Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016: The Monkey

The Year of The Monkey  

According to the Chinese calendar February 8 begins the year of the Monkey. The Chinese New Year, which is lunar ends on January 27, 2017.

What is the Monkey?

It is the ninth of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. It occurs every 12 years and this particular year is a Fire Monkey Year.

All animals in Chinese astrology are associated with one of the five elements: Gold (Metal), Water, Wood, Fire, or Earth.

Traditional Chinese wisdom states that both the sign and element of your birth year are said to affect your personality and destiny.

This chart explores the characters ascribed to each of the Monkeys (signs and the related element).

The Five Monkeys
Fire Monkey
Ambitious and adventurous, but irritable
Wood Monkey
Always ready to help others; compassionate, with strong self-esteem, but stubborn
Water Monkey
Smart, quick-witted, fond of being in the limelight, but haughty
Gold Monkey
Smart, quick-witted, and confident, but also irritable and stubborn
Earth Monkey
Frank, optimistic, and fearless

People born in a year of the Monkey are said to be witty, intelligent, and have charisma. Their traits include mischievousness, curiosity, and cleverness, all of which we have learned by observation, monkeys are.

They are masters of practical jokes, because they like playing most of the time. These fast learners can quickly sieve opportunities.

Since much of Chinese folk wisdom is based upon luck, an elaborate system of what is lucky and unlucky can help to direct the gods in your favor.

Here are some lucky things for Monkeys:

Lucky numbers: 4 and 9

Lucky days: the 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month

Lucky colors: white, blue, gold

Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, crape-myrtle

Lucky directions: north, northwest, west

Lucky months: Chinese lunar months 8 and 12

To avoid bad luck, Monkeys should be aware of these omens:

Unlucky colors: red, pink

Unlucky numbers: 2 and 7

Unlucky directions: south, southeast

Unlucky months: Chinese lunar months 7 and 11

Related Information

Monday, February 1, 2016

Happily Ever After?

Happily Ever After

Beyond the Fairytales 


Fairytales are filled with promise and romantic love that conquers all. At least it does at the end of most fairytales. But have you ever wondered what happens after “...They lived happily ever after”? 

In today’s world, only the magic of theatre seems a fitting ‘stage’,  so to speak, to answer this question. Which it does so eloquently and entertainingly in the musical Into the Woods. This play weaves together the plots of several well-known fairytales. Think Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella and you get the idea.

These characters lament the absence of their hearts’ desires. Ironically, when those desires are met the story goes awry. 

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, this theatrical wonderland comes to life when Sonoma State University Department of Music and Department of Theatre Arts & Dance bring it to life February 4 through February 14. The show will be held at the Evert B. Person Theatre, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, CA 94928.

This modern retelling of a play filled with wishes, curses and consequences reveals the reality of enchantment sought through selfish means. Directed by Marty Pistone this production features a cast of 20 and 14-piece orchestra conducted by Grammy nominated Lynne Morrow.

To help bring this musical morality tale to life, Sonoma State University student designers created more than 200 individual costume pieces and special effects for set and lighting.

Into the Woods first debuted in 1986 at San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre and premiered on Broadway where it won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason), in a year dominated by The Phantom of the Opera (1988).

No small feat under any circumstances, especially when dealing with fractured fairytales that include witches, royal balls, hungry wolves and magic beans.

To find out if they do live happily ever after: 

February 4 to February 14, 2016
7:30 p.m. Thursday, February. 4; Friday, February 5; Saturday, February 6

5 p.m. Sunday, February. 7 (Post show discussion)
10 a.m. Wednesday, February 10 (School matinee featuring piano only)
7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 11 ($5 Friends & Family Night)
7:30 p.m. Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13
2 p.m. Sunday, February 14
Tickets: $5-$17 (SSU students free with ID). Parking $5.
Call 707-664-4246 or click here.

Related Information:
Global Folklore

Monday, January 25, 2016

Folk Legends: Inventors

 Inventors who are folk legends

Those folk legends who are inventors have made our world what it is today. Entrepreneurs from all walks of life for all kinds of reasons have been coming up with ideas that can change our course. Intended or not, these devises, systems, and services take us to the next step of our evolution.

Sometimes the transition is so smooth that we hardly notice it or the person responsible for making it possible. These unsung legends, unlike their more notorious or more celebrated colleagues, such as Albert Einstein and Florence Nightingale, have not become household names. Sometimes because they were too far ahead of their time and sometimes because were a bit out of step.

Nonetheless, they deserve our attention and appreciation just the same. 

Here are four of them:

Dutch inventor Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel (1572-1633) contributed numerous advances to the fields of chemistry and optics. Some suggest his most impressive achievement was the construction of the world’s first navigable submarine in 1620.
His third version was an oar-driven contraption. It was built in 1624 out of wood and leather, and could carry 16 passengers 15 feet below the surface for three hours at a time.
Records report that he took English King James I for a test dive beneath the Thames. 

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was the daughter of British poet Lord Byron. From an early age she was noted for her mathematically talent. When she and fellow mathematician Charles Babbage joined forces they created what today is considered to be a mechanical calculator.

After Baggage introduced her to his “Analytical Engine,” idea, her thoughts burst forth into an algorithm for the engine that computed Bernoulli numbers. These numbers – a sequence of signed rational numbers that can be defined by the exponential generating function – made her the one of the first computer programmers.

Unfortunately the machine she conceived of was not built in her lifetime.

Paris printer and bookseller, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1817-1879) was considered to be a shorthand and stenography expert. Focused on this, he sought to find a way to record and transcribe the spoken word. 

His 1857 patented phonautograph was able to translate the vibrations of sound onto a hand-cranked cylinder. 

His invention preceeded Edison’s creation of the phonograph two decades later. 

Italian immigrant Antonio Meuccci (1808-1889) migrated to Staten Island, in 1857. His tenacity and creativity allowed him to create an electromagnetic telephone that linked his basement laboratory to the second floor bedroom where his bedridden wife lay.
His invention, the “telettrofono”, was buried beneath a sea of patents and financial burdens almost twenty years before Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone patent was issued.
They folk legend inventors all deserve a place on the list of those who made contributions to the world.

Related Information:

Antonio Meucci