Down Boy!

_MG_8522Are you afraid of animals? It is not uncommon for little children to be afraid of dogs – at least until they grow up enough and become wise enough to realize that dogs are way better than cats!!!

There are animals that scare me.  Of course, the setting makes a huge difference (for example, in a zoo I’m not afraid of them!). But, I’m afraid of poisonous snakes and spiders, sharks, bears, lions and tigers (oh my!) if I were to come across them in the wild. When I was in Africa this last spring, I wondered what kind of beasties I might encounter, but all the big game animals in Ghana are pretty much gone. There are still poisonous snakes, scorpions (they belong on my list, too – and I had a close all with one of them while there!) and boas that can put a serious hurtin’ on you.

Still, none of those could hold a candle to the beasties of yesteryear. Take the big boy that’s in the photo today. That’s one serous set of chompers! Recent studies say that the T Rex may have been able to exert up to 5000 pounds per square inch with its jaws (compared to 175 for a human).  Scientists believe it may have been able to consume as much as 500 pounds in a single bite – with jaws that were four feet long. They didn’t bother picking the bones out of their prey – they just crushed the bones and ate the whole creature. Try to imagine getting your kids to go outside and play with these critters running around out there!

This picture was shot at the Global Winter Wonderland in Atlanta, GA last week. Don’t ask me what a T-Rex was doing there or what it has to do with Christmas, unless Santa is switching from reindeer to T-Rex’s to pull his sleigh. After all, with the world population going up and more houses to stop and visit each year, maybe he had to upgrade his “team”.

Who loved a T-Rex?  Anyone? Perhaps a dentist!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1170, Archbishop Thomas Becket was brutally murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights of King Henry II of England, apparently on orders of the king.

In 1155, Henry II appointed Becket as chancellor, a high post in the English government. Becket proved a skilled diplomat and won the trust of Henry, who nominated him as archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. The king hoped his friend would help in his efforts to curb the growing power of the church. However, soon after his consecration, the new archbishop emerged a zealous defender of the jurisdiction of the church over its own affairs. In 1164, Becket was forced to flee to France under fear of retaliation by the king.

He was later reconciled with Henry and in 1170 returned to Canterbury amid great public rejoicing. Soon afterward, against the objections of the pope, Henry had his son crowned co-king by the archbishop of York, and tensions again came to a head between Becket and Henry. At this time, perhaps merely in a moment of frustration, the king issued to his court the following public plea: “What a parcel of fools and dastards have I nourished in my house, and not one of them will avenge me of this one upstart clerk.” A group of Henry’s knights took the statement very seriously, and on December 29, Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

The Christian world was shocked by Becket’s death, and in 1173 he was canonized a Catholic saint. In 1174, Henry was forced to do penance at his tomb, and his efforts to end the separation between church and state ceased. In 1220, Becket’s bones were transferred to Trinity Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral, which later became a popular site of English religious pilgrimage.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  In many countries, it is the custom to wish friends a “Happy Birthday” on January 1st, rather than a “Happy New Year.” This day is nicknamed “Everyman’s Birthday,” and is considered the day when everyone becomes a year older, whether it’s their actual day of birth or not. Similarly, this practice is observed in horse racing. No matter when a race horse is born, they all “become” a year older on New Year’s Day, although there are no records explaining how or why this came to be.

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