Posts Tagged Greek Mythology

Gods and Ends

Greek Mythology has always been a source of great fascination to me.  The Ancient Greeks had an uncanny way of explaining the random, capricious nature of life through their deities.  The gods were wild and erratic.  They could hand you a check for a million dollars one minute and throw you in a pit with a thousand rattlesnakes the next.  Imagine the entire Old Testament was The Book of Job and you have a decent sense of how things worked for The Greeks.

The gods seemed to be a great way to explain anything and everything.  At times, it can seem as if there were more gods then Greeks. Often, scholars spend their time focusing on the better-known gods like Zeus, Poseidon or Athena.  However, there are many fascinating stories of gods that were widely worshiped in their day, but have disappeared into the great dustbin of history.  Here are some great examples:

Arteriosclorities-The God of Deep Fried Foods

Beyond contributing democracy and many other key philosophical insights to our world, The Greeks are also the first society to deep-fry their foods.  From yak to Snickers bars (a delicacy first created by Aristotle), the Greeks would throw nearly anything into a bubbling cauldron of oil.  It is no wonder that the Greeks are believed to be the progenitors of Western medicine.  Most Greeks weighed upwards of 300 pounds and were barely able to run.  This fact tends to throw their achievements during the Olympic games into a whole different light.

Supposedly, Arteriosclorities was one of Zeus’ many sons from an affair with Eris, the goddess of strife and discord.  In order to hide this affair from his wife Hera after the child was born, Zeus placed Arteriosclorities into the stomach of Dionysus while he was sleeping off a wild night of overeating and general debauchery.  Dionysus awoke with a terrible feeling of discomfort and collapsed.  Zeus, not meaning to have harmed Dionysus, sent Indigestius, the Greek god of stomach acid and ulcers, into his stomach to destroy Arteriosclorities.  The two had a great battle, which was won by Indigestius.  Dionysus finally awoke with terrible stomach pains that could only be allayed by eating massive amounts of antacids.

McKuenius-The God of Bad Poetry and Greeting Cards

The Greeks are known for creating some of the most poignant and moving poetry in human history.  But, for every Homer, there were 1,000 less talented hacks trying to write their own Iliad.  Many of these no talent writers ended up working for the Hallmark Corporation, which was founded in 654 B.C., with the mission of sending sappy, dull poetry to people on important days of their lives.  Their patron saint is the god McKuenius.

McKuenius was known for writing terribly boring, pointless poetry and asking Hermes to deliver it.  Hermes, the busy messenger god, was forced to deliver idiotic compositions like “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, You are a Goddess and Athena is too” to Aphrodite or “Poseidon likes water, Demeter is his sister, She gave birth to his daughter,” to the god of the sea. After growing tired of having to read this drivel, Hermes begged Zeus to punish McKuenius in order to make him stop writing.  First, Zeus sentenced him to one hundred years of writing dirty limericks on bathroom stalls.  However, Zeus quickly discovered that he was enjoying his job.  Zeus realized he was a lost cause and sent him to pits of Tartarus and made him write a detailed description of Sisyphus rolling a rock up the hill for eternity.  He is still there today, happily describing suffering and misery in a pithy, gleeful, and highly moronic way.

Aggasius-The God Of Male Pattern Baldness

The gods seemed to all have some sort of fatal flaw.  Be it rage, greed, avarice or just plain old insanity, they all seemed to have something locked into their character that made them both all-powerful and amazingly vulnerable.  One of the earliest examples of this is Aggasius, the god of male pattern baldness.  Aggusius was one of the original Titan gods who were overthrown by Zeus and The Olympian gods at 4:22 PM on February 12th 3212 B.C.  Aggasius was capable of creating tornadoes, causing earthquakes and smiting entire nations with a wave of his staff.   However, he was unable to grow hair on the top of his head.  The tragic irony of Agassius was that he could grow massive amounts on his back, his ears and even on his shoulders like Sonny Corleone in the first Godfather film.  He tried several potions created by Greek pharmaceutical manufacturers, a terribly made hairpiece created from the beard of Hyperion, and even tried to rubbing pomegranate seeds on his head three times a day, nothing seemed to work.  In spite of his great power, the other gods laughed at “The Bald One” whenever his back was turned.  Eventually, he grew tired of the mockery, quit being a god and moved to a suburb of Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he still lives today working as a successful middle manager at a meat packing company.

