The Real-Life Philomena: ‘You See So Much Hurt Caused by Anger’

CULTURE

The Real-Life Philomena: ‘You See So Much Hurt Caused by Anger’

Forced to give up her child for adoption as a teenager, the woman who inspired the Oscar-nominated film starring Judi Dench talks about forgiveness and keeping her faith.By Nolan Feeney

FEBRUARY 8, 2014SHARE

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Left: Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena. Right: Philomena Lee. (The Weinstein Company; AP)

For decades, Philomena Lee didn’t think there was anything interesting about her life story.

After becoming pregnant out of wedlock in Ireland in 1951, a teenage Lee was disowned by her father and sent to live and work in a convent alongside other unmarried mothers. When her son Anthony was three years old, the convent’s nuns, in exchange for a generous donation, gave him up for adoption to Americans, who were told he was an orphan. A distraught Lee watched from an upstairs window as strangers drove off with her child.

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For the next 50 years, Lee told nobody about Anthony. That’s just how life went for sinners in the Catholic Church, she thought.

But one day, she told her secret to her daughter, Jane Libberton, who quickly began the search for Lee’s long-lost child. It wasn’t easy: Irish law makes it extremely difficult for adopted children to learn about their parents and birth records, and the nuns at the convent where Lee lived stonewalled her requests for information. Eventually, Libberton pieced together the identity of Anthony: Renamed Michael Hess by his American parents, he’d grown up to be a top attorney for the Republican National Committee.

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By the time Lee and Libberton solved the mystery, however, they were too late: Hess had died of AIDS in 1995. His ashes had been buried at the the convent at Hess’s request—he hoped that his mother would return and find him. Just as the nuns wouldn’t give Lee and Libberton any answers about what happened to Anthony, Hess himself had journeyed to Ireland to ask about his mother—with no luck.

Acclaim and Oscar nominations for Philomena, based off journalist Martin Sixsmith’s book, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, have brought international attention to the stories of Lee and the thousands of women just like her. Last month, Lee partnered with the Adoption Rights Alliance to launch The Philomena Project, which will advocate for changes to Ireland’s adoption-records policies and help connect mothers and children separated by the country’s history of forced adoptions. In late January, Lee, Libberton, and Mari Steed, U.S. coordinator of the ARA, traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with senators and diplomats about the project, and they spoke to The Atlantic about the film, faith, and forgiveness.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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When you started your journey a decade ago, did you ever think it would bring you to Washington?

Philomena: No way whatsoever.

Jane: When mom first met Martin, she didn’t even really want it to be a book, did you? You didn’t really want the story.

Philomena: Oh no. When I told my daughter after 50 years, I said, “No, I can’t.” Because I kept it a secret so long. No way. So then I just decided, well, look, if it can help a lot of mothers my age, I’m nearly 80—

Jane: You are 80!

Philomena: We were ostracized in them days because we had babies out of wedlock, because that was a very awful thing to do. Women my age kept it a secret and wouldn’t tell their families. A lot of the babies born, their offspring, they’re now looking for them. A lot of ladies my age still haven’t come out to say it. So many people responded to the film, and a lot of them actually were women like me coming out. People like Mari and her colleagues have been trying for years to get the government in Ireland to give people rights to their records.

Is the project more about helping adopted children here connect with parents in Ireland, or about putting pressure on Ireland to change its policies?

Mari: Both. Some of the senators and congressmen we met are from the states where a lot of the babies were placed to—in Anthony’s case, Missouri—so we met with Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill. Somebody might go to their local representatives and say, “I was born in Ireland and am a citizen here, what do I do?”

Likewise, we met the Irish ambassador [Anne Anderson] and it’s the same thing. “If one of our citizens should happen to come to the Irish Embassy or call one of the consulates, would you be able to give them these resources and point us in the right direction?” We don’t want to do any hard-hitting political lobbying, but we would like them to lend their voices and their support if at all possible. I think the response was very positive.

Jane: It was very positive! Obviously my mom and I have no experience of being here in Washington and meeting senators, that’s like—

Philomena: Wow-wee!

Jane: We had no idea what to expect. Each and every one was different, but very positive. We felt like we were following in Anthony’s footsteps because he worked in these buildings.

That must have been special.

Philomena: Very much so. This was his world.

Activists have said you’d need to drag Ireland to the United Nations to see these changes happen. Have you had more success going the political route than through the Church?“We’re just telling the truth of what happened. It was never, ever from the start meant to be an attack on the Church.”

Mari: Absolutely. With the Church, you really will get nowhere. I’m not saying that’s a negative or a positive. That’s simply what it is. They’re not going to change their mind or suddenly change their policies. And not only that, but all of the records, as of this year, have finally been transferred out from under the ownership of Church agents and are now under the government’s Health Service Executive in Ireland, so we’ve almost removed the Church from the picture, at least as far as the records are concerned. But I think eventually it may take a UN case similar to the Magdalenes cause in Ireland. We’ve got the right players, we’ve got people affiliated with the project. If we have to go that route, we will.

Have the ways the Catholic Church has changed in the past several decades made it any easier?

Mari: Yeah, not really. Their attitudes really haven’t changed.

Jane: In Ireland.

Mari: Yeah, absolutely not in Ireland. Here in the States, we tend to get a lot more encouragement and sympathy. In Ireland, it’s still this stubborn willfulness. They’d rather stay silent and take the bad press than issue apologies, because they know that will open them up to legal liabilities.

Jane: My mom still very much has her faith and is still quite protective of the Church, so you find it a bit awkward sometimes.

Philomena: Sometimes. You just believed everything you were told. You didn’t query it, you just didn’t query it. People would say, “Are you against the Catholic Church?” No, I’m not. At the time they did it, they took me in, they gave me a home for my baby. They gave us a home. It was the Church that caused all the problems because the Church made a baby out of wedlock a mortal sin. So we firmly believed we were sinners. That’s the teaching of the Church.

Were you worried people would take an anti-Catholic message away from the movie?

Jane: I don’t think we even thought about the Catholic stance at all, this is just my mom’s story and what happened to her. Obviously people have come out and said, “This is an anti-Catholic film.” It was never intended to be. This is what happened.”People can’t understand how I could have been so forgiving.”

Philomena: No! It’s my story.

Jane: There are other Catholic groups that are in support of it, [saying] that it isn’t an anti-Catholic film because she retains her faith all the way through it. We’re just telling the truth of what happened. It was never, ever from the start meant to be an attack on the Church. Steve Coogan [who plays Martin Sixsmith] says the same thing. He’s from an Irish-Catholic family. He spent a lot of time with women my mom’s age when he was a child. He never set out at all to make an anti-Catholic film. It’s just different people who have different views. As mom said, yes, they did take her in. Where else would she have gone? But they kind of caused the problem in the first place. They were part of the solution, but they were part of the problem.

Did you feel surprised that so many people found your commitment to your faith inspiring?

Philomena: We did, actually. People can’t understand how I could have been so forgiving. But I mean, Anthony would have been 61 last year. When he was adopted and taken away, I went to Liverpool, two years I stayed there, and then I went down and did psychiatric nursing for 30 years. Now, you don’t work in a psychiatric hospital and not see some awful, sad faces. You see so much hurt and pain caused by anger. I was angry in the beginning, and I used to think, why did this happen to me? And then nursing the patients, sitting down and talking with them, helping them with their problems—it made my own slide into the background. I’ve seen so much hurt caused through anger. And I thought, “I couldn’t go through my whole life being angry.” It’s just not in my nature to be angry. I was upset and very sad and very hurt. But I just went on with life and got married and had children. Working with psychiatric patients, it helped me to heal a lot of the pain I had.

One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is the moment of forgiveness near the end. Steve Coogan, as Martin, seems confused by it, asking, “Just like that?” But Judi Dench, as you, says it actually takes everything inside you to forgive.

Philomena: When my daughter first found out about this story, she was very angry, and I think Steve Coogan took on her anger.

Jane: Martin was a political journalist, and he wasn’t particularly angry. He’s seen all sort of things in his career. Steve asked a particular question of whether you forgive the nuns, and you did. I said, “I don’t,” so he took the anger and put it in his character. Martin wasn’t an angry character, he was a journalist.

Were the nuns as big of an obstacle in learning about Anthony as they appeared in the movie?

Jane: When we went the first time, they didn’t help. They were very pleasant very nice.

Philomena: Lovely.

Jane: We sat down to tea like this. We knew Anthony’s grave was there. But they didn’t give us any information about the American side of things. When we went back the second year, I’d said we found Anthony’s partner and we found Mary, who was adopted with Anthony, and then they went to the cupboard and gave me papers they could have given me before. Without those papers, there never would have been a book. They just weren’t helpful.”We were ostracized so much. We had to lose our identities. I wasn’t Philomena Lee anymore. I got a name called Marcella. For three and a half years, I was Marcella.”

Did they not fully understand?

Jane: Oh, they understood. [The character] Sister Margaret was [based off] the present-day nun we met with Martin. She was delightful. She’s English like I am, so she knew where I was coming from, because in the United Kingdom, at 18 years old, you can find out your history if you’re adopted. In Ireland, you can’t. I didn’t get angry with her. I was angry, but I didn’t shout out her like Steve Coogan shouts at Sister Hildegard [in the movie]. She knew exactly what I meant when I said, “To me, what you’re doing is completely wrong.” She did sit there kind of stony-faced. She was in the position where she felt she couldn’t give me the information because that’s what she’d been taught by the Church. And we’re only talking about seven years ago. It wasn’t a long time ago.

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Did you have a sense of how widespread this was?

Philomena: You mean everybody having babies? Women having babies?

The forced adoptions across the country, I mean.

Philomena: I was a teenager at the time. I didn’t know anything about that. I didn’t know about babies being gone abroad and getting donations for them. I didn’t know the first thing about that. How would we know? The nuns wouldn’t tell you. We were Catholic, we went to church, we went to mass, that’s all we did. I worked in the laundry for three and a half years.

Mari: There were many Irish families who might have had a mother and baby home just up the road and didn’t even know it. They just knew it was the nuns who ran their business. Nobody really knew what went on behind the walls or dared ask. I think they had an inkling, it just wasn’t discussed.

Philomena: And often the mother’s parents were glad to get rid of you, because it was such a shame on them. We were ostracized so much. We had to lose our identities. I wasn’t Philomena Lee anymore. I got a name called Marcella. For three and a half years, I was Marcella. Some of the women now come forward and say, “Did you remember me when I was there?” I wouldn’t have remembered them because they’d have another name. From the day I went in till the day I came out I was Marcella, not Philomena Lee.”And the whole of my life, all I wanted was to find him. Finding out he was dead was very hard, but at least I found him.”

Tell me about the first time you told Jane about Anthony.

Philomena: I go home to Ireland every year. I call it home still even though I’ve lived 56 years in England. My brother, he was a young lad. He was 18 months older than me when I went to the home. He drove me when they discovered I was pregnant. He bounced him on his knees and hugged him and loved him. My father was out signing papers with the nuns—in them days you didn’t query what they were doing—and my brother was out with me in the halls. For years he felt so guilty. “I should have run away with him.” But with the police, the guards, we call them guards in Ireland, [he] wouldn’t have gotten away with it. I went home in 2003, was it? He said, “For goodness’ sake, go back home and tell them.” My son is older than Jane. I went home and sat them down and told them.

