Happy Birthday to my favorite enigma…or is it EnigRA?

How about a birthday riddle for the enigmatic man of the hour?

What walks on four legs in the morning,

two legs at midday, 

and three legs in the evening?

Does that riddle sound familiar?  It probably does since it is the famous “Riddle of the Sphinx.”  One can hardly refer to enigmas and riddles without including the Sphinx.

Not that sphinx...

Not that sphinx…

I’m talking about the famous Greek version of the Sphinx (Σφίγξ).  She (all the best monsters were female) had a human head, the haunches of a lion and was often depicted with the wings of a bird.

Sphinx with Oedipus Source

Sphinx with Oedipus
Source

Pictured above with the famous Oedipus, she doesn’t look terribly dangerous, but looks can be deceiving.  As usual, there are several etymological stories relating to the Sphinx, but the common element is that she was a sort of curse on the city state of Thebes for some ancient transgression.  Stationed outside the city, she asked her riddle of all who passed her and devoured them all when they failed to answer correctly.  The situation had become so dire that the regent of Thebes…one Creon (of Antigone fame) promised the throne of Thebes to anyone who could answer the mysterious riddle.

Along came Oedipus (this is after he killed King Laius – who he didn’t know was his birth father – and before he married Jocasta – who he didn’t know was his birth mother…you can’t make this stuff up!) who took up the challenge and correctly answered the Sphinx’s riddle…when he did, she was so distraught that she flung herself off the mountainside.  Enigma of the Sphinx solved.

Now, I would never venture to argue that Richard Armitage devours those who misread his cues, but he has often been plenty enigmatic since joining the Twitterverse.  So then, in honor of the Sphinxine Birthday…let’s answer that riddle

Four legs in the morning:

four legs in the morning

Two legs at midday:

armitage grey suit

 

Three legs in the evening:

three legs in evening

 

Happy Birthday Richard Armitage!

Happy Armitage Day Armitageworld!!

Richard Armitage isn’t the only Leo-Virgo Cusper in Obscuraville…

Ten years ago today,  I was confined to a bed with a pitocin drip in an attempt to jump start labor.  Dramatic from the womb, Mini Me was born at 9:21 PM on August 24, 2005…5 weeks ahead of schedule.

That *was* a Hello Kitty cake...

That *was* a Hello Kitty cake…

My little cusper has all of the fiery flair of a Leo, yet it is often tempered the by earthy practicality of a Virgo.  She constantly fills up whatever space she is in by either demanding attention outright, or with singing and dancing that is impossible to ignore…

diva erin

She has been a diva since birth, but she is also incredibly kind and compassionate.  When she was six, she ran a stand for Toys for Tots at our church festival to collect money for toy donations.  Last year she worked as a peer mediator for her fourth grade class.  Yesterday, when we asked her where she wanted to go for her birthday dinner, she picked a local favorite Mexican restaurant rather than her favorite steakhouse because she wanted to make sure that her ShowBiz brother could find something to eat.

She is my greatest challenge and a source of never ending delight.

incognito

For all that you are and all that you will be I wish you the happiest of birthdays my very own Mini Me!!

(we LOVE pink!!)

A brief Richard Armitage vestment retrospective…

Over the years, Richard Armitage has worn a whole lot of suits.  As today, August 22nd marks a new year for him personally, I thought we might take a brief tour of some suit highlights.

spy suit

Spy Suits

I'm so sorry suit

WHY? Suits

three piece suits

Three piece suits and

OH MY! Suits

OH MY! Suits.

rented suits

Rented Suits

plaid suits

Styled Suits

purple suits

Perhaps Plum-o-phile suits…

But today especially, I’d like to point out an especially stunning suit – the oldest one he has…

birthday suit edit

His BIRTHDAY SUIT!!  It’s 44 years old today and looks great on him!!!

Happy Birthday Richard Armitage  🙂

**On this momentous occasion, I’d also like to mention that hell may well be freezing over…you can now find me on Twitter – @AncientArmitage

Happy Birthday Richard Armitage – It’s a HOT one!!

First, let me share my all time birthday song favorite:

Now then, on to the business of the day.  Armitageday that is.  I was going to talk about how the ancient Romans were among the first to celebrate the birthdays of the regular folk (of course only the regular male folk), but then I remembered that there are big things afoot on and around this day in Roman history.

The Romans were a thoroughly pagan, excessively polytheistic people for much of their history.  Their calendar was packed full of days that were sacred to one or another deity, days on which legal proceedings and economic transactions were suspended in favor of religious observance.  The month of Augustus (named after the 1st Emperor of Rome, the adopted son of Julius Caesar) was fairly typical, with festivals dedicated to various deities scattered throughout.

All work and no worship made for very pissy gods!

All work and no worship made for very pissy gods!

Among the most ancient and most important of the August festivals was the VULCANALIA…the festival dedicated to the god Vulcan.  Vulcan was the deity associated with fire…especially the destructive, devastating aspects of fire in the form of conflagration or volcanic eruption.  Fire was a profoundly important element to the ancients.  In a period before electricity, the presence of fire could mean the difference between life and death in both a positive and a negative sense.  Fire provided light and heat, but using it was an enormous potential hazard in cities built largely of timber frame structures.  The Romans believed that keeping Vulcan happy was the key to avoiding devastating fires.  The festival of Vulcan was celebrated in the hottest part of the summer, which was also harvest time, so prayers not only sought to protect the settlements, but also the fields and grain stores from Vulcan’s fire.  The Vulcanalia was celebrated by athletic competitions dedicated to the god and by building large bonfires onto which small animals were thrown as offerings.

The Romans also associated Vulcan with the destructive fire power of volcanoes.  Italy is littered with dozens of volcanoes…many of them dormant for thousands of years, but several of them, like Mt. Etna on Sicily regularly active.   Passages from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History illustrate that the Romans were quite familiar with the concept of volcanoes and other geothermal phenomena.  One volcano though, Mt. Vesuvius, near modern Naples was not mentioned by Pliny, suggesting that the Romans were completely unaware that this mountain, with it’s fertile slopes which produced some of the finest Roman vintages was only biding it’s time.   Apparently the Vulcanalia of 79AD didn’t do the trick, because the very next day…August 24th* Vulcan’s displeasure was evident when Vesuvius exploded, beginning a massive 25 hour eruption cycle.  This is the eruption that buried the now famous towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, along with a large part of the Bay of Naples area under a thick layer of ash and pyroclastic flow.

ALRIVes0801VeseEruption79ad

The devastation wrought by what many Romans interpreted as an unhappy Vulcan was enormous.  In an attempt to placate the god, the Emperor Domitian ordered the construction of a new altar to Vulcan in Rome and upped the ante on sacrifices from fish and small animals to a red calf and a red boar – nobody was messing around with Vulcan.

Soooo, since the day is conveniently blank on the Roman festival calendar, in honor of the Birthday Boy with the trademark incendiary smolder, and The Crucible which is “too hot to handle,” I hereby deem August 22 as ARMITAGALIA….any objections from the ancient Romans in the crowd?????

armitagalia

No?  Excellent!!  It’s official then!!!  ARMITAGALIA it is.  Now, what to do in celebration?

Finally!  A good use for those leftover marshmallow PEEPS!!

Finally! A good use for those leftover marshmallow PEEPS!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD ARMITAGE!!

PS…I’ll be offering up extra pink bunny PEEPS to stave off the Iceland volcano for all those flying to London to see The Crucible….can’t hurt right?!