all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (in my dictionary)
In a historical vocabulary:

-being stoned is a bad thing
-a fag is a cigarette
-a faggot is a bundle of wood
-someone who is gay is a) happy or b) a female prostitute in the 1800s
-queer means odd

Switching between the historical and modern contexts will consistently screw up your comprehension, though.
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (Default)
Have made it through my first two classes all right. First class is American history, with a professor who believes that memorizing names and dates is not the most important part of history. I am enthused, even if she did forget Lewis and Clark's names for a minute. Second class is world religions, with a pregnant prof who's due over Christmas break. The last month or so is hemmed in with alternatives in case she's put on bed rest or the baby comes early. She seems very nice and enthusiastic. Next up: my only male professor, teaching on of the two upper-level history courses I'm taking this semester. A bit worried that all anybody says when his name is mentioned is "Oh, he's so hot!"
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (Default)
Oh my god people. Punctuation is still important, even if it's the internet. Correction: it is more important because it is the internet. When text on a screen is the only method of communication you're using, without the pauses and intonations from speech and the supplements of body language, making your text as clear as possible ought to be a major priority. SO PLEASE USE YOUR PERIODS, K? AND EVEN SOME COMMAS AND SEMICOLONS IF YOU'RE FEELING WILD. I get that all punctuation other than periods tends to be viewed as a sort of advanced topic these days (or as I like to call it, Every English Teacher Will Have a Different Opinion About How Many Commas You Should Use), but give it a try. If you really want to go out on a limb, find yourself a secondhand style guide. The section on appropriate punctuation will be good long after the MLA formatting changes again.

I'm not saying that you must punctuate every line of every IM conversation perfectly, because I certainly don't. I'm just saying that you ought to make an effort to be comprehensible, and the human eye needs punctuation (and sometimes paragraph breaks) to read and comprehend effectively. That's one of the things that makes reading very old source material an absolute bitch--no capitals, no spaces, no punctuation. Let's not backslide to BCE standards.

/rant
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (curiouser and curiouser)
This morning we went to the Cape Fear Museum to while away a bit of the hot morning before setting out for home. They have a replica of the giant sloth skeleton that's on display at the NC Museum of Natural History (and yes, I know it's technically the museum of natural science now). It was a gift to the Cape Fear museum because the skeleton was found in area, and on the plaque it has a bit note, in red, with an illustration, that says IT WAS NOT A DINOSAUR.

The first thing I hear a little kid say upon viewing it? "Cool! A dinosaur! I bet it ate people!"

Things this teaches me:
1) Kids do not read the plaques in museums.
2) Kids watch too much Jurassic Park. Still.
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (in my dictionary)
Oh, livejournal. How I wish I could talk about Lost here. But I can't, because people who don't watch it are probably sick of hearing about it, and people who do watch it may not have seen the most recent episode and I really don't want to give spoilers.

So instead I will merely say that with every passing episode, I love Ben Linus more.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I love how you pretty much just look at Thriii and she'll start purring. Then you pet her, and the purring amps up to 11. It's adorable.

Had a lovely day of lazing. Made rice pudding, sat outside with the cats, read Blackout. I'm about 170 pages in out of 491, and I would be farther along than that if it hadn't turned out that this book follows about 6 different people in different times and places (so far) and thus requires rather careful reading so as to not get confused. I'm loving this idea of there being too many historians time traveling to the 40s to observe WWII. It totally makes sense to me--if there were time travel, I think this is exactly what historians would be doing. Not all in WWII Britain, of course, but seeing what happened first hand, without having to question the reliability of your source documents or deal with someone else's bias. And arguing over who gets to go to the really juicy bits first/at all. I will try to remember to give a fuller review after I've finished the book, but for now suffice it to say that I'm enjoying it.
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (shh)
"Edward de Vere, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, and Francis Bacon have each been accused of being the real author of all or part of the canon published under the name William Shakespeare."

That's not what the summary I was reading said, but I wish it had. Really, it's never an attribution or a suggestion- it's an accusation. "You wrote Romeo and Juliet, you plagiarizing bastard! Admit it! ADMIT IT!!"
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (bookshelves)
When you see the word "faggot" and spend a good many minutes wondering why someone is calling someone else a bundle of firewood, it may be a sign that you've been reading too many period novels
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (carry me)
It's funny the things you think of waaay too late sometimes.
Like, "Gee, what if we didn't talk for a year because he didn't actually WANT to talk to me?"

