Monthly Archives: April 2013


John Robbins, the son of the founder of Baskin-Robbins, grew weary of the effects of eating ice cream daily and felt destined to change his whole life style, much to the chagrin of his father, who very later in life embraced his son's decisions.   Robbins wrote a book called, "Healthy at 100" .   If you haven't read it, it is a great book that delves into healthy living styles of different cultures.

The book is not so much about eating, diets, exercise as I thought it would be.  It's about the effects of changing of his life style. The whole overview of his book focuses on how you can dramatically increase your life span and your health span - at any age. That is enough to get anyone's attention.

Robbins' discovery in a new life found that diet and exercise alone do not help people live beyond 100. "The quality of personal relationships is enormously important".  He cites medical evidence about our personal interactions, and proclaims that loneliness has more impact on our life span than smoking does. His book is about wisdom, hope, courage and common sense. And dispersed generously along the way, it is about love.

And how love can save your life.

I focused on a brief synopsis that Robbins uses to make a point about love. It only takes three paragraphs and three sentences on page 277 in a section called "What Matters". Having never heard of this story before, I researched it because of its love impact and offer it to you in the 'matter of love'.

This is an old story, perhaps even a legend, although the Castle of Weinsberg exists to this day.

Weinsberg is a town in the north of the German state Baden-Wurttemberg.   Founded around 1200, it is noted for its wine. The town's name is derived from the German word "Weinberg" which means vineyard.   Around 1000 AD, the Weibertreu - or Wein Castle was established on a mountain trade route running from Heilbronn to Schwabisch Hall.   Whether this a legend or true story, the  castle was founded around 1200 and is situated in the Heilbronn district.

One day in the royal court in Germany, nearly a thousand years ago, the Duke of Welf accidentally brushed the foot of the Queen when he bowed before King Konrad III. The king became so angry at this insult, that he admonished the Duke in front of the Duke's men. Offended and embarrassed, the Duke declared he would never again pay any tribute or tax to the royal crown. Furious, he stormed out of the palace.

It did not end there. In retaliation to punish the Duke, the King sent his royal army to surround the Duke's castle. Since the castle provided home and shelter for their entire families, servants and followers, the King knew it was only a matter of time before the people trapped inside would run out of fresh food and water. Then they would have no choice but to surrender.

The trapped Duke of Welf, an ancestor of Charlemagne, prepared for a long siege. He had already stored a fortune of gold and silver inside the castle, and they were well supplied with food and other provisions.

The Duke planned to use secret tunnels to the city of Weinsberg to buy whatever they needed. He hoped his friends in Weinsberg would send word of his plight to opponents of the King and they would bring a force of soldiers to come to their aid and rescue.

King Konrad III and his troops, became impatient after a few weeks, and sent a messenger to the Duke demanding the surrender of everyone in the castle - all of the Duke's men would have to die by the sword, but the women and children would be free to go.

The Duke of Welf flatly refused these terms. Furious, the King ordered all roads and pathways surrounding the castle to be barricaded. He sent soldiers to search for tunnel entrances and when they were discovered, he filled them, blocked them, and stationed soldiers by each one.

Back inside the castle, food and other provisions were quickly running out. From the top of the castle the Duke could see that soldiers guarded all the pathways. A quick inventory revealed that the stores were nearly depleted. The outlook was grim - the people inside the castle knew they faced starvation.

A frustrated King Konrad III sent another message . If everyone in the castle did not surrender that very day by nightfall, he would set the entire city of Weinsberg on fire and subject all its inhabitants to the sword. The situation was desperate.

It is not known who hastily gathered a meeting or who came up with a certain plan. It may have been the Duke of Welf or it may have been his clever wife, the Lady Uta. It may have been anyone. But before sundown, a messenger emerged from the castle with a letter addressed to King Konrad III. The letter read:

We, the women of the castle, humbly realize that our fate is in your hands. We ask only that you allow us to leave at sunrise tomorrow with our children and whatever we can carry on our backs. For this we entreat you and submit our lives to your mercy.

The King Konrad considered the proposal and the fact that he had pledged that he would let the women and children leave in peace. So what If they took a few pocketfuls of valuables. He would be hailed as a wonderful and merciful king. Besides, he would have the vast fortune of the Duke for his own use. He sent the messenger back with his royal approval.

The next morning at sunrise, the castle gates creaked open. Out stepped the women with their children behind. But that's not all that emerged from the castle. Carried on the backs of the women were their own husbands, while on the backs of unmarried women were their own brothers or fathers. Each woman staggered under the weight of her burden while the men, sputtering with embarrassment on the backs of their womenfolk, struggled to keep from slipping to the ground.

The King found this funny and laughed but his soldiers were outraged and called for their execution. But the royal word was given and the women were allowed safe passage as well as their beloved men.

According to legend, the Duke and his men were so grateful that they renewed their loyalty to the King and the King renamed the castle "The Castle of the Faithful Wives," the name by which the castle is still known today.



Marie Coppola  Revised January 2018


How did April Fool's Day Get Started?   Why is April 1st - April Fool's Day?

Some people lie in wait to "trick" or 'surprise' their friends and family with some made-up tale or joke.  Some get away with it all day and others see it coming and know it's an April Fool's joke.  How did this all come about? There are many theories, but the majority of them center around the Calendar-Change Theory.

