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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Popular Flowers of Spain

Almost every country of the world has native flowers and Spain is no exception. Spain is a country that is located in southwestern Europe and shares borders with France, Portugal, Andorra, Morocco and Gibraltar. Spain is known for its beaches and sunny weather. One can find flowers of different shapes, sizes and colors in Spain. Some of the popular flowers of Spain are discussed below.

Red Carnation

The red carnation is the national flower of this country. Spain in quite popular for its red carnations and the flower has a special place in Spanish folklore. It is a religious symbol associated with the Crown of Thorns Jesus wore. The flower also symbolizes passionate love and is thus exchanged between lovers. Spanish women also wear this flower in their hair sometimes. Besides this, it is associated with gypsy’s lapel and is thrown into the ring after the ending of a bullfight. Many other colors of carnations are also grown in Spain but the red carnation is the most popular.

Pomegranate Flower

Although the pomegranate plant is popular for its nutritious fruit, its flowers are also quite beautiful. The flower either grows alone or in groups of two or three. Its petals can be crimson, orange or white but most of the times, they are bright red. Each flower has five to eight petals, which are quite crumpled.

Spanish Bluebell

The Spanish bluebell is quite a popular flower of Spain and is very beautiful. As the name suggests, the flower is shaped like a bell. It also hangs from the stem like a bell. One can find a dozen such ‘bells’ hanging from one stem. The flower has a beautiful blue color. One of the intriguing things about it is that its growth and multiplication occurs quite easily. Moreover, it can grow in any type of climate and location.

Valencia Rose

The Valencia rose is quite similar to a regular rose in appearance but is larger in size. It is usually red in color but pale orange and yellow varieties can also be found. It can be found in abundance in Spain as the climate of the country is quite favorable for its growth. The flower is said to be a symbol of love.

There are many other common flowers of Spain but the ones mentioned above are the most popular. Some of the other flowers commonly grown in Spain include old Spanish rose and Spanish sunset rose.

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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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A Short Biography of Soccer Player – Sylvain Wiltord

His complete name is Sylvain Claude Wiltord. He was born on 10 May 1974 in Neuilly-sur-Marne, France. With the national side of French, Wiltord has been successful in Euro 2000 and achieved the final of FIFA World Cup in 2006. Wiltord’s playing position in the field is as Striker / Winger.

Wiltord have many experiences palying football with some clubs. In club level he played for Rennes in 1992-1997, Girondins Bordeaux in 1997-2000, Arsenal in 2000-2004, Lyon in 2004-2007, Rennes in 2007-2009, Marseille in 2009, and Metz 2010 till now.

On 10 February 1999, he made his first appearance for France winning 2-0 against England. On behalf of his national team, he has been capped 92 times, making 26 goals.

Wiltord stay put in the national team for the 2002 World Cup. He participated at Euro 2004 as well, playing 7 matches in the qualifying campaign with a great return of 6 goals. Lately, he was member of France team of Raymond Domenech that participated in the 2006 World Cup final in opposition to Italy.

During his career Wiltord achieved many honors as soccer player. And the honors include With Girondins de Bordeaux (French Ligue 1: 1998-99), With Arsenal, (FA Premier League: 2001/02, 2003/04, FA Cup: 2002, 2003, FA Community Shield: 2002), With Olympique Lyonnais (French Ligue 1: 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07). With his national team the honors include UEFA Euro 2000, FIFA Confederations Cup: 2001, 2003 (as Winner), and FIFA World Cup: 2006 (as Runner-up). And as individual honors are French Ligue 1 Top Scorer: 1998-99 (22 goals with Bordeaux), French Footballer of the Year: 1999, and FIFA Confederations Cup Top Scorer: 2001.

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Liberia Casinos

Liberia has been such a disastrous mess in recent decades that it would be amazing to find anything that still operated in the country, let alone casinos. However, that undervalues the resourcefulness of the Liberians themselves for Liberia’s casinos in fact amount to two.

The country was first founded as a refuge for slaves freed in the United States, so it always had something of a tension between the more educated returning slaves and the indigenous population. This continued down the years, from the founding in the 1850’s to 1980. The country was run by descendants of those freed slaves and in some ways remained in a time warp: until the 1980’s, the President and his ministers, for example, still wore Victorian clothes, tail coats, and top hats (and can you imagine that in the African heat?).

Samuel Doe, who was descended from one of the local tribes, in 1980, overthrew that ruling class, and the old leaders were executed by firing squad upon the beach. There then followed some 25 years of vicious violence in which hundreds of thousands of the inhabitants were killed, often in grossly brutal ways. This finally came to an end with a UN sponsored peace mission just a couple of years ago.

With that sort of background and recent history, plus the destitution and poverty of the country and the people, it might be surprising to learn that there are any Liberia casinos at all: But, it seems to be a fact that in such war zones and despotic dictatorships that a couple will stay open, so that those at the top can gamble the money they extort.

List of Liberia’s casinos:

– Casino Monrovia

– Casino Oceano

The Oceano has roulette, blackjack, and poker tables, as well as slots. Both of the Liberian casinos are in Monrovia, the capital.

