I-L, Mythology

June is Here


 “June is bustin’ out all over.”~ Oscar Hammerstein II

Hi thereJune is named for the Roman goddess Juno.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/308353/Juno or http://mythindex.com/roman-mythology/J/Juno.html

Peacock StrutWhile on the subject of Juno – here are two of my favorite stories about her and peacocks.

Aesop’s Fable of Juno and Peacock: http://www.mythfolklore.net/aesopica/perry/509.htm

Then there is the peacock story of Argus and his 100 eyes told by Juno’s Greek counterpart, Hera. http://tribes.tribe.net/b9b544af-89e5-4aa7-8dec-c917f83c3bd7/thread/a77feb57-107f-4acc-b73d-479d0ac13ea5

I will, however, leave the Greek and Roman mythology for some month in the future.

The mythological and folktale focus of the next three months (summer 2014) will be African Mythologies. Africa is a vast continent full of many peoples, tribes and diverse mythologies. Three months can only skim the surface of the richness that resides on the world’s 2nd largest continent.

“Africa covers approximately 6 percent of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. It is also the second most-populous continent… made up of 53 countries, including Madagascar and various island groups.” http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/list-of-countries-in-africa-3904.html

I will purposefully leave out Egyptian and Arabian mythologies as those will be covered in other blog posts.

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The font of the month is Calibri designed by Lucas de Groot for Microsoft and apparently the default font for almost everything. Why Calibri as default? The most common answer is “According to type reviewers, the new font designs were optimized for screen readability.  Older font designs were optimized for printing.”

“It is the month of June,

The month of leaves and roses,

When pleasant sights salute the eyes,

And pleasant scents the noses”– Nathaniel Parker Willis

In Iceland, folklore says that if you bathe naked in the morning dew on the morning of June 24, you are supposed to keep aging at bay for longer.

“In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.  No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.”  –  Aldo Leopold

140529 -  - medium-16It is surmised that the month of June is popular for weddings due in part because Juno was the goddess of marriage. There’s much more than that around the popularity of June weddings. This is a good website that examines this topic in depth. http://www.lifepaths360.com/index.php/june-mythology-mythic-wedding-folklore-6044/

In the UK June is also when the Nettle Eating Contest is held at the Bottle Inn in the village of Marshwood. This charity event attracts entrants from around the world. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/articles/2005/06/17/nettle_eating_feature.shtml

June’s birthstones are pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. I don’t know why June deserves three stones, but will be exploring their meaning and myth in a post on June 19th.

June 1st is Heimlich Maneuver Day. Learn this valuable skill and possibly save a life.


The flower is the rose. There is an incredible amount of mystique and myth around the rose. I will be exploring this popular flower and its meanings in a post on June 7.

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Happy Oscar The Grouch Day http://www.sesamestreet.org/muppets/oscar-the-grouch

A grouch escapes so many little annoyances that it almost pays to be one.” – Kin Hubbard


Fonts, V-Z

W = Waterfalls

W - Wingdings

Wingdings render letters as a variety of symbols. Microsoft 1990. Overall just a great deal of fun.


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An area, usually of a flowing river where water drops abruptly and nearly vertically. As strange as it is to me, I have met people who have never seen a waterfall.

Some beautiful images of waterfalls: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=waterfalls&qpvt=waterfalls&FORM=IGRE

The highest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls in Venezuela and the largest waterfall, calculated by the volume of water passing over it, is Khone Falls in Laos.

Overall there are ten different classes of waterfalls based on the volume of water flow and height. At the top are class 10 waterfalls such as Khone Falls and Niagara Falls.

Beyond the classes of waterfalls there are also types of waterfalls such as Ledge Waterfalls (block/sheet, classical, curtain), Plunge (punchbowl), Horsetail (slide, ribbon, chute, fan), Cascade, Tiered/staircase/multi-step, Cataract, Segmented, Tide fall, and Frozen.

I am most fortunate to live in a state with a multitude of waterfalls of all sorts of different classes and types.

Snoqualmie Falls

From Aasgard Falls in Chelan County to Zig Zag Falls in Skamania County or ZigZag Falls in Pierce County, this website is a fantastic guide of places to visit and waterfalls to see in Washington State.

According to this site “the state possesses perhaps the highest density of waterfalls in the entire nation” and then follows up with 67 pages of waterfall listings.

Ten great waterfall hikes in Washington state: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/seasonal-hikes/spring-destinations/waterfall-hikes

Snoqualmie Falls is great favorite and only a very short drive away from Seattle. http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/. Snoqualmie is an easy access (wheelchair accessible) large waterfall with a straight-down plunge of 270 feet. It is well worth the view.Snoqualmie Falls

Finally here is my list of many of the waterfalls I have yet to see, but many of them are on my bucket list. http://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/

What waterfall would you most like to see and why?


