Friday, March 30, 2012

Who is Giulia Farnese?

Hi everyone! I'm a little late this week on my blog post. Sorry about that. Rest assured that I have been using my time wisely- I just installed Draw Free on my phone, so that takes up about 8 hour of my day.....

Hey, speaking of drawing, our blog topic today was the subject of a lot of drawings...well, paintings to be exact.

She is Giulia Farnese. Who is Giulia Farnese? Well, she was the pope's mistress. Yep.

Giulia Farnese was born in Canino, Italy in 1474. She was from a relatively affluent family and was arranged to be married to Orsino Orsini. But, as is often the case, she did not love her arranged husband...even though he had one of the most awesomely alliterative names ever.

In comes Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (later Pope Alexander). The savvy TV watcher will know him as the guy played by Jeremy Irons in the HBO series The Borgias. Anyway, it's unclear exactly when Giulia started "confessing" to the Pope, but we do know that by November of 1493, Giulia was living in a palace built next door to the Vatican. This way, the Pope could easily, ahem, "bless" her.  Want to know the weird thing about all this? Almost everyone was relatively cool with this arrangement. Even good old Orsino. It was thought that by being the Pope's mistress, Giulia would be able to raise her husbands status.  Hmmm. Even the citizens of Rome were aware of the situation. Giulia was known as "the Pope's whore" or sarcastically "the bride of Christ."

Also, here's something- back then Pope's didn't have to be celibate. Celibacy was optional.

At this time, Giulia became close to the Pope's famous daughter, Lucrezia Borgia. And it was also during this time that Giulia became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl named Laura. No one knows if the kid was the Pope's or Orsino's, but Giulia claimed that her daughter was the Pope's. Giulia had hoped to raise the child's social status this way.

But, being the Pope's mistress isn't quite the bed of roses you might think it is. By 1500, Pope Alexander became bored of Giulia, due to her age. Yep, even back then guys were assholes. So, he kicked her out of Rome. It was also around this time that her husband died. So, Giulia went to live in Carbagnano, an area given to her late husband by the Pope himself. Weird.

Giulia still did pretty well with the suitors even though she was the Pope's sloppy seconds. She eventually married a member of the lower ranking Neapolitan nobility.

She died in 1524 at the age of 50. She died at the house of her brother, Cardinal Alessandro, who would later become Pope Paul III.

So there's the quick story on Giulia Farnese. And here's the lovely necklace I made. It's on sale today, so if you want a Pope's Whore necklace at a lower price, here's your chance:)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Going Back to Kali

I'm going to be honest with you- lately, I've been very distraught over finding a job. It seems that I'm collecting more rejection emails than I thought possible. That does a few things to the psyche...not good things. And while my confidence is quite shaken, I'm still not relenting on my job search criteria: No huge corporations, No sole-crushing work, No sales jobs....and No scrubs.

I also want to be clear- I'm not looking for a job because I don't have one and I have all sorts of time on my hands. I have a more than full-time job making jewelry. However, it is paying less than a part-time job; and that's not paying the bills.  So, I have to abandon my goal of running my own business and join the traditional workforce again. I'm not happy about this. But, a smart-ass, jewelry-making blogger's got to do what a smart-ass, jewelry-making blogger's got to do, right?

There is a point to this rant, other than catharsis. Today, I'm going to write about Kali, the Hindu goddess usually associated with death and destruction...and unemployment (ok, not really the unemployment part). So why is this relevant? Well, as you may or may not know, there is a duality involved in most Hindu gods and goddesses. So, even though Kali is known as a violent goddess, her symbolism is also known as a goddess who is able to eradicate negative thoughts and bad habits in the minds of her followers.  And I need some negative thoughts eradicated, for sure.

So here's the deal with Kali:

Kali was born from the furrowed brow of Durga. Durga was fighting this demon named Raktabija. She was having a hard time, though, because every time a drop of blood spilled from Raktabija, it would fall on the ground and start a clone of the demon. In comes Kali. Kali had a taste for demon blood sucked all the blood from Raktabija before he could reproduce.

But, Kali got a bit too excited about demon slaying. On story tells of how Kali became so bloodthirsty and excited by her demon slaying on the battlefield that she started to do a dance. She got so involved in the dance and started stomping on the bodies of the dead demons. Which would be fine, I guess, except her husband Shiva was also on the ground and she started stomping on him in the fervor of her demon jitterbug. Shiva finally got her attention, but not without shaming her first. After realizing her folly, she stuck out her tongue as a sign of shame. Thus, the typical depiction of Kali.

The name Kali means "She who is black." This name refers to her symbology of death, destruction, sexuality, violence, and motherly love. Yep. Motherly love. The whole thing behind her destructive nature is that she destroys to recreate. And what she destroys is sin, ignorance and decay. She recreates light. Ya' dig?