Jane: Well, you told me. You came out to see me. I’d just moved house and renovated it. And my mom, you’d [just] been to Ireland, and you said, “Oh, I’ll pop around and see you.” It was slightly unusual because we normally meet in the day, and you were feigning interest in my decor. I just had some new light switches. I remember it very clearly. You looked at them said, “They’re very nice.” You’re not really into that kind of thing.

Philomena: Not decorating, no.

Jane: So she sat down, and we did open a bottle of wine, and she just came out with it. “I had a baby in Ireland,” I think is what you said. But immediately I knew who this child was because we always had his photograph in with all the other family photos. He always looked like he was in an odd place because he’s got nuns with him, or he looks like he’s in a hospital. I had asked you once when I was a child, and you said it was a cousin’s son, and I didn’t think anything more of that. But I felt immediately sorry for her, because I’ve got children, and he was three and a half when he was adopted. I couldn’t imagine having to give a child away at that age. It would just be awful.

Philomena: Awful, awful.

Jane: Clearly you would have bonded with him because they’re little people at that age.

Philomena: He was a lovely, lovely little boy.

What was it like seeing the movie for the first time?

Philomena: We didn’t know what to make of it, did we? We saw it together.

Jane: It was very hard to judge whether it was good or not because we’d been so involved in it. We met the next day at lunch and I said, “I think it’s okay? I think we’ll be alright with this film.” But we couldn’t tell. People asked me if it was good and I said, “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you if it was good.”

Philomena: We couldn’t!

Jane: It took a couple viewings. Then it went to the Venice Film Festival and received such fantastic reviews. I started reading the reviews to mom, and we could see why people liked it. But it took other people to point us in the right direction.

But you’ve come to enjoy it?

Jane: Yes, we certainly laughed.

Philomena: Oh yes, it’s very funny.

Jane: Life’s not all doom and gloom.

It was already such a tough, emotional movie to watch, it would have been a lot harder without those funnier moments.

Philomena: The thing is, I found him. And the whole of my life, all I wanted was to find him. Finding out he was dead was very hard, but at least I found him. I used to think over the years he could be in Vietnam, he could be on Skid Row. It’s the not knowing. But once I found out how successful he was, then I was able to put my heart to rest and my mind to rest. At least he had a very good life and a wonderful partner. And I’m sure, up there, he helped me to start this 10 years ago. I believe that.

Mari: He’d be so pleased.

Jane: I think he’d be pleased, being a political man.

Philomena: I’m sure he is. The thing is, I’m sure because about one year [before finding him], maybe less than that, I started going back to mass. I had given up going to mass and communion and confession. Somehow or another I said, “I think I’ll start going back.” I went to mass at the beautiful abbey near where we lived. They had a Catholic mass every Friday morning. I joined that and got back in there, and I’d go down and light my candle in this beautiful place. Somehow after this, my brother said to me, “Will you go back home and tell your daughter?” after I started [getting that] feeling. I’m sure Anthony was up there.

Nolan Feeney is a former producer for TheAtlantic.com.

How dancing can help slow — and potentially reverse — the ageing process

https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2022-10-06/dancing-can-slow-and-reverse-ageing-process/101324714

Watch part one of Catalyst’s Keep On Dancing on ABC iview. Part two airs on ABC TV and ABC iview next Tuesday, October 11.

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By science reporter Gemma Conroy for Catalyst

Posted 10h ago10 hours ago, updated 13m ago13 minutes ago

A group of nine older people wearing white in various dance poses
Dancing isn’t just a great workout — it can also slow down the ageing process.(ABC: Catalyst )

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For most of us, dancing is a fun way to unwind, or something we do after a few too many drinks on a Saturday night.

But what if dancing can actually help to slow — or in some cases even reverse — the ageing process? The ABC’s Catalyst program wanted to find out.

In his youth, Roderick spent his weekends dancing the night away at rave parties. 

“I thought I was a good dancer,” the 67-year-old says.

Older man wearing white with hands on his hand and eyes closed
Roderick had experienced numbness in his legs for years — until he started dancing. (ABC: Catalyst)

But Roderick’s life changed four decades ago when he was diagnosed with HIV.

Since taking antiretroviral medication for his illness, he developed peripheral neuropathy — a condition that causes numbness, weakness and pain in the hands and feet.

The drug that saved Roderick’s life has left him without any feeling in his legs, making it difficult for him to balance — let alone dance.

“It was like walking on rubber,” he says.

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Recently, Roderick joined eight other participants in a Catalyst experiment that explored how dance can help older people improve their physical and mental wellbeing. 

Over 12 weeks, the participants spent four hours each week learning a routine that combined dance and sign language.

Led by Australian choreographer Kelley Abbey, the program culminated in a live performance at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney.

The participants also took part in seven health-based assessments that measured their physical and cognitive abilities before and after the program.

But after just three rehearsals, Roderick had already made a breakthrough.

After 10 years of living without any feeling in his legs, he says he began to feel a twinge of pain in his calf muscle while doing some stretches.

“It’s pain, but it’s bloody good pain.”

And there was more good news to come.

The big slowdown

Love it or hate it, we are all getting older. When we look in the mirror, we might notice a few more wrinkles or strands of silver hair, but there are also a lot of changes happening on the inside.

For one, we slowly begin to lose muscle mass at around the age of 35, a process that speeds up after we turn 60. This can make us weaker and more susceptible to fatigue, making it tougher to get our bodies moving. 

The way we walk also changes. While we may have been able to dart across the street in our youth, we tend to take shorter, slower steps as we get older, leading to unsteadiness on our feet.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VScrN610Rn8?feature=oembedYOUTUBEReducing trips and falls in older age

So, it’s no surprise that falls are the most common cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 75, according to data from NHS Digital in the UK.

“That can be one of the most problematic physical aspects of ageing,” says Rachel Ward, a biomechanical scientist at UNSW Sydney.

“Falls are a huge burden on the public health system.”

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Dealing with these physical challenges and the risks that come with them can impact daily life.

Over time, it can become more tempting to take it easy and skip exercise altogether. 

On top of that, our cognitive abilities — such as being able to recall names, numbers and do mental calculations on the spot — can take a hit.

But staying fit and mentally sharp go hand in hand — for better or worse, says Emily Cross, a cognitive neuroscientist at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University. 

Black older woman in blue fur coat smiling with arms raised
The more you move, the longer you’ll keep your mind and body young.(Getty Images: Flashpop)

If you’re not moving as much, you’re also not giving your brain enough of a workout.

“We hear it again and again — the use it or lose it mantra,” Professor Cross says.

“That’s particularly the case for physical activity and the maintenance of physical circuits in the brain.”

Get your groove on

But it’s not all doom and gloom. While any form of exercise is good for the mind and body, dancing ticks every box in one go.

Almost half of Australians live with a long-term health issue. It’s why the ABC is hosting a national conversation till mid-November focusing on Australia’s health and wellbeing. It’s Your Move.

Unlike doing squats or lifting weights, dancing is like multitasking on steroids.

You’re moving your body through space, remembering sequences of steps, coordinating with other dancers around you — all while moving in time with music (or trying to!).

This gives your body a 360-degree workout, Dr Ward says.

“What’s unique about dance is that you’re not just doing the same movement over and over … you’re learning so much at the same time,” she says. 

“All of that provides a constant musculoskeletal and neurological challenge.”

Dancing is particularly good for your heart. One 2016 study on more than 48,000 participants over the age of 40 found that those who danced had a 46 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to non-dancers.

Several studies have also linked dancing with improved balance, flexibility, muscle strength and coordination. 

Older women standing at a bar learning ballet
Dance is a great way to improve your balance, flexibility and agility. (Supplied: Meg Letton/UNSW)

By the end of the Catalyst experiment, all the participants saw improvements in their fitness, balance and agility.

On the four-square step test — which measured how quickly participants could step between four squares — Roderick improved his time by over 30 per cent.

And while he struggled to balance on one leg at the beginning of the program, he was able to stand on his right leg for 30 seconds after 12 weeks of dancing.

Older woman in white smiling and standing in a dance pose
Dancing can be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s, like 72-year-old Anni.(ABC: Catalyst)

Dancing can also help people with conditions like Parkinson’s disease — which affects about one in 100 people over the age of 65.

People with Parkinson’s disease often find it difficult to control their movements.

But dancing to music can help them tap into parts of their brain that aren’t as affected by the disease, helping them to find more flow in their movements, says Natalie Allen, a neurological physiotherapist who specialises in Parkinson’s disease at The University of Sydney.

“The rhythm of the music helps people with Parkinson’s to move more freely and easily,” Dr Allen tells Catalyst.

Anni, 72, was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s disease this year after noticing a tremble in her hands.

Balance can become an issue as Parkinson’s disease progresses, but after taking part in Catalyst’s dance experiment, Anni reduced the wobble in her stance by a whopping two-thirds.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VM4DLYMpzgI?feature=oembedYOUTUBEMyf Warhurst takes Anni to a Dance For Parkinson’s session to see if it can help.

A disco for your brain

Whether you’re trying to master ballroom dancing or a perfect pirouette, dancing makes your brain light up.

All that learning can also reshape and forge new pathways in your brain.

A 2021 study on 60- to 79-year-olds found that doing a combination of brisk walking and social dancing increased the amount of white matter — neural tissue that enables brain cells to rapidly send and receive messages.

“With dance, we have the whole complement of cognitive and social tasks going on,” Professor Cross tells Catalyst.

“If you want to stave off neurological decline in general, dance is a great way to exercise your brain across multiple domains.”

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It’s tricky to study what’s happening in people’s brains while they’re spinning and swaying in a rehearsal room.

But Professor Cross has done the next best thing: taking a peek at what’s happening in people’s brains as they watch a video of their teacher performing a dance routine they’re learning.

“If you’re going to learn to dance, you’re going to learn by watching someone else do it,” she says.

“You have to translate what you’re seeing in other people’s bodies onto your own.”

Our brains contain special cells called mirror neurons, which allow us to learn through watching someone else.

These cells are located in areas of the brain involved in controlling body movements, spatial awareness and attention.

Professor Cross and her team have found that this network of mirror neurons kicks into gear while people are watching and learning — even if they’re just watching a video of someone else performing the routine they’ve learnt.

“These regions are sharpening their responses and are really kind of coming online in a way that helps you bridge that gap between what you see someone else do with their body, and what you do with your body,” Professor Cross says.

The good news is that these same regions switch on in people of all ages, indicating that the brain never loses its ability to learn new things.

“It’s really, really exciting that the learning is kind of shaping these brain circuits,” Professor Cross says.

“It means you can teach an old dog new tricks.”

This cognitive boost was also seen in Catalyst’s dancers.

Shirley, who five years ago was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease — the most common form of dementia — had the biggest improvement of all the participants.

An older man and woman wearing white and holding hands as they dance
Shirley (right) has Alzheimer’s disease, but she noticed her cognition improve after 12 weeks of dancing. (ABC: Catalyst)

In the beginning, Shirley’s performance on the cognitive tests was much poorer than the rest of the group.

But after three months of dancing, her test results were closer to the rest of the participants.

