Friday, July 27, 2007

My Brother is NUTS!

My brothers Robert and Ricky have always been gear heads. My earliest memories of them usually involve motorcycles, dune buggies, and hot rods. They are 12 and 9 years older than I, and when I was in 1st grade, they built a dune buggy. Robert went from refurbishing and rebuilding Corvettes and International trucks to Harley motorcycles. Last weekend he came up for a visit, and drove up in this:

Yep. It's a brand new Lotus. He spent $43K on a car barely bigger than a roller skate. I swear, his butt is only 1/2 a foot from the ground!

Man, if I had $43K to blow, I can think of a lot of better things to blow it on. A used Porsche perhaps!

What a view

Yesterday, I walked out of my office building and was confronted with one of the reasons why I love Oklahoma. I got out my camera and took several snapshots to share this incredible view with you.

A picture cannot begin to do credit to the sky. Sometimes the sky in Oklahoma makes you feel squashed - the thick, low-hanging clouds block out the sun and sky, leaving the landscape dismal. Sometimes, the sky makes you feel like you're in an alien setting - the colors get sharp, intense, and, well, just weird. Then, there are days like yesterday, when the sky makes you feel so very tiny and yet so very tall at the same time. You walk out and cannot help but feel the immensity of nature and your very small part of it when faced with these giant clouds that disappear into the horizon and the incredible, true blue sky. Still, because the sky seems so immense, you can't help but feel taller as well. It's a paradoxical and wonderful experience.

I hope wherever you live, nature reveals itself as wonderfully as it does in Oklahoma. Okay, I admit, nature is also a pain in the ass here as well. Here's a picture from 2 weeks ago in Seminole, after several days of rain. This is the park in Seminole, and there is usually NO WATER here. I'd say this "river" was probably 2-3 feet deep, and ran parallel to the road for about 1/2 a mile. And the current was quite swift. The grounds of the park were swamped, the whole thing turning into a shallow lake.

The next day, the water was gone. I would have never guessed that it would have drained that quickly.
Sunday, July 08, 2007

Youtube - Evolution of Dance

Here's a hilarious video that my sister, Sheri, shared with me. It's 6 minutes long but worth the time.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Declaration of Independence

The 4th of July just isn't complete without reading the Declaration of Independence. Here's the intro and conclusion. Happy Birthday, America!

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Sunday, July 01, 2007

I love Youtube!

Here's a really funny video on youtube that's a parody of THE 300 - the movie about the Spartans and the Battle of Thermopylae:

World Lit Fun

I'm teaching World Lit I (ancient world lit) this summer, and this semester I decided to focus solely on the epic. It gave me a good reason to teach both the ILIAD and the ODYSSEY in the same semester. I am having so much fun. It's been a while since I read some of these works. This week we're studying Virgil's AENEID. We've already done GILGAMESH, Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY, and the BHAGAVAD GITA. We have Virgil, BEOWULF, and PARADISE LOST to go. I'm really excited because I've just bought a video of Benjamin Bagby performing BEOWULF in Old English with an Anglo-Saxon harp. It's as authentic as researchers can get to how the ancient Scops (Anglo-Saxon bards) really performed the epic for audiences in the 10th century. I'm going to make my students watch it. I know that many of them will not even give it a try, but some of them will truly get it - I hope. Here's a clip of Bagby performing:

I know - it's probably not your cup of tea, but I swear, I get goosebumps watching this. And it isn't the best clip because he doesn't sing or use the harp at all here. He performs in America, so I'm hoping he comes close to Oklahoma and I can see it live.

Anyway, the epic genre is one of my favorites - especially Ancient Greek and Roman stories. It's no wonder that I love fantasy/paranormal literature so much - it's all there in these ancient stories. Gods, mortals, fantastic battles, magic... What can I say. Achilles had me from "Son of Atreus, I fear we're being beaten back, forced home, if we aren't all going to be destroyed right here, with war and plague killing off Achaeans." ;-) Even Brad Pitt didn't ruin it for me in TROY.