Tuesday, May 31, 2011

God Save the Queen!

On this date in 1977, the BBC banned the Sex Pistols' song "God Save the Queen." The controversial song was released (unintentionally, according to the  band) during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. The song reached #2 in the UK charts, although it is suspected that there was sabotage that prevented the song from reaching #1.

But my blog post isn't about the Sex Pistols, the song, or Queen Elizabeth II....I just needed an interesting segue for my first blog post after my long hiatus.

This post is about Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was assumed to be heiress presumptive to the throne, but when Anne failed to provide Henry with a male heir, good ol' Hank divorced Anne, had her imprisoned and later executed. Elizabeth was then declared illegitimate and stripped of her title as princess. Ain't that a bitch.

Henry VII died in when Elizabeth was 13 years old and was succeeded by her half-brother, Edward VI. At this time, Elizabeth was sent to live with Henry's last wife, Catherine Par and her new husband, Thomas Seymour. However, Elizabeth was soon sent away when it was discovered that Seymour had a creepy crush on the young girl and the two were found in an "embrace." I know that I've said it once, but I'll say it again- monarchies can be pretty gross.

Edward VI passed away and in his will, he specifically stated that he did not want Elizabeth or her half-sister, Mary receiving the thrown. Instead, he declared as his heir, Lady Jane Grey- granddaughter of Henry VIII. Lady Jane Grey's reign crumbled, so Mary tried her hand at being queen.

At first, Mary and Elizabeth showed solidarity, but since Elizabeth was educated as a Protestant, the Catholic-leaning Mary had her imprisoned in the Tower of London to nip in the bud any Protestant uprisings. But, Elizabeth had the support of the people and when Mary died, Elizabeth was crowned queen.

During her reign, Elizabeth was known as the Virgin Queen. Although she received many offers of marriage, she accepted none of them. Many speculate that it was her experience with Thomas Seymour that turned her off marriage. There are other rumors that she thought herself infertile and did not want to marry. And yet, other's surmise that she avoided marriage to protect her place on the thrown. Regardless of her reasons, her place as the Virgin Queen created a cult following among her subjects and artists alike. Poems and sonnets were written about her, extolling her virtues and inspired "the cult of virginity." In fact, her 44 year reign became known as the Elizabethan era and inspired the works of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, to name a few. Yep. Not too shabby.

There's a bunch more about Queen Elizabeth, but my head is already spinning from trying to grasp the whole monarchy system with words like "heir apparent" and "heir presumptive," so I'm just going to quit while I'm ahead. But, if you want a honor the Virgin Queen, then you can with this necklace (and shameless plug):
AND- if you enter coupon code BLOG15 at checkout, you get 15% of your entire purchase. Yay! And God Saves the Queen...with coupon codes!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm Game!

I'm a very competitive person. Especially when it comes to games. We are talking "marriage-wrecking" competitive. I've been known to never play a game again if I am not good at it the first time. I've displayed very ill behavior when playing games. I've argued the "correctness" of the answer on a Trivial Pursuit card. I've given my husband the cold shoulder when he's beaten me at Scrabble (or Words with Friends). I've smashed that stupid lump of clay they give you with Cranium. I've never cheated, but I've displayed some very bad manners. Despite all that, I still love board games. Because, when you are winning you are on top of the world. Winning a board game shows your spouse, friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances, etc. that you are smarter, more cunning, more creative, and just a better person in general than them. But when you are losing.....well, that's when you throw the game pieces up in the air and storm out like a spoiled brat.

I'm sure there are a few others out there like myself. Let's hope we never play Monopoly together...we might all end up in the ER for thimbles to the eye.

Well, let's find out more about board games, shall we?
  • The oldest complete board game found so far is called "The Royal Game of Ur." The game was found in 1926 in a tomb in what is now Iraq, but the game itself is thought to date back to 2500 BCE
  • The most popular board game? That would be Scrabble. My highest one-word score in Scrabble? (OK, Words With Friends) 142 points. Why am I telling you this? I'm telling everybody!
  • The word Domino is from the french word that refers to the black and white hooded robes that Catholic priests wore in the winter.
  • The jigsaw puzzle was invented by Englishmen John Spilsbury in 1767.
  • Quite fittingly, Charles Darrow became the fist millionaire from creating a board game when he sold his patent of Monopoly to Parker Bros.
  • The Ouija board got its name from combining the French and German words for yes ("Oui" and "Ja"). It was introduced commercially as a harmless parlor game in the 1890's by Elijah Bond. It gained its occult reputation when the spiritualist Pearl Curran used it during World War I as a "divining tool" (that's what she said!)
Want your own "divining tool?" Here's a necklace for you then: http://www.etsy.com/listing/67255387/ouija-board-necklace-retro-rockabilly

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sci Fi, Dr. Who, and Other Geek-Chic Things:)

This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to perform burlesque at a Steam punk Ball. I loved seeing everyone's time travel/Victorian/mechanical inspired costumes. It was a great event and wonderful time was had by all! After the event, I went home and dorked out to a few Dr. Who episodes. My weekend was a lovely, anachronistic-Sci Fi inspired time.
So, why not talk about the "Father of Science Fiction" and quintessential steam punk icon, Jules Verne. Huzzah! Let's do this.
  • Jules Verne was born on Feb. 8, 1828. A fellow Aquarius! Top drawer!
  • He is considered the "Father of Science Fiction" due to his imaginative, other-worldly novels such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in 80 days.
  • He is the most translated author in the world.
  • His parents wanted him to be a lawyer. When he decided to pursue writing instead, his father cut him off. To make some money, he became a stock broker...which he hated, but he made some descent dough at it.
  • He was friends with Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas
  • He was shot in the leg by his 25 year old, mentally ill nephew. After that, he had a limp for the rest of his life.
  • Before he wrote stories, he wrote lyrics for operas.
  • The Nautilus in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea predated powered submarines by 25 years. In 1886, the first electric submarine was named The Nautilus to pay honor to Verne's creation.
  • He published at least one book a year for 40 years. Hardest working man in writing!
  • For a long time, Verne's books were considered to be reading material for children and young people. This is mainly due to poor translations of his book that simplified his language so it seemed like children's literature. New translations of his work are now available and show a more complex side to his writing.
Here's a necklace that needs no translation: http://www.etsy.com/listing/72891668/jules-verne-necklace-steampunk-victorian