Thursday, October 12, 2006

IRELAND, AUSTRALIA, DENVER, RUSSIA, POLAND, THE CZECH REPUBLIC, UKRAINE AND BELARUS IN ONE POST

I have explained before that I build up links over time when I am busy and don't get to blog. Every so often I need to clean my links out. Guess what! It is that time again. I defy any reader (sorry, I meant "either reader") to find another blog that stretches from Australia to Russia by way of Denver in one post.

Proving that nothing is new, I came across an article about the Catalpa Rescue. Any idea what that was? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, apparently in the 19th Century the movement for Irish independence from the perfidious English turned violent. The English responded by deporting a number of Irish Republican Brotherhood members to Australia, which appears to have been the Guantanamo of its day. While a number of IRB members were released (generally after promising not to return to Ireland), some hardcore members were left in Australia. In 1876 an American ship, the Catalpa, anchored off the coast of their prison and while the guards watched a regatta, the prisoners escaped. Interestingly, the group that rescued them, Clan na Gael, is an American group that twice invaded Canada hoping to hold it hostage in exchange for Ireland's freedom. It didn't work, but it is an interesting idea. Open question whether the Brits would have swapped an empty frontier country where the most important cities spoke French for Ireland, but worth a shot.

Recently I came across a founding myth of the east and north slavs. The story is that there were three brothers, named Lech, Czech, and Rus. Apparently the three brothers went hunting together, but took different paths in pursuit of prey. They must have been around Brest (the one between Poland and Belarus, not the French one) because the myth is that Rus went east, Czech went west, and Lech went north. Brest seems geographically appropriate for this trip. In any case, Rus apparently decided to settle in the east and founded the Russian, Ukrainian, and White Russian nations. Apparently Rus got around a little. Czech got to the Říp Mountain in Bohemia and settled, founding the Czech nation. He may or may not be the father of the Slovak nation. Watch the next Maury for the paternity test results. Meanwhile, Lech went north where he came across a white eagle guarding her nest. He settled where the eagle was and adopted the white eagle as his coat of arms. He also founded the Polish nation.

This is a fun story. It reminds me of the story of Isaac and Ishmael. This page provides a very succint summary of the story of Isaac and Ishmael, helpfully using Legos to set the scene. Very nice. Anyway, the story is that after Ishmael and his mother Hagar were sent away from Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac Ishmael became the father of twelve tribes that settled from the Persian Gulf to Egypt. In other words, he is believed to be the father of the Arabs. Isaac, meanwhile, stayed in Israel with Abe and Sarah and is believed to be the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. The parallel goes even deeper when we realize that the Slav cousins have had a couple of really brutal fallings out (especially the Poles and Russians, including this, this, and this), while the Semetic cousins seem to be right in the middle of one now.

Finally, this blog dedicated to Denver's "infill development" had a funny post. Frankly, I don't know what infill development is, and I am pretty sure I don't care. However, the Subdivision Naming Chart is brilliant. It definitely does not apply only to Denver either. I like The Dominion at Thunder Edge Highlands as the name of a subdivision. How about The Plantation at Harvest Valley Ranch? To me that evokes a scene from the antebellum South, where slaves harvest salad dressing. Oh wait, that's Hidden Valley Ranch. Fortunately it is only important that these names be evocative, and not accurate, since there probably is not a Thunder Edge Highlands in Denver, right? Right?

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