As an example of how divided the country was (and as something of an explanation for the rage that drove the two recent civil wars), the current President is the daughter of the very first indigenous Liberian to even be elected to the national legislature, let alone anything more important. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is actually, by the standards of that part of Africa, over qualified to be a politician: she’s worked for both Citibank and the World Bank. Her opponent in the recent elections was actually George Weah, an international soccer player.

With the recent peace (and the involvement of the UN in its imposition means it will probably stick), it is likely that the gangster element will disappear from Liberia’s casinos, and it might be even true that the sector will expand.

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Quick Ways to Make Your Kid’s Birthdays Happy and Special Like Never Before

When your child asks you when his birthday will come, you should know he is growing. The childhood is one of the most memorable days in one’s life where there is no tension and no stress. Celebrating your kid’s birthday becomes the prime priority when you get to plan everything from invitations to the decorations. The most important part would be ordering the kid’s favourite cake from the renowned baker in the town. All these arrangements are done with the only hope that the child will feel elated and remember his birthday for the whole of the year. Here are some more ideas to make birthdays of your children special.

Thematic party

While a child grows, his aspirations grow too. He wishes to meet some utopian characters and live in a fantasy land as they are highly influenced by these concepts from story books. Hence party planners’ advice parents to go for thematic party to make the child extra happy. Right from clothes to customized cakes till return gifts, every aspect of the party if themed well and executed becomes a huge success.

Cartoon man

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Ben 10 etc. are some cartoon characters that breathe life into children. Parents who can pay rent for people to can dress up like Mickey or Donald and entertain the kids, love to do that. For two to three hours these cartoon men will be around with children sing and dance with them in unison.

Magic show

Children love to live in the magic world of genies and fairies. So to make the party sound more extravagant, you can invite expert magicians who are specialized in children tricks. You can create a smoky atmosphere using dry ice and introduce the magician as soccer from the sky and create hues and cries of happiness from the kids.

Custom bakes

It is nothing wrong if you make your child’s favourite cake in your kitchen and add minimalistic decoration to that sweet and yummy piece. But as kids attend different parties where they see personalised birthday cakes, their wish might just be different. Hence consult an expert baker and get the cake model that your child wishes for as his birthday present.

Field trips

While some parents plan a quiet birthday at their home or a nearby community house, some think of field trips where they go to a picnic place or a children park where they cut the cake and play games. Such plans work well if you invite the other children’s caretaker as well for managing safety all the way till return back to home.

While many parents decorate the house and call their kid’s friends home for a quick house party, there are few who prefer to celebrate the child’s birthday at exotic locations. Howsoever be the preparations, your ultimate goal is to make their children happy and merry for the entire day with a wholehearted wish that their child remains healthy safe and secured forever!

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The Most Frequently Asked Questions about Organizing Your Kid’s Rooms

1. In terms of organization, what is the first thing a parent should do before decorating a kid’s room?

Get rid of the clutter! Because we are such a materialistic, marketing, socializing-driven society, kids are bombarded and often overwhelmed with «stuff» – much of which they don’t even like and will never use.

2. What is the biggest organizational challenge with children’s rooms?

Finding ways to make it easy for kids to maintain organization – this means getting them involved in the process and using tools like baskets without lids, hooks instead of tools racks, etc.

3. Why is organization so important in a kid’s bedroom?

Studies show that children who live in an organized environment (especially those who have learning disabilities, ADD, etc.) function better.

4. Are your organizational tips different for different age groups? If so, could you offer a few?

0-5:

At this age, you can teach children organization without them even knowing it. For example, using color coded containers to sort toys.

6-10:

This is a great age to begin teaching paper management. Purchase a desktop holder for hanging files – create a folder for special interests such as «Soccer», «Cartoons,» «Haircut Ideas» «Gift Ideas» etc.

11-16:

The older they are, the tougher it gets – because they begin to want to assert their independence! The answer lies in «What will they do?» When my son turned 16, I finally closed the bedroom door, and said, «If it doesn’t crawl out or smell, I won’t complain! I’m tired of teaching, bribing, nagging, etc.»

One of my clients hired me to organize her 15-year-old’s room. It was a gorgeous room, but not at all to the daughter’s liking. We took out the clothes bar, and filled the closet with colorful stacked baskets. When we were done, she invited her basketball team to come and see!

5. What are the must-have items in every kid’s bedroom?

Specific places for specific items of clothing (e.g., this drawer is for sox or this box is for memorabilia), An easy place to put dirty clothes.

6. Can children be taught to be organized, and if so, how does a parent make this happen?

One of the best ways is to be a good role model. Often when parents says to a child, «Clean up your room!» the child doesn’t have to look far to see other people’s messes – some of which have been around for a long time!

However, as the mother of five, who are now grown and living responsible lives, I learned that although I taught them how to be organized, it didn’t mean I would see the results until AFTER they moved out of the house!

We use a 5-Step Process to help our clients organize all aspects of their personal and professional lives – this process applies to organizing a kid’s bedroom as well:

1. Design your vision

2. Eliminate your excuses

3. Commit your time

4. Select your tools

5. Maintain your success.

Notice that the common word in all of the steps is «your» – organizing is an art!

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