Posts Tagged ‘Nefertiti’

Saturday’s Smatterings

Posted in General on October 24th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Today’s headline stories from The New York Times:


No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund

Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those “Baby Einstein” videos that did not make children into geniuses.

They may have been a great electronic baby sitter, but the unusual refunds appear to be a tacit admission that they did not increase infant intellect.

“We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has been pushing the issue for years.


The Disney Company now will produce training videos  within the parameters of infant behavior: “Baby Caligula” and “Baby Ayn Rand.” 

A 3,500-Year-Old Queen Causes a Rift Between Germany and Egypt

BERLIN — Culture lovers reveled in the reopening of the Neues Museum in the heart of Berlin on Friday, the culmination of decades of efforts to renovate the site, which was destroyed during World War II.

But the celebrations have been marred by a growing dispute between the German and Egyptian governments over the star of the show: the 3,500-year-old limestone-and-stucco bust of Queen Nefertiti, a wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Nefertiti has been in Germany since 1913. But now Egypt is demanding that the fragile object, perched alone in a domed room that overlooks the length of the museum, be returned home.

Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told German newspapers over the past few days that Nefertiti belonged to Egypt.


 Germany found it pleasantly surprising to have “borrowed” anything without first having caused a war.  The German government is granting Nefertiti political asylum; “We know how Moslems treat women–and imagine how they would regard a pagan one.”

In a related development, Egypt is demanding the syndication rights to “Seinfeld.”  Filing a lien on intellectual property rights, Egypt has identified Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David as escaped Hebrew slaves.


And now our regularly scheduled pedantics:

October 24, 1648:  The Treaty of Westphalia

If you haven’t already sent a sympathy card to the Hapsburgs, at least offer to buy them lunch.

As you know (but I will belabor), the Treaty of Westphalia ended The Thirty Years War. The War basically was a simple, religious affair: Catholics slaughtered Protestants and Protestants returned the favor. Both sides proved very enthusiastic. Armies were paid by what they could pillage–and it is always easier to rob the dead. Central Europe was reduced to a charnel house. At least one third of the population was killed.

It looked like the Catholics–led by the Hapsburgs–were ahead on points–when France intervened. Cardinal Richelieu did not want to see a triumphant Austria unifying the German states. The brilliant statesman may have had premonitions of 1870, 1914 and 1940. Relegating his religious preferences behind his national interests, Richelieu brought France to the Protestant side, and that led the war to a stalemate.

The Hapsburgs finally realized that there were too many Protestants to kill and who certainly were not cooperating in the effort. So, Catholics and Protestants agreed to stop slaughtering each other. England did not sign the treaty, however, so Catholics were still fair game in Scotland and Ireland.

And Holland was finally granted independence from Spain. Of course, the Dutch hadn’t bothered to wait and had been governing their country for more forty years. It just took that long for Spain to notice the obvious.

The Protestants of Germany were saved. Austria was frustrated and spent. And now the greatest power on continental Europe was France. Richelieu did not live to see his triumph, succumbing to natural causes in 1643.  There has yet to be a proposal to grant him sainthood.

Learning of Richelieu’s death Pope Urban VII concluded, “If there is a God, he will pay dearly for his conduct.  If there is no God, then he was truly an admirable man.”