On the other hand, I took a chance. I gambled, I had no idea what would happen, it was utterly terrifying… but I did it. I actually did it.



On a different note, it's September 11th, 2007. I'm just mentioning this because, a mere 6 years later, it was possible for me to go through the whole day without running into any flags, vigils, TV specials, or indeed mentions on the internet. It's not in your face anymore. In some ways that's good. Obsessively dwelling on what happened would be unhealthy. In some ways, though… this was an event that made us (and forgive the dramatic phrasing, please) go collectively mad with grief and rage, which catapulted us into a war, the repercussions of which we will be dealing with for years to come. Should I really be able to make my way through a whole day without some small reminder of it?

Oh wait- the BBC just mentioned it. It's not quite Wednesday yet.
It's a little worrisome. More than one writer has observed that Americans have no memory for- indeed, no interest in- history, even our own.
Take, for example, the Battle of Tarawa. Raise your hand if you've heard of it, please.
Right. The Battle of Tarawa was one of the bloodiest engagements of World War II, and if more than one other person has heard of it, then I'm amazed and gratified.
J. Maarten Troost, one of my favorite writers, lived for two years on Tarawa, and takes some time in his book The Sex Lives of Cannibals to talk about the battle- the number of soldiers who died, the relics of the battle, and the memorials for the fallen of both sides. This excerpted from Chapter 18:

There are a few memorials commemorating the battle on Tarawa. In the 1960s, Navy Seabees began work on a causeway linking Betio to the rest of Tarawa. It was to commemorate the Battle of Tarawa. They never finished it. Another war arrived and they were sent to Vietnam. Instead, the Japanese finished the project and today it is called the Nippon Causeway. There are two other memorials on Betio. One is a Shinto shrine honoring the Japanese and Korean dead. Every month a Japanese worker from the port project cleans the memorial, wiping it down and clearing trash and brush. It is always meticulously clean. The other memorial sits in front of the Betio Town Council building. It is a time capsule shaped like an obelisk. No one prunes the weeds here. There is a flagpole, but there is no flag. The memorial reads:

"Follow Me"
2nd Marine Division
USMC


Battle of Tarawa
November 20, 1943


To our fellow Marines
who gave their all!
The world is free because of you!
God rest your souls


1,113 killed 2,290 wounded


The Central Pacific Spearhead
To World Victory in World War II
"Semper Fideli"


On the other side, it reads:

Memorial to sailors, airmen
chaplains, doctors, and especially to
Navy Corpsmen

30 killed 59 wounded

Sealed November 20, 1987
Camp Lejeune, N.C., U.S.A.
To be opened November 20, 2143
From our world to yours
Freedom above all


Sylvia had grown up next door to a survivor of the Battle of Tarawa. She didn't know this at the time; he had died shortly after she left for college. It was only after Sylvia's parents had mentioned to his widow that their daughter was now living on Tarawa that she learned that for all those years she had lived beside a veteran of the battle. No one knew. The former Marine never talked about it. his widow mentioned that in the years after they were married, he often woke in the middle of the night, screaming, terrified, haunted by the experience. But he never talked about it. Not even the survivors care to remember the Battle of Tarawa. And so all that remains of the battle are the ruins, slowly dissipating on a reef in the equatorial Pacific, just a short distance from the Nippon causeway.


In fact, I did not set out to write this entry. I was going to write an entry about 9/11, true enough- but it was going to be about the arrogance of Americans, the self-centerdness which makes us think that OUR tragedy is more important than anyone else's. What were our losses against the genocide in Darfur, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, children in Third World countries dying of diarrhea for lack of clean water. And then I realised that I hadn't seen one single thing about the nearly three thousand people who died on this day six years ago… and suddenly I was thinking not of arrogance, but of forgetfulness.
True, I skim only the surface of the world. I can't see into people's hearts and what they remember there, I don't delve deep into news or television. But a few years ago, flipping the channels or glancing at the newspaper on this day bombarded you with remembrance. So now, if like me you've received no other reminder that 6 years ago, history changed- here it is.

Remember.

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