Books, Fonts, V-Z, Writing

V = Voltaire

V stands for Vladimir ScriptV stands for Vivaldi

Vladimir Script Designer: Andrich Vladimir Publisher: URW++
Vivaldi by Friedrich Peter, 1997

A few years ago, I decided to start reading some of the classic literature I missed in my college courses. It turned out that I had missed a great deal of literature and I am still catching up with all of that reading.

I discovered a book well-known to others by the name of Candide. The book, the prose, spoke to me and I discovered Voltaire.

Voltaire is just one of the many pen names used by Francois-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 (or as he claimed Feb. 20, 1694) – May 30, 1778).

Voltaire is best known as a philosopher, historian and writer and a master of satire. He is well-known for his keen wit and as a champion of freedom (speech, religion, and from a variety of dogmatic institutions).

A very prolific man he generated thousands of works including 20,000 letters plus 2,000 books and pamphlets. He did all of this work before the advent of either the typewriter or the computer. I try to remember that whenever I complain about how much work it is to write something.

Arouet, henceforth known in this blog as Voltaire, was the youngest of five children in a noble family in the province of Poitou. Here I could digress into the study of birth order and personality, but I won’t. At least not yet.

Besides his native French, Voltaire learned Latin and Greek and became fluent in Italian, Spanish and English.

Continually pushed by his father into the field of law, Voltaire often lied about his positions so he could pursue a writing life in and around Paris. His writing led to numerous exiles and imprisonments, but he never followed cease and desist orders.

In 1718 he claimed the anagram of the Latin spelling of his name: Voltaire. Though he used at least 178 different pen names during his lifetime, Voltaire is the one that stuck.

Voltaire resonated enough that when the chance arose I named my POV (Point-of-view) character in my urban fantasy after him.

My character, Sparky Voltaire, is a completely different man, but I hope in as many ways complex and willing to take a stand for what he thinks is right.

I have pages of quotes by Voltaire, but I will resist temptation and end with only one:

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”


Fonts, Writing

U = Urban Fantasy

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Unquiet Spirits – Sinister Visions http://www.sinisterfonts.com/

Urban fantasy

Urban fantasy is basically a fantasy story that takes place in an urban setting, historical, modern or futuristic. They are not limited to the city, but need to be primarily in an urban city, one that reflects a reality that is known to us through history, extrapolation or contemporary settings.

Urban fantasy is distinguished from high fantasy in that it is set primarily in a real world and brings in myth or legend to live side-by-side with a verisimilitude of reality.

The term has referred to many things other than the fiction with which today it is associated. The coinage of urban fantasy as genre began in the 1980’s.

Urban fantasy is an extremely popular genre replete with vampires, zombies, werewolves, and all manner of creepy crawly things from legend, folklore and myth.

Vampires, werewolves and zombies are among the most popular, but urban fantasy is limited only by the writer’s imagination and there are as many jumping off points as there are cultures and stories in the world. It makes for a pretty big field.

In future posts I will visit some of the great authors, well-known and not as well-known, and their works. There are far too many to even begin a list here.

Until then you might want to try your own hand in a walk on the fantastic side of things:



Cryptozoology, Fonts, Mythology, Q-U

T = Tengu

T is for Times New Roman
Times New Roman by Victor Lardent, 1931. This is the writing industry 12 pt. standard. At least for the time being. That may change: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-save-millions-change-type-font-teen-finds-20140328,0,1227267.story?track=rss#axzz2xJumYEQt


After my long digression in yesterday’s Seattle post, I’m going to try to keep this post short and sweet.

Tengu are some of my favorite demons. They are from Japanese folk religion and, for me, endlessly fascinating. Among demon manifestation they are tricksters, sometimes benevolent or helpful and often cruel and dangerous.

It is thought they are a descendent of the Chinese “heavenly dog” demon, Tiangou, but in Japanese folklore are usually identified with birds of prey.

Over the centuries, Tengu have become less evil, and more humanized with very long noses replacing beaks. They are shape-shifters and in more recent literature take human forms and are more mischievous.

Tengu live in trees in mountainous areas. Besides being known for their arrogance they are also renowned swordsmen (swords-beasts? swords-demons?). There are also lesser tengu (koppa or leaflet tengu) who act as messengers for the greater tengu.

In Japan the tengu are vain and prideful and to this day conceited people are still described as “becoming tengu”.