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The Man Who Would Be King Diamond

(Here’s a great piece that was on CNN’s website last Friday)

(CNN)-After watching him burst from the obscure world of heavy metal music onto the national stage as a Republican candidate for the Presidency, most Americans are asking the same question, “Who is King Diamond?”  As of 2010, most political commentators hadn’t even heard the album Fatal Portrait let alone considered him to be a possible challenger to Barack Obama’s Presidency.  However, the past few months have seen a whirlwind of political action by The King, including solving the debt crisis, helping to overthrow Mubarak’s government in Egypt and giving a speech in front of 2 million screaming, poorly-dressed metalheads at this month’s Million Metalhead March.

Not only is The King gathering a flood of support from disaffected Republicans (as well as some Democrats), his shadowy political action committee, known as THEM, has raised over 13 million dollars in less than 2 weeks.  In order to understand King Diamond’s appeal to voters, it is first important to learn about his fascinating background.  In many ways, The King’s story is America’s story.

Kim Bendix Peterson was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1739.  He was the son of Per Peterson, a blacksmith, and Abigail Peterson, a blood-drinking witch who was a direct descendant of the God Poseidon.  He was an intelligent young man who was deeply interested in alchemy, local politics and dead animals.  When he turned 16, he had his first meeting with the Dark Lord Satan, who was working as a science teacher at The King’s high school.  Satan, who was impressed by young Kim’s quick wit and nimble mind, became something of a mentor to him.  “I remember when I first met him,” said Satan in an exclusive interview with CNN last week, “you could just tell he was going to do great things.”

When Kim turned 21, he officially took on the name King Diamond during a ritual sacrifice of Copenhagen’s largest water buffalo.  The King was immediately given the powers of invisibility, the ability to cast spells on those he felt were deserving of torment and the occasional ability to raise the dead.  Satan worried that The King might be taking on too much at a young age, but Diamond was able to keep things in perspective, rising to the role of Dark Prince in a span of less than five years.

Things haven’t always been easy for The King.  Diamond has had to overcome several major obstacles in his life including a yearlong bout with bubonic plague and his grandmother’s devastating battle with mental illness.  However, nothing compares to the horrible four year stretch where he was dead back in the 1840s.  After being burned at the stake by wild-eyed French farmers who believed he caused blight on their crops, he was trapped in a darkened purgatory for what seemed like eternity.  Eventually Charon, the ferryman on the river Styx, found the King screaming falsetto Latin choruses at passing demons and led him out of the realm of eternal darkness.  “I felt like The King still had so much evil to bring to the world,” said Charon in his biography “Rollin’ On The River of The Dead:  A Memoir”, “so I took pity on his soul and returned him to the world of the living.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

After his return to earth, The King became involved in politics, eventually landing a high-ranking position as Ambassador to Russia under President Teddy Roosevelt.   While in the Roosevelt administration, Diamond accidently helped to negotiate the end of the Russo-Japanese War.  For his work, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with the President, an Award that he tossed into a blazing fire moments after he received it.  Things turned sour between him and Roosevelt soon after when the President refused to allow Satan to take control of Arizona, which he believed Satan rightfully won from the President in a game of poker.  The King became disillusioned with politics and travelled to the Far East in order to learn meditation techniques from several enlightened masters.

The King returned to Europe in the 1970s and began his career as a musician, believing that music was the best way to spread his message of unbridled horror to the world.  After stints in bands like Brainstorm and Black Rose, the King truly found his calling in the 1980s fronting metal legends Mercyful Fate.  Along with the seven studio albums he recorded with Fate, he also put together twelve magnificent studio records as a solo artist.   After seeing what he referred to as the “embarrassing state of American politics”, he decided it was time to return and save America from the “tyranny of the painfully stupid”.  The King plans to bring a no-nonsense approach to governing that includes a more equitable tax code and the return of the guillotine.  He has a bold, striking vision for America that many consider radical.  However, in these troubled times, a radical message like his may be just what Americans are looking for.

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