And some say the soul of the podcast’s the toll of the bells… the bells of Cool Weird Awesome.
I read this week that there’s a group raising money for restoring the Cathedral of Notre Dame by encouraging people to adopt their favorite of its iconic gargoyles.
It’s kind of fascinating that humans solved a practical engineering problem by building gutters shaped like monsters – and then came to love those monsters.
Back in the 1200s, as massive cathedrals and churches were built in Europe, engineers needed a way to direct rainwater away from the stone rooftops, where they could cause damage.
The name gargoyle is said to come from an old French folk legend about Le Gargouille, a dragon that terrorized a town until a priest vanquished it and mounted its head on the outside of the church, to ward off evil.
That’s the other job of a gargoyle: at a time when many churchgoers couldn’t read or write, these artistically terrifying sculptures warned of what straying from the path of righteousness might bring.
Or maybe scare off any evil spirits that might try to infiltrate.
The technical term for these is grotesques; gargoyles are grotesques that can multitask as waterspouts.
Many of the famous ones at Notre Dame are best known as chimeras, human/animal hybrid figures that are, by gargoyle and grotesque standards, relative youngsters.
They were installed in the mid 19th century as part of a larger restoration.
It’s said that Parisians had actually called for tearing down the old cathedral entirely, until Victor Hugo and his hunchback convinced them it might be worth keeping for a little while longer.
Today is Cinco de Mayo, and even in 2021, with the world in an odd place, there are plenty of ways to celebrate.
Some are more traditional than others.
Like the club in the Cayman Islands that marks this day each year with – what else – an air guitar competition.
Adopt a Gargoyle and Help Fund the Rebuilding of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris (Good News Network)
The Strange, Real History of Gargoyles (The Mary Sue)