August 14, 2008


Athena, courtesy of wikipedia. She can make a really good friend, but don't get on her bad side.

The theme at Goat Rope lately is the Odyssey of Homer, along with news and comments about current events. The series started Aug. 4. If you like this kind of thing, please click on earlier posts.

Yesterday we met some of the older generation of Olympic gods and the children of the "royal family" of Zeus and Hera. Below are the rest of the gang.

Several gods are the result of Zeus' various liaisons. He fathered Apollo and Artemis from the titan Leto. Apollo is a youthful archer god associated with healing, sudden death, music, poetry, and prophecy while Artemis is the virgin goddess of wild things, the hunt and women in childbirth. Later Apollo would be associated with reason, moderation and individuation.

Hermes was the son of Zeus and the earth goddess Maia (several goddesses were manifestations of an earth divinity). An interesting character, he is a divine messenger and is associated with borders, exchanges, merchants and thieves. He also guides the spirits of the dead to the underworld. Over time, Hermes became associated with the art of interpretation, hence the term hermeneutics.

The main goddess of the Odyssey is the virgin warrior goddess Athena, who was conceived by Metis (goddess of cunning or wisdom). Fearing that her offspring would overthrow his rule, Zeus swallowed Metis. Later he got a bad headache, which Hephaestus cured by striking him in the head with an axe. Athena was born full grown from the head of Zeus and is daddy's little girl. She is associated with wisdom, courage, strategy, and weaving.

(Saftey tip: don't tell her you can weave better than she can unless you want to get turned into a spider like Arachne.)

The wine god Dionysus came from another part of Zeus' anatomy and was the result of a liaison between Zeus and the human Semele. When she asked to see Zeus in his natural form she was incinerated, but Hermes sewed the fetus into Zeus' thigh, from which he was eventually born. He is the god of the vine, of wine and his worship is associated with ecstasy, frenzy and collective joy. In later times, he even seems to have displaced the elder goddess Demeter as a patron of fertility. Nietzsche would later contrast the Apollonian or rational with the Dionysian or wild.

There were other minor players but that's the main lineup.


Most corporations, including a large majority of foreign companies doing business in the United States, pay no income taxes, according to a report released today.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that two-thirds of both American and foreign companies doing business here end up avoiding all income tax obligations to the federal government, despite corporate sales totaling $2.5 trillion.

There's more with sources and links here.

CHANGING TRENDS. Most (admittedly feeble) anti-poverty efforts in recent years have focused on women and children. Now more voices are calling for directing more attention to men.

WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? According to this NY Times article, more and more Americans are marrying to gain health benefits. (In terms of the Greek gods discussed this week, this could lead to a jurisdictional dispute between Hera, Aphrodite and Apollo.If they ask you to settle it, run.)

MOST READERS ALREADY KNEW THIS, but research suggests a good book can be just as thrilling and stimulating to the brain as watching a movie.


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