“It’s fantastic, I can’t believe it,” the 75-year-old tells Catalyst.

And while Shirley may not be able to dance away her condition entirely, her results show that the physical, creative and social aspects of dance can be beneficial.

“All these aspects of dance can potentially help slow the progress of dementia,” Professor Cross says.

The ultimate mood booster

One in eight Australians over the age of 65 are socially isolated or experience loneliness, which can lead to low mood and poor mental health.

While going for a walk with friends is one way to stay connected, dancing gets you out of your comfort zone in ways that other types of exercise don’t, Professor Cross says.

“If you’re learning new things and making mistakes, and laughing at yourself and with each other, there’s potential for building social bonds that you might not get if you’re just in a walking group,” she says.

“There’s expressing yourself through your bodily motions, and none of the other physical activities will have that.”

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Several studies have shown that dancing for at least 150 minutes a week can reduce depression in older people, while others have found that it can help alleviate anxiety and social isolation.

It’s also a great confidence boost, which Shirley experienced for herself in the Catalyst experiment as she started getting the hang of the dance routine after a few weeks of rehearsals.

“The fact that I can do it and I’m getting my head around it all … I really value that,” she says.

“I feel that I belong and I’m not a burden to others.”

A group of older people dancing in couples
Dancing is a great way to boost mood and connect with others.(Getty Images: Thomas Barwick)

With so many different styles of dance out there, it can be difficult to figure out how to pick just one. But you can’t really go wrong, Dr Ward says.

“I think any form of dance is going to provide a physical, mental and cognitive challenge.”

A good way to narrow down your options is to consider the type of music you’ve always enjoyed and how much you want to move, Dr Ward says.

But ultimately, the most beneficial form of dancing is the one that you enjoy the most.

“When we talk about the best intervention, it’s the one that people want to stick with,” Professor Cross says.

For Roderick the benefits are “life-changing”. By the end of the program, he experienced complete feeling in his legs after 10 years of numbness.

“The joy of actually feeling the sheets on your legs … I can actually differentiate between hot and cold now,” he says.

“I’ll be keeping on dancing, that’s for sure.” 

Psychological Facts

https://www.thedoctorschannel.com/view/masturbation-with-dr-ruth-westheimer-3/

In this video, I’m going to show you 44 psychological facts that will help you understand your relationships better. These are all backed by scientific research and they’re not just tips or tricks. They’re real things that will help you understand yourself, your partner and your life better so you can have a happier relationship.

ORAL HISTORY AND FOLKLORE

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Oral history and folklore

The Library’s Oral History and Folklore Collection dates back to the 1950’s and includes a rich and diverse collection of interviews and recordings with Australians from all walks of life.

Portrait of Smoky and Dot Dawson

Smoky Dawson interviewed by Rob Willis for the Rob Willis folklore collection.

View in the catalogue

Lola Wright playing piano

Portrait of Lola Wright

Lola Wright interviewed by Rob Willis in the Rob Willis folklore collection(2008)

View in the catalogue

Rob Linn interviewing Peter Cundall

Portrait of interviewer Rob Linn

Peter Cundall interview with Rob Linn.

View in the catalogueNext PAUSEPAUSE SLIDER

Our Oral History and Folklore collection records the voices that describe our cultural, intellectual and social life.  The collection consists of over 55,000 hours of recordings, the earlier ones dating back to the 1950s when the tape recorder became available.  More than 1000 hours of interviews, music and accents are added to the collection each year. Increasingly the collection is available online or may be requested from the catalogue. You can listen to:

  • Folklore recordings – popular culture, traditional songs, dances, music, stories and more
  • Interviews with distinguished Australians – scientists, writers, artists, politicians and sports people
  • Interviews with people who have lived through significant social trends and conditions – unemployment, the impact of child removals from families,  the Depression, and migration to Australia
  • Environmental sound – the historical sound of the built and natural environment.

Some interviews have transcripts or summaries and our online audio delivery system helps you search the content of our collection, which can be searched through Trove.

Highlights

  • Interviews by Hazel de Berg – 1,290 recordings of interviews and readings dating from the 1950s of prominent Australian poets, artists, writers, composers, actors, academics, publishers, librarians, scientists, anthropologists, public servants and politicians.   
  • Folk music by John Meredith – over 500 recordings between 1953 and 1994 of traditional Australian folk music, songs, recitations, bush dance music, yarns and reminiscences.  John Meredith was a foundation member of the Bushwhackers and helped form the Bush Music Club and the Australian Folklore Society. 
  • Bringing Them Home oral history project – These include over 300 interviews collected between1998 and 2002 of Indigenous people and others, such as missionaries, police and administrators, involved in or affected by the process of child removals. Listen online to a selection of interviews.
  • Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants project – interviews with people who were in institutional and out of home care as children. Listen online to a selection of interviews.
  • Australian Paralympic stories– interviews with key people responsible for the growth and success of Paralympic sport in Australia. Listen online to Australian Paralympic stories.

What is it like in the Ukraine?

It seems to me, to have a look a the following posts would help a lot

in understanding the situation in the Ukraine a bit better:

Archives

The author of these posts calls himself the Oakland Socialist.

Is it time to rethink the traditional IQ test?

ABC Radio National

By Fiona Pepper and Bec Zajac for Life Matters

 Posted Tue 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00amTuesday 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00am, updated Wed 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pmWednesday 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pm

 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00amTuesday 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00am, updated Wed 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pmWednesday 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pm

Aerial view of students completing an exam.
The IQ test is held in high regard — but is it a genuine measure of intelligence?(Getty Images: Chris Ryan)

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For over 100 years, the intelligence quotient (IQ) test has been considered the quintessential marker of who is “smart” and who is not.

But a dip in IQ scores worldwide has researchers questioning if it’s time to broaden how we understand intelligence.

“My particular theory is that scores really haven’t gone backwards, but the IQ test hasn’t kept up with the way we’re using our brains,” says Tony Florio, a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of NSW.

He argues the test measures only a certain kind of intelligence, and is therefore of limited use.

Tony sits on a bench under a tree looking at the sky.
Tony Florio is a clinical psychologist who specialises in IQ, but he believes the test doesn’t measure everything.(ABC RN: Farz Edraki)

Dr Florio suggests that the IQ test might help us see who will be successful in a traditional school system, which was its original purpose, but that it is not the be all and end all about who’s smart and who isn’t.

Dr Florio has studied the test for decades and says a typical IQ test is divided into ten subsets including vocabulary, general knowledge and problem solving.

In Australia, he says, these tests are conducted by psychologists either clinically, in schools or very occassionally for organisational psychology testing — for example when selecting members for executive committees.

An IQ score of a 100 is considered a score of average intelligence, 130 and above is defined as gifted, and a person scoring below 70 is interpreted as having an intellectual disability.

Not the first time the test has been criticised

Dr Florio has several criticisms about the breadth of the IQ test, which, he says, measures linguistic and logical-mathematical abilities and not motivation, personality or creativity.

“It’s gone down a narrow pathway,” he says.

He’s not alone in criticising the test.

He says there has been a perennial debate about whether there is one general intelligence.

Is there more to being smart than IQ?
Is there more to being smart than IQ?

Dr Florio argues that the IQ test doesn’t necessarily accommodate that “individuals are complicated with many aspects to them” — pointing to similar concerns raised by the test’s very founder.

He explains that French psychologist Alfred Binet, who developed the IQ test over 100 years ago, feared the test — initially designed to help measure the ‘mental age’ of a child — could be too limited.

Binet stressed that intelligence was far too broad a concept to quantify with a single number; however, he designed the test as a way to help identify children with learning difficulties.

France was the first country to introduce universal education and needed to work out who would struggle with learning and might need extra help, Dr Florio explains.

He says it’s much easier to compare people as children because there are different educational milestones that they reach at different ages.

If children were reaching them at a younger age they were seen as gifted and if they were reaching them later they were seen as delayed.

In 1916, Dr Florio highlights, an American psychologist adapted the IQ test for use in the US Army and since then the test has been adopted by many institutions other than schools.

The impact of the ‘Google effect’

Since the test first began in 1906 there has been, until recently, a steady increase in IQ score test results worldwide, a trend dubbed ‘the Flynn Effect’.

Dr Florio says factors that led to the Flynn Effect were improved nutrition and maternal health, and increasing access to education.

Even the reduction in the average size of families was a contributing factor, says Dr Florio, as “there’s less children per family so more attention per child”.

Now, however, Dr Florio says research shows a decline in scores occurring specifically throughout Europe where most of the relevant research has been conducted, and this is being branded the ‘reverse Flynn Effect’.

Research seems to suggest that worldwide our IQ scores in developed countries have been dropping over the last decade, Dr Florio says.

Davina Bell standing in hallway.
Davina Bell is a children’s author whose most recent book is called ‘All the Ways to be Smart’.(ABC RN: Fiona Pepper)

“You’d think logically that it should’ve just plateaued but it seems to have in fact gone backwards.”

According to Dr Florio, there are several theories to explain this.

“There’s a theory that’s been dubbed the ‘Google effect’,” he says.

“Because we now outsource a lot of things like our memory and doing cognitive tasks to machines, we don’t develop general knowledge retention which is something that is measured on IQ tests.”

Dr Florio says another explanation could be “that we can’t improve forever”.

But do the decreasing results point to a decreasing intelligence?

Dr Florio isn’t convinced.

He says it may be that it’s not useful to have that kind of general knowledge memory any more, which means that the IQ test as we understand it may need to change.

More than one way to be ‘smart’

Children’s book author Davina Bell, who has researched alternative approaches to intelligence, sits firmly in the camp that argues there is more than one way to be intelligent.

She says she has long felt that creative pursuits were undervalued in traditional intelligence tests, an idea she’s explored in her latest children’s book, All the Ways to be Smart.

An illustration of students sitting in a classroom
Davina aimed to create a children’s book that celebrates all the many ways someone can be ‘smart’.(Supplied: Allison Colpoys)

While researching for this book, Bell discovered the work of Harvard psychologist Howard Gardener and his theory of Multiple Intelligences.

“Gardener said that rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general ability we should see it as a series of modalities or abilities,” Bell says.

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Gardener describes nine categories to measure intelligence, including bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, such as good hand-eye coordination, interpersonal intelligence, such as the ability to effectively communicate, and musical intelligence.

Bell wanted to create a book that honoured all nine ‘ways of being smart’, for example being ‘smart’ at drawing, interacting with others or being physically coordinated.

“The book offers a kind of validation,” Bell says.

“If you weren’t a traditionally smart person or if you had intelligence in other areas that perhaps weren’t recognised, maybe it provides a validation of your identity outside those traditional intelligences,” she says.

Dr Florio supports Gardener’s broader approach to intelligence, but says the academic community’s response to Gardener’s theory is mixed.

Illustration of two children doing craft at a desk.
Bell’s book highlights creativity as one of the nine ways of being smart.(Supplied: Allison Colpoys)

“I think Gardener’s theories are valid, there are lots and lots of other abilities,” Dr Florio says.

Although Dr Florio explains Gardener’s critics say his definition cannot be quantified and in the academic community some say it is not backed up by enough data.

Dr Florio believes there still is a place for the traditional IQ test when it comes to diagnosing conditions like autism, dyslexia and intellectual disabilities.

