Monday, August 24, 2015

Writing Challenge: Happiness Jar

Here is a writing challenge that you might enjoy — it would be a nice way to write a tiny something every day, and also to then enjoy what you collect later on! I first learned about this from someone at Google+.

Happiness Jar: Write down something that made you happy every day for a year, then open the jar and read all about the amazing things that happened.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Word from Mythology: Morphine

The name of the drug morphine takes its name from the Greek god Morpheus, the god of dreams and the illusions we see in sleep; his father is Somnus, the god of sleep. Friedrich Sertürner, a German pharmacist, isolated morphine around the year 1805 (it became commercially available in 1827), and he named it after Morpheus because the drug was sleep-inducing. You can read more at Wikipedia, and you can also read about the etymology of heroin in this post: Heroine and Heroin.

The painting is a detail from a fresco by Luca Giordano showing Morpheus and Night:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Word from Mythology: Hector

Last time I looked at how the Greek name "Mentor" became the English verb and noun, "mentor," and this time, you will see how the Greek name "Hector" becomes the English word "hector."

Hector was a prince of Troy and leader of the Trojan forces against the Greeks in the Trojan War. Homer's Iliad shows Hector having to shout at his troops, encouraging them to face their enemy bravely, and he also had to upbraid his cowardly brother Paris whose kidnapping of Helen precipitated the war. Hector's speeches led to the English verb "hector," which originally mean to shout, encourage, and domineer.

Over time, the English word "hector" has taken on negative connotations, meaning something like "to bluster, to bully," even though Hector is an entirely admirable character in the mythological tradition.

The painting below is "Hector Reproves Paris" by Richard Cook: