El Cid

When Charlton Heston rode on to the big screen in the role of a lifetime as Rodrigo Diaz in the film adaptation of El Cid it brought to life one of histories least remembered military leaders. Like Alexander The Great and Charlemagne before Rodrigo Diaz has to rank right up there with these great military figures. All left lasting impressions that played a large part in shaping world history. It seems that in almost every century there are great leaders both military and statesmen who contributed lasting accomplishments that are forever remembered. Was it fate or destiny that led Rodrigo Diaz to forge a lasting friendship with the leaders of the Moors at a time of continued hostilities?

To answer that we have to go back over 900 years of history to the mid 11 century. Born a member of the minor Spanish nobility Rodrigo was raised in the court of Ferdinand the 1st. Unlike in the movie when Ferdinand died Sancho, Ferdinands eldest son appointed Rodigo el Cid as commander of the royal troops and it’s standard bearer. The movie on the other hand had El Cid named as the Kings Champion. The movie made for great story telling but strayed a little from the actual accounts of the life of El Cid.

When Sancho died leaving his brother Alfonso King, Rodrigo became the natural leader of the Castilians who weren’t particularly enthralled to have Alfonso as their ruler. Having lost favor with King Alfonso because Alfonso felt that he had been publicly humiliated. This, because in public display Rodrigo had the king swear he had no implications in King Sancho’s death. On a mission to Seville, Rodrigo encountered Count Garcia Ordonez. As history recounts Ordonez replaced Rodrigo when Alfonso became King as the kings standard bearer. It was Rodigo’s belief that Count Ordonez killed King Sancho. This betrayel made the two bitter enemy’s. In the heat of battle the Cid captured the Count and in 1081 the Cid led a military raid into Toledo, a Moorish kingdom that was under Alfonso’s protection. When king Alfonso foud out he orderd the Rodrigo be banished from his court placed in exile. It was then that Rodrigo offered his services to the Muslim ruler of Saragossa. For more than a decade the Cid served Mu’tamin and his successor, al-Musta’in. Military victories continued to mount especially against the Moorish king of Lerida and their Christian allies.

In 1086 King Alfonso was defeated by the Moors under Almorvids who came from North Africa. It was after this defeat that King Alfonso literally had a change of heart and overcame his bitter antagonism against the Cid. With Almoravids still a real threat to all of Christian Spain El Cid set out to gain control of Valencia, a wealthy Moorish stronghold that held the key to the gateway for the Moors to continue to invade and gain control of Spain. El Cid gradually gained control over Valencia while establishing alliances with it’s ruler al-Qadir. More bloodshed was to follow when in October of 1092 Almoravids invaded Valancia resulting in the death of al-Qadir. With Valancia back in the hands of the Moors El Cid laid siege to the city which lasted for almost two years. It was during those years of the siege that Rodrigo managed to reestablish himself the great protector of Spain. He stayed on the coast of the Mediterranean until he died in 1099.

Rodrigo Diaz and his wife had two daughters and one son. Today, some of the nobility of Spain are direct descendants of El Cid and his wife Jimena. The Cid’s only son died in battle in 1098 just a year before Rodigo’s own the death. It is thrilling to see in the movie El Cid where legend has it Jimena ordered the body of El Cid to be fitted with all his armor and set atop his horse to bolster the morale of his troops. Just like in the movie the dead Rodrigo came charging out with his knights winning a thundering battle against the Moors. This depiction was probably the result that of Jimena upon leaving Valencia and entering Burgos accompanied with the body of El Cid. The Cid is now lying at the center of the Burgos Cathedral.

What made El Cid such a great military leader was his understanding of the knowledge gained from having books from the classic Greek and Roman authors on military tactics read to him. His innovative approach to hold planning strategy and «brainstorming» sessions before each battle often proved the difference in the many victories El Cid won. El Cid was probably the first military leader to incorporated what is called today psychological warfare. That is waiting for the enemy to be paralyzed with terror [much like «shock and awe» strategy used in the first Gulf War] and then attacking them suddenly. It was Rodigo’s innate ability to attract and inspire the very best subordinates who would remain loyal even if they weren’t Christian. He understood that the Moors even though were of a different religion he was wise enough to gain valuable life long friendships and loyal followers. These qualities along with El Cid’s natural abilities have made Rodigo Diaz one of histories great military leaders.

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A History of Lladro and Their Porcelain Figurines

The pottery that we know as porcelain was first transformed by the Chinese approximately one thousand years ago. This pottery or porcelain then took hundreds of years to evolve to where it is today. As the process of washing and purifying the clay, adding different materials that permitted the firing at a very high temperature. (Approximately 1400 degrees centigrade.)

The word porcelain came from the term Porcellana, used by Marco Polo to describe the white ceramic figures, he discovered during his historical travel to the Orient. Porcelain was introduced to Europe in the 1500’s.