The most popular theory about the origin of April Fool's Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century. The theory goes like this: "In 1564 France reformed its calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. Those who failed to keep up with the change, who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born." [Ref: Museum of Hoaxes]

Children and young adults have loved  to play these first day of April jokes on people - sometimes all through the day - so you never know what is a joke and what is true.

I thought April Fool's Day would be a good day to share with all of you some titles of articles that I am thinking of's up to you to decide if I'm telling the truth or giving the day its due and April fooling you.   Are  these  real Articles or April Fool's?

"How to Text a Message While Having Your Teeth Cleaned".

"How to Make Cell Phone Calls from Prison".

"Product Review of Foods that are Past their Expiration Dates".

"How to Secretly Give Your Depression Away to Someone Else".

"How to Make a Memorable Shopping Experience with a Very Small Child Who Didn't Have a Nap"."

"How to Fix Your Hair After Accidentally Spray-Starching It.".

"How to Get your Pet Skunk to Make Breakfast for you in the Morning".

"Assembling a Space Shuttle in your Backyard Shed".

"Places to Travel on Vacation From Where You May Never Return".

"Why Our Marriage Works Even Though we Live on Different Continents"

"How to Make a Nuclear Bomb From Things Around the House".

"How to Cheat at Bingo".

"DIY Medical/Surgical Procedures To Practice at Home".

"Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy or Aggravate your HOA"

"Book Review: "Plastic Surgery for Dummies"

"How to Invite  Liberals & Conservatives to a 'Share Feelings Quietly' meeting."

Marie Coppola Revised March 2018

'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Matthew 25:31-46

Recently I made the comment at a get together that now that we're in South Carolina year round, there is no need to keep the winter coats we brought with us from up north and haven't used in a few years. Someone suggested I donate them to the 'street kids in Raleigh' through 'Stand Up for Kids'.

'Street kids'? In Raleigh? Who are the 'street kids in Raleigh' and what is 'Stand Up for Kids'?  (

I've learned that 'street kids or street children' is a term used to refer to children who live on the streets of a city who are between the ages of about 5 and 17.years old. It can be any girl or boy who has not reached adulthood, for whom the street or unoccupied dwellings has become his 'place' of abode. They are inadequately protected, directed, and/or supervised by responsible adults.

These kids hunker down under cardboard boxes, in old or abandoned buildings, parks or even just on the streets themselves. Why would kids leave their homes and take to the streets? For different reasons: family breakdown, poverty and hunger, physical and sexual abuse, exploitation by adults, being overcrowded at home or being disowned for something. It is estimated that 20-40 percent of all homeless teens are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.   There are approximately 2,000 persons homeless in the Triangle area each night...

Because these children live a discreet and secretive existence, accurate statistics on them vary but the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates there are approximately 100 million street children worldwide with that number constantly growing. There are up to 40 million street children in Latin America , and at least 18 million in India and 10 million in Africa. The numbers are attributed respectively to failing economies, poverty and overcrowded conditions. The AIDS epidemic and civil wars in Africa have caused a surge in the number of street children as a result of the abandonment of AIDS orphans. Many studies have determined that street children are most often boys aged 10 to 14, with increasingly younger children being affected (Amnesty International, 1999.)

Street children may be found on every inhabited continent in a large majority of the world's cities. The following indicates the global extent of street child populations. Latin America, India, Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, Philippines, Congo, Morocco, Brazil, Germany, Honduras, Jamaica, Uruguay.

Did you know there were so many homeless kids in the streets in the U.S.?

Currently there are 1.3 million homeless and runaway street kids in the United States, not counting children who were forced out of their homes, abandoned by the foster care system, or are part of a homeless family. Children make up 27 percent—the fastest growing segment—of the U.S. homeless population. When I researched this segment of the population, I learned that, unfortunately, there are street kids almost everywhere. Many times, they are overlooked by a city unless there is a jurisdiction policy of picking them up, in which case they may be returned to their abusive homes or incarcerated on minor charges. Not all states define a 15 year old as under age.

The average age of a homeless person in the United States is (9) nine years old, and there are many kids below the age of nine on the streets, some with their families, some living in cars, but most trying to survive on their own. Some of these children live in the streets and may go home occasionally or infrequently - if the home is still intact - for meals, and if they are provided. Their 'homes' may be in foreclosure, or there may be abusive treatment, which may result in the child or children to leave the home and live on the streets permanently. Children living on the streets are especially vulnerable to victimization, exploitation, and the abuse of their civil and economic rights.

Most runaway children do not realize the dangers of living on the streets. According to the National Runaway Switchboard, 75% of runaways will become involved in theft, drugs or pornography. One out of every three teens on the street will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

A widely accepted set of definitions, commonly attributed to UNICEF, divides street children into two main categories:

Children on the street are those engaged in some kind of economic activity ranging from begging to vending. Most go home at the end of the day and contribute their earnings to their family. They may be attending school and retain a sense of belonging to a family. Because of the economic fragility of the family, these children may eventually opt for a permanent life on the streets. Children of the street actually live on the street (or outside of a normal family environment). Family ties may exist but are tenuous and are maintained only casually or occasionally.

So what is Stand Up for Kids? It is an organization that helps homeless and at-risk youths age 21 and younger. They have locations in many states in the U.S.  Here is their website:

Marie Coppola Revised April 2013