Monday, November 12, 2007
The Horrors of War: Images from the Trenches
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Break the Chains of Oppression
The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them. We must not allow ourselves to be divided! Professor Trotti and the rest of the department think they can purchase half of us and intimidate the other half. The fools! The fools! They have left us with no continents to accrue bonus soldiers, but as long as we hold these card sets, a History Club unfree shall never be at peace!
To my fellow revolutionaries:
My degree of friendship, devotion, and obligation towards you is determined solely by the degree of your usefulness to the cause of total revolutionary destruction.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Will Fowkes: What They Fought For
I was among those who would live the life of a slave. I chose to lie
dormant in my dormitory, letting others fight for our shared cause. No
longer. After that rousing speech I cannot and will not let this battle
go unfought. How could I ever face my fellow man? How could I ever face
I cannot and will not lie and tell you that I am a great RISK strategist,
but I will be there to do or not do as whoever will lead us desires.
Sophomore and Patriot
A Collection of Quotes from Jen Genova to her Fellow Students
WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT OUR CHAINS!
They can take away our GPA's, but they can't take away our Freedom!!!
We will fight them on the beaches, we will fight them in the trenches!!!
Oh how happy I am today to be a History Major!
We shall fight the US Historians and wrestle control of the seas away from
the World Historians!
Citoyenne Angelica Burton Calls for Revolution
I beg you not to be misled by the spurious propaganda of Professor Trotti.
As a member of the elite upper class he is trying to sow discord amongst
us, who fight for the sacred virtues of liberté, égalité, and fraternité.
Perhaps the problem here is that the structure in which we learn history
is flawed - and this is why we need revolution! I quote Comrade Tim: "I
see myself as Peter the Hermit to Priyam's Urban II." If we want more
time to learn about female leaders it is up to us to overthrow the current
regime and build our department anew.
We can do it! Vive la revolution!
Professor Trotti's Reaction to Student Rabble Rousing
others before our little duel next weekend, but I hope the female
members of the student history association read this call to arms
closely -- freshMEN? militaristic rhetoric? proto-fascist celebration of
various men in the past and their violence? I don't think it is an
accident when your male comrade says "when we dared to stand up to them
LIKE MEN". What a giveaway.
Suffice it to say that all self-respecting women historians might need
to think carefully about who their allies really are as we approach the
battlefield: where, on the board of Risk, do your true enemies lie? And
if you join friendly professors to oppose this sort of patriarchy, all
the better. Consider it.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The Banerjee Resolution
A Call to Arms
Now is the winter of our malcontent, Comrades. For too long we have allowed ourselves to fall victim to the tyranny of a corrupt and decadent regime of professors. Lo, these many years our so called "educators" have gulled, cullied, and diddled we pious students for all we're worth. Midterms, map quizzes, term sheets, Blue Books! And when we dared stand up to them like men, they have assigned more work, gave pop quizzes, and spilled our blood ! Even Zenon has refused to give my proposals for student independence even the courtesy of open debate. My God, what in hell are they waiting for?
I say the time for peaceful diplomacy has passed. The expressions of ideas by enlightened students have fallen on deaf ears. This, Comrades, is the dawn of our revolution. The rays of a better tomorrow are peeking over the horizon, and they look glorious. This is the time for action. Cry 'havoc' and let slip the dogs of war!
Today we students stand united at the brink of total war. We are Comrades in arms who attest that all historians, regardless of degrees earned, are created equal. We shall hold true to that belief so that those students who lose on the battlefield of RISK will not have gone in vain. Any student who gives their life blood in the name of Student Liberty will be gloriously received into the halls of Valhalla. I know this war will be an uphill clime, and every moment we will be precariously perched on the precipice of defeat, but if we stand united we cannot fail. When Alexander laid siege to Tyre he built a jetty so that his troops could attack the island from the land. When Mehmet the Conqueror's mighty navy was blocked from the Bosphorus by a Byzantine chain he carried his ships across the land to attack Constantinople. We too can overcome the very elements themselves in the name of our cause. Soon we will all eat the cookies of liberty dunked in milk from the chalice of victory!
