The Comic Wisdom of ‘Erik the Viking’

MV5BMTU1OTc4NzQwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTY5NjYzNA@@._V1_SX214_AL_I highly recommend you watch Erik the Viking if you haven’t, or re-watch if you have. I got to watch it again last night and it is still a fun movie – although I was watching it specifically because I wanted to refresh my memory on what I wanted to discuss here.

This little known movie from 1989 was written, directed and even starred (briefly) Terry Jones – of Monty Python fame. There are two aspects of the film I want to concentrate on and how they relate to our world today. However, in order to do that I need to try to give you a brief synopsis.

The main character of Erik the Viking was played by Tim Robbins. However, he is a gentle Viking and does not see why everyone must fight, rape and pillage. Freya, a wise woman (Eartha Kitt), tells Erik that the age of Ragnarök (an ice age of darkness) and the ensuing violence is caused by Fenrir the wolf who had swallowed the sun. The only way to bring Ragnarök to an end is to travel to Asgard and awaken the gods, who will chase her (Fenrir) away.

Erik decides to take Freya’s advice and recruits members of his village to undertake the voyage to Asgard with him. Among those is a Christian missionary named Harald, who opts to go along in hopes of finding people to convert.

This brings me to the first aspect I want to cover. It is philosophical and a unique way of looking at religion and its followers. Harald is a Christian while the Vikings believe in the Norse hierarchy, led by Odin. So, Harald is unable to see anything that the Vikings believe in, like this scene when they reach the doors of Valhalla.

It is a fascinating concept and one I think we need to take to heart. There are a lot of religions out there. Not everyone believes what you do. And therefore not everyone sees the world in the same way.

Prior to reaching Asgard and the Hall of Valhalla, Erik and his ragtag team needed to travel to Hy-Brasil in order to get a horn that is needed to wake the gods. Hy-Brasil is a peaceful island where King Arnulf (Terry Jones) is in charge of some very odd ducks indeed. But that is beside the point. The point is that Hy-Brasil is under a curse that states that should a single drop of blood fall upon the land, the island would sink. Needless to say shit happens and blood is spilt. The island immediately begins to sink.

Now we arrive at my second aspect. King Arnulf and his people are in complete denial and instead of trying to evacuate or do something, anything, they decide to have a sing-song and ignore the rising waters.

This is vitally important because this is what the Republicans are doing in regards to climate change. You can pretty much kiss Norfolk, VA goodbye. The city is now second only to New Orleans in terms of being threatened by rising seas. It regularly floods at high tide. But climate change is a hoax and doesn’t exist.  “It’s alright.  It’s not happening.”

The response to global warming and climate change that has emerged from Crazy Town (aka Texas) pastor Matthew Hagee is that it is not anything environmentalists have spent years researching, but the imminent return of Jesus.  Although we should respect each other’s beliefs, we cannot in good conscience do so at the peril of others.

See, even pretend Vikings are smarter than the right wing.


*This post was originally written (by me) and posted on June 4th, 2014 on All Things Democrat.  You can find the direct link to this post here.

Africa’s (Actually the World’s) Deadliest Animal Shows Compassion

If you were to ask a group of people what they thought Africa’s deadliest animal was – not including insects – you will probably get a diverse group of answers from reptiles like the Puff Adder, Crocodiles and the Black Mamba to mammals like Lions, Elephants and Rhinos.  But not many people know that the actual culprit is the Hippopotamus. According to statistics provided by the African Wildlife Foundation hippos kill nearly 3,000 people every year. hippo-rps-600Hippopotami (Hippopotamus amphibious) are known to be aggressive and unpredictable while exhibiting fear of nothing.  They have been known to attack and kill crocodiles.  One report from 2009 was featured on the Telegraph’s web site.  A 1974 issue of Science Digest featured an article entitled “The Dangerous Hippo” by George and Lory Frame that stated:

            “Nearly all of the famous African explorers and hunters–Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, Selous, Speke, DuChaillu–had boating mishaps with hippos. All considered the hippo to be a wantonly malicious beast. Not long ago Spencer Tyron, a white hunter, was killed while hunting near the shores of Lake Rukwa, Tanzania. A bull hippo turned over the dugout canoe from which Tyron was shooting, and bit off his head and shoulders.”

