Hippie “Oregano” Brownies

1/2 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 ounce “oregano,” chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Melt butter and chocolate together in a large saucepan over low heat.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Let cool.
  • Cut into squares.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Charles Manson’s statement to the California court 1970

Excerpts from Charles Manson’s statement to the California court that convicted him of seven counts of murder conspiracy in the first degree and sentenced him to death in 1970:

“These children that came at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up. Most of the people at the ranch that you call the Family were just people that you did not want, people that were alongside the road, that their parents had kicked out or they did not want to go to Juvenile Hall, so I did the best I could and I took them up on my garbage dump and I told them this: that in love there is no wrong.

“… It is not my responsibility. It is your responsibility. It is the responsibility you have toward your own children who you are neglecting, and then you want to put the blame on me again and again and again.… You eat meat with your teeth and you kill things that are better than you are, and in the same respect you say how bad and even killers that your children are. You make your children what they are. I am just a reflection of every one of you.”

“… I have nothing against none of you. I can’t judge any of you. But I think it is high time that you all started looking at yourselves and judging the lie that you live in. I sit and I watch you from nowhere, and I have nothing in my mind, no malice against you and no ribbons for you.… You are just doing what you are doing for the money, for a little bit of attention from someone. I can’t dislike you, but I will say this to you. You haven’t got long before you are all going to kill yourselves because you are crazy. And you can’t project it back at me.…”

“You can say that it’s me that cannot communicate, and you can say that it’s me that don’t have any understanding, and you can say that when I am dead your world will be better, and you can lock me up in your penitentiary and you can forget about me. But I’m only what lives inside of you, each and every one of you. These children … you only give them your frustration. You only give them your anger. You only give them the bad part of you rather than give them the good part of you. You should all turn around and face your children and start following them and listening to them.

“… If I could get angry at you I would try to kill every one of you. If that’s guilt, I accept it. These children, everything they have done, they done for love of their brother.…

“I may have implied on several occasions to several different people that I may have been Jesus Christ, but I haven’t decided yet what I am or who I am. I am whoever you make me, but what you want is a fiend. You want a sadistic fiend because that is what you are.

“… My father is the jail house. My father is your system.… I have ate out of your garbage cans to stay out of jail. I have wore your second-hand clothes. I have given everything I have away. Everything! I have accepted things and given them away the next second. I have done my best to get along in your world and now you want to kill me, and I look at you and I look how incompetent you all are, and then I say to myself, You want to kill me? Ha, I’m already dead! Have been all my life!’ I’ve lived in your tomb that you built.”

“I did seven years for a thirty-seven-dollar check. I did twelve years because I didn’t have any parents, and how many other sons do you think you have in there? You have many sons in there, many, many sons in there, most of them are black and they are angry.…

“Sometimes I think about giving it to you. Sometimes I’m thinking about just jumping on you and let you shoot me. Sometimes I think it would be easier than sitting here and facing you in the contempt that you have for yourself, the hate that you have for yourself. It’s only the anger you reflect at me, the anger that you have got for you.… If I could I would jerk this microphone out and beat your brains out with it because that is what you deserve! That is what you deserve.

“… I live in my world, and I am my own king in my world, whether it be a garbage dump or in the desert or wherever it be. I am my own human being. You may restrain my body and you may tear my guts out, do anything you wish, but I am still me and you can’t take that. You can kill the ego. You can kill the pride. You can kill the want, the desire of a human being. You can lock him in a cell and you can knock his teeth out and smash his brain, but you cannot kill the soul.”

“… I don’t care what you believe. I know what I am. You care what I think of you? Do you care what my opinion is? No, I hardly think so. I don’t think that any of you care about anything other than yourselves.…

“You made me a monster and I have to live with that the rest of my life because I cannot fight this case. If I could fight this case and I could present this case, I would take that monster back and I would take that fear back. Then you could find something else to put your fear on, because it’s all your fear. You look for something to project it on and you pick a little old scroungy nobody who eats out of a garbage can, that nobody wants, that was kicked out of the penitentiary, that has been dragged though every hellhole you can think of, and you drag him up and put him into a courtroom. You expect to break me? Impossible! You broke me years ago. You killed me years ago!”

Lagertha: Viking Shieldmaiden

Lagertha (also spelt Lathgertha or Ladgerda) is a legendary Viking shieldmaiden known from Saxo Grammaticus’ early 13th-century CE Gesta Danorum. In this work, written in Latin and concerning Danish history, she is the first wife of Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary Viking king said to have lived during the 9th century CE. Contrasting with the prominent role Lagertha plays in the ongoing Vikings TV series, where she is portrayed by Katheryn Winnick, the Gesta Danorum is the only historical source that even mentions her and ties her in with the more broadly-known Ragnar mythos, making her more of a footnote within his legend rather than a core element. She makes for a bold footnote, though, and an interesting character in her own right; brave and skilled, she is twice responsible for ensuring victory for Ragnar in battle. Although classical concepts of Amazons underlie Saxo’s warrior women, his stories are rooted in the Old Norse traditions known from medieval Icelandic literature. Specifically, Lagertha herself may have been inspired by the Norse goddess Thorgerd, local to Hálogaland, Norway.