Years from now, when the incoming freshmen ask, will you all be able to say you were there when the students made their stand? Will you be able to say 'I fought on Armistice Day. I heard the clap of thunder when red and white dice clashed, and the gorges ran crimson. I was there when the history we study was made.'?
I will not deceive you, some of you valiant heroes will lose on the battle board of RISK. But if you do not fight, and flee like cowards to live a long life, consider that one day you will be lying in your deathbed, many years from now. On that day at the end of an empty life, would you trade every moment from now until then to be able to have confronted the professors and to have given the mighty battle yawp for Freedom?
Viva the Revolution, Comrades! Viva la Libertad!
 Professor Tempesta punched me once when I said he had a statistic wrong. Right in the face
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Homer, We Hardly Knew Ye
Meanwhile, I didn't care. Homer was advertised as being so simple to use that even Joe Tempesta could do it. I knew there might be some bugs the first time around, but I was going to be in Barcelona, and thus out of the reach of the system. And I was right, none of the first go-round glitches ruined my Barcelona experiance. Though I did have to officially sign up for London classes on Homer, it was only a formality seeing as how spots had been reserved for all the students in there classes as part of the registration process. All in all, Homer and I avoided one another for an entire year.
However, the present is a different story, the countdown is over and the Homer Crisis has begun. Because Homer has told Ithaca College that I have been a drop-out for the past year (because I wasn't on campus), I don't get to sign up for classes until April 9th, along with all the other freshman. A wiley trick, I must admit, but I bested Homer on that front. I've been talking to all my old Profs from on the home campus. Little does Homer know that I have seats reserved for me in all my classes next semester. Granted history classes are slim pickings because Joe Tempesta and Prof Brown have been put out to stud, and other Profs have decided to take sabaticles, however my tenuous plan to work on tutorials takes me out of the class rat-race for 6 competitive credits.
I am not the only one Homer went after though. Maliciously, He decided to schedule my friends Meg and Lee Boo to sign up for classes (they DO need to deal with the rat race) at times neither of them can get near a computer. But the humans have fought back against Homer once again with the power of team-work. Lee Boo will sign up for Meg and Meg for Lyss. Humanity refuses to fall to our greek digital overlord.
Homer would not go unavenged, some poor sap had the terrible idea to connect Skynet (I mean Homer) to the housing selection system. Fear abounded as to what trechery Homer would unleash on our desperate housing search. The mortal imagination is not dark enough to fathom the Machiavellian machinations of Homer.
First it did away with the merritocracy that had previously ruled housing selection. The old system (fairly) provided a better housing number to students who had more credits. Granted this favored students who had gone to high-schools with more AP classes, but there are slight problems in even the best systems. Now Homer allows housing preference to go to students who have been ON CAMPUS longer. Not only does this hurt the ambitious study-abroad-er like myself, but it also screws the pooch for transfer students. I ask you, why a transfer senior should ever get stuck in the Boot with a freshman? Somethings are just wrong. Next Homer did away with the superlatively efficient system of signing oneself up for housing. The old system used to be that if you wanted to live somewhere, you showed up at the right time and wrote your name right in the room where you wanted to live. The system provided for minimal confusion, AND the ability to cheat the system like I did to live in Emerson. It had its problems but it's better to have the devil you know than Homer. Now Homer decides where you live. One person must tell the leviathin their party's housing prefference (I note that someone could easily put someone in a flat against their will, but Homer loves such sinister behavior). This also means that a single person can only sign up for a single. And all singles suck. The old system meant that two strangers could meet up on paper an co-habit the room of their dreams, but no longer. Homer won't have it. I now have to live like a freshman.
Using Homer is, itself, an act of hateful blastphemy. I deplore the system, and urge all my fellow human being to break off the shackles the System has imposed upon us. I have a dream that one day we all will be free!
Friday, March 16, 2007
It turns out, as I found last week, it has all been a lie. A clever well thought out lie. But a lie all the same. Other languages aren't REAL, they're just a way of bilking tourists out of their money. Offended by my cultural insensitivity? Well you'll be singing another tune once I provide you with proof.
First to Greece...