The first recorded mention of Japanese tengu is in Nihon Shoki in 720 where the tengu is described as canine monster and harbinger of war. Somehow over the centuries the tengu meta-morphed into a vicious bird-demon and then into a more humanized trickster.

Today the tengu is making a resurgence especially in video games. It is ripe for many different interpretations.

This shape-shifter with a wide range of personalities is one of my favorites as a jumping off point for writing. I have created my own version for my stories.

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Tengu or  http://monsterinmypocket.wikia.com/wiki/Tengu

Fonts, Q-U, Seattle

S = Seattle

S = Symbol

Symbol contains an unaccented Greek alphabet and some common mathematical symbols. It is mostly used for mathematical expressions, but is still really cool to look at. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=symbol+font&qpvt=symbol+font&FORM=IGRE


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The city of Seattle stretches on a north-south line between Puget Sound and Lake Washington on the northwestern side of the state. Look for these two large bodies of water and you will find Seattle nestled between them.

For the purposes of this blog I’m going to talk about the greater Seattle metropolitan area which has a population of about three and half million. I’m somewhere in those statistics. 080803 -  - medium-4

The greater metropolitan area spills in all directions. Interstate 5 connects the north-south corridors and runs directly through the city. East and west are connected by ferries, floating bridges, and round-about routes north and south of the lake.

Seattle Waterfront, leaving for Blake Island080713 -  - medium-2

I may, perhaps, someday post about the various Native American tribes that existed for thousands of years before the first white settlers arrived in 1851 and someday, perhaps, go over the history of the city, but not today.

One of the joys of living in the Pacific Northwest is how accessible so many different ecosystems are. An hour or two in any direction can take you to beaches (Lakes, Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean), mountains, bogs, farmland, a Mt. Everest training ground (Mt. Rainier), volcanoes (Mt. St. Helens + dormant volcanoes including Mt. Rainier), the Olympic Rainforest, islands, and even more than the few things I have listed above.

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Seattle is also located on the east side of the Pacific Ring of Fire and is thus listed as a major earthquake zone. Unlike hurricanes and tornadoes that plague other parts of the country, our earthquakes don’t come every year. Seattle’s last significant earthquake was the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually quake in 2001.

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Seattle’s industries make it fairly well-known across the world. What started as a logging town has, in the greater metropolitan area, been the birthplace of Starbucks, Amazon, Nordstroms, Costco, Microsoft, Weyerhouser, Boeing and so many more. Once again far too many to list.

Seattle also houses many museums and performing arts centers and is well-known for its productions by Pacific Northwest Ballet http://www.pnb.org/ , Seattle Symphony Orchestra http://www.seattlesymphony.org/symphony/ , and Seattle Opera http://seattleopera.org/

There is an endless array of incredible arts also far too numerous to list. The music scene, the poetry scene, the rich array of writers, conventions, pow-wows, zoos, aquariums, sports, and architecture are all worthy of multitude of one or more posts per subject matter.

Obviously, I love where I live and I love that no matter how hard you try, you never run out of things to do and explore.

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I have not even touched upon such little things as the iconic Space Needle http://www.spaceneedle.com/home/, or the Experience Music Project http://www.seattle-fun.com/experience-music-project.html or the relatively new Seattle Great Wheel http://seattlegreatwheel.com/.

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As I have written this blog, it has occurred to me that future posts (after the April A-Z challenge) should all contain some tidbit of knowledge about Seattle.

My absolute favorite part of Seattle is that you can use it as a setting or ecosystem for an endless array of stories or, in my case, for an urban fantasy book not bound by any one setting. In my own imaginary worlds, the lure of Seattle is not limited to the human element.

I am collecting Seattle anecdotes, favorite Seattle area  histories, favorite sights, greatest Seattle event and places.  Send me your votes and I will include them in a future post.

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Fonts, Mythology, Q-U

R = Rainbows


R stands for Rockwell

R=Rockwell extra bold is modeled on a 1910 font that was originally called Litho Antique. It was revived in the 1920’s and then re-published under its current name in 1934 by Monotype (Frank Hinman Pierpont)


The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.” – Henry David Thoreau

Life on Rainbow Hill is almost always suffused with rainbows. This seems like the most natural subject for today’s “R” post in the A-Z challenge.  This post was going to be in all the colors of the rainbow, but yellow does not read very well so I’ve settled for a more random spectrum sampling.

Rainbows are the sun’s rays refracted or reflected by rain or mist into an arc of color. These rainbow arcs always have their colors in the same sequence: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.


A well-known English Mnemonic is “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain” and the less interesting American English of “ROY G BIV”.