Now add in the following facts:  they can run faster than you (18 mph) and can weigh up to 3 ½ tons (7,000 pounds or 3,175.15 kilograms). Crocodylus_niloticus_in_Lake_Chamo_02A Nile crocodile on average can reach 13 – 16 feet in length and weight 0.45 ton (900 pounds, 410 kilograms).  However, it is considered “not uncommon” for crocs to reach 20 feet and 1 ton (2,000 pounds, 900 kilograms) but was seen more in the 40s and 50s prior to severe hunting.  The Nile crocodile (Crocodyus porosus) is second only to the Saltwater Croc in size and aggression.  The crocodile is considered to be a more opportunistic animal than the hippo and carry a death toll of up to 200 a year. Wildebeest-Blue-2The gnu, or wildebeest, is an antelope that can weigh between 0.32 ton (639 pounds, 290 kilograms) for males and 0.29 ton (573 pounds, 260 kilograms) for females.  Males reach a height 150 cm (4.9 feet) at the shoulder and females stand about 120 cm (3.9 feet).  The yearly death toll they cause is minimal to nonexistent (mostly stupid people keeping them as pets or freak accidents). So what can happen when you put all three together?  Something amazing. The Daily Mail reported on March 11th about a rarely seen event.  While on safari in the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya in 2011, photographer Vadim Onishchenko was able to capture on film a group of hippos (known as a bloat) rescue and protect a gnu from a crocodile.  One of the largest hippos is even seen nudging the gnu to encourage it to move out of the water.  Onishchenko said:

            “It was an incredible moment, the hippo actually tried to push it out of the water and then guarded the gnu to prevent the crocs getting close. . . . Even our safari guide was stunned by the hippos behaviour, he said he had never seen anything like it before.”

One of Onishchenko's photos.

One of Onishchenko’s photos.

Onishchenko filmed the scene for more than two hours.  And if you watch the video below at about 45 seconds in, you can see one of the hippos stomp on the crocodile in order to get it to let go of the wildebeest. The wildebeest did make it ashore with Onishchenko saying:

            “We saw the gnu escape the water but it stood there for quite a while as I think it was in shock. When we left the animal was still ashore and seemed uninjured but we had to leave as it was getting dark.”

I can guarantee the gnu did not escape unscathed (as I have some first hand experience with an alligator and he was a baby!).  But I hope his injuries heal and have no ill effects except for giving him a little extra wisdom.

Endure 4 Kindness 2013

Hello Everyone!  I hope everyone has had a nice weekend and plan to have a fun and safe Halloween on Thursday.  And while children everywhere will be complacent in sugar-induced comas, I will be participating in this year’s Endure 4 Kindness challenge!

MC1Random Acts is an awesome non-profit organization that happens to be the brain child of this amazingly fantastic guy (right).

Don’t recognize him yet?

How about now?


That’s right.  None other than Supernatural‘s sometimes-quirky-sometimes-scary Castiel, Misha Collins.

According to the organization’s history page, in December of 2009, Misha asked his Twitter followers (aka minions) for ideas for non-profits to obtain stimulus money from the U.S. government. And it eventually morphed into Random Acts.  The whole idea revolves around kindness and I really think we need more of that in the world today. The Random Acts site even says “we have an organization poised to conquer the world, one random act of kindness at a time.”

000210s8As they say, “No good deed goes unpunished,” and the guys on the Supernatural set were not about to let Misha get away unscathed.  Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam, filled Misha’s car with change! A bit of a backhanded donation, so to speak.  To the right is the photo Misha posted on Twitter when it happened. The note reads: “Please accept this donation on my behalf and make sure it finds it’s way to: “RANDOM ACTS”. It should be around $660 CAD [Canadian]. P.S I would appreciate a tax receipt.”

Now, Endure 4 Kindness is in it’s second year.  This year’s event is held over the weekend of November 2 -3. What it is, is an endurance competition where the participant gets to pick their own endurance activity.  I believe Misha’s activity this year is to swim as far as he can.  And being a proud minion, I had to join in and I love the fact that there is an endurance competition I am capable of joining!

