Classical Mythology

ClassicalMythologyClassical Mythology
Elizabeth Vandiver, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download $34.95 when on sale
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Perhaps being back in Southern California has enhanced my longing for my Pitzer College days as a classics major. In any case, this is the second course in a  row that I have listened to about the ancient Mediterranean world. Right before this I listened to a course on the Etruscans.

Classical Mythology was a subject I studied a lot in college, both in my Classical Mythology class as well as other classes. I read both Ovid and Vergil in the original Latin. Certainly much of the material here was familiar, but I was reminded of things I have forgotten and got some new perspectives as well.

Professor Vandiver describes how many stories in Greek mythology suggest that it is unfortunate that a man needs a woman to produce a son. She says that is reflective of the perception of men in classical Athenian society. While my studies taught me that men in that society preferred each other’s company to that of women, it was never taken to the extreme that women were an unfortunate necessity. In fact, my gay friends did push that perspective when they learned I was a classics major, and it seems that their view was more accurate than I believed at the time. I knew women were marginalized in classical Athens, but Vandiver emphasizes this much more than my professors in Claremont ever did. But then they were all men, and Vandiver takes a distinctly feminist perspective. And of course when I was in college in the early 1970’s it was just the beginning of the modern feminist movement.

In the final lecture Vandiver describes science fiction as our own mythology. She says the difference is that science fiction looks to the future while Greek and Roman mythology looks to the past. Aside from that, however, she sees many striking similarities.

Vandiver is a great lecturer, and these sessions are engaging. I also watched her course on Hesiod on DVD, which I very much enjoyed. This course works very well on audio. If this is a subject that is of interest to you, I recommend it the next time it comes around on sale.

ceiling fans

I have loved ceiling fans for more than thirty years. Ruth and I had ceiling fans in our house in Oklahoma City (Moore America, actually – about fifteen minutes south of the southern border of OKC).

ceilingfanWhen we moved to the Bay Area, our first couple of residences were apartments, and we couldn’t do much on the ceiling fan front. But when we rented a house we installed at least two ceiling fans, maybe more. After Ruth’s untimely death I installed a ceiling fan in the Los Gatos cottage I rented for a year. When I moved to Mountain View there was a ceiling fan in the dining area of my apartment, which I loved.

After Terry moved up to the Bay Area with me and we found a house to rent, we installed ceiling fans there. When we bought our house in Gilroy it came with a ceiling fan in the dining area, but we installed three more.

When we sadly had to leave our Gilroy home with its marvelous remodeled kitchen and arrived here there was a ceiling fan in the great room. We quickly added a ceiling fan in the bedroom, which was easy because there was already a light fixture there.

Several months later Terry got a ceiling fan in her office, which was a priority because she has an outside wall facing west, which generates a lot of heat in the afternoon. I put off getting a ceiling fan in my own office as we weren’t producing any income and the office was generally comfortable as it was. But after my first paying gig I decided to indulge. After all, the idea is to get more paying gigs, and if I have a pleasant, comfortable office environment, that makes the process easier. So I indulged.

I love it. There is something relaxing and soothing about a ceiling fan. It was money well spent.

Sacred Music Friday: In Christ Alone

In Christ Alone

my cat Clea

Before I was a dog person I was a cat person. I had my cat Clea for nearly twenty years. I got her in 1991 in Oklahoma City and she was with me until 2000 in Gilroy. She made many moves with me.

When Terry moved up to Mountain View with me in 1993 Clea was rather unsure about this interloper. But Terry gave Clea good bottled water and fed her before I got home from work, so she decided Terry was OK.

Our first year in Gilroy, 1997-1998, I continued to drive up to All Saint’s Episcopal church in Palo Alto on Sundays. That meant Terry was home with Clea. Terry got in the habit of watching movies on Sunday morning and Clea loved that because she could lie in Terry’s lap for ninety minutes or two hours undisturbed. I would get home from church to find Terry in her recliner with Clea in her lap as the movie was ending.

Clea’s attitude was, “Wake me when the movie is over.”


hanging up the microphone

This year of 2016 has become a year of broadcasters retiring. On New Year’s Day Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards did their last Rose Parade broadcast. Vin Scully is in his last year broadcasting Dodger games. We will miss them, and their replacements, however good they might be, will never equal them.

Rose Parade photo by Prayitno. Creative Commons license.

Rose Parade photo by Prayitno. Creative Commons license.

There is, however, something to be said about going out on one’s own terms. I love the story of the opera star, who, when asked about the timing of her retirement, said, “I want to retire when people say, ‘Why do you retire?’ and not ‘Why don’t you retire.’” Superb advice.

Some people do stay on too long. I think Arthur Fiedler stayed with the Boston Pops about two years too long. I loved listening to Bill King broadcast Oakland Athletics games on the radio, but in his last couple of seasons his partner Ken Korach had to give him a hand on many  particularly complex or quickly executed plays.

Vin Scully seems to me to be as sharp as he ever was. Stephanie and Bob were still superb in their final broadcast. That’s the way to go out.

spicy macaroni and cheese

I had the television tuned to the Cooking Channel the other day as I was getting ready to watch a cooking show from my DVR list. They were showing an old episode of The Best Thing I Ever Made and I spicy mac and cheesecaught Sunny Anderson talking about spicy macaroni and cheese I stayed with that and delayed watching my DVR’d show.

In addition to the standard shells and cheddar cheese, the recipe included cayenne, dry mustard, and pepper jack cheese. I showed the recipe to Terry and she was intrigued. I made it last Friday. Terry’s reaction: “Killer!” I felt the same way.

It’s great when those serendipitous moments happen.

If you’re interested, the recipe is here.

new routine

My weekday routine since we’ve been here has been to get up at 7:00 am to feed Tasha and then go back to bed for another half hour or 45 minutes. But I realized that in doing so I was probably getting more sleep than I needed and that I could be more productive. So after Labor Day I started something new. Instead of going back to bed I have started staying up and doing my walking.

This is good because I am getting my walking in on a much more regular basis. I can’t use the excuse that I used in the afternoons that it was too hot to go out walking. I’m feeling better and am in fact feeling more productive. Plus, I don’t feel like I have something hanging over my head all day.

It’s all good.