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Sons of Liberty

From the History Channel

From the History Channel

Tonight the three-part Sons of Liberty miniseries begins on the History Channel. According to their website:

SONS OF LIBERTY is a dramatic interpretation of events that sparked a revolution. It is historical fiction, not a documentary. The goal of our miniseries is to capture the spirit of the time, convey the personalities of the main characters, and focus on real events that have shaped our past. For historical information about the Sons of Liberty and the dawning of the American Revolution, please read the Historian’s View section on history.com/sons.

From time to time we can all use a refresher course in how the United States of America came to be. I am concerned that many children and young adults don’t know or entirely understand why the American Revolution happened and why the extreme risks our forefathers took to achieve independence are still relevant today. This is an opportunity to remind them of how the freedoms they might often take for granted came to be.

The further along I get on the journey of life, the more I realize just how bold our ancestors were to stand up against the king and create their own nation. Could you imagine if we decided to rebel against the heavy taxes, policies we disagree with, and leadership we don’t necessarily believe in today? When you grasp how brash, determined, and courageous men and women were in 1776, and the backbone it took to risk their very lives and property for their freedom, it’s truly breathtaking.

As a descendant of numerous patriots who either served in the Continental Army or provided support to the cause, I take great pride in what my ancestors risked and achieved. But as Americans, we are don’t have to have blood ties to these amazing pioneers to celebrate them. We have all benefited from their efforts and because of them we are one nation, under God. As Americans, we are equals regardless of our ancestry, origin, race, gender, or beliefs.

Please feel free to check out Sons of Liberty and get to know the brave souls who blessed us with such an astounding legacy. While reviews have said not much attention is given to the intellect and intent of the Sons of Liberty, portraying the idea of founding a nation as an aha moment rather than the point all along, I’m interested to see how their personalities are presented.

From the History Channel

From the History Channel. Click to enlarge.

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Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. -Colonial Prayer

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

NFL 2015 Bad Lip Reading

Okay, so you’ve probably already seen it on Facebook. This is just too funny not to post.

Yeah, I once got a rake, and I killed a snowman.

Dydd Santes Dwynwen

Dwdd Santes Dwynwen is the Welsh version of Valentine’s Day, occurring every January 25th. Dwynwen is the patron saint of Welsh lovers.

Dwynwen’s story can be found at the Visit Wales website:

The story goes the Dwynwen was the prettiest of Welsh king Brychan Brycheiniog’s twenty-four daughters. She fell in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill, but her father had already arranged for her to marry someone else.

Distraught, Dwynwen prayed to God and asked for help in forgetting Maelon. An angel visited her in her sleep and gave her a potion to erase her memory of feelings for Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.

With each of her dreams coming true, Dwynwen devoted her life to God; she set up a convent on the island of Llanddwyn, off the coast of Anglesey. The remains of the church can still be seen on the island, along with Dwynwen’s well.

It’s believed the well is home to sacred fish who can predict whether couples relationships will succeed; if the fish are seen to be active when visiting the well, it was seen as a sign of a faithful husband.

God offered Dwynwen three wishes. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed, the second that God should meet the needs of all lovers and the third that she should never marry.

The well has since become a place of pilgrimage for young Welsh lovers since Dwynwen’s death in the 5th century.

Dydd Santes Dwynwen 2If you are of Welsh descent, be sure to let those you love know of your affection and appreciation today, and take this chance to share a nugget of your heritage. The Welsh have rich traditions and stories that make for some deep reads, and one can get lost in classics like The Mabinogion. Cymru am byth!

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To be born in Wales, not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but, with music in your blood and with poetry in your soul, is a privilege indeed. -Brian Harris

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

Burns Night

Robert Burns

Originally posted January 25th, 2014.

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January 25th is Burns Night. Those inclined toward arson shouldn’t get too excited; it’s actually a holiday that celebrates Scotland’s most renowned poet. 

