Thursday, October 6, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Yesterday was a very rough and disappointing day. Forgive me if this seems rather like a jilted lover playing sad love songs over and over again, but I actually find this song to be a bit of a pickmeup. Sappy perhaps, but it's a good reminder of that a bad day doesn't mean you're a complete failure. Rough day but life goes on and as cliche as may sound now, it does get better. God bless.
UPDATE: I'm okay. After an arduous and lengthy application process I didn't get the "dream job" yesterday that I had been hoping to get. It was like a big kick in the gut after spending so much time over so many months prepping. Even so, I'm regrouping and am going to give 'em hell next year when I reapply.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I don't know how I missed this documentary back in 1995, but I just recently came across it. I had heard about Edward VIII's pro-Nazi sympathies before but never to this extent. Conspiring with the enemy to subvert the British government in time of war? Possibly giving military information to the enemy? Wow. If these and other charges made against the ex-king are true than he was indeed a disgraceful traitor, as despicable as Benedict Arnold was. That this documentary was produced by Channel 4, a publicly-owned station in the Britain, only adds to the astonishing nature of this film.
This documentary can be found entirely online at YouTube, which the above is just the first part of. You can find the remaining 10 parts by clicking here.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Part 2; Part 3; Part 4.
I happened to stumble across these videos which are apparently the final part of Terry Jone's Barbarians series. I must say that I am very pleased to see Jones again, having thoroughly loved his work on Monty Python, and was surprised to see that he has become something of a popular historian on British TV as he has done more than just this series here. I now have a few more videos saved to watch later with Jones.
As for this particular series, while the videos in this post are from the final part they can stand alone from what I can tell and are still quite enjoyable. Jones does a good job in speaking to his audience and telling a version of the history of the Huns and Vandals that may be unfamiliar to many. While I didn't find his revisionist history about Attila to be all that convincing, he did make some very good points about Genseric and the Vandals. Their sack of Rome in 455 while not bloodless doesn't appear to have been as horrible as popular history claims, they just did a better job of extracting the city's valuables than did others. Genseric also had an interesting claim causus belli in that the treaty he had signed with Emperor Valentinian III which betrothed their children was nullified when he was overthrown and murdered. Eudocia, daughter of the murdered Valentinian III and betrothed to Genseric's son, appealed to the Vandals for rescue from the usurper. This puts the 455 sack into different perspective once these facts are known in my view. Anyways, this part was enjoyable and I recommend watching them. I'm going to slowly watch the other parts and complete the series as soon as I can. Enjoy!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
This is a game of sorts that now defunct blogs I used to follow years ago started and I would join in from time to time. I rather liked it mainly because I have very eclectic tastes in music and I still find it interesting to see what crazy lists are generated.
Rules: Set your iPod on shuffle and post the first 10 songs that appear. No cheating!
1. "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" - Chris Tomlin
2. "Romantic" - Karen White
3. "Under Pressure" - Queen & David Bowie
4. "Heart's On Fire" - John Cafferty
5. "After 12" - Force M.D.'s
6. "Human" - The Human League
7. "Dreams" - The Cranberries
8. "Am I The Only One" - Marc Anthony
9. "Live And Let Die" - Guns N' Roses
10. "Fly Like An Eagle" - The Steve Miller Band
Saturday, September 24, 2011
This was the first of the ancient Greek plays reviewed by Professor Meineck in his lecture that I previosuly blogged about. It has the unique distinction of being the earliest surviving play we have from anywhere in the world. Aeschylus wrote this play about a real historical event: the Battle of Salamis, which he was a veteran of and during which the Persian army was soundly defeated. The play seems to me to have 3 themes which played off of each other: the folly of exceeding mortal limits, which the Persians did in attempting "to throw slavery's yoke firm on the Greeks"; the courage and resoluteness of the "Sons of Greece" to "fight for all [they] have!"; the tragedy of war as far as loss of human life, which in this battle meant that "Persia's flower is gone, cut down".
Although I am far from being anything near a classicist, I did find much to enjoy about this particular play. It could be that it was based on a real historical event and I enjoy history a lot, although how it was told in the play is nothing like what would be acceptable as "real history" by modern scholars. Parts of it were boring and dragged on, this is a very different and long-dead culture one must remember so some of the context is lost to me. This particular translation certainly helped as some of the prose seemed to be charged with emotion that brought the events to life in my mind. Here's an example, with a messenger sorrofully telling the news of the near-total loss of the Persian invasion fleet:
Then the Greek ships, seizing their chance,
swept in circling and struck and overturned
and saltwater vanished before our eyes -
shipwrecks filled it, and drifting corpses.
Shores and reefs filled up with our dead
and every able ship under Persia's command
scrambling to escape.
We might have been tuna or netted fish,
for they kept on, spearing and gutting us
with splintered oars and bits of wreckage,
while moaning and screams drowned out
the sea noise till
Night's black face closed it all in.
I'm not usually one who enjoys poetry much, but the raw emotion conveyed in these words was palpable. It rather surprised me when I read this to have such a reaction. I felt like I could actually see the wrecked hulks of the Persian ships with the bodies of their dead floating in the sea, at least as if I was watching a movie about the battle instead of just reading a play. And it continued, for look at what happened to the island garrison the Persian had left near the site of the sea battle:
After some god had
handed the Greeks the glory in the seafight,
that same day they fenced their bodies in bronze armor
and leapt from their ships
and cordoned off
the island so completely that our men milled
not knowing where to turn
while stones battered at them
and arrows twanging from the bowstrings
hit home killing them.
when the Greeks gave one great howl
and charged, chopping meat
till every living man was butchered.
Look, I am by no means an expert at this but this is a play that even a novice such as myself was able to find meaning to. Yes, some of it bored me to no end and I have no desire to see the play performed live (the chorus still looks hokey even in this translation), but there is still something there to enjoy and take from this play. I know nothing about all the different translations of this play, but I can tell you that this particular one was excellent and however "authentic" it may or may not be it certainly made this ancient play accessible to an amateur like me. I cannot say the same about any other translation, so if you are looking to read this give this one a try. I highly recommend it.