At first glimps, Greek looks like a completely different language. They were even clever enough to imagine up an alien alphabet that they use to shroud the secret meanings of their text. But the Greeks got over confident. They imagined that no one would be able to crack their ingenius code (I found when I got there that I could read the Greek alphabet with ease thanks to only a few hours of study three years ago), hense they didn't bother to change much else about the words. The entire language is composed of the combination of prefixes and suffixes that anyone that scored above a 400 on their SAT's will be able to figure out. Toward the end the Greeks just got lazy. They, like the crypto-linguists, the Latins (not to be confused with the Romans who stole their language and claimed it as their own, as is the Italian way you will soon discover), end their words in declensions. All of the words in a sentense match, this makes it sound better. But while the Latins, and Ancient Greeks for that matter, specified which pronoun and tense the declensions apply to, the Greeks of the Modern era use random and often changing endings to their words thus abandoning all meaning. Of course this makes the 'language' sound exotic, but it does not convey any sort of point, which is one of the pillars upon which language should be built.
Now on to Italy...
They just weren't trying when the Italians created their cultural tongue. I'm not sure what happened on the day of the big meeting when all the representatives met to disguise their native tongues from English ears. Perhaps Italy lost her notes, or was sitting next to the window and kept getting distracted, or maybe Italy was just lazy. What I do know is that those words that Italians speak is NOT a language. As Alyssa found out, nearly 75% of their words are just Spanish said with an Italian accent. One need only affect something that sounded natural and speak Spanish and you got along fine. However, there were whole bunches of words that WERE English, but an i or an o was added as an after thought. What is the Italian word for a grown up? Adulti. It was shameful. The only TRUE Italian word we found was 'ciao', which they said insessantly, as if reminding tourists that they were in Italy. There's just one problem for anyone who knows the etymology of the word 'ciao', it comes from Venice and literally means 'our business is concluded'. So all those Italians were using their own language incorrectly. But they don't care, they just hop on their Vespas and drive off.
Now that I've exposed the secret of foreign language, I no longer feel bad about not trying in French class back at WHS. It's all BS anyways.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
All week during my spring break I was tortured with the repitition of varriations on the same pun. Since I didn't have a magic muffin that grants my every wish, I was unable to achieve a world free of punny terrors. I opennly rued the day some eccentric italian looked at Renaisance art and said 'yes but what would be fabulous is if it were even more flamboyant', and thus inspired the baroque movement. Just saying the word makes me cringe because I know somewhere in the world Alyssa is laying in wait for her next oppertunity to say 'if it ain't baroque, don't fix it'. My stomach turns.
At least thats the way it started, an innocent quote from Cogsworth (that cock blocking clock) in Beauty and the Beast. But it went on from there. When she saw the dome of the Duomo, she said we should call a repairman. When she saw St. Peter's square, she requested hammer and nails. She committed the ultimate Art Historical blaspheme when she started insisting classical ruins were baroque.
That's not even the worst part! I just read her blog (jerseygirlinlondon.blogspot.com), and found out she's PROUD of what she did. She even reprised some of her vile puns. Back in my day we had a word for someone like her: 'witch'. I say we burn her! I say we pile up some bundles of wood (I know a fascist we can borrow some from) and burn the she-devil.
Who's with me?
The Strange Flora and Fauna of Our Athenian Commissaries
If Boston is said to be the Athens of America, and Madurai is the Athens of India, then surely Athens is the Athens of Greece. Today I will primarily focus on the animal and vegitable life of the cradle of democracy, with (assuredly) brief and quasi fictional accounts of my most recent trip to Greece.
First off: Flora
That city used to be COVERED in orange groves!
And it still is. The city of Athens is composed of four things in the way of architectual lay out.
1)Antiquated ruins that still stand as a testiment to how great, powerful, and advanced the ancient Hellens were. As we marvel at the perfection of their temples, still unsurpassed more than two millenia later we know that truly this was the culture of Plato, Aristotle, Pythagorus, and Zeno.
2)Fake ruins. Thats right, the Athenian Bureau of Tourism has seen fit to fill up the empty spaces between the plethora of Athenian ruins of immeasurable historic significance, with fake plaster ruins and intentionally felled columns. This makes the whole city feel like it is the seedy burrow in the Magic Kingdom.