Scotland.org – Burns Night

Robert Burns lived just 37 years but in that time is said to have written or revised 559 poems and songs. A passionate man, he also fathered at least a dozen children, not all with his wife, the last of whom was born the day of his funeral.

Burns’ observations on the lives and feelings of the common man eventually endeared him to all classes of society. He was forthright and relatable, and his burning love for his country made him an icon of Scottish nationalism. But it’s not just the Scots who praise young Rabbie Burns; he has been immensely popular in other countries as well as evidenced by tributes from Sydney to Stanley Park to St. Petersburg.

Burns Night will be celebrated around the globe and many parties will involve Scottish music, dress, and traditions. A favorite Burns Night ritual is the recitation of his Address to a Haggis before the haggis is eaten:

If you don’t know haggis, you might not want to– it’s sheep organs with oatmeal, onions, spices, and suet boiled in the sheep’s stomach. Some adore its rich, spicy taste; others of us are fine with fake (vegan) haggis. 

Here in the Northwest, we’ve taken great liberties with the holiday, with some celebrating Gung Haggis Fat Choy. That’s a combination of Burns Night and the Chinese New Year, a strange mishmash that began in Vancouver about 20 years ago. Today is the 255th birthday of the Bard of Scotland– he was born in 1759– and in true weird wet weather fashion the Seattle celebration is being held the day before Presidents Day.

Others, however, stick with more traditional timing and traditions. There will be Burns Night celebrations on Mercer Island and in Mountlake Terrace tonight, cities on either side of Seattle. The Canadians love Burns Night, so they will be partying along with many in the UK, Australia, and America.

Burns is a rock star in Russia as well– many Burns Night dinners have been happening there this weekend. Some love the smell of haggis in Kiev. When Burns was translated into Russian during the days of Imperial Russia, common folk felt a kinship with him and honor him to this day. счастливые ожоги ночь! (that’s a literal translation, but hey, I tried).

The largest Burns Night Supper to date happened in 2009:

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns birth in 2009, more than 3,900 Burns Suppers in more than 80 countries were joined together to make the ‘The World Famous Burns Supper’ celebration.

From MacSween, Burns Night FAQs.

Even if you don’t want to get your tartan on and revel in a reading of Burns’ poetry tonight, you can easily find his writings online. One of my favorites is also one of his shortest musings:

The Book-Worms (1787)

Through and through th’ inspir’d leaves, 
Ye maggots, make your windings; 
But O respect his lordship’s taste, 
And spare his golden bindings.

Along with Auld Lang Syne, Burns’ Robert Bruce’s March to Bannockburn from 1793 is one of his better known literary triumphs, known to most as Scots Wha Hae:

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled, 
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led, 
Welcome to your gory bed, 
Or to Victorie! 

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour; 
See the front o’ battle lour; 
See approach proud Edward’s power- 
Chains and Slaverie! 

Wha will be a traitor knave? 
Wha can fill a coward’s grave? 
Wha sae base as be a Slave? 
Let him turn and flee! 

Wha, for Scotland’s King and Law, 
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw, 
Free-man stand, or Free-man fa’, 
Let him on wi’ me! 

By Oppression’s woes and pains! 
By your Sons in servile chains! 
We will drain our dearest veins, 
But they shall be free! 

Lay the proud Usurpers low! 
Tyrants fall in every foe! 
Liberty’s in every blow!- 
Let us Do or Die!

Burns wrote in Scots. You can find the English and Scottish Gaelic translations of this poem here.

Feel free to browse more of Burns’ works at the Burns Country site, where they’ve posted his complete works. In his short and challenging life, Burns wouldn’t know that allowing his mind to spill over onto paper would be cause for celebration more than two and a half centuries after his death. His spontaneity and creativity still makes Scottish blood boil with pride and unites various cultures in the name of brotherhood and the love of a good trope with their tripe.