Languages all around the world have their own mnemonics for remembering the order of colors in the rainbow.

I recommend this site not only for its great information on all aspects of rainbows, but also for the best exploration of the global range of mnemonics for remembering rainbow color order. http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol6/rainbow.htm

See http://www.fi.edu/color/rainbow.html for a more scientific explanation of the continuum of rainbow colors.

Rainbows come many different guises under many different names:
Twinned Rainbow, Double Rainbow, Primary Rainbow, Secondary Rainbow, Tertiary Rainbow, Quaternary rainbows, Alexander’s Band, Higher-order Rainbows, A Supernumerary Rainbow—also known as a Stacker Rainbow, Reflected Rainbow, Reflection Rainbow, Monochrome Rainbow, Moonbows, Fogbow, Spraybow, and Glory, etc.

Now on to the mythology which is rich and replete with more stories than I can incorporate into in one post. I will eventually get to all of them in future posts.

There are very few cultures that do not have a rainbow in their mythology. I’m still looking to see if I can find one that has a mythology lacking in some sort of rainbow. Please tell me, which mythologies do not have rainbows?

Due to the popularity of the Marvel Thor movies, the Norse Bifrost (Rainbow Bridge) is probably the third most-known rainbow mythology after that of Noah and the Ark and the Irish tales of a leprechauns and pots of gold.

Some translations of the “The Epic of Gilgamesh” describe the rainbow’s mass of colors as a divine sanction for war and a rainbow crown was worn by the Sumerian god Ninurta.

Persian mythology uses rainbows for divination.

In Greek Mythology, Iris who is a messenger of the gods who dresses in rainbow hues.

Australian Aboriginal mythology focuses on the Rainbow Serpent. In Japan the rainbow also represents snakes.

In Arabian mythology the rainbow is a bow for Quzah, an Arabian god of weather http://www.mythologydictionary.com/arabian-mythology.html. And the Hindu god Indra also uses the rainbow as a bow.

In Bhuddism the rainbow is just one step below Nirvana.

For the Karens in Burma, the rainbow is a demon that eats children. The Karens are a most interesting people with a very rich background. The Karens have long been engaged in a civil war and have been the subject of ethnic cleansing. This is one of the most neutral accounts I’ve found of the conflict. http://asianhistory.about.com/od/glossaryko/g/Who-Are-The-Karen-People.htm

For the romantics in the crowd, Chinese folklore has star-crossed lovers that are colors of the rainbow waiting for it to shine so they can be together.

My favorite so far is that in Bulgarian legends you will change genders if you walk under a rainbow. I think that may be worthy of a story or two. http://bnr.bg/en/post/100151281/the-rainbow-bulgarian-legends-and-beliefs

140418 -  - mediumSo many rainbow sites.

Here is a small sampling to choose from:

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou


Fonts, Q-U, Writing

Q = Quotes

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Quotes for me are like poetry, I collect both.

Quotations may will be a repetition of someone else’s statement or thoughts, but quotes can speak to you across ages, and while some may or may not resonate, all have ideas worth exploring.

I think quotes can be one of the fastest ways out of writer’s block. Take a quote, any quote, and write around it. Delve in and agree or disagree. Make it a part of what happens to your character. Make it important to your story. There’s no telling where it will take you.

However “If you are going through hell, keep going.” (Winston Churchill). On your way out remember “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” (Nelson Mandela)

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” (Abraham Lincoln) and “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” (Anatole France)

“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.” (Napoleon Hill)
“Don’t falter. “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” (Winston Churchill)

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” (Herm Albright) and on the same vein, “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” (Oscar Wilde)

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt) for remember “you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” (Henry Ford), and “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anais Nin) “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” (Bernard M. Baruch) and, according to Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Not a quote, but a “Q” will worth reading and following: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/  You can also find Susan on Ted Talks

Finally for all the writers in the crowd:

Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.” (Rita Mae Brown)

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” (John Steinbeck)

Along the track of a mythic circles. Always remember that this is where your character starts out their journey: “All the world’s a cage.” (Jeanne Phillips)

These are just a few of the many great sites where you can find quotes, and if these fail you can always consult a book. 

“I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” (Carl Sandburg).

Send me your favorite quotes.

Fonts, M-P

P = Poetry

P stands for Papyrus140416 -  - medium-11

Papyrus is a widely available typeface designed by Chris Costello, 1982

Plantagenet Cherokee, late 1810sto early 1820s. Fascinating story related to this and Cherokee Chief Sequoyah. http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cherokee.htm Does anyone know where the Plantagenet part of the name comes from?