But, like Bell, he sees approaches like Gardener’s as offering a broader and more modern understanding of intelligence.

“Gardener was pointing out the limitations of the IQ test and the problems of focusing on one aspect. We are complex individuals,” he says.

Posted 5 Feb 20195 Feb 2019, updated 6 Feb 2019

The Lantern Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search

You can see the pictures if you open up here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lantern_Festival

This article is about the Lantern Festival in China. For related festivals in the East Asian cultural sphere, see First Full Moon Festival.

Lantern Festival
元宵節
元宵节
Lantern Festival celebrated in Tainan at night
Official nameYuánxiāo jié (元宵節) / Shàngyuán jié (上元節)
Observed byChinese
TypeCultural
SignificanceMarks the end of the Chinese New Year
ObservancesFlying of paper lanterns;
Consumption of tangyuan
Date15th day of the 1st month (lunisolar year)
2022 date15 February
2023 date5 February
Related toChotrul Duchen (in Tibet)
Daeboreum (in Korea)
Koshōgatsu (in Japan)
Magha Puja (in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos)
Tết Nguyên Tiêu (in Vietnam)
Lantern Festival
Traditional Chinese元宵節
Simplified Chinese元宵节
Literal meaning“Prime Night Festival”
showTranscriptions
Hokkien Name
Traditional Chinese十五暝 / 上元
Literal meaning“15th Night” / “Top Primary”
showTranscriptions

Statues of mother and daughter celebrating the Lantern Festival. Xi’an

The Lantern Festival (traditional Chinese: 元宵節; simplified Chinese: 元宵节; pinyinYuánxiāo jié), also called Shangyuan Festival (traditional Chinese: 上元節; simplified Chinese: 上元节; pinyinShàngyuán jié), is a Chinese traditional festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar, during the full moon. Usually falling in February or early March on the Gregorian calendar, it marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations.[1] As early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE–25 CE), it had become a festival with great significance.[2]

During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; pinyincāidēngmí).[3][4] In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones.[5] In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs.[4] For example, lanterns are now often made in the shape of animals. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones,[6] which they will let go of the next year. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune.[7]

The festival acts as an Uposatha day on the Chinese calendar.[8][9] It should not be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival; which is sometimes also known as the “Lantern Festival” in locations such as IndonesiaMalaysia, and Singapore.[2][10] Lantern Festivals have also become popular in Western countries, such as the Water Lantern Festival held in multiple locations in the United States.[11] In London, the Magical Lantern Festival is held annually.[12]

Contents

Origin[edit]

There are several beliefs about the origin of the Lantern Festival. However, its roots trace back more than 2,000 years ago and is popularly linked to the reign of Emperor Ming of the Han dynasty at the time when Buddhism was growing in China.[citation needed] Emperor Ming, an advocate of Buddhism, noticed Buddhist monks would light lanterns in temples on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. As a result, he ordered all households, temples and the imperial palace to light lanterns on that evening.[13] From there it developed into a folk custom. Another likely origin is the celebration of “the declining darkness of winter” and community’s ability to “move about at night with human-made light,” namely, lanterns. During the Han dynasty, the festival was connected to Ti Yin, the deity of the North Star.[1]

Red lanterns, often seen during the festivities in China

Taiwan Lantern Festival

There is one legend that states that it was a time to worship Taiyi, the God of Heaven in ancient times. The belief was that Taiyi controlled the destiny of the human world. He had sixteen dragons at his beck and call and he decided when to inflict drought, storms, famine or pestilence upon human beings. Beginning with Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, all the emperors ordered splendid ceremonies each year. The emperor would ask Taiyi to bring favorable weather and good health to him and his people.[14][5]

Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty directed special attention to this event. In 104 BCE, he proclaimed it to be one of the most important celebrations and the ceremony would last throughout the night.

Another legend associates the Lantern Festival with TaoismTianguan is the Taoist deity responsible for good fortune. His birthday falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. It is said that Tianguan likes all types of entertainment, so followers prepare various kinds of activities during which they pray for good fortune.[15]

Another legend associates with the Lantern Festival with an ancient warrior named Lan Moon, who led a rebellion against the tyrannical king in ancient China. He was killed in the storming of the city and the successful rebels commemorated the festival in his name.[15]

Yet another common legend dealing with the origins of the Lantern Festival speaks of a beautiful crane that flew down to earth from heaven. After it landed on earth it was hunted and killed by some villagers. This angered the Jade Emperor in heaven because the crane was his favorite. So, he planned a storm of fire to destroy the village on the fifteenth lunar day. The Jade Emperor’s daughter warned the inhabitants of her father’s plan to destroy their village. The village was in turmoil because nobody knew how they could escape their imminent destruction. However, a wise man from another village suggested that every family should hang red lanterns around their houses, set up bonfires on the streets, and explode firecrackers on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth lunar days. This would give the village the appearance of being on fire to the Jade Emperor. On the fifteenth lunar day, troops sent down from heaven whose mission was to destroy the village saw that the village was already ablaze, and returned to heaven to report to the Jade Emperor. Satisfied, the Jade Emperor decided not to burn down the village. From that day on, people celebrate the anniversary on the fifteenth lunar day every year by carrying lanterns on the streets and exploding firecrackers and fireworks.[16]

Another legend about the origins of Lantern Festival involves a maid named Yuan-Xiao. In the Han dynastyDongfang Shuo was a favorite adviser of the emperor. One winter day, he went to the garden and heard a little girl crying and getting ready to jump into a well to commit suicide. Shuo stopped her and asked why. She said she was Yuan-Xiao, a maid in the emperor’s palace and that she never had a chance to see her family since she started working there. If she could not have the chance to show her filial piety in this life, she would rather die. Shuo promised to find a way to reunite her with her family. Shuo left the palace and set up a fortune-telling stall on the street. Due to his reputation, many people asked for their fortunes to be told but everyone got the same prediction – a calamitous fire on the fifteenth lunar day. The rumor spread quickly.[15]

Everyone was worried about the future so they asked Dongfang Shuo for help. Dongfang Shuo said that on the thirteenth lunar day, the God of Fire would send a fairy in red riding a black horse to burn down the city. When people saw the fairy they should ask for her mercy. On that day, Yuan-Xiao pretended to be the red fairy. When people asked for her help, she said that she had a copy of a decree from the God of Fire that should be taken to the emperor. After she left, people went to the palace to show the emperor the decree which stated that the capital city would burn down on the fifteenth. When the emperor asked Dongfang Shuo for advice, the latter said that the God of Fire liked to eat tangyuan (sweet dumplings). Yuan-Xiao should cook tangyuan on the fifteenth lunar day and the emperor should order every house to prepare tangyuan to worship the God of Fire at the same time. Also, every house in the city should hang red lantern and explode fire crackers. Lastly, everyone in the palace and people outside the city should carry their lanterns on the street to watch the lantern decorations and fireworks. The Jade Emperor would be deceived and everyone would avoid the disastrous fire.[16]

The emperor happily followed the plan. Lanterns were everywhere in the capital city on the night of the fifteenth lunar day and people were walking on the street and there were noisy firecrackers. It looked as if the entire city was on fire. Yuan-Xiao’s parents went into the palace to watch the lantern decorations and were reunited with their daughter. The emperor decreed that people should do the same thing every year. Since Yuan-Xiao cooked the best tangyuan, people called the day Yuan-Xiao Festival.

For each Festival celebrated, a switch in the Chinese Zodiac takes place. If this year is the year of the cow, the next will be the year of the tiger.

Tradition[edit]

Finding love[edit]

In the early days, young people were chaperoned in the streets in hopes of finding love. Matchmakers acted busily in hopes of pairing couples. The brightest lanterns were symbolic of good luck and hope. As time has passed, the festival no longer has such implications in most of Mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.[10]

Tangyuan or Yuanxiao[edit]

Further information: Tangyuan (food) and Yuanxiao

Eaten during the Lantern Festival, tangyuan ‘湯圓’ (Southern China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia) or yuanxiao ‘元宵’ (Northern China) is a glutinous rice ball typically filled with sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or peanut butter.[3] Actually, tangyuan is different from yuanxiao due to different manual making and filling processes.[17] It can be boiled, fried or steamed, each has independent taste. However, they are very similar in shape and taste, so most people do not distinguish them for convenience and consider them as the same thing.[17] Chinese people believe that the round shape of the balls and the bowls in which they are served symbolize family togetherness, and that eating tangyuan or yuanxiao may bring the family harmony, happiness and luck in the new year.[2][4]

  • Yuanxiao and its fillings
  • Yuanxiao
  • Yuanxiao
  • Yuanxiao
  • Yuanxiao
  • Tangyuan
  • Tangyuan
  • Tangyuan
  • Tangyuan
  • Tang Yuan

6th century and afterwards[edit]

Lanterns in Qinhuai Lantern Fair

Until the Sui dynasty in the sixth century, Emperor Yang invited envoys from other countries to China to see the colourful lighted lanterns and enjoy the gala performances.[18]

By the beginning of the Tang dynasty in the seventh century, the lantern displays would last three days. The emperor also lifted the curfew, allowing the people to enjoy the festive lanterns day and night. It is not difficult to find Chinese poems which describe this happy scene.[18]

In the Song dynasty, the festival was celebrated for five days and the activities began to spread to many of the big cities in China. Colorful glass and even jade were used to make lanterns, with figures from folk tales painted on the lanterns.[citation needed]

However, the largest Lantern Festival celebration took place in the early part of the 15th century. The festivities continued for ten days. The Yongle Emperor had the downtown area set aside as a center for displaying the lanterns. Even today, there is a place in Beijing called Dengshikou. In Chinesedeng means lantern and shi is market. The area became a market where lanterns were sold during the day. In the evening, the local people would go there to see the beautiful lighted lanterns on display.[citation needed]

Today, the displaying of lanterns is still a major event on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month throughout China. Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, for example, holds a lantern fair each year in Culture Park. During the Lantern Festival, the park is a virtual ocean of lanterns. Many new designs attract large numbers of visitors. The most eye-catching lantern is the Dragon Pole. This is a lantern in the shape of a golden dragon, spiraling up a 38-meter-high pole, spewing fireworks from its mouth. Cities such as Hangzhou and Shanghai have adopted electric and neon lanterns, which can often be seen beside their traditional paper or wooden counterparts. Another popular activity at this festival is guessing lantern riddles (which became part of the festival during the Tang dynasty).[19] These often contain messages of good fortune, family reunion, abundant harvest, prosperity and love.[citation needed] Just like the pumpkin carved into jack-o’-lantern for Halloween in the western world, Asian parents sometime teach their children to carve empty the inner tubing of Oriental radish /mooli/ daikon into a Cai-Tou-Lantern (traditional Chinese: 營菜頭燈; simplified Chinese: 营菜头灯; pinyinyíng cai tóu dēng) for the Festival.[citation needed]

Festivities[edit]

This painting, by an imperial court painter in 1485, depicts the Chenghua Emperor enjoying the festivities with families in the Forbidden City during the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival. It includes acrobatic performances, operas, magic shows and setting off firecrackers.

Lion dance (舞獅), walk on stilts (踩高蹺), riddle games (猜燈謎), dragon dance (耍龍燈) are very popular during lantern festival.