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Thus bold, independent, unconquer’d, and free,

Her bright course of glory for ever shall run:

For brave Caledonia immortal must be…

-Robert Burns, 1789

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Justice for Susann Smith

Purple Candle 2

This week the trial of Alan Smith began in Snohomish County Superior Court. Smith is accused of murdering his children’s mother and estranged spouse Susann Smith in February of 2013. News coverage has been sparse so far, but the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter  has followed the case all along and will continue to post updates. Matt Phelps and crew– thank you for keeping this in the public eye.

Murder trial begins for Bothell man accused of killing estranged wife

In May of 2013 I wrote the post below, Murdering Susann Smith, which has hundreds of comments attached. I didn’t know when I penned it that it would become a gathering spot for people wanting more information about the case and to share what they knew. The neighborhood where this happened was concerned about their safety and disgusted by what went on at the Smith house after her murder.

For a long time, the primary suspect in the case was free and making a very public affair of his relationship with his new girlfriend, who later committed suicide after giving birth to their child. I still have trouble typing that, especially in light of what he allegedly did to Susann. He treated both women as disposable, as if he was God and had every right to hurt them and then get rid of them. Eventually the police had enough evidence and arrested him.

The brutality of Susann’s death does not resemble a burglary gone wrong as the defense claims. It was targeted, personal, and intended to inflict maximum damage. It shows wicked rage and a deep, seething hatred that had built up like a volcano. I’m surprised that the defense is going with that, that a burglar did it and Alan was at home asleep with his kids when this happened. My knee jerk reaction was, “you’re kidding me.” That is not the angle I thought they’d take, especially in light of the advance planning the police said went on and the evidence.

Returning to what I said in the first paragraph, the media hasn’t taken much of an interest in Susann’s murder. Stories about Alan having sex in his front yard after her murder were read around the world, so the original horror got lost in mankind’s voyeuristic attraction to the sleaze of it all. Imagine if every person who read the public sex story or commented on it in a public forum gave just one dollar to an agency that helps domestic violence victims. Millions of dollars could have been raised.

I’d like to provoke some coverage in the interest of raising awareness of domestic violence and related homicide. Susann Smith was one of 29 victims of domestic violence homicide in Washington State in 2013 and one of two in Snohomish County. This is not rare; it has happened many times before and will happen again. But there is a lot we can do to stop it, and I encourage you to visit some of the domestic violence-related links on the right sidebar to learn more about what you can do to help.

Susann was a beautiful woman who was devoted to her children and I suspect that I would have really liked Susann if I’d met her. But news outlets go for the money making stories, and this case didn’t involve a 21 year-old with perfectly curled hair extensions, false lashes, selfies of her drinking with her girlfriends on Facebook, and a bunch of sordid sexual drama in the marriage. Despite Susann originally being from Germany, I didn’t see this murder case get much international coverage until Alan Smith made sure everyone was seeing how cool he thinks he is by exploiting a woman with mental illness.

Perhaps Susann’s family hasn’t wanted the coverage and just wants to make life as normal for her children as they can. This has undoubtedly been traumatic for both sides of the children’s family and more media coverage might twist all sorts of facts and sensationalize particular elements of the case. But I want people to know that there are many more out there like the man who killed Susann, narcissists who think they’re too smart to get caught and who present a life-threatening danger to their victims. I’ve said it many times before, but men and women alike should be intimately familiar with Sandra L. Brown‘s books How to Spot a Dangerous Man and Women Who Love Psychopaths.

Within a few weeks, a female judge will be deciding Alan Smith’s fate, and I expect that any conviction will be followed by appeals. If you’re a praying person, now is the time to pray. Pray for the Susann’s family. Pray for her children. Pray for the suspect’s family and for Love Thai’s family and little boy, that he would grow up unaffected by all of this sorrow.

Prayer opens windows, inviting God in to comfort the grieving and achieve justice. A trial like this can be like putting the victim’s family through her murder all over again, and this time it might be even worse because some have traveled from another country to be in the courtroom. It might be the first time they’ve been that close to the evidence.

