Jan 19, 2010

Shocking Geographical Ignorance Causes Area Woman To Confuse Earthquake Location (This is a true story!)

In an unfortunately true tale so unsettling that it makes one's head want to explode, an unnamed area woman called almost everyone she knew to 'share the news' that there was a major earthquake in the very lair of the devil himself - an undetermined location known in some circles simply as "Hades". Unfortunately, an almost unbelievable lack of detail orientation and basic knowledge of the world allowed this woman (not from Lamont proper, thank goodness!) to confuse this imagined seismic event with a very horrific and real earthquake in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere - the struggling, long suffering and now almost completely devastated country known simply as 'Haiti' - where upwards of 150,000 of our 'fellow travelers' are feared dead and where human suffering is well beyond the realm of understanding for the average American in the 21st century. (our prayers go out to these people!) Although there is some linguistic similarity between the 'much discussed' and highly undesirable "Hades' and the unfortunate location of the real disaster, Haiti - the fundamentally erroneous assumptions that needed to be 'taken for truth' in order to assume that the major media outlets would report on an earthquake in the very pits of hell itself and that some even more obvious and likely explanation was not in order is too stunning to fathom without 'resorting to the bottle'! (Editorial Note: We really wish we were making this up!)

In fact, Hades is a place named after the ancient Greek lord of the dead and ruler of the nether world, which is thus referred to as the domain of Hades or, by transference, as Hades alone. The largely misunderstood yet highly unpleasant "Hades" was the 'black sheep' son of Cronus and Rhea, whoever they were. When the three sons of Cronus divided the world among each other, Hades was given the underworld, while his less cranky and more socially robust brothers Zeus and Poseidon took the upperworld and the sea, respectively. Some ancient Greek smarty-pants, Sophocles, once wrote, 'the gloomy Hades enriches himself with our sighs and our tears'. Of all the phony Greek gods, Hades is the one who is liked the least and even the gods themselves have an aversion to him. (he must be the Mayor of Hades! And we thought Lamont was bad! HA!) People avoided speaking his name lest they attracted his unwanted attention. (Yep, he's the Mayor, indeed!)

Haiti, on the other hand, is a mostly mountainous country with a really nice tropical climate. Haiti's location, history and culture once made it a potential tourist hot spot, but instability and violence, especially since the 1980s, have severely dented that prospect. Sadly, decades of poverty, environmental degradation, violence, instability and dictatorship have left it as the poorest nation in the Americas. Haiti, as opposed to 'Hades', achieved notoriety during the brutal dictatorships of the voodoo physician Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude, or "Baby Doc". Tens of thousands of people were killed under their tyrannical 29-year rule. (which makes this latest disaster even more heart-breaking) The State Department warns U.S. citizens to exercise a high degree of caution when traveling to Haiti - which is one of the very few things that it actually has in common with the so-called 'Hades'.

Unfortunately, the above-referenced geographical confusion draws attention away from a real tragedy that needs prompt action and consideration from the entire globe!

(Editorial Note: Please make your kids do their school homework every night, people! I mean, come on! Don't let this happen in your family. Plus, geography can indeed be fun. It is good to learn about those strange and exotic places like Idaho and Canada - and yes, even Haiti! Have you studied a map today? It might not be a bad idea. And give generously to reputable organizations that can make a difference in the lives of the suffering. Thank you!)

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