The lantern riddle, according to Japanese scholars, became popular as early as the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1126). The lantern riddles are done by a host blocking one side of the lantern and pasting riddles on the remaining three sides of the lanterns. Participants will guess the blocked side by solving the riddles, which is called “breaking/solving lantern riddles”. The theme of riddles can be drawn from classics, biographies, poetry, the various philosophers’ well-known stories and novels, proverbs, (the names of) all kinds of birds, animals, and insects, as well as flowers, grasses, vegetables, and herbs. Participants can tear off the riddle of the lantern and let the host verify their answers. Those who answer the correct answer can get a “riddle reward”, including ink, paper, writing brushes, ink slabs, fans, perfumed sachets, fruit, or eatables. 

Severe Edema


  • Sudden change in mental state or coma
  • Muscle aches and pains

What Causes It?

Some of the following factors may cause edema:

  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Certain medications
  • Hormonal changes during menstruation and pregnancy
  • Infection or injury to a blood vessel, blood clots, or varicose veins
  • Blocked lymph channels (lymphedema)
  • Allergies to food or insect bites
  • Kidney, heart, liver, or thyroid disease
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Eating salty foods
  • Brain tumor or head injury
  • Exposure to high altitudes or heat, especially when combined with heavy physical exertion

What to Expect at Your Doctor’s Office

Your health care provider will look for varicose veins, blood clots, wounds, or infections. An x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), urine test, or blood test may be necessary. Pulmonary edema, which occurs when fluid builds up in the lungs, can be caused by other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease or by climbing at high altitudes. It can be life threatening and may require hospitalization.

Treatment Options

Treatment may involve using compression bandages and pressure sleeves tightened over swollen limbs to help force the body to reabsorb the fluid. Other options include a salt reduction diet, daily exercise, resting with legs elevated above the heart level, wearing support hose, taking a diuretic, and massage.

Drug Therapies

  • Medication for your underlying disorder. Talk to your health care provider.
  • Diuretics. For example, loop diuretics or potassium-sparing diuretics. These medicines reduce body fluid levels, but they also deplete important vitamins and minerals, which can result in loss of bone mass. Diuretics may have several other possibly serious side effects.

Surgical Procedures

Surgery may be needed to remove fat and fluid deposits associated with a type of edema called lipedema, or to repair damaged veins or lymphatic glands to reestablish lymph and blood flow.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

The following nutritional and herbal support guidelines may help relieve edema, but the underlying cause must be addressed. Tell your health care provider about any complementary or alternative therapies (CAM) you are considering. If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, do not use any CAM therapies unless directed to do so by your physician.Nutrition and Supplements

Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:

  • Eliminate suspected food allergens, such as dairy (milk, cheese, and ice cream), wheat (gluten), soy, corn, preservatives, and chemical food additives. Your provider may want to test you for food allergies.
  • Reduce salt intake. If you are taking diuretics, your doctor should give you specific instructions about salt intake.
  • Eat foods high in B-vitamins and iron, such as whole grains (if no allergy), dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), and sea vegetables. If you are taking certain diuretics, your provider may give you specific instructions about getting different nutrients into your diet, such as potassium and/or potassium potassium restrictions. Potassium is in many vegetables. Follow your provider’s instructions strictly.
  • Eat natural diuretic vegetables, including asparagus, parsley, beets, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, pineapple, pumpkin, onion, leeks, and garlic. Some of these foods may interact with diuretic medications.
  • Eat antioxidant foods, such as blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash, and bell peppers.
  • Avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.
  • Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold-water fish, tofu (soy, if no allergy), or beans for protein.
  • Use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil.
  • Reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids, found in commercially-baked goods, such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
  • Avoid alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Exercise lightly 5 days a week if your health care provider says you can.

You may address nutritional deficiencies with the following supplements:

  • A multivitamin daily, containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins, and trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium. Many multivitamins contain calcium and potassium, two minerals your doctor may want you to avoid in large quantities if you are taking certain types of medications. Talk to your provider.
  • Vitamin C, as an antioxidant.
  • If you use diuretics, your doctor may have you take potassium aspartate (20 mg per day), since diuretics flush out potassium from the body and cause a deficiency. DO NOT take extra potassium without informing your doctor. Some diuretics do the opposite and cause potassium to accumulate in the body.

Herbs

Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body’s systems although they can interact with many medications and have certain side effects. As with any therapy, you should work with your doctor to determine the best and safest herbal therapies for your case before starting treatment, and always tell your provider about any herbs you may be taking. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not use herbs except under the supervision of a provider knowledgeable in herbal therapies. Your doctor may need to strictly monitor your potassium levels if you take certain types of diuretics, and some herbs may be naturally high in potassium. You should not use herbal remedies without first consulting your physician. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, or teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.

  • Bilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus ) standardized extract, for antioxidant support. DO NOT use bilberry if you are on blood-thinning medications.
  • Dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale ). Dandelion leaf is itself a diuretic, so it should not be used while taking diuretic medications. Speak with your doctor. DO NOT use dandelion if you have gall bladder disease, take blood-thinning medications, or have allergies to many plants. Dandelion can interact with many medications, including antibiotics and lithium. Talk to your provider.
  • Grape seed extract ( Vitis vinifera ), standardized extract, for antioxidant support. Evidence suggests that using grape seed extract may improve chronic venous insufficiency, which causes swelling when blood pools in the legs. Grape seed can interact with some medicines, including blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Physical Medicine

  • Dry skin brushing. Before bathing, briskly brush the surface of the skin with a rough washcloth, loofa, or soft brush. Begin at your feet and work up. Always stroke in the direction of your heart.
  • Cold made with yarrow tea.
  • Contrast hydrotherapy involves alternating hot and cold applications. Alternate 3 minutes hot with 1 minute cold. Repeat 3 times to complete one set. Do 2 to 3 sets per day for a short term only. Check with your provider to make sure your heart is strong enough for this therapy.
  • Put a pillow under your legs when you’re lying down.
  • Wear support stockings, which you can buy at most drugstores.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture may improve fluid balance.Massage

Therapeutic massage can help lymph nodes drain.

Special Considerations

Excessive fluid retention during pregnancy (toxemia) is potentially dangerous to both you and your baby.

Supporting Research

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Hansell DM, Armstrong P, Lynch DA, et al. Imaging of Diseases of the Chest . 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2005.

Haritoglou C, Gerss J, Hammes HP, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid for the prevention of diabetic macular edema. Ophthalmologica . 2011;226(3):127-37.

Kiesewetter H, Koscielny J, Kalus U, et al. Efficacy of orally administered extract of red vine leaf AS 195 (folia vitis viniferae) in chronic venous insufficiency (stages I-II). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arzneimittelforschung . 2000;50:109-17.

Ma L, Lin S, Chen R, et al. Treatment of moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome with Vitex agnus castus (BNO 1095) in Chinese women. Gynecol Endocrinol . 2010;26(8):612-6.

Maggiorini M. Prevention and treatment of high-altitude pulmonary edema. Prog Cardiovasc Dis . 2010;52(6):500-6.

Makri OE, Georgalas I, Georgakopoulos CD. Drug-induced macular edema. Drugs . 2013;73(8):789-802.

Meissner MH, Eklof B, Smith PC, et al. Secondary chronic venous disorders. J Vasc Surg . 2007;46 Suppl S:68S-83S.

Rathnasamy G, Ling EA, Kaur C. Therapeutic implications of melatonin in cerebral edema. Histol Histopathol . 2014; 29912):1525-38.

Schütz K, Carle R, Schieber A. Taraxacum — a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile. J Ethnopharmacol . 2006;107(3):313-23.

Shapiro S, Pollock DM, Gillies H, et al. Frequency of edema in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension receiving ambrisentan. Am J Cardiol . 2012;110(9):1373-7.

Shi J, Yu J, Pohorly JE, Kakuda Y. Polyphenolics in grape seeds-biochemistry and functionality. J Med Food . 2003;6(4):291-9.

Szczesny G, Olszewski WL. Post-traumatic edema: pathomechanism, diagnosis and treatment. Ortop Traumatol Rehabil . 2001;3(3):385-94.

Tickle J. Managing venous leg ulcers and oedema using compression hosiery. Nurs Stand . 2015;30(8):57-63.

Trayes KP, Studdiford JS, Pickle S, et al. Edema: diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician . 2013;88(2):102-10.

Villeco JP. Edema: a silent but important factor. J Hand Ther . 2012;25(2):153-61.

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Advanced Study

 

 

This was published in HARPERS Magazine in October 2012 about the “Landlord’s Game” versus “Monopoly

I published this blog in June 30, 2015. So what I publish here is a copy of that old blog. I do want to publish it again, so people that like to play Monopoly in its present form, may perhaps start thinking about it, that one could say that:

Monopoly Is Theft

Anyhow, as a game it is quite interesting and to this day a lot of people do like playing it. I did not have this game anymore for a number of years. Recently I had the opportunity to buy this game in a department store. I quickly decided to purchase it for myself in the hope that maybe in future I might have some visitors who might like to play it with me. Playing it again would bring lots of memories for me!

I just hope, some people might be interested enough to play it with me in the near future! Maybe around Christmas time? We’ll see.

So here is the copy now of my post from June 30, 2015:

http://harpers.org/blog/2012/10/monopoly-is-theft/?single=1

The antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game

By Christopher Ketcham

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe was taken by a goateed toxic-tort litigator named Eric, who periodically distracted himself from the game on a BlackBerry so that he “could get billable hours out of this.” The dog was taken by a doughy computer technician named Trevis, who had driven from Canton, Ohio, as a “good deed” to help the National Kidney Foundation, sponsor of the 25th Annual Corporate Monopoly Tournament, which is held each year in the lobby of the U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. On hand for the event, which had attracted 112 players, divided into twenty-eight tables of four, were the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mascot, Steely McBeam, who hopped around the lobby grunting and huzzahing with a giant foam I beam under his arm; three referees dressed in stripes, with whistles around their necks; and a sleepy-looking man, attired in a long judges’ robe and carrying a two-foot-long oaken gavel, who was in fact a civil-court judge for Allegheny County donating his time “to make sure these people follow the rules.”

I had spoken the night before with Doug, who won the previous year’s tournament, about his strategy for victory. “Well, last year I managed to get Boardwalk and Park Place, and then everybody landed on them,” he explained, chalking his success up to dumb luck. “What you have to do,” he said, “is get a monopoly, any monopoly, as quickly as you can.” I asked him if he knew the secret history of the game. He confessed that he did not.

The official history of Monopoly, as told by Hasbro, which owns the brand, states that the board game was invented in 1933 by an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow. Darrow had dreamed up what he described as a real estate trading game whose property names were taken from Atlantic City, the resort town where he’d summered as a child. Patented in 1935 by Darrow and the corporate game maker Parker Brothers, Monopoly sold just over 2 million copies in its first two years of production, making Darrow a rich man and likely saving Parker Brothers from bankruptcy. It would go on to become the world’s best-selling proprietary board game. At least 1 billion people in 111 countries speaking forty-three languages have played it, with an estimated 6 billion little green houses manufactured to date. Monopoly boards have been created using the streets of almost every major American city; they’ve been branded around financiers (Berkshire Hathaway Monopoly), sports teams (Chicago Bears Monopoly), television shows (The Simpsons Monopoly), automobiles (Corvette Monopoly), and farm equipment (John Deere Monopoly).

