Saturday, March 25, 2006

Return of Zeus!

I've seen this one around a bit, but it's interesting nonetheless: By the power of Zeus, ancient gods are back.

Also, don't forget to for the first week of April!

For the teachers/former teachers out there (in the U.S. anyway), Borders is doing their Educators Appreciation savings, which ends the 28th and is good for 25% off. (They should, like, pay me for advertising for them. :-P)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

High School majors?!

I've seen this one around, and it seems fairly important (especially if you're living in Florida, which I am not): Florida high school students may pick majors.

Honestly, besides the fact that it's ludicrous to have 14 year olds deciding what they want to do with the rest of their lives, it's even more ludicrous to limit their time with a liberal, wide-encompassing education. We've already gone so far as to turn college into an almost-completely career-focused place of learning; it does NOT need to spread to high schools. Granted, some people know or think they know what they want to do with their lives at the age of 14, but these people especially need to have their chance at a broader education. They need to know what else is out there and learn these basic skills as members of society before they plunge into their career training.

Moreover--and somewhat more related to this blog--what is this going to do to less popular majors that are already struggling to survive? Classics is hardly the only example, but it's obviously the one with which I'm most familiar. It's already tough enough to keep Latin programs alive in high schools. If those go, you can be sure there's no way a person could major in Classics in high school. Unless people have the initiative to change their majors once they reach college, most are going to stick with their major from HS (because they'll figure they're ahead that way). So smaller majors that are unsupportable by high schools are just going to get swept away that much quicker.

And this offends me both as a Classics major and as an English major. We have enough problems with English majors not knowing anything about the literature on which much of English lit was based. We do not need to have the Classics departments wiped out, leaving English majors with even less opportunity to learn these basics. Believe me you, it is sorry enough how many English instructors I've come across who do know their Classical literature/mythology/history well enough to understand important allusions in English literature.

And what about that person who goes to a high school where no Latin is offered and who could not major in Classics in high school? If I'm already having trouble getting into grad school because I started my languages late, what does this do for the person who didn't "major" in Latin/Classics in high school because s/he couldn't and who has to compete with those who were given the opportunity? Not many freshmen are driven enough to play the catch-up game, and Classics would lose a lot of good people who settled for English (or something else) instead.

Anyway, I appreciate the sentiment behind this proposal, but if we want to help our high school students, we need to focus more on actually teaching them and teaching them a broad range of things, not just preparing them for a bunch of standardised tests.

Homer and Sappho

Why is it that it's spring break, and I still feel like I don't have time? Such is life.

Anyway, I assume everyone and their mother has already heard about the sarcophagus with Homeric scenes. Although, it does bug me a lot that they use "Ulysses" rather than "Odysseus." Are people not equally as familiar with the Greek name? Do people not know what an odyssey is? (Don't answer that; I'm afraid to know the truth!)

Also, thanks to Alun of archaeoastronomy for letting me know about this program on Sappho. I haven't had a chance to listen to it myself, but I'll take anything on Sappho!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Indeed, she lives!

My apologies for the prolonged silence of late. Between mid-semester crunch, fatigue, and illness, I couldn't really bring myself to update.

The first thing I missed mentioning, though, was the Carnivalesque XIII on archaeoastronomy.

David Meadows also mentioned yesterday a HS Latin teacher getting suspended for using Pompeiian wall graffiti. I really don't understand these things. High school students are already exposed to this stuff ten times over by now. The teacher is trying to teach students about history and get them interested. This is part of the Roman culture, a part that in many ways is not unlike ours. To censor it just because it may be a little offensive (and honestly, it is not harmful in the least bit) is just ludicrous. These schools need to get a grip and realize that their first duty is to the students and to fostering a learning environment for them, not an oligarchical censorship.

Also, the Greeks seem to be quite popular in prison! First we had the Medea Project, and now Debra Hamel mentions Reading Under the Covers, which mentions an article on prisoners reading Plato (among other things). Whew!

Lastly, I must also remind all of you about:

Buy a Friend a Book Week is fast approaching us! First week of April! This is still my favourite holiday!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Endless Noun Ending Song

This one just came up on the Latinteach list: The Endless Noun Ending Song.

I find it a little weird, personally--and not something I'd personally find much more useful than reciting the endings--but if it's of any use to others, then I'm happy for you.

And while we're at it, here's the Mickey Mouse Song for verb endings (also one for "Yankee Doodle" for passive endings).

I wonder if any ending songs exist for Greek...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dr. Zeus!

This is a quickie, because I've an impending Latin Exam of DOOM tomorrow. Despite the presence of Star Wars in the room, I was indeed studying for this DOOM most of the afternoon. Really now, hamartia? Pshaw. It's all about DOOM.

Anyway, the point of this post is just a comic that's been going around the web today: Dr. Zeus

Edited to add: Just as I feared; the comic changed today. Here's the image that was up yesterday:

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ask and YE SHALL receive!

Hah! I just saw this link to a short clip on the movie 300 on rogueclassicism! My guess is he mentioned it before, and I missed it because I've been skimming everything lately.

Here's the Yahoo description: Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, "300" is a retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy.

I'm so excited!!

And here's IMDB listing.

On a completely unrelated note, here is yet another reason to go to Greece! It's about some copper coins on display in Athens. I'm so BUMMED I can't go to Greece this summer! Pheu! Such is life.

Ahh, back to studying...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Some more Roman treats...

Again, my apologies for the extreme slowness in updates. I've entered the first Week of Hell in the semester.

For those of you wading in extra time, I give you the computer game Death in Rome. You can play it on BBC! And here's the summary:

Be a Roman sleuth - use your detective skills to unravel the events behind a mysterious death.

You have until dawn to investigate the crime scene, and crack the case.

Time is short. Each expert you consult will cost you precious minutes. Piece together the puzzle using their evidence, eye-witness testimonies, and perhaps a little detective's intuition.

Secondly, there is apparently yet another movie based in Rome coming out called The Last Legion. Here, also, is a fan site. I'm somewhat worried about this movie already, but it includes Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy among other things) and Kevin McKidd (Vorenus). It should be interesting to watch, at any rate. I think it's proof just how swamped I've been lately that I haven't caught wind of this movie earlier, though.

Both links are thanks to Classics-L again.

Now, what I want to know is why nobody does good movies or video games about ancient Greece (and there are far more in general about Rome). Seriously, I was trying to think up good movies to show in our Classics department, and most of the actually decent ones were set in Rome. Why is this?