We have stumbled upon another one of my first literary loves. Since I first had to stand up in third grade and recite a poem, Kilkenny Cats by Anonymous, I have been in love with poetry.

There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many;
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats there weren’t any
Yes, that was my introduction to poetry. Soon after the Kilkenny Cats, I discovered a book labeled Gifts of the Wise Men – Collected by Everett T. Brown. I can find no date on this tattered little book of mine, but it was published by The Acmegraph Company, Chicago. Does anyone have a date for me?

Since that time, I have collected and memorized many poems. It’s sort of a side hobby. On this post, I will give you a brief overview of the poets and poems I will cover in the future.

You can tell a lot about a person by the literature they love and, I believe, even more by the poetry they choose. This is a picture of me as it has been emerging over the years. On the memorized list:

A.E. Housman (March 26, 1859 – April 30, 1936) wrote one of my all-time favorite poems.
Terrence, this is stupid stuff

Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) has so much wry wit and irony packed into each one of his poems.
The Ruined Maid

E.E. Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962). I like how Cummings would often break capital letter rules.
anyone lived in a pretty how town

I first discovered Robert Frost (March 26, 1874-January 29, 1963) when I was a freshman in college.
Fire and Ice, The Bearer of Evil Tidings, The Road Not Taken, Birches

Ruyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 – January 18, 1936)
If – I have this mostly memorized, but keep messing it up.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll (January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898). I hope to eventually memorize all of his poetry.
The Walrus and the Carpenter, Jabberwocky

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882), the man who skewed the public view of history for all time.
Ride of Paul Revere

Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971). Full name was Frederic Ogden Nash. I discovered Ogden Nash when I picked up his book, The Face is Familiar, (1940) at a garage sale. Whenever I need something light and fun, I set about memorizing another of his poems. Some of the Ogden Nash favorites of what I have so far memorized are:
Two and One Are a Problem, The Oyster, Adventures of Isabel

There are many poems on the I-Sure-Would-Like-to-Memorize List.
Some of the poets currently on the list are W.H. Auden, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, and William Shakespeare (Sonnets).

I also love John Milton’s Paradise Lost though I doubt I will ever memorize more than a verse or two and so far I haven’t done that because I can’t decide which verses to memorize.

In addition to all the poems and poets I have mentioned there are also rock lyrics and folk lyrics which when you look at them on paper are also poetry.

I’m happily accepting suggestions on all the poems or poets I should read. What are your favorites?


Fonts, M-P

O = Onions

O is for Old English Text
The Old English Font, according to Wikipedia, is a revival of William Caslon’s typeface Caslon Black The old English, also known as Black letter, dates back to 1000 years ago when it was used as a script throughout Western Europe.

Allium Cepa

I chose to do a blog on onions because for very long they have been my arch-nemesis among the food groups. I can only take them in small doses. Since onions and I have such a long-standing and frequently hostile relationship, I thought I would finally find out a little more about them.

My own story goes something like this: http://www.instah.com/allergies/onion-allergy/

140413 -  - medium-6The onion story goes like this:

Onions are cultivated and used around the world. I know this for a fact since they seem to be everywhere. They are about as ubiquitous as a vegetable can get.

The onion plant Allium cepais does not exist in the wild, but it is estimated that it has been cultivated for at least 7,000 years. Traces of onion remains have been found in Bronze Age settlements that date back 5000 years BC.

In this post I’m looking solely at the cultivated, domestic onions and leaving out all of the genus Allium wild onions which are deserving of their own post. Not that I’m likely to write such a post unless I get a lot of comments requesting such.

Domestic onion facts and histories (I love history, even that of onions) are of interest to me

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In Greece the large quantities of onions were believed to balance the blood and later in Rome, gladiators rubbed down with onions to firm up their muscles.

In the Middle Ages there is evidence that people could pay their rent with onions or they were also popular as wedding gifts. That would make life so much simpler today.

Onions, due to their large cells, are often used to teach microscope use and for basic instruction in the structure of cells

When applied to the scalp onions are said to promote growth of hair.

140413 -  - medium-13Please remember

all domestic onions and other species of Allium are deadly for pets. Dogs and cats can’t digest the sulfoxides found in onions.

If you like onions, or histories of commodities such as the onion then the National Onion Association has the perfect website: http://www.onions-usa.org/all-about-onions/

Onions are good, very good, for most people’s health. Among some of the health claims for onions are cancer prevention and cardiovascular help.


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Onions may not like me, and I might not be all that fond of them, but this post has taught me how beneficial they are and how rich a history is behind them. May all of you enjoy your onions to the fullest.