The game’s true origins, however, go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land. In his book Progress and Poverty (1879), George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

The Landlord's Game, 1906

Magie called her invention The Landlord’s Game, and when it was released in 1906 it looked remarkably similar to what we know today as Monopoly. It featured a continuous track along each side of a square board; the track was divided into blocks, each marked with the name of a property, its purchase price, and its rental value. The game was played with dice and scrip cash, and players moved pawns around the track. It had railroads and public utilities—the Soakum Lighting System, the Slambang Trolley—and a “luxury tax” of $75. It also had Chance cards with quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson (“The earth belongs in usufruct to the living”), John Ruskin (“It begins to be asked on many sides how the possessors of the land became possessed of it”), and Andrew Carnegie (“The greatest astonishment of my life was the discovery that the man who does the work is not the man who gets rich”). The game’s most expensive properties to buy, and those most remunerative to own, were New York City’s Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Wall Street. In place of Monopoly’s “Go!” was a box marked “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.” The Landlord Game’s chief entertainment was the same as in Monopoly: competitors were to be saddled with debt and ultimately reduced to financial ruin, and only one person, the supermonopolist, would stand tall in the end. The players could, however, vote to do something not officially allowed in Monopoly: cooperate. Under this alternative rule set, they would pay land rent not to a property’s title holder but into a common pot—the rent effectively socialized so that, as Magie later wrote, “Prosperity is achieved.”

For close to thirty years after Magie fashioned her first board on an old piece of pressed wood, The Landlord’s Game was played in various forms and under different names—“Monopoly,” “Finance,” “Auction.” It was especially popular among Quaker communities in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, as well as among economics professors and university students who’d taken an interest in socialism. Shared freely as an invention in the public domain, as much a part of the cultural commons as chess or checkers, The Landlord’s Game was, in effect, the property of anyone who learned how to play it.

Thousands of Monopoly tournaments are held in the United States each year: county tournaments, school tournaments, church tournaments, corporate tournaments, tournaments in basements, in boardrooms, in lunchrooms, in public libraries, and online. Every four or five years there are the big officiated tournaments—the U.S. Championship and the World Championship—sponsored by Hasbro, which hands out $20,580 pots to the winners of each. I missed the big tournaments—both were last held in 2009—and instead ended up in the lobby of U.S. Steel. I thought the venue fitting, as the corporation was the brainchild of supermonopolists Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan, the latter being the inspiration for Monopoly’s top-hatted, monocled, tails-wearing mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags.

The emcee called the lobby to order, shouting into his microphone, “You have ninety minutes. Let’s play Monopoly!” Immediately, the men at Table 25 began rolling dice and frantically buying property as they rounded the board. Doug snagged Pacific Avenue (an expensive investment at $300), two yellow parcels, and several slummier properties. Trevis’s portfolio included two railroads and Marvin Gardens, the most expensive property in the yellow group. Billy held the ultrachic Boardwalk ($400). Eric got Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place ($180 each). These last are among the properties most coveted by competitors, because they are relatively cheap and frequently landed on, along with the other properties that sit directly downboard of the jail, where odds are the players will spend a lot of time.

Sixteen minutes into the game Doug offered Billy a trade. (“The propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another,” writes Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, “is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”) Land was already growing scarce, and as land becomes scarce in Monopoly—as in the real world—its market value rises, often beyond its nominal value. “This,” said Doug, holding up one of his yellow deeds, “for that,” pointing at one of Billy’s slum deeds, “plus three hundred bucks.”

Billy was unimpressed. “No, you give me three hundred bucks.”

“Give you three hundred bucks?”

“Cash is king!”

This in turn inspired Trevis and Eric to start haggling, with Billy and Doug interjecting to gum up the talks when their own interests were threatened. The table got loud. The parties offered, counteroffered, rejected all offers, sweetened the original offers, rejected the sweetened deals with greater aplomb. Doug heaved a great sigh. “We’re just gonna go around the board and around the board,” he said, “and collect our little money.”

“It’s gotta make sense for me,” said Trevis.

“This guy wants my left testicle,” Doug replied.

In what amounted to open conspiracy, Billy then told Eric that if they made a trade and each received a monopoly as a result, they’d share a “free ride”—no rent would be charged—when they landed on one another’s monopolies: a corrupt duopoly, in effect, targeting Doug and Trevis.

Doug shrugged as Eric pondered the deal, but Trevis was aghast. “You can’t do that—it’s against the rules.”

“Rules!” said Billy. “I’m gonna set my price.”

“Bullshit!”

“Ref!”

A referee, whistle around his neck, hurried over—the judge with the gavel had disappeared—to decide on the matter as the players barked at each other. “You can’t do that,” he said finally.

A few weeks before the tournament, I’d had a conversation with Richard Marinaccio, the 2009 U.S. national Monopoly champion. “Monopoly players around the kitchen table”—which is to say, most people—“think the game is all about accumulation,” he said. “You know, making a lot of money. But the real object is to bankrupt your opponents as quickly as possible. To have just enough so that everybody else has nothing.” In this view, Monopoly is not about unleashing creativity and innovation among many competing parties, nor is it about opening markets and expanding trade or creating wealth through hard work and enlightened self-interest, the virtues Adam Smith thought of as the invisible hands that would produce a dynamic and prosperous society. It’s about shutting down the marketplace. All the players have to do is sit on their land and wait for the suckers to roll the dice.

Smith described such monopolist rent-seekers, who in his day were typified by the landed gentry of England, as the great parasites in the capitalist order. They avoided productive labor, innovated nothing, created nothing—the land was already there—and made a great deal of money while bleeding those who had to pay rent. The initial phase of competition in Monopoly, the free-trade phase that happens to be the most exciting part of the game to watch, is really about ending free trade and nixing competition in order to replace it with rent-seeking.

Henry George was not formally trained in economics. At age sixteen, he shipped out of his native Philadelphia as a mast boy on the freighter Hindoo,bound for Australia and India, where he watched the crew threaten mutiny over their miserable working conditions. By the age of twenty, transplanted to California, he was working as a printer’s apprentice, a rice weigher, and a tramp farmworker. George was soon married and broke, caught up in a wave of unemployment on the West Coast, and by the winter of 1865 his pregnant wife was starving. “Don’t stop to wash the child,” the doctor told George upon the birth of a son that January. “Feed him.” Poverty turned his mind to economics, to the question of why poverty proliferated in a land of plentiful resources. Economics turned him to newspapers, where he imagined he might get paid for his ideas. Eventually, journalism brought him to live in New York City.

What puzzled George was that wherever he saw advanced means of production arise in the United States—wherever industry was built up and capital accumulated—more poor people could be found, and in more desperate conditions. It was for him a stunning paradox. “It is the riddle which the Sphinx of Fate puts to our civilization, and which not to answer is to be destroyed,” wrote George. “So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes . . . progress is not real and cannot be permanent.” In 1879, he published the book that made him famous, Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth—The Remedy, which provided a sweeping answer to the riddle: land monopoly was the reason progress brought greater poverty. As American civilization advanced, as populations grew and aggregated in and around cities, land became scarce, prices soared, and the majority who had to live and work on the land paid those prices to the minority who owned it. For the laboring classes, rent slavery was the result. “To see human beings in the most abject, the most helpless and hopeless condition,” George wrote, “you must go, not to the unfenced prairies and the log cabins of new clearings in the backwoods, where man singlehanded is commencing the struggle with nature, and land is yet worth nothing, but to the great cities where the ownership of a little patch of ground is a fortune.”

From those little patches, primarily in New York City, had arisen the dynasties of the American nouveau riche: the Astors, the Beekmans, the Phippses, the Stuyvesants, the Roosevelts, and, later, the Tishmans, the Rudins, the Roses, the Minskoffs, the Dursts, and the Fisher and Tisch brothers. According to George, the sequestering of valuable land assets in private hands was itself the product of a system of property “as artificial and as baseless as the divine right of kings.” “Historically, as ethically,” he wrote, “private property in land is robbery. . . . It has everywhere had its birth in war and conquest.” This was, in fact, the original sin of Western civilization:

In California our land titles go back to the Supreme Government of Mexico, who took from the Spanish King, who took from the Pope, when he by a stroke of the pen divided lands yet to be discovered between the Spanish or Portuguese—or if you please they rest upon conquest. In the eastern states they go back to treaties with Indians and grants from English kings; in Louisiana to the government of France; in Florida to the government of Spain; while in England they go back to the Norman conquerors. Everywhere, not to a right which obliges, but to a force which compels.

George noted that many premodern tribes recognized no right of land ownership; the tribesman’s property was the bow and arrow he built with his hands, not the land he hunted on. Nor was such a right recognized under the laws of the Old Testament, in which land was “treated as the gift of the Creator to his common creatures.” Moses had, after all, instituted the jubilee, under which land was redistributed every fifty years, and the debts incurred against land were canceled—a tradition ended by Roman rule. Everywhere George reviewed the annals of the precapitalist world, he saw the “struggle between this idea of equal rights to the soil and the tendency to monopolize it in individual possession.”

By the nineteenth century, however, the “superstition” of “absolute individual property in land,” represented by the complex array of state-sanctioned deeds and titles, had become fundamental to the American legal system. It could not be crushed—nor should it be, said George. Land seizure and nationalization, he believed, would lead to tyranny. “Let the individuals who now hold it still retain, if they want to, possession of what they are pleased to call their land.” George would not revoke the right to buy and sell property or to will land to one’s descendants. Instead he argued that society might leave landowners “the shell” of their holdings if it could “take the kernel.” As George wrote, “It is not necessary to confiscate land; it is only necessary to confiscate rent. . . . In this way the State may become the universal landlord without calling herself so.”

Rent was the key. In line with classical economics from the time of Adam Smith, George defined rent as the unearned income owners derived from the rising value of land, meaning it was distinct from the labor that went into property in the form of improvements, the construction of homes and offices and factories, and the cultivation of fields. A community’s productivity was the invisible hand that caused land values to increase. The cabin in the woods became a prize when a mine opened up across the field, a road linked the cabin to the mine, a country store opened to supply the miners, more homes were built, a railroad came in, a town was born. The land under the cabin derived its worth from what society built around it. Its increase in value therefore belonged to society, and George said this value was to be assessed and taxed at market rates. This “single tax” on land and natural resources offered a reform of capitalism—whose self-destruction George believed it was his task to prevent—that “open[ed] the way to a realization of the noble dreams of socialism.” [1]

Georgism, as it came to be known, was denounced by wealthy landowners as the most radically lunatic notion of its time, and the single tax as more insidious than all the writings of Karl Marx put together. The Catholic Church ruled George’s thought “worthy of condemnation.” Yet within five years of the publication of Progress and Poverty, hundreds of thousands of Americans would come to believe in the gospel of the single tax. In New York City, the populist priest Father Edward McGlynn referred to George simply as “this prophet . . . this messenger from God.” Mark Twain proselytized as a Georgist, as did the philosopher John Dewey. “It would require less than the fingers of the two hands,” wrote Dewey, “to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with Henry George among the world’s social philosophers.”