IMG_3288_2As I just had gallbladder surgery, I will not be participating in a physical event.  My challenge of choice is to crochet. And I will be crocheting as many “snuggles” as I can – working a minimum of 8 hours.  “Snuggles” are blankets for animals.  The one pictured on the left is one that I made one of my cats a few years ago. Anyway, my cats love them and they make great carrier liners and they are small enough I can leave them with my pet when I have to drop them off at the vet.

Once I have finished my endurance event, I will be donating all the “snuggles” I made to the Humane Society of Pinellas.  Whether they choose to use them in the cages or give them away with adoptions, I think they will be a huge hit.

If you would like – and are capable – to contribute to my effort, please click here to go to my fundraising page. Even a fiver would be greatly appreciated by Random Acts, as well as myself – you can even donate anonymously.

I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season! I don’t know about you but they seem to arrive faster and faster every year!

Kissy, kissy, snog, snog

Taking Accident Prone To A Whole New Level Of Stupidity

There are some days when the Universe tries to tell you that you’d be better off to stay in bed.  Today was one of those days.  Sadly, I didn’t listen.

Beau on 9-22-13

Beau on 9-22-13

It started off with a bad night’s sleep.  My cat, Beau or “Bo-bo”, had surgery on Tuesday to remove a mast cell tumor from his abdomen.  So he has been in the oh-so-popular Elizabethan collar – and will have to remain in it for 10 – 14 days.  This has made him the Velcro to my fabric.  Normally, I don’t mind but he kept me up all night with wanting to cuddle, sleep on top of me and occasionally bite me.

This was quickly followed by slamming my bad knee into the corner of the desk in my room as I tried to maneuver around said cat in a desperate attempt to make it to the little girls room prior to my bladder exploding.

Undeterred by these signs of impending doom, I sleepily made my way to my car.  I was gently rubbing some sleep from my eye as I entered the car.  My normally docile PT Cruiser saw her opportunity to strike and as I lowered myself in she thrust the steering wheel outward!  Yes, indeed.  So my elbow hit the steering wheel and jammed my finger deep into my eye (quite hard, I might add)!

Even though no one was around to witness the catastrophic attack, I still sat in the car for several minutes wondering at what point I had turned into a complete and utter idiot ( AKA a Republican?).  Anyway, I go about my business berating – yet assuring – myself that the pain will go away in a little bit.

I got home, sat down at the computer to get some work done and I am still in a lot of pain.  I go into the bathroom in a vain attempt to look at my eye.  (It is a vain attempt because I get a glare off my glasses which prevent me from seeing properly and if I take my glasses off I am so blind that I practically need to have my nose to the mirror and I still can’t see!)  So I have my friend look at it for me and he says that it is quite bloodshot.

Still positive that it will go away shortly, I put an ice pack on my eye thinking that might help the discomfort.  Boy was I wrong!  It made it feel worse.  Finally around 2:30 in the afternoon I have had enough.  The pain is continuing to be quite strong and it hurts to blink or move my eye left or right.  So off the to ER we go.

Now, I really like my local hospital, the staff are really good and often very friendly.  The downside is that they are also usually crowded and you can expect to be waiting for several hours.  However, I finally catch a break and only have to wait for about 10 minutes in the main waiting room and around another 20 once placed in a special eye room in the ER.

Let me share something with you though.  I have done and said a lot of stupid things in my time.  I’m not proud.  But nothing is more embarrassing than having to tell the staff at the ER that you are there because you poked yourself in the eye – and I am including the time I asked a guy (quite innocently) how big his nuts were (a story for another time, perhaps).

IMG_3276Well to make an already too long story short, I burst some blood vessels and essentially “bruised” my eye – see the attractive picture on the right.  The doc said that no serious damage was done and I was sent home with a prescription for antibacterial ointment and told to follow up with my eye doctor.

It took forever to get the prescription filled so it was just prior to dinner time when I got home.  I put the ointment in my eye and took a Naproxen to help with the swelling and a Tramadol to help with the pain.  Then as if to prove that my brain was not firing on all cylinders, after dinner I said to my friend, “I wonder if there was a numbing agent in that ointment because I am feeling a lot better.”  Then it hit me – you took a pain pill, stupid!

Hope your day was better than mine!

Kissy, kissy, snog, snog