name from a bad fantasy novel.
  • 23:33:14: @pshumate Is this a problem for you?
  • 23:35:28: "Corazon Aquino"? I don't know Spanish, but it looks like it has something to do with hearts and water.

Tweets copied by


Judeo-Christian Values, 20-50% Off!

As I'm sure you know, there are a significant number of Americans who insist that our country was founded on "Judeo-Christian values." They never seem to be entirely clear on what these values are, however, and it seems to vary depending on what point they're trying to make. So what Judeo-Christian values were founding principles for the United States? If you jump to the Ten Commandments, that falls apart pretty quickly. As this article states, the first two or three Commandments (the numbering depends on the particular denomination) are directly contradicted by the First Amendment. If we have freedom of religion and speech, that means we can have as many or as few gods as we see fit, and that we can take their names in vain all we want without legal ramifications. And some of the other Commandments are pretty generic. I doubt you would have found too many societies in which murder and stealing were legal even back when the Bible was written, let alone at the time of the American Revolution. And as for adultery, some of the Founding Fathers were apparently quite fond of it. So, for that matter, was Newt Gingrich, one of today's most vocal proponents of the States being a Christian nation.

So what ARE the main values on which our country is based? Well, the reason for the Revolution that we learned in elementary school was that the American colonists didn't want taxation without representation. I'm not sure this idea is supported by the Bible. When Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, he didn't add "as long as Caesar gives you representation in the Senate," did he? Not as far as we know. Other American ideals (which don't always work out in real life, but I suppose that's why they're ideals) include representative government, everyone being equal before the law, and anyone being able to achieve success. The Bible does have its share of social climbers (Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, and Esther all come to mind), but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. As for equality, the Bible makes it clear that God plays favorites, and His choices often appear to be arbitrary. If you belong to a denomination that believes in predestination, all men apparently AREN'T created equal, because some are heaven-bound and others hell-bound from the very beginning. And while Judaism and Christianity are certainly more compatible with the democratic ideal than, say, the Indian and Chinese class systems, democracy and republicanism were originally pagan inventions, weren't they?