Leo Tolstoy proclaimed that George would “usher in an epoch.” “The method of solving the land problem has been elaborated by Henry George to such a degree of perfection that, under the existing State organization and compulsory taxation, it is impossible to invent any other better, more just, practical, and peaceful solution,” wrote Tolstoy. “The only thing that would pacify the people now is the introduction of the system of Henry George.”

In 1886, the United Labor Party, fresh from the battles and boycotts of the first May Day, nominated George as its candidate for mayor of New York. His campaign offered a radical vision for the time: wherever railroads, telegraphs, telephones, and gas, water, electric, and heating utilities could be operated more efficiently at scale, as “natural monopolies,” the public would own them; transit in New York would be made free for all; city government would be responsible for social services; he would end child labor and mandate an eight-hour workday. The land-value tax would pay for his programs.

Though not a single major newspaper endorsed him, clubs were founded in George’s name in twenty-four districts across the city. Members financed his campaign, each contributing twenty-five cents, and George, in between sixteen-hour days of speeches and rallies, sat at headquarters rolling coins for distribution to his workers. The coalition he built with the ULP was big-tent, crossing lines of class, ethnicity, and religion that had long divided New York. Three days before the election, his supporters—merchants, lawyers, doctors, tailors, plumbers, cigar makers, brassworkers, Germans, Irish, Russians, Poles, Italians, Jews—gathered by the tens of thousands in lower Manhattan. They carried banners reading HONEST LABOR AGAINST THIEVING LANDLORDS, and at Tompkins Square, in driving rain, they chanted, “Hi! Ho! The leeches must go!” But George was defeated, amid allegations that Tammany Hall had engineered massive voter fraud to ensure his loss.

George returned to journalism, went on the lecture circuit, wrote five more books, and dedicated himself to spreading the word of the single tax. He has been credited with inspiring a generation of progressive reformers. William Jennings Bryan said thatProgress and Poverty “ought to be read by every thinking man and woman.” Samuel Gompers, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, and Ida Tarbell read him and sang his praises. But George showed little interest in reform beyond the single tax. A believer to the end in Adam Smith, he denounced the socialists and labor organizers who were his strongest supporters, and, as one critic wrote, came to lead single-tax supporters “of intolerably dogmatic and doctrinaire spirit.” He refused to accept that unearned income might be gleaned from investments other than land, and thus he was accused of failing to confront the rising power of finance capitalism, which made money off of the socially created value behind stocks and bonds. By the time of his death in 1897, when 100,000 New Yorkers lined up to view his body in state, George’s “great idea” was already, as Tolstoy would lament in 1908, on the long road to being forgotten.

About a month before the Pittsburgh tournament, an amateur Monopoly historian and game collector named Richard Biddle invited me to the village of Arden, Delaware, to have a look at the first Landlord’s Game ever fashioned. Arden had been founded as a Georgist experiment in 1900, four years after a failed attempt to implement the single-tax system across the state. It was envisioned as a self-sufficient utopia on 160 acres of woodland, and it soon attracted artists, poets, actors, anarchists, and freethinkers. Upton Sinclair had a cottage there, dubbed the Jungalow. Ardenites were barred from “owning” their plots, instead purchasing ninety-nine-year leases on cooperatively held land. It didn’t matter whether the residents built mansions or shacks: they were taxed only on the underlying value of the land, often at very high rates. This revenue paid for roads, parks, a commons, playgrounds, and utilities.

Lizzie Magie visited the village not long after its founding, and brought with her an oilcloth mock-up of her Landlord’s Game, which soon became a pastime among residents. While at Arden, she built a board for the game with the help of a resident carpenter. Biddle spoke solemnly of this alpha board; he estimated that it could be worth a million dollars.

We met at the village green and walked a few blocks, where we found the owner of the board, an eighty-year-old retired autoworker named Ronald Jarrell, standing outside his cottage looking nervous. Apprised of our visit, Jarrell had earlier in the day gone to his safe-deposit box at the local bank to retrieve the board. We entered his living room, where, amid a collection of antique china, jade statues, and old dolls, he laid out the prized artifact on his coffee table. Jarrell’s three yapping poodles made it difficult to talk.

“It was the summer of 1903,” he said. “A woman was down visiting here—”

“Lizzie Magie,” said Biddle.

“I don’t remember the name,” said Jarrell, “but she had an idea for a game.” He told us his stepgrandfather, a Georgist carpenter named Robert Woolery, had grown tired of playing checkers at the general store and needed new entertainment. Woolery looked over the plans drawn up by Magie on the oilcloth and immediately set about making the board.

Arden Board, 1904

Biddle held it up and nodded his head approvingly. It was hand-painted and hand-carved out of the backside of a reclaimed pressed-wood crokinole board, and it smelled like an old shoe.

I had earlier looked up Magie’s 1904 rule set, which she produced several months before she and Woolery completed the original board. Oddly, it contained no rule about forming monopolies out of the property groups, nor did it mention charging players higher fees after they’d built houses or hotels (constructions that also didn’t exist in Magie’s original rules). Nor was there anything about Henry George, land-value taxation, or the evil of rent. If the game was designed to teach Georgism, it seemed Magie hadn’t quite thought out the lesson. Two years later, when the game was officially published,the rules had evolved: the business principle of monopoly was fully established, as was the Georgist alternative of cooperation. Theories abound as to how the changes arose; one holds that someone in Arden had pushed The Landlord’s Game in the direction of Henry George, and also in the direction of the Monopoly we know today.

I asked Biddle about the discrepancy. “Ask the Monopoly monopolist,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“Patrice McFarland. The Monopoly monopolist. She’d have all the answers because she is now the possessor of Lizzie Magie’s diaries. And a lot of other key stuff. But she isn’t talking.”

McFarland, I later learned, was a former exhibit specialist at the New York State Museum who in 1992 had received $25,000 from a Georgist organization, the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, to produce a biography of Magie. In the ensuing years, Biddle said, she had acquired, along with Magie’s diaries, a trove of early Landlord’s Game prototypes handcrafted by players in Arden and elsewhere. But she had never produced her book, nor, according to Biddle, had she been willing to share the information or documents she’d amassed. “She’s a tough player,” he said. “I once bid against her on eBay for my 1939 Landlord’s Game. Bid almost $10,000.” (I called and emailed McFarland several times to ask about her alleged Monopoly monopolism, but she never responded.)

With us in Jarrell’s cottage was Mike Curtis, an Ardenite who twenty years earlier had played a round of Magie’s original 1906 Landlord’s Game (one of his opponents, as it happened, was Patrice McFarland). The Georgist rules by which Curtis had played were known as the Single Tax set, and they went beyond having players simply pay rent into Magie’s “Public Treasury.” They also aimed to teach the shared ownership of public goods. Under Single Tax rules, when the amount in the treasury reached fifty dollars, the player who owned the lighting utility was forced to sell it, and thereafter the utility cost no money to land on, as it was now publicly owned. This process repeated itself with the Slambang Trolley, then with the railroads, then with the Go to Jail space, which became a public college that, instead of sending players to jail, provided extra wages at the end of the game. After that, each fifty-dollar deposit in the treasury raised players’ wages by ten dollars. A “win” in Single Tax, which Magie later dubbed Prosperity Game, occurred when the player with the least amount of money had doubled his original capital. “The Landlord’s Game,” said Magie, “shows why our national housekeeping has gone wrong and Prosperity Game shows how to start it right and keep it going right.” Curtis admitted that he didn’t think much of the game, pronouncing it “kind of boring after a while.” [2]

In the summer of 1971, Ralph Anspach, a game inventor and retired economics professor who lives in San Francisco, emerged from a crushing Monopoly defeat in his living room—his eight-year-old son had bankrupted him—and found himself considering the salability of a board game that was explicitly antimonopolistic. “My game would have to start,” he wrote in a self-published memoir, The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle, “where Monopoly ends, when the board is full of monopolies.” The goal of play would be to break them up, with monopolists fighting off trustbusters. The game Anspach created, Anti-Monopoly, sold 200,000 copies in 1973, its first year of production, and was on pace to top 1 million sales by Christmas of 1974. Parker Brothers, at that time a subsidiary of General Mills, was not pleased. The company threatened to sue Anspach for trademark infringement. Instead, he preemptively sued Parker Brothers—“a sort of buckshot maneuver,” his lawyer called it—on the theory that he could show the company’s Monopoly trademark was invalid.

One of Anspach’s first discoveries as he built his case was the existence of The Landlord’s Game. But he could not explain how Magie’s invention, with its promotion of socialized land and shared wealth, had been transformed into the proprietary commodity that made billions of dollars for Parker Brothers. The key to the mystery, he learned, was a radical socialist professor of economics named Scott Nearing, who taught at the Wharton School of Finance from 1906 to 1915. Anspach spoke to Nearing in 1974, when Nearing was ninety-one years old. The professor said he had learned to play the game around 1910, while living in Arden, then taught it to his students at Wharton in order that they might learn, in his words, “the antisocial nature of monopoly,” and in particular “the wickedness of land monopoly.” The students apparently taught it to their friends. It was around this time that the game became known as “monopoly”—denoted in lowercase, like checkers, chess, or dominoes. The game spread widely over the next several years, to the hometowns of Nearing’s students and to other universities. It would slowly lose its antimonopolistic message, however, as players came to the conclusion that Magie’s vision of Georgist redistribution was not nearly as entertaining as ruining one another.

By 1913, monopoly had made its way to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and four years later it arrived in Philadelphia. The economist Rexford Tugwell, a future member of FDR’s “kitchen cabinet,” remembered having played it in 1915. By the 1920s, camp counselors in the Poconos were playing it, as were students at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Harvard, Haverford, Princeton, and Swarthmore. During the early stages of the Depression, the game reached Indianapolis, where a Quaker schoolteacher-in-training named Ruth Hoskins played it. Hoskins soon traveled to Atlantic City and taught the game to two fellow Quakers, Jesse and Eugene Raiford.

The brothers were so taken with the game that they worked to improve it. Along with other members of the Quaker community, they changed the pawns to household objects: tie clips, hairpins, keys, thimbles. They changed the names and property values to reflect those of Atlantic City. Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, slums in the Raifords’ hometown, became slums on the board; Boardwalk and Park Place, the carrefour of chic, became the most expensive deeds to purchase. The rules related by Ruth Hoskins stipulated that properties were to be auctioned when players landed on them; Jesse Raiford instead set the prices on the board. (This change later made the game marketable to children, who had difficulty understanding how auctions worked.)

The Raifords taught the game to a friend of theirs, Charles Todd, who taught it to its putative inventor, Charles Darrow. Sometime in 1932, Darrow copied the layout of the board, the rules of play, the property names, the deed values, and the Chance cards, and made his own version of the game. His only innovation seems to have been to claim the mantle of sole inventor. He would soon be assumed into the pantheon of American heroes of commerce.

The irony was not lost on Anspach. Before being monopolized by a single person working in tandem with a corporation, Monopoly had in fact been “invented” by many people—not just Magie and the Raifords but also the unknown player who gave the game its moniker and the unsung Ardenite who had perhaps aided Magie in advancing its rules. The game that today stresses the ruthlessness of the individual and defines victory as the impoverishment of others was the product of communal labor.