Saxo Grammaticus sets the stage for Ragnar and Lagertha’s meeting by describing how the Swedish King Frø has slain Siward, King of the Norwegians, who was Ragnar’s grandfather, and has publically humiliated Siward’s female family members by putting them in a brothel. Ragnar, having just succeeded his father Siward Ring (Sigurd Hring or Ring in other Ragnar stories) to the throne of Jutland in Denmark, hears of this and is obviously not pleased. Coming to Norway with vengeance on his mind, Ragnar is met at his camp by some of the women who had been scorned, dressed up in male attire and ready to join him to hunt down the Swedish king. In the ensuing successful battle, it is one maiden in particular who stands out to Ragnar; he even goes so far as to attribute the victory to her might alone.

Lagertha’s origins aside, it is clear that in Saxo’s work she fulfils a role not immediately expected of historical women of that time but instead of a more legendary proportion: that of the warrior woman. Despite present-day popular imagination running wild with the image of the ‘strong Viking woman’, when critically evaluated the archaeological and historical material is not at all sufficient to support their existence. The Old Norse sagas, however, are a different beast altogether and show strong women taking action, stoking up revenge, standing up to their husbands or even engaging in fights. The popular TV series Vikings, although creatively expanding Lagertha’s role massively from that which it is in the Gesta, does take her reputation as shieldmaiden on board and shows her as a strong fighter who can hold her own, even participating in the raid on Paris (in the show, inspired by the historical siege of Paris of 845 CE).

Within the other legends revolving around Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha does not stand alone as a shieldmaiden. Aslaug (Kráka) is another wife of Ragnar, and she eventually leads her sons into battle against the Swedes.

Source: worldhistory.org

The Missouri Compromise

By 1819, the population of Missouri had grown to the point where it was ready for statehood. Ten thousand slaves already lived in Missouri. As such, It was assumed Missouri would become a slave state. On February 13th James Tallmadge, a Congressman from Poughkeepsie, New York, introduced a resolution in Congress making two modifications to the Missouri Enabling Act (The Enabling Act would give Missouri statehood). This act would ban any further importation of slaves into Missouri. It would also set in motion the gradual emancipation of the slaves currently residing in Missouri. Raising these modifications, a one term Congressman began a battle over slavery that was only ended by the Civil War. Obviously the Tallmadge amendment was not acceptable to the Southern states. The Congress was deadlocked until a compromise could be found. That compromise became known as “The Missouri Compromise”. Under the terms of the compromise, Missouri was to be admitted as a slave state, while Maine was admitted as a free state. The rest of the territory acquired from France (north of the latitude 36’30’) would be free states, while south of that point would be slave states.

The Missouri Compromise (1819) set a number of precedents. First, states would enter the Union in pairs– a slave state and a free state. This compromise helped the Southern states, as they were often admitted to the Union sooner than they would normally have been admitted (in order to keep the balance). Second, the Missouri Compromise delayed the sectional breakup of the Jefferson’s Republican party. The battle over Missouri signified a solidification of the Southern opposition to the eventual emancipation of the slaves. Until the fight over Missouri’s admission to the Union, there was some hope the South would follow the path indicated by many of the founders; a path leading to the eventual voluntary emancipation of all slaves. By the time the Missouri Compromise was reached, it was clear this was not meant to be.

Famous Trolls of Mythology

Legend has it that a Christian can kill a troll if they say its name aloud, so as you can imagine troll names are some of the best-kept secrets in the world. Despite that, the names of some trolls from literature and Norse Mythology are known:

Grendel – the troll from Beowulf and one of the three main antagonists of the epic poem

Dunker – a troll mentioned in an old folktale from Fosen

Ymer – a jötunn and the largest creature from Norse Mythology

Dovregubben – the troll king in Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt

Hrungnir – a jötunn and the largest of its kind in Old Norse texts

Trym – king of the jötnar, reigned in Jötunheimr

Geirröd – another jötunn from Norse mythology, father to Gjálp and Greip

What are Pork Rinds? Cracklin?

Pork rinds are pork skin that have been dehydrated and deep-fried (or baked) until puffy and crisp. They have a deeply savory, pork flavor and eat like a bacon-flavored chip. Several cuisines feature pork rinds, though they go by different names and vary slightly.

In Central and South America, pork rinds are called chicharrons, and often have some meat attached to the skin as well, often pork belly. They’re eaten as a snack and can be served with dips, salsas and tortillas. In the Philippines, the food goes by the name of chicharron, and can be made by frying pork skins or pork belly strips to be consumed as a snack or main meal, respectively. In Thailand, deep-fried pork rinds are called kaeb moo; they can be made with just pork skin or pork skin with a bit of fat attached.

