Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cicero - Then and Now for this Reader



The other day I noticed this image on Nick's Bytes.  A very pleasing scene to one who loves books and gardens and hidden behind a quote by Cicero no less.

Until recently Cicero was one of the boring writers I read in high school during five years of Latin studies.  Now don't get me wrong.  I loved Latin as a subject. It was a twelve year old's introduction to the study of another language whose structure seemed quite "mathematical" to me and therefore appealing.  After all Latin is a language with three distinct genders, seven noun cases, four verb conjugations, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two aspects and two numbers, according to Wikipedia! It has its own set of English vocabulary to master even to study it.  Locative, ablative, declensions, etc.   

We had this terribly fierce teacher, Miss Simons.  Yes, more than fifty years later I still remember her. Every one in that class of 12 year old girls was terrified of her.   She stormed up and down the aisles picking on individuals and asking them vocabulary questions.  We kept our heads down hoping not to be called upon.  Once she asked me the word for town in Latin.  Nervously I replied, oppidum.  "Spell it!" she roared.   "O P P I D I U M," I whispered, adding an unnecessary I.  "Wrong!" she yelled.  "Stay after school for detention and write it out twenty times." 

Ah the good old days of education.   Somehow, despite this,  I continued to take Latin for five years in all, until I graduated from high school and with her as my teacher for every one of those years.  Actually I was quite good at it and I've always held that it is one of the most useful subjects I studied in school, despite Miss Simons and those very dreary (for a schoolgirl) texts by Cicero and Julius Caesar, writing about his endless battles, we had to translate. 

Back to Cicero!  I found a book for my Kindle by Robert Harris, Imperium.  Described as a novel about Cicero in the declining years of the Roman Republic, told from the perspective of his slave and scribe Tiro, it sounded intriguing so I bought it and read it with great pleasure.  I discovered it was the first book in a planned trilogy with the second, Conspirata, also available.  So I downloaded it and devoured it.  

The exploits and machinations of this famous Roman politician were indeed fascinating to me, but the third book of the trilogy is still to come.  So in the meantime I turned to Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician, by Anthony Everitt.  

What a fascinating man he turned out to be for this reader, not only as a lawyer and orator but as a politician and staunch defender of the Republic, who worked his way up the ladder of power to Consul.  He favoured Pompey over Julius Caesar whom he despised however Caesar prevailed over Pompey and Cicero was exiled from Rome for a time.  

After  Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Cicero and Antony were the most powerful men in Rome.  But Cicero had little respect for Antony and he tried unsuccessfully to play Antony and Octavian against each other.  He ended up being proscribed as an enemy of the state.  Attempting to flee to Macedonia in December of 43 BC, he was caught and murdered, his head and hands being nailed on the Rostra in the Roman Forum.

No doubt there are still schoolchildren labouring over Cicero's words of wisdom, although not so many these days as in my time.  Fortunately his words are still valued by those better able to appreciate him than children and many of his works are widely available.  Perhaps I'll tackle those next.



The modern reader with her  whole "library" on a Kindle in her garden.
What would Cicero make of this?

Friday, July 13, 2012

It is a Small World

 
Second life - Just when you think you have seen everything…

Now don’t belittle me but I have been living in reduced circumstances, but I would not want to fall short of anyone's expectations ^_^

I am reporting on being caught up in the coming together of new technology and old ideas.

The old idea is little people, fairies. There have been fairy avies and costumes for ages and sims where everything is big to make normal avies seem fairy sized.

Then there is new the Mesh technology. Mesh hair, clothes... and now bodies.

So one of the first things someone does is make proper “littles”, “petites” and “dolls”.

In my travels I found out about it and I couldn’t resist exploring this idea, this world. And so, a week or three back I got myself a new petite avie. Sort of Barbie doll sized in comparison to normal avies.

There are lots of clothes becoming available for this sized body and blank templates to make your own, I shrank one of my hair dos down to fit, but you can get miniature mesh ones also.

It is weird being so small and my friends complain they kind of loose track of me underfoot.



Here is a pic of JMB and me, you can se the size difference.

Also there is one with her guard dog. Good thing it is well trained and knows me. I guess my scent is the same no matter my size.

I find I do quite like being this cute new fairy sized me with pointy ears. Lilliputian. One of the malls even has a model Gulliver tied down on the beach.

One weird thing.. The other day I was in a store and there was this tiny guy there. Perfectly formed but miniature compared to even me. Is this the shape of things to come? I could live in a doll’s house.

I have found a dance club for littles that I have not got the chance to go visit yet that I want to try out.

Of course I can swap back to being big if I like but it is a whole new world, at least that’s about the size of it ^_^

So being this size, where would be an interesting place to go hang out? Dublin, wheelll I am one of the little people now after all. I had changed into a sort of pixi cowgirl outfit by then. It was night when I arrived. 

I arrived near trinity college. Now sl Dublin isn't quite the same as rl, Dublin enough alike to be confusing, but a great place to go see.

I went exploring and fouund st Stepen's Green, but I could not get in, some sort of security. I Just couldnt find Merrion Square at all

Back to where I started I set of down College Green and turned right into Temple Bar, towards the river. I checked out a bar that looked familiar but turned around and in a different place. It was quiet with only one or two people in it. I don't think they noticed me. There were not many on the streets also as I quietly padded along.


I also checked out some stores and came out by I am sure it was the ha'penny bridge. I crossed the Liffey looking to see if I could find the Jameson's distillery, but I found a park, some version of King's Inns maybe? So I sat down on one of the benches for a rest.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Books and Music

It has been a while since I did a post on music, or books.

I have been (indulgence) re reading some of my old favourites recently “Pride and Prejudice” and “Mansfield Park”, by Jane Austen. Hardly worth doing a review of such well known books, except, love her as a character _as I do_ (is it sacrilege to say?) I do feel Fanny Price can be maybe a bit too compliant sometimes?

I blame Mrs Norris (hiss). Her sister Susan seems to be more confident.

Oh and did you know Pride and Prejudice had a working title of “First Impressions”? Leading seamlessly ^_^ to… I hear there is a good well researched new sequel has been written in Jane’s style. “Second Impressions” by Sandy Lerner.

I am waiting for it to come out in e-pub or at least paperback. It follows Elizabeth and Darcy on a “grand tour”.

One book I will mention is “Heaven on Earth” by Constance O’Day Flannery. A Time Travel Romance (yes it is a sub genre ^_^)

Accountant Casey O'Reilly unsatisfied with her, no relationship, life back east, is driving west, to visit with her sister in Santa Fe for a holiday when her plans and life are thrown off course by a lightning storm in the New Mexican desert, that literally blasts her into the past, fortunately a rescuer happens to be in the car behind and follows her…

Music

My Personal top ten. I guess there is no point in my trying to find links as they so often seem not to work right internationally. Maybe JMB will be able to.

Sovereign Light Café by Kean - This makes my cry a little (in a good way) sometimes for some weird reason.
Picking up the Pieces by Paloma Faith - She has a great voice reminds me a little bit of Amy Winehouse.
Titanium (featuring Sia) by David Guetta
Arms by Christina Perri This has a weird video Standing in front of
You by Kelly Clarkson Armies of your heart by Elizaveta – I love the unusual imagery in the lyrics.
Set Fire to the rain by Adele - Powerful
A thousand Years by Christina Perri - Thanks to Twilight
When we were Young by Take That. 
Blue Jeans by Lana Del Rey.