In the 1700’s the secret of the clay mixture used by the Chinese, was discovered by Johann Bottger and the Dresden Meissen Porcelain became known. Porcelain came to be viewed by the European Royalty, as a highly prized luxury product.

In 1953, from a small farming community near the city of Valencia, Spain came three brothers, Juan, Jose & Vicente Lladro. They attended Valencia School of Arts & Craft, While the family depended on farming for livelihood, the brothers followed their dreams and born abilities of the fine arts. Juan and Jose studied drawing, while Vicente studied sculpting. They built a kiln in their backyard , and began experimenting with the new firing and finishing techniques.

Their first Lladro retail shop, opened in Valencia in 1955, in 1958 they moved from their small workshop at their family home, to a larger factory workshop in a nearby town called Tabernas . A major growth period for Lladro occurred in the 1960’s where the Tabernas workshop was enlarged 7 times.

In the 1970’s, their workshop was as large as the city, now called the city of porcelain. Lladro now employs over 2000 people and maintains retail shops in Europe, New York, Williamsburg, VA, Miami, Beverly Hills, Hong Kong, Sidney to name a few., markets its creations in over 100 countries.

What is the City of Porcelain?

All Lladro figurines are made in the City of Porcelain, a spectacular complex measuring some 100,000 sq. ft. just outside Valencia, Spain. About 2,000 people work there, most of whom are artisans. The complex is comprised of studios, laboratories, warehouses, office buildings,and showroom.

Visit The City of Porcelain

In order to visit the complex where expert artisans make Lladro figurines you must be a Lladro Privilege member. If you are, you can e-mail LLadro providing them with your membership number as stated on your membership card. You must also provide your full name and number of people accompanying you. Also provide the precise date and timeof the planned visit.. LLadro Customer Service will contact you to confirm your visit. They do not accept drop ins.

What is Lladro Privilege?

LLadro have created a unique world of privileges with the access to a growing new collection of exclusive figurines and privileged services. This figurines are only available to the enrolled members, although some are available in the secondary Market,

How can you Tell If A Figurine Is An Authentic Lladro Porcelain?

Lladro is famous for their porcelain which is of the finest quality, Only those figurines that pass strict quality controls are stamped with an identifier burned onto the base of each figurine to guarantee the authenticity of each piece.

Since each piece is made following manual techniques as indicated by tradition, each piece is unique. Despite coming from the same mould, two pieces are never exactly the same even when made by the same artist.

What are Limited Editions?

Limited Editions are collections that are issued in a limited number of copies. These pieces are accompanied by a certificate signed by a member of the Lladro family, accrediting the series number and providing information on the artists taking part in its creation.

Society Member Pieces ?

Society Member Pieces are special figurines made for Society Members only. These began production in 1985 through 2000. The 1985 Figurine was name Little Pal which sold for $85.00 for Society Members only, now if you can find it expect to pay as much as $3500.00 for this same piece.

The Lladro Gres Collection

The Lladro Gres Collection draws its inspiration from the colors of the earth, gres uses glaze deposits on the surface of the piece. When subjected to high temperatures, these glazes never crystallize in an identical manner, showing slightly different color effects. This makes each gres piece in the collection a unique and unrepeatable creation.

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The Real Truth About Teen Girls And Dating – Six Tips You Must Know

If you look around and listen to what TV, music, and your friends tell you, you probably will feel like you have to have a boyfriend to be cool, cared about, and accepted. That’s just the way it is, right? Well, deep down not all girls feel this way. True, some can’t wait to get their parents permission to start dating, but others want to wait for the right guy, and some girls are honestly terrified. Wherever you are on the dating spectrum, follow these tips to lessen the drama around dating and improve your relationships.

Tip #1 You Don’t Have To Have a Boyfriend to Be Cool

This is so important to believe, because if you feel that you must have a boyfriend to be cool, then you will either date the wrong guy in hopes of being cool, or you will feel miserable and really down on yourself because the right guy hasn’t come along. This sets you up for failure from the beginning! Remind yourself often that you really don’t need to have a boyfriend to be cool or to be accepted.

Tip #2 The Best Way to Get the Right Guy is to be Yourself

Girls are tired of trying to be perfect. Girls are tired of trying to be the perfect size, have the perfect hair, and the perfect clothes. What if girls were able to just be themselves? This can feel impossible at times, especially when you feel different than anyone else. Instead, focus on doing things you love to do that bring a smile on your face. Do you love soccer? Dance? Scrap booking? Playing guitar? Hanging with Friends? What ever it is, do it. You will feel happier and be happier and when it’s the right time, you will find companionship in someone who also likes those things or who has respect for the things that make you, you.

