Time – An Obsession – 2018 New Year’s Edition

Time  – A Human Obsession.

Time – the non-spatial continuum – continues to hold the fascination of humankind. Last night the population of entire planet celebrated Time. It is the biggest event of the year – bigger than the Super Bowl, bigger than the World Cup, the Olympics – bigger than any any election. The celebration of Time is completely non-compulsory. Yet, of seven billion people, the overwhelming majority of us opt to link in one way or another. Why? Because we can’t control it? Perhaps.

Humankind continues it's most ancient celebration. In a tradition that goes back at least 8,000 years, people gather to mark the passage of time. The assembly in Times Square NY may be the most populous gathering, but it represents a mere fraction of the enormous planet-wide festival.

Humankind continues it’s most ancient celebration. In a tradition that goes back at least 8,000 years, people gather to mark the passage of time. The assembly in Times Square NY may be the most populous gathering, but it represents a mere fraction of the enormous planet-wide festival.

Maybe we can’t control it but by God – literally, by God, or by the gods depending on where and when (ha, ha, see what I did there?) you were born…  As I was saying, by God, we have always been determined to get a handle on this.

So here’s a quick summery of humans measuring Time. By God. Or by the gods.

Seconds, Minutes, & Hours.

Scientific American has a really interesting article which can be found here. In summery, the Sumerians/Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks collaborated on dividing the day into 24 segments, the hours into 60 segments, and the minute into 60 seconds.time

I’m sure the first astronomers attempted a digital system, but it didn’t fit. A true case of “outside the box thinking” by the ancients.

Seven Days In A Week.

I’m going with the Jewish Calendar here, and invite anyone to convince me otherwise. The Human body runs on 6-day on, 1-day off bio-rhythm.  We have a seven-day week because that’s the way God wants it.

The days of the week were originally just numbered, but we got creative and decided to name them.

Sunday – Yes, named after that big yellow ball in the sky. Or Sol Invictus, the Roman sun god.

Monday – after the moon. Monandaeg (old English, a derivative of Mani, the Norse god of the moon).

Tuesday – Twi’s Day. Twi was the Norse god of victory.

Wednesday – derived from Woden’s Day (old Saxon). Woden/Oden was the chief of the gods in the Norse pantheon.

Thursday – Thor’s day. God of thunder and war. Norse mythology again.

Friday – Figg’s day or Frieda’s day. Frieda was the goddess of wisdom and wife of Odin.

Saturday – The Roman god Saturn – sometime associated with Cronus, the god of Time.

In fact our New Years’ celebration is a derivative of Saturnalia, where servants and masters were supposed to trade places for one day.

The Months In The Year.

January – named after Janus – the Roman good of beginings and transistions. Originally named for Juno, the goddess and counselor of the Romans.

February – named after Februa – the ancient Roman ritual of purification.

March – Mars, Roman god of War.

April – this one is uncertain, but the word is likely derived from the Latin word aprillus which means “to open,” (think flowers) and therefore associated with the coming of Spring.

May – Maia, the Roman goddess of fertility.

June – Juno, see January.

July – Julius Caesar. Yes, he has a month named after himself.

August – Augustus, Ceasar’s grand-nephew and first Roman Emperor.

September, October, November, December – numerical – originally the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months on the ancient Roman calendar.

Lunar Cycles and Seasons.

There are twelve lunar cycles during the course of the year, but it’s not perfect. One day, Julius Caesar woke up and there was snow on the ground in what was supposed to be the month of June.

Obviously the Calendar was off. Fortunately, his conquest of Egypt provided him with a good solution.

A notable paradox of the Romans was that they were superb engineers without being first-rate mathematicians. Nor were they particularly good at astronomy.

But they were good at absorbing the best of other cultures. And that’s what they did with their measurement of Time.

The Ptolemys, were the ancient Greek dynasty which ruled Egypt. Descended from one of Alexander’s generals they thoroughly adopted and immersed themselves into the culture of the nation they ruled. Their gift to the Romans was the Egyptian Calendar, tweaked and perfected down through the centuries.

This became known as the Julian Calendar and it worked well for many centuries.

Then 1,500 years later, Pope Gregory XIII woke up to snow in July, and determined that the calendar was off again. Duh.  Well the renaissance mathematicians and astronomers went to work, ratcheted the Calendar forward a few months, added 10 minutes and change to the length of the year and tweaked the leap-years.

And that’s the short version of how we got the Gregorian Calendar.

Today, the lengths astronomers go to ensuring the precision by which we mark the passage of Time is extraordinary.

If you are reading this on your commute, (and someone else is doing the driving) put some of this into your search engine.  It makes for fascinating reading.


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The Politics of Chess.

Israeli players denied access to chess tournament held in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Government would not issues visas because the Kingdom does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

Chess | manningthewall.comWell. then maybe your should work on that, fellas.

