Sunday, January 28, 2007

What remains unburied.

To what extent is the unburied corpse in Greek literature an indictment against the Zoroastrian practice of allowing wild dogs and birds to devour the flesh of the dead in order not to contaminate the ground? The opening stanza of the Iliad reads:
Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.
The world is topsy-turvy because corpses litter the open ground. And Sophocles’ Antigone is all about Polyneices’ unburied corpse and angering the local gods—i.e., the gods of the Greeks as opposed to the god (Ahura Mazda) of the Persians, who might actually delight that Polyneices remains unburied. Considering that the Greeks and the Persians were always at war, the argument can be made that they influenced each other to a great extent: each was aware of the cultural practices of the other. I think it is also safe to say that the reason Thebes suffered so greatly for not burying Polyneices is that the Thebans employed a Persian practice and thereby angered their own gods.

Something to think about, I suppose, as we face another week of too much (and too rushed) reading.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Day

Snow day in Dallas?!?! I've heard of global warming, but what is this local freezing? Since I greatly despise Texas summers, I've decided that I won't complain about the current weather/temperature. Besides, it has been kind of nice being able to wear my winter coat for the first time since living in Poland during the 2001-2 winter. I like breaking ice off the car, too. It reminds me of when I was a cave man during the Ice Age in a previous life.

I'm already well into the spring semester. My schedule is a real bear: Mondays and Tuesdays I'm on campus from about 9:00 am until 10:00 pm. But then I get to stay at home for the remainder of the week, reading naked in bed surrounded by cats. Jealous much?

A couple of weeks ago I asked my friend Sh- to remind me about something I've forgotten about myself. She seems one of the best qualified for such a task considering we've known each other since about 1987. She told me about a letter I wrote her when I was living in Austin in 1992 about wanting to visit Odessa. I was thinking about Odessa, Ukraine--yes, the Ukrainian spelling is Одеса, with only one "s," but that was before I knew such (useful) things--but she assumed I was talking about Odessa, Texas. She probably didn't get what I was saying about the sea there, and I probably didn't get what she was saying about possibly meeting me there when she was going to drive home. I had forgotten about wanting to visit Odesa so long ago and probably didn't even think that much about it when I finally headed there by train during the summer of 2000. It's (sometimes) good to have people around that know and can help you remember who you are.

And finally, birthday greetings to Tetsuya: お誕生日おめでとうございます。君が大好きな。

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Rusted City

Is this thing on?

So, what's my story? My life's but a walking shadow, and history is a rusted city. What's your story?

Download the MP3.

I've been uploading lots of text and images lately, so I decided to "release" one of my songs created under my alter ego DJ Tsero. It's from my 2005 EP Digital Tsar, which is available at CD Baby for a mere $6.99.

I hope you enjoy the free MP3. I'd love to hear your feedback.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Resonance and Resolutions

There's not much I resolve this new year--nothing more than the usual resolutions, anyway: eat better, exercise more, etc. From what I remember from last year's plans, I ended 2006 rather successfully. However, I do have a nice little list I'd like to post--not resolutions so much as a to-do list, things to accomplish and put a giant check next to once I'm done with them.
  • Memorize 12 poems by Theodore Roethke.

  • Make more time for meditation.

  • Complete 12 works of art./Develop my art./Develop as an artist.

  • Translate Wisława Szymborska's Wołanie do Yeti.

  • Complete the required language exam for my degree.

  • Complete my comprehensive exams.

  • Develop a lecture on butoh.
Most of these items, of course, concern my degree, and I'm happy to announce that I should finish all required coursework and other hoops--except for the actual dissertation--by this time next year. I'm interested in memorizing Roethke's poetry for the sheer mental exercise/stimulation as well as in an attempt to more deeply immerse myself in a poet's work, and he is one of my favorite poets. Translating Szymborska's book of poetry is a project I'm planning to complete this semester in an advanced translation workshop, and if all goes well with that then hopefully I'll have a nice portfolio to publish in a year or so. The butoh lecture is for adult education lectures at a nearby museum: I'm hoping to flesh out the lecture I give my humanities students and get a nice gig lecturing at the museum.

Happy new year! May it be one of peace and beauty.