3)Buildings that are in serious need of a bath. I get it Athens. You're very old. And you fell on hard times as the Ottomans declined, then again after WWII when people started thinking fascism was a good idea. You were economically weak for a while Greece, it's ok. But you're on the Euro now, so spring for some soap and a hose and clean yourself up. Most cities write history books to remember what has happened to them, Athens just collects all its dirt.
4)Friggen Orange trees man, they're EVERYWHERE! You know what it looks like in June, before all of the grass turns brown and dies, when every green area is polkadotted with yellow dandelions? Well that's what Athens looks like, only instead of weeds they have orange trees. With oranges! Did I mention the oranges? The size they have at supermarkets when oranges are actually in season, and one of the fruit is big enough for a meal. For FREE! Just growing on the street. Of course we were all too afraid to eat one. I've seen what happens in American prisons when a man cuts the heads off parking meters, I don't want to live the Greek version of Midnight express. But when you pealed them (the oranges) they made your hands smell delightful.
As for the animal life in the city, our guidbook gave us a helpful hint: "How do Greeks feel about animals? Well, it depends whether or not its a cat". It seems Greeks love their cats. And not like in the way Chinamen love cats. I suppose their affection for felines goes back to the Ptolemic rule of Alexandria, but I'm just saying that because I read it... in a book. We saw a few cats, that looked like strays, but there was always a food and water bowl that the cats had hidden somewhere near by.
Greece used to have a large population of sociopathic short swarthy men well schooled in varrious forms of martial arts. Unfortunately, deforestation, migration, and over-hunting by green-bean vigilantes has thinned the once great heard of Drakons to only a dwindling fraction of what they once were.
My travel companions in Greece, Zivic (the explorer), Alyssa (the tolken girl), and Wangchung (or Chinese man-servant whose barbaric pasttime of playing handheld video-games was alien to us at first, but we later accepted it for their primative simplicity) will all tell you that Athens was populated by a wealth of stray dogs. However, I did not have the heart to tell them all the truth. Those were no dogs... they were bears. But the bears were disguised as dogs, and seemed nice enough. We even made a number of friends.
Nicco- It seems most Greek males are named Nicco, and that goes for bear dogs as well. Nicco was the youngest and most friendly of the members of a pack of strays that were guarding the Parliment building. While the other dogs were in the streets hunting down cars for sustinance, Nicco was hanging out with us, fetching the scraps of our lunch that we threw him. Alyssa was particularly fond of Nicco because the language barrier that seems to exist here in London between man and beast was no problem in Greece. Nicco understoond kisses and 'hi there' and 'come here, Nicco'. Although the word 'no' got lost in translation when he dove into a garbage can.
Cow- Well it looked like one, so we called it Cow. It had big brown bovine spots all over its fat body. We thought, for a time, that it was running to keep up with us. In reality Cow was just running, or maybe stampeding, in no real direction. Cow would become confused when it would run away from us, then find us a minute later down the road.
Romeo- This dog loved me. It showed some affection for Lyss, and snubbed Zivic and Greg all together. But Romeo couldn't get enough of me. I particularly liked him because he looked EXACTLY like a dog I've seen somewhere before... I just can't think of where. It's a work of art, a Velasquez or a Goya. I'll post a picture of him soon so I can get all your feedback.
Scruffy- A clever and ambicious mut that followed us back to the hostel from the archeological museum. Scruffy understood how to use crosswalks and even how to understand walk signals (which would be impressive for a colourblind dog, but we now know he was a bear fully capable of seeing a full spectrum of ROYGBIV and even Ultra Violet and Infra-Black). Scruffy did not, however, get the concept that I was told is instinctive to all real dogs, that if you grab them by the scruff of the neck it is supposed to be natures off switch. But since Scruffy protected us from a cat who had been maliciously sculking in some shade by the road. We didn't notice the cat's surreptitious loitering until Scruffy had chased it into a tree. The cat lept to the top of the tree in a single bound. This had the effect that when I first saw the leaping critter, I thought it was a big white bat, which is far scarrier than a lounging cat. I'm not sure what Scruffy was thinking.
Then, of course, there were all the Greek gods walking about. However, like the false ruins, they are just a sleezy tourist trap now too.