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Handel’s Messiah – A Phil & Lois Story

It was one of the most memorable episodes in our story. And yes, Handel’s Messiah was the focus.  It was our first Christmas as a young married couple. Lois asked me if I would pick up some Christmas music on the way home from work. This was back when music stores were a thing.

But hold on.  I’m getting ahead of myself.

Some Background.

I was 14 years old when I first heard Handel’s Messiah live and in it’s entirety. My sister attended Kings College, which was then located in Briarcliff Manor, NY. A talented musician, she played the violin in the orchestra.

Screen Shot 2017-12-24 at 7.40.55 AM

As the youngest child, I was still getting dragged to all her… stuff.

Let’s be candid. Handel’s Messiah, in my never to be humble opinion, is the greatest Christmas cantata ever written. It’s also rather taxing. And not every movement is a masterpiece. To this day I don’t know if I would want to sit for the entire work. For a 14 year old boy, well…

But the second movement – the soloist left me… wow. Maybe it helped that this particular tenor was awesome. I don’t know who he was, but thanks to this fellow’s perfect pitch, my love for classical music in general began right then and there.

The second movement from Handel’s Messiah is taken almost verbatim from Isaiah chapter 40. In the right hands, or should I say with the right voice, it is one of the most pleasant things for the ear.

Comfort ye, comfort ye My people,                                                                                                  saith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to
Jerusalem, and cry unto her,

that her warfare is accomplished,

that her Iniquity is pardoned.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness
Prepare ye the way of the Lord.

Make straight in the desert a highway for
Our God.


Back to us…

We rented a 3-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a two-family home in Richmond Hill, Queens. We were young. Really, really… young. And communicating with each other was something we were just learning.

I stopped on Austin Street in Forest Hills to pick up a double CD. Upon arrival at home, I proudly presented my wife with a copy of Handel’s Messiah. The mighty hunter, throwing the saber-tooth tiger at his woman’s feet, anticipating her delighted squeal. I was not prepared for her frown of puzzlement. Even less prepared for the look of utter disappointment in her big-doe eyes.

“I thought you were getting Christmas music.”

“This is the greatest Christmas music ever written.” I replied, all urban sophistication. My puzzlement was at least equal to hers.

“No, I meant – you know, Andy Williams. You know, Christmas music.”

Now we were just talking past each other and it was my turn to be disappointed. How can this lovely, smart girl I married be so…? Sigh.

Regardless, genetic programing overrode social conditioning. In other words, the desire to please my wife pushed out everything else. That weekend we went Holiday shopping and among our haul, was a copy of Andy Williams’ Christmas CD.

Thirty years later I have acquired an appreciated for Andy Williams.

And my wife will tell you that she loves Handel’s Messiah.


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God Does Not Inform Our Politics.

Claiming Your Politics Aligns You With God?  Really?

God does not inform my politics. Which means he doesn’t inform yours either. You can pray, seek guidance, but in the end, you really don’t know.

Sunrise | @manningthewall.com

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Posted in Defining Western Civilization, Politics, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Jerusalem – What Took Us So Long?

For The Record.

Let’s get this out of the way up front. The City of Jerusalem is a Holy City to two faiths, not three. The Old and New Testaments mention Jerusalem throughout. The City is firmly embedded, root and branch in Judaism and Christianity.

golden gate Jerusalem | @manningthewall.com

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The Purges Will Continue Until Morale Improves.

For A Leftist, Purity Is Everything.

For reasons that escape me, the enemies of Western Civilization feel the need to purge their ranks.  The Left is consistent if nothing else.

What is most puzzling is that they are ridding themselves of some of their most useful voices with no help from the Normals.

Purging By The Left |@manningthwall.com

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The Real Lessons From Roy Moore & Al Franken.

Moore and Franken – How NOT to win.

You would have thought by now, having been shown how to win, that the Republicans would have gotten on board. The lessons from the Roy Moore and Al Franken kerfuffle are the same lessons that Republicans should have drawn from Watergate 45 years ago. Some Conservatives have, particularly in light of last year’s astonishing victory, but far too many keep to the old loser’s playbook.

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Reflections on Sutherland Springs, TX.

Sutherland Springs: Should Have Been A Typical Sunday.

A man walks into a Church. Heeding the Apostle Paul’s call to assemble together. Seeking fellowship, seeking to draw closer to his creator.  It’s a typical Sunday in Sutherland Springs, Tx.  Or it should have been.

Sutherland Springs

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Monday Morning Inspiration.

The Road of Kings, by Robert E. Howard.

Conan 01

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Gray Matter Shavings – Random Thoughts From The Week Of 10/23/17.

A Pinch of Gray Matter.  Thoughts that just won’t stop.

I need to get a better hobby.

Gray Matter Shavings | manningthewall.comA communist will tell you that communism has never worked because the right people never tried it.  I guess the right people have always tried capitalism.

True Racism is never punished. Pretend Racism? There is no end to it.  Ask any easily offended liberal.  (Yeah, redundant).

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