Sunday, May 14, 2006

"...speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world..."

Imagine my joy when I found this one on Microsoft clipart:

The funny thing is that they had it listed under Italy, Milan, and Stained Glass Windows, but not under Dante.

I flipped when I found it. I went back to Purgatorio XXVIII to read about Matilda. How fantastic it all is.

The fourth years started Dante this week. Joy, joy, joy.

Spring Break Review

When I went to Texas and Louisiana last month for spring break, I bought a snazzy little digital camera. Hooray! I've got to say--it has been way too long in coming. But I had decided the week before that it would be my tax refund treat this year, and then once I got on the plane to Texas I realized that I had forgotten my regular camera (which, by the way, is eleven years old and has produced pictures with a hairline crack in the top of the frame for at least half of those years), so once I got to Texas I hit Best Buy and hooray! I'm the happy owner of a cool new camera.

Of course, once I got home, it has taken a month for me to install the software so I can download pictures to my computer.

But now I have, and now they're there, and now I can post a picture or two (or four) from the trip.

Here is the camera's first picture. A close-up of the shepherd's pie will be a feature on the new Casseroles...Hella Good! website that Amilynne and I are going to build. But here is the full picture, with my splendid friends Hunada, Daryl, and Elizabeth, who love me enough to get together for shepherd's pie when I come to Texas:

Next, here is cool Marianne at Oak Alley, the fabulous old plantation we visited between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The trees are three hundred years old. And can I say how fantastic it was to see Marianne? We hadn't visited for ages, not since she got married four years ago. Which seems almost as long as the trees are old.

On my way back from Louisiana, I had an otherworldish experience. This is where I found myself:

Anyway, when I got back to Texas, Elizabeth and I went to the Botanical gardens and there we beheld something you would ONLY see in the Lone Star State:

Little chica is practicing her pose. Yikes!

And I just have to add this picture because it is so cool to have a camera that can do it:

See the dew? I love my new camera!

But not as much as I love my friends! :D

Sunday, May 07, 2006

On Libraries and Languages

On Libraries:

Last night I went to a university Italian faculty party to get to know the faculty and just to enjoy being like an Italian for an evening. It was fantastic!!! I just don't get to use Italian conversationally very often (and that shows--I found myself switching to English too often last night when I was talking--anyway, it was a LOVELY evening, I brought one of my students along and I think he enjoyed it a lot too, and it was just great.

Anyway, the party's hostess LOVES books. She is a book collector. She has such a collection that she has built a separate library the size of a small house for herself, and it is all shelves and books. And get this. I was randomly exploring one aisle when my eyes fell on a book by my great grandmother. I just died. I mean, it was never the most popular or well-known book (although my dad told me last night that when it was published it did win an award in California for being the best new book for jr. high students). That was really cool.

On Languages:

Last week W made some idiotic remark about how the national anthem should only be sung in English. Apparently someone countered with a claim that W did, in fact, sing the national anthem in Spanish when he was on the campaign trail. Scott McLellan, the white house spokesman on his way out, retorted by saying that the claim is "absurd" because "He's not that good with his Spanish."

Give me a break!!!

Every semester I teach my students to memorize a poem in Italian that they don't necessarily understand and that they probably couldn't read flawlessly if handed for the first time. Almost all of them have it nicely memorized in 4 months. Learning to say things you don't understand is a big chunk of learning a language! I forwarded the news story to friends and family with this attached:

"What idiocy. We all know that you don't have to know a language well to sing in it, you just need some coaching (coaching that I think would be availble to someone courting the Latino vote!)"

To which Amilynne replied:

foo nee coe lee foo nee coe la foo nee coe lee foo nee coe LAAAAA, yamma yamma yo foo nee coe lee foo nee coe la HEY!

Which is close enough.

Nice to know that Scott McLellan thinks the President is about as smart as my least motivated urban high school students.