None of the information Anspach uncovered helped his case when it went to trial in 1976. The widows of Eugene and Jesse Raiford testified, as did seven other witnesses who claimed to have played monopoly as many as twenty years before Darrow marketed his game. Anspach even put Robert Barton, the former president of Parker Brothers, on the stand. Barton, who was pivotal in helping Darrow secure a patent for his “invention,” admitted under oath that he was fully aware of the game’s history and that he knew Darrow had not in fact invented it. The judge was unmoved. He dismissed Anspach’s complaint, ordering all unsold copies of Anti-Monopoly to be “deliver[ed] up for destruction.” Seven thousand of the games were bulldozed into a garbage dump in rural Minnesota, where officials from Parker Brothers oversaw the interment. [3]

After forty minutes of play, the game at Table 25 had stalled—or, depending on your view, was going along just fine, because no one had a monopoly and no one could raise rents. So Billy paid rent to Eric, who paid about the same rent to Doug, who paid to Billy, who paid to Trevis, who paid to Eric, who made a bad roll and briefly went to jail. Then Doug Herold landed on his third lucrative green property, allowing him to form a monopoly. He had enough cash on hand to build several houses, and one after another the players fell afoul of his outrageous rent hikes. Billy and Trevis handed over several properties in lieu of cash, giving Doug three monopolies. “You see,” he said, turning to me, “I don’t have to deal with these knuckleheads anymore.” There was no further need for trading, no need for the dynamism of the marketplace. He had done the work, built the houses, invested in the properties. Now he did no work, took no risks, made no investments. And yet wealth moved inexorably in his direction. When after ninety minutes time was called, Doug oversaw five monopolies and a wad of $10,293 in cash, more than half the money in the Monopoly bank. He was declared not only the victor at Table 25, but the all-around winner of the U.S. Steel tournament for the second year in a row.

I’d invited Richard Biddle to the tournament, and as Doug had started his run Biddle wandered off to watch the other tables. Every so often I could see him peering over the shoulders of the players, a pinched look on his face. He did not like what had become of Lizzie Magie’s invention. “My brother taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five,” he had told me. “It was pivotal in helping me understand the importance of lying, cheating, and stealing.” I’d asked him to bring along his reproduction of The Landlord’s Game, which he carried in a backpack. Earlier in the evening he had gingerly taken it out to share with whomever he could waylay. “This is the real Monopoly,” Biddle would tell the players, before attempting a sort of CliffsNotes explanation of what Lizzie Magie had in mind. The players nodded politely, their smiles freezing into nervous masks. “That’s very nice, thank you so much,” they said, and then they walked away.


[1] University of Missouri–Kansas City economics professor Michael Hudson has noted that property tax today functions in exactly the opposite fashion from George’s proposed single tax. The Federal Reserve Board is responsible for assessing the total market value of real estate in the United States, Hudson says, yet it routinely produces “nonsensical undervaluations of land.” In fact, the FRB mostly ignores land itself; instead, it considers buildings and capital improvements as the chief markers of value, basing its calculations on the historical cost of original construction and the replacement cost of structures. Land value is an afterthought. The amateur in the real estate marketplace need not read Henry George to know this flies in the face of common sense, the mantra being “location, location, location,” not “replacement cost, replacement cost, replacement cost.” Hudson has conducted some of the few authoritative analyses of the FRB’s sleight of hand, the tax losses that result, and how it benefits the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors, which together have lobbied the FRB to maintain its approach.   [2] Curtis also didn’t think much of Arden’s Georgist experiment, saying it had degenerated into something of a failure. The leaseholders, he told me, had learned to game the system by electing land assessors who based their assessments on the town’s budget needs rather than the land’s real market value, and so they avoided paying taxes at appropriate rates. “To be frank,” he said, “the people in Arden today don’t give a damn about Henry George.”   [3] Anspach twice appealed the decision, and in 1982 a California appellate court ruled in his favor, concluding that Parker Brothers had in fact committed fraud in the Darrow patent, and was thus under threat of losing its trademark. General Mills Fun Group appealed to the Supreme Court in 1982, backed by amicus briefs from nearly every major American industry group, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Trademark Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Committee on Trademarks of the Bar of the City of New York. The Court declined to hear the appeal. Anspach was nearly bankrupted, his house thrice mortgaged, his game business on the edge of ruin, his distributors unwilling to work with him because of a ten-year legal cloud. He was free, however, to continue selling Anti-Monopoly. In the past four years, he has sold 454,000 copies in European markets. Domestic sales, he says, have been comparatively small because Hasbro has used “its monopoly power to monopolize the Monopoly market” in the United State

Diary, 24th of October 2021

After looking up the two above posts, I did become a bit teary. I had no idea that there was something like a World Polio Day, but Mecca mentioned it this morning in his Regional ABC Morning Program!

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/australiaallover/

Here are two pictures from 1958 and another two pictures from 1960

auntyutaCopyLife in AustraliaMemories  January 21, 2019 4 Minutes

I could not resist publishing this older blog once more. It certainly does bring back memories!

Peter with Gaby
Peter with Gaby

This pictures was taken in Düsseldorf, Germany, in a park called ‘Hofgarten’, on 17th June 1958. Gaby was not quite nine months yet at the time.

Uta and Peter with Gaby
Uta and Peter with Gaby

This pictures was taken by Uta’s Mum on her balcony in Berlin in August 1958. Gaby was nearly one year old. We were for a visit in Berlin at the time.

Uta with Baby Martin, two months, Monika, eighteen months, and Gaby  thirty-three months.
Uta with Baby Martin, two months, Monika, eighteen months, and Gaby thirty-three months.

This pictures was taken near Fairy Meadow Beach, New South Wales, Australia, in June 1960.

Uta and Peter (25) with all three children
Uta and Peter (25) with all three children

This is where the pioneer family ended up in Oak Flats, NSW, Australia, which was ‘the sticks’ at the time. This picture was taken on the 28th August 1960 which was Gaby’s birthday. We were building a garage at the time. One year later the children were stricken by polio; as it turned out, Gaby very severely.

I wrote the above in January 2013. I was looking for a photo from our Berlin visit in August 1958 and found one in this blog. I was pregnant at the time. In December our daughter Monika was born in Düsseldorf where we had one room in my father’s apartment. We thought being given the opportunity to go to Australia as migrants was the best thing that could have happened to us.

11 Responses to “The “Pioneer Family””

berlioz1935
January 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm Edit #
The beginning in Australia was tough and sometimes we felt like a “pioneer family”.. On the beach picture you can clearly see the Fairy Meadow Hostel were we lived for a while.

REPLY

auntyuta
January 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm Edit #
You’re right, Peter, the beach was only a few steps away from the hostel. I thought it was great to have the beach so close. The picture you refer to was taken in June, in the middle of the Australian winter!

REPLY

Robert M. WeissR
January 25, 2013 at 8:41 am Edit #
Great archival type photos, which reminds me it’s time to straighten up our family photos.

REPLY

auntyuta
January 25, 2013 at 11:12 am Edit #
Thanks for commenting, Robert. I read your profile, which is very interesting. Do you do any writing? You seem to be a very contemplative person. If you’re writing, I’d like to hear more about it.
Cheerio, Uta.

REPLY

backonmyown
January 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm Edit #
I love the old photos. Your family was beautiful. My youngest sister Gerry had polio when she was two years old. Fortunately she had no lingering effects, and recovered completely. I was ten at the time. I remember how scared we all were.

REPLY

auntyuta
January 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm Edit #
Hi, Pam. We always love to look at all our old photos. Gaby was severely effected, She became a quadriplegic and needed an iron lung.
Monika had some lingering effects in one of her legs and Martin recovered completely. It was a very scary time for us when all three children suffered from the disease.

REPLY

backonmyown
January 27, 2013 at 2:44 am Edit #
I can’t even imagine how terrified you and Peter must have been with all three children seriously ill at the same. My middle daughter is a public health lawyer. She has asked me lots of questions about the polio epidemics. I’ll tell her about your family’s story. Thanks for sharing it. Pat

Three Well Beings
January 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm Edit #
I really enjoyed seeing family photos, Uta. From what you’re sharing, the children were very young when they contracted polio. I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been! I do remember when that disease frightened families and changed lives forever!

REPLY

auntyuta
January 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm Edit #
That’s right, Debra, they all contracted polio. Martin was 1, Monika 2 and Gaby was struck down with the disease on her fourth birthday. No vaccinations were available at the time. A bit later oral vaccinations were introduced. I think this stopped the spread of polio in Australia.

REPLY

Three Well Beings
January 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm Edit #
I really can’t imagine, Uta! As a mom, this must have been devastating. They were just babies. I’m a little awed you can even talk about it. oxo

auntyuta
January 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm Edit #
It was a very emotional time for Peter too. All three children were admitted to Wollongong Hospital. Gaby went on to Intensive Care at Prince Henry Hospital in Sydney where she was in a coma. According to the specialist there was not much chance of her surviving. We had gone in the ambulance with her and stayed with her through the night. Early in the morning we went back to Wollongong on the milk-train. That morning after a lot of weeping we went to see Monika and Martin in Wollongong Hospital. Martin Baby soon became the darling of the nurses. He looked so cute. When we saw him he started throwing all the toys out of his cot the nurses had put in there for him. Monika was more sick than Martin and absolutely quiet. A few days later Martin was allowed to go back home. We were overwhelmed when we had him back home. Monika had to stay in hospital a bit longer. Once she was home she was referred to a specialist who treated her leg. Some muscles were weakened because of polio. She had to wear special boots and a splint on her left leg which she hated!

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Related

The “Pioneer Family”January 23, 2013In “Diary”

The “Pioneer Family”April 30, 2015In “Memories”

Australian BeachesAugust 26, 2013In “Diary”

Edit”Here are two pictures from 1958 and another two pictures from 1960″

Published by auntyuta

Auntie, Sister. Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Mother and Wife of German Descent I’ve lived in Australia since 1959 together with my husband Peter. We have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I started blogging because I wanted to publish some of my childhood memories. I am blogging now also some of my other memories. I like to publish some photos too as well as a little bit of a diary from the present time. Occasionally I publish a story with a bit of fiction in it. Peter, my husband, is publishing some of his stories under berlioz1935.wordpress.com View all posts by auntyutaPublishedJanuary 21, 2019

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3 thoughts on “Here are two pictures from 1958 and another two pictures from 1960”

  1. Debra EditI see that I responded to the original post. I was then ‘Three Well Beings.” I love the photos of your sweet family, Uta.Reply
  2. auntyuta EditThanks for commenting again, Debra. I find it very rewarding to look at some of the old photos again and again. Some of these photos just seem to stick to my memory. Time and time again I love to look at them again to strengthen my memory. Gee. was that really our family at the time? And how amazing is it how much time has elapsed since these photos were taken! Reply
  3. doesitevenmatter3 EditYour vintage photos are so special and lovely! I know they bring you smiles. And memories of wonderful and not-so-wonderful. Oh, that is so sad and challenging that all of your beautiful, precious babies got polio.  I can’t imagine how difficult that was for you as their mama. I have an older friend who had polio as a child. From then on, he always had struggles with his legs and walked with difficulty.(((HUGS)))