Many people are murdered every year. The utter brutality in this case, which is so blatantly personal, is what’s stood out to me all along. It doesn’t surprise me that the Reporter has noted that Alan Smith has looked blank much of the time. If I am correct about his psychological inclinations, he’s a human shark. He won’t feel remorse or regret over Susann’s death except to the extent that it affects him. He’s not beyond God’s reach or redemption, but that’s between him and God and not something anyone else can work out for him.

Whatever comes of this trial– and I pray that justice would come crashing down like fire from heaven so that no one else can be hurt by this guy– I am reminded that the Creator is keeping score. Yes, Alan is innocent until proven guilty. But his outrageous behavior after Susann’s death, including moving back into the house where her blood had soaked the floors and walls– and planning to move his children in there– has not shouted “shaken father trying to normalize his life.” It’s been more like a chest-beating victory cry to the world, and he only has himself to blame for that. No one did this to him. No one did this for him. No one made him do it. And if he’s guilty, he will have to live– or, if the judge sees fit– die knowing that.

This might come across as judgmental. Perhaps. But I’m a woman who’s spent a lifetime up close and personal with narcissists and sociopaths who are willing to badger, belittle, abuse, exploit, and even want to kill women who stand up for themselves. I have experienced various levels of this in my personal life and in the workplace and have two related degrees. There are elements of this case that resonate with me, and ultimately I don’t see “awesome” or “criminal mastermind.” I see cowardice. I see someone who couldn’t own their feelings or actions and robbed two beautiful children of their mother in some sort of demonic act of vengeance.

It’s in God’s hands. And if I were an abuser, or someone who exploits others, or a killer, I’d be at least a little concerned about what He’s going to say when He asks for an account of my life. Who will have the guts to say, “she deserved it” or “it was coming to her?” In light of my belief that what we do in this life determines our station in eternity, that this is the testing ground for what comes next, “oh God, what have I done?” is a much more realistic answer. And the sooner those words are spoken, the more likely it will be that the person saying them won’t choose a forever separate from God’s love.

I can’t provide up to the minute news coverage of this trial but will post things as they’re sent to me or as I come across them. I will approve comments as soon as I can. I don’t make a dime from blogging so you know this isn’t financially motivated. This is about keeping the spotlight on domestic violence, achieving justice for those involved, and remembering a woman who was put through the worst kind of hell for having the courage to move on.

The next Susann Smith could be in the same room with you– what are you doing to help them to safety?

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Please take the time to become familiar with the Document the Abuse website and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit featured there. If you are affected by domestic violence, make it impossible for your abuser to get away with it no matter what happens.

Also, check out Susan Murphy Milano’s Times Up! A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships. Susan was our fearless leader at the Time’s Up crime victims advocacy blog until she passed away a couple of years ago. We continue our crusade for justice in her memory.

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

Murdering Susann Smith

From Acacia Memorial Park's Dignity Memorial site

Susann Smith. From Acacia Memorial Park’s Dignity Memorial site.

Originally posted May 12th, 2013.

On February 12th of this year, Bothell, Washington resident Susann Smith didn’t show up for work. She was found bludgeoned to death–and stabbed– in the bathtub of her home. This murder set the community on edge and to date a suspect has not been arrested.

Smith had primary custody of her three and six year-old children. Her estranged husband, Allan Smith, saw them on evenings and weekends. They were getting a divorce and Susann had allegedly threatened to take the children back to her native Germany.

Allan has been named as a person of interest and the media has reported that he’d done an online search about countries without extradition treaties. The police are also investigating purchases he made including a bicycle that might have been used in the murder. To put it bluntly, all signs are pointing to the estranged ex-husband, who lived just two miles away. Continue Reading »

We Are Charlie: Free Speech v. Self-Censorship

As Douglas Murray of the Gatestone Institute said in this piece, stop blaming the victims and start taking a stand for freedom of speech.

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