Agamemnon

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This month my online book club went back to the classics and read Agamemnon. I got Oliver Taplin’s translation from the book above that had the entire Oresteia trilogy. Taplin’s translation was smooth poetry that was quite easy to understand but I wanted some footnotes so I wouldn’t have to look up all the specifically Greek terms like threnody and such.

Aeschylus takes the audience and readers on a fierce journey with powerful people betraying each other, killing their daughters, and getting revenge as they story examines whether people have free will or not. It’s a swift read that still has power today. The play is stark with few extras. Whereas contemporary stories have lots of walk on parts, the Greeks had the chorus do most of the exposition, analysis and commentary on the characters. Aeschylus wisely knows that he’ll cause the audience to become involved by creating complicated characters who do terrible or foolish things and deserve punishment, but since those inflicting the punishment are even worse people, who articulate their side well, that your mind will spend days turning the story over in their minds.

I’m glad I read this powerful play because it showed me that paring down a story to its essentials and making characters bold makes a story stronger. Even though Clytemnestra gives Lady Macbeth a run for her money, the story’s so absorbing that I stayed with it.

There’s a reason people still read the ancient Greeks and Shakespeare. I liked this translation so much that I will read the other two plays.

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m looking outside my window at a a beautiful snowfall. It’s graceful and serene.

On Saturday my friend Maryann drove down from Wisconsin and we went to lunch at Michael Jordan’s Steak House before going to the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibit of Ukiyo-e paintings. All the paintings came from the Weston collection. Ukiyo-e art depicts the “water trade” or the life of musicians, dancers, geishas, and concubines of the era from the 16th to early 19th centuries.

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I’ve started reading Crazy, Rich Asians, which has been flying off the shelves. Colline of Colline’s Blog recently finished it and that convinced me to get the book. I’m also loving Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale, which offers a witty look at small town 19th century middle class.

I did get a promotion at work, which goes into effect next week. In addition to assisting patrons, I’ll do more reference work and work on projects reaching out to local businesses and to seniors. Alas, I did not get the other job. A friend at that library mentioned that when she was who did get it, she realized that it was a foregone conclusion. There are a few more jobs, again all part time, that I’ll apply to. Fingers crossed.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve caught a cold and have been mainly staying home, drinking tea, reading a bit and resting.

I did read the selection for this month’s Great Books discussion at the library. We read and discussed Darwin’s Moral Sense of Man, rather a dry read in my opinion. I do accept Darwin’s ideas, which I think are pervasive nowadays, but I’m not all that interested in natural history, which he describes in detail. I did appreciate a woman who clarified the idea of Natural Selection. I mistakenly thought our choices in mates and behavior determined the survival of the fittest, but it’s all about how nature chooses. We’re just little pawns as far as that goes. Our group leader rambled a lot and as has become usual the discussion goes all over the place with tangents like robots and Trump getting mixed in. The Great Books Foundation aims to gather people to discuss an influential text and stick to analyzing it and not roaming all over the place, which is too easy to do.

I ran into a childhood friend’s mother at the library. Her daughter an I were great friends from first to third grade. In fourth grade I changed schools and later I moved so we lost touch. It was nice to hear a little bit about Laura and what she’s doing now. I do hope my old friend drops by one day.

There’s a new opening at my library and Wednesday I’ll interview for this position, which is a step up, but alas still part time. still my fingers are crossed. I haven’t heard from the other library yet about whom they’ve chosen. Skokie’s a well respected library so I know it’s quite competitive.

I’ve been quite disappointed with PBS NewsHour, which I count on as a sound news source, but they were in error twice last week. First they broadcast the Buzzfeed story that Cohen testified that President Trump told him to lie. The Mueller team soon stated that this was not the case. While the story was amended, I’d love to see an apology tonight and a statement that they should have investigated the veracity of Buzzfeed’s report, which was written by a known plagiarizer. Next there’s the mess with the boys from the Catholic school and a stand off involving a Native American man and the Black Hebrews. Originally, the boys were reported to mock the Native American and to be troublemakers. Later a more complete video was shared online and it became clear that the boys weren’t in the wrong. Again, the media, including PBS rushed to boradcast a story before they found out all the facts. It’s disgraceful because these errors impact people’s reputations or understanding of the  government.  With the boys, people have contacted the colleges they applied to and asked that these kids get rejected. They’ve discovered their contact information and have harassed and threatened them and their relatives. A mob mentality has been unleashed and it’s hard to contain it. Again, I hope to see PBS and other channels apologize and vow to adhere to a higher standard.

I got the Moone Boy series DVDs and finally saw the final series. I love this Irish sitcom, about pre-teen Martin Moone and his imaginary friend Sean. It’s not to be missed.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

If we were having coffee, I’d urge you to see The Babushkas of Chernobyl. Talk about a movie about strong women! It’s truly unique.

I’d mention that I had a nice birthday starting with dinner at a favorite restaurant when my sister was in town. Then I had jury duty on my birthday, but got the afternoon free.

I’d tell you I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra, the second book in his Space Trilogy. It’s grabbed me from the start as we have a new narrator, who’s likable, and who’s telling Dr. Ransom’s story. I wonder why . . . .

Our weather is getting a bit colder, which makes me shudder, but it’s been so sunny and clear that I’m remembering that autumn does have its charms.

I attended my Great Books discussion where we discussed a selection of Marx’s early writings on workers’ alienation. The reading was dense and it bothered me that Marx never explained how he came by his conclusions. Some explanation of how observations or survey data would have been nice, though I understand that it wasn’t common in 1844 to collect quantitative data the way. A major study on poverty was done street by street in London in the 1890s. While people approached Marx with an open mind, I was glad that I wasn’t the only one who found the reading a slog.

I haven’t heard from the library where I interviewed. I hoped to hear early last week, but didn’t. My guess is that I won’t get an offer, which is how things go. The waiting part of job hunting is trying.

Yesterday I met one of former students from China. We went to the Museum Day sponsored by the Smithsonian. After brunch we went to the Adler Planetarium, which I hadn’t been to in years. It was fun to see Melody who’s preparing for the CPA exam. She’s passed 3 of the 4 sections already. I wish her well.