That's just a little bit about Kali. And just like a lot of religious texts, I found many different interpretations of her story. I went with the most popular. That's my disclaimer. I'm not a religious scholar, I'm just a failed jewelry designer:)

Here's the necklace that goes with today's blog post. Oh, and it's on sale!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wait, There's a History Behind My Green Beer?

Well, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday this year. Which means that I will be staying away from the popular watering holes.. Why? Well, I'm Irish and a heavy drinker...and I really hate to see when amateurs try to participate in a professional sport.

My aversion to idiotic drunken frat boys aside, St. Patrick's Day is one of the best holidays ever. Second only to Halloween (another holiday you have the Irish to thank for; you're welcome).

In this blog, I'm going to try to weave in some Irish slang. They will be italicized, so you don't think that I'm just slowly losing my mind. Anyway, let's not dodder. I'm going to pull up my socks and get onto my St. Patrick's blog.

  • I'm going to disappoint right away: St. Patrick has little to do with the actual holiday. While he is the patron saint of Ireland, he was actually from England. He was abducted around the 400's and was forced to live as a slave in Ireland. But, even after he escaped, he returned to Ireland to do missionary work. Oh, and the whole "chasing the snakes out of Ireland" thing? That didn't happen; there were no snakes in Ireland to begin with. It's a fecking good tale, though. Rumor has it, however, that he did use the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.
  • On any given day, about 5.5 million pints of Guinness (aka Black Stuff) are consumed a day. On St. Patrick's Day, however, that number rises to 13 million. Mmmmm. Black Stuff.
  • St. Patrick was said to have insisted that everyone should have "a drop of the hard stuff" on his feast day. He meant whiskey, baby! And, there is a custom known as "drowning the shamrock," which is the tradition of putting the shamrock that was worn on your lapel into your last drink of the evening....the problem I see with this? I never know when my last drink of the evening is. I usually just pass out with my arse out.
  • St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in America in Boston in 1737. That's wicked cool. And it doesn't take a bloody genius to figure that out.
  • 34 million people in America are of Irish ancestry; the total population of Ireland is 4.1 million.
  • In 1962, the city of Chicago started dying the Chicago river green for St. Patrick's Day. This came about when a member of the plumber's union noticed that the water testing chemical they used left behind a green hue. Jaysus!
  • The actual color associate with St. Patrick? Blue. Green didn't become associated with him until the 19th century. Which is fine by me. I look amazing in green:)
Well, I'm done blathering about St. Patrick's Day. I had a good craic, did you? Slainte! And here's the featured sale item of the day:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Take Off, Eh. You Hosiery.

*Writer's note: The title of this blog is meant to be read in a Doug and Bob McKenzie aka Strange Brew voice. Unfamiliar? Hoser. Watch this you tube clip and then you might be welcomed back into my life:

As a burlesque performer, I focus quite a bit on leg wear. In fact, I have a whole act built around a "drunken stocking peel." (Wanna see? Here's the you tube clip for that:
OK, now that I'm done with my shameless self-promotion, here's the "run down" (get it? run?) on hosiery:

  • The earliest form of hosiery was worn by men; because women were not allowed to show their legs....Because that would have been the worst thing ever.
  • Women started wearing hosiery in the 16th century when Queen Elizabeth received her first pair of silk stockings in 1560. 
  • During World War II, nylon was very scarce as the military needed the material to build tents and tarps. Since women didn't have access to nylons, they used makeup on their legs to create the illusion of stockings; even drawing a backseam up the leg with black eyeliner. I'm guessing you would have to have a friend do that for you as I can't even fathom how one would draw on the back of one's own leg....
  • In 2006, the NBA banned tights. Players like Le Bron James and Kobe Bryant got upset because they wore tights under their shorts for extra support. True story. And a little fact for you sports fans.
  • The transition of popularity from thigh-high nylons to full pantyhose can be traced to the popularity of the miniskirt. As hemlines rose, the top of the nylon had to get higher and higher, resulting in the use of the full pantyhose. 
  • Pantyhose were invented in 1959 by Allen Grant.  For those men who love the look of thigh-highs on women, Allen Grant is an asshole.
  • According to a British 2011 study, 1/3 of men wear pantyhose (or some form of hosiery) underneath their work suits. 
  • And here's an answer to a question that is on a lot of women's minds: Why can't they make pantyhose or stockings that don't run? Well, they can...but you wouldn't want to wear them. The nylon (or silk) can be woven much tighter so that it won't run, but it wouldn't stretch or conform to the shape of your legs. So, stop complaining, ladies. At least you don't to have to draw on your pantyhose with eyeliner...
Inspired for some new hosiery? Well, this won't run. Guaranteed. And it's on sale today!