Chocolate God

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The Aztecs and the Mayans were the first people groups to cultivate the cocoa bean and make chocolate.  They would grind up the cocoa seeds and mix it with water to create a drink.  They also used the beans it to make a porridge, and mixed it with various spices.

The Aztecs considered chocolate “food for the gods” and it was served to royal families in golden goblets.  However, the Mayans believed chocolate was a gift from the cocoa god.

In the 1500’s, Cortez exported the cocoa bean to Europe.  The Europeans began mixing it with sugar and the popularity of chocolate spread like wild fire.

I recommend you take a moment today and enjoy a heavily snack of chocolate.  Don’t forget to truly savor the flavor and enjoy each moment.

 

(sources:  www.chocolate-history.co.uk and http://www.exhibits.mannlib.cornell.edu)

 

Opossums are Cool

I think opossums are cool animals and they are often judged to harshly.

Opossums are marsupials, which makes them a unique animal in North America.

They are omnivores and prefer to forge for food, so they make great clean up crews.

They have a powerful immune system.  They are even immune to snake venom.  You have to admit, that’s a seriously strong immune system.

They prefer a solitary lifestyle and are nocturnal, which makes them a bit introverted.  I’m an introvert too, so I can relate.

When a opossum is threatened it goes into a shock like state and actually faints.  This is an involuntary response, which kind of makes me feel sorry for the opossum.  If I fainted every time I got scared, that would be embarrassing.

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The Bahamas – Freeport

Our first stop in The Bahamas was Freeport.  Malia hired a taxi driver to give us a tour of the city.

The driver provided historical information on what we were viewing.  She also answered all our questions and was a wonderful tour guide.

I learned about the government, which is democratic in nature.  I also learned about the health care system for the citizens.  The cost for medical care is dedicated from their paychecks in the form of taxes.

The predominate religions are Catholic and Baptist.  The driver explained how God comes first in their lives and government.

Talking to her was educational and enjoyable.  I am glad Malia persuaded me to join her on the tour.

Kinetic Sculpture Exhibit

Huntsville Botanical Gardens has kinetic sculptures, created by George Sherwood, on display during the month of September.  It is a fascinating exhibit.

The way the sculptures move with the wind and the way the light reflects on the surface is rather hypnotic.  I was amazed by each one of them.

While I was there, I decided to try the corn maze.  If you’ve never wandered around lost in a corn field, you should give it a try.  It’s kind of fun.

Burritt On the Mountain

Burritt on the Mountain is wonderful place to visit.  It’s located on Monte Sano Mountain and it overlooks the city of Huntsville, Alabama.

The historic park is filled with homes, antiques, and a barnyard from the 19th century.  Most of the homes are open, allowing visitors to freely explore.  There are a lot of informational signs posted around the park, which is designed to educate visitors on how people lived during that time period.

The park even has play areas for children, so they can dress up as pioneers, pan for gold, or climb on carriages.

The Burritt Mansion is part of the park and is also open to visitors.  Dr. William Henry Burritt built the mason in the 1930’s.  Dr. Burritt was born in 1869, in Huntsville, Alabama.  He worked as a homeopathic physician and he spent his retirement years at the mansion.

The mansion is gorgeous and was built with a variety of architectural styles, including classical, revival, federal, and art deco.

If you ever visit Huntsville, make sure to check out Burritt on the Mountain.

 

Huntsville Veteran’s Museum

The Huntsville Veteran’s Museum has an impressive collection of exhibits.  They also have information cards, so you can learn about the history of the exhibits.  I really enjoyed this museum and recommend it to anyone that happens to visit Huntsville, Alabama.

 

Rabid – A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

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This book is unique, because it takes an in-depth look at rabies and how the virus influenced human history and our culture.

There is a historical section that describes treatments used in the middle ages.  The infected person would have the wound cauterized and blood would be drained from their bodies.  Various herbs and spices were also used in an attempt to purify the body.

Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine that could save victims if administered before they showed signs of the disease.  However, some physicians of that time did not believe in germ theory and felt the vaccine was dangerous or would be ineffective.

There is another section that explains how the virus is transmitted and how it kills the victim.  It also talks about the viruses ability to spread quickly within a geographical region and which animals are most likely to be carriers of the virus.

The final section of the book discusses how rabies has influence our culture.  Victims of the rabies virus displayed shocking symptoms, which influenced the folklore and helped develop stories about werewolves, vampires, and zombies.

Rabies also played a role in popular literature and in movies, for example:  Cugo, The Rage, and Old Yellower.

I enjoyed the book, because it was informative and I learned a great deal about the rabies virus.  I was also impressed by how much this virus influenced culture, literature, folklore, and movies.