In the American South, pork rinds are called cracklings, or cracklins, and have a bit of fat and meat attached. Because they have some fat attached, it prevents the pork skin from curling when it puffs. You can find cracklings at gas stations and grocery stores in a variety of flavors, at barbecue joints or in contemporary American restaurants where they might accompany pimento cheese or smoked fish dip. In the U.K., pork rinds are called pork scratchings, where they are a popular snack served at pubs alongside pints of beer. Pork rinds have found their way onto restaurant menus here too, where they add savory crunch and bacon-esque flavor to dishes ranging from roasted vegetables to desserts.

Source: Food Network

Gu: Vodun of Iron and War

They say Gu was born with a human body and a blade as a head. This perfectly portrays his role as the god of iron and war. The two things are related; iron ore is used to make weapons for war, among other things.

A title like the Vodun of War denotes a spirit who is angry or out for destruction or chaos, but that’s false. A god of war is not necessarily there to sow conflict and division. Still, they are there to bestow victory, wisdom, and protection in battle when facing your enemies. Immediately we run into trouble. Why does he favor one side over another? These reasons are privy to him but always in the interest of ultimate fairness.

The Fon worshiped Gu to bring them success in war and protect them in conflicts, protect their wealth and community. At the end of the day, that is what a god of war is supposed to do—a more accurate title would-be protector of communities and nations.

There is also a building role. Iron is a symbol for minerals that can be mined and used to service those pursuits that strengthen and protect a nation. It stands for resources that can be used as weapons and defense. You can substitute nations with family, community, town, tradition, culture, city, or whatever you think is worthy of protection or strengthening. The Vodun of War resides over these matters. It dispenses favor, resources, wisdom, and advantage according to its divine wisdom and foresight.

Source: Vodun. Monique Joiner Siedlak

Cotton Gin Invented

After the Revolutionary War the South was looking for a new crop to replace Indigo, whose trade it had lost during the war to India. One possibility was cotton. However, traditional cotton, known as long staple, or Egyptian cotton, could only be grown on the Atlantic Islands of the US. It required a very long growing season and sandy soil. The alternative was short season cotton. Though that cotton has sticky seeds that were very difficult to separate. Then, Eli Whitney came on to the scene.

Whitney heard about how difficult it was to gin (or clean) cotton. He thought of a machine that would be able to do it. He studded a roller with nails, one half inch apart. The roller could then be turned and the nails would pass through a grid. The roller pulled the cotton lint through the grid, leaving the seed behind. The lint would then be pulled off the nails while the seeds would fall off separately. A single laborer could now gin what it took 25 laborers to get done before. This made farming upland cotton economically feasible for the first time.

The effect of the development the cotton gin was unprecedented. In 1793, the United States produced about five million pounds of cotton– almost all of it the Sea Island type. This represented less than 1% of the world’s production of cotton. By 1860, the US was producing 2 billion pounds of cotton– over 75% of the world’s cotton production.

The effect of the growth of the cotton industry on slavery was overwhelming. Before the introduction of the Gin, the need for slaves was modest, and slaves were not considered that valuable. Before the Gin, a slave was could be bought for $300. By the time of the Civil War, the cost for a slave was $3,000. Cotton farming was a labor-intensive endeavor– even with the Cotton Gin. However, slavery made the labor of cotton very profitable.

Agbe (or Agwe): Vodun of the Sea

Agbe is the third-born son of Mawu and Lisa. He is the one who is given dominion over the seas and sea life. There aren’t many stories based on Agbe, but as we look back to Mawu’s creation of the world, Agbe’s role within the world becomes obvious. When Mawu built the world, she was afraid that the earth would drown from the added weight, so her snake came in to save it. However, the waters can still be unpredictable, rough, and sometimes cause a whole host of problems.

The land is resting on an outline of great waters, waters that can engulf the land when disturbed. So Agbe functions to keep the waters at bay, provide safety, and protect from powerful storms. Agbe also has some effects on the land that the people experience. For instance, when earthquakes happen, they can be explained by his activity–he has made the water do something that makes the land shake. The serpent is primarily there to keep the world from sinking. The Fon being a fishing people, might have also worshipped Agbe for his luck.

So we see Agbe as the protector, provider, and calmer of seas. He’s not the only one who performs these roles, but he is one of the most powerful to do so. Again, we see how together each god’s roles feed on each other or strengthen each other. While Sakpata pushes for progress, Agbe is the one holding forces that threaten peace and the very land we live on intact.

You can pray to him for protection, maintenance, and calm in your life. These are, in a nutshell, where the spirit excels. But when displeased, it may be a source of chaos, destruction, especially the kind that upends people’s lives. So he is a potent spirit.

Source: Vodun. Monique Joiner Siedlak