Tip #3 Your safety is the most important thing

Make sure that you are in a relationship that is safe emotionally and physically. This means that your guy doesn’t put you down, call you names, push, hit, or hurt you in any way. He also doesn’t coerce you to have any kind of intimate contact that you are not comfortable with. Dating can feel like an incredible high at times. Sometimes there can be intense feelings of butterflies in the stomach, attraction, or just wanting to be by him. Be smart. Don’t let your physical attraction and your own hormones trick you into a relationship that is not safe. If you think you or a friend are in a dangerous relationship be sure to visit the website listed below for further safety resources.

Tip #4 Don’t forget about your girlfriends

When we start dating it can be very easy to forget to make time for our girlfriends too. This is so important for many reasons. For starters it gives you balance and perspective to hang out with people in addition to your boyfriend. Second, you don’t know how long that guy is going to be around If you only spend time with him, your friends may feel dissed and may not want to take you back as a friend if you and your boyfriend break up.

Tip #5 Listen to Your Gut

This should be a precursor to every tip mentioned in this article. Above all else, don’t ignore that little voice inside of you. You know, the one that quietly whispers, maybe he isn’t the right guy. Or the one that makes excuses for his rude behavior. Make sure that both of you respect each other 100%. How do you feel when you are together? Do you ever feel disrespected, hurt, or second class? If so, it’s probably time to rethink things listen to your gut, and get out of the relationship.

Tip #6 Don’t let this stress you out!!!

Dating and the events leading up to it can be very stressful whether you are in pursuit of someone, being pursued, or just feel lonely for not having a guy. Wherever you are in this process, don’t let this stress you out. Focus on the positive things in your life. Think about all of the things you have going for you. Try to do the things you love doing! It sounds simple, but too often we don’t allow ourselves this simple pleasure.

If you follow these six tips, you will have a guy at the right time and you will be able to find all of the confidence and respect you need to listen to your heart and gut and be in the right relationship.

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What Women Do For Love

Women are mysterious creatures that possess unusual powers and qualities. Understanding them can be an exercise in futility. I have observed with great fascination what my folks can do in the name of love and I must say I've been amazed. It must be true what they say that "All a woman needs is Love" because in pursuit of Love women can do some if not all of these:

  • Kiss all the toads before getting to the prince … yikes!
  • Buy expensive clothes, perfumes and make-up to make their appearance pleasing to the one they love.
  • Pretend they are enjoying the soccer game on TV or laugh at his stupid jokes and yet they are bored to death
  • Put up with flat boring sex, fake orgasm and tell him he is great.
  • Go on a diet or completely change their eating habits in order to have a great body for him.
  • Go through various treatments such as Botox, facelift and plastic surgery in order to stay attractive for their men.
  • Tolerate him when he is drunk and acting like a child

I could go on and on, but the point is, women can go through anything to keep the men in their lives, yet surprising enough men would never tolerate these things. It's either you meet their standards or they start looking elsewhere; maybe it's the male "hunter" hormones that drive them.

I have also observed some women putting up with a lot of physical, psychological and emotional abuse and have usually confused this with Love. In a lot of African cultures this abuse is considered a sign of love, for example a man can physically abuse his woman for having attracted male attention as if it is a sin to attract such attention. This is interpreted as Love because the belief is that being possessive is a sign of love. Some men also go to the extent of demanding that their women have their genitals mutilated in order to kill any form of libido. This is intended to ensure faithfulness in the women.

While others also believe in treating their women like minors, their voices are not supposed to be heard in the spirit of submission. This aspect emanates from the wrong interpretation of the bible in some Christian circles where Paul commanded women to submit to their husbands. This verse is taken out of context and parts of this chapter where men are instructed to Love their wives are conveniently ignored. Therefore women cannot demand love but have to work for it by submitting themselves to become doormats where all manner of abusive language is used against them. In the name of Love some women are cut off from family, friends and relatives and they tolerate this psychological abuse in the hope of pleasing their men who demand that they should not associate with other women. The major excuse employed in this case is that these women if exposed to others who are radical, they might be influenced against their men. Women who fall for this type of abuse often believe their men are wise, they are more experienced and that other women are after snatching their men. So the effect is that women end up not trusting each other enough, thus they cannot assist each other because they are all competing for the same men.

My observations have led me to conclude that women are their worst enemies and in order to overcome this enemy they need to start loving themselves more, trusting their instinct and their female friends and associates. Women need to determine what they really want and demand nothing less. They should also learn to walk away when their rights are being violated in the name of Love. These are my personal opinions and comments are welcome.

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When Soccer Came to Brazil

The history of Brazilian soccer is a disorganized one and it comes as no surprise that its origins has many a version! This British sport is said to have arrived in Brazil during the end of the nineteenth century.

One version of the advent of soccer in Brazil claims it all started with the arrival of British and Dutch sailors to the country. The locals learned the routes of the game from these sailors on the beaches of the north eastern coastline. Another version gives credit to a certain Mr. Hugh as the 'father of Brazilian soccer'. It sees Mr. Hugh was the first person to teach the game to the workers of the São Paulo Railway back in 1882. Yet another version prefers a Mr. John as the first coach of soccer, who taught the skills to a team of Leopoldina Railway workers sometimes in 1875.

Now, if that's not confusing, what is it? Well, there's one more version that most people espouse as the 'true story'. According to this popular version, Brazilian soccer owes Charles William Miller for bringing the game to the country. Born in Brazil in the year 1874, Charles left for England for his studies at the age of 10. It was there that he was first came in contact with the sport. Charlie was a natural and soon became a deft dribbler and a free kick and header specialist. An accomplished striker, he won school honors that cave him entry into Southampton Club, and later, the Hampshire County team.

On his return to Brazil in 1894, he bought with him some soccer gear, a rule book and his skill. He formed the first Brazilian football club, the Sao Paolo Athletic Club (SPAC), and even came up with a few new rules! SPAC went on to win the first three championships with Mr. Miller at the helm. His football skills were far superior than his team mates and the 'Chaleira' – a football move invented by him saw him flick the ball with his heel – was named in honor of him. This move is still used by the legends of Brazilian football! The greatest names of the game, Pele, Socrates and Rivelino owe a lot to this pioneer of Brazilian football …

The first official match in Brazil was played in São Paulo back in 1894. Charles Miller had invited the English football teams from Southampton and the Corinthians Club to play against SPAC and other local teams. Charles had so much respect for the Corinthians sense of fair play, he even named a local team after them! And with that, one of Brazil's most popular club was born … It went on to become Brazilian Champion in the year 2005 and had some of the best players Brazil has seen on its roster.

In 1988, SPAC commemorated its centenary with a match against the English Corinthians! The final match had legends like Socrates and Rivelino on the local Corinthian side playing against their English العربية. The local team was leading 1: 0, when Socrates, in the spirit of Corinthian fairness, agreed to change his soccer jersey to play for the English team!

Well, those were the early years of Brazil's love affair with football. It went on to make history as five time World Cup champion and is the only country to have qualified for all 17 World Cups in the tournament's history! Until 2002, Brazil had lost only one World Cup qualifier in 70 years of playing! With its elegant dribbling, lightening speed passes and precision scoring, Brazilian Futebol has been likened to ballet dancing, and more recently, to the rhythmic samba!

The History of the FIFA World Cup Football Trophy

There are many trophies presented for various sporting endeavours today, however one of the most famous of these is the FIFA World Cup. Yet what many people do not realize is that the FIFA World Cup Trophy awarded today has only been in existence since 1974. Prior to this date those nations that were winners of this particular sporting event were presented with the Jules Rimet Trophy instead.

The main reason why a new FIFA trophy was introduced was in 1970 Brazil were awarded the Jules Rimet Trophy outright as they had won this competition three times. As they were presented with this trophy so the FIFA had to arrange for a new trophy to be made to replace it.

The new FIFA World Cup trophy was then presented to the winning Nation in 1974 and this was West Germany who at the time were captained by Franz Beckenbauer. The trophy that they were presented with was designed by Silvio Gazzaniga and produced by Bertoni Milano.

This trophy just like the Jules Rimet one before is very elaborate in design. On the body there are two figures shown holding up the Earth and on its based are engraved «FIFA World Cup» in out pouring letters. The actual trophy is made from 18 carat solid gold and weighs a total of 11lb and measures to a height of 14.4 inches. To ensure that the cup stands correctly the base which measures a width of 5.1 inches has been made from a strong carbonate mineral known as Malachite.

To be able to view the names of the winning nations on this particular trophy it needs to be turned upside down. This is because the names and dates when the trophy was won are engraved on plaques in English on the bottom of the base.

Today there are still enough plaques available to allow a further 9 nations to have their winning details placed on this trophy. It is only after the FIFA World Cup Competition in 2038 will a decision need to be made as to whether this particular trophy should be retired and replaced with a new one.

The biggest difference with this particular FIFA World Cup Trophy is that it is not one that can be won outright as Brazil did with the Jules Rimet Trophy. Today although the winning team are presented with this trophy on the day of their victory they don’t actually get to keep it and instead of provided with a replica.

The main reason for this is that following Italy winning the competition in 2006 after the FIFA World Cup Trophy had been restored it was damaged. A number of days after the trophy had been presented to Italy pictures appeared in newspapers showing a small piece of the Malachite base had broken off. The damage to the trophy was repaired but in order to prevent such a situation in the future the FIFA decided no longer to allow the winning nation to retain the trophy until the next tournament.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy replica that the winning nation now receive is the same size as the original. However, unlike the original these are not made